Category Archives: Politics

Why ‘stop and frisk’ is worse than NSA surveillance

Great post! Thought provoking and well written.

The Fifth Column

New York Police Department officers monitor a march against stop-and-frisk tactics used by police on February 23.If my boys, who are now in their 40’s had lived during these times in NYC there is an overwhelming chance that they would have been stopped and frisked several times.  Today my  sons and daughters are professionals in their chosen fields, but would they have had that chance in today’s NYPD environment?

The New York Civil Liberties Union has published data that show African Americans and Latinos are the prime targets of the Stop and frisk programs.

The Compass – Marc Ambinder

My black friends in New York, particularly those who don’t live in the fancier precincts of Manhattan, have been harassed by the NYPD in a way that I, as a white guy, will never experience.

They’ve been stopped and frisked, for reasons known only to the officers. Almost every young black male I know has a story to tell.

The news today that a federal judge found…

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NY Stop and Frisk Ruling: “Who Watches the Watchmen?”

Who watches the Watchmen?” Who indeed?

YEAH! Stop and Frisk has been ruled unconstitutional. It’s one of those rare occasions when we get to cheer progress, however incremental it may be. I smiled all day Monday! That’s an anomaly. I typically spend most of my time quelling the impulse to curse, most times unsuccessfully. 😉

In my book, Judge Shira Scheindlin is a shero.

Bloomberg on the other hand is a friggin scourge. When the man leaves office I will throw a party to celebrate. Loathing is too nice a word.

I have been a fierce critic of Stop and Frisk forever. It is cruel, unjust and racially discriminatory. There is no doubt in my mind that in many cases it has lead to murder. Full stop.

Also?

I can’t even tell you how it thrills me that the police will have to video stops. My joy is boundless. “Who is watching…” See how that works? *pulls self together* Let us hope that it has a significant impact on unjustified policing and curtails the abuse that seems to be reading so rapidly. Case in point, WTF is happening in Texas? Illegal cavity searches for the love of all that’s holy?!!

But I digress.

I’m losing my mind reading all the excellent coverage out there, so for your reading pleasure, have a gander:

1. Jelani Cobb – Ruling on Stop and Frisk, Remembering Trayvon Martin, courtesy of the New Yorker

2. John Cassidy – The Statistical Debate behind Stop and Frisk, courtesy of the New Yorker

3. Floyd vs. City of New York – Judge Shira Scheindlin Decision, courtesy of the New York Times

4. Ta Nahesi Coates – Ending Michael Bloomberg’s Racist Profiling Campaign, courtesy of The Atlantic. *Check out the last link in the article re: Officer Adrian Schoolcraft – The NYPD Tapes.

Happy Reading!

Gabrielle Giffords Appeals to Congress: Gun Reform Legislation

In my opinion, it’s a travesty that Gabrielle Giffords should have to appeal to Congress for common sense legislation. Still, I am deeply moved by her commitment, strength and courage. She is an exceptional woman. Let’s hope they hear her…

The Militant Negro™

By Jueseppi B.

 

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Gabby Giffords made deeply moving opening remarks at today’s Senate hearing on gun violence. This was the first hearing on guns since President Obama stepped forward with his recommendations, and Former Congresswoman Giffords made the most of the opportunity to call on members of Congress to take action now:

“We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.”

Please take a minute to watch Gabby Giffords’ powerful speech, and then call on your members of Congress to take action to end gun violence.

 

 

 

Gabby Giffords’ heartfelt appeal to Congress

 

Uploaded on Jan 30, 2013

Gabby Giffords made deeply moving opening remarks at today’s Senate hearing on gun violence. This was the first hearing on guns since President Obama stepped forward with his recommendations…

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Gun Appreciation Day Ha! Double Ha!

I can’t type laughing too hard!! What a travesty lol. Dangerously stupid…

The Fifth Column

Define irony

The Week

Just days after President Obama unveiled the most ambitious gun control proposal in decades, the first national Gun Appreciation Day was held on Saturday. It was organized by a Republican consulting firm urging gun owners to stand firm against the proposed new curbs.

But based on news reports of the last 24 hours, it didn’t go very well.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that three people were shot when a loaded shotgun accidentally discharged at the Dixie Gun and Knife Show at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that one man was left wounded after an accidental shooting at the Medina Gun Show in Medina, Ohio.

The Indianapolis Star reports a man was injured as he was leaving the 1500 Gun & Knife Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds when his gun accidentally discharged.

And gun shows accidents weren’t the…

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MLK & Racial Inequality: State of the Dream

I cried three times yesterday.

Once, at historic nature of President Obama’s second inaugural address. Listening to him, I was seized by an enormous feeling of pride. Proud at the collective struggle required and achieved, all bound up in his re-election, pride in his personal achievements, as this battle has been hard fought. I can only applaud his perseverance, strength and determination, it is nothing short of inspirational considering the forces working against him.

My pride was multi-dimensional, for as I looked at him, I felt strongly that his place in the world is a shining example of what change times has wrought. I could feel a heavenly chorus of my ancestors applauding him, for he is the living embodiment of a long line of bloody human sacrifices, strife and struggle.

I do not have to invoke the names of Martin Luther, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Thurgood Marshall, Sojourner Truth, or Nat Turner, all of whom are a drop in the ocean of humanity that made this moment possible. But I invoke them anyway because to say their names fills me with love, respect and power. They’d probably be the first to say that they were but the righteous arm of justice… Of progress.

So yesterday, my heart could not help but remember the nameless slaves who died waiting for salvation; those who were beaten bloody as they fought for freedom, my Great Grandmother included, and those who had the strength of character to continue standing long after their spirits should have been broken. The Everyman and woman without whom I would not be who I am today.

And just as I grappled with the largeness of those thoughts, Richard Blanco read his inaugural poem, One Today, which echoed many of my thoughts. We are, no matter our own individual strivings, the culmination of ancestral hopes, dreams and efforts, which brought on a second wave of happy tears.

I am truly happy that this moment occurred in my lifetime.

Many hours later, watching a special on MLK, I wept a final time in recognition of all that remains to be done.

President Obama, as I continually point out to all whom will listen, is not a civil rights leader. He wears the mantle of president and works well in the confines and dictates of his office. He’s been accused of not taking up the mantle for the poor and not speaking directly to the issues of African Americans which is largely true.

However, that truth sits inside another one. You can’t voice that without recognition of his position. I believe that his silence is not a falling of conscience, but mostly due to the politicization and polarization that still surrounds race in America. His seeming unwillingness to confront the myriad issues head on underscore the limitations of his reach as an American president. “Past is Prologue.”

You might be thinking, African Americans no longer need a civil rights leader. After all the progress that has been made, what for? I know you’re probably a bootstrap-believer-type. If so, you probably think we don’t need Affirmative Action anymore either. Look at Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson and Tiger Woods, to name a few. There is a long list of highly, visible celebrities who are…

NOT in the least bit indicative of the average African American.

In matters of racism, it’s best to rely on facts and barring that, the personal experience of those who fall victim to it. Opinions are not facts and if you are thinking some version of the above, you should know the statistics do NOT bear you out.

These days, people love to argue about why African Americans still talk about slavery and racism. *sigh* Frequently, we are accused of “race baiting” when we, or anyone else armed with a few facts, dares to mention the R word.

Ponder if you will the following statistics:

– The African American unemployment rate is 13.2%, higher than any other ethnic group. It has been twice that of Whites for the last 60 years. Check out this video by the Coalition for Change.
– Of the 2.3 million incarcerated Americans, approx. 1 million are African American incarcerated. . Statistically speaking, every minority in America is more likely to be incarcerated than their White counterparts.
– African American home ownership is 44.8%, at it’s lowest level in 16 years, compared to Whites at 74.1%. Home ownership is one of the single biggest indicators of the middle class.

See the following link for The State of the Dream 2013 by United for a Fair Economy.

The statistics speak of a systemic inequality that can’t be overcome on a strictly, individual level. It is illustrative of institutional racism. It may even speak to ongoing, pervasive feeling of devaluation by African Americans. The one thing most people seem most unwilling to grapple with is the psychological effects of racism, yet they are absolutely germane to discussions on race.

The statistics show that while inequality has, arguably, changed on it’s face, it is still alive and well. To fight that on myriad fronts, we need a leader outside the constraints of politics, who will serve as a marshaling force, inspire a movement. A movement that will wake us up and bring us together collectively to fight for changes that are sorely needed, within and without. More progress. More action. More eradication of injustice. Only then will the majority be able to reach for a dream that is full of their God-given potential as human beings. Then, our ancestors could truly be at peace. #happythankyoumoreplease

“It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”

Call to Action: Gun Safety Legislation Now

I lied, I couldn’t wait till tomorrow :).

Hopefully, you’ve had the chance to check out President Obama’s Gun proposal. No? Click here. New and more concise piece from the NY Times which includes a link to The Obama Administration Gun Proposal (see bottom of article).

I know there are alot of like minded folks who are deeply concerned and troubled by the waves of gun violence assailing our country and Newtown was the final straw. Honestly, it didn’t begin in Newtown, it began a long time ago. Gun violence has had a disproportionate effect on urban and economically disadvantaged communities for decades. As so often happens in this country, the lives of minorities and the disenfranchised are frequently devalued, so the issue was largely ignored. It’s a shame that humans often need tragedy to strike before taking action but there it is. Silence is complicity and it would seem that Newtown has finally awakened the conscience of America. That is progress.

Newtown, Aurora and Virginia Tech are symptoms of an escalating violence that is permeating our society and spiraling out of control. The facts bear this up.

In the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary, more than 900 of our fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun — 900 in the past month.

And every day we wait the number will keep growing. – President Obama

Those are the facts. To say that nothing can be, or should be, done is sheer idiocy and irresponsibility. The GOP, NRA and Gun Advocates will do all they can to stop sensible legislation from being enacted. They are only concerned about their bottom line and the cost of human lives is incidental. If they succeed at obstructing the president on this issue, it will only serve to embolden the gun lobby, and they will believe they’re unstoppable. Considering the resistance we’ve seen so far, it’s clear that reform will not happen without the voice of the American people.

The president has issued a clear call to action and since I know so many of you care, please see the links below. Then, pass it on to someone else via social media, or on your blog, so that Congress understands that they work for the majority of the Americans, not the special interests, and we have had enough.

1. Stand with the President to reduce Gun Violence, click here for details.

Send a letter to the House of Representatives.

2. Contact Congress. See link for complete information on congressional contacts, phone. fax and email.

NOTE: I’m making continuous updates on my Get Involved Page with links to vital resources and articles on gun issues. If you have any info. that should be included, email me at dreamingnwords@gmail.com.

Peace.

CNN: The Breakdown on Obama’s Gun Violence Proposals

Happy Wednesday!!! Today goes to President Obama and VP Biden for moving with all deliberate speed to address the gun violence problem plaguing our country. Proud of the Big Dawg!

It’s a step in the right direction although MORE needs to be done IMO but that’s all I have time to say today. *Sighs* Back tomorrow to throw feet in the fray.

Here’s the video clip of the announcement.

And here’s the GOP machine continuing their campaign of fearmongering, obstruction and irrationality. Welcome to Mordor DC Style ;). *Goes away grumbling*

CNN Political Ticker

Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced his gun violence reduction plans, including 23 steps his administration plans to take unilaterally and several legislative proposals.

He will advocate for reinstatement and strengthening the assault weapons ban, a ten-round limit for ammunition magazines, increasing access to mental health, and requiring a criminal background check on every gun sale.

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Happy Birthday to Dr. Martin Luther King

Happy birthday to MLK! Check out this post in honor of his birthday. This is a great blog, always informative pieces on myriad topics, focusing on hip hop, media and politics.

Davey D's Hip Hop Corner

Today is Martin Luther King Jr‘s actual birthday January 15th 1929. The official holiday is this Monday January 20th..Its also the same day President Obama is inaugurated. We wanted to offer up a few pieces to help you remember, inspire and get you through the day….

First up is a nice video that pays tribute to Bloody Sunday.. That was on March 7 1965 when Dr King and about 600 Civil Rights marchers attempted to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. When they came to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were met with a line of police and bully clubs.. many of the marchers were badly beaten.. This song captures the moment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a115XUCoq_g

Next is a clip from a speech in King’s later years where he talks about Black empowerment and the vicious lies we were told about Black inferiority…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtjAaJeUWY

Next is the speech…

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UPDATED: Gun Control Victory: New York State Passes Stricter Gun Laws

Courtesy of woodenboat.com
Courtesy of woodenboat.com

I was very proud of Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week when he proposed passing the strictest gun laws in the nation. He did New York proud, moving fast and decisively, like an ol’ G , New York style. 😉

Late last night, the Senate voted to pass a series of laws that will expand the assault rifle ban, including measures to restrict gun ownership for the mentally ill. Interestingly, the Senate is controlled by Republicans but they passed it passed 43 to 18. The Assembly, which has a Democratic majority, will vote today and is expected to pass the bill without delay. Politics without partisanship. They have set the bar, in more ways than one, for the rest of the country.

UPDATED: 1/16: Naysayers be damned. The bill passed on Tuesday. Click here for NY Times article on passage of bill.

Highlights of the new legislation, courtesy of the New York Times, below. Check out the NY Times article for more information.

The expanded ban on assault weapons would broaden the definition of such weapons, banning semiautomatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and one military-style feature, as well as semiautomatic shotguns with one military-style feature. New Yorkers who already own such guns could keep them but would be required to register them with the state.

The most significant new proposal would require mental health professionals to report to local mental health officials when they believe that patients are likely to harm themselves or others. Law enforcement would then be authorized to confiscate any firearm owned by a dangerous patient; therapists would not be sanctioned for a failure to report such patients if they acted “in good faith.”

The legislation would extend and expand Kendra’s Law, which empowers judges to order mentally ill patients to receive outpatient treatment.

And it would require gun owners to keep weapons inaccessible in homes where a resident has been involuntarily committed, convicted of a crime or is the subject of an order of protection.

The legislative package, which Mr. Cuomo said he believed would be “the most comprehensive package in the nation,” would ban any gun magazine that can hold over 7 rounds of ammunition — the current limit is 10 rounds. It would also require background checks of ammunition buyers and automated alerts to law enforcement of high-volume purchases.

The legislation would increase penalties for multiple crimes committed with guns, would require background checks for most private gun sales, and create a statewide gun-registration database.

Missed this? Yes, me too :). See attached for Full Debt Ceiling News Conference Video and Presidential updates.

The Militant Negro™

By Jueseppi B.

 

Barack'sblog

 

 

 

President Obama Holds the Final Press Conference of His First Term

 

Colleen Curtis
By  Colleen Curtis   January 14, 2013  The White House Blog

 

 

p011413ps-0333President Barack Obama responds to a question during a press conference in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

President Obama today invited the White House Press Corps to the East Room for one last news conference as his first term comes to an end. Before taking questions from the assembled journalists, the President took a moment to reflect on the past four years, and look ahead to his agenda for the next term, which includes new jobs, new opportunity, and new security for the middle class:

One component to growing our economy and broadening opportunity for the middle class is shrinking…

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UPDATED: Lunatics in the Hall: James Yeager

**Scroll to the bottom for the updates**
Late, late, last night when I should have been sleeping, I watched the Ed Show on MSNBC. He showed a clip of a video quickly going viral by James Yeager, CEO of Tactical Response in Tennessee. Yeager is a pro-gun advocate of the zealous persuasion. Apparently, he was so angered by VP Joe Biden’s comments that President Obama will use Executive decree to push through aspects of gun legislation, as yet undetermined, that he went ballistic. (I love deliberate puns!)

The video sparked outrage amongst the sane and undoubtedly ginned up more idiocy amongst a select few. Yeager then went back and edited the first video to walk back some of his more incendiary comments but this is 2013 and it was too late. Click here to see the original video. NOTE: Pack Your Bags Part 1 below is the edited version which Yeager posted.

These are the comments which got everyone in an uproar:

“F*** that! I’m telling you that if that happens, it’s going to spark a civil war, and I’ll be glad to fire the first shot.’

“Load your damn mags and ‘get ready to fight.”

“I’m not fucking putting up with this. I’m not letting my country be ruled by a dictator. I’m not letting anybody take my guns! If it goes one inch further, I’m going to start killing people.”

Which lead to a second video, attempting to demonstrate that he isn’t completely batshit crazy, wherein he clearly states that he is retracting none of his comments. Right. So, the second video merely serves to underscore the first. Go figure.

Upon watching the videos, I was truly flabbergasted and quite honestly, terrified. I am always amazed when people elect to let their craziest thoughts out into the light of day, but never more so than on the Internet where it can be tracked, copied, pasted and magnified ad infinitum.

His statements are so far from rational I can only conclude that he’s unhinged. What gives anyone the right to think that they can take up arms against the populace in defense of their right to bear arms? Seriously. If he meant the authorities, he should have said so but I truly doubt he gives a damn. He’s a citizen threatening to amass an army to defend against what he deems a tyrannical government, the irony of said statement should be obvious, and he’s totally unconcerned about the public good.

With all this talk of 2nd Amendment Rights, it seems like a great time to review the actual verbiage.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

How exactly does that statement justify the individual rights of citizens to bear guns for self protection? Taken in context, the right is part and parcel of a well regulated Military.

We clearly have extrapolated it to mean more. We have developed a gun culture which revolves around hunting and self protection, I get that. I am not suggesting that guns be banned although I personally would be delighted since I think that history illustrates with perfect clarity why deadly weapons do far more harm than good. But, to the point, the statement above neither states, or implies, the rights of an individual to bear arms for self protection. Nor, does it specify what kind of weapons we have a right to carry. In a 21st century world with rocket launchers and assault weapons it is time to make that distinction.

Here’s an excellent post courtesy of The Obamacrat which illustrates how the 2nd amendment is being misinterpreted.

Now, before you dismiss this as yet another crackpot using the Internet to voice stupidity, have a look at his page. Yeager has the expertise to carry out his threats with deadly accuracy. He’s ex-military and has certifications in everything from handguns to pyrotechnics. In my mind, that takes this into the realm of the terrifying.

Thank God he was stupid enough to make that public declaration because the state has quite sensibly suspended his license to carry. Unfortunately, he still has the guns, access to a veritable arsenal courtesy of his business, connections and the knowledge.

Let us hope they have him under surveillance. Things are quickly getting out of hand. People need to get a grip!

Also, he’s appearing on the Ed Show tonight at 8 PM on MSNBC. So, the coward that is James Yeager decided not to appear on the show last night. His lawyers are apparently trying to do damage control. Ha! Michael Eric Dyson appears on this video to discuss the waves of Gun Nut extremists. Definitely worth a listen.

1/15/13: Damage control, anyone? Yeager has walked back his comments and I would be you a $1,000 that I don’t have that he is insincere.

Is it no wonder that this song won’t leave my head?

Dangerously Stupid: Larry Ward Strikes Again!

Larry Ward strikes again! Have a look and laugh. The man is dangerously stupid, truly. In what alternate fantasy universe would White slavers take Blacks from Africa for enslavement and then ARM them? If they were so altruistic they could have started with the Indians. What a joke! If only he would STOP talking. I can’t believe any sane person thinks he is helping the pro-gun rights cause.

Best thing about this article? The comments say it all.

Verbal Carnage: Joy Reid & Larry Ward Discuss Gun Violence

Yesterday’s episode of Bashir Live was off da chain! Just a 10 min. spot made me grin for hours.

Joy Reid, managing editor of the Grio, is fast becoming a fixture on MSNBC’s political lineup, and she does them proud. The woman is smart as a whip. She eviscerated Larry Ward, chairman of Gun Appreciation Day, with an ease which was frightening. Then again, he was hardly what one would call a worthy opponent.

What’s that you say?

You haven’t heard of Gun Appreciation Day? January 19th, the day President Obama has called for a day of service to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, is ALSO the day when gun zealots across the country will band together to “defend” their 2nd amendment rights and decry the government’s attempts to take their guns away.

Shit gets realer by the second.

Can I say what a bad idea it is to have outraged and ARMED citizens running about with signs, like it’s a damn parade? You just have to know some of them will be packing. It’s like a molotov cocktail for crying out loud.

In any case, conspiracy theories abound, without a shred of truth, mind you. But why would anyone be interested in facts?

Yes, facts. The thing I found most humorous about the discussion on Bashir was the brief kerfuffle over facts. I’ve seen this same argument on Twitter. When confronted with facts the aggrieved party does a dodge and begins raving. Tsk tsk. The 21st century mind is devolving, people seem to believe that facts are debatable. (Let me pause for a moment to quell my hilarity.)

Um, hell no, they are not.

You can voice your OPINION on a fact but they not debatable because they are F-A-C_T-S. Just STOP. Know when you are licked and save yourself a good shellacking. Attempting to circumvent truth is a sure sign of lower intelligence, I’m just saying.

Yet, Larry Ward had no problem lying and parading IDEAS disguised as facts. He also was seemingly unable to recognize the trap set for him. It was a trap because he was ill prepared. *gasp*

How could that be? I mean he’s the chairman of GAD.

Well, apparently, he appreciates guns but is neither acquainted, interested, or able to grasp the sheer enormity of the damage they are inflicting on this country.

Allow me to digress a moment and say how truly appalled I am by the transparent efforts of the gun lobby and the NRA, henchmen and puppets of the gun industry, to derail the public conversation and the Obama administration’s efforts to craft meaningful gun safety reform. It’s a revolting spectacle without a shred of moral accountability.

The most common objection is the defense of the 2nd amendment and the constitutional right to bear arms. Here’s the thing though, NO ONE is trying to take people’s guns away. At least not handguns/rifles.

Myself, I have no love for those who want to shoot Bambi but I recognize that some people find it thrilling to shoot defenseless animals and that is their right. However, there is no justifiable reason for automatic or semi-automatic weapons to be in the hands of anyone other than the military. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Anyone with a shred of sense, who listens to the facts of gun violence, must acknowledge that the time for more stringent gun controls was like yesterday. I can’t understand why all these avid gun owners do not realize that the gun industry has a vested interest in manufacturing baseless outrage to inflate their profit lines. It’s not rocket science and it’s sad to see people so easily manipulated. Must be something in the water.

I will not waste one moment talking about the conspiracy theory that Obama’s been thirsting to take away guns.

Ok, well just one.

The theory that Obama was going to assail the right to bear arms has flourished like wildfire since he took office. Just one, tiny fact though… In four years, he did NOTHING about them. In fact, he expanded gun rights, to the shame and horror of every Progressive I know.

In a twist that is almost laughable, people are now up in arms about this video from 2008. You can almost hear the plaintive whining, “But he said he wouldn’t take our guns away. See!!” That they didn’t believe him when he said it but are now conveniently brandishing it as proof of his tyranny is truly illustrative of stupidity.

Also? That atrocities like mass shootings are occurring almost monthly is also a paltry matter. That the US leads the way in violent homicide is apparently also of little significance. Cause you know these are facts. To hear them tell it, “Shit Happens.”

Where are the adults in the room?

How does American Exceptionalism dovetail with having no responsibility to curtail the needless deaths of the citizenry? I am genuinely curious.

Say it with me now, “F*** Morons!”

I, for one, love a good *cough cough* evisceration. You will notice that Joy rattles off the facts with a quiet, deadly swagger. The exchange reminded me of Obama’s “Please proceed Governor” moment during the Presidential debates. Gotcha! Poor Larry, I was almost embarrassed for him. Admittedly, it was hard to get past the gloating.

Your intellectual edification is my #1 goal. Read here for facts on US gun violence. on.

You can view the video here. The debate begins at the 5 minute mark.

My work here is done 🙂

Cliffhangers, Gearing Up & Great Expectations

Happy New Year!

Things continue to be way too exciting on my end, how about you?

If you were hoping for a calmer year in 2013, think again. Clearly, such a thing is NOT in the cards. The ending of 2012 is shades of things to come. The term Fiscal Cliff took up such mass in my head that by 12/15 it was like nails on chalkboard each time the phrase was uttered. Understanding how much was in the balance, I was ready to expire on 12/31 when they finally announced that an agreement had been reached. Truly.

Certainly, it was an event that you will never forget in your lifetime. Boehner telling Reid to go fuck himself will forever be emblazoned on my hippocampus. The title Speaker seems highly dubious, I’m just saying. It was all eerily reminiscent of a scene from the Wild, Wild West. Ah, America. The showdown, the hubris, the chest beating, bluffing, negotiating and stand stills SMH. Thank God they didn’t have guns because almost to a man, no pun intended, Congress displayed just how completely puerile and dysfunctional they have become. Fistfights in the halls seemed a hair’s breadth away. Considering how much power Congress wields and the lives which hung in the balance, it was far from funny just plain scary.

Such shenanigans are proof positive that more women are needed in Washington.

Good thing it ended on New Year’s eve because it made for a great excuse to get rip roaring drunk. I gave in and found myself purloining a fallen street sign at 2 AM just to commemorate the occasion. (Steal is such a dirty word lol) Blame it on the alcohol. It was the visual metaphor that got me. Any which way but straight which seems to be the trajectory of our political sphere and lives, way too much of the time.

Street Sign

I was mostly pleased with the terms of the deal. For the things which didn’t please me, like the income threshold being pushed to $400,00, I grudgingly accepted it. I remained calm in the simple recognition that sacrifices have to be made in the spirit of compromise…and the knowledge that bigger, dirtier fights beckon upon the horizon. Debt ceiling debacle, anyone? Tax reform? Gun safety legislation? DOMA? Voting Rights Act? Supreme Court nominations and landmark cases focusing on civil liberties? Affirmative Action? Keystone Pipeline? The head just spins.

I’m putting you on notice that you need to put on your fighting boots and gear up for more political toxicity and turbulence in 2013, cause we wouldn’t want you to get bored ;). After all, this is how progress gets made. (Don’t ponder that last statement to long…)

Speaking of progress, made any resolutions for 2013? Me neither. I have given up on them, blasted things are a never ending source of angst. Instead, I have decided to spend the time normally reserved for resolution making and pursuit of the ethereal: honing my focus, harnessing my creativity, laughing more and channeling positivity. I have great expectations *grin*

A Nation Mourns: In Memoriam – Newtown, CT Victims

Today is a somber day. All over the TV and across the pages of our nation are stories about the victims of the Newtown, CT shooting. It’s heartbreaking enough but every time I look at a show the faces of every adult; reporter, politician, education or mental health professionals, even they who have grappled with some of this nation’s worst disasters, are sad and devastated.

I think that’s because many of us feel responsible for doing nothing, for not fighting harder, for not shrugging off cynicism…or, simply for our acceptance of a world riddled with horrors that inevitably touch our offspring.

I think that responsibility lies heaviest upon our President and it is that which undergirds the tears he could not contain. No one can convince me that having spoken out against gun violence in myriad roles; Father, African-American man, Chicago Community organizer, Senator, and finally as President, that he does not feel a degree of responsibility for not backing up his speech with action.
It is one of the lamentable truths of life that one can’t realistically hope to address all the injustices which plague society. That is as true for Presidents as it is for everyday human beings. Yet, that is part and parcel of the mantle of leadership. For all his exemplary work, that which remains undone must way heavy on his heart.

That is as it should be.

Personally, I don’t blame him for the current state of affairs. Yet many are loudly and vocally doing just that. It’s unfair and disgusting to witness. The propensity to go on a witch hunt when things go wrong is one of the most predictable and unevolved of human responses. He’s president, not God.

Which leads me also to say how interesting it is to see that while many take issue with God’s existence, and use this event as further evidence, none take issue with the presence of Evil.

I believe that we, as a nation, are equally culpable and blame should be apportioned appropriately. If you were not actively fighting for gun violence reform this is the time to take personal accountability and shut the hell up about who hasn’t done what before.

What I do expect is that he will spearhead meaningful gun violence policy reform NOW, confronting inevitable and weighty opposition, as he has on myriad fronts during his term as president. To coin one of his favorite terms, failure to do so should certainly “Not be for lack of trying…”. The tipping point has been reached and the moral implications for the country as we watch these children and their courageous protectors being laid to rest is more than sufficient impetus to address what is a national tragedy…and shame.

It’s way past time for the nation’s officials to be held accountable and I’m heartened to hear the courageous and seemingly heartfelt words of many who have begun to speak out. Still, I am less concerned about what they say than what we demand they do.

Movement has begun, he met with his cabinet today. Also, if you missed President Obama’s comments at the Newtown memorial, you can see them here.

Pray for the victims and their families that they can make some sense of this horrible tragedy, that they get the support and strength they need and we finally have the courage to pull together and change this one thing…for all our children.

This beautiful poem, On Children by Kahlil Gibran, was quoted Saturday on the Melissa Harris Perry show:

ON CHILDREN

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable

Updated: Gun Violence in America – Take Action

March And Vigil Remember Chicago Student Beaten To Death Near Community Ctr

I’ve been sitting glued to my TV and tweeting for two hours as I’ve watched the unfolding tragedy of the Newtown, CT shooting. I had to come write and expel some of the horror and outrage that is sitting in my gut. I keep telling myself that it will do no good to cry, yet the tears leak out anyway as my soul will not be quiet.

As necessary as those tears are, they will not bring back the lives of the 18 children and 9 adults, so far reported, who died needlessly today. The wrongness and evilness of human actions sits on my chest like a weight.

Imagine the families who’ve lost children going home to their empty houses tonight, greeted by a void of silence where there children’s voice should be, or standing in the doorway of their empty children’s rooms. Think of the Christmas presents that will never be opened, the lost potential of human lives and the dreams and hopes of their parents lost in a tidal wave of grief. I can and my heart breaks a little more every time I think of it.

Yet for all my imaginings and empathy, I am not a parent. My heart is not walking around outside my body and some lunatic has not just changed my life, irrevocably, in the space of minutes. Whatever I might imagine, the reality of it is likely to be many, many times worse.

People have glibly and conveniently stated that this is not the time for talking politics, that it is a time to grieve and heal. There is truth in that but, as so often is the case, it is not the whole truth. It is more a convenient lie meant to silence us and run from the issue. These acts of mass violence are preventable and we have failed in our collective responsibility as a society to take what steps we can to minimize gun violence. The best time to talk about it is NOW while the tragedy is staring us in the face.

These escalating acts of violence are made all the easier by lax gun laws. We do our children and ourselves a great disservice by being complicit in the silence that has allowed the NRA to proliferate guns to any moron with an itchy finger. I don’t believe that more rigorous background checks are the sole answer to this problem. Automatic weapons should be banned, as a federal measure. The cost of ammunition should be prohibitively expensive and strict regulatory control is desperately needed. However, I will take anything as a starting point over where we are now.

As quiet as it’s kept, the reality of gun violence is not limited to mass killings. Murder happens every day in our cities, particularly in urban communities of color. Look at the epidemic of violence in Chicago. The sheer number of posts on the Huffington Post is sure to blow your mind. It has been happening for such a long time that it is now de facto and unchallenged. Cause, you know, Blacks are just violent and perpetrating this madness all on their own. bullshit. How wrong is that?

Politicians have considered it political suicide to tackle the issue of gun violence. Either that, or they are in the pockets of the NRA. Between the complicity, corruption and gun advocates raving about their 2nd amendment rights… We’ve landed HERE. STOP. Do not pass Go as your life may be forfeit.

This speaks volumes about the state of our so called civilized society. Is this epidemic of violence civilized? Must we continue to debate about the responsibilities of the individual when the collective is suffering heavy casualties, the loss of human life?

We’re not doing it right.

Something must be done and it is our responsibility to demand change. It can not be that the corporations have taken hold of this country and continually screw the masses out of decent wages, affordable food, safe drinking water, affordable utilities, housing and our very lives. Not if we stand together and call for change. They said the corporations would win the elections with the billions donated by special interests and they were wrong. Let’s make them wrong again.

Take heart, save someone’s life and make your voice heard. If you take action, you’ll not only feel better but you will honor the victims.

**Updated: Please read the following piece by Golide Taylor. I admire her tremendously for her veracity and courage. Gun violence affects in so many ways and her story is one of many.**

1. Facts about US gun violence

2. Who’s in the NRA’s pocket?

3. The Brady Campaign

Go to http://www.bradycampaign.org to see how you can help.

4. Sign a White House Petition

There are a bunch of petitions on the White House site. I chose this one: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-gun-control-through-introduction-legislation-congress/2tgcXzQC?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

History Unfolding: President Obama Wins Second Term

It’s official, the Obama/Biden ticket has won the 2012 election!!!!!!!! I stayed up till 2:15 and that was as far as I could go. I fell out, drunk and jubilant when Obama came on stage to give his acceptance speech.

It should be noted that I am big on revenge and was distraught at the anticlimatic acceptance speech by Romney. He looked not in the slightest bit chastened and had the nerve to be gracious, if you can believe that happy crappy. In some mature corners of the world that was great but it would have been ever so much more satisfying to see him humbled. Oh well, he’s to rich for that, yes? Yes.

Nate Silver is a god among men. His prediction was spot on. He can brush his shoulder’s off with ease and thumb his nose without impunity at the naysayers lol. Clearly, they don’t know shit about arithmetic.

Bill Clinton came out in such a big way for Obama that it was incredibly moving. Bubba is the bomb. There are few things as moving as a Leo with a purpose lol. The Obamas and the Clintons make a powerful political alliance and I am sure that 2016 ticket will have Secretary Clinton on the ticket and President Obama will work equally hard to get her elected.

Other reasons for joy, let me count the ways…

1. I got 99 problems but Mitt ain’t one… 99 problems

2. Last night’s election was a referendum on Citizen’s United. Money, billions of dollars of it, did not make the difference that Adelson, the Koch Brothers, corporations and captains of industry hoped it would make. Our votes could not be bought and for that i am incredibly PROUD.

3. People united against the tide of dirty money to be heard. If we could bottle that collective democratic consciousness we would truly be rich. Looking at the lines in Florida and Ohio, what people had to go through to excercise their right to vote and yet they were NOT moved, speaks volumes about what Americans are made of.

4. Women let their voices be heard!!! We gained four new Senate seats and held six which were up for re-election. Among my favorite’s are, Senator Elect Elizabeth Warren, creator of the CFPB, and Tammy Baldwin, our first openly gay senator. When Akin and Mourdock were defeated… Well, that strange sound you heard was me yelling out the window lol.

5. Marriage equality made historic strides last night winning initiatives in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. This is a giant stride for civil rights and as a member of the LGBT community I am overjoyed.

6. Marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington for recreational use. Woot!

7. Somewhere Karl Rove and Mitch McConnell are crying over their coffee. They FAILED. Ha!!!

8. Some day soon, I and millions of others of the uninsured, can get affordable health insurance. Lives will be saved, rhetoric be damned.

9. Most importantly, we beat back the tide of extremism and Right Wing idealogues that were attempting to roll back years of progress, so now I can exhale…. and continue drinking since I don’t live in Colorado or Washington 🙂

The single fly in the ointment is that Republicans retained the House and it’s a very BIG fly. It makes me nervous but after the last 18 months and in particular, the last two weeks, I’ve become used to that.

Logic says the GOP will finally need to work across party lines to move the country forward. America’s face has changed, and this election underscores their lack of broad demographic appeal. They are left with no choic but to revamp and expand their policies to be more inclusive of the broadening electorate or risk attrition as America becomes increasingly diverse.

It’s unbelievable to me that Michele Bachmann held on to her seat but that is offset a tiny bit by the loss of the scourge known as Allen West! I loathed him, truly.

Personally, I think it’s deliciously ironic that the people who they’ve enslaved, demeaned and marginalized are now controlling the destiny of this country by sheer numbers. Clearly, it’s an outcome they never anticipated.

The struggle continues but we can savor this victory for at least one day before moving on to the next challenge. Achieving this victory affirms people power and should give us hope that more strides can be made. This is what democracy looks like…

 

Need a laugh? Check this out 🙂

The Burden of a Black President – Atlantic Mobile

http://m.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/the-weight-of-a-black-president/263775/

Double Trouble: Barack and Biden, Politics and Media Bias

I thoroughly enjoyed the verbal trouncing that President Obama threw down on Mitt Romney last night. It was SO worth the wait. Not only did he confront the multitude of lies and half truths that Romney loves to parrot, he did it with class, intelligence and flawlessly, fluent articulation.

Seriously, check out this great piece by Think Progress: At Last Night’s Debate, Romney told 31 myths in 41 minutes . That’s gotta be some kind of record.

In my opinion, PBO quite literally met Romney toe for toe, as the debate format allowed them to cross physical boundaries. From previous debates, it’s fair to say that Obama does well in this format. It speaks to a kind of mental tai chi. Some folks simply move/think faster on their feet and for a person who is clearly competitive it’s likely a better sparring space, which not only allows you to confront your opponent but dispel energy.

One of the things I thought so cool, was the way Obama dispelled all initial criticisms of his prior debate performance.

Not aggressive enough? Check.

Not passionate enough? Check.

Not present? Listless? Check.

Not engaging? Check.

Not looking his opponent in the eye? Check.

Not enough zingers? Double Check.

We can surely all agree that PBO thoroughly emphasized his strengths, accomplishments and hallmark issues: immigration, women’s right’s, the 47%, Foreign policy experience, veracity, commitment, dedication, consistency and CHARACTER.

Even so, the MSNBC political pundits had teensy complaints this morning. Andrea Mitchell, opined that PBO hadn’t SMILED enough? WTF?! Some other pundit said the debate wasn’t substantive enough (Should be noted that the first debate was criticized as being too substantive), while yet another claimed that neither of Romney or Obama answered the questions put to them.

Chris Todd gets the prize for number one criticism:

“The so-called questions from supposedly undecided voters, and those dissatisfied with the Bush years, seemed to benefit the President, allowing him to hone in on hallmarks of campaign..” Chris Todd, Daily Rundown 10/17/12

Amazing, yes?

  • So, are women not supposed to be concerned with women’s rights? Go figure.
  • Should parents not be concerned about the potential elimination of education credits and vanishing deductions?
  • Are those of Latin descent not supposed to be concerned with immigration?
  • Does it seem crazy that an African American male, whose race is currently laboring under double digit unemployment, be concerned as to what the administration’s plans are for the next four years?
  • I know, it must seem ludicrous that a man would be concerned about foreign policy and the desperate attempts being made, by the media and the GOP, to turn the administration’s handling of Libya into a scandal…

They all seem like perfectly logical questions to me. The assertion itself is not only illogical but just another flagrant, baseless attempt to cast aspersion on President Obama’s administration. But that’s nothing new. In fact, it’s become de rigueur which is just flat out disgusting.

I’ve plugged my ears to the naysayers. They seem hellbent on picking apart every word and nuance to find fault and amplify it. It’s really, really sad that the public is unable to rely upon so much of the media for unbiased, factual, educational statements as they attempt to pick a candidate and the future direction of our country. Like our political system, the media is b-b-broken. Enough with the sensationalism!

President Obama and Joe Biden did a stellar job in the last two debates and I’m happy to say it’s exactly what I expected, naysayers be damned.

Strategically speaking, I am convinced, somewhat belatedly, that Obama’s first debate performance was partially a tactic to feel out Romney’s strengths and weaknesses. In which case, it came off beautifully :). Looking forward to round 3.

20 days and counting…

Music to my ears as it was, the title and inspiration of this piece deserves a special shout out to The Roots because after last night’s Presidential debate the song below came roaring into my consciousness. HELL YEAH!

It did that thing that all good music does, leaves you buzzin’ on an energy groove. The beats invaded my synapses and neurons, refusing to leave. A mind trip otherwise known as lyrical excellence. It comes in many forms…

 

Or, if you aren’t a hiphop-o-phile and managed to miss it and would rather the real thing, check it out: