Friday Reads

Take by Brianna Paciorka for The Advocate at the funeral of Allton Sterling on the campus of SU.

 Taken by Brianna Paciorka for The Advocate at the funeral of Allton Sterling on the campus of SU.

C’est meme pas une chanson triste

It’s one of those days where you begin to wonder if having all this information and connectivity is good for your mental health.  You hear and see things first hand that make you sad and make you cringe.  The sad headings today include the memorial service for Alton Sterling and the horrible slaughter of innocents by a mentally anguished man driving a truck through the busy, celebrating streets of Nice, France.

The worst thing was the sheer number of children coming in, the nature of their injuries – serious head trauma and broken limbs – and the emotion felt by the children and their families,” said Frederic Sola, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon who worked in the hospital emergency room through the night. “The children were physically very injured but also emotionally very hurt.”

Some relatives were in such shock they were unable to talk. “The psychologists have heard terrible things, there are awful stories that children are telling,” said Stéphanie Simpson, head of the hospital’s communications team.

She said 39 people hit in the attacks had been brought to the children’s emergency department. A total of 30 children were treated at the hospital after the attack – the youngest only a few months old and the oldest was 18. Two children died in the night after being admitted. Several children were still in intensive care on Friday.

That is a horrible thing to have to witness and see.  A French student teacher taught at my high school when I studied there. He lived with two of my best friends’ family and I’m in contact with him still.  He and his family run a small restaurant in Nice.  His son witnessed some of aftermath; the carnage.  The glorious bastards known as the right wing are taunting people that the weapons remained in the car while the truck mowed down people simply celebrating Bastille Day. There is some debate on the motivation for the attack as the man was experiencing a number of personal difficulties.  The driver was a 31 year old native of Tunisia.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and authorities did not release information about a motive. But Molins said Friday that the attack fits with calls that “terrorist organizations regularly give out on their videos and elsewhere.”

Bouhlel was known by police because of allegations of threats, violence and thefts over the last six years, and he was given a suspended six-month prison sentence this year after being convicted of violence with a weapon, Molins said.

But he was “entirely unknown by the intelligence services, whether nationally or locally,” Molins said.

“He had never been the subject of any kind of file or indication of radicalization,” Molin said.

The attack was launched on a popular street that would normally be packed with tourists and residents on a sunny afternoon in July.

Miles gets a Pikachu (Polygon) Emily got this for me a long time ago because she knows I adored the spunky little beast.

Miles gets a Pikachu.

Eighty Four people have died as a result so far and as mentioned above, many of them were children enjoying a day of celebration.  Why is it that when men melt down they feel the need to take so many others with them?  Can’t they just go jump off a bridge or something?

Meanwhile, I did sign up for Pokemon Go last weekend and went out last night for my first Pokestop to pick up some of those pesky free balls.  Yes, I was out trolling the streets for balls and critters. The game is one of those things now that can only be described as a phenomenon.

I can explain it because I’m one of those parents of a kid of a certain age that obsessed about taking pictures of Pokemons on their primative Nintendo.  Youngest Daughter is an avid player as is her friend from here that’s now chasing them around the Jersey Shore.  An entire new bunch of kids and parents are out chasing them around parks and neighborhoods confusing many “get off my lawn” types.    I had a friend whose game of Golf was interrupted at city park by a group of Pokemon chasing children. Frankly, I think that’s cute and healthy.  Better outside gaming like this than on the couch.  Right FLOTUS?

Now, you shouldn’t be doing this while driving a car or in the middle of some one’s funeral at a cemetary.  There’s also some question as to the level of identity theft that might be attributable to the ap.  I don’t really care.  I’ve always been up for a good scavenger hunt and I’m an Anime fan from way back.

To fully understand Pokémon Go, you have to go back to the canonical beginnings of Pokémon. Around 1990, a video game designer named Satoshi Tajiri began hammering out the concept of Pokémon, which combined his childhood hobby of insect collecting with his love for video games.

“Places to catch insects are rare because of urbanization,” Tajiri told Time in 1999. “Kids play inside their homes now, and a lot had forgotten about catching insects. So had I. When I was making games, something clicked and I decided to make a game with that concept.”

Six years after Tajiri came up with this initial concept, with the help of Nintendo and designer/illustrator Ken Sugimori (Sugimori drew the initial 151 different Pokémon himself), the first Pokémon game was released on Game Boy.

The word Pokémon itself is the Americanized/Westernized contraction of “pocket monsters” — which, yes, can sound sort of inappropriate — and the original first-person game centered on a young trainer capturing 151 different types of Pokémon, ranging from ones that vaguely resemble turtles (Squirtle) to humanoid ones (Jynx) to the most recognizable Pokémon in the world, Pikachu.

That this combination of Nintendo 8-bit processing magic and lack of color was so magical is a testament to the ingenuity of Tajiri’s initial idea.

So, I’ve battled a few of the wild pokemon.  Visited a pokeman stop and know where the local gym is by looking at my ap which connects with the local GPS and Google maps.  There are some interesting stories coming up about the game from all over.  Here’s a few to get our minds to the idea that we can move around our neighborhoods, interact with our neighbors, and have some good clean fun while forgetting there are crazy people out there that wish us harm.  My favorite story is that Hillary Clinton is “using Pokemon to get votes.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Mallorie Sullivan reports that Clinton’s Ohio staff spent the past weekend going “from Cuyahoga to Athens to seek out players in their communities to register them to vote.”

There’s even an official Hillary event scheduled in Lakewood, Ohio, pegged to the game. “Join us as we go to the Pokestop in Madison Park and put up a lure module, get free pokemon, & battle each other while you register voters and learn more about Sec. Hillary Clinton!!!” the event description says. “Kids welcome!”

Lure modules, for context, are items in the game that attract a large number of Pokémon to a given area. You can acquire them for free, but to use them for any length of time usually requires shelling out for additional lures, meaning the Clinton campaign could be spending funds on attracting Pokémon (and players) to its events.

Clinton has even mentioned it in campaign speeches. She suggests we Pokemon Go to the Polls!

pokeman go

I battle a wild pokemon on the streets of New Orleans with the virtual “help” of a neighbor.

There is even a really lame  attack ad on Hillary now from “millenials for Trump” with a player named “crooked Hillary”.  It’s not particularly clever and probably isn’t going to gain any kind of real attention.

Well, it was only a matter of time before the U.S. presidential candidates started trying to capitalize on the nationwide phenomenon that is Pokémon Go. A new attack ad posted yesterday by Donald Trump imagines his opponent, Hillary Clinton, as a Pokémon to be captured and, presumably, locked away forever.

Clinton’s Pokémon name is, of course, “Crooked Hillary,” and she’s listed as a Career Politician-type creature with a CP (combat power) rating of 1. The clip describes her as “often found lying to the American people, rigging the system, and sharing TOP SECRET emails.” The ad also imagines Clinton’s next evolution as “unemployed.”

To be clear, while Trump posted the brief video on his Facebook page, it does not appear to be an ad that his campaign created. The required “I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message” notice is nowhere to be found, and the video doesn’t say that it was paid for by the Trump campaign.

What’s far more likely, considering how much time the candidate spends retweeting messages from his supporters, is that one of the Trump faithful — someone who’s a bit more savvy when it comes to social media — made the video. We’ve reached out to the Trump campaign for clarification, and will update this article with any information we receive.

In what is perhaps a coincidence, Trump posted the video on the same day that Clinton herself invoked the name of Pokémon Go. During a campaign stop yesterday in Annandale, Virginia, Clinton joked that app developers could make a mobile game to increase voter turnout: “I don’t know who created Pokémon Go, but I’m trying to figure out how we get them to have Pokémon Go to the Polls!”


So, I’m not sure how long this is going to be a big deal, but for the moment it’s a good distraction and I’m really curious to just observe the entire thing from both the standpoints of a business product, strategy and marketing and a psychological thing.   Perhaps it’s a Michelle Obama conspiracy to get people moving?

Pokemon Go has gained massive popularity lately for its fun interface and use ofaugmented reality. But the app is also providing a few unexpected health benefits for gamers.

While playing video games is typically a sedentary activity, Pokemon Go requires users to walk around and explore their real-life surroundings in search of Pokemon to capture. This has apparently inspired gamers to get outdoors and get moving.

There’s some anecdotal evidence that suggests the game is promoting more physical activity (and some people are even reporting spikes in activity on their fitness trackers). The app’s users are taking to social media to share their experiences of getting exercise while playing …

There have also been some Pokemon mishaps.  This includes car wrecks. 

Tuesday, Texas A&M University Police tweeted that on Monday, an illegally-parked car was hit from behind, causing the second car’s airbags to deploy. Police say the driver of the illegally-parked car had left it to catch a Pokemon.

Just before that post, UPD sent another tweet noting that Monday, a suspicious vehicle was reported to them about 1:00 a.m. driving on campus. Police responded, and found the occupants were playing Pokemon Go.

In addition to traffic concerns, law enforcement has asked people not to go to unsafe or unfamiliar areas to play the game.

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There is something on my desk! Wait! Don’t I have two cats that are supposed to deal with this? No wonder today’s post is so damned late!!!

This also includes a few inventive robberies, a found dead body, and a fall from a cliff.  I did have a friend venture out into the street last night with my phone but we were watching out for traffic and him even if he wasn’t.  I got in the middle of a long discussion about the PokeStops last night at J&J’s Sports Bar up the street from the kathouse. The stops seem to be located in the places most likely to be the busiest in the neighborhood.  They must’ve been chosen on the number of folks on line there at some point or doing reviews or something.  The places are free now, but will the company try to monetize this access eventually and change stops based on cash payments?

I told my friend that owns the BBQ Joint which is the Gym for a huge swath of the game zone that he should try to figure out if he can monetize it first to determine if it’s worth paying a fee eventually should that occur. My friends at the bar where I hung out last night have already been celebrating their stop status on their social media.  I did watch a bunch of tourists stop  on their way places last night.   There are also local, more public things like statues, historical signs, and churches–all outside of buildings–that are designated stops too.  You really can walk around your neighborhood and hit a stop every five or six blocks somewhere.  I live in an urban hood though.  I’m sure it’s different if you’re out in the boonies somewhere or burbs.

Some unlucky Pokémon GO players are getting more than they bargained for when they fall off cliffs, get mugged, or even find a dead body while searching for Pokémon.

Here’s a round-up of some of the biggest Pokémon GO-related incidents so far:

7/13/16 Encinitas,CA CA -0.31%: Two Men Fall From Cliff While Playing Pokémon GO

Two men fell 75 feet from a cliff while playing Pokémon GO,local news reports say. The men apparently became distracted while attempting to catch a Pokémon. A rope team was involved in the rescue of at least one of the men, neither of whom was seriously injured.

7/13/16 Anaheim, CA: Man Stabbed Multiple Times While Playing PokémonGO

A man playing Pokémon GO followed the game right into Schweitzer Park around midnight Wednesday morning, only to be set upon by multiple attackers and stabbed in the torso, according to NBC Los Angeles. It does not appear that the attackers used the game to lure the man to that location, but rather that he was distracted and unaware of his surroundings when the attack occurred.

7/13/16 Lake Ronkonkoma, NY: Teen Playing Pokémon GO Robbed By Three Attackers

A 19-year-old man was playing Pokémon GO when three men, at least one of whom was armed with a handgun, pulled up alongside him in a sedan and then robbed him and stole his phone, local reports say.

So, this is a weird, shortish open thread post for a weird, longest Friday. If you’re gonna catch them all, or if you gonna walk the streets for any reason, be careful out there!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 


Thursday Reads: The Trump Convention Approaches

Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, 2008

Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, 2008

Good Morning!!

The next two weeks will be fascinating ones for political junkies. The Republican Convention begins on Monday, July 18 in Cleveland, and just a week later on July 25 the Democratic Convention will be held in Philadelphia. The list of speakers for the GOP Convention was released this morning.

The Washington Post: Republican convention’s ‘non-conventional’ list: Model, astronaut and Trump clan.

Donald Trump’s convention will feature an eclectic mix of cultural figures, from the first woman to command a space shuttle mission to the survivors of the 2012 Benghazi attacks to an underwear model.

But while several Republican Party establishment figures will take the stage next week in Cleveland, the national convention to officially nominate Trump will be devoid of some of the GOP’s most seasoned leaders and brightest new stars.

Republican officials released a long-awaited list of convention speakers on Thursday that are billed as “non-conventional speakers” who emphasize “real world experience.”

Barry Goldwater and William Miller at the 1964 GOP Convention in San Francisco

Barry Goldwater and William Miller at the 1964 GOP Convention in San Francisco

A small number of elected officials and former office-holders have agreed to speak at Trump’s convention, including Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Rudy Giuliani, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Marsha Blackburn, Mike Huckabee, Rick Scott, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Jeff Sessions, Joni Ernst, and Asa Hutchison. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is not included in the list of speakers. It’s not clear whether that means he will be the VP nominee or if there is some reason he won’t be speaking. Another notable omission from the speakers list is Sarah Palin.

The unusual collection of non-political speakers seems designed to broaden Trump’s appeal. They include retired astronaut Eileen Collins, the first woman pilot and first woman commander of a space shuttle mission; Mark Geist and John Tiegen, two survivors of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya; and Antonio Sabato Jr., a former Calvin Klein underwear model, soap-opera actor and reality-television star.

Some sports figures will take the stage here, including pro golfer Natalie Gulbis and Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White. But some sporting heroes of decades past that Trump has said he would like to see at the convention — former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight and boxing legend Don King — are not listed as featured speakers.

Thomas E. Dewey at the 1948 Republican Convention

Thomas E. Dewey at the 1948 Republican Convention

Trump family members and close friends will also speak at the convention.

The Cleveland convention will be orchestrated to help expand Trump’s appeal to the general electorate. To that end, several member of Trump’s family are expected to give speeches, including his wife, Melania, and his four oldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany.

In addition, other speakers who have known Trump and his family through the years plan to take the stage. They include Haskel Lookstein, a rabbi in New York who converted Ivanka Trump to Judaism; Tom Barrack, a wealthy California-based investor who has worked with Donald Trump on real estate deals; and Kerry Woolard, the general manager of Trump Winery in Virginia.

See a full list of GOP convention speakers at Cleveland.com and a tentative schedule of events at Newsday.

In contrast to the weak list of GOP convention speakers, the Democratic Convention speakers list is star-studded. The Washington Post:

The Democratic National Convention is likely to open with a showcase of some of the party’s biggest stars, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and first lady Michelle Obama, according to a source with knowledge of the convention planning.

Although the speaking schedule isn’t yet set in stone, the jam-packed Monday night is also expected to include Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) will introduce Warren in Philadelphia.

Sanders’s name will be entered into the nomination, prompting a roll call vote of delegates for both candidates.

Percy Sutton nominates Shirley Chisholm at the 1972 Democratic Convention

Percy Sutton nominates Shirley Chisholm at the 1972 Democratic Convention

As we all expected Sanders will continue trying to get as much attention as he can for as long as he can.

According to another source familiar with the convention planning, the night’s theme will be an economic agenda focused on families. The list of speakers is intended to highlight the unity of the Democratic Party in contrast to the Republican convention that will have come the week before.

The night’s programming, including the speakers and videos, will drive home the theme of Clinton’s campaign, “Stronger together,” by highlighting a populist economic agenda.

The convention speaking list is coming together this week, and more speakers are likely to be formally announced as early as this week.

Presumably, speakers also will include President Obama and former President Clinton as well as rising stars in the party.

The Trump campaign announced yesterday that the presumptive GOP nominee will name his Vice Presidential running mate tomorrow morning at 11AM in New York City. The exact location hasn’t been announced yet. NPR reports: Trump Wraps Up Vice President Auditions, Sets Friday Announcement.

The deadline for a decision comes after the presumptive GOP presidential nominee wrapped up both public tryouts and private meetings with the three men believed to be among the finalists — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

After he campaigned with Pence in Indiana Tuesday evening, Trump his family met with Pence at his Indiana home on Wednesday morning, according toNBC News, while Gingrich and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions also flew to Indianapolis to meet with Trump. Christie met with Trump and his family on Tuesday.

Pence, who gave a tepid endorsement to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz before his state’s primary, was more gleefully on board with Trump’s campaign on Tuesday night as he introduced him at a rally in Westfield.

“Donald Trump gets it,” Pence told the crowd. “Donald Trump hears the voice of the American people.” ….

Of the three presumed vice presidential finalists, Pence was the only one who gave a direct introduction for Trump before he came to the stage. Trump also campaigned with Christie on Monday in Virginia and with Gingrich last week in Ohio.

Trump praised Pence at the end of what was a meandering speech — attacking rival Hillary Clinton often but also wandering off into other topics such as immigration and trade and back again.

“I don’t know if he’s going to be your governor or your vice president, who the hell knows!” Trump told the crowd, referring to Pence.

Richard Nixon at the 1968 Republican Convention

Richard Nixon at the 1968 Republican Convention

Yeah, who the hell knows? This horrifying man is actually running for president. The other top VP candidates are supposedly Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie, and Newt Gingrich. TA Frank weighed in on each of these choices at The Atlantic: It’s down to four, but does any candidate offer even a smidgen of hope?

At this point, Trump needs a running mate who amplifies his strengths and, possibly, goes some way toward remedying some of the candidate’s most serious weaknesses: erratic behavior, lack of experience, inadequate grasp of history, and almost zero policy chops. He or she needs to believe what Trump believes—but in a way that suggests there will be an adult in the room. Trump’s vice president is likely to be powerful in the White House, so the pick is about a lot more than campaigning. The question remains, however, whether any of the final four offer a glimmer of hope.

Some excerpts from Frank’s assessments of the top four candidates.

Newt Gingrich

Even in the wake of reports that Fox News and Gingrich have parted ways, perhaps to allow him to be vetted for the post, I still do not think this V.P. possibility is for real. Even Trump has said about Gingrich that “Newt is Newt.” That’s what you say about someone whom you accept despite major flaws. As in: Kanye is Kanye. That sort of stuff. And remember that “erratic” thing that we were trying to remedy? Gingrich is not your man for that.

John Kennedy at the 1960 Democratic Convention

John Kennedy at the 1960 Democratic Convention

Mike Pence

Yes, Pence campaigned with Trump this week in Indianapolis and sang his praises. But he seemed about as believable in his Trump-love as Paul Ryan. O.K., he did a little better than that. At least he wants Trump to win, maybe.

But Mike Pence has a fan club of roughly four, and all four have the last name Pence. This is someone who has the capability to be bungling and divisive on dumb social issues—by all accounts pleasing no one in his management of a religious-liberty law in Indiana, which means he angers social liberals, social moderates, and social conservatives. To be fair, that does leave the apathetic or uninformed.

Chris Christie

We’ve been through this. Christie is, I will admit, an excellent retail politician. He’s a superb attack dog. He’s a social moderate. You like him, and he likes you, or thinks he does. But he’s got that bridge scandal to deal with and no one respects him after he turned into a courtier. Trump’s ticket would become the stuff of comedy. Picture it. Now picture it as a silhouette.

Protesters forming a human pyramid in Chicago's Grant Park during the 1968 Democratic Convention

Protesters forming a human pyramid in Chicago’s Grant Park during the 1968 Democratic Convention

Jeff Sessions

Here, I must bring up one more crucial vulnerability of Trump: the suspicion that he doesn’t really mean a lot of the things that he says. It’s all pandering: on immigration, on trade, on budgets, on health care, etc. That’s one more reason why Jeff Sessions would pack a punch: Sessions represents Trumpism without Trump. Selecting him as a running mate would signal that Trump actually means what he’s saying.

Read more from TA Frank at the link.

I can’t resist including this assessment of Trump’s VP choices from Gawker: Which of His Potential Vice Presidential Candidates Is Donald Trump Just Fucking With? Check it out at that link.

So . . . what do you think? Will you be watching next week’s GOP clusterf#ck? What other stories are you following today?


Wednesday Reads: Mental Case.

Good Afternoon.

How many of you are feeling like this poor women in this old 1940’s mug shot…who’s only crime is simply described as:

“MENTAL CASE.”

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She looks so tired. Those bags under her eyes…with permanent wrinkles on her forehead. Her hair is surely neat and well-kept for someone who has been arrested for being a mental case, don’t you think? She is dressed up, I mean…she isn’t disheveled at all.

I wished I had the wherewithal to at least put myself together as well as she has when I head out to the local Walmart or Food Shitty. (Pardon, Food City.)

I’m actually going into this post blind because of internet issues that have made it difficult for me to read any news accounts online. Lack of cell service is also a problem, so I cannot even go on my phone to check up on the world outside Banjoville.

I guess the big news today is the election of a new Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Theresa May: unpredictable, moralistic, and heading to No 10 | Politics | The Guardian

For a woman on the verge of running the country, Theresa May has seemed almost preternaturally calm over the past few days.

“She’s basically the same as ever; quite relaxed and cheerful. There’s no sense of the prison shades falling,” says a longstanding friend who has observed her closely during the campaign. But then, unlike Andrea Leadsom, seemingly badly shaken by a single weekend of hostile media coverage, May knew better than anyone what to expect.

Over the past six years, May has weathered riots, sat in on a decision to go to war, and chaired an emergency Cobra meeting in the prime minister’s absence following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.

She has been diligently doing her homework for years and, while even she did not foresee David Cameron resigning in these circumstances (let alone the collapse of all other contenders), she is as ready as she will ever be. The question is whether that is anywhere near ready enough for the turbulent times ahead.

Tory grandee Ken Clarke’s unguarded remarks about her being a “bloody difficult woman”probably did May nothing but good with female voters – and she turned them to her own advantage at the last parliamentary hustings, promising that European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker would soon find out how “bloody difficult” she could be.

But even her friends concede Clarke has a point. “She can be a bugger,” says one otherwise admiring colleague succinctly. “Not easy to work with.” May fights her corner tigerishly and, unusually for a politician, she does not seem bothered about being liked.

It is typical of her take-me-or-leave-me approach that she managed to win the support of almost two-thirds of her parliamentary colleagues despite refusing to bribe waverers with job offers. “You can’t go in and say, ‘Make me under-secretary of state for sproggets and badges and you’ve got my support’,” says Eric Pickles, the ex-cabinet minister and longstanding ally. “That’s not how she operates. You’ve got to take her unconditionally.”

Theresa May must raise game on human rights, charities warn | UK Politics | News | The Independent

theresa-may.jpg

Theresa May’s position as Home Secretary often put her at odds with campaigners over human rights GETTY

Theresa May must improve her and Britain’s record on human rights now that she is becoming Prime Minister, campaigners have warned.

Amnesty UK and Reprieve are amongst charities calling for the former Home Secretary to commit to a fresh start on issues like UK complicity in torture, and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ms May has previously said she would consider pulling out of said Convention, but made clear during her leadership campaign that that policy was now off the table.

She has also been criticised for masterminding a policy of sending vans around Britain telling undocumented migrants to “go home or face arrest”. Heavily anti-immigration themes in her speech at Conservative party conference 2015 were also rubbished by campaigners.

Donald Campbell, head of communications at, Reprieve told the Independent that as Home Secretary Ms May had presided over “worrying” secrecy but expressed hope that things might change.

“At times, Theresa May’s Home Office has been worryingly secretive on human rights issues,” he said.

“For example, they have frequently refused to disclose information on funding and training for overseas police forces which could lead to people being tortured and executed.

“We hope that the new prime minister will place greater emphasis on transparency and accountability, and ensure Britain no longer provides assistance which could end up supporting torture and the death penalty around the world.

“At home, she must deliver an independent, judge led inquiry into uk involvement in the CIA torture programme- a promise made, but then abandoned, by her predecessor.”

We might have Theresa May as PM but, make no mistake, we’re still heading for a ‘hard Brexit’ | Voices | The Independent

The Leavers have had a tough two weeks. First Johnson, then Gove, and finally Leadsom, all vanquished – no wonder David Cameron was whistling. The next occupant of Number 10 will be from the same side of the Conservative Party as him. George Osborne will either stay as Chancellor or be replaced by another advocate of Remain. The grim faces of Leadsom’s supporters on Monday morning told the story: they were outdone.

But there is more to come from Leave. The facts of political life under Brexit still favour them. For a start, Prime Minister Theresa May will rely on Leavers for a parliamentary majority. Then, as Government business resumes under a new ministerial team inevitably featuring many Leavers, the day-to-day reality of still being bound by EU law will create controversy.

It might be the proposal for state aid to stop a factory from closing, a new judgement from a European Court, the burdens on business of a new directive, or something entirely bananas – all the ways in which Leavers have styled outrage in the past over Europe are still available to them now.

The new PM will say, of course, that it’s only a matter of time until we’re on our way out. Yet if she wants to keep open the option of joining the European Economic Area then European laws will not be shed so easily. We won’t be free with one bound, the Leavers will discover, and then the question is whether they will stay quiet out of loyalty or speak to voters about this perceived treachery.

Theresa May becomes prime minister and appoints Boris Johnson foreign secretary – politics live | Politics | The Guardian

Let me repeat that:

Boris Johnson foreign secretary 

Oh wow, that is a shame.

From the Guardian’s live feed:

Be sure to click here to see the latest updates.

Theresa May is Queen Elizabeth’s 13th British prime minister. She probably won’t be her last. – The Washington Post

Queen Elizabeth II has seen it all before — 12 times before, to be precise.

On Wednesday, she said goodbye to David Cameron, her 12th prime minister, and hello to Theresa May, her 13th.

While a political earthquake has shook Westminster to its core and triggered the resignations of a number of politicians, the queen has managed to do what she always does: reign above the fray.

One thing I find interesting, from a personal perspective:

New UK Prime Minister Brings Spotlight to Type 1 Diabetes

Today Theresa May becomes the second woman to serve as prime minister of the United Kingdom, but she’ll be the first major world leader living with type 1 diabetes.

Mrs May, 59, replaces David Cameron and will face what is likely to be an intense, drawn-out process negotiating the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (aka “Brexit”) as the country voted to do on June 23 (or work out some alternative, although she has vowed to proceed, stressing that “Brexit means Brexit”). And all the while she’ll also have to manage her type 1 diabetes, which she was diagnosed with just 4 years ago while she was the United Kingdom’s home secretary.

In July 2013, a few months after her diagnosis, she spoke publicly about the challenge and how she was meeting it. She told the UK Daily Mail : “It was a real shock and, yes, it took me a while to come to terms with it,” but “the diabetes doesn’t affect how I do the job or what I do. It’s just part of life…so it’s a case of head down and getting on with it.”

She was 56 years old at the time and had been losing weight, feeling tired, and drinking a lot of fluids but attributed those to job stress and a fitness program she had recently begun. She was initially misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes — a common occurrence in those who develop autoimmune diabetes in adulthood — and finally diagnosed with type 1 in November 2012.

Following her diagnosis, Mrs May attended several events sponsored by the JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) in the United Kingdom, including a ball in 2015 that raised £620,000 to support the organization, according to the group’s website.

Theresa May [Source: Matt Dunham/AP]

Whether she’ll continue that advocacy as prime minister and how she’ll manage her own condition going forward remain to be seen.

Obviously the main point now is how she will handle the mess she is inheriting from Cameron…but I do think it is important for those people with the T1D (Type 1 Diabetes) to have a fellow sufferer of this disease… someone with her position and standing in the world, to look to as an example that T1D is not life debilitating. As long as you take care of yourself.

There are plenty of other links regarding Ms May at the Guardian and Independent sites above.

 

One more link before I go…my internet is giving me problems.

Scientists find new two-fingered dinosaur — and a curse

Maybe this dinosaur really, really didn’t want to be found.

Scientists digging for fossils in rural Argentina found themselves beset by misfortune, ranging from bureaucratic interference to a serious truck accident. Now the researchers have given an appropriate name to the strange new species they finally discovered: Gaulicho, the local word for a curse.

If bad luck befalls anyone in the region where the fossil was uncovered, “people say that somebody made a gualicho on you,” says paleontologist Sebastián Apesteguía of the Azara Foundation in Buenos Aires, co-author of a study in this week’s PLOS ONE about the new animal. Of all the dinosaurs he’s worked on recently, “this was the most difficult by far.”

Gualicho was found on the second-to-last day of the scientists’ research at the site. Study co-author Peter Makovicky recalls he jokingly ordered one of his workers “to go find something.” Minutes later, “she did.”

What she found was a meat-eating dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous that stood upright on two slender legs, making it “reasonably speedy,” says Makovicky of TheField Museum in Chicago. It weighed as much as a big Clydesdale and would’ve towered over a six-foot-tall human.

But Gualicho could’ve used a little upper-body work. Its short arms — roughly as long as a child’s — were shriveled and apparently not very useful. Instead, the animal probably relied on powerful jaws to grab and grip its quarry, scientists say.

Gualicho is in good company. Both T. rex and its fellow tyrannosaurs had stumpy arms, as did a separate clan of upright carnivorous dinosaurs. But Gualicho is on a different branch on the dinosaur family tree from the others, meaning it must have evolved puny arms independently.

If you want a look at what this dinosaur look like, go to the link…

Gualicho is not only a separate example but also a weird one. Some of its body parts, such as its hind limbs, look like they belong to more primitive animals, while its two-fingered “hands” look like those of the formidable T. rex. Gualicho is a pastiche of a dinosaur, making it difficult for researchers to understand exactly how it relates to others.

Have a good afternoon and evening…

This is an open thread.

 


Tuesday Reads: The Hillary and Bernie Show and Other News

The scene at the site of the Hillary-Bernie rally in Portsmouth, NH Tuesday morning.

The scene at the site of the Hillary-Bernie rally in Portsmouth, NH Tuesday morning.

Good Morning!!

Bernie Sanders will supposedly endorse Hillary Clinton this morning at 11:00 at a joint rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I’m not sure if I can bring myself to watch it, but I’ll give it a try. I’m still not convinced he will actually “endorse” her, and I’m afraid he’ll manage to say something nasty. From what I’m seeing in the news and on Twitter, this is going to be more of an anti-Trump thing, rather than a feel-good unity appearance.

Politico: Sanders to join Clinton for New Hampshire rally.

Sanders will campaign with Clinton, and is expected to endorse her, at a high school in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at 11 a.m. Tuesday, less than two weeks before the Democratic National Convention begins in Philadelphia.

The Vermont senator’s campaign announced his participation minutes after the Clinton team’s email hit inboxes, with both announcements sharing the same language that the two former primary rivals will “discuss their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

“Expected to endorse her.” See what I mean? No one seems to know for sure if he really will.

People beginning to gather for the event in Portsmouth, NH.

People beginning to gather for the event in Portsmouth, NH.

Also from Politico: Clinton and Sanders unite for the war on Trump.

For weeks now, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been engaged in a project to win over the staunchest and loudest of Bernie Sanders’ supporters in the places where they’ll matter most in November.

Using one-on-one meetings, social gatherings, and public campaign events, Clinton’s operatives have been quietly working to court his backers in battleground states Sanders won during the primary or where they fought in especially contentious contests — in some cases relying on personal appeals from staffers as senior as campaign manager Robby Mook.

The first return on that investment comes Tuesday when Sanders joins Clinton on stage here for the formal display of unity the party’s been waiting for in advance of the July convention….

Even with the specter of Donald Trump looming, however, in states like this one where Sanders beat Clinton by 22 points five months ago the unification effort hasn’t been easy. It’s been an even tougher challenge in states where the primary was particularly tense — places like Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, and Colorado, where in some cases suspicion still lingers.

But defusing those tensions has been a focus of top party brass ever since the Nevada Democratic Party convention exploded into chaos in May, and the Clinton team’s efforts — often run out of the local offices, but occasionally escalating to the Brooklyn headquarters — have ramped up since the last primary vote was held in June.

Read more about the completely one-sided “unity” efforts at the link above. Here’s another hint about how much unity there will be:

I don’t recall Hillary having special speakers at her New Hampshire unity rally with Obama in 2008, do you? Maybe I missed that.

It sounds like Al Giordano agrees with me.

In other news, the Republican National Convention begins next Monday in Cleveland. I wonder if Donald Trump will be able to find enough speakers to fill the TV time. Ted Cruz has agreed to speak, but not to endorse Trump. Apparently Trump is planning to have his current wife and his children give speeches. Joni Ernst has been given a prime-time slot, according to The New York Times. I suppose Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie will speak. And yesterday Paul Ryan agreed to give a short speech.

The Salt Lake Tribune: Part-time Trump critic Paul Ryan to speak at Republican convention.

Although we don’t yet know who else will fill out the Republican National Convention speaker list, we now know one: The speaker himself. Paul Ryan, who has not been the biggest Donald Trump fan, will speak in Cleveland next week, offering what an aide says is “the sharp contrast between Republican ideas and four more years of Obama-like progressive policies; and the need for conservatives to unite around Republican candidates in advance of a critical election.” [Politico]

Most Republican office-holders and operatives seem to be trying to find excuses not to attend the convention and many are trying to avoid even saying Donald Trump’s name.

GOP

Politico: GOP operatives dread Trump convention.

Many GOP regulars are skipping Cleveland entirely. (“I would rather attend the public hanging of a good friend,” says Will Ritter, an up-and-coming Republican digital strategist who worked on the three previous conventions.) And among those who are making the trek, there’s an overwhelming sense it won’t be fun at all. At a time when many Republicans are deeply dissatisfied with their nominee, pessimistic about their prospects for victory in the fall and alarmed about the direction of their party, there’s a reluctance about attending the convention more typically reserved for going to the DMV, being summoned for jury duty or undergoing a root canal.

“This is the first year in the past two decades that Republicans aren’t excited about attending the convention. Normally, we’re all jazzed up about getting together and celebrating our nominee,” said Chris Perkins, a GOP pollster who has attended every Republican convention since 1996. “There’s nothing to celebrate this cycle. I’m going because I have to, not because I want to.”

Those who are going often say they’re doing so out of a sense of obligation — to meet with clients or to hold meetings before making a beeline back to the airport. As the Republican Party prepares to nominate a figure who is registering historically high disapproval ratings, some don’t want to advertise their presence in Cleveland. “Don’t use my name,” said one senior party strategist. “I don’t want anyone to know I’m there.” (A few days after the interview, the strategist got back in touch, having decided not to go, after all.)

More embarrassing details for the GOP and Donald Trump at Politico.

Quicken Arena in Cleveland, site of 2016 GOP National Convention

Quicken Arena in Cleveland, site of 2016 GOP National Convention

This is interesting from NBC News: Federal Judge Rules for Anti-Trump GOP Delegate.

A federal judge blocked enforcement Monday of a Virginia law binding delegates to support the primary winner at the nominating convention.

It was a victory for Carroll “Beau” Correll, a delegate to the Republican national convention who argued that the law violated his First Amendment rights to vote for his preferred candidate. Correll supported Ted Cruz in the primary, while Donald Trump received the most votes in the state.

Correll said in an interview that the Trump campaign got “morbidly humiliated” by the outcome of the case.

“They put all their chips on the table and they lost all of them — if I were them I’d go hide in a closet in Trump Tower,” he said.

In a follow up statement, Correll made a plea to the like-minded, writing:

“To national political figures that are on the sidelines and awaiting your calling, I implore you to take a step forward from the darkness and into the light. Show us that you have the courage to stand for leader of the Free World, appeal to the better angels of our nature, and to deliver this Republic from the abomination of a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency.”

As a practical matter, the decision appeared to affect at most only some of Virginia’s delegates. Some legal experts even said the ruling may apply only to Correll himself, though it was filed as a class action on behalf of all the state’s Republican delegates.

The truth is that delegate cannot be legally bound to vote for the candidate who won their state. I wonder how many will try to avoid voting for Trump?

 In this April 8, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama embraces Scarlett Lewis, mother of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis, after speaking at in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (Susan Walsh)

In this April 8, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama embraces Scarlett Lewis, mother of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis, after speaking at in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (Susan Walsh)

President Obama will be in Dallas today to honor the five police officers who were murdered by Micah Johnson. The Washington Post reports:

Obama will try Tuesday to help grief-stricken Dallas begin to heal less than a week after its officers were killed and others wounded by an Army veteran-turned-sniper. Obama has denounced the shooting as a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement” by a “demented” individual.

Just a few weeks ago, Obama spent hours in Orlando, Florida, consoling the loved ones of 49 people who were killed in a shooting rampage at a nightclub.

In what has become an unwelcome but regular duty of his presidency, Obama was preparing to address an interfaith memorial service in Dallas for the officers. They were killed last Thursday while standing guard as hundreds of people peacefully protested the police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota earlier in the week….

Portions of both shootings were videotaped and broadcast nationwide, leading to fresh outrage, protests and scores of arrests. The killings also put the country on edge, heightened racial tensions and pushed the issue of the use of deadly force against black males by white police officers to the forefront.

Obama will seek to bridge those issues with his tribute to the fallen five, which include a former Army Ranger, a Navy veteran and a newlywed starting a second family.

As Dakinikat wrote yesterday, we are seeing Ferguson-like events in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The situation is similar in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Philando Castile was killed by police after being stopped for a broken taillight. From Fox News 9, July 10: Protest shuts down I-94 in St. Paul: 21 officers injured, 102 arrested.

Hundreds of people protesting the shooting death of Philando Castile gathered Saturday night at the Governor’s Residence on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, Minn., then marched onto Interstate 94, shutting down the highway for more than 5 hours. Sunday morning, St. Paul police confirmed 21 officers from multiple agencies were injured, and 102 people were arrested. None of the injuries were serious.

Around 8 p.m., the crowd marched onto the eastbound and westbound lanes of I-94 at Lexington Avenue, forming a wall. Police closed the interstate from Highway 280 to downtown St. Paul, then reopened both directions by 1:49 a.m. Sunday. A total of 50 people were arrested on I-94, booked into Ramsey County Jail on third-degree rioting charges. State Patrol officials said at least eight people arrested were from outside Minnesota.

A second clash with police on Grand Avenue at about 4 a.m. led to 52 arrests for public nuisance and unlawful assembly. Those individuals were booked and released.

Sunday morning, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell confirmed 21 officers were injured by projectiles, including fireworks, rocks, bricks, concrete chunks and glass bottles. An officer now has a broken vertebrae after being hit by a concrete block in the head. At the height of the confrontation, police said some people started arming themselves with rebar from a nearby construction site. Police then used smoke and to clear the crowd. After the freeway was cleared, one officer was hit in the face by a bottle thrown by a protester on a St. Paul city street.

A couple of updates from NOLA on Baton Rouge:

Police advance on peaceful protesters in Baton Rouge, LA

Police advance on peaceful protesters in Baton Rouge, LA

Baton Rouge police tactics in Alton Sterling shooting protests questioned.

Baton Rouge police are facing criticism for the tactics used to deal with protests in the wake of Alton Sterling’s officers-involved fatal shooting, with groups like Amnesty International questioning whether police are committed to protecting First Amendment rights.

Protests on Sunday (July 11) have become a flashpoint for those criticisms after police ordered protesters off the street, then arrested people standing on private property when they refused to leave the area.

Police have said the group was targeted because they blocked a residential street hours before, but most of the arrests on Sunday were made while people were on private property — some with authorization of the owner.

Jamira Burley, a senior campaigner for Amnesty International, was in Baton Rouge over the weekend observing the protests and said she was deeply concerned about several aspects of the police response.

She said police responding in heavy military-style gear and vehicles, their decision to arrest people during an otherwise peaceful protest on private property, and the high number of arrests all appeared to be aimed at scaring protesters into not returning to demonstrations.

More at the link.

Baton Rouge DA recuses himself from Alton Sterling shooting investigation.

Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III recused himself from the ongoing investigation into the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling during a press conference Monday (July 11).

Moore said he is stepping down because of a personal relationship with the parents of one of the officers involved in the shooting. He said a new prosecutor will be appointed to oversee the pursue of any criminal charges for officers Howie Lake II and Blane Salamoni.

Again, read the rest at NOLA.

This is an open thread. If you’re planning to watch the Bernie and Hillary joint appearance this morning, you can use this as a live blog. Feel free to post links on any other topics you are following today.

 


Monday Reads: A Change is Gonna Come

safe_imageGood Afternoon!

I’ve been trying to sort out the events that happened over the weekend in Baton Rouge which is the capitol of the state where I have lived for over 20 years.  I know it’s easy for a lot of folks to look at this as a southern problem given that  this is Louisiana and Ferguson was Missouri and Dallas is Texas and you “know” the history and the attitudes of many Southern Americans.  But, we’re also seeing the situation in St Paul, Minnesota.  The outrageous rates of incarceration of Black Americans and black men specifically is actually worse in the Northern than in the Southern USA so it’s an American problem.

This is a problem with institutional racism that is poisoning our country and our laws.  It’s killing our neighbors and stealing their future.  It’s perpetuating intense animus and distrust between American police and Black Americans. It is all our problem and it is all our responsibility to end this and end the unequal treatment of Black Americans by all aspects of the Criminal Justice System including the police.

One in nine black children has had a parent behind bars. One in thirteen black adults can’t vote because of their criminal records. Discrimination on the job market deepens racial inequality. Not only does a criminal record make it harder to get hired, but studies find that a criminal record is more of a handicap for black men. Employers are willing to give people second chances, but less so if they’re black.

“Jim Crow and slavery were caste systems. So is our current system of mass incarceration,” wrote civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander in her 2010 book “The New Jim Crow.”

These consequences entangle the broader economy. Yet, many people who study employment and the job market haven’t been paying attention to the criminal justice system. That’s a big mistake, according to Western.

“From my point of view,” he says, “mass incarceration is so deeply connected to American poverty and economic inequality.”

361DC93B00000578-3683863-image-a-44_1468205404025Treatment by militarized police forces of Black Americans is well documented and is now playing out on TV much the way the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights protests did on Nightly News in the 1960s.  It’s reaching a critical point with the police killings of  Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile near St. Paul, Minnesota whose deaths were captured clearly on cameras and–in Sterling’s case–from several angles.  It’s difficult to ignore the factors surrounding their deaths. Last week, a total of four black men were killed by police.  One happened in Houston and the other was in New York. So, we’ve only heard about half of the incidents.

I‘m going to focus on the protests in Baton Rouge because I’ve had friends on the ground reporting from there, protesting from there, and living there. I also have access to the local media and I have a lot at stake since it appears that the Baton Rouge Police Department has violated the civil rights of protesters and the property rights of a local home owner.  This will undoubtedly mean that there will be trials.  These folks are my neighbors. This is my community and civil rights violations cannot stand.

Ieshia Evans prior to her arrest on Saturday in Baton Rouge.July 9, 2016. (Jonathan Bachman/Reuters)

Ieshia Evans prior to her arrest on Saturday in Baton Rouge. Taken on July 9, 2016 by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters.

It’s very difficult to talk about much of what happened last night because the BRPD response was so over the top that I felt immediately propelled to a much younger self watching the so-called 1968 Race Riots from the window of our station wagon in 1968 while driving to my Grandfather’s rest home through The Paseo area of KCMO.  Between that and watching the NBC nightly news, I learned that Black Americans experience a very different reality than I did and even at that age I knew that was wrong.

I had friends on the ground in Baton Rouge on Sunday which was even more disturbing to me. One of my friends was using Periscope Live to broadcast and describe the events.  Another has been on a freelance assignment for NYDN.  Another was there as a free lance reporter for The Daily Beast in places where even journalists were arrested and threatened. He tweeted early on that he was being threatened and corralled .  One of the most amazing things was that DeRay McKesson was arrested along with a Breitbart Reporter on the first night. Both are convinced their arrests for basically blocking traffic were unconstitutional although each blame a different root for the cause.

Breitbart reporter Lee Stranahan on Saturday night found himself housed in the general prison population of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison after getting arrested while covering ongoing protests related to the death of a black man last week. But rather than blaming the police for arresting him, Stranahan, who has worked for the conservative outlet since 2010, said Monday that his arrest is symptomatic of a larger problem with the city’s Democratic mayor and Louisiana’s Democratic governor.

“You know, obviously, anybody who’s heard me on the show or reads my work knows that there’s nobody who’s a more strident supporter of law enforcement or critic of Black Lives Matter than I am,” Stranahan began to explain on Sirius XM’s “Breitbart News Daily,” discussing his work on an upcoming documentary.

briannaOne HuffPost Reporter was threatened by a young police woman with a semiautomatic.   This was on Saturday night when the BRPD responded to protesters in a neighborhood looking like an invading army. Let it be noted that these were peaceful protests and that the several hundreds of people arrested were charged with things like blocking roads and evading arrest.

One officer, armed with an assault weapon, deliberately aimed the gun at protesters and journalists, forcing them to retreat. HuffPost senior crime reporter David Lohrwas among them.

Lohr arrived in Baton Rouge earlier this week to help capture moments from the Black Lives Matter protests that took over the city’s streets. He launched a live-stream on the HuffPost Black Voices Facebook page around 11 p.m. that captured some tense moments, including police making several arrests and one protester getting shocked by a stun gun. In one jarring moment, Lohr captured an officer pointing her assault rifle at protesters ― and at him.

“An officer just pointed a machine gun at me,” Lohr says in the live-stream. “I’m not quite sure what that female officer was doing; she pointed an assault rifle at us.”

I was watching the Facebook page of my friend, fellow blogger, and my pets’ favorite mommy substitute from the days when I went to Seattle to be with my father as mikeshe documented the events from Sunday. Here is the last of yesterday’s accounts from Margaret Coble.

ok, i really need to get to bed so that i can walk the dogs tomorrow, but i’m wound up from my day and also my ac in my bedroom isn’t working so i’m sweaty hot. but i could scroll endlessly trying to catch up on all that i couldn’t see today and all that was going on in other locations in BR and around the country. but i gotta at least try to get some sleep.

i didn’t go there today thinking there would really be any conflict. i was going to a peaceful march and rally organized by youth activists of BR. though the march took off a little earlier than the time they’d posted widely, it otherwise went off without a hitch, mobilizing thousands of people to march to the capital through the largely empty downtown area. the rally was great, with several brilliant young people speaking truth, offering poems and prayers, and just generally being so strong and amazing. and then we marched back to the methodist church where we’d first assembled, back to government street.

and then, there was no plan. folks stood around in the parking lot; some folks lined govt st. with their posters and banners and chanted; and eventually, someone got on a bullhorn and said why don’t we march to airline hwy. (i’m assuming they were going to the BRPD, where there had been a protest going on for much of the afternoon already.) so some folks took off down govt to do just that, but not everyone had heard and lots of folks were just standing around confused. some folks, mostly white, started to leave to go home.

tom Nolan

Tom Nolan @ThomasNolan Criminology Professor @ Merrimack College, 27-year veteran (former lieutenant) @ Boston police department

we spent a few minutes google mapping to try to figure out how far it was away and whether we should maybe just drive there so we didn’t have to walk back (we are old and had already marched a lot)… so we headed towards our car and started making our way to that destination. when suddenly, about a dozen cop cars came whizzing past us in the other direction, going back to where we’d just come from, and it took us only a few beats to realize what was happening – they were going to cut the marchers off, keep them from getting to airline. (i also think they maybe thought the group was going to block the interstate, but i never heard that as a plan.)

so we turned around and headed back, taking back streets cuz govt was now blocked off, and we parked in some random business parking lot but with an easy exit access. and then we all quickly figured out how to use fb live cuz none of us had used it before and i’d forgotten to download periscope onto my phone… and well, you saw the rest. (and if you didn’t, just scroll back on my timeline.)

i can’t unsee what i saw today. it’s not that i never believed it before or didn’t get it – because obviously i did – but it’s kind of driven home in a whole new way when you’re right there seeing the line of riot cops coming at you a few feet away. and when you see a random protestor who is maybe chanting louder and angrier than others around him suddenly get ambushed by several cops who came outta nowhere, specifically targeting him amongst a crowd of others, plowing him and his partner down to the ground and violently arresting him. one of the cops pushed me out of the way as he was making his way to him. they came from behind us, as we were standing across the street from the line of riot cops. it was so sneaky. and unnecessary.

pretty much all of what i witnessed today was unnecessary. NO ONE in that crowd today was violent in any way. people were just exercising their constitutional rights to protest and make themselves heard. peacefully. and at some point, even on someone’s private property they had been invited onto. none of it mattered. the cops didn’t want us there, they’d had enough, so they used that awful siren/alarm thing that hurts your ears (wish i’d remembered earplugs – put that on the protest list of things to bring), eventually used some tear gas, tased the fuck out of some poor guy that they took down really violently, and brought in the hummer/tanks and riot gear, shields and all. it was all just so ridiculous really, but yet, ridiculous isn’t a word i can use when i witnessed people get unnecessarily hurt and arrested. last night i know they arrested a few journalists; today, they arrested at least one legal observer (really? wtf?!!). i don’t know what the total count was but it was a goodly amount.

i just don’t understand it. they created a dangerous situation where there was none to begin with. boys with their military toys is what i saw. testosterone poisoning in action. this is not what policing should be, if there should be any policing at all. WE are paying their salaries. to harass and arrest us. and, well, if you’re black, maybe kill, too.

watch the videos that people have posted. look at the pictures. read the first-hand accounts, not the stupid news channels’ accounts, but the social media accounts from real people who were there. i know what i saw. i can’t ever unsee that. and while there were maybe only a few moments where i personally ever felt unsafe – of course, my white skin privilege in action (but also we worked hard to not be up in the mix of it – none of us had gone there today intending to get arrested) – it was a scary scene there today where there didn’t need to be. at all.

i hope everyone who was arrested is ok. we did our part by identifying the guy and his partner who got arrested next to us and called the legal guild on their behalf. and gave their friend who rode there with them, someone we knew who was wandering around looking for them, a ride home, since she no longer had one.

[exhale]

thank you everyone who checked in throughout the day, offered advice and prayers and sent protective woo. it was helpful knowing there were lots of you out there tracking us.

ok. now i try to go to sleep.

While I was very afraid for the health and safety of folks that I knew attended the protest, I was even more concerned about this black woman who gave permission for about 100 people to stand on her property.  Their first amendment rights were violated.  Her fourth amendments rights were decimated.

This woman had her constitutional rights violated — her “right to pursue happiness” in her own home was violated by out-of-control police officers, who appeared as if they were conducting urban warfare in Fallujah, Iraq. 

And, let’s be clear, the homeowner was committing no crimes.

Can you imagine this kind of police response to an out-of-control pool party in a wealthy white suburb — with underage drinking, weed smoking and coke snorting, and prodigious noise violations? Nope!

I want to be crystal clear: American police officers are absolutely out-of-control.

Even when hundreds — thousands? — of people were engaging in violent behavior in Marseille, France following a football game, the French police showed more restraint than American police — in Ferguson, Baton Rouge, and New York City — show when confronted by a peaceful protest, where the only “crime” committed is blocking traffic for a few hours.

I truly believe, having traveled all over the world, including in a number of post-conflict countries, that American police are some of the world’s least restrained.

And, in communities like Baton Rouge with a history of social exclusion, racism, segregation and slavery, I suspect the police response is pathological: racist officers triggered to commit acts of violence against black people refusing to “know their place.”

Ironically, though, it’s American police officers that must “know their place.” Until the Justice Department starts dropping the hammer on local police departments, we’ll continue to see the basic constitutional rights of minority citizens violated, and we’ll continue to see execution-style deaths of black men and women, boys and girls.

The job of a police officer is to protect the constitutional rights of citizens — life, free speech, property. The job of a police officer is not to demand obedience. I truly believe many, many American officers fail to understand this crucial distinction. 

NYDN Cover taken by my very talented friend Megan Braden-Perry

NYDN Cover taken by my very talented friend Megan Braden-Perry.  Please go read the story on the Alton Sterling shooting.

This is getting long and it’s not as cogent as I really wanted it to be because there are so many more things to write about and say here including the experience of DeRay and others.  I’m going to just let some of this soak in for awhile as I work.  I did want to get the post up. I did want to do some of this while my shock, awe, grief, worry and frustration was raw and evident.

We should never take anything for granted here because there are folks that really don’t know what they’re doing out there in positions of authority.  Just as women need to be warned not to do things to invite rape, black children are warned not to do things to attract police attention.  This is similar but not quite the same because black parents are teaching black children to be afraid of their own government and the people they pay to protect them.

I can relate to this on the level that I adjust my behavior and dress to avoid sexual assault, harassment, etc. but that’s by one man or a group of men and at worst they’re colleagues or bosses or part of a social group.   It’s not a huge group of people that  are part of our government hired to serve and protect. It’s highly systemic. It’s not just one or two bad actors. How can any one think that having to teach your kids to behave differently because of your own government’s unconstitutional behavior is anything but the repressive effects of pernicious institutional racism?  

No black person is safe or immune.  Not one.   (H/T to Lester Perryman.) Abhorrent treatment and disrespect doesn’t depend on their profession, their education, their job status or anything other than pigmentation.  That is the ultimate message and impact of the statement we should all feel deeply:  BLACK LIVES MATTER!

We divided our lives between a house in a liberal New York suburb and an apartment on Park Avenue, sent our three kids to a diverse New York City private school, and outfitted them with the accoutrements of success: preppy clothes, perfect diction and that air of quiet graciousness. We convinced ourselves that the economic privilege we bestowed on them could buffer these adolescents against what so many black and Latino children face while living in mostly white settings: being profiled by neighbors, followed in stores and stopped by police simply because their race makes them suspect.

But it happened nevertheless in July, when I was 100 miles away.

It was a Tuesday afternoon when my 15-year-old son called from his academic summer program at a leafy New England boarding school and told me that as he was walking across campus, a gray Acura with a broken rear taillight pulled up beside him. Two men leaned out of the car and glared at him.

“Are you the only nigger at Mellon Academy*?” one shouted.

Certain that he had not heard them correctly, my son moved closer to the curb, and asked politely, “I’m sorry; I didn’t hear you.”

But he had heard correctly. And this time the man spoke more clearly. “Only …nigger,” he said with added emphasis.

My son froze. He dropped his backpack in alarm and stepped back from the idling car. The men honked the horn loudly and drove off, their laughter echoing behind them.

Black Lives Matter.  ALL of them!! No American should experience this level of civil rights violations let alone an entire class of people.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


Sunday Comics: Relief 


After getting through the violence and horror of last week…


We all can do with a laugh.

So today’s post is devoted to political cartoons…granted many are not “laugh out loud” per say, but they are on point.

Starting with Pat Bagley, as far as cartoonist go…in my opinion…Bagley is up there with Luckovich as one of my favorite political cartoonist of today.

 

 

 

Next up…Luckovich!

07/10 Mike Luckovich: I have a scream. | Mike Luckovich

lk071016_color

07/08 Mike Luckovich: Punishable by… | Mike Luckovich

lk070816_color

 

Nick Anderson…

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Dallas Police Officers: 07/10/2016 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Dallas Police Officers

07/10/2016 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

07/10/2016 Cartoon by Nate Beeler

Cartoon by Nate Beeler -

Senseless Killings: 07/10/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Senseless Killings

Gun epidemic: 07/09/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Gun epidemic

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 07/09/2016 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

07/09/2016 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

07/09/2016 Cartoon by Chan Lowe

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

07/08/2016 Cartoon by Kevin Siers

Cartoon by Kevin Siers -

Good Cop, Bad Cop: 07/08/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Good Cop, Bad Cop

07/08/2016 Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez

Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez -

07/08/2016 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

07/07/2016 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

07/07/2016 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

07/06/2016 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump vets Veeps: 07/08/2016 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump vets Veeps

Declaration of Trump: 07/03/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Declaration of Trump

Running Mate: 07/08/2016 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Running Mate

07/07/2016 Cartoon by John Cole

Cartoon by John Cole -

And the last cartoon for today:

WHAT tRUMP SEES: 07/07/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - WHAT tRUMP SEES

This is an open thread…


Lazy Saturday Reads: America the Violent

 GunMap420

Good Morning!!

We’ve arrived at the end of another terrible week in America. When will it end? Never, until we do something about the availability of guns–especially military grade weapons that are designed for the express purpose of killing human beings.

I’m going to begin with an excerpt from an essay at NBC News by Shorky Eldaly II: An America I See in the Distance. Eldaly was likely writing before the massacre in Dallas took place; his piece is mostly about police killings of Black people. Please do read the whole thing at the link.

Hours after the first report of another American, another father, another son, killed without the provocation all I could do was repeat this mantra to myself as I searched my home, for something to remind me of why we must go on; why we’re not allowed to give up on an America that seems, in some ways, now more distant than ever.

Today our nation struggles to find its breath after the loss of Alton Sterling. As we are still grieving the loss of life in Orlando I try, alongside the rest of the world, to make sense of the loss of Philando Castile.

In the barrage of questions being posed by experts on television screens and news feed updates, I whisper back, “Where are our solutions?” And I apologize (to who or what I am unsure) for not having done enough, in the wake of these executions.

Amidst these acts of terrorism, I am left at a loss for not just words, but of an ability to fully comprehend the true amount of loss we’ve suffered. I’m searching for an America I can still believe in.

Eldaly asks the questions all decent Americans are asking–where is the America we once believed in? When can we be proud of our country again? Or did that country never truly exist except in our imaginations?

This week we’ve seen the convergence of our national plague of mass shootings and the disastrous effects of racism on the way laws are enforced. The Dallas shooter Mikah Johnson claimed he was angry about Black people being murdered by police. In Tennesee, Lakeem Keon Scott may also have been motivated by anger at recent police shootings. He killed Jennifer Rooney, a letter carrier and wounded three others, including a police officer. At the same time, many police officers say say they feel under siege from people who are angry at police-involved shootings around the country.

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As Eldaly asks, “Where are our solutions?” Not in Congress, as long as Republicans are utterly beholden to the NRA. A bit more from his essay:

I know we must encompass something more than sense of power to create change. We must restore a sense of compassion and freedom that illuminates the rhetoric of America’s founders. Though these notions of compassion and freedom were not applicable to the nation’s current populous, America can be, and has already in many ways been re-founded and re-defined in the 21st century.

It is by the hands of those, like my parents, who sought and chose to be American that America has been redefined. Their sacrifice establishes the vision that, for most of its life, has been America’s fairy tale. It is in their lives, and the lives of their children, that I see the evidence that we can grow, that we will be great.

It is in that same vein that Black Lives mattering is not a negation of the rights of other individuals, but a needed imperative to correct the record for a nation whose Congress once legislated the counting of people as property and now sanctions their death at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve.

Because, in truth, the men and women who live narratives of hate — regardless of race — are no more American, than those who look to divide us and foster hate or fear within us. These individuals are terrorists and nothing short of that.

For each of those who work against equity, of life, of liberty, to those who kill the innocent — for each one of us you kill — you only strengthen our resolve.

You only strengthen the discipline with which we hold ourselves accountable, increasing the heights we dare to dream.

We are the sons and daughters of men and women who against insurmountable odds survived, who in every moment inhabit the American ideals in ways that our forefathers could not have imagined.

We can not allow violence or fear, to shrink us back or lead us to hate or division, because in ways that only love can sustain — we are dreamers, we are doers, and we are, in our resilience and resolve, bravery, selflessness, and love.

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During her campaign for president, Hillary Clinton has said repeatedly that we need more love and kindness in this country. This morning I got an email from the Clinton campaign–you probably got it too. I’m going to post the whole thing here:

Like so many people across America, I have been following the news of the past few days with horror and grief.

On Tuesday, Alton Sterling, father of five, was killed in Baton Rouge — approached by the police for selling CDs outside a convenience store. On Wednesday, Philando Castile, 32 years old, was killed outside Minneapolis — pulled over by the police for a broken tail light.

And last night in Dallas, during a peaceful protest related to those killings, a sniper targeted police officers — five have died: Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, and Lorne Ahrens. Their names, too, will be written on our hearts.

What can one say about events like these? It’s hard to know where to start. For now, let’s focus on what we already know, deep in our hearts: There is something wrong in our country.

There is too much violence, too much hate, too much senseless killing, too many people dead who shouldn’t be. No one has all the answers. We have to find them together. Indeed, that is the only way we can find them.

Let’s begin with something simple but vital: listening to each other.

White Americans need to do a better job of listening when African Americans talk about seen and unseen barriers faced daily. We need to try, as best we can, to walk in one another’s shoes. To imagine what it would be like if people followed us around stores, or locked their car doors when we walked past, or if every time our children went to play in the park, or just to the store to buy iced tea and Skittles, we said a prayer: “Please God, don’t let anything happen to my baby.”

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Let’s also put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous job we need them to do. Remember what those officers in Dallas were doing when they died: They were protecting a peaceful march. When gunfire broke out and everyone ran to safety, the police officers ran the other way — into the gunfire. That’s the kind of courage our police and first responders show all across America.

We need to ask ourselves every single day: What can I do to stop violence and promote justice? How can I show that your life matters — that we have a stake in another’s safety and well-being?

Elie Wiesel once said that “the opposite of love is not hate — it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death — it’s indifference.”

None of us can afford to be indifferent toward each other — not now, not ever. We have a lot of work to do, and we don’t have a moment to lose. People are crying out for criminal justice reform. People are also crying out for relief from gun violence. The families of the lost are trying to tell us. We need to listen. We need to act.

I know that, just by saying all these things together, I may upset some people.

I’m talking about criminal justice reform the day after a horrific attack on police officers. I’m talking about courageous, honorable police officers just a few days after officer-involved killings in Louisiana and Minnesota. I’m bringing up guns in a country where merely talking about comprehensive background checks, limits on assault weapons and the size of ammunition clips gets you demonized.

But all these things can be true at once.

We do need police and criminal justice reforms, to save lives and make sure all Americans are treated as equal in rights and dignity.

We do need to support police departments and stand up for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect us.

We do need to reduce gun violence.

We may disagree about how, but surely we can all agree with those basic premises. Surely this week showed us how true they are.

I’ve been thinking today about a passage from Scripture that means a great deal to me — maybe you know it, too:

“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”

There is good work for us to do, to find a path ahead for all God’s children. There are lost lives to redeem and bright futures to claim. We must not lose heart.

May the memory of those we’ve lost light our way toward the future our children deserve.

Thank you,

Hillary

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Now here are some links for you to explore:

New York Times: Suspect in Dallas Attack had Interest in Black Power Groups.

ABC News: Gun Used in Dallas Massacre Similar to Other Mass Shootings.

Los Angeles Times: Dallas police used a robot to kill a gunman, a new tactic that raises ethical questions.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Piedmont Park hanging referred to FBI.

New York Daily News: Trump barred from speaking to NYPD officers; Bratton says Dallas tragedy not a photo op.

The New Republic: The Return of Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

The Washington Post: The math of mass shootings.

The Chicago Tribune: Ex-Illinois Rep. Walsh says Twitter took down Dallas tweet ‘Watch out Obama.’

Buzzfeed: Trump Bought $120,000 Luxury Trip With Trump Foundation Money At 2008 Charity Auction.

The Atlantic: The Republican Party’s White Strategy.

Bloomberg: Sanders’ Influence Fades Ahead of Clinton Endorsement.

What else is happening? What stories are you following today?