One Scared White “Hero” Equals One Dead Black Monster

There is only one killer and one victim in this picture. Don’t get them confused.

In the case of the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson,  we have heard numerous current and former peace officers weigh in with both their anecdotal war stories and their “I wasn’t there, but it probably went down like this” analysis.   There are times when the opinions of those engaged in a select profession can prove to be illuminating and informative to those not familiar with the practices, procedures, rules, and how the job works.   Unfortunately, many of these cops have been all about making excuses, rationalizations and justifications of Darren Wilson and profiling, criminalizing, and convicting Mike Brown, all without a trial.

The other night I came across one such ex-cop and this is what followed.  The names have been omitted to protect the not at all innocent.

Bottom line…Michael Brown was a violent punk. In 30 years of law enforcement, ran into a lot of Michael Browns…white, black, hispanic.

When my partner and I worked the streets, and drove into a questionable situation, we would) routinely have our weapons drawn and in our lap, especially when someone was approaching our unit. The only “procedural” error I fault Officer Wilson for, is not being prepared when Brown came at him in his patrol unit.

I’m amazed at the meme coming out of Ferguson…”18 year old teenager (6’3″, 290 lbs, just committed a strong arm robbery, and then, instead of maybe being a little circumspect, walks down the middle of the street daring someone to challenge him), when Wilson arrives on scene, this asshole assaults him in his patrol unit, and gets shot.

Would really be honestly interested in knowing why the black community holds individuals like Brown in high regard as some kind of saint when black role models abound.

I do appreciate you opening up your racial stereotyping with gratuitous throwaway lines about “ran into a lot of Michael Browns…White, Black Hispanic.” How many of those other Michael Browns did you shoot when their hands were raised?

Murder By Cop

Also, where is Brown’s criminal record proving he was “a violent punk?”   Was he carrying a gun?  Had he been convicted of any robberies, rapes, or murders?   Was he inked from the top of his head to the tips of his toenails in prison tattoos from years in prison?   With all the other leaks flooding out of the Ferguson P.D. and the supposedly “secret” hearings by the  grand jury you’d think Brown’s criminal background would have come out for Fox News to breathlessly broadcast.

Since when did a big, tall unarmed teenager become as lethal as a police officer armed with a loaded gun? How far will Wilson’s defenders go to make him the innocent victim and Brown the dangerous thug who had to be taken out?

Blow away the smoke and cut through the crap and what is really being said is obvious: Mike Brown: Big Scary Black Kid. If he hadn’t done something yet sooner of later he would have. Why wait to put him down later when you have a chance to put him down now?

Michael Brown was not a “thug.” No more than Trayvon Martin was a “thug.”

Brown was not a candidate for sainthood, but neither was he the Scary Negro Frankenstein his detractors have transformed him into. If orange is the new black then thug is the new “nigger.” “Thug”has become the vogue head fake when it’s time to call out young Blacks behaving badly  as “niggers” without actually saying it.

Jaywalking. Impeding traffic. Being bad-asses. Big Black kid. Capital offense. I Am the Law and the Sentence Is Death.

This member of the Black community doesn’t hold Michael Brown in high regard.  I didn’t know him.  I hold Michael Brown up as a young man who was deprived of his rights and his life taken by a cop who probably had no damn business carrying a gun and a badge.

This member of the Black community believes Black lives matter and those lives include “assholes” like Brown who joins a long list of Black lives taken by White cops.

This member of the Black community doesn’t need any suggestions from the White cop community whom his “Black role models” should be.

I could try to explain, but it’s a Black thing. You wouldn’t understand and I don’t care enough to try.

It's settled down for the moment, but at any moment Ferguson could go up in flames again.

It’s settled down for the moment, but at any moment Ferguson could go up in flames again.

John Grisham Defends the Right of White Guys to View Kiddie Porn.

Sorry kid. John Grisham says his buddy shouldn’t be punished for seeing you being abused.

When you don’t think before you speak you end up saying something you’ll regret.   For former attorney and best-selling author John Grisham, master of the legal potboiler, his regretful remarks came in defense of a law school friend who got caught up in a sting operation when he was busted for viewing child pornography.

We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child”.

“But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.”

“His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labelled ‘sixteen year old wannabee hookers or something like that’. And it said ’16-year-old girls’. So he went there. Downloaded some stuff – it was 16 year old girls who looked 30.

“He shouldn’t ’a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn’t 10-year-old boys. He didn’t touch anything. And God, a week later there was a knock on the door: ‘FBI!’ and it was sting set up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch people – sex offenders – and he went to prison for three years.”

“There’s so many of them now. There’s so many ‘sex offenders’ – that’s what they’re called – that they put them in the same prison. Like they’re a bunch of perverts, or something; thousands of ’em. We’ve gone nuts with this incarceration.”

“I have no sympathy for real paedophiles.  God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences, and that’s what they’re getting,

There’s so much wrong with Grisham’s faulty reasoning it’s reasonable to wonder if he’s been drinking too much.

Does it matter the 16-year-old wannabee hookers Grisham’s BFF trolled the Internet for turned out to be 30-year-olds-posing as 16-year-olds? Even if the results weren’t what Mr. Pants Down Around the Ankles was hoping for, his intent is clear. Grisham sounds like the attorney he was trying to make excuses for a guilty as hell client.

All aboard The Rationalization Express!

Making child porn makes children the victim. Watching child porn is getting your rocks off to victimized children. Those who demand kiddie porn are as scummy as those who supply it and Grisham making alibis for these maggots who spank one out to a sexually exploited child makes him no better than them.

In adult pornography, no matter how demeaning, degrading or disgusting it may be, it is typically made with the advised content of the participants. A woman in a 10-man-gangbang may not know how nasty things are going to get, but she chose to put herself in that situation of her own free will.

I don’t know how to “accidentally” look for child pornography.   There is certainly a lot of dark stuff you can inadvertently and unintentionally stumble upon on the Internet, but kiddie porn isn’t one of them. You gotta be looking for it.

Seek and ye shall find. Just don’t claim the innocent when your hard drive starts filling up.

Do I need to explain why it is impossible for children and infants to say the same? All pornography is not created equally and yes, there are places even porn should not be allowed to go.  I have no sympathy for pedophiles and if they think their punishment is too harsh and I’m cruel, judgmental and intolerant toward them, they’re absolutely right.

On his website, Grisham issued a standard ass-covering “apology.”

This is where Grisham’s buddy belongs.

“Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography — online or otherwise — should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. My comments made two days ago during an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children. I can think of nothing more despicable. I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all.”

Elitists like Gresham trivialize child pornography with his bleeding heart sympathizing with the guys who enjoy this trash and ignoring the real victims, the children. Or at least until his foot in mouth begins to reach down to his wallet then he beats a hasty, and cowardly retreat.

Grisham is an apologist for these deviants and that is disgusting as they are. There is no rationalization and no justification for viewing and enjoying a child being violated. NONE.

It must be a tremendous comfort for the 60-year-old White men who get plastered one night, fire up the laptop, and go one-hand cruising for kiddie porn to know they have somebody like John Grisham looking out for them.

But who’s looking out for the kids? Not Grisham who’s just another rich elitist snob who thinks it’s a travesty that his buddies get busted for enjoying moppets being molested.   I consider Grisham’s shoulder shrugging defense of his friend to be nothing more than pedophilia apologia. Finding  kiddie porn is not a matter of plugging the phrase into a Google search.

It’s one thing to be unlucky enough to stumble onto a dark corner of the web and another entirely when you’re already a member of the club and know all the lingo, slang, and secret passwords. I suspect this is the reason Grisham’s amigo got a three-year jolt instead of a judge buying his bullshit story.

I already thought Grisham was a lousy writer. Now I know he’s a sleaze too.

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You’re All Going to Die (But Probably Not From Ebola)

“Hi. I’m from the CDC. Anybody seen any Ebola?”

OH MY GOD!!! EBOLA IS IN AMERICA.   WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!  SOMEBODY SAVE ME!   TAKE MY WIFE, TAKE MY KIDS, TAKE MY DOG!   TAKE ANYBODY BUT DON’T TAKE MEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Everybody got that out of your systems now?

Good.

It seems there was a guy in Texas who came into the country and when he was asked if he was declaring anything it slipped his mind to say, “Yep.  I got Ebola.”  He went to a hospital.    Laid around for hours.   Had projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea.   It was a real mess.   He died.  Now a couple of nurses have tested positive for Ebola.

Uh-oh.

Congress swung into action and did what they did best.  Held a hearing.  Grilled the head of the Centers for Disease Control.   Talked tough, flexed for the camera, scared the hell of a lot of people.  Not that that’s ever been hard to do.   Say mass shooting spree that kills children and nobody bats an eye.  One guy dies from Ebola and its “bring out your dead” time.

Stop.  Please.   Take a moment and use your higher reasoning facilities.   Your chance of contracting or dying from Ebola is remote.   But if going nuts is something you feel a necessity to do, go ahead and enjoy your meltdown.   I’ll be right over here not sweating it.

“Holy Crap! Here comes the Ebola Zombies!”

It’s easy to dump on a nurse or doctor or some other medical professional for not taking every precaution, but before you do, please note that you’re still more likely to die of influenza than Ebola.  We’ve done the Pandemic Panic Dance many times before in the past and maybe we’re moving ever closer to the day when another Black Plague descends on us, but this is not that.

Your typical healthcare worker is probably more knowledgeable about how to avoid infectious diseases than you do, washes their hands more often than you do, and is more up-to-date with their vaccinations and immunizations than you are.

While you’re passing out blame and labeling people “asses and lunatics” spare a little of that withering contempt for the ones you elected.

Nobody ever thinks about the Centers for Disease Control until a moment like this arises and then it’s “Why aren’t they doing this and why aren’t they doing that? Why aren’t they keeping me safe?” Meanwhile, the professional cynics simply smile and sneer, “See what happens when you depend on government?” As if the private sector could have or would have prevented this.

Fear of contracting Ebola may be legit or it may turn out to be the latest pandemic that wasn’t like the newest Russian flu, swine flu, or bird flu The saturation coverage of the news media of the potential for a rampant Ebola outbreak is completely out of proportion.

The screenwriter of the film Contagion says there’s plenty of blame to pass around, but the mass freak-out stuff?   Y’all need to chill that shit out.

While Ebola continues to paralyze many Americans with the fear of a widespread outbreak, “Contagion” screenwriter Scott Z. Burns says he’s concerned that “we’re making a lot of rookie mistakes,” even though the virus has been around for more than 40 years.

The 2011 movie, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh, revolves around a new deadly disease causing a global pandemic. “Contagion,” which was shaped with mountains of research, was designed to show how widespread diseases can be worsened by fear, hysteria, the media and other human factors.

“What scares me more than Ebola are the more mundane viruses of stupidity and fear and partisan politics,” he said.

Burns also noted that the issue of how to control the disease has become political.

“People are blaming the Republicans for cutting funding, and other people are now saying the president also cut funding to the CDC … We’re placing blame, and that’s just not very helpful,” he added.

While Ebola has taken more than 4,000 lives, he believes another disease could do more damage.

“I certainly don’t want to scare people, because that seems what most of the media is doing a great job of doing,” said Burns. “But when I did my research, all the experts told me that they expected there to be a pandemic of some kind of influenza, like we saw in World War I with Spanish Flu. And this isn’t that. This is not what they would call the big one.”

See that?   The worst is still to come.  Isn’t that better?  Or are you still-losing-your-mind over one dead American instead of 4,000 dead Africans?  Or is this is a matter of Ebola wasn’t a problem when it was “over there” but now its a crisis because its right here.   American arrogance and hysteria at its worst.

Fear is good for ratings. Fear is good for cheap politicians trying to win votes based upon public hysteria. Fear is big business.  Losing our collective minds over a disease that has killed exactly one American (so  far) isn’t just silly, it’s stupid.  But then we’re a pretty stupid species sometimes or Men In Black’s Agent K put it so well, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”

You’re going to die. So am I. We’re all going to die, but it’s highly unlikely it will be Ebola or some World War Z/28 Days Later/The Night of the Living Dead mystery virus that does us in.

Not training for the Philadelphia marathon.

How easy is it to panic people? This easy.

Here Comes the Pain

If you ain’t one of Us, you must be one of Them and we don’t like Them.

I was in the lunchroom trying to eat my soup before it got cold.   A pretty young woman who is a political junkie as much as I am smiled an even prettier smile and asked me oh-so-sweetly, “Jeff, do you think there’s any chance the Democrats can win in Ohio in November?”

I could have gone into the gory details at excruciating length, but I kept it short.  “Not a hope in hell.”   Her smile flipped over into a frown.   I didn’t want to dash her hopes, but I couldn’t lie either.

The  suffering is nearly over for the Democrats.  They knew going into 2014 with the sour mood of the voters and the uncanny ability of the Republicans to successfully make all the Democrats fault, they are  standing on the eve of a major wipe-out in November.   The pain is coming and blood will flow with the President and his party on the receiving end of most of it.

Though I’m on the Do Not Call registry, I get hit up by the Democrats for campaign cash because I’ve given in the past.  I get a call tonight for some kid trying to support Democratic candidates for governor and he starts reading from his script.

“Good evening sir, there’s good news for Democrats.  Our candidates for governor are up or close in several states.  Charlie Crist is leading Rick Scott in Florida.   Mary So-and-So is tied with Scott Walker in Wisconsin.   Democrats are on the move, but we need your generous support.”

“That’s GOVERNOR Douche to you!”

I interrupted the kid’s feel-good, happy talk before he could get to the part where I’m supposed to drag out my credit card and send him $50 bucks.  “Well, that’s great for you guys in Florida and Wisconsin, but I live in Ohio and here in Ohio the zombie running for governor is losing to John Kasich by 20 points.   If Kasich died between now and November, they could run Kasich’s dog against Ed FitzGerald and still win by double-digits.”  You could melt steel with the acidic disdain dripping from my lips.

Dead silence.  Sadly for this poor kid nobody prepped him in dealing with an irritated contributor.  He tried to regroup and continue the sales pitch of fairy dust and unicorns pooping rainbows, but I wasn’t trying to hear any of that noise and shut him down quick.”

“Look, I know you’re just trying to do you job and raise some money for the Democrats, but you’re not going to get me to believe things are all sweetness and light,” I said.   “The Democrats aren’t even trying in my state and when FitzGerald goes down in flames next month he’s going to take the whole ticket of other candidates down with him.  They are going to go down hard and lose big.”

It didn’t have to be this way.

Two years ago when President Obama was running for reelection,  I couldn’t go more than a day or so without somebody from the campaign calling, emailing or knocking on the door making sure they got out the vote and more importantly got the base fired up to vote.   Now here we stand less than a month away from an election that will decide the balance of power in Congress as well as statehouses across the nation and the blase indifference of the Democrats is frankly stunning to behold.  Nobody’s knocked on my door.  I barely see any yard signs.  Only the Republicans seem to have bought any commercial time to tell me how wonderful life is since Kasich became governor.   What’s the response from the other side?   Damned if I know.   They aren’t even making enough of an effort to even be considered embarrassing.

It’s as though the Dems have resigned themselves to getting worked by the Repubs.  Yeah, we’re gonna get bitch-slapped.   Going over the cliff.   Driving down a dark country road at midnight with no headlights.  Playing Russian Roulette with five bullets in the chamber.  No sense trying to fight fate.

There’s no shame in losing.  The shame is in not even trying to win.  If the Democrats have a plan to avoid being humbled and humiliated  it will take a far better political prognosticator than I to figure out what it is.

I don’t see any effort.  I don’t feel any sense of urgency.   I don’t have any feeling the Democrats are going to pull off a last minute save and deny the Republicans almost complete control.

The Republicans moved me out of the White House into a warehouse.

And they have plans for you and you and me too.   Lots of plans, and all of you who didn’t care today will care a lot tomorrow and tomorrow and the tomorrow after that.    If you’re a woman they have plans for your reproductive organs.  If you’re in a labor union they got plans to bust unions.   If you’re unemployed don’t look for any extensions of benefits.   If you’re a college student you’ve got no relief coming from those student loans.   If you’re Black there’s more prisons and less affirmative action coming your way.   If you’re gay they’re coming to shut down that marriage equality stuff.   There are lots of folks who are going to get what’s coming to them and the GOP is going to give it to them good and hard.

Sometimes shit has to get really bad before it can get any better and trust me when I say this:  when there’s nothing between the plans of the Koch Brothers and ALEC and all those other incredibly wealthy, incredibly greedy and incredibly vindictive bastards whom have been patiently waiting and plotting and planning for this moment, oh, what you got coming!

Just you wait…

The Public Screw-Ups of the Secret Service

The Secret Service protects the First Family.  At least that's the theory.

The Secret Service protects the First Family. At least that’s the theory.

The Secret Service, like most law enforcement agencies, has a motto. Theirs is “Worthy of Trust and Confidence” but a series of incidents, both troubling and potentially tragic has blown truck-sized holes into the nation’s trust and confidence the agency is up to the job of protecting the President.

The White House is starting to look as secure as a damn McDonald’s lobby.

ITEM: An armed man who jumped the White House fence this month made it far deeper into the mansion than previously disclosed, overpowering a Secret Service agent inside the North Portico entrance and running through the ceremonial East Room before he was tackled, according to a member of Congress familiar with the details of the incident.

The man, Omar J. Gonzalez, who had a knife, was stopped as he tried to enter the Green Room, a parlor used for receptions and teas, said the congressman, Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the Republican chairman of a subcommittee looking into the security breach. Earlier, Secret Service officials indicated that Mr. Gonzalez, 42, had only made it steps inside the North Portico after running through the door.

According to a law enforcement official briefed on the current investigation, uniformed Secret Service officers at the White House failed to follow several of the agency’s protocols. Although the protocols call for an officer to be standing outside the North Portico door, there was no officer there as Mr. Gonzalez made his way up the steps. The officer who was stationed inside the door failed to lock it after an alarm was sounded that someone had jumped over the fence, the official said.

“At all times there is supposed to be someone at the outside and the inside of the door,” the official said. “The intruder was running so fast that he gets right past the woman who didn’t lock the door. She tries to catch him, and eventually she and another officer tackle the man to the ground, but by that time he was pretty far in.”

The US Secret Service provides security for Po...

“After we get through who’s picking up the booze and whores?” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ITEM: A security contractor with a gun and three prior convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama during a Sept. 16 trip to Atlanta, violating Secret Service protocols, according to three people familiar with the incident.

Obama was not told about the lapse in his security, these people said. The Secret Service director, Julia Pierson, asked a top agency manager to look into the matter but did not refer it to an investigative unit that was created to review violations of protocol and standards, according to two people familiar with the handling of the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The incident, which took place when Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis, rattled Secret Service agents assigned to the president’s protective detail.

The private contractor first aroused the agents’ concerns when he acted oddly and did not comply with their orders to stop using a cellphone camera to record the president in the elevator, according to the people familiar with the incident.

When the elevator opened, Obama left with most of his Secret Service detail. Some agents stayed behind to question the man and then used a national database check that turned up his criminal history.

ITEM: New details emerged recently in the Washington Post that the secret service mishandled the investigation after a man shot at the White House while Obama’s youngest daughter, Sasha, was home. According to the Post, at least seven bullets hit the building: one pierced a window on the second floor, another hit a nearby window frame and several more pinged the roof.

The president and first lady were not in the mansion at the time, but Sasha, and Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson, were. Malia was reportedly expected to return at any moment.

An agent stationed upstairs apparently responded to the shooting, but was ordered to stand down by a supervisor who said no shots were fired. Secret service agents only realized the mansion had been hit four days later, when a housekeeper found broken glass on the floor.

The gunman, troubled 21-year-old Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, was eventually arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

According to The Washington Post, “The response infuriated the president and the first lady, according to people with direct knowledge of their reaction. Michelle Obama has spoken publicly about fearing for her family’s safety since her husband became the nation’s first black president.”

“Her concerns are well founded — President Obama has faced three times as many threats as his predecessors, according to people briefed on the Secret Service’s threat assessment.”

It was one thing when upscale party crashers wormed their way into a 2009 state dinner at the White House and something else entirely when a phony sign language interpreter who was treated for schizophrenia slipped by the scrutiny of the Secret Service scrutiny to stand three feet away from President Obama during his remarks at Nelson Mandela’s eulogy. The recent cases of Secret Service agents removed from the president’s detail for drinking and cavorting with prostitutes is another black eye for the beleaguered agency.

It’s taken as an article of faith The Secret Service is always on point when it comes to protecting the president, his family and the White House. The image of the agents in the sunglasses, dark suits and earpieces is a constant when the president steps out in public and works the rope line.

Yet, it’s easy to wonder what would have happened if the recent unwelcome guests to breach the gates of the White House had sported the latest in suicide vest designer wear. Things could have turned out to been a double feature of White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen.

"Hey, Joe?  How ready are you to step in for the Black dude?"

“Hey, Joe? How ready are you to step in for the Black dude?”

Regardless of who the president is it is an issue of national importance when their safety is imperiled and particularly when it is carelessness, sloppiness, inefficiency or incompetence that puts him in harm’s way. I don’t care if it is Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush41, Clinton, Bush43, Obama or whomever is next to sit in the Oval Office. I may despise the next man or woman to become president, but I don’t want to see one killed either and certainly not because the Secret Service fell down on the job.

Nobody ever accused Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz who chairs a House sub-committee which questioned Pierson, of being a fan of Obama, but even he said, “I have deep concerns that the president is not as safe as we want and need him to be.”

I’m sure Michelle Obama would agree.

Director Pierson resigned Wednesday and that’s too bad. Obama should have fired her ass for trying to get his killed.

Slumming With Denzel

“I have a very special set of skills…oops, wrong movie.”

 

My way of looking at Denzel Washington as he cruises to the cusp of 60 years young is he now makes two types of films.   The ones like Flight, American Gangster and Inside Man I want to see and all the other stuff like Safe House, Unstoppable and 2 Guns I’ll get around to seeing.

The Equalizer is strictly a get around to seeing.   I know I’ll see it eventually, but if it’s an afternoon matinée or in a month at a second-run theater, that’s cool   This is the latest entry of Denzel in kick-ass mode flicks and it’s a certainty his ass isn’t the one gong to get kicked.   I’ve seen Denzel play a variation of this role many times in  the past and it would seem to be a role he’s happy to return to repeatedly.

The wife and I didn’t get around to seeing The Equalizer the Movie starring Denzel Washington, but it still pulled down a healthy $35 million at the box office. The Equalizer the TV Show was okay, but hardly special featuring a British actor playing a retired agent on an unspecified organization who stepped in to equal out the odds for ordinary folks who couldn’t count on the authorities to help because they’re never any help in these sort of stories.

This is the sort of cliched junk Nicolas Cage and Sam Jackson do regularly.   Both of them of them could play McCall in their sleep, but audiences have come to expect those two to waste their time on instantly disposable rubbish.   Cage and Jackson have never been choosy about what they’ll do as long as they check clears.  Is Denzel really so hard up?

Even when he’s doing nothing Denzel does nothing better than anybody else.

Why does a two-time Oscar winner do material any aging actor in reasonable shape could do?   As far as cold, implacable killing machines there’s real difference between Alonzo Harris, John Creasy, Tobin Frost and Robert McCall.   It seems for every  Good Denzel in Flight, American Gangster or Inside Man we must endure a lot of Just Okay Denzel picking’ up a paycheck in flicks where no heavy lifting is required like Unstoppable,The Book of Eli, Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, Safe House, 2 Guns and now The Equalizer.    Of those movies the only one I never want to be bothered with ever again is Pelham 123 where all did was lie around and eat a lot.

Denzel is our last movie star and while his productivity is slowing down he hasn’t lost any luster as a leading man. Among his contemporaries DeNiro and Pacino have been mailing it in for years. Nicholson is old, fat and semi-retired. Cruise keeps making the same movie with different titles. Connery, Eastwood and Hackman are old, retired or both. Washington has mastered the rare talent of remaining watchable even if the movies are predictable.

Denzel is gifted with the ability to stay afloat even when weighed down by trivial obvious material. I will see The Equalizer even though I know before I sit down, Denzel will win, nothing too terrible will happen him and whatever challenges him won’t beat him. Who needs The Force when you have The Cool?

The Equalizer

The Equalizer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But is it enough?   Slate writer Aisha Harris doesn’t think so,  “Denzel was that very rare contemporary Hollywood star, the kind who simultaneously graced Sexiest Man Alive lists (with lyrical shoutouts from admiring ladies) and Oscar ballots, even winning a couple in the process. Rarer still, he did it all while being black, carrying the baton handed to him by Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, running with it gracefully. And now, in The Equalizer, he’s playing a half-baked variation of the “retired gunfighter” trope in a junky action movie. Denzel deserves better.”

I agree Denzel deserves better. So do the audiences buying the tickets, but we’re both stuck with a talented actor having to take what he can get.

At a fee of $20 million, Denzel doesn’t come cheap and doesn’t overexposure himself. There’s nothing upcoming on his IMDB page and I won’t believe he’s starring in a remake of The Magnificent Seven directed by Antoine Fuqua until I see they’ve started shooting. What nobody knows are what are the scripts coming Denzel’s way? Is he being offered serious roles that give him a chance to show off his serious skills as an actor? Or does he have to take scripts where there’s no heavy lifting involved, just turn on the charm and cash the checks?

I fully expect The Equalizer to be crap, but since this is Denzel and not Nicholas Cage it will be magnificent crap.

“Girl, go home and put on some clothes. This ain’t a remake of ‘Black Snake Moan.’ “

Charlo Greene’s Stunt: This Is Why They Call It “Dope.”

“Gives a whole new meaning to ‘baked Alaskan.’ Get it?”

Perhaps you’ve heard of Charlo Greene , the Alaskan-based, pot-puffing ex-reporter who set her career on fire by disclosing she was the owner of a pro-marijuana “cannabis club” while dropping a F bomb on live television as she quit before she could be fired.

There are two things I wonder about Ms. Greene’s self-exile from the ranks of professional journalism:

1. I wonder if Ms. Greene should send a workshop proposal for the next National Association of Black Journalists convention on How To Leave A Job With Absolutely No Tact, No Grace and No Class and Not Only Burn Your Bridges But Blow Them the Hell Up.

2. By figuratively, if not literally showing her behind, in pulling such a brain-dead stunt does Ms. Greene think she helped her cause or trivialized it by making herself look ridiculous?

The word on the Web is Greene went out like a boss. She showed you can leave on your terms, stay true to your principles and be a total bad ass while doing it.

Bullshit.

There’s nothing “principled” about having a vested interest in a story you’re reporting on. Greene owned a cannabis club she covered stories about and for those armed with more opinion than knowledge, this is a classic conflict of interest and a clear violation of journalistic ethics.

For the full-time cynic that’s an oxymoron, but some of us in the profession it’s still taken seriously.

There are other “principled” issues in Alaska for Greene (or whatever her real name is) to quit her job over.

The Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse reports almost 75% of Alaskans have experienced or know someone who has experienced domestic violence or sexual assault.

• There were over 6,000 reported cases of domestic violence in Alaska in 2005.

• 524 forcible rapes were reported in Alaska in 2005, representing almost 13% of all violent crimes.

• The Alaska rape rate is 2.5 times the national average.

• Child sexual assault in Alaska is almost six times the national average.

• Alaska has the highest rate per capita of men murdering women.

Guess the principle of protecting Alaskan women isn’t one that interests Green. You can’t cash in or get famous off of it.

It’s not my place to tell anyone what cause they need to champion and medical marijuana is a worthy one, but narcissistic, vulgar stunts like this aren’t going to win the day for the ballot proponents.

“I’m passionate about doing my job, and at the time my job was being a journalist,” Greene explained.

I like passion in people. I like people who care about things and are motivated to change what they believe is wrong. I dislike people who think vulgar stunts, shock tactics and making a public spectacle of yourself will do anything beyond showing how immature you are.

Some Black journalists are openly worried (and pretty damn mad) how Greene’s dramatic exit might be used as yet another excuse not to hire them.  They should not be concerned about Greene’s impact. There is none. She was nobody yesterday, somebody today and back to being nobody by the weekend.

Long after Greene’s name tumbles off the search engines her exit strategy may be recalled as a turning point that determined victory or defeat for the ballot initiative. For her sake I hope she wins because she’ll make a lot of money running a marijuana dispensary.

If she loses she’ll never work again for any respectable news organization in Alaska, Hawaii or anywhere else in the lower 48. However she will have lots of free time to spark up so there’s that to look forward to.

Congratulations, Charlo.  You are the second stupidest human being to come out of Alaska right behind Sarah Palin.

Wonder if Greene’s dress is made of hemp?