Thursday Reads: Ferguson, Missouri is a War Zone

Ferguson2

Good Morning!!

I spent most of the day and night yesterday following the shocking events in Ferguson, Missouri. As I read articles and tweets and studied violent images of police dressed as soldiers and riding in military vehicles, I had repeated flashbacks to the Civil Rights era. Except in those days, police weren’t outfitted with surplus military equipment provided by the Federal government. Back then, the cops had to resort to fire hoses to force people off the streets; but in Ferguson, St. Louis police are equipped with MRAPs (mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles) and LRADs (long-range acoustic devices).

Ferguson isn’t a large city, and reporters on the ground estimated the size of the “crowd” at somewhere between 150 and 250 people, who were largely protesting peacefully by holding their hands in the air and chanting “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” It’s long past time for Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (a Democrat) to step in and tell the cops to calm down and put away their military toys. If he won’t take action, then President Obama should instruct Attorney General Holder to do it.

The protests follow the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a still-unnamed Ferguson policeman last Saturday afternoon. Brown “had no criminal background,” according to KDSK.com. Police claim that Brown struggled with the officer and tried to grab his gun. But that makes no sense. Why did the officer choose to stop Brown as he peacefully walked down the street with a friend? That friend, Dorian Johnson tells a different version of events.

From USA Today: Witness to Michael Brown shooting comes forward.

Dorian Johnson said he was standing inches from Brown when the shooting occurred around 1:40 p.m. Saturday. He gave his account of the shooting to KSDK-TV.

“The officer is approaching us and as he pulled up on the side of us, he didn’t say freeze, halt or anything like we were committing a crime. He said, ‘Get the F on the sidewalk.’

After Johnson said the officer thrust open the door of his patrol car, hitting the pair, Johnson said the officer grabbed Brown around the neck and tried to pull him through the window. He said Brown never tried to reach for the officer’s weapon.

“The second time he says, ‘I’ll shoot,’ a second later the gun went off and he let go,” Johnson said. “That’s how we were able to run at the same time. The first car I see, I ducked behind for because I fear for my life. I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t understand why this officer is shooting his weapon at us.”

According to Johnson, the officer pursued Brown and fired another shot. which struck Brown in the back. He said Brown turned and faced the officer with his hands raised.

“My friend started to tell the officer that he was unarmed and that he could stop shooting (him),” Johnson said. “Before he could get his second sentence out, the officer fired several more shots into his head and chest area. He fell dramatically into the fatal position. I did not hear once he yell freeze, stop or halt. it was just horrible to watch.”

Unfortunately for the officer who killed Brown, two more witnesses have now come forward. From CNN:

While Michael Brown appeared to tussle with an officer before he was shot dead, he didn’t enter the police cruiser as authorities claim he did, two witnesses told CNN.

The women’s accounts corroborate that of a previous witness, all three of whom said the officer fatally shot the unarmed teen.

Police have said the black 18-year-old died in a dangerous struggle after trying to grab the officer’s weapon. Not so, say the witnesses.

“It looked as if Michael was pushing off and the cop was trying to pull him in,” Tiffany Mitchell told CNN on Wednesday night.

Mitchell had driven to Ferguson to pick up another woman Piaget Crenshaw. The two women witnessed the shooting from two different angles–Mitchell from her car and Crenshaw from a building nearby.

Neither woman, who gave their statements to St. Louis County police, say they saw Brown enter the vehicle.

Instead, a shot went off, then the teen broke free, and the officer got out of the vehicle in pursuit, the women said.

“I saw the police chase him … down the street and shoot him down,” Crenshaw said. Brown ran about 20 feet.

“Michael jerks his body, as if he’s been hit,” Mitchell said.

Then he faced the officer and put his hands in the air, but the officer kept firing, both women said. He sank to the pavement.

The protests in Ferguson, a town in which the population is 2/3 black but the political leadership and police force are overwhelmingly white, are largely driven by the fact that police will not name the shooter or released the results of Brown’s autopsy, despite Missouri’s sunshine law.

August 13, 2014: A device deployed by police goes off in the street as police and protesters clash in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

August 13, 2014: A device deployed by police goes off in the street as police and protesters clash in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

From The New York Times: Anonymity in Missouri Police Shooting Fuels Frustration.

FERGUSON, Mo. — In the five days since an unarmed young black man was fatally shot by a police officer here, the selective release of information about the shooting, and especially the anonymity granted to the officer, has stoked frustrations in this largely African-American community north of St. Louis, where residents describe increasingly tense relations with the police.

The police chief, Thomas Jackson, has repeatedly declined to identify the officer, who has been put on administrative leave. But on Wednesday, the chief did offer a new detail about the shooting, which has kindled nights of racial unrest and an unyielding police response with tear gas, rubber bullets and arrests.

Jackson claims there have been threats against the police officer and he needs protection. So why not simply arrest him for murder and send his family to a safer location? Instead, Wilson called in law enforcement support from St. Louis and enabled an incredible overreaction to largely peaceful protests. From the Times article:

On Wednesday night, scores of police officers in riot gear and in armored trucks showed up to disperse protesters who had gathered on the streets near the scene of the shooting. Some officers perched atop the vehicles with their guns trained on the crowds while protesters chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” A police spokesman said that some demonstrators had thrown Molotov cocktails at officers and that some had tried to set fires. The police used tear gas on demonstrators, and some protesters said rubber bullets had been fired at them. Police said one officer appeared to have suffered a broken ankle after being hit by a brick.

The police made more than 10 arrests. Among those arrested was Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman, who had been documenting the protests on social media, his wife said on Twitter.

Two reporters covering the protests also said they had been arrested inside a McDonald’s for trespassing and later released without charges or an explanation. The reporters, Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of The Huffington Post, both said they had been handled roughly by the police.

If you don’t read anything else on the events in Ferguson, read this article and look at the photos.

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More recommended stories:

Mashable: Ferguson or Iraq? Photos Unmask the Militarization of America’s Police.

As America scaled back its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2012, military gear — amphibious tanks, weapons, uniforms and drones — spilled into local police arsenals. In June, an ACLU report warned of the “excessive militarization” of local law enforcement. “This has the effect of terrifying people, destroying communities and actually undermining public safety,” Kara Dansky, ACLU senior counsel, told Mashable in June.

The photos below show the heavily armed Ferguson police officers, dressed in camouflaged uniforms. They are set side-by-side with images of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of the photo comparisons below. Which was taken in Ferguson and which in Iraq?

Militarization of Police 02

 

NBC News: Michael Brown Killing: Missouri Governor to Visit as Unrest Grows in Ferguson.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said he would visit the St. Louis suburbs Thursday after police fired tear gas to break up crowds in a fourth night of civil unrest over the police killing of an unarmed black teenager.

Sixteen people were arrested, including two reporters, on Wednesday night in the suburb of Ferguson, and police said that two officers were injured, one hit by a brick, NBC affiliate KSDK reported….

Nixon said in a statement that the worsening situation in Ferguson was “deeply troubling.” He canceled a planned visit to the state fair. “While we all respect the solemn responsibility of our law enforcement officers to protect the public, we must also safeguard the rights of Missourians to peaceably assemble and the rights of the press to report on matters of public concern,” he said.

Too little, too late, IMHO.

The Baltimore Sun: Riots in Ferguson and what they mean, by Leonard Pitts.

To believe that this carnage — the windows smashed, the buildings torched, the tear gas wafting — is all about the killing of Michael Brown is to miss the point….

Because, again, this is not just about Brown. It’s about Eric Garner, choked to death in a confrontation with New York City Police. It’s about Jordan Davis, shot to death in Jacksonville, Florida, because he played his music too loud. It’s about Trayvon Martin, shot to death in Sanford, Florida, because a self-appointed neighborhood guardian judged him a thug. It’s about Oscar Grant, shot by a police officer in an Oakland, California, subway station as cellphone cameras watched. It’s about Amadou Diallo, executed in that vestibule and Abner Louima, sodomized with that broomstick. It’s about Rodney King.

And it is about the bitter sense of siege that lives in African-American men, a sense that it is perpetually open season on us.

And that too few people outside of African America really notice, much less care. People who look like you are every day deprived of health, wealth, freedom, opportunity, education, the benefit of the doubt, the presumption of innocence, life itself — and when you try to say this, even when you document it with academic studies and buttress it with witness testimony, people don’t want to hear it, people dismiss you, deny you, lecture you about white victimhood, chastise you for playing a so-called “race card.”

They choke off avenues of protest, prizing silence over justice, mistaking silence for peace. And never mind that sometimes, silence simmers like water in a closed pot on a high flame….the anger we see in Ferguson did not spring from nowhere, nor arrive, fully-formed, when Michael Brown was shot. It is the anger of people who are, as Fannie Lou Hamer famously said, sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Silence imposed on pain cannot indefinitely endure. People who are hurting will always, eventually, make themselves heard.

The only problem with Pitts’ column is that there haven’t been any actual “riots” in Ferguson yet–unless you count what the police are doing as rioting.

Riverfront Times: Watch Police in Ferguson Arrest, Tear Gas Journalists [VIDEO]

Police actions against press seem to be part of the reason Governor Jay Nixon finally decided to cut his Missouri State Fair trip short. The governor says he’ll arrive in St. Louis County Thursday morning to manage what’s increasingly becoming a volatile, violent and devastating time in St. Louis history.

SWAT officers arrested Wesley Lowery, a political reporter at TheWashington Post, and Ryan Reilly, a Huffington Post justice reporter, shortly before 7 p.m. while clearing out a McDonalds near the protests where they were working. The reporters say police asked for their identification and eventually arrested them when they weren’t leaving quickly enough.

The journalists say they were arrested without being read their Miranda writes and eventually released with nothing — no charges, no police report, no names of arresting officers. The Los Angeles Times says police only released them after their reporter alerted the chief of Ferguson Police (His response: “Oh, god,”), who then called St. Louis County Police.

Late last night, police in Ferguson also tried to order the media to shut off their cameras, and they attacked journalists from Al Jazeera and confiscated their equipment. 

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill decided last night that it was time for her to take some action, since Governor Nixon wasn’t doing it. She will meet with Eric Holder today to discuss the Ferguson situation.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says she has a phone call planned with Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday to discuss the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where an apparently unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by a police officer last weekend.

Amid clashes in the St. Louis suburb Wednesday night, the senator tweeted that she’s been working the phones to try to deescalate the “tense and unacceptable situation.” ….

Holder and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett briefed President Obama Wednesday and the president will receive another briefing Thursday.

I’ll have to end there, because this post is getting way too long. I’ll post more important links in the comments. I’ll leave it to you Sky Dancers to update me on the rest of the news. I’ve been too focuses on Ferguson to pay attention to anything else. See you in the comment thread.


Tuesday Evening Reads

Good Evening. I’m filling in for Minkoff Minx tonight, as she prepares for her surgery tomorrow.

I just heard on MSNBC that NBC News has already called the DC and Maryland primaries for Mitt Romney. The polls close in Wisconsin at 9PM Eastern, but Romney is expected to win there also.

As I wrote this morning, folks in Wisconsin are much more excited about the vote to recall Governor Scott Walker, which takes place in June, than they are about today’s Republican primary. Along those lines, John Nichols has an interesting piece in The Nation about why Walker has been avoiding talking about or being seen with the Republican candidates, despite the fact that Romney and Santorum have been praising Walker’s anti-labor agenda to the skies in hopes of gaining votes.

Romney’s major appearance in the vicinity of the state’s second largest city, Madison, was on Saturday at a suburban call center where Walker backers are trying—in preparation for the recall race—to identify supporters of the governor. Romney used the event, as he has others across the state, to hail Walker as a “hero.”

Santorum, who actually made calls at a Walker office last week, has been even more effusive in his praise of the embattled governor, telling crowds they have to work to prevent the recalls of Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. “Please continue to lead and defend these two great public officials,” he told the crowd in Waukesha County.

But you won’t hear Walker thanking the presidential candidates for their support. Even when the governor is in the vicinity of the GOP contenders—at party functions, for instance—he leaves a good distance between himself and Romney and Santorum. And as the primary approaches, Walker is scheduling himself away from the candidates.

Why? Because the governor recognizes that he is in the fight of his political life, and the last thing he wants is to reemphasize why that fight has developed by appearing with Republican presidential candidates who are highlighting precisely the policies that got Walker in political hot water.

Also in Wisconsin, police have identified a suspect in the yesterday’s Planned Parenthood bombing attempt, but they aren’t naming him yet.

Police say they have arrested the person they think placed a homemade explosive device that went off Sunday and damaged Planned Parenthood’s Gillett Street clinic.

Police said today they identified the man after reviewing surveillance footage.

The 50-year-old man Brillion man was jailed early Tuesday for violating his probation, though police haven’t yet sought charges stemming from placement of the explosive and subsequent fire at the clinic. The man has a lengthy criminal history that includes cocaine possession and delivery, resisting or obstructing police, bail jumping and disorderly conduct.

“The focus today is to determine what else we can discover that might link this person to the situation,” said Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson.

There were some terrible tornadoes in the the Dallas, Texas area this afternoon.

Tornadoes and violent storms raked through the Dallas area Tuesday, crumbling the wing of a nursing home, peeling roofs from dozens of homes and spiraling big-rig trailers into the air like footballs. More than a dozen injuries were reported.

Overturned cars left streets unnavigable and flattened trucks clogged highway shoulders. Preliminary estimates were that six to 12 tornadoes had touched down in North Texas, senior National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Martello said. But firm numbers would only come after survey teams checked damage Wednesday, he said.

In suburban Dallas, Lancaster Police officer Paul Beck said 10 people were injured, two of them severely. Three people were injured in Arlington, including two residents of a nursing home who were taken to a hospital with minor injuries after swirling winds clipped the building, city assistant fire chief Jim Self said.

“Of course the windows were flying out, and my sister is paralyzed, so I had to get someone to help me get her in a wheelchair to get her out of the room,” said Joy Johnston, who was visiting her 79-year-old sister at the Green Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “It was terribly loud.”

It sounds pretty bad, but so far no deaths have been reported. I sure hope it stays that way.

Can the judicial branch “order” the executive branch to do something? According to a Fox News headline, they can: Judges order Justice Department to clarify Obama remarks on health law case. Funny, I thought the three branches of government were independent of each other.

A federal appeals court is striking back after President Obama cautioned the Supreme Court against overturning the health care overhaul and warned that such an act would be “unprecedented.”

A three-judge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the Justice Department to explain by Thursday whether the administration believes judges have the power to strike down a federal law.

One justice in particular chided the administration for what he said was being perceived as a “challenge” to judicial authority — referring directly to Obama’s latest comments about the Supreme Court’s review of the health care case….

“Does the Department of Justice recognize that federal courts have the authority in appropriate circumstances to strike federal statutes because of one or more constitutional infirmities?” Judge Jerry Smith asked at the hearing.

Justice Department attorney Dana Lydia Kaersvang answered “yes” to that question.

Fine, but the President has the same first amendment rights as any citizen, and judges can’t tell him what to say or not say. These “conservative” justices are getting too big for their britches, if you ask me.

I wrote this morning that Florida states attorney Norman Wolfinger had accused Trayvon Martin’s parent of “outright lies” in their request for help from the Justice Department. Today the parents and their attorneys struck back: This family deserves answers.

[Natalie Jackson, a lawyer for Trayvon’s parents] said the family is “asking the same questions that the American people are asking.” She added, in a pointed rebuke of Wolfinger, who, an anonymous source told theGrio, personally met with the chief on the night of the shooting, February 26th, after which the decision to release Zimmerman was made: “the family is getting the same information the public is getting, through the media, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be. They should be getting it from the source.”

Jackson said Wolfinger’s office failed to keep the family informed when he had the case, and added, “the only source who can get answers for this family at this point, is the Justice Department.”

Jackson said Trayvon’s parents have a core question: “why was George Zimmerman not arrested that night? Why did [Wolfinger’s office and Sanford police] say there was no probable cause? We as Americans see there was probable cause. That is the core of the problem. If the state attorney had answered that question, we wouldn’t be here. But it’s not acceptable to ignore the family. So let’s not attack these parents when all they want to know is what happened to their dead child. Because no matter what, their child was walking home from the store. If George Zimmerman had stayed in his car, we wouldn’t be here. The lead homicide detective believed there should be an arrest. Why wasn’t [Zimmerman] arrested?”

Jackson said that since no local law enforcement representatives will answer the family’s questions, they don’t see any other way to get answers than through the Justice Department. MSNBC reported that FBI agents were interviewing witnesses today. I have a strong feeling that Sanford police and Wolfinger are going to get their comeuppance eventually.

Zimmerman’s strongest defender in the neighborhood, Frank Taaffee, isn’t doing his pal George any favors. He went on a “rant” about “young black males” in an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien.

“Neighbor-hood, that’s a great word,” Taaffe said, chuckling. “We had eight burglaries in our neighborhood, all perpetrated by young black males in the 15 months prior to Trayvon being shot.”

O’Brien asked how many arrests and convictions there were, and Taffee said there was only one. So how does he know the burglaries were all committed by “young black males?” But despite the lack of arrests, Taffee claims to know.

“It sounds like you are saying that it made sense to you that George Zimmerman would be fearful of young black men,” O’Brien observed.

“No, it would be consistent that the perpetrators were all of the young black male ID,” Taaffe explained. “All of the perpetrators of the prior burglaries were young black males. … You know, there’s an old saying that if you plant corn, you get corn.”

“If you plant corn, you get corn. What does that mean?” O’Brien wondered.

“It is what it is,” Taaffe replied. “I would go on record stating, of the eight prior burglaries in the 15 months prior to the Trayvon Martin shooting, all of the perpetrators were young black males. … No disrespect to George Clooney, but it was a perfect storm. All the ingredients were set up. You know, the prior burglaries were committed or perpetrated by young black males, George was on his [neighborhood watch] rounds.”

Interestingly, Taaffe has a criminal history similar to Zimmerman’s. Taffee has been arrested for violating protective order against him for domestic violence.

Someone at DU posted Taafee’s full criminal record. He was arrested for beating up his wife (now ex-wife) in 1999, 2000, and 2008 and for harassing his children in 2002. They also got a restraining order against him. He was convicted of criminal trespass and petty theft in 2000 and sentenced to 9 months in jail. And he was charged with failure to pay child support in 1999. Nice guy, huh?

This will give you some news to chew on. The Wisconsin results should be coming in a few minutes.


Left Out of the “Furor” over the Contraception Rule: WOMEN

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says it very well. Surprise!! She’s a woman! She knows whereof she speaks. From Care 2:

Sens. Gillibrand and Boxer, along with seven Democratic senators and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are appealing to backers on all of their websites to sign on to the “One Million Strong For Women” in hopes of harnessing this energy and using it to make a strong defense for women’s rights.

Sen. Gillibrand made the pitch to supporters in an email. “Our opponents tried to defund Planned Parenthood, in the federal budget and in many states. They tried to destroy our Medicare and Medicaid lifelines, which would be particularly devastating to women,” the email says. “They tried to get the Susan G. Komen Foundation to cut off support for Planned Parenthood.”

Two male Senators, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut joined with Gillibrand, Boxer, and Patty Murray to stand up for women’s autonomy and control over their own bodies.

Weighing in the side of those who know nothing about being a woman and fighting for the freedom to decide when and how to have children, Vice President Joe Biden:

In his first public comments on the decision, Biden told Cincinnati radio station WLW that he is “determined to see that this gets worked out, and I believe we can work it out.”

Biden, the nation’s first Catholic vice president, was among the top aides who had warned President Barack Obama that the decision could be politically explosive, particularly with Catholics, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

“As a practicing Catholic, I am of the view that this can be worked out and should be worked out. And I know the president feels the same way,” Biden said.

Work what out Joe? A way to let Catholic Bishops control American women’s choices about their own bodies? STFU, Joe. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

John Boehner opened his big fat mouth too:

“If the president does not reverse the [Health and Human Services] Department’s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution we are sworn to uphold and defend, must,” Boehner said in a rare floor speech.

“In imposing this requirement, the federal government is violating a First Amendment right that has stood for more than two centuries. And it is doing so in a manner that affects millions of Americans and harms some of our nation’s most vital institutions.”

Oh really? Well, you are full of sh&t, John. You have no idea what you’re talking about. This is not about the First Amendment. It’s about women’s access to health care. STFU, John.

The same goes for Chris Matthews, Mark Shields, E.J. Dionne, Mike Barnicle, Joe Scarborough, and all the rest of the male punditry who seem to believe they have the right to control women’s choices and their access to basic health care. STFU!! Go find something useful to do and butt out of American women’s lives!

Most of all, the Catholic Bishops and the other fundamentalist religious fanatics who insist on pontificating on issues that affect women’s bodies need to STFU! Hey, I have an idea! How about doing something about the abuse of children by the clergy?

It’s time for women and the men who support them to do the talking. It’s time for men who think they own women and rule their health care choices to listen for a change.


Saturday Reads: Is that a Giant Weta in your pocket, or are you just pretending to be Herman Cain…

Good Morning!

Minx here with you today and tomorrow…so let’s get the party started.

Well, it is an exciting day…this afternoon at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, LSU and UGA meet to decide who gets the championship of the SEC. This isn’t the only show in town…also happening today in Atlanta…Herman Cain’s big press announcement.

I am just going to go ahead and get some of the Cain stuff out-of-the-way. Here are a couple of links Boston Boomer sent me last night:  Cain launches website smearing accusers as ‘pathetic husbandless women’ | The Raw Story

Herman Cain’s struggling presidential campaign has created a new website that they say is a “fellowship of women dedicated to helping elect Herman Cain” — but the real purpose seems to be to destroy the reputation of his accusers.

While the website “Women for Cain” is chaired by Cain’s wife, Gloria Cain, it does not offer a single statement by her. Instead, it asks other women to share “thoughts and encouragement for Mr. Cain.”

The candidate has described the accusations of sexual impropriety as “character assassination on me,” but it may be the alleged victims whose characters are being assassinated with the comments his campaign has chosen to publish.

He is really trying extra hard to earn the women vote isn’t he?

Featuring a stock photo of women giving thumbs up — a photo that’s been used by numerous other websites — it quotes a woman named Barbara Dayan.

“Dear Mrs. Cain Don’t pay attention to these pathetic husbandless women who are jealous of women like you in happy long-term marriages,” Dayan wrote. “These vindictive women can’t find a husband or keep one. They are like stalkers who try to latch on to any man who shows a bit of kindness or attention to them.”

[…]

“[A]s a REAL woman I do not believe for one second any of these ‘women’ that have crawled out from under a rock somewhere to defame you and bring pain to you and your family,” Cheryl Vaglienti remarked. “They are pitiful creatures at the very least, and evil at the most. Isn’t it convenient that they have suddenly become offended by supposed advances by you now after all these years, my goodness, poor babies, how have they been able to bare up under the pain for all these oh so many years… LIARS, LIARS, LIARS…GO GET THEM HERMAN AND PLEASE DO NOT QUIT!!!!”

You can read some more comments “chosen” or should I say, “allowed” by Cain’s campaign. I don’t know, but my guess is Herman is writing his own material…if he isn’t then he must be friends with all these women, and giving them some “financial assistance,” you know…cause he is such a great guy.

In the next link, Herman Cain’s Marriage Shaken by Infidelity Charges – The Daily Beast

A close friend of one Cain’s two children explained that Herman and Gloria Cain’s marriage has seen its share of trouble over the years and his attraction to other women always played a huge role in the friction.

People Goria Cain

In this May 21, 2011 photo, Gloria Cain, left, accompanies her husband Herman Cain as he announces his run for Republican candidate for president in Atlanta. , David Goldman / AP Photo

“It never felt like a real marriage when I was around them,’’ says the friend. “Mostly he was always gone and his wife seemed to be OK with it. Not being together seemed the norm for their marriage, and Gloria didn’t seem to mind. His kids didn’t seem to mind either. ’’

The friend noted that when Cain was around, he seemed completely in his own world.

“He was king of his castle and no one questioned him,’’ says the friend. “It was an uncomfortable set-up for an outsider like me to be around. He was so indifferent to everyone. But I liked Gloria. She was warm and kind.”

Several people who know the Cain family say Gloria and Herman have even lived in separate residences over the years. “They stayed together for good face. They’re old school where you stay just because. Herman likes to give the appearance of living this holier-than-thou life. But it’s anything but,” says someone close to the family.

Well, there is a bright note to all this…it seems they have lived separate lives…for a long, long time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cain backs out of the race, and Gloria finally files for divorce.

Hey, BTW, did you see the 1986 Human Resources video from Godfather’s Pizza? Herman Cain’s 1986 Sexual Harassment Training

In this 1986 sexual harassment training video for Godfather’s Pizza, Herman Cain explains the dos and don’ts of sex in the workplace.

Ha Ha Ha…got ya didn’t I?

More after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry »


Mitt Romney: The Rational Republican Candidate?

Robert Bork

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been painted by many as the more “rational” Republican candidate for President, as compared to religious fanatics like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum, and outright crazy men like Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. But is Mitt really all that rational and reasonable? Not judging by his choice Robert Bork as co-chair of his “Legal Advisory Committee.”

In an interview with Lloyd Grove of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, Bork said that he thinks women are no longer discriminated against.

How about the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment? Does he still think it shouldn’t apply to women?

“Yeah,” he answers. “I think I feel justified by the fact ever since then, the Equal Protection Clause kept expanding in ways that cannot be justified historically, grammatically, or any other way. Women are a majority of the population now—a majority in university classrooms and a majority in all kinds of contexts. It seems to me silly to say, ‘Gee, they’re discriminated against and we need to do something about it.’ They aren’t discriminated against anymore.

Does Romney agree with that? Here are a couple more examples of Bork’s legal opinions:

I ask Bork if he still disagrees with the high court’s Griswold v. Connecticut ruling that married couples have a constitutional right to the use of contraception?

“Oh, my God, yes!”

And does he still believe that the First Amendment should be limited to political speech and not protect, as he once wrote, “any other form of expression, be it scientific, literary or…pornographic”?

“Oh yes!” he answers enthusiastically. “If you look at what they say, the First Amendment supposedly defines things like child pornography. The Supreme Court said there was a right to it. That’s actually insane.”

In the interview Bork tried to walk back his opinion of the Civil Rights Act:

Bork criticized the legislation on the ground that government coercion of “righteous” behavior is “a principle of unsurpassed ugliness.”

Now he claims that we’ve already made “the transition to a non-discriminatory society,” and he’s happy with how it all turned out.

Back in 1987, Ronald Reagan nominated Bork for the Supreme Court. Fortunately, the nomination failed, and Bork is still angry about it. Grove asked him if he had forgiven Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden kneecapping his nomination:

Even before the confirmation hearings, Ted Kennedy went on the Senate floor to describe “Robert Bork’s America” as “a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government,” and so on and so forth.

I ask Bork if he ever forgave the late Kennedy.

“I’m trying to think of how I could conceivably do that,” says Bork, a convert to Catholicism. “We’re supposed to forgive all kinds of behavior. I shouldn’t deny that I’ve forgiven somebody, or I’ll end up being assigned to the outer circles of Hell. But Ted Kennedy is a test case of the limits of forgiveness.

How about Joe Biden, who chaired his Senate hearing?

“Oh, poor Biden,” Bork says with mock sympathy. “Biden, I think, is not a very thoughtful or intelligent man.”

I think we really need some straight answers from Romney. Does he agree with Bork’s interpretations of the Constitution? If not, why did he drag this crazy man out of his well-deserved obscurity and appoint him as a top legal adviser?