Lazy Saturday Reads: The Museum of African American History and Culture

The first direct morning sun paints the Washington Monument a shade of red near the Smithsonian Institute''s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jahi Chikwendiu

The first direct morning sun paints the Washington Monument a shade of red near the Smithsonian Institute”s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jahi Chikwendiu

Good Afternoon!!

I’m devoting this post to articles about the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened this morning. I think we all need rest from the campaign and the endless advice on how Hillary should behave at Monday night’s debate.

The Chicago Tribune: New Smithsonian museum chronicling black history opens: ‘It’s absolutely breathtaking.’

Centuries of struggles and strife, decades of planning and pain, and years of hoping for a place that African-American history can call home will culminate as President Barack Obama officially opens the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

A shining bronze beacon on the National Mall, only steps away from a monument dedicated to a slaveholder president, the new Smithsonian will chronicle the complex relationship between the United States and a people it once enslaved, and tell the story of those who worked to make the necessary changes to bring the country to where it is today.

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells

“It doesn’t gauze up some bygone era or avoid uncomfortable truths,” Obama said in his weekly radio and internet talk. “Rather, it embraces the patriotic recognition that America is a constant work in progress, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is within our collective power to align this nation with the high ideals of our founding.” ….

Ground was broken for the new museum in 2012 on a five-acre tract near the Washington Monument after a decades-long push for an African-American museum on the National Mall. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a longtime civil rights icon, worked with then-Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas to usher legislation through Congress, and President George W. Bush signed into law the bill that allowed the museum to move forward.

Construction was completed earlier this year on the 400,000-square-foot museum designed by British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye. The museum strikes a unique shape on the Mall with its three-tiered bronze exterior panels inspired by an African wooden column. The patterned bronze colored tiles are inspired by 19th century ironwork created by slaves in the South, and allow sunlight into the museum through patterned openings.

Inside, museum officials say they have nearly 3,000 items occupying 85,000 square feet of exhibition space including exhibits like a Tuskegee Airmen training plane and the casket of Emmett Till, a murdered African-American boy whose death helped rally the civil rights movement.

“It’s been 100 years in the making. So many people have dreamed about this fought for this and wanted this to happen,” said U.S. Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins, who wrote the book “Long Road to Hard Truth” about the struggle to get the museum open. “It’s going to be a testament to their work and a testament to so many of our ancestors that this museum will open on the Mall.”

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

The Twin Cities Pioneer Press has a wonderful collection of photos museum exhibits.

As a child in St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood in the 1950s, there were few places Marvin Anderson could learn about African American history.

“You grew up knowing more about European history than you do about your own history,” Anderson said. “African American history was neglected — either though ignorance or through suppression.”

But with the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Saturday in Washington, D.C., his grandchildren will have access to that history.

“A museum that’s constructed to preserve and interpret the contributions and accomplishments of the African American community means a lot to me as a person,” Anderson said. “And it will mean a lot to my grandchildren.”

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

The Washington Post: African American Museum opening: ‘This place is more than a building. It is a dream come true.’

More than 100 years after it was first proposed and 13 years after it was authorized by Congress, the National Museum of African American History and Culture opens today in Washington.

“There were some who said it couldn’t happen, who said ‘you can’t do it,’ but we did it,” said Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who led the charge to make the museum a reality. “This place is more than a building. It is a dream come true.”

The long-awaited moment is being heralded by a weekend of celebrations across the city, in what the museum director Lonnie Bunch has called a “mini inauguration.” The most anticipated event is the grand opening ceremony on the National Mall, which is being broadcast on C-SPAN and streamed online, including at washingtonpost.com. More than 7,000 official guests heard speeches from Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and former president George W. Bush, who signed the 2003 bill that authorized the museum….

Since the day Obama presided over the museum’s groundbreaking in 2012, an impressive 400,000 square foot structure has been built in the shadow of the Washington Monument. Serving as home to more than36,000 artifacts, the museum exists to both memorialize and educate, and most importantly to museum director Bunch, cement the African American story’s place in the American story.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Jonathan Capehart: Lonnie Bunch: Even if you’re white, ‘the story of slavery is still your story.’

“This is a story that is too big to be in the hands of one community,” saidLonnie Bunch. “It really is the story that has shaped us all.”

That story is that of African Americans. And on this weekend of the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the seventh episode of “Cape Up” is my conversation with its founding director Lonnie Bunch. The stunning structure on the Mall is the physical manifestation of a multi-decade effort that kicked into high gear in 2005 when Bunch, a former Smithsonian curator who was president of the Chicago Historical Society, was tapped to helm the effort.

In 2003, President George W. Bush signed the bill that made the national African American history museum a legal reality. But that was the easy part.

“The biggest part of this job was to make people believe that this could happen. But what it really meant was that I had to find ways to believe it. And to take risks,” Bunch told me at the museum last week. “For example, when we did the groundbreaking, we didn’t have all the money. So what I did is, well, let’s make the hole anyway because I knew that Congress wouldn’t let a hole stand next to the Washington monument.” ….

“We went around the country, stole the idea from ‘Antique Roadshow,’ asked people to bring out their stuff. We didn’t take it,” Bunch explained. “We helped them preserve grandma’s old shawl, that wonderful 19th-century photograph. But what happened was that people get excited and they’d say, ‘Well do you want it?’ And we would say, ‘Give it to local museums first.’ Then if it was really significant it came back to D.C.”

chuck-berry

Smithsonian.com: The New Exhibition on Black Music Could Give Other Museums a Run for Their Money.

Music is so much a part of black America, it pops up all over the vast new National Museum of African American History and Culture. From Harriet Tubman’s modest hymnal of spirituals to Sly Stone’s signed Fender Rhodes keyboard and Public Enemy’s boom box that helps close the 20th-century cultural history, there’s no separating the importance of music from the history on hand.

But when one arrives at the entry to the fourth floor “Musical Crossroads” exhibition, heralded by the sparkly red finish on Chuck Berry’s Cadillac, the futuristic fantasy of the Parliament-Funkadelic mothership replica, and Michael Jackson’s Victory Tour fedora, it is as if entering its own inclusive African-American Music History Museum.

And inclusive it is—with displays on African music imported by the enslaved to this country, devotional music that helped bind black communities against all odds, gospel, minstrel music, ragtime, jazz, blues, rhythm & blues, rock ’n’ roll, hip-hop and EDM. Yes, and some country stars of color as well.

One of the challenges of opening the Smithsonian’s newest major museum was acquiring its contents from scratch. Sure, the nearby National Museum of American History already had a lot of artifacts, from Scott Joplin sheet music to Dizzy Gillespie’s B-flat trumpet.

Emmett Till

Emmett Till

The Root: Emmett Till’s Casket Is ‘One of Our Most Sacred Objects’ at African-American History Museum.

Curating for a museum is no doubt a difficult job, and one of the more difficult decisions that Lonnie Bunch III—founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture—remembers grappling with was whether to include the casket that once held the brutalized remains of Emmett Till.

“I remember struggling with, ‘Should we collect that?’” Bunch said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Even after he accepted the donation of Till’s casket by Till’s family after his remains had been exhumed and reinterred, Bunch wondered if it was “too ghoulish” to include in an exhibit.

Nonetheless, Bunch decided to move forward with the idea, saying that it was essential to explore stories such as that of Till—the Chicago teen who was brutally murdered for whistling at a white woman while visiting family in Mississippi—in order to represent the full story of the African-American experience.

“You couldn’t tell the story of the African-American experience without wrestling with difficult issues, without creating those moments where people have to ponder the pain of slavery, segregation or racial violence,” Bunch said.

Smithsonian.com: Two Hungry Reporters Dig Into the Sweet Home Café at the African American History Museum.

When the National Museum of African American History and Culture hosted a soft opening, we came hungry. The museum, more than 100 years in the making, brimmed with treasures. Untold stories and famous tales burst to life through artifacts in the exhibitions. But we headed straight down the museum’s magnificent central staircase to the below-ground Sweet Home Café. We were on assignment to report on the food. And reader, we did.

 The 12,000-square foot café is divided into four stations, which honor the geographic regions of African-American culture—the North States, Agricultural South, Creole Coast and Western Range. We sampled from each, stuffing ourselves with the rich offerings, Georgia shrimp and Anson Mills stone ground grits, slow-cooked collards and cornbread sticks, empanadas heaped with black eye peas, golden corn and chanterelles, not to mention Johnston County sweet potato pie. What we couldn’t eat, we shamelessly snuck home in our purses—paper napkins lovingly protected a Wild Turkey pecan pie and the remains of a BBQ buffalo brisket sandwich.

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To eat the food at the Sweet Home Café is to take a bite out of history—an authenticity of ingredients and culinary skill passed down and reinterpreted by generations of black home cooks and gourmet chefs around the country. This food has been shaped by regional cuisine and distinctive cultures, but also by history, something impossible to be forgotten when you see the counters and stools lining two walls of the 400-seat cafe, recalling the Greensboro sit-ins in North Carolina and the brave civil rights activists that sat down to peacefully protest Woolworth’s white’s-only lunch counter service in 1960. While we eat, images and quotes from historical and modern black voices are the backdrop, from the towering image of the Greensboro Four to a quote by Michael W. Twitty, who pens the food blog Afroculinaria.

“Our food is our flag…it sits at the intersection of the South, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America,” he writes.

I know there’s plenty of other news out there, but I hope you’ll take the time to dive into one of these great articles. Of course this is an open thread, so please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread.


Friday Reads: Facts, Lies, Damned Lies, and then there’s the Media

history_kennedy_and_nixon_4th_debate_speech_sf_still_624x352Good Afternoon!

We’re closing in on the first general election debate of the season and speculation is running hot and heavy in the pundit class.  I think they’re actually taking bets as to which one of Donald Trump’s persona will appear on stage.  They’re also trying to find out who is standing in for Trump at Clinton’s practice debates. That’s just soooooo scoopworthy and newsworthy and très importante.

As usual, Hillary is off doing her homework,prepping for the big day, and getting her facts down since hope isn’t too high that Lester Holt will do much of that being the News Reader of the Day given work that should be above his pay grade.  The big questions of the day for Hillary Clinton and the debate can be seen on Between Two Ferns as BB posted yesterday.  What will she wear?  Will she smile enough?  Will her eyes wobble to and fro and her cankles hang low?  Inquiring Lester Holt will probably ask (sigh) and the journalists (sic) will discuss it endlessly until the next debate.

Lying, Crooked, Scumbag*  Donald Trump has already told Holt not to fact check the debate.   * Hey, just mimicking his debate and speech style.

Donald Trump says NBC’s Lester Holt should not correct his or Hillary Clinton’s facts while moderating the first presidential debate.

“I think he has to be a moderator,” the Republican nominee said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday.

“I mean, if you’re debating somebody and if she makes a mistake or I make a mistake … we’ll take each other on,” he added. “But I certainly don’t think you want Candy Crowley again.”

I’m never quit sure why they actually pick “news” personalities to do these things rather than ask a few experts to grill the candidates on their subject of expertise. But, like anything on TV news poof these days, it’s a ratings game and they’re after those sound bytes from hell.  Josh Vorhees from Slate has done Lester’s homework for him which is usually what the bright kids do for the rest of the planet.    Don’t forget, we’ve got letters from economics experts, foreign policy experts, diplomats and military experts and scientists all begging folks to leave Donald Trump to the trashbins of TV and scams.  Really, check my links that’s about 300-400 of the world’s biggest brains flashing a don’t go there America sign!!!  It’s like between 50 -100 of them per link up there.

The list of lies covered by Vorhees include lies that that Donald Dumbf tells about himself, the country, the economy, the world, the criminal justice system, the state of US inner cities and a host of topics.  Go check them out. kennedy-nixon-debate-hThey’re full cited.  Here are the lies he tells about our country and our extremely good economy.

Lies Trump Tells About the Country

Immigration

Lie: There could be as few as 3 million or as many as 30 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Truth: The Department of Homeland Security last estimated the size of the undocumented population at 11.4 million at the start of 2012, down from a peak of 12.2 million five years earlier. As PolitiFact points out, that figure is line with the most recent estimates from the Pew Research Center (11.3 million in 2014), the Center for Migration Studies (10.9 million in 2014), and the Center for Immigrations Studies (11.7 million in 2016). While the government does not know the exact number of undocumented immigrants in the United States, there are no credible estimates that approach either Trump’s high- or low-end numbers.

Lie: Assimilation among American Muslims is nearly “non-existent.”

Truth: The Pew Research Center conducted a major survey on the topic in 2011 and concluded “Muslim Americans appear to be highly assimilated into American society.” Public polling of Muslim Americans likewise suggests that a majority identify strongly with the United States.

The electoral process

Lie: The general election debates are “rigged” against him because two overlap with NFL games.

Truth: The Commission on Presidential Debates consulted with both parties before setting the fall schedule for the three presidential debates and the single vice presidential one. Furthermore, the bipartisan panel announced the dates in September of last year, more than four months before this year’s first nominating contest and nearly seven months before the NFL released its schedule for the season. Scheduling conflicts between major sporting events and the general election debates are also neither new—there were two NFL conflicts in 2012 alone—nor easily avoidable, given the NFL now plays on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays, while MLB playoff games up to and including the World Series can fall on any day of the week. (Bonus lie: Trump claims the NFL sent him a letter alerting him about the conflict; the NFL says that didn’t happen.)

Lie: The election itself is “rigged” against him.

Truth: Trump’s claim was, in the words of the usually staid Associated Press, an “unprecedented assertion by a modern presidential candidate,” one that could “threaten the tradition of peacefully contested elections and challenge the very essence of a fair democratic process.” Trump has laid the groundwork for only two possible outcomes in the eyes of his most passionate supporters: He wins the presidency, or he has it stolen from him. Meanwhile, his campaign has produced no credible evidence to support the extraordinary claim that the outcome of an election that has yet to happen will be illegitimate.

The economy

Lie: The United States is one of the highest taxed nations in the world.

Truth: This is a slightly softer version of his original claim that America is the most  taxed nation, though the rewrite still isn’t enough to save it. According to a Pew Research Center report from this year—based on 2014 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development—Americans’ tax bills are below average among developed nations.

Lie: The true unemployment rate is as high as 42 percent.

Truth: The Bureau of Labor Statistics latest estimate pegs the nation’s unemployment rate at 4.9 percent, roughly where it has been for the past year. That figure does not factor in those Americans who are unemployed but not currently looking for work. BLS, however, offers a second statistic—known as the labor underutilization rate—that in addition to the officially unemployed, also counts part-time workers who would like to be working more and those who want to work but are not currently looking for a job. That figure was 9.7 percent in August.

Lie: The black youth unemployment rate is 59 percent.

Truth: Again, no. According to BLS, the unemployment rate for blacks between 16 and 24 years old was 26.1 percent in August. While Trump has never said where his figure came from, the most likely scenario is that he is relying on a metric that misleadingly factors in those who don’t work and aren’t looking for a job, including high school and college students.

With his wife Rosalynn Carter looking on at center, Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, center left, shakes hands with President Gerald Ford at the conclusion of their debate at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, Oct. 6, 1976, San Francisco, Calif. Others unidentified. (AP Photo)

With his wife Rosalynn Carter looking on at center, Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, center left, shakes hands with President Gerald Ford at the conclusion of their debate at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, Oct. 6, 1976, San Francisco, Calif. Others unidentified. (AP Photo)

Meanwhile, Clinton picks up the endorsement of another of the nation’s major newspapers.  This time it’s the LA Times.  No one in the know or a functioning brain wants Donald Dumpf near the White House.  No.One.  How’s this for a headline? “Hillary Clinton would make a sober, smart and pragmatic president. Donald Trump would be a catastrophe.”

American voters have a clear choice on Nov. 8. We can elect an experienced, thoughtful and deeply knowledgeable public servant or a thin-skinned demagogue who is unqualified and unsuited to be president.

Donald J. Trump, a billionaire businessman and television personality, is the latter. He has never held elected office and has shown himself temperamentally unfit to do so. He has run a divisive, belligerent, dishonest campaign, repeatedly aligning himself with racists, strongmen and thugs while maligning or dismissing large segments of the American public. Electing Trump could be catastrophic for the nation.

By contrast, Hillary Clinton is one of the best prepared candidates to seek the presidency in many years. As a first lady, a Democratic senator from New York and secretary of State in President Obama’s first term, she immersed herself in the details of government, which is why her positions on the issues today are infinitely better thought-out than those of her opponent.

She stands for rational, comprehensive immigration reform and an improvement rather than an abandonment of the Affordable Care Act. She supports abortion rights, wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, hopes to reform the sentencing laws that have overcrowded American prisons, would repair the Voting Rights Act and help students to leave college without enormous debt. Abroad she would strengthen America’s traditional alliances, continue the Obama administration’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately defeat” Islamic State and negotiate with potential adversaries such as Russia and China in a way that balances realism and the protection of American interests. Unlike Trump, Clinton accepts the prevailing science on climate change and considers the issue to be “the defining challenge of our time.”

The racists are out in droves over the protests in Charlotte, N.C. which is one of the key swing states in this election. The first two nights of protests saw some vandalism and even a shooting.  However, last night was peaceful.  I fe73c13f32d25e27af454f6763909589noticed that the presence of the National Guard mixed in with Police in NOPD after Katrina was a good thing.  The police behaved when they were being monitored by the Guard.  People also were more calm and the usual agitators and criminals that follow protests around to take advantage were gone last night.  I’m beginning to think that a state’s national guard is key to policing in places where the police aren’t all that professional.  Anyway, here’s the latest idiots suggesting protesters should be harmed or are some how doing something illegal.  This one is from a Tennessee (no surprises there) Law Professor.

The University of Tennessee is investigating a tweet by one of its law professors after the faculty member and contributing columnist for USA TODAY and the Knoxville News Sentinel urged motorists to run over demonstrators blocking traffic in Charlotte, N.C.

Twitter briefly suspended Glenn Reynolds’ account after he responded to a tweet from a TV news station in Charlotte that showed protesters on Interstate 277.  “Run them down,” he wrote.

Reynolds, the creator of the Instapundit blog, tweets from the handle @Instapundit.

He posted to Twitter shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday that his account had been unblocked after he agreed to delete the offending tweet.

UT College of Law Dean Melanie D. Wilson said in a statement Thursday morning that she and university administrators are investigating the matter, calling Reynolds’ post an “irresponsible use of his platform.”

“The university is committed to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and diverse viewpoints, all of which are important for an institution of higher education and the free exchange of ideas,” she wrote. “My colleagues and I in the university’s leadership support peaceful disobedience and all forms of free speech, but we do not support violence or language that encourages violence.”

She called the concerns about the tweet from students and staff, along with those from citizens across the country, “serious and legitimate.”

Chancellor Jimmy Cheek released a statement about an hour later supporting Wilson and her comments.

“Wilson’s statement about the faculty member’s social media post reinforces the university’s commitment to fostering a civil and inclusive learning environment,” he said in a news release.

959f5c5c-c78c-4f02-b54c-fea4961be96a-2048A North Carolina Congressman suggested that “Charlotte protesters ‘hate white people’.”  That sounds like something straight out of the Alt-Reich handbook of racism.

U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger apologized Thursday after saying the violence in Charlotte stems from protesters who “hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not.”

Pittenger is a Republican whose district includes parts of the city where protests have turned violent in the wake of a police shooting of a black man.

He made the statement on a BBC-TV news program Thursday when asked to describe the “grievance” of the protesters.

“The grievance in their minds – the animus, the anger – they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not,” Pittenger said. He then criticized people who receive welfare. It is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, and we’ve put people in bondage, so they can’t be all they’re capable of being.”

He later apologized on Twitter, saying his answer “doesn’t reflect who I am. I was quoting statements made by angry protesters last night on national TV. My intent was to discuss the lack of economic mobility for African Americans because of failed policies.”

1228f400721a0b623e2d98adf6f6fdb9Yeah. Right. Lack of “economic mobility” because “they all hate white people”, I suppose.

Then there was this doozy from a USA Today columnist who suggested you should just run people over with your car if they get in your way.

Which brings us to Glenn Reynolds, known online as InstaPundit, one of the most prolific bloggers on the Internet. On Wednesday night, Reynolds tweeted this.

The tweet involved protesters who were blocking a highway near Charlotte in protest of the killing of Keith Lamont Scott.

Twitter suspended Reynolds’ account, on the grounds that his tweet was an incitement of violence.

After being suspended, however, Reynolds defended his tweet. He allowed that “run them down” didn’t capture his intent “fully” — but he blamed Twitter’s character count, not his own judgment, for the message.

But riots aren’t peaceful protest. And blocking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest — it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would.

“Run them down” perhaps didn’t capture this fully, but it’s Twitter, where character limits stand in the way of nuance.

Reynolds’ tweet was just 14 characters — far below Twitter’s limit of 140, which could have allowed for at least a little more nuance.

He then appeared on the Hugh Hewitt show and made clear that, upon reflection, he did not apologize for his tweet.

Can I just say I’m really tired of these white dudes trying to swing their lily white, tiny dicks in every one’s face?  So, what explains the current state of the voting public and the inability of some voters to see Trump for what he is? tdih-debates_lobby

What makes white people tick? This question will occupy campaign strategists and forecasters through November. Given that voters of color have, on the whole, decided resoundingly against Donald Trump, the coveted swing voters who will decide this election are overwhelmingly white. This is nothing new, of course, but in the wake of a campaign season that has played heavily on white identity politics, rejection of diversity and race-baiting dog whistles, the specific concerns of white voters have taken on a renewed salience.

It’s an open secret in electoral politics that you can guess someone’s vote pretty accurately based only on her census form. So rather than trying to suss out the sentiments and ideological profiles of voters based on individual testimony, let’s tackle a simpler question: Which demographic traits affect how white Americans vote?

Instead, the two most predictive variables are religious attendance and education. Crucially, these two variables are still more explanatory when considered together. Roughly speaking, a white voter will lean left if she is “more college than church” and will lean right if she is “more church than college.”4

More precisely, we can assign an educational score (no college = 0, some college = 1, college degree = 2) and religious attendance score (never attend = 0, sometimes attend = 1, attend weekly = 2) to each white American. Those with a higher education score are likely to support Clinton, those with a higher religious attendance score are more likely to support Trump, and those with equal scores are more divided.

So, I’m not going to comment in the post about that but you can read more at the FiveThirtyEight link above.  There’s more in depth analysis from Milo Beckman there.   I’ll be more open with my thoughts downthread but needless to say, if you’re already gullible enough to take iron age myths literally, you’re pretty far removed from reality.  If you’ve never really studied science and learned about how theories come about and hypotheses are tested, you’re going to be doubly vulnerable to scam artists.  Opps … I went there.

So, don’t forget to join us for the first debate next week and our live blog!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Happy Note: There’s a full page in the New York Times today with just this poem by Langston Hugheslangston-hughes

I, Too, Sing America

Langston Hughes, Lincoln University ’29

Poet, Social Activist, Novelist and Playwright

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.


Thursday Reads: Trump Themed Street Art and News of the Day

passion_trump

Good Morning!!

Only a few more days till the first presidential debate of 2016, and the campaign is just getting crazier and crazier. Yesterday Donald Trump admitted that he’s still a a birther. Kevin Drum:

Ben Garbarek, a local news reporter in Toledo, asked Donald Trump today what it was that changed his mind about President Obama’s birthplace:

BG: This announcement earlier this week with you saying that you believe President Obama was in fact born in the United States, after all the years where you’ve expressed some doubt, what changed?

Trump: Well I just wanted to get on with, I wanted to get on with the campaign. A lot of people were asking me questions. We want to talk about jobs. We want to talk about the military. We want to talk about ISIS and get rid of ISIS. We want to talk about bringing jobs back to this area because you’ve been decimated so we just wanted to get back on the subject of jobs, military, taking care of our vets, etc.

Just as everyone suspected, Trump made his insulting, half-assed statement that Obama was born in the U.S. because he was hoping to just move on from his 5-year campaign against President Obama’s character and identity. If this isn’t a question in the debate, we’ll know that Lester Holt–who has been outed as a registered Republican–is biased in favor of Trump.

825636c72fd19f4250cd5d1d761f3fbd

Yesterday, Buzz Feed published an amazing old radio interview with Trump by Laura Ingraham: Trump In Crazy 2011 Interview: “I’m Very Proud” To Be A Birther.

When Ingraham asks Trump in the interview about Gov. Tim Pawlenty saying he believed Obama is a US citizen, Trump replied, “He doesn’t want to be labeled as a birther probably.”

“I’m proud to be,” he said. “I’m very proud of it. I’m very proud of it. I don’t like the term. I think it’s a demeaning term to the people that believe he should have a birth certificate. Some people believe he was not born in this country.

“And when people ask me that question, I just can’t be sure because nobody knows. How about when his family is arguing over what hospital? You know his family members are arguing over which hospital. Then he writes that letter, supposedly to a hospital, and in the letter he puts a cute little sentence — ’the place of my birth’—and the doctors didn’t even know about it. There’s something very strange going on here.”

Earlier in the interview, Trump discussed the possibility that President Obama might not want to release his birth certificate because it might list him as a Muslim.

“He doesn’t have a birth certificate, or if he does, there’s something on that certificate that’s very bad for him,” Trump said. “Somebody told me — and I have no idea whether this is bad for him or not, but perhaps it would be — that, where it says religion, it might have Muslim. And if you’re a Muslim, you don’t change your religion, by the way. But somebody said maybe that’s the reason why he doesn’t want to show it. I don’t think so. I just don’t think he has a birth certificate, and everybody has a birth certificate.” ….

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And there’s this bit of insanity:

“Now, you know, when I hear he took an ad in the paper, his parents, these are poor people,” Trump said. “When did you ever hear of anybody taking an ad in the paper? I see so much fraud in this world. An ad like that could have been staged. I don’t mean staged at the time. I mean could have been computer-generated five years ago, eight years ago, two years ago. It could have been computer-generated.”

I guess to Trump middle-class folks like Obama’s grandparents are “poor people.”

We’ve seen the stupidity of many Trump supporters, but this one takes the cake: A Trump campaign chair in Ohio says there was ‘no racism’ before Obama. The Guardian:

Donald Trump’s campaign chair in a prominent Ohio county has claimed there was “no racism” during the 1960s and said black people who have not succeeded over the past half-century only have themselves to blame.

Kathy Miller, who is white and chair of the Republican nominee’s campaign in Mahoning County, made the remarks during a taped interview with the Guardian’s Anywhere but Washington series of election videos.

“If you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault. You’ve had every opportunity, it was given to you,” she said.

“You’ve had the same schools everybody else went to. You had benefits to go to college that white kids didn’t have. You had all the advantages and didn’t take advantage of it. It’s not our fault, certainly.”

Miller also called the Black Lives Matter movement “a stupid waste of time” and said lower voter turnout among African Americans could be related to “the way they’re raised”.

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Now that’s deplorable, but not all that surprising. After all, Trump himself said on Tuesday that “African-Americans are in their worst shape ‘ever, ever, ever'” I guess he never heard of slavery, lynching, and Jim Crow. Sopan Deb at CBS News:

KENANSVILLE, N.C. — Donald Trump made another eyebrow-raising comment in his efforts to speak to the African-American community Tuesday, telling a rally in North Carolina that blacks in the United States are in their worst shape “ever, ever, ever.”

“We’re going to rebuild our inner cities because our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before,” Trump told the crowd. “Ever, ever, ever.”

Trump’s comments came in a town named for a slaveowner’s family: Kenansville was founded in the early 1800s and the Kenan family, according to the town’s website, owned “20 to 50 slaves.” As he has done in other recent speeches, Trump compared inner city shootings to war-torn countries like Afghanistan.

“You take a look at the inner cities: You get no education. You get no jobs. You get shot walking down the street,” he said.

“They’re worse, I mean honestly, places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities.”

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Then yesterday afternoon, Trump taped a “town hall meeting” on “African American issues” hosted by Fox News’ Sean Hannity. The audience appeared to be made up entirely of white people. Cleveland.com: Donald Trump calls for expansion of ‘stop-and-frisk’ on ‘Hannity’ Fox News taping in Cleveland Heights.

“I see what’s going on here, I see what’s going on in Chicago,” Trump said, according to a preview video posted on FoxNews.com. “I think stop-and-frisk, in New York City, it was so incredible the way it worked. And, we had a very good mayor. But New York City was incredible the way that worked. So I think that would be one step you could do.”

“Stop-and-frisk” refers to a policy of stopping and searching pedestrians under the theory that it may help police find guns and other weapons, and get them off the street. Opponents question its effectiveness, and say stop-and-frisk is demeaning, and disproportionately targets minorities. A New York federal judge in 2013 declared it unconstitutional.

Bill de Blasio successfully ran for mayor of New York City in 2013 on a platform that involved abandoning stop-and-frisk. Cleveland Councilman Zack Reed unsuccessfully pushed for its implementation in Cleveland in 2014. Other cities that have implemented stop-and-frisk — and later agreed to limit its use — include Chicago and Newark, New Jersey.

The legal basis for stop-and-frisk stems from a 1963 case from Cleveland — Terry v. Ohio — that eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorney Louis Stokes, who later became a congressman, argued on behalf of John W. Terry, who was stopped by a Cleveland police officer while standing on a street corner in front of a jewelry store at 1276 Euclid Avenue.

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To top it all off, Trump said on Fox and Friends this morning that his federal stop and frisk policy will consist of police officers taking guns away from black people. DailyKos:

FOX AND FRIENDS: will you explain what that is to my folks down in South Carolina that don’t really deal with stop and frisk? What exactly is it and what are the pros and cons?

TRUMP: Well, there are different levels. and you have somebody coming up who is the expert on it but basically they will—if they see, you know, they are proactive and if they see a person possibly with a gun or they think may have a gun, they will see the person and they will look and they will take the gun away. They will stop, they will frisk, and they will take the gun away and they won’t have anything to shoot with. I mean, how it’s not being used in Chicago is—to be honest with you, it’s a quite unbelievable, and you know the police, the local police, they know who has a gun, who shouldn’t be having a gun. They understand that.

History shows that blacks and Hispanics are primarily the people who get stopped and frisked, and Trump knows it.

A construction worker stands in front of a piece of street art portraying prospective U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump, in east London

Meanwhile, the good news is that Hillary Clinton is doing much better in the polls this week. NBC News:

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump by six points among likely voters heading into the first presidential debate on Monday, according to a brand-new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The survey – which was conducted after Clinton’s return to the campaign trail following her bout with pneumonia – shows a bigger advantage for the secretary of state than did polls taken during the heightened scrutiny of her health….

“Despite arguably the worst few weeks of her candidacy, the fundamentals still point toward a Hillary Clinton victory,” says Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies.

McInturff adds, “Donald Trump has closed the margin since August, but as we head towards the debate, still needs to push this campaign closer. The good news for him is the electorate narrowly agrees with him that America has lost ground and wants to see a change in direction.”

In a four-way horserace, Clinton gets support from 43 percent of likely voters and Trump gets 37 percent, while Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is at 9 percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein is at 3 percent.

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And the best news of all: Barack Obama is coming and he’s fired up! Bloomberg: Obama Throws Himself Into 2016 Race Hellbent on Clinton Victory.

Barack Obama is about to launch a presidential campaign blitz for Hillary Clinton unprecedented in the modern era, pledging a dramatic commitment of time and resources to a contest he now unabashedly frames as a referendum on his personal and political prestige.

Obama plans to devote at least one to two days each week in October to campaign for Clinton through rallies, targeted radio and television interviews, social media outreach and fundraising, said an adviser who requested anonymity.

In addition, the president’s aides have told the Clinton campaign he would be willing to appear in television ads for her. His wife, Michelle, has already cut radio, online and TV ads for the Democratic nominee, another aide said, also requesting anonymity to discuss internal planning.

Obama’s involvement comes at a critical time, with enthusiasm for Clinton lagging behind support for Obama among the young people and minorities who helped power him to the presidency. At the start of the campaign, Clinton’s camp once questioned how closely to embrace Obama but now her aides are eager to have his help.

“From the beginning, we have been interested to have him out there as often as they can spare him between now and November,” said Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon. “As we get closer to the finish line, there’s no one better to help make the closing argument than President Obama.”

 

I’ll end with a couple of fun videos.

The Dali Lama makes fun of Donald Trump.

 

Hillary Clinton appears on Funny or Die’s “Between Two Ferns.”

 

What stories are you following today?


Wednesday Reads: Take a Knee, Shut the F*ck Up!

Bagley cartoon: Police Reform | The Salt Lake Tribune

 

Today’s post is going to focus on the few days…and the shooting deaths of two black men by police.

By now I am sure you have heard of #TerenceCrutcher …you may not have yet heard of #KeithLamontScott. The fact that I’ve put their names in #hashtag format should give you a huge clue…these two men are the latest men to be killed by police while being black.

Anger grows in Tulsa as police release video of fatal shooting of unarmed black man – LA Times

A fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man by a white officer has reopened fresh wounds in this city with a fraught history among African Americans, white residents and police officers.

A graphic police video shows Terence Crutcher, 40, being fatally shot by a police officer Friday night as he walks with his hands up toward his SUV, stalled out in the middle of the road.

Video at that link and more…

 

UPDATE: Keith Lamont Scott Identified as Disabled Black Man Shot Dead by N.C. Police While Reading in Car

The police shooting victim in Charlotte, North Carolina has been identified by friends and family as Keith Lamont Scott, 43. The officer who shot Scott has been identified as Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Brentley Vinson.

UPDATE: 9/20/16, 9:00 p.m. ET — The victim’s daughter, Lyric Scott, has gone live again from a growing protest in response to the police shooting of her father.

***ORIGINAL STORY BELOW***

A disabled black man has died at the hospital after being shot by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Tuesday afternoon on Old Concord Road in University City, a subdivision of Charlotte, NC.

Police said they were searching for someone who had outstanding warrants when they saw a man with what they believed to be a gun leave a vehicle.

According to police reports, the man, who has not been named, returned to his vehicle. When they approached the man, they claim he “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers” and one of them opened fire. An eyewitness told the victim’s daughter that a Taser was used on her father, then he was shot at least three times.

Medics arrived and the injured man was taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

The victim was not the subject of the initial search, said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney.

I have so much to say, but my internet is acting up or wordpress is doing something wonky…I will give you plenty of links for now…more to be said in the comments.

Hillary statement:

 

Charlotte Cops Kill Man Who Was Allegedly Unarmed and Reading in Car | Alternet

Calm urged in Charlotte, North Carolina after 16 officers hurt in protests | Reuters

Charlotte erupts after police kill black man who was waiting for his kid to get home

Police In North Carolina Fatally Shoot Black Man, Sparking Protests | Huffington Post

 

Tulsa cop believed Terence Crutcher was high on PCP following drug recognition training | theGrio

Police shooting of Terence Crutcher may test Tulsa tensions | PBS NewsHour

 

That statement about her brother was not a bad bad dude…oh wow.

Terence Crutcher’s Family Seeks Criminal Charges: ‘His Life Mattered’ | Huffington Post

The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the police killing of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday, but his family is demanding that the charges against the involved officer be filed immediately.

Police were originally responding to an unrelated call when they approached Crutcher’s vehicle, which had been stalled in the middle of the street. Shortly after the officers arrived, one officer deployed his taser on Crutcher who stood by his car. Moments later, Officer Betty Shelby, who is white, fatally shot Crutcher, who was black and unarmed, while he had his hands raised in the air, according to this graphic video footage released on Monday. Inone video that was captured by an overhead helicopter, Crutcher is seen standing by his car while a police officer is overheard describing him as a “bad dude.”

“That big ‘bad dude’ ― his life mattered,” Crutcher’s twin sister Tiffany Crutcher told reporters on Monday, according to Tulsa World. She went on to demand an end to police brutality. “The chain breaks here. We’re going to stop it right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is bigger than us right here. We’re going to stop it right here.”

Tiffany, who just celebrated her 40th birthday with her brother, mentioned a recent text message she received from Terence that she said read, “I’m going to show you. I’m going to make you all proud.”

She expressed her grievance over his loss and how Terence will never get that chance, “because of the negligence and the incompetency and the insensitivity, and because he was a big, ‘bad dude,’” Tiffany said. “And so we’re demanding today, immediately, that charges are pressed against this officer that was incompetent, that took my brother’s life.”

[…]

“When Terence was shot, he laid on the ground bleeding out without any assistance,” Dario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney for the family and longtime family friend, said at the conference. “Terence died on that street by himself in his own blood, without any help.”

“This video is extremely disturbing,” he added. “Without a doubt we believe this was an unjustified shooting that should not have happened.”

The anger around Crutcher’s death has been felt from many on social media who have poured out their grievances online over the police killing of yet another unarmed black man with the trending hashtag #TerenceCrutcher. However, as the mourning continues, Crutcher’s sister has asked that people remain peaceful as they demonstrate their anger over his death.

“Just know that our voices will be heard,” she said. “The video will speak for itself. Let’s protest. Let’s do what we have to do, but let’s just make sure that we do it peacefully, to respect the culture of (the Crutcher family).”

Crutcher’s attorney has a razor-sharp retort after cops say they found PCP in dead man’s SUV

When black death goes viral, it can trigger PTSD-like trauma | PBS NewsHour

This next link is from a comment by a woman who has an adopted black son…she lives in Tulsa.

 

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Other thoughts:

A Law Professor Explains Why You Should Never Talk to Police | VICE | United States

On the Kaepernick protest:

Here’s How Many Black People Have Been Killed By Police Since Colin Kaepernick Began Protesting | Huffington Post Oh yeah, it has only been one month.

At least 15 black people have died during encounters with the police since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting police violence by kneeling before NFL games, based on numbers compiled by The Guardian.

Kaepernick’s decision to sit or take a knee during the national anthem first drew attention after his team’s Aug. 26 preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, when he told NFL.com that he was “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Since then, Kaepernick’s continued protest has drawn considerable criticism from politicians, police unions, pundits, other professional athletesand many on social media who have opposed both his message and his method of conveying it.

But the problem Kaepernick wants to highlight has continued. And on Monday, it was back in the news again, after police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, released multiple videos that showed the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher.

The videos show that 40-year-old Crutcher, like so many other black men, was unarmed with his hands in the air when police officers shot and killed him as he returned to his car, which had stalled in the middle of a roadway. The videos run contrary to the department’s initial statements about the shooting, which claimed that Crutcher had ignored officers’ warning to raise his hands.

Colin Kaepernick says he has received death threats – NY Daily News

8 Tweets About Terence Crutcher Show What You’re Ignoring By Shaming Colin Kaepernick | Bustle

Booker: People ‘more outraged’ by Kaepernick protests than police shooting | TheHill

Colin Kaepernick to Donate $100K Per Month to Charity – The Daily Beast

DL Hughley bursts with righteous fury at Kaepernick haters who shrug over Terence Crutcher’s killing

NFL execs say Kaepernick is a “traitor” …and then nominate a convicted serial rapist to Hall of Fame

And lastly a few links that are related to the topic today:

My Dad Is An Unarmed Black Man: Will He Be Shot Next? | Bustle

Independent Autopsy Reveals Police Likely Shot Tyre King While He Was Running Away | Colorlines

Cops accidentally record themselves fabricating charges against protester, lawsuit says – The Washington Post

ACLU sues Connecticut state police for conspiring fake charges against a protester | McClatchy DC

Am I Going to Write About Murdered Black People Forever?

Man dies of thirst in jail run by Trump-loving sheriff after guards cut off his water for six days

Federal appeals court rules it’s okay to discriminate against black hairstyles like dreadlocks – Vox

No charges against officers in standoff that killed Korryn Gaines – NY Daily News

I can’t end this post on a happy note. No way in hell.

This is an open thread of course.

 


Tuesday Reads

trump-foundation

Good Afternoon!!

As usual I’ve been having a difficult time figuring out where to begin my post. Then I saw the new story by David Farenthold at The Washington Post. This one has to be the story of the day: Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems.

Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.

Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.

In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the size of a flagpole.

In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people’s money, according to tax records.

In another case, court papers say one of Trump’s golf courses in New York agreed to settle a lawsuit by making a donation to the plaintiff’s chosen charity. A $158,000 donation was made by the Trump Foundation, according to tax records.

The other expenditures involved smaller amounts. In 2013, Trump used $5,000 from the foundation to buy advertisements touting his chain of hotels in programs for three events organized by a D.C. preservation group. And in 2014, Trump spent $10,000 of the foundation’s money for a portrait of himself bought at a charity fundraiser.

Or, rather, another portrait of himself.

Yes, that was in addition to the $20,000 Trump spent on a six-foot tall portrait of himself. Read many more details at the link.

Next up, Donald Trump Jr. provides evidence that white supremacy is at the core of the Trump campaign. Yesterday Jr. tweeted this message:

It turns out that this is a well-known white supremacist meme. They used to use M&M’s but switched to Skittles after George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin.

Philip Bump at The Washington Post explains the mathematical fallacy behind Junior’s tweet: Donald Trump Jr. inadvertently encourages America to scoop up refugees by the handful.

If there were a bowl of delicious fruitish-flavored Skittles in front of you and three would kill you, you should not pick up a handful and start eating. That would be a very, very bad idea.

This idea easily scales downward. If you had a carton of eggs and three of the eggs were poisonous, you should absolutely not eat from that carton. If I give you three cookies and all three are poisonous, again: Avoid! I am actively trying to kill you for some reason, perhaps because you are bad at math.

The problem for Donald J. Trump, Jr. is that scaling it the other way doesn’t work as well — and that’s why the part in blue doesn’t apply.

So let’s figure out what the analogy is. The libertarian (and Koch brothers-backed) think tank Cato Institute published a report last week assessingthe risk posed by refugees. That report stated that, each year, the risk to an American of being killed by a refugee in a terror attack is 1 in 3.64 billion, as Huffington Post’s Elise Foley noted on Twitter. From the report:

From 1975 through 2015, the annual chance that an American would be murdered in a terrorist attack carried out by a foreign-born terrorist was 1 in 3,609,709. Foreigners on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks, whereas those on other tourist visas killed 1 in 3.9 million a year. The chance that an American would be killed in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee was 1 in 3.64 billion a year.

In other words, for every 10.92 billion years that Americans live — one Skittle, if you will — refugees will kill an American in a terror attack in three.

There’s more logic at the the link, but the real story here is that Donald Trump Jr. gets his news from Brietbart and probably other white supremacist sources.

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The Washington Post editorial board is again excoriating Trump: Birtherism is Donald Trump’s Big Lie.

WHAT DONALD TRUMP popularized as a Big Lie — the birther myth about President Obama — is now a shibboleth among his followers and many Republicans. It matters not a whit that Mr. Trump has finally, for blatant political purposes, admitted that the president was born in the United States; large numbers of his partisans, and of Republicans generally, still don’t believe Mr. Obama has a legitimate claim to the office he has held for nearly eight years.

Birtherism, a hoax perpetrated on Americans, is proof positive of the enduring efficacy of the Big Lie, the proposition that people will sooner believe a monumental falsehood than a trivial one, especially if it is repeated often enough. The cost of such a hoax is not only to the truth but also to the democratic process, which is rendered ridiculous by the ensuing debate. Mr. Trump has revealed his own facility with fraud and deceit, and he has also exposed how vulnerable democracy is when confronted with a charlatan-celebrity, bereft of principles and willing to say anything to grab headlines.

The cancer of corruption perpetuated by Mr. Trump’s dazzling dishonesty has infected not only his campaign but also the Republican Party, which falls in line, sheeplike, to defend his every lie.

Now Mr. Trump says falsely that Hillary Clinton was the originator of birtherism? GOP officials say so, too. Now Mr. Trump claims credit for putting to rest an “issue” he himself perpetuated? GOP officials say so, too. No pronouncement is too preposterous for Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and the party’s other unscrupulous grandees.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon

Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon

How does Trump get away with it? Dakinikat sent me this explanation from CNBC: Why Trump gets away with huge lies and Clinton gets trashed for little fibs.

…why is Trump getting a pass from the voters? No it’s not because Trump is a man and Clinton is a woman. No, it’s not because some powerful media types secretly want Trump to win. You’ll start to find the real answer when you learn a simple legal rule that boasts a rare combination of enforcing free market fairness and understanding human nature. It’s called “puffing,” and that is the official term that legally protects salespeople and businesses from making boastful claims about their products and services that no one really expects to be provable by empirical facts. Legal protections for puffing are the reasons why you can’t sue Snapple for saying it’s made from the “best stuff on Earth,” or go after Budweiser for calling itself the “king of beers.” You get it, right?

And when it comes to puffing, nobody has done it more and for longer in the public than Donald J. Trump. Every hotel he builds is the most elegant, every golf course the most beautiful and challenging, and every contestant on “The Apprentice” had a 200 I.Q. Trump’s natural state is building up his brand and properties in a way that would make a used car salesman blush. The public is used to it and accepts it just as we accept that used car salesman boasting about the 2005 SUV he’s pushing. If we ever get angry at that boasting salesman, it’s only after that car breaks down. Otherwise, we believe we look like nitpicking maniacs to quibble over every conceited claim.

The voters are giving Trump much of the same kind of a pass for the same reasons. And Trump is helping achieve this result by making sure he maintains his salesman’s image for as long as possible at every public appearance and interview.

Okay, but I don’t buy that this has nothing to do with sexism or the long history of the media viciously attacking Hillary for every tiny “misstep.”

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Police around the country are still shooting and killing black boys and men, but somehow they avoided killing terror suspect Amad Khan Rahami and they often do the same when they shoot at white people. It’s just heartbreaking that cops in Columbus Ohio felt the need to kill a 13-year-old boy who was only 5 feet tall and weight less than 100 pounds as he tried to run away from them. Just look at the photo of him in this story in The National Memo:

Tyre King, the 13-year-old African-American boy recently killed by police in Columbus, Ohio, was running away when he was fatally struck by several bullets, according to an independent medical examiner hired by the child’s family. Attorneys representing the family said Monday his loved ones were not allowed to view King’s body on the night of his death and will be forced to wait six to eight weeks for official autopsy results.

The King family hired Francisco J. Diaz, a practicing medical examiner in Wayne County, Michigan, to look into the death. Diaz determined the boy was shot three times. The bullets entered through the left side of his body, any of which could have been the fatal shot. King was struck in his left temple, his left collarbone and in his left flank. King was said to be reaching for a BB gun in his waistband when he was shot three times.

Tulsa police shot and killed an unarmed man with his hands in the air:

In footage filmed from a police helicopter, Terence Crutcher, 40, can be seen slowly walking from the edge of a street north of Tulsa toward his vehicle, which authorities said had been reported abandoned at 7:36 p.m. (8:36 p.m. ET) and left running in the middle of the road.

For several seconds, an officer follows Crutcher from behind with a gun trained on him. Three more officers then converge on the scene as Crutcher lowers his hands and approaches his SUV. While standing beside the driver’s side door, he suddenly drops to the street. Moments later, blood can be seen saturating his white t-shirt.

The Tulsa Police Department also released dash-cam video of the incident. NBC News:

During a news conference Monday, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said that Officer Tyler Turnbough tasered Crutcher, and a second officer, Betty Shelby, fired at him after telling a dispatcher “that she’s not having cooperation from” Crutcher.

mandatory-birthing

Hillary Clinton reacted the clearly unjustified shooting: Policy Mic:

Hillary Clinton expressed outrage over the video released Monday showing police shooting and killing Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man who was stranded in the road after his car broke down, saying incidents like this one are “intolerable.”

Clinton made the comments on the Steve Harvey Morning Show, Harvey’s radio show, Tuesday morning.

“How many times do we have to see this in our country?” Clinton said, according to a transcript published by CNN’s Dan Merica. “In Tulsa, an unarmed man with his hands in the air. This is just unbearable. And it needs to be intolerable.”

She went on to say that white Americans need to combat the “implicit bias” that’s led to incidents like Crutcher’s death.

She also said that she personally appeal to white Americans, saying “this is not who we are” and we need to work to end bias in policing.

I’ll add some more links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?


Monday Reads: Babies for Hillary

trump_w_babiesGood Afternoon Sky Dancers!

It’s been another weird week in the good ol’ USA.  New Jersey seems to be the epicenter of cray cray these days. It doesn’t quite rival Florida yet, however.  The coverage of the US presidential election may have taken a turn and a few of the polls are looking up for the future of all civilization.  Meanwhile, I’m still down here in the swampland of America in need of a plan.  Let’s look at some of the weirdness that is the news these days.

Peter Beinart–writing for The Atlantic–has noticed a distinct change of tone at the NYT since they got played good by Trump on Friday’s extended advertisement for a hotel.  They may have gotten their mojo back.  Or not.  Beinart is hoping some of the worst of modern journalism is going away.  We have a ray of hope that there may be some Fourth Estate left in the old girl yet!

But the Times, once a champion practitioner of the “he said, she said” campaign story, discarded it with astonishing bluntness. The Times responded to Trump’s press conference by running a “News Analysis,” a genre that gives reporters more freedom to explain a story’s significance. But “News Analysis” pieces generally supplement traditional news stories. On Saturday, by contrast, the Times ran its “News Analysis” atop Page One while relegating its news story on Trump’s press conference to page A10. Moreover, “News Analysis” stories generally offer context. They don’t offer thundering condemnation.

Yet thundering condemnation is exactly what the Times story provided. Its headline read, “Trump Gives Up a Lie But Refuses to Repent.” Not “falsehood,” which leaves open the possibility that Trump was merely mistaken, but “lie,” which suggests, accurately, that Trump had every reason to know that what he was saying about Obama’s citizenship was false.

The article’s text was even more striking. It read like an opinion column. It began by reciting the history of Trump’s campaign to discredit Obama’s citizenship. “It was not true in 2011,” began the first paragraph. “It was not true in 2012,” began the second paragraph. “It was not true in 2014,” began the third paragraph. Then, in the fourth paragraph: “It was not true, any of it.” The article called Trump’s claim that he had put to rest rumors about Obama’s citizenship “a bizarre new deception” and his allegation that Clinton had fomented them “another falsehood.” Then, in summation, it declared that while Trump has “exhausted an army of fact checkers with his mischaracterizations, exaggerations and fabrications,” the birther lie was particularly “insidious” because it “sought to undo the embrace of an African American president by the 69 million voters who elected him.”

Insert Mic Drop here.14333838_10154033897518512_306036228290653814_n

Hillary Clinton volunteers here in Louisiana are working diligently to GOTV in Florida. This is why I’m watching the polls of that state carefully. It’s also because it may be the only state that can shut down a potential Trump presidency completely.  Sound familiar?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump are nearly tied in a four-way race for Florida’s key electoral votes, according to a New York Times Upshot/Siena College Research Institute poll of likely Florida voters released today.  Clinton currently has the support of 41 percent of likely voters to Trump’s 40 percent with former Governor Gary Johnson garnering 9 percent and Green Party Candidate Jill Stein with 2 percent.  Senator Marco Rubio leads his Democratic challenger, Congressman Patrick Murphy by 48 to 42 percent.

Likely voters support passage of additional federal gun control legislation (49-43 percent), oppose building a wall the length of the Mexican border (50-43 percent), and favor, rather than oppose government stimulus programs (44-37 percent).  But, they disapprove of the Affordable Care Act (51-42 percent), and are evenly divided when it comes to deporting undocumented immigrants here illegally (44-43 percent).

“Trump has as large a lead among Republicans (78 points) as Clinton does with Democrats (77 points) and independents are evenly split at 34 percent for Trump and 32 percent for Clinton with 18 percent for Johnson.  Women lean towards Clinton but men tend to support Trump,” said Siena College Poll Director Don Levy. “Trump leads in the North, Bay Area and Central portions of the state, while Clinton leads in the vote rich Southeast and the Southwest is a toss-up.

“There is not only a significant gender gap in this race, but also large racial divides,” Levy said. “Trump is up 51 to 30 percent among white voters, while Clinton has a commanding 82-4 percent lead with African-Americans and 61-21 percent among Hispanics/Latinos.”

“Both candidates suffer from a majority of Florida voters having an unfavorable opinion of them.  Clinton is viewed favorably by 40 percent and unfavorably by 53 percent while Trump’s numbers are 39 positive and 55 percent negative.  Equal percentages, 37 percent, view one of the candidate’s favorably and the other negatively while 15 percent view them both unfavorably and only 2 percent have a favorable opinion of both.  Majorities of Blacks and Latinos view Clinton favorably while half of white likely voters have a favorable opinion of Trump.  Of those with an unfavorable opinion of both, a third say they will vote for Johnson, 22 percent for Clinton and 17 percent for Trump,” Levy said.

trumpbabyI still don’t understand how any one but a card carrying member of the KKK could have a favorable opinion of Trump unless you haven’t been paying attention to what comes out of his mouth.  But, evidently some white people are just very fragile and cannot properly identify the source of their stress.  (ProTip:  If you’re blaming immigrants and African Americans you’re a racist.)

Florida is one of those states where a lot of people seem to be on the edge of crazy a lot of the time.  There just seems to be a lot of this running about the state:  Deputies: Naked man breaks in home, bites resident, then dies.  I never know when I call there if I’m getting a nice retiree, a nice university student or a “Florida man”.  But, Florida is key to the election.  Sane Louisianans all over the state are trying to reach out to our sane counterparts in the Sunshine State.

Florida is a make-or-break state for Donald Trump. To win the presidency, he needs to lock down the Sunshine State — or else beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada, and New Hampshire, plus a state like Michigan or Virginia, where she is currently comfortably ahead in the polls.

And according to analysis by The New York Times‘ Upshot, Florida is going to be a nail-biter of a contest come November. The New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll reports that in a four-way race with the Libertarian and Green Party candidates, Clinton leads 41 to 40, and in a head-to-head, it is a tie at 43-43.

Instead of being a mix of purple cities, the Upshot’s analysis shows that most regions are almost cleanly divided as red or blue voting pockets based on demographics. In Florida, Trump keeps his hopes alive with white voters, both college educated and not — he leads 51 percent to Clinton’s 30 percent. But when it comes to Hispanic communities, Clinton has a 61 percent to 21 percent lead, doing even better with the demographic than President Obama in 2012. Black voters also overwhelmingly back Clinton, 82 percent to 4 percent.

Many regions of the state are becoming less competitive, with Miami-Dade County looking to be a Democratic hold and north Tampa and Daytona Beach solidifying as Republican. A retirement community, The Villages, with a population of 150,000, looks to be a comfortable win for Trump; older voters in the state strongly prefer him. Young voters back Clinton by a healthy margin, although over half say they don’t view her favorably.

I cannot figure out for the life of me why the Woodstock Generation is going for such an asshole.   Oh, btw, if you haven’t followed Michigan’s own Little Miss Flint on Twitter, please do so!  That little girl has leadership potential!  She also recognizes leaders from assholes that shouldn’t be anywhere near children or the public.

baby7You know, you can always tell something about the character of a person by the way young children respond to them and by the way they respond to young children.  I had a friend talk about visiting her grandchild the other day. She basically said her grandaughter wanted to make sure the nice lady won for her instead of the scary man.  (That’s our own JSLAT by the way who came out and corrected me on the gender assignment btw which I just did.)  Out of the mouths of babes, my friends, out of the mouths  of babes.missflinttrump

 

Another state seemingly going off the rails this weekend is New Jersey who has a nutter for a governor and what appears to be a home grown terrorist cell.11-hillary-clinton-with-kids-w529-h352   The gang that–luckily–couldn’t shoot straight may have been motivated more by local treatment of them than by much else.  Anyway, to our dear Sky Dancers in NJ, please stay away from rogue pressure cookers.

 

The FBI took five people with possible links to the Chelsea explosion into custody Sunday night in Brooklyn as authorities shut down a busy New Jersey rail station after finding multiple pipe bombs in a garbage can, police and New Jersey officials said.

The weekend trail of terror continued along the Belt Parkway where federal agents nabbed several people of interest with a weapons stash inside an SUV, according to law enforcement sources.

The five taken into custody had come over the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island. Investigators were trying to determine if the occupants of the SUV were about to drive out of town or take a plane, sources said.

The main suspect is a naturalized citizen from Afghanistan who claims a history of persecution by the police and the neighborhood for his religion and ethnicity.

The prime suspect in the New York and New Jersey bombings sued his local police force and claimed they were persecuting him for being a Muslim.

Ahmad Rahami said in a lawsuit that cops in Elizabeth, New Jersey subjected his and his family to discrimination and ‘selective enforcement’ based on their religion.

The family claimed that police tried to shut down their chicken restaurant, called First American, too early each night with ‘baseless’ tickets and summonses.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gets a hug from fifth-grader Hannah Tandy during a town hall meeting at Keota High School, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Keota, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

New Jersey is also looking forward to the Trial for Bridgegate where it may be shown that Chris Christie’s involvement was a factor in either a cover up or the occurrence itself.  Federal Prosecuters believe Christie knew about the closures.  What did he know and when did he know it?

Gov. Chris Christie was told of the George Washington Bridge lane closures as they were occurring in 2013, a federal prosecutor told jurors on Monday in U.S. District Court.

David Wildstein, who has already pleaded guilty to playing a role in the incident, and Bill Baroni, who is now on trial for his alleged role in the scheme, “bragged” about the traffic gridlock that lane closures were causing when they spoke with the Republican governor at a Sept. 11 memorial in Lower Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna said.

The two Christie-appointed former Port Authority officials mentioned the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, whom they are accused to trying to punish after he refused to endorse Christie’s reelection campaign, the prosecutor said.

“The evidence will show that Baroni and Wildstein were so committed to their plan that, during the precious moments they had alone with the governor, they bragged about the fact that there were traffic problems in Fort Lee and that Mayor Sokolich was not getting his calls returned,” Khanna told jurors during his opening remarks on Monday morning.

Khanna did not elaborate on what was allegedly said during the conversation with Christie, but told jurors that “evidence in this case may show that others could have, should have, perhaps knew certain aspects of what was going on.”

Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, were indicted last May on charges of conspiracy, fraud and civil rights violations.

Well, the real place to notice the meltdown in the Republican party is ritzy cocktail dates, I guess. I know that I frankly will not deal with any one that would vote for Trump. I consider it the acid test for if you’re with or against humanity.  Even America’s babies know better than get close to the orange Creepazoid.  BTW, I really just did a Google search for images of babies with Trump and got all these poor screaming kids standing next to a grown man sporting a similar sour puss face.  What exactly does that say?donald-trump

A few months ago, Matt Schlapp, the former White House political director under President George W. Bush, walked into a cocktail party and tried to join a conversation with Republican consultants he has known for years.

“The conversation quickly ended,” Schlapp, the chairman of the nation’s oldest conservative grassroots organization, told The Hill in a recent interview. “Everyone looked down at their expensive loafers.”

“I hadn’t had that happen to me in a professional setting before,” he added. “It’s one of those moments when you wonder, ‘Hey, do I have something on my face?’”

Schlapp’s decision to support Donald Trump for president has cost him friends in Washington’s elite Republican circles. Invitations he would normally receive no longer arrive. The vibe he says he’s getting is: “You’re out of the club.”

He’s hardly alone. Old allies in Washington and across the establishment Northeast are no longer on speaking terms because one backs Trump and the other loathes the nominee. Divisions have run so deep in some cases that they could take years to heal.

All I have to do is listen to Kellyann Conway to know that people will sell their souls for some amount of money.  We’ll have to wait for campaign finance reports to see exactly how much.  There’s an entire group of right wing ‘christians’ out there that no longer have theirs. I’m certain of that.

Something remarkable happened on Sunday morning’s Face the Nation, or rather, something that would be remarkable in any normal presidential election. Host John Dickerson got Donald Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway to issue two stunning tacit admissions that her candidate is a liar, and then Dickerson remarkably sort of apologized for it.

On Friday morning, Donald Trump ended his years-long crusade to smear President Obama by lying about Hillary Clinton, lying about his own actions, and finally stating the obvious fact that everyone else already knew: that Barack Obama was born in the United States. When Dickerson confronted Conway with the lie that Trump’s campaign put out and Trump repeated, that Trump had put an end to the controversy in 2011, she didn’t challenge that the lie was a lie, and when Dickerson followed up by asking Conway why Trump promoted a lie for five years, Conway similarly accepted that characterization as truth (emphasis mine):

article-2611338-1d31396500000578-885_634x524Supposedly, the Trump team is now shaking in their boots over the Trump Foundation investigation also.  No wonder all the babies cry around Trump. He steals their candy.

Those in Donald Trump’s orbit appear to be nervous about the swirling scandal around the Trump Foundation—and they should be: The stakes are incredibly high.

The allegations of a quid pro quo between Trump and Florida Attorney General, improper use of the charity for personal benefit, and employment of the charity for political purposes have serious penalties beyond mere campaign optics—the possible consequences range from hefty fines to jail time.

The last seven days has been all bad news on the Trump Foundation front: House Democrats have publicly sought a Justice Department investigation into the charity, while left-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington alleged that Trump appeared to have bribed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi by giving her a $25,000 contribution so that she would not join a lawsuit against Trump University.

And a New York Times investigation this past week showed that Trump had personally signed the check that constituted the illegal campaign contribution from his charity to Bondi.
Add this to a dose of personal animosity: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told CNN this week that “we have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it’s complying with the laws governing charities in New York.” The Trump camp already despises Schneiderman due to his legal crusade on the controversial Trump University business.
“This reaches above a distraction for them due to the legal implications of it and long litigation possibility,” a former senior aide to Trump said. “Look, Donald signed those checks… he’s on there. He’s liable.”

I mentioned this over the weekend in comments, but want to mention it again.  If you didn’t see the President’s speech to the CBC, go do it.  He was amazing.enhanced-26660-1446522731-1

On a September night when he gave a rousing valedictory speech to the famed Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) at the dinner for its annual legislative weekend, as awareness is setting in about how adroit and blessed Barack Obama has been as our national leader, with reported numbers showing a giant drop in poverty, a rise in jobs, and growth in family income despite the legislative blocks that stubbornly refused to fund stimulative policies for labor, wages and jobs, the President in his remarks took an unusual tact for him: the first black President, Barack Obama openly reclaimed his history and legacy and put it firmly in the history of race in America. He shared the historic challenges of a historically oppressed community formed in America when they were imported to be slaves—humans sold as property, controlled without rights for the benefit of the privileged. He described how this historical beginning was a force within him and within the community itself. How it gave birth to a driving passion for justice.

Because of this remarkable precedent, his speech deserves a close reading. It is an oratory triumph! It is also the historical moment many have been waiting for—the moment when the nation’s first African-American President put himself, by his own words, into a history of America where race mattered and still matters. His speech cast light on the veil and shadows that fall on the African-American character. It highlighted African success, including his own.

His speech was masterful storytelling: examples, irony, metaphor, repetition/analepsis, contrasts, even ridicule and anticlimax; bathos and epistrophe were among the rhetoric devices he used to deconstruct the competing versions of history used to deny his place as he built the case for a new Americal historical centerpiece, one arranged by truth and merit, admired for its accomplishments, as unique as America’s deeply rooted dream. His words were remarkably clear of gestures and insults. He cast no blame. He relied on the oral tradition, the method for teaching and transmitting ideas when the enslaved were punished for being able to read or write. The oral tradition shared and stored the community’s most valuable lessons. It emphasized performance and creativity.

He also had a compelling argument for Hillary and a huge African American Voter GOTV effort.  Again, go watch the entire thing.  However, just look at the face of those babies and you’ll see who the future of America supports and loves.  Spoiler Alert!  It had a lot to do with telling every one that we all had a lot to lose if we got sent back in time!

So, that’s my two cents today!  What’s on your reading and blogging list?


Oh yeah is it Sunday, Open Thread?

(That message above is my projected thought to Trump BTW…)

Holy shit! I completely forgot what day it was…

Today is Sunday and it is my turn to write the post. 

So, here is an open thread:

I will post some links in the comments below.