Archive for african americans

The meaning of the name Kieran Romney


name tag

While I was away on my teensy weensy little San Francisco holiday vacay, a few stories broke that I'm only just now catching up on.

One that apparently got a lot of buzz ended with MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry tearfully apologizing for a "Year in Review" segment on her weekend show. It featured panelists offering "off the cuff" verbal captions to newsworthy photos, including quips about a Romney family portrait showing Mitt holding his adopted black grandson, Kieran Romney.

Here is video of Nerdland playing "Caption That":

And here is Melissa Harris-Perry's heartfelt apology:

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Here is what a top Romney adviser had to say:

tweet romney adviser on Kieran Melissa Harris-Perry apologyLink

While I was reading up on this story, I noticed a comment on one site that referred to the meaning of the name "Kieran." The commenter wondered, during all the uproar, why nobody had bothered to look it up:

Kieran Romney name meaningLink

Were the Romneys aware of the meaning of the name Kieran? Should the MHP Show have been? Is it relevant? Your thoughts?

UPDATE: I'm told by one of my Twitter followers that the MHP show discussed (and marveled at) the name and its meaning months ago.


VIDEO: Gay Republican equates Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson to Pres. Obama, Hillary Clinton


duck dynasty log cabin republican

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This is what Duck Dynasty "patriarch" Phil Robertson had to say about black and gay Americans in his GQ interview:

I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.” [...]

What, in your mind, is sinful?

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right. [...]

“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

This is what Log Cabin Republican Gregory Angelo said to Craig Melvin on MSNBC this very morning:

[Mike Huckabee, who may run for president in 2016] was pointing out that just a couple -- about a year ago, Barack Obama was not yet a supporter of marriage equality. Just a couple of months ago Hillary Clinton announced her support of marriage equality. So on the one hand to have democrats celebrate someone as late as Hillary Clinton but to admonish someone like Phil Robertson who's not there yet shows there's a double standard at play and that's all we're pointing out.

Oh, so that's all you're "pointing out." Got it. Your oh-so-noble intention was to remind us that Robertson simply isn't "there yet," see, so he's obviously evolving, see, just like President Obama and Hillary Clinton did! It's all so clear now! All those slurs were just his endearing backwoods way of learning to eventually embrace and love thy gay neighbor, just exactly the way the president and former Senator Clinton came around to supporting marriage equality.

Ha! He sure showed those lefty Marxist Kenyan libs and their "double standard at play"!

Mr. Angelo also apparently forgot to "point out" that neither "Barack Obama" (by the way, show the chief executive a little respect and call him "President Obama," okay?) nor Hillary Clinton ever equated being gay with "bestiality, sleeping around, male prostitutes, offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers, drunks, and terrorists."

Details, schmetails. So much for that right wing talking point, genius.

Those things must have slipped what passes for his mind.

Nor did the president or former Secretary of State ever paint slaves as contented, happy-go-lucky black smiley faces who were just hunky dory with their "doggone" abusive masters. (Psst! Phil! You might want to go back and read the lyrics to those joyous little ditties you claim they were so merrily warbling.)

And finally, after watching the above video, a few of you may have noticed that Craig Melvin never challenged Angelo on any of those points.

really bad analogies


"Rare black Santa... our children can relate to." Oh, and Megyn Kelly "would not have been considered 'white.'"



black Santa

Melissa Harris-Perry wrote an astute, thought-provoking letter to Santa Claus in response to the ongoing mind-boggling controversy that is still all too prevalent in the year 2013:

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Additionally, the Los Angeles Times devoted quite a bit of well-deserved print space to a heartwarming piece about a beloved Los Angeles mall Santa Claus, a 77-year-old man named Langston Patterson:

For nearly a decade, Patterson has been the main attraction at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza during Christmastime: a rare black Santa Claus in a sea of white ones.

The mall, located in the heart of black Los Angeles, is one of the few in the country with a black Santa Claus. Some say Patterson is the only black shopping-mall Santa Claus in the Los Angeles area.

As visitors approached him on a recent afternoon, it was hard to tell who was more excited: the youngsters or the adults. The parents are the most loyal. They return with grandchildren, passing on a family tradition with a deep personal meaning.

Better not tell Fox's Megyn Kelly; she might "jest" about it.

Speaking of the Megster, check out this Moment of Must Read from Juan Cole:

So while St. Nikolaos would probably be considered “white” in today’s America, he would not necessarily have been in the early twentieth century.

Likewise, a Jew from Nazareth would definitely not have been considered “white” by many Protestant Americans in the early twentieth century. There would have been social clubs he couldn’t have gotten into.

But here’s the kicker. Megyn Kelly has an Irish name, and if she is Irish-American, then she would not have been considered “white” by many Protestant northerners in the nineteenth century.

So let's get a few things straight:

Everyone is born covered with skin whose function it is to keep our blood, bones, and organs in place, and that skin has pigment, sometimes more, sometimes less. More pigment means more protection from the sun and inexplicably, more contempt and inequality. Less pigment means more vulnerability and requires a higher SPF, and inexplicably, less ridicule and torment and more privilege.

Religion is "belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods." Belief in a god or some other higher power is not innate, it is taught. We are raised a certain way, trained, and eventually accept or reject our religious/non-religious upbringing.

Prejudice, bigotry, racism, discrimination are also learned and cultivated; toddlers are not racists. Babies do not shun other babies based on their skin tone, nor are they repulsed by anyone's sexual orientation.

People are different. Their world views are different. Their colors, languages, appearances, physical, and psychological configurations are different. Their experiences are different.

We are a huge and diverse crowd that shares one planet, we always have been, we always will be.

Get over it, people. We are woefully-- painfully-- overdue to finally accept and embrace all of those myriad traits, characteristics, beliefs, non-beliefs, hues, heights, weights, and varieties of human beings that inhabit Earth. We live together in one enormous place, and not one of us is better than the other because of where we were born, who we love, what we do or don't believe in, or our genetic make-up. Not. One.

That discussions like these still consume so much media space, debate time, and human energy is bewildering. Then again, that Fox calls itself a news station and continues to draw viewers is equally bewildering.


VIDEO: Clinton Allen, a young, unarmed African American, was shot, killed by Dallas cop. His parents are suing.


Clinton Allen new

Collette Flanagan:

"We want justice for Clinton."

Clinton Allen, a 25-year-old African American, was unarmed and "shot 7 times, once in the back" by a policeman. Please read my posts about this case here for the back story and heartbreaking details, including emails, videos, and information sent to me by both Peggy Allen, Clinton Allen's stepmother, as well as Collette Flanagan, Clinton's mother.

I've been in constant touch with Peggy and Collette. Both are smart, kind, lovely women, both are distraught over losing Clinton, both are appalled, devastated, and confused by the senseless killing of their loved one, who again, was not armed and didn't deserve to die.

Sadly, there will be no indictment of the Dallas police officer for this unnecessary, tragic shooting. The Dallas District Attorney has a rather questionable past that is described in that post, and Clinton's parents have always disputed the "official" version of events.

Today Peggy Allen sent me two links to update us on what's been unfolding in the past few days. Clinton's family is now suing Officer Clark Staller and the city of Dallas in federal court for “answers and compensation.”

Via The Dallas News:

On Friday Clinton Allen’s parents, Collette Flanagan and Ronderaline Allen, filed a wrongful death suit in Dallas federal court, claiming that Staller shot their son seven times on March 10 even though he was complying with the officer’s instructions and “not creating an imminent harm.” [...]

“Despite being unarmed and struggling to stay alive, Defendant Staller did not attempt to assist Allen,” says the suit. “In fact, he was observed telling another officer that he had to ‘unload and reload’ another clip. Several bullet holes were found on a vehicle parked at the Rosemont, suggestion that at least 10 or more shots were fired by Defendant Staller. As a result of Defendant Staller’s deadly and unlawful attack on Clinton Allen, Allen sustained multiple injuries, including injuries to his face, head, and extremities, in addition to the fatal gunshot wounds.

In the suit, a witness says, “Officer Staller arrived at the apartment complex, and before the caller had a chance to give him any information, saw someone walking towards the parking lot, and initiated a foot pursuit. Allen was only 10 yards from his car and was trying to leave... Allen was attempting to leave because he did not want to cause any problems.”

I will continue to cover this as long as Peggy and Collette continue their fight. They won't stop looking for justice, and they deserve a chance to be heard, because Clinton can no longer defend himself.

(Video via CBS)


Biz as usual: No indictment of Dallas police officer for fatal shooting of unarmed African American man


clinton allen FB page

For the back story on this post, I urge you to read two previous posts that I wrote about the shooting of an unarmed African American man, Clinton Allen:

I continue to be in touch with both Peggy Allen, Clinton Allen's stepmother, as well as Collette Flanagan, Clinton's mother. Both are distraught over losing Clinton, but also appalled, devastated, and confused by the senseless killing of their loved one, who again, was not armed and didn't deserve to die.

Now the Dallas News is reporting this:

A Dallas County grand jury has cleared Dallas police Officer Clark Staller in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.

Authorities have said 25-year-old Clinton Allen was choking the officer and had PCP in his system at the time of the March confrontation. The grand jury’s decision means that Staller will not face criminal charges for killing Allen at an East Oak Cliff apartment complex.

Per Collette, Clinton Allen did not have PCP in his system. District Attorney Craig Watkins said prosecutors conducted an independent investigation in the Allen case.

Daryl Washington, a civil rights attorney representing Allen’s family, said the family is disappointed by the grand jury’s decision and has lost confidence in the district attorney’s office. [...]

They are particularly upset that a witness, who said that Allen was not fighting the officer, was not allowed to testify before the grand jury. That witness, who was subpoenaed by prosecutors, swore in an affidavit that she heard Staller tell Allen to put up his hands several times and that Staller just began shooting.

“There was clearly excessive and deadly force,” Washington said. “This police officer shot an unarmed man seven times. Somebody has to look at that and say this doesn’t make any sense.”

Along with that link from Peggy Allen, I got the following email from Collette last night, which she has graciously allowed me to share:

This is the video that my camera captured unknowingly [see below].  If you listen to the very end of the tape, I ask him if I could have just 5mins of his time…he chuckles and says, “No.” [...]

5 days later, the DA office calls at 4:00 pm and says that the grand jury was meeting the next day.  We had been promised previously that we would get a 2 week notice before the grand jury met (until the DA confrontation with me.)

Of course, the all-White over 65 yrs old men on the grand jury (ex-cops) no doubt, issued a “no bill”

We saw so many horrible things (criminally while at the hearing, waiting):

1. Three Detectives was inside speaking with the grand jury the entire time they were in process.  Basically, “pitching” for Clark Staller.

2. James Bagnall- remember, I told you about him?  Dallas PD secret weapon.   He went to my Facebook and downloaded pictures of Clinton with a black do rag (most guys wear them his age after a fresh haircut) and showed it to the grand jury.

3. James Bagnall downloaded pictures of Clinton twins holding signs “Convict killer cops”  “Chief Brown is no friend to our community” and showed it to the grand jury.

4. James Bagnall subpoena our ‘star’ witnesses and did not let her testify, informed us that the grand jury “did not want to hear her testimony.” While in fact, everyone knows that a grand jury cannot dictate to the DA who they want to hear from and who they do not want to hear from. That is crazy!

5. We overheard some comprising statements that are being put into a complaint to the US attorney, FBI and DOJ.

 Here is the short video that Collette referred to at the beginning of her email:

Collette also sent me some articles to share, saying:

This is the DA of Dallas.  Look up current articles on him, he is known for ...using his office to be vindictive. ... Dallas Observer:  "Craig the Dick." 2.  Article last week in Dallas Morning News accusing him of getting all of his Black law clerks to run for judges.

Here are the links:

And this Dallas Observer link, which includes the "Dick" quote: "Maybe there are two Craig Watkins — twin brothers, Craig the Good and Craig the Dick." More:

That’s the only explanation we can come up with for Watkins’ recent misadventure, in which he sicced a grand jury on Criminal Court Judge Julia Hayes, who dared to insist that Watkins’ prosecutors obey the law.

Craig the Dick must be in town. Either that or there’s only one Craig Watkins, and he’s a hypocrite and bully of the first order.

You can see what they're up against.

[Edited to correct an error]


AIG CEO compares public anger over Wall St. bonuses to Deep South lynching African-Americans


really bad analogies

wtf moment

Just when you thought you couldn't resent greedy, ultra-wealthy Wall Street executives more, along comes AIG CEO Bob Benmosche making jaw-droppingly tasteless analogies.

True to form, the recipients of gigantic bonuses just can't get enough, despite the fact that they nearly destroyed our financial system trying. Of course, they didn't mind accepting bailout money either. *Yawn, stretch*... millions and billions in bailouts and bonuses, it's all in an hour's work.

All this while the rest of us have been struggling to make ends meet. It may be time for Occupy Wall Street to re-occupy.

Benmosche was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and popped out with this gem, via Think Progress:

“Now you have these bright young people [in the financial-products unit] who had nothing to do with [the bad bets that hurt the company.] … They understand the derivatives very well; they understand the complexity. … They’re all scared. They [had made] good livings. They probably lived beyond their means. …They aren’t going to stay there for nothing.

The uproar over bonuses “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that–sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.

He then sworetogod that he really didn't intend to offend anyone. Honest!

Why, who would possibly be offended by the suggestion that lynching African-Americans in the Deep South and being criticized for maintaining the lifestyle of the rich and infamous are analogous?  I mean besides anyone with an ounce of self-awareness and decency.

That concludes today's WTF Moment, and thank you for playing "Really Bad Analogies."


In her own words: "Clinton Allen was/is my son. He was unarmed, shot 7 times, once in the back" by a policeman


clinton allen closer

justice Clinton Allen

Yesterday I introduced you to Clinton Allen, an unarmed African American man who was shot and killed by a police officer. Please read it here: "We have a Trayvon situation here in Dallas, TX."

I'm not sure that it's exactly a "Trayvon Martin situation," but I certainly understand why Peggy Allen, Clinton's stepmother, put it that way. There are differences in the two cases, as you can see by the reporting, but yes, another young black man was shot and killed needlessly, and as his family is grieving, they are also doing everything they can to draw attention to the glaring brutality and racial issues surrounding his death.

I continue to be in touch with both Peggy Allen as well as Collette Flanagan, Clinton Allen's mother. Both are clearly distraught over losing Clinton, but also appalled, devastated, and confused by the senseless killing of their loved one, who again, was not armed and didn't deserve to die.

Today Collette emailed me and has graciously permitted me to share that email. Bolding is mine, and I added the blockquote from the Dallas Morning News. I will be updating this story as details emerge:

My name is Collette Flanagan, Clinton Allen was/is my son.

Thank you so much for you willingness to post our story. I have a bountiful of information I have discovered about the city of Dallas, Dallas Police Department and the DA’s office. Despicable at best.

When Clinton was first murdered, I couldn’t imagine my son being executed by a policeman. It was as if someone told me, my 80 year old mother had been murdered by a policeman.

I began to search and realized that this cop, Clark Staller, badge #9514 had been given a mere pass and a slap on the wrist for attempted murder in 2011. (Dallas Morning News). Staller, also falsified the police record and has had excessive force issues in the past.

[ADDED: A Dallas police officer was recently suspended for 20 days over January 2011 incident in which he hit a vehicle burglary suspect with a squad car.

Officer Clark Staller, who was hired in 2008, received the suspension during a disciplinary hearing last month.

According to Dallas police records, internal affairs investigators found he placed another person in greater danger than necessary when he used his squad car to block a fleeing suspect, that he was untruthful to a supervisor when he told him that he hadn’t hit the man and that he entered inaccurate information into a police report.]

Imagine my horror.

I since discovered through Open Records that ... 68 UNARMED Black and Brown (96% Black) have been killed in Dallas by policemen. Records show that 98% of the policemen killing these men are White. We know through these same records that Black officers are not killing unarmed White men. We know that there is a certain police substation (Southeast) that is notorious for accepting “problem transfers.”

Instead of firing these problem officers, the city transfers them into certain zip codes, where the citizens are poor and these problem cops are allowed to “hunt”

Clinton was only 25 yrs old, unarmed, shot 7 times and once in the back. We have 6 sworn witness statements that say everything different that Staller reported.

I would love to speak or continue correspondence with you and I am appreciative of your efforts to tell our story.

Peggy is Clinton’s step mother and she loved him very much and I thank her every day for her passion.

P.S. I’ve attached a bonus Open Record for you which include FBI internal emails between DPD admitting that Chief Brown had not implemented a formal process to notify the FBI when an officer involved shooting occurs. Chief Brown never implemented any of the policy changes after the James Harper shooting (in report). The Foot chase pursuit policy-had he implemented it as promised after the James Harper, Clinton would be alive.

Clinton did nothing wrong, he had twin boys, 14 months, at the time of his murder and he is gone from us forever. For nothing. I am fighting for other mothers who simply can not overcome the grief to fight for their sons.

I look forward to speaking with you.

Peace and blessings,

Collette L. Flanagan

Clinton R. Allen Foundation, Founder

Families Living with Justice  

She added this after I asked her a series of questions that needed asking about rumors about her son's past. Collette is my new hero:

My goal is to be totally transparent. Because to defend a lie that would make me feel better would be to represent Clinton in the light that they are trying to portray him. He was no thug. He went to college(Texas Southern Univ) and majored in criminal justice, he was a star football player in high school. He had just posted on his Facebook last year that he was getting his body in shape and was going to walk on for the Dallas Cowboys.

Does any of that sound like a thug to you? I am an ex- IBM executive and a US patent holder., but most of all a mother. Being a mother is the psalms of my soul. I am still his mother even in death. But I am committed to expose Dallas even if it cost me my life, and it may. But if you are not willing to die for something, then you have lived for nothing.

One more thing: I asked if Officer Staller was still employed and the answer was "yes." Collette emailed me the following details along with a PDF of a Dallas Police Department "Fusion" chart which doesn't translate well here, but I included it anyway:

We had to protest like we were protesting for a stay of execution just to get him off the streets. He is now working a desk job at Police Headquarters, but get this… he’s working at high security surveillance department called the Fusion Group. They only do surveillance on Black men. You can’t make this stuff up! It’s a disgrace and “good ole boy” dysfunctional local government at his best.

clinton allen Fusion chart Dallas Police Dept