Archive for african americans

"You can’t go shoot someone already down.” + ENTIRE VIDEO of autopsy presser #Ferguson

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Ferguson Michael Brown autopsy shoot downImage via L.A. Times

The headline above, "You can't go shoot someone already down," comes from Nicole Tinson, a 23-year-old Yale Divinity School graduate student. However, her statement wasn't about Michael Brown's horrific death at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. It was about Ezell Ford, another young African American man who was gunned down by an LAPD officer. Via an L.A. Times article about hundreds who rallied for Ford over the weekend:

Ford’s killing has been compared with that of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by police Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo., whose death has attracted national attention.

This morning on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell interviewed Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D). She quoted a young male Ferguson resident, also African American, who in two sentences expressed feelings of betrayal, fear, anger, resentment, pain, and disenfranchisement felt by so many others:

"I don't mind giving up my life right now. It's amazing I made it to twenty-one."

People want charges brought. People want decency and justice. People are hurting.

This morning, a private, preliminary autopsy report was released.

L.A. Times:

A preliminary autopsy commissioned by the family of Michael Brown suggests that there was no sign of a struggle in his death, and that all but one of at least six gunshot wounds in his body were likely survivable, according to Dr. Michael Baden, a renowned New York forensic pathologist who performed a private autopsy after a Ferguson, Mo., police officer killed the unarmed, black 18-year-old.

Baden said in his preliminary autopsy that he believes Brown would not have been able to survive the bullet that hit at the top of his head and traveled through his brain.

Baden said that Brown would have survived had that last gun shot not been fired into the top of his head. There were four bullets to the arm, two to the head, according to the preliminary report.

There was no reason to shoot Michael Brown in the head after having disabled him with at least four other bullets, based on what we know.

Via Gawker, Cops in Ferguson Threaten to Shoot Reporter, Mace Chris Hayes:

Also threatened by police Sunday night was MSNBC's Chris Hayes, who was filming when police told him, "Media do not pass us, you're getting maced next time you pass us."

Video at the link. Per Hayes, today the curfew has been lifted.

Sunday's Los Angeles Times has a regular feature in their Calendar section called "Underrated, Overrated." There is no link to this, but here it is, verbatim:

Overrated

The year 2014: Amid a summer filled with a bad action movie's worth of global crises that include a drought, an ebola outbreak and too many reports of war and violence to count, this year has seen a disproportionate loss of creative spirits, including Charlie Haden, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Maya Angelou and now Robin Williams. If no one minds, how about we just fast forward to New Year's Eve and get this over with?

It's nearly too much to bear. But that doesn't matter, because despite how tough this is, we have to right the enormous wrongs. We have to look beneath the surface to understand that there's way more to this than these two appalling incidents. We have to educate ourselves and each other-- are you listening, news media?-- so that we can prevent further excruciating episodes, defuse the senseless discrimination and socioeconomic bombs that will continue to go off if we don't.

Chaos is not the answer. Listening, understanding, behavior modification, enforcing and respecting civil rights, finally doing something to effectively improve economic disparity, and practicing mutual respect is a start.

Just do something. The injustice, persistent anguish, and gaping wounds must not be tolerated. We're supposed to be better than this.

what is happening

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Two shows, two reviews, two painful reminders

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changes smaller reviews

When I opened my morning paper, I came across two separate reviews of two very different shows: one live at the Hollywood Bowl ("Hair") and one a three-camera situation comedy on the Tee Vee Machine ("Partners"). It was striking that included in each of the reviews was a reminder of the sad state of affairs in this world. Maybe they should have reviewed "post racial America" and tragedies of war.

I was an usher at the original production of "Hair" at the Ivar Theater in Hollywood (godI'mold), and was completely and utterly swept away by that production. Anti-war protests were everywhere, bell bottom jeans were coming into fashion, and long-haired, pot-smoking, peace-loving hippies were a gentle, emerging force to reckon with. I wanted to be a part of the show, live the show, not seat audience members. It was a magical time, but also a scary one. I wore one of these proudly:

war is not healthy for children and other living things

Another focus of what seemed like perpetual protests was civil rights. One day, we dreamed, one day there would be equal rights for everyone regardless of color. In our idealistic vision, making a film like "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" would be a quaint period piece, not an expression of growing pains and hope or a demand for change.

guess who's coming to dinner

Those were the days, right? Sadly, those are still the days, right now as we speak.

Via L.A. Times theater critic Charles McNulty reviewing the '60s rock musical "Hair":

I worried that this co-opting of the 1960s — a criticism leveled at the musical at least since its Broadway premiere in 1968 — might be depriving a new generation of theatergoers the chance to connect to a radicalism that our own war-torn age could badly use. But the musical's tragic ending laid its punch. "Hair" is fun-loving but also serious-minded. I left humming "Let the Sunshine In" but also wondering how I could make a difference in a world once again going up in flames.

israel hamas warVia NBC

Via L.A. Times TV critic Robert Lloyd reviewing the premier of a new sit-com starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence, "Partners":

A black actor and a white actor splitting top billing in a sitcom is enough of a rarity to be noted approvingly. And there are moments that suggest that the stars will find their footing. But for the nonce they're playing attitudes more than characters, and at times they seem to be in the same show only by virtue of sharing the shot.

end racism- hands

Splitting top billing in a prime time half-hour comedy between a black actor and a white one should not be a Moment of Happy rarity. Especially in 2014. It should be the damned norm. Sigh.

Let the sunshine in.

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Conference caller: "Black people harvested cotton," Cochran “harvesting black votes”

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thad cochran farm animals

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran's resurrection, er, re-election campaign has further devolved into something nearly unrecognizable. As Rachel Maddow reminds us, the Cochran v. Chris McDaniel primary spectacle has been one of the most bizarre in recent memory. And it just got weirder. Call it Conference Caller Unplugged Unhinged.

But first, your Moment of Maddow:

Recently, there was a conference call held for the national media to address a lawsuit challenging the primary runoff results for the GOP nomination. It was a pretty big call, with nearly 80 participants hopping on the line. On that call was Austin Barbour, a Cochran campaign adviser. He was trying to fend off charges of double-voting-- "people who voted in the Democratic primary and then voted for Cochran in the Republican primary runoff"-- and said this, per Roll Call:

"The time has certainly come in our minds for the McDaniel campaign and their allies to either put up or shut up.”

And then an unidentified conference caller, who was not a reporter, crashed the party and spit up this little morsel:

That person repeatedly said that “black people harvested cotton” and accused the Cochran campaign of “harvesting black votes.” Barbour asked him to stop multiple times, saying he would answer questions from anyone at the end of his statement. [...]

Finally, Barbour apologized and announced he was ending the call, telling national press that they had the contact information for the campaign if they had any questions.

At that point, someone who was possibly a reporter, interrupted to try to keep Barbour on the line. Barbour cut the line.

Then things got even more out of control...

With the Cochran campaign people gone, callers on the line broke into an argument...

... and even more outrageous:

Thirty minutes after the call ended, the call line was still open. Someone was using a soundboard of President Barack Obama’s voice saying “Hey! What’s up?” Someone else was playing the audio from the movie “Animal House.”

Republicans just can't help themselves.

Stay tuned for Mystery Conference Caller, the Sequel, coming to a blog near you!

eating their own

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Head of Detroit Civil Rights and Ethics Division possible victim of racial profiling (VIDEO)

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welcome to detroit

detroit portia roberson shopping while black

Detroit has its issues. In fact, Detroit has major issues. Take their mass water shut-off, for example:

A right-wing state and corporate push to cut off water is economic shock therapy at its most ruthless and racist, but resistance is growing.

Anyone notice the word "racist" in that quote? Hey, me too! Guess what? Here it comes again...

Portia Roberson is African American. Apparently, shopping while black is a no-no in Detroit.

Via Think Progress:

Portia Roberson is an attorney, a former prosecutor, and a former Obama Administration official who worked in the Justice Department and the White House. She currently heads the Civil Rights and Ethics Division for the city of Detroit. Yet, when she walked into a Talbots clothing store last Sunday to return some clothes and try on new ones, a member of the store’s staff looked at her and somehow saw a shoplifter.

Pretty ironic, considering she heads a civil rights agency.

irony4

Here's what Ms. Roberson wrote on her Facebook page:

When I exit the fitting room, I'm confronted by two GP police officers who ask to search my bag and ask me if I have any merchandise in the bag. I tell them to go ahead and search and point out the items and the receipt. He (the officer) tells me it is clear that someone made a mistake and then takes my bag to the store manager to point out that everything that I have in my possession, I have purchased...

The manager’s explanation was that she had asked the police to do a walk around the store because it was so busy (four customers, including me) however I pointed out to her that after searching me, they left without searching anyone else.

She added that she felt "embarrassed" and "shaken." Or to put it another way, racially profiled and targeted.

Maybe she can take her case all the way to the Supreme Court, where they'll rule that Talbot's corporate religious beliefs justified their racist actions.

Video courtesy of WXYZ.

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"Prejudice people are lazy and stupid and smell like ham butts. Without the ham."

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prejudice jon stewart daily show the amazing racism

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst, who's having a little fun with a not-very-fun topic: prejudice, starring-- who else?-- Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. Take it away, Will:

LAZY STUPID HAM BUTTS

Wasn’t what you would call the most favorable week for old white racist men. Then again, these weeks, not many are. How bad did it get for ancient intolerant Caucasian males? Bowling ball dropped on your little toe from a height of nine feet bad. Brazilian soccer stampede bad. Donald Trump testifying at your rent- hearing bad.

First, Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who patriotically refuses to pay grazing rights on government land, tried to stretch his 15 minutes of fame a few microseconds too long, expanding his realm of influence into the field of behavioral sciences by buttonholing a New York Times reporter: “I want to tell you what I know about the Negro.” He proceeded to execute a wonderful performance piece from a 1870s traveling minstrel show. Al Jolson would have been proud.

But, alas, the grizzled xenophobe denied any ironic context and the hemming and hawing that followed would have kept sewing circles in the state of Iowa busy for month. Even his posse of right wing militia supporters disappeared like dew on the sun.

Then, Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was acknowledged to be the voice of an audio recording so racist, it made Mr. Bundy sound like the recipient of an NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award. An award about to be bestowed on the exact same NBA owner of which we speak. For the 2nd time. You can't make stuff up like this.

Since African- Americans make up 76% of professional basketball players, and figure prominently in the marketing and as consumers, you could say the NBA’s brand new commissioner, Adam Silver, (yes, it’s a Sterling- Silver thing) was encouraged to take swift action. You could also say carpet tacks make lousy dessert topping.

He banned the team’s owner from attending any games or entering any Clipper facility or participating in any business decisions of the Clippers or NBA. For life. Hope the guy lives to be 110.

He’s even prohibited from using the word clippers. From now on, the Sterling household will only stock nail- trimmers and beard- scissors in their medicine cabinet. “Remember Shelly, it’s my money holder. Not a clip.” For life.

When will everybody realize this whole black/ white thing is plain ridiculous? Nobody’s white. If we were actually white, we’d scare the bejesus out of each other. People would take to carrying around garlic and crosses and wooden stakes to wave and stab. Even albinos are an off- white. Beige. Tawny. Ecru. Eggshell. Desert Stone. And if you ever run into anybody who’s the same hue as that flesh colored Crayon in the big box of 88, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Conversely, no one’s truly black. If they were really black, they’d be absorbing light and we’d keep bumping into each other. Hell, the NBA Finals would be a blur. “And there’s David Lee and a bunch of other guys. I have no idea what’s going on. It’s up. It’s in. Yes!”

Although some founding fathers found support for their exclusionary views in the Bible, prejudice has always been hard to rationalize. Pre- schoolers know that if you take the time to get to know someone, you’ll discover a thousand reasons to loathe and despise them. On an individual basis. Prejudice people are just plain lazy. And stupid. Lazy and stupid and smell like ham butts. Without the ham.

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about his new CD, “Elect to Laugh,” the one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG,” a calendar guide to personal appearances and info about the documentary film “3 Still Standing” benefit to raise post production money at 142 Throckmorton on May 9th.

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Bundy and Sterling, short version: "Everybody knows who I am!"

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bundy and sterling

Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling seem to have something in common. Well, other than their bigotry and racism. And their ignorance. And their lack of self-awareness. And their arrogance. Bundy and Sterling actually have a lot in common. But per a couple of Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, Bundy and Sterling have the "Lookameeee!" Syndrome in common, too.

Here are the letters, because our voices matter:

Re "Banned for life," April 30

To any regular reader of The Times, none of the Donald Sterling mess should come as a surprise.

After seeing hundreds of his kitschy self-aggrandizing ads for his charity work, it should be clear that Sterling does not need money; he needs attention.

This entire fiasco has given him something worth far more than his $1.9-billion fortune. It has made him a household name, something his money could not buy.

He will not give up easily. He will milk the attention and publicity to the detriment of the Clippers and the city.

One day, he can have this engraved on his tombstone: "Everybody knows who I am!"

Doug Jones

Los Angeles

***

Re "A new Sagebrush Rebellion," Editorial, April 27

Renegade Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's ceaseless self-promotion has become ever more incredible. He has claimed that federal authorities want to kill him.

Not so. What the government really wants is the money Bundy owes for grazing his cattle on federal land. Next best would be to have him languishing in jail until he pays up.

The last thing the government wants is Bundy dying in an epic gun battle; that would spur his supporters to portray him as a folk-hero martyr.

Far better for Bundy to remain unharmed with his assets tapped to satisfy government liens.

Dennis Alston

Atwater, Calif.

***

Supposedly rational middle-aged men parade around in the self-glorifying garb of elite combat troops and Old West lawmen. They wield assault weapons and mimic military jargon and tactics — as if such a wacky, potentially deadly display might lend credibility to the twisted views of an aging anti-government cattle rancher.

The grotesque affectations of Bundy and his assemblage amount to rank thuggery. These aren't patriots.

History surely will judge Bundy and his militia no less harshly than the Oklahoma City bombers or the Branch Davidians should deadly violence ensue in Nevada.

Christine Hagel

Orcutt

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Donald Sterling, you are "banned for life"

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donald sterling 2011

To Donald Sterling, a few million dollars is a drop in the bucket. Does it matter to him to be banned for life, because a fine is virtually meaningless.

Via The Hill:

The NBA on Tuesday banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million for making racially insensitive remarks that have roiled the political sphere and overshadowed basketball’s playoffs.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver also said he would encourage the NBA board of governors to force Sterling to sell the Clippers. That action would require a three-fourths vote by the league’s owners, and he said he would do everything possible to ensure it goes through. [...]

Silver said the ban would prevent Sterling, the owner since 1981, from attending practices or games. He would also be barred doing any business involving the team or be involved in any league activity.

UPDATE:

Silver said Sterling, in an interview, had admitted to him that the racist remarks on a recording released last week by the website TMZ were his. Silver said he would “do everything in my power” to see that Sterling was forced to sell the Clippers. “I fully expect to get the support I need to remove him,” Silver said.

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