Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Monday, December 29, 2014

Progressive Eruptions Will Be Away For A While Because Of A Death In Our Family

Comments have been disabled.  
Friends can reach me via my email:  
shawkenawe (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Rest in Peace B.L.C.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

W. B. Yeats1865 - 1939
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Night Funnies

Just got this in an email.

Thank you R.D.!

The end of 2014 marks, as the ends of all years do, the creation of “best of” and “worst of” awards. It was in that spirit that the American Wishful Thinker awarded the half-term, half-wit Alaska governor and former disastrous vice presidential candidate, and most powerful female politician in 3 square miles of the back woods of Alaska, the “American Grifter of 2014” award in on Saturday. 

As she contemplates her political future, such as a possible run for the presidency, Palin can indeed look back on 2014 as a year in which much was achieved, if one has no sense of reality. Let’s start with the drunken brawl Palin and her foul-mouthed daughter, Bristol, embarrassed themselves and the rest of the civilized world with. When one describes Palin as the most powerful female politician on the planet, one inevitably has to admit that one is either in an alternate reality or in serious need of mental health counseling, because that description gets eye rolls from the rest of the sane world. 

2014 also marked the year that, not for the first time, Palin’s ass-kissers thought her political judgment proved to be superior to that of the current president. In 2008, when Russia’s Vladimir Putin was invading Georgia, Palin predicted that then Senator Obama’s indecision would be just the sort of thing that would encourage him to go after the Ukraine next. The foreign policy establishment ridiculed her for being a boob for suggesting such a thing. But, one can now ask, who is the boob and who the prophet? Well, Sarah Palin, matriarch of a drunken, brawling family, is still the boob, since Putin’s Russia’s economy is in the tank, and his oil reserves are not doing him any good. And the Russian Ruble against the American dollar? 

Palin is headed for the Iowa Freedom Summit in 2015, an event that is attracting almost every presumed moron on the Republican side for president. Her presence there is fueling speculation for more of her failed ambitions. She recently hinted that she was thinking of elected office again because somewhere in Alaska a village is missing its idiot mayor, and because:   Grifter. On the other hand, she has been doing rather well as a drunken brawler maker. 

Any foolish Republican at the summit would make a mistake to kiss her posterior and solicit her approval and advice. The current competitors would do well to keep ignoring the fruitcake. Only four of the 15 congressional candidates endorsed by Palin nationwide this year  won their primaries, a far worse record than the previous two elections, when Palin played a role as kingmaker and her approval was eagerly sought by candidates looking for an edge with Republican voters. Palin remains talented at raising money. “But her influence on the actual political process is diminishing rapidly,” said John Feehery, a Republican political consultant and former aide to GOP leadership in the House of Representatives. 

Sarah Palin for President? Oh Please! Yes! Please! And Louis Gohmert for her running mate! 

Forbes Magazine: Obama Administration Outperforms Reagan's

What should Republicans say now that the GDP is growing, the deficit is shrinking, and gas prices are falling?

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Season of Giving

Friends of Progressive Eruptions are familiar with Dave Miller, a frequent commenter.  He is executive director of Adventures in Life Ministries.

Please read this account of what happened in a small village near Oaxaca.  It's devastating.

The link will take you to Dave's blog where he describes what happened to that village just recently.

If you can find it in your hearts to contribute any amount, I urge you to do so.  The above link will give you all the information you need to do so.

Thank you for your generosity and kindness.

Monday, December 22, 2014

"They beat us and left us for dead..." An urgent message from AIL Ministry Executive Director Dave Miller about Eloxochitlán, Oaxaca...

"They beat us and left us for dead... but the Lord gave us life again!"

That is how Pastor Chablé, our main ministry partner in Oaxaca, described what happened last weekend in Eloxochitlán, the village our medical team served in October.

This week I had planned on sharing a simple Christmas message with our AIL Network. And then real life intruded on those plans. So I am sharing something different. A story of pain, loss, and ultimately hope.

On Sunday, December 14th in the middle of the day, Eloxochitlán, more than 6 hours away from our ministry base in Oaxaca City, erupted in political violence between people holding opposing views of the role of government in everyday life.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


From The Rude Pundit

"5. In June, Jerad and Amanda Miller shot two police officers and another person dead in Las Vegas. They had come from the standoff at the ranch of Cliven Bundy, where a bunch of white shitheels actually pointed guns at federal agents and everyone went home without a shot being fired or anyone being arrested, despite Bundy being guilty of essentially the same crime as Eric Garner, except Bundy owed the government more than a million bucks in grazing fees and not a few coins on single cigarettes. The Millers were anti-government nutzoids who thought cops were oppressors who were gonna git their guns or some such shit. They left a note on the scene saying they wanted to start a revolution. You know what didn't happen after the shooting? Police associations didn't say that Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman had blood on her hands. The cops didn't condemn the armed numbskulls at Bundy ranch, who were, you know, protesters. And the Vegas police unions most definitely did not say they were now a "wartime" department, as the New York City PBA supposedly did. 

5a. Imagine the shitstorm that'd happen if the cops said that violent white people were the problem and they needed to be stopped. It would have actually made sense. The Millers were directly connected with the Bundy ranch uprising. The guy who shot Liu and Ramos was a solo dickhead with a Facebook page. 

5b. But craven fucks like Giuliani and Joe Scarborough and others will use this as a chance to shut the marching blacks down." 

The rest of The Rude Pundit's righteous rant is HERE.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Oh fer gawd's sake!

Of all the subjects this supposedly intelligent man could choose to speak on, he chooses a ridiculous comparison:  The United States of America is just like Nazi Germany!

Dr. Carson will never be president, but if he keeps this extremist talk going, he'll certainly be a political nincompoop.

Ben Carson stands by comparison of U.S. to Nazi Germany

Washington (CNN) -- Neurosurgeon Ben Carson stood by his controversial comparison of the United States to Nazi Germany in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday. Asked by Blitzer whether he would amend or take back his comments, Carson said "Absolutely not." 

Carson made the comments during a March interview with conservative news outlet He noted that the Third Reich was "using its tools to intimidate the population," and said that "we now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe."

Said the guy who is not afraid of comparing the Obama administration to a genocidal regime.  In fact, what no Gee-Oh-Pee-er is ever afraid of is bashing, trashing, and gnashing ANYTHING President Obama, his wife, and his children do.  So the poor doctor seems a tad "off" in his inept and inapt description of present-day America.

But his nonsensical labeling of America as Nazi Germany wins him points with the lunkheads who actually believe this otherwise talented surgeon, but silly politician, will EVER be president.

Calling America "Nazi Germany" is stupid, but no more stupid than the crazies who promote this garbage:


Those who would promote that sort of insidious lie are no better than street thugs who incite violence.  They are as hate-crazed and insane as those who would turn people against the police who honorably serve their communities.  

Extremists on both sides solve nothing. It is obvious from the screaming headline above that their goal is to bring more divisiveness, unrest, and violence to an already volatile situation.  

Dr. Carson labeled the Obama administration "Nazi Germany" for intimidating people who disagree but are "afraid" to speak against the government.  But he and the propagandists who call what happened to two policemen a "pogrom" are the ones who are trying to shut down what have been peaceful demonstrations for better policing:

Jamelle Bouie:
"Despite what these police organizations and their allies allege, there isn’t an anti-police movement in this country, or at least, none of any significance. The people demonstrating for Eric Garner and Michael Brown aren’t against police, they are for better policing. 

They want departments to treat their communities with respect, and they want accountability for officers who kill their neighbors without justification. When criminals kill law-abiding citizens, they’re punished. When criminals kill cops, they’re punished. 

But when cops kill citizens, the system breaks down and no one is held accountable. That is what people are protesting. … The idea that citizens can’t criticize police—that free speech excludes scrutiny of state violence—is disturbing. 

Since, if free speech doesn’t include the right to challenge the official use of force, then it isn’t really free speech."

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:

"In a Dec. 21, 2014 article about the shooting, the Los Angeles Times referred to the New York City protests as “anti-police marches,” which is grossly inaccurate and illustrates the problem of perception the protestors are battling. 

The marches are meant to raise awareness of double standards, lack of adequate police candidate screening, and insufficient training that have resulted in unnecessary killings. 

Police are not under attack, institutionalized racism is. Trying to remove sexually abusive priests is not an attack on Catholicism, nor is removing ineffective teachers an attack on education. 

Bad apples, bad training, and bad officials who blindly protect them, are the enemy. And any institution worth saving should want to eliminate them, too."

h/t Andrew Sullivan's blog

And where was the outrage over the killing of these two policemen by White Supremacists? Where's the accusation of a White Supremacist POGROM? 


The pair who fatally shot two Las Vegas police officers and one civilian before taking their own lives Sunday have “some apparent ideology that is along the lines of militia and white supremacists,” according to authorities.


And this?  POGROM HERE, TOO?

And the silence was deafening from the right wing noise machine over the Christian Militia plot to kill police (Was this a Christian "Intifada" against the police?): 

 'Christian warrior' militia accused in plot to kill police.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Night Music

Alki (Seattle Suite) 

by Composer and Classical Guitarist, Kevin Callahan 
(my nephew)


Sunday Science Blog


"Virgin birth, known to scientists as parthenogenesis, appears to be rather common in the animal kingdom. Many insects and other invertebrates are capable of switching between sexual and clonal reproduction. Among the vertebrates, virgin births have been documented in at least 80 taxonomic groups, including fish, amphibians, and reptiles. 

But humans and our fellow mammals provide a notable exception. So far as anyone can say—and there are a few gaps in the data, notably the platypus—no mammalian species is capable of giving birth without a father. So what stands in the way? First, a mammal’s egg cell usually won’t divide until it receives a signal from the sperm. Second, most mammalian eggs have only half the number of chromosomes necessary for development. If there isn’t any sperm, the embryo will end up with only half the DNA it needs to survive. Both of those barriers could potentially be overcome in the lab or through random mutation, but there is a third obstacle that probably can’t be. 

Under normal conditions, the DNA in both egg and sperm cells is altered such that some genes will be more active while others are suppressed. When the egg and sperm join to form an embryo, these imprints work in tandem, ensuring that all the necessary proteins are produced in the right amounts. If an egg cell starts reproducing on its own, without the sperm-cell imprint, the offspring won’t survive for very long."


December Solstice: Shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere

The December solstice is on either December 20, 21, 22 or 23. It is called Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the shortest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year.

Solstice in December

 10 Things About December Solstice

 The Sun Stands Still 

The term solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium, meaning the Sun stands still. This is because on this day, the Sun reaches its southern-most (or northern-most during the June Solstice) position as seen from the Earth. It seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn (and Tropic of Cancer during the June Solstice) and then reverses its direction. 

It's the First Day of Astronomical Winter 

In the Northern Hemisphere, astronomers and scientists use the December Solstice as the start of the winter season, which ends on the March Equinox. For meteorologists, on the other hand, winter began three weeks ago on December 1.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

This Is What...

Low-Information WATBs* call "destroying this country."  

Why?  Because it's so much easier to cling to one's hatreds and lies than to open one's eyes and see reality--the sort of reality that proves you've been wrong, wrong, WRONG, about everything FAUX NOOZ and the Extreme Right Wing Noise Machine has been telling you.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Let Us Count The Things President Obama's Done Since November's Elections

Kevin Drum:

So how have things been going for our bored, exhausted, and disengaged president? He's been acting pretty enthusiastic, energized, and absorbed with his job, I'd say. Let us count the things he's done since the November 4th midterm elections:

November 10: Surprised everyone by announcing his support for strong net neutrality.

November 11: Concluded a climate deal with China that was not only important in its own right, but has since been widely credited with jumpstarting progress at the Lima talks last week.

November 20: Issued an executive order protecting millions of undocumented workers from the threat of deportation.

November 26: Signed off on an important new EPA rule significantly limiting ozone emissions.

December 15: Took a quiet victory lap as Western financial sanctions considerably sharpened the pain of Vladimir Putin's imploding economy.

December 16: Got nearly everything he wanted during the lame duck congressional session, and more. Democrats confirmed all important pending nominees, and then got Republican consent to several dozen lesser ones as well.

December 17: Announced a historic renormalization of relations with Cuba.  h/t Mother Jones

Republicans Shattered As Obamacare’s Success Drives Level Of Uninsured To Historic Lows

emoji list of O's accomplishments


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obama Restores Diplomatic Relations With Cuba

It's about time.

What has the embargo done for the U.S. except keep some right wingers in Miami happy and the common people of Cuba miserable?

Every other nation recognizes Cuba.  Good to see President Obama leading on this ground-breaking change.  

Despite the embargoes and its overall poverty, Cuba has a better infant mortality rate and higher literacy rate than does the rich U.S.

History-maker: President Barack Obama, Raúl Castro open talks to thaw U.S.-Cuba relations 

"In the biggest change to U.S.-Cuba relations in more than five decades, President Barack Obama and Raúl Castro each announced Wednesday that the Cold War-era enemies are trying to normalize relations and have engaged in a prisoner swap involving two jailed Americans and three Cuban spies imprisoned in the United States. The mutual prisoner release involved jailed USAID contractor Alan Gross, whose five-year imprisonment had become a symbol of Cuba’s repression and, Obama said, a “major obstacle” in talks between the two nations. The talks, held in Canada, involved Vatican officials and were spurred by Pope Francis, who had urged rapprochement. "

Obama Scraps Our Failed Cuba Policy

Alex Massie of The Spectator:

"Today, for instance, he’s announced that the United States will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. Hurrah for that. It should have happened years ago. Certainly at some point after the Soviet Union’s collapse. An embassy in Havana is just the start, of course. Full-scale normalisation requires more than that. It demands the foolish, counter-productive, plainly-failed embargo be binned too. At the very least this White House is more open to doing just that than any of its predecessors since relations were cut-off in 1961. T

his is not – repeat not - going soft on Cuba. It’s getting tough with Cuba. The old approach has had half a century to work and yet, golly, the Castros are still there, still running their sunshine-soaked island gulag. By any reasonable measure the old approach has failed. Every sensible person knows this. Every reasonable person knows just about any alternative policy could hardly do worse. So why not try something different? If the embargo was going to topple the Castros’ nasty little regime it would have done so by now. Perhaps capitalism should be given a chance instead."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lie of the Year

Below are a couple of the more hysterical right wing blogs that foamed at the mouth over this non-epidemic.

It appears that these boneheads on the right were hoping that some sort of medical armageddon would descend on the US so that their hatred of President Obama, whom they blamed for the "epidemic," would grow even more rancid than it already was.

None of their hoped-for catastrophes happened.  

One person in Texas died, and that person was infected in Africa, not here. The nurses at the hospital in Dallas, where the one fatal case was treated, contracted the disease because of inadequate protocols practiced at the hospital.  None of it had anything to do with President Obama, but that didn't stop the hysterics from the flame-throwing spittle-fleckers.

What this teaches us all is to never believe what you hear or see on FAUX NOOZ and on many of the more rabid right wing blogs whose only purpose is to stir up fear, unrest, and especially hatred toward President Obama.  These people have been wrong on so many issues, i.e., BENGHAZI!!!! and just recently EBOLA!!!  Why would any rational person take these low-information nutcases seriously? 


For PunditFact, the biggest lie of 2014 dealt with Ebola... but it couldn't be narrowed down to just one lie. PunditFact combined a series of misstatements -- or outright fear-mongering -- about the Ebola virus. 

 President Barack Obama: An Ebola outbreak is a situation that brings a dire sense of necessity and purpose, but it’s nowhere near as complicated as -- say -- reforming Medicare. So Obama did the smart thing: Kept his head while everyone around him was in the process of self-decapitation. Obama opted to calmly stick with the experts, imposing no draconian quarantine conditions or counter-productive travel restrictions, and let medical professionals do their jobs.

8 Conservative Ebola Freakouts That Blamed Obama

While the Chicken Littles on the right were running around like headless poultry screaming EBOLA!, President Obama was a paragon of calm and rationality.  There was no epidemic in the U.S., but the crazy right wingers were determined, no matter how many lies it took them to spread, to make EBOLA! into a life-threatening disaster for the United States.  They overreacted the same way with BENGHAZI!  And they were wrong about that, too.  For these yahoos, it's all disaster all the time, even when it isn't, because OBUMMER!

Will the right wing ninnyhammers admit they were wrong again?  Yeah.  When Sarah Palin wins the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ohio Governor Forces Religious Affiliation on Tax Payer-Funded Program

Schools need a religious partner if they want any of Gov. Kasich's student mentorship money

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Gov. John Kasich's $10 million plan to bring mentors into Ohio's schools for students now has a surprise religious requirement – one that goes beyond what is spelled out in the legislation authorizing it.

Any school district that wants a piece of that state money must partner with both a church and a business – or a faith-based organization and a non-profit set up by a business to do community service.

 No business and no faith-based partner means no state dollars.


Buddy Harris, a senior policy analyst for the Ohio Department of Education, told the gathering of church and non-profit representatives that each application must include a school district (or charter school) plus a business and a place of worship or faith-based organization in its partnership.

Other non-profits can be involved, he said, only if they involve all three of the other groups. Partnerships between just schools, business and a community non-profit won't qualify. 

"The faith-based organization is clearly at the heart of the vision of the governor," Harris said after the session. "We do not forsee any proseletyzing happening between mentors and students," Harris said. "That's not really what we're seeking."


"The Good Lord has a purpose for each and every one of them (students) and you're helping them to find it," Kasich said..."

Churches and faith-based organizations were always intended to be included Kasich's "Community Connectors" mentoring plan, right from his announcement of the plan at his State of the State speech in February. 

What's new is that Kasich and ODE are requiring them and raising their status above other community non-profits.

I'm wondering if Gov. Kasich will accept affiliations from Muslims, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Scientology, or even Satanists?  If his harebrained partnerships don't accept these or non-main-stream religious affiliations, this ill-thought-out, unconstitutional requirement will be overturned.  A waste of time and money for Ohio's taxpayers, and another attempt by Christianists to have a say in how everyone's tax money is spent.

The program's policy analyst, Buddy Harris claims there will be no proseletyzing by religious organizations, but Governor Kasich's words most definitely contradict that promise:  "The Good Lord has a purpose for each and every one of them (students) and you're helping them to find it," Kasich said..."

Governor Kasich apparently doesn't understand the fact that not all Americans believe that a god "has a purpose for each and every one of them."  By claiming such, he is imposing his beliefs on all the tax-payers of Ohio.  This is just plain wrong, and this program will be challenged.

Senator Barry Goldwater:

"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Make Them Hear You"

Roderick Dixon of Three Mo' Tenors (h/t Horizons):

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What Is White Privilege?

Don't know?   Here's an example:

Joseph Houseman, a 63-year-old white man who, back in May, stood with a rifle on a street in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

Someone called 911 and reported this.  When police arrived, Houseman refused to identify himself, grabbed his crotch, flipped them the bird and cursed. 

The police talked him down in an encounter that lasted 40 minutes. 

Houseman was not arrested. 

The next day, he got his gun back. 

He also, while carrying a loaded weapon while intoxicated, had no ID on him at the time.


Twelve year old Tamir Rice was playing with a pellet gun.  Someone called 911 and reported this. The police confronted him after the 911 call; and within 2 seconds, fatally shot him in his stomach.  Twelve years old.  He died the next day from the wounds.

Joseph Houseman, an armed old white guy who mouthed off to the police and did not comply with what the police commanded him to do, got talked down.

Tamir Rice, a black child with a pellet gun, got taken down, shot in his twelve year old stomach.

Can someone explain the difference in how the police reacted to these two similar confrontations? 

The yahoos on the extremist Bagger blogs all solemnly pronounce that if Eric Garner had cooperated with the police, the police wouldn't have had to choke him to death. Garner was unarmed. Houseman was armed.  Houseman did not cooperate with the police, was disrespectful to them, and nothing happened to him. No only did Houseman not cooperate with the police, he flipped them the bird, and yet they took 40 minutes to talk him down.  The police did not shoot or attempt to choke Houseman on the spot.  Why?

Why was a 12-year old Tamir Rice, shot within 2 seconds of the police driving up to the gazebo where he was sitting and playing with the pellet gun? And the old white guy who ignored the police and did not do what they commanded him to do was not?

Tell us why this isn't an example of white privilege. 

Then tell us why it doesn't make you sick. 


More white privilege, this time a teen in Aurora, Colorado, (of all places) open-carrying and being disrespectful to a cop. 

Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald: 

"...anyone looking to define white privilege would be well advised to ponder the 40 minutes police spent sorting things out with the white man and the two seconds it took them to shoot the black boy. Privilege, you see, is not about being born with a silver spoon in one hand and a scholarship in the other. One can be poorer than dirt and a sixth-grade dropout and still enjoy white privilege. Because privilege is about the instant assumptions people make about you — your worth, your honesty, your intelligence — based on color of skin."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Michigan Republicans: Hating Teh Gaiis For Jesus!

No, this isn't one of those dreadful Muslim sects writing laws that will allow professionals in the healthcare sector to withhold life-saving treatments from LGBT Americans because of their religious beliefs.  No, this is something proposed by good Christian American politicians, because they read their Bible, and God hates fags!  At least that's how they interpret their loving god's wishes .

Just think about this when you hear a wingnut claim this country is based on Christian principles. Their interpretation of those principles allows people to detest and, in the extreme, visit death upon gay people.  This is their vision of a return to the Christianity they believe this country was founded on.

This is why we have to keep religion out of government.  This is why we do not want to become a Christian version of Saudi Arabia:

Michigan House Passed Bill Allowing EMTs To Refuse Treatment To Gay People

"Over the weekend, Republicans in the Michigan Statehouse passed a “license to discriminate” bill that would give just about anyone the right to refuse service to LGBT people if it conflicted with their religious beliefs. The broadly written Religious Freedom Restoration Act would allow, for example, an EMT to refuse emergency treatment to a gay person or a pharmacist to refuse to refill HIV medication, because God decreed gays and lesbians should be put to death. The measure is similar to one in Arizona that even right-wing governor Jan Brewer thought went too far and vetoed. 

 As The New Civil Rights Movement points out, the act is so broad it would let a Catholic high school refuse to hire a Muslim janitor, and a DMV clerk deny a new driver’s license to someone who is divorced.


Michigan Speaker Bolger fast tracked the bill, which passed 59-50 along party lines. “I support individual liberty and I support religious freedom,” Bolger said. “I have been horrified as some have claimed that a person’s faith should only be practiced while hiding in their home or in their church.” If it passes in the Michigan Senate and is signed by Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act will become law. “The idea that we need to ‘restore’ religious freedom — rights that are already enshrined in the U.S. Constitution — is a farce created by conservative lawmakers for the sole purpose of appeasing their far-right donors and the religious right,” said Lonnie Scott of Progress Michigan." 

‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’ Passed By Michigan House Of Representatives To Discriminate Against Non-Christians

But...but Obama is a MUSLIM! And he doesn't respect Christian principles! Plus, he's shredding the Constitution!

Infidel753 posted on this issue as well. Please go read it now!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Quote For The Day

“I have known cops who haven’t had a racist bone in their bodies and in fact had adopted black children, they went to black churches on the weekend; and these are white cops. They really weren’t overtly racist. They weren’t consciously racist. But you know what they had in their minds that made them act out and beat a black suspect unwarrantedly? They had fear. They were afraid of black men. I know a lot of white cops who have told me. And I interviewed over 900 police officers in 18 months and they started talking to me, it was almost like a therapy session for them I didn’t realize that they needed an outlet to talk,” Constance Rice, civil rights attorney.

 h/t Andrew Sullivan's blog

 And this nugget from Digby: 

"Turn on Fox News on any given day and you’ll be convinced that white Americans can hardly get a break these days. The ongoing conversation about race in the U.S. has evolved in recent years to include a lament from white Americans that they are the real victims of racism. Yes, that’s a fairly bizarre interpretation of how our society operates but it’s a surprisingly widespread belief among a certain sub-group of Americans. 

In some ways this idea goes all the way back to the Civil War when Southern slave owners felt they were being put-upon by non-slave owners by not being allowed to expand their institution into new states and so staged the most epic hissy fit of our nation’s history. They always felt persecuted by people they believed were trying to destroy their “way of life,” but the loss of that war was the catalyst for an ongoing sense of victimization, often believed to accrue to the benefit of African-Americans. 

The civil rights movement and resulting federal action to deny states and cities the right to discriminate further inflamed those feelings. A part of white America believes, and has always believed, that African-Americans are at the heart of all their troubles."

Friday, December 5, 2014

This video explains it

Only the wilfully blind won't get it:

 An answer to Charles Barkley's "scumbag" remarks: 

 Olympic icon John Carlos rips Charles Barkley over Ferguson comments


Police station surveillance video showed the officers wrestling Keyarika Diggles to the ground while dispatcher Lindsey Davenport watched. One of the officers grabbed a handful of Diggles hair and slammed her against the police station counter. Together they dragged her by her feet into a darkened holding cell. What was her crime? A partially unpaid parking ticket. Along with the damning video footage, the case was troubling because Cunningham and Grissom had arrested Diggles at home that morning for nothing more than an unpaid traffic ticket. And the ticket wasn’t quite unpaid—the single mother of two had been paying down her debt in monthly installments. Even after those payments, she still owed $100 at the time Grissom and Cunningham knocked on her door—but it’s still not clear why they’d chosen to arrest her that day.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pants on Fire

The photo shopped image below has made the rounds on gullible right wing blogs. Too many wingnuts were too willing to believe the fraudulent photo and put it up on their blogs so that in turn their equally gullible readers could nod their heads in agreement.  Idiots.


The original, pre-photo shopped image:

From PolitiFact:

The sign is an obvious reference to the death of Michael Brown, the black teenager who was shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014. Brown’s death became a focus for both peaceful protests and rioting in Ferguson, and it attracted attention around the nation and the world. 

On Nov. 25, a grand jury decided not to indict, setting off a new wave of demonstrations. The phrase "every time he robs a store" refers to surveillance footage showing Brown earlier that day robbing a store of cigarillos and assaulting a store employee. Supporters of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown, have said the robbery is an important piece of context in explaining Wilson’s shooting of Brown. 

 Still, the PolitiFact reader asked us whether the photo was real or manufactured, so we decided to take a look. The version we received is cropped to focus on the African-American man holding the sign, with a partial view of a woman standing to his left. Other versions, such as one analyzed by, include a fuller view of the woman, holding a sign that says, "Shame on Ferguson Police," as well as another man, an African-American, holding a sign that says, "We the People." The starkly divergent messages of the three signs provide a clue that something is amiss. And indeed, something is amiss. 

 In the original photograph -- published on the Riverfront Times’ news blog on Oct. 1 -- the sign read, "No mother should have to fear for her son's life every time he leaves home" (emphasis added). It also includes the hashtags #blacklivesmatter and #stayhuman. But words on the sign were doctored by a user of the social media site Imgur. Initially, the user posted this statement with the retouched photograph: 

"The black community has every reason to be angry with the police, and the brutality they inflict. But making a martyr out of the kid that robbed a store and attacked a police officer is just mind boggling. Micheal (sic) Brown is one of the worst things to happen to race relations in a long time." At some point after the doctored version of the image began circulating, the user acknowledged that he had changed the picture: "Edit: Yes, I shopped this. It captured mine, and many others, frustration with this whole situation." 

 Our ruling A photograph that went viral purports to show a protester in Ferguson, holding a sign that said, "No mother should have to fear for her son's life every time he robs a store." However, the photo was manipulated by a social media user, who later acknowledged the alteration. The change in wording turns the sign’s message completely on its head, so we rate the claim Pants On Fire.

Isn't what happened in Ferguson, and now Staten Island, tragic enough without making fun of those who sincerely protest the killings of unarmed African-Americans? Must the ignorant yahoos on the right mock the deaths of Americans in order to make themselves feel like powerful nincompoops? IMO those creeps are no better than the southerners who mocked and harassed the young black men and women who fought for Civil Rights in Jim Crow south.  

I've got news for those who are feeling gleeful over these two particular deaths, and the deaths we will hear of in the coming weeks:  You are on the wrong side of history in your judgement on this.  Even libertarians and conservatives are outraged by the grand jury's decision to not indict the policeman who killed Eric Garner. 

America is deeply infected by racial bias and hatred.  The people who mocked protesters and passed this photo-shopped fakery around add to that racism and hatred. They are no better than modern Bull Connors and George Wallaces.

"I Can't Breathe!"


The lonesome death of Eric Garner 
by Harry Siegel

When men are treated like pieces of meat by cops and medics, trust erodes 
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6:36 PM 

 It’s the second Eric Garner video that made me cry. Not the one where Officer Daniel Pantaleo chokes Garner for 15 seconds before smashing his head into the sidewalk for 10 seconds as other cops hold down and cuff Garner, ignoring the pleas he issued with the last air in his lungs: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” 

It’s the video shot minutes later as Garner lies dying among men and women in uniforms, men and women who seemed not to give half a damn, that broke me down. Here’s the scene:


 Garner had a heart attack in the ambulance, and died. 

As he lay dying, he was treated like a piece of meat. By Pantaleo. By the other cops on the scene. Even by the medical technicians. Had Garner been treated with basic human dignity after he was violently, and needlessly, taken down, he might not be dead.

I’m no lawyer, but this is section 125.15 of New York’s penal code: “A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when: 1. He recklessly causes the death of another person.” So I’m stunned, and saddened, by a Staten Island grand jury’s decision to level no charges against Pantaleo. 

 Anyone unsure why so many people of color are upset with the police, and suspicious of the American justice system, put your politics down, open your eyes and watch the videos. There’s more to be said on another day about broken-windows policing. 

Garner was known to cops for selling loose cigarettes, though he wasn’t doing that when he was arrested and killed. 

There is also more to be said about the dishonesty or intellectual confusion of activists, protesters and politicians who often appear to view cops as the only real criminals. But fear of police and lost faith in justice are real, corrosive forces. 

That fear makes decent people of color feel that society places a lower value on their lives. It makes parents and their children fear the very people who are supposed to be protecting them. Good policing demands community buy-in, so perception itself matters. And that fear is not only in people’s minds. Just open your eyes and watch the videos.

"I can't breathe."  Eric Garner's last words.

Conservatives Join Outrage Over Grand Jury Decision In Eric Garner's Death


More information on the Tamir Rice killing: 

 Cleveland paid out $100,000 to woman involving excessive force lawsuit against officer in Tamir Rice shooting

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

American Exceptionalism

 No charges in NYC chokehold death; federal inquiry launched

"To keep pretending this is not racially motivated killings is to bathe yourself in the hatred and violence within you, and glory in your right to kill other people without consequence, as long as they are not white." --Green Eagle

America: The 98-Pound Weakling on Race

Charlie Pierce gets to the heart of what ails our country:  The inability for some people to have an adult conversation about race.  By some people I mean those whose brains have matured beyond 10 years; by some people I do not mean people who believe our first blah President Obama is a racist and the worst divider of the races in the history of this country.  No, and I don't mean those addle-brained adolescents who comment on conservative blogs that habitually link to racist photo-shopped images of the First Family as gorillas and/or images of black men raping women.  

Those people are unreachable, permanently brain damaged from a lifetime of willful ignorance and because the stars in their intellectual firmament are people like Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Ann Coulter. You can't reason with people who learn about anything from that group of treacherous worms.

Charlie Pierce writing in Esquire:

"The country doesn't want a conversation on race, especially one led by the blah president whose simple legitimacy has been under assault since the moment his hand came off the Bible. The country doesn't want a conversation on race unless it is sure from the outset that white people will "win" it. The idea that the president could jump-start this conversation, let alone "give voice" to black people's complaints about (largely) white policemen who are killing them, and not be greeted with the shitstorm sharknado of all time, is so fantastical that it makes me wonder whether I even read Milbank correctly. Jon Stewart put together a helpful survey of the shitstorm already raging on the right, and that's while the president is only stroking his chin on the topic. If the president actually did what Milbank is suggesting, any conversation on race that might begin would quickly be drowned out by the din of the thousands of tiny hammers that fashion the ideas in Sean Hannity's skull. We're not having a serious conversation about race because, as a nation, we're a bunch of chickenshits who aren't interested in being citizens ourselves, let alone extending that title to people whom we consider less than we are. 

There's one thing about the president that took me a long time to understand, and it has been invaluable to my thinking as the Leadership (!)tm trope has gained what now appears to be irresistible momentum. (Apparently, my man Chuck Todd has produced a book-like object about the president in which said trope is its central theme. I hope to be reading it shortly.) It didn't become clear to me until I heard the president accept his nomination for the second time. He referred to "the hard and necessary work of self-government." Put simply, in so many areas, the president is putting the responsibility of governing -- of Leadership (!)tm -- on us, which is where it should be. We shouldn't need a president to start a conversation on race. We should start it ourselves, in thousands of town halls and church basements and radio talk-shows. But, as a self-governing democracy, we are too cowardly to do it honestly, because it rubs up against the comfortable myth of American exceptionalism. We should make him do things, not the other way around. That's been the fundamental challenge of him from the outset. He's left the hard and necessary work of self-government to a country that simply is no longer up to the job. If all Barack Obama's administration has done is to become the mirror in which we see that basic fact about ourselves, that's all the Leadership (!)tm we should expect from any president. He's not the 98-pound weakling. America is.

Other reading:

You Want A Dialogue On Racism? These Black Teens Are Living It

 And this:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice, 12 years old

Video shows Cleveland officer shooting 12-year-old Tamir Rice within seconds

Police Release Video, Officers’ Names in Tamir Rice Shooting

Cops who shot 12-year-old boy in the stomach watched him lie in agony and gave NO first aid before he died hours later 

CLEVELAND, Ohio-- The video showing the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice is horrific, heartbreaking and hopefully an impetus for changes in police tactics, dispatch procedures and the manufacturing of toy guns.

 The video shows the tragic end result of two Cleveland police officers responding to a lethally incomplete and inaccurate dispatch call of a man pointing a gun at the Cudell recreation center park. The 'man' was 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

The 'gun' was an Airsoft toy gun without the orange toy indicator cap on the end. Like helpless guardian angels watching from the sky, viewers see the last movements of a boy who is oblivious that his life is about to suddenly end. Tamir can be seen standing on the sidewalk and sitting at a picnic table, aimlessly pointing his toy gun, seemingly at the empty loneliness that hangs in the air as cold as the white snow covering the ground, that in seconds will be red with all of a life yet to be lived. 

Moments after Tamir puts his toy gun in his waistband and walks out of the gazebo he was sitting in, a Cleveland police cruiser speeds into view, cutting off Tamir's path. Within two seconds of the passenger door flying open and Tamir reaching to his waistband, he is fatally shot by 26-year-old rookie officer Timothy Loehmann.

It happened so fast Tamir stopped moving before even the police cruiser did. While Tamir is shot, lying on the ground, Officer Loehmann can be seen darting to the rear of the cruiser for cover. His partner, Cleveland Police veteran Frank Garmback, goes to the front passenger side of the car and points his gun at the already subdued Tamir. First aid isn't administered until 4 minutes later by an FBI agent working a nearby case. Deputy Chief Edward Tomba said the release of the tape "is not an effort to exonerate." The word that comes to mind when seeing a 12-year-old with a toy gun fatally shot by a rookie cop within two seconds of encountering him is not "exonerate." Tomba said,

"We've got two officers that were out there protecting the public that just had to , you know, do something that nobody wants to do." But the original 9-1-1 call and the video raises doubts about whether they really had "to do something nobody wants to do". That original 9-1-1 caller to police said twice it may be a kid and the gun he was pointing was probably fake. This critical information was never relayed to the responding officers.

 Would it have altered their tactics and approach? Would the responding officers in the infamous chase incident responded differently if the dispatch call said "reported shots fired-possible car backfire." It's more than a little troubling that this incident happened after the reckless police chase that left two unarmed people dead in hail of police bullets.

 Reportedly,the cruiser flying up on the lawn, coming within two-feet of Tamir, was a tactic intended to cut off his intended escape path. It did that, but the speed in which cruiser moved and the officer shot, also appears to have cut off any time for Tamir to respond cooperatively.

From Horizons:

Chris Rock: "There are no race relations" in America

"I matter."