Archive for Ferguson

The Book Booth: What's In That Pipe? Edition

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Image: Telegraph UK

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: What's In That Pipe? Edition

It's another opening, another show! Time to brush up our Shakespeare! Everyone's favorite bard, it appears, was no stranger to the use of marijuana. Now may be the time to, um, re-read those plays and sonnets.
Don't Bogart That Pipe, Will

When we think of summer beach reading, we tend to think of thrillers or romances, or both. Vanity Fair thinks we should look at some darker themes while basking in the sun and has these suggestions for the ocean.
Summer's Here And the Time Is Right for Reading on the Beach

Then, again, if you'd like something a bit more substantial, the readers at Buzzfeed recommended these under-rated books. Topping that list is Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain, which probably isn't neglected, but if you haven't read it, do so.
Under-Rated Books You Should Read

The poet and novelist Naja Marie Aidt, whose new novel is entitled Rock, Paper, Scissors, also has some reading ideas of novels written by poets. Though I think most people regard Gertrude Stein, no relation to Garth, as a novelist; her poetry is pretty forgettable. Otherwise it is an interesting list.
Novels Written by Poets

With the recent departures of both Jon Stewart and David Letterman from the late night airwaves, authors will be missing those venues to promote their books. Those guys were terrific at interviews and the art of book placement in front of a camera. How important are these promos? Publishers Weekly tells us we should just ask Jon Stewart's wife.
How Important Are TV Book Promos? Ask Jon Stewart's Wife

From the world of the bizarre department. It seems children's author and illustrator Mary Engelbreit has drawn some severe criticism for her recent art concerning the death of Michael Brown a year ago in Ferguson, Missouri. Truth be told, I have not been a fan of hers, but I am now.
A Children's Book Illustrator Getting Hate Mail?

Not to be out-done when it comes to removing books from the classroom, Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida has pulled Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. Apparently it has swearing in it. Oops.
The [expurgated] Incident of the Dog in the Night And A Florida High School

Finally, I think you all need one of these. This handy little gizmo will calculate how long it will take you to read the books in your TBR, or To Be Read, list. Mine looks to be seven months. What's yours?
How Long Will It Take to Read All Those Books on Your Bedside Table? 

It's the weekend! Break out those books and start turning the pages and enjoying some good writing. And do let us know what books you are loving now.

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History Keeps Repeating

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Nicole Sandler Radio Or Not

We know that history tends to repeat itself.

Today is the 51st anniversary of the March on Washington, which brought us Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech.

It's the 46th anniversary of the infamous police riot that broke out during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, when police brutalized thousands of anti-war protesters on nationwide television as the demonstrators chanted, “The whole world is watching.”

57 years ago today, North Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond began an (unsuccessful) attempt to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes, setting a record for the longest filibuster by a single senator.

Today, though, it seems that not much has changed. Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Ferguson, MO is ground zero in the summer of 2014 civil rights struggle. Police are regarded as the oppressors rather than the protectors. And Mitt Romney, while denying he'll run again, told a radio host that "circumstances can change." The reason people are even asking him the question are more puzzling than the idea that he'd even consider it: recent polls show Romney as the front runner, by huge margins, in both Iowa and New Hampshire, should he decide to throw his hat in the presidential ring again!

Not only does history repeat, but Americans have very short memories. I thought I'd do a public service and refresh those memories about Menacious Mitt. Feel free to share it liberally...

After hearing that, all I can hope for is that Mitt Romney will, indeed, run again!

Today on the Show

I first had Steven Thrasher on my show a few years back when he was writing for the Village Voice, and we spoke about the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.  Today, he's embarking on a few new journeys - including attending NYU as a Henry M. MacCracken Doctoral Fellow in American Studies, and writing a new weekly column for The Guardian. 

It was in the latter capacity that he went to Ferguson to cover the aftermath of the shooting death of Mike Brown. One piece in particular stood out to me in its sad truth, "Wisdom from Ferguson's kids: 'They shouldn't shoot people for protesting'."

BradBlog's Brad Friedman agreed to wake up early to join in the show today, so I took advantage of his presence! We spoke about the latest scandal to hit the McConnell campaign, the police falsifying and cover-up of the Michael Brown shooting incident report, the latest twist - and the twist on the twist - to the Don Siegelman political persecution, and a whole lot more.

I'll be back again tomorrow to wrap up the week, the month and the summer with Vice News' Jason Leopold. And for Flashback Friday and in honor of the ALS challenge that's taken the world by storm, Dan Navarro will join me live before we reach into my music radio archives for a session with Lowen & Navarro ... radio or not!

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Bullets & Burgers... and Brains Blown to Bits

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Nicole Sandler

 

And after you witness an instructor get his brains blown out by a 9-year old shooting an Uzi sub machine gun, you can eat a giant, juicy burger. Mmmmm.

This is what we've apparently come to. Welcome to America.

 The website for Bullets & Burgers was down this morning. I expected either to see an apology and notice that children would no longer be able to shoot these lethal weapons - or a memorial to the now-dead instructor, Charles Vacca. Sadly, the website is now back up - with pictures of all the weapons that you can go there to shoot, but not a mention of the tragic and preventable shooting death that took place there less than 48 hours ago.  Interestingly, there is no phone number on their site either.

This is only the latest sickening gun story to emerge in a country that offers multiple similar stories each day. If you're looking for that kind of blood lust, just follow David Waldman's #gunfail blog over at Daily Kos. 

I had already invited my friend Cliff Schecter to join me on the show today to talk about Bill & Melinda Gates getting into the gun fight 

[They] have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

I also wanted to speak with Cliff about the NRA's continued hypocrisy, this time in the wake of Ferguson and their failure to defend the African American community there. 

But, of course, we talked at length about this tragedy that killed a 39-year old man, and will forever haunt a 9-year old little girl.

Susie Madrak of Crooks & Liars joined me in the first hour of today's show. She pointed out that accidents preventable shooting deaths like this have happened before. 

We also spoke about the racial divide, not only in Ferguson, MO but all over this nation, that's been amplified since the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Susie has a piece up at C&L , "In Ferguson, Black Drivers Are Profitable Cash Cows For Town's Coffers," about the racial makeup of traffic stops in that town, something that's echoed in small towns across the USA.  We also discussed the plight of TV & film producer Charles Belk, in LA for the Emmys, who was detained by Beverly Hill police for being a tall, bald, black man. He posted his first hand account of what was done to him  on Facebook. It's a travesty.

Then there's the shooting death of John Crawford III in Ohio, killed by police in Walmart for carrying a toy gun he got off a shelf in the toy department.

These stories are all too plentiful, and they must stop.

I've been asking what the spark that'll light the fuse to get Americans off our asses to make sure things change. I think Mike Brown's death was the spark, but it's a very, very long fuse.

Anonymous is trying to take the lead. Operation Ferguson is calling for a General Strike this Friday in the state of Missouri. They've set up a website at OperationFerguson.cf with all the info. But here's a taste:

A Message From The Protesters In Ferguson To Anonymous - READ HERE

Press Release READ HERE

Communique READ HERE

Operational Information CLICK HERE


 ACTION ALERT 1: White House Petition To Enact "Mike Brown's Law" - SIGN HERE

ACTION ALERT 2: White House Petition To Remove Governor Nixon From Office - SIGN HERE

Missouri Statewide "Hands Up & Walk Out" General Strike - READ HERE

Real-Time Updated List Of Solidarity Protests - CLICK HERE

 

I hope the people of Missouri join in. If they don't and this goes nationwide, count me in!

I'll be back tomorrow for the Thursday show. I'll speak with journalist Steven Thrasher and The Brad Blog's Brad Friedman, Radio or Not!

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Webcams vs. TV news aka Real News vs. Speculative Blather

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objectivity, webcams v news

There's a fascinating article about the recent crisis in Ferguson, Missouri in today's Los Angeles Times... in the Calendar section of all places. It compares and contrasts webcams points of view and TV news coverage of identical events. Per the author of the article, Robert Lloyd, "The news is by necessity, even by definition, exclusionary. But by triple-underlining the most notable or exciting aspects of a story — the "dramatic" elements..." it decides things for the viewer.

In other words, a stationary camera allows the onlooker to scrutinize details and activities beyond the flashy headlines.

TV news runs and reruns the most memorable or sensational clips ad nauseam, while webcams capture reality as it unfolds, impartially, albeit limited by its angle and vantage point. Details become focal points, if the audience is patient enough to notice them.

Sometimes the camera looked up the street and sometimes it looked down, but in either case it sat and looked. [...] Obviously, if you want to understand what's been happening in Ferguson, you need more than a Web stream. But it offers another way of looking at things and, in some ways, a more profound one.

The news is by necessity, even by definition, exclusionary. But by triple-underlining the most notable or exciting aspects of a story — the "dramatic" elements — the media also deform the reality they report upon...

Regular readers know that one of my pet peeves is media coverage, with all the endless speculation and misinformation out there, often just to boost ratings. And don't get me started on empty time-filling convos. Robert Lloyd pointed out a mutual gripe-- mind reading:

TV news cuts things up, cuts away and litters the screen with boxes and text and throws up a wall of speculating talking heads to clot the air with opinion, speculation and mind-reading.

Wolf Blitzer to Jake Tapper, on CNN, outside Brown's funeral: "I'm sure the Brown family is pleased that three officials from the White House have decided to attend this funeral today, right?"

Tapper: "I'm sure they are."

He went on to describe the contrast between Michael Brown's funeral service as depicted in select TV clips vs. observing the ceremony in real time from beginning to end, followed by a constant and objective video feed following mourners to the cemetery, including the surroundings. It can be more enlightening to watch the tedious but unblinking coverage by webcams than dramatic cable news sound bites that interpret developments for us.

As Lloyd put it, webcams continued to record what happened after the funeral: "Life went on." But we'll never see footage of that on TV.

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