Imagine you’re a member of the U.S. Senate and you’re part of the Democratic majority, but you’re a moderate, firmly in the mainstream and the farthest thing from a bomb-throwing ideologue. You don’t dislike all of your Republican colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Hell, you might even like some of them more than the feckless Harry Reid or the smug Charles Schumer.
You came to Washington for a reason and it sure wasn’t to sit there on your hands because there is no legislation that can pass and no presidential nominee that can be confirmed because a simple majority isn’t enough to do it. It requires a super-majority of 60 votes to get anything done and what it takes to get those 60 votes is sometimes a price too high to pay.
Take a real good look at Mitch McConnell, folks. This is nobody’s romantic daydream. How many times would you want to have to kiss that ass?
The president’s nominees to fill three vacancies on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals were blocked from an up-or-down vote by the GOP’s refusal to allow one. The Ninth Circuit is second only to the Supreme Court in the importance of the cases it hears. The president’s ability to appoint judges to the federal judiciary is perhaps his most lasting legacy and the Ninth Circuit is where many future Supreme Court nominees come from. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) led the charge to keep Obama’s nominees off the Ninth Circuit saying they weren’t really needed (as if Grassley would be saying the same thing had Mitt Romney won) and he in effect dared Harry Reid to go nuclear.
Reid called Grassley’s bluff and by a 52-48 vote (with three Democrats defecting and joining the Republicans) modified the rules to allow a simple majority to approve presidential nominees and appointments, but permit the filibuster for legislation and Supreme Court nominations (which means Ruth Bader Ginsburg had better stay healthy). Now the president’s nominees will get the vote and presumably the confirmation they should be considered for. It wasn’t a matter of whether they were qualified. It was a matter of the Republican strategy to oppose the nominees because Obama picked them.
The late liberal Senator Paul Wellstone said, “If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.” Republicans have fought very hard to stand in the way of President Obama’s nominees regardless of their qualifications and finally the Democrats grew a collective spine and chose to fight back for what they stand for.
Republicans will fume and fuss and threaten dire consequences for the Democrats when they are in the minority. The Democrats will shrug and say, “Bring it.” It’s not as if there’s much left in the way of bipartisan legislation coming out of the upper chamber before Reid and the Dems dropped the bomb.
The Senate Democrats finally woke up to a fact the Senate Republicans had been hip to for years: the “rules” had ALREADY been changed. The 60-vote super majority worked only so long as senators were willing to compromise. The Republicans don’t do that anymore and have used a rule the Senate made to govern itself to make the Senate ungovernable. What happens next? The Republicans will vote for or against the President’s nominees–as they are Constitutionally bound to do. The worst part about revoking the ability of the minority to foil the will of the majority is it makes the Senate Republicans do their freaking jobs.
It had to end someday. Sometimes you have to be willing to fight for a short-term gain even if you lose in the long run.
When your computer won’t boot up correctly, videos won’t stream, pages won’t load and the damn thing just sits like a big useless lump that doesn’t work, you can always sit there wishing and hoping and praying it will start working. Maybe if you talk sweetly to the computer and promise how good it is going to be if it just starts working right. Maybe you’ll get lucky and it will start working.
Or you can just reboot the sucker and reset it and see if that gets it to working.
Last November, the Democrats won the presidency and increased the number of Democrats in the Senate. By playing “Let’s Make A Lousy Deal” with McConnell, the Dems permitted the Republicans to grind the Senate to a halt as if they had won.
That was foolish of the Democrats and all it did was embolden the Republicans to oppose ANY nominee no matter how qualified they were. Reid got tired of playing Robin to McConnell’s Batman. It was time for the Democrats to remember they won the last election and start acting like it.
Of course the strategy has long-term implications, but so what? You don’t think Reid and the Democrats aren’t aware of the blowback from this change if or when the Republicans take control? It was a calculated risk based upon the possible gains versus the probable losses, but the Republican intransigence had reached new levels and there was NO hope they might negotiate on allowing the president’s nominees to receive a floor vote.
The GOP does not want to let President Obama’s judicial nominees to tip the ideological balance of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They would not have a similar problem if it were Mitt Romney submitting a future Antonin Scalia. This is pure political gamesmanship by Senate Republicans who refuse to acknowledge they lost the last presidential election, so than accept the judgment of the American voters they hide behind a procedural trick to foil their will.
Harry Reid rebooted the Senate. I didn’t think he had the gonads to do it, but I’m glad he did.
- The Day of the Senate’s Nuclear Devastation May Have Finally Arrived (thewire.com)
- Time to go nuclear (msnbc.com)
- GOP blocks court nominees (goerie.com)
The median age of the average American is 37.1 years of age which means for most Americans asking them where they were when Kennedy was assassinated gets the reply, “I wasn’t born yet.”
I was eight years old when President John F. Kennedy was shot which would have put me in elementary school and not at all concerned about assassinations, conspiracies and tragedies. I’m sure at the time of my young life I was far more concerned with cartoons, playing with my friends and what mom was making for dinner than what happened in Dallas.
There are dates that are indelibly sketched onto the collective psyche and ancient memory of Americans. December 7, 1941. November 22, 1963. September 11, 2001. The killing of the president didn’t touch me directly. I was too young for it to resonate for me personally, though I do recall my parents watching Walter Cronkite grimly relate what little was known about the shooting of Kennedy and the mysterious little man named Lee Harvey Oswald, the prime suspect in the assassination.
What I know about JFK I know mostly through history as I was far too busy being a child to care about what Kennedy did in his brief time in the White House. Knowing now what I did not know then, I understand why Kennedy is so revered as a President. He was young, handsome, charismatic, personable and brimming with potential for greatness, but Kennedy’s enduring popularity, as a Gallup poll in 2011 listed him fourth among the nation’s greatest presidents is still based upon his potential than his accomplishments.
While I wouldn’t go so far as those arguing Kennedy was not a great president if you set aside the tragedy of his death and the understandable sympathy and warmth that Kennedy’s untimely end naturally provokes and just go on the record alone, Kennedy does come up a little short on the accomplishments end.
It was Kennedy’s vice-president and successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, who brought to fruition through his Great Society many of the ideas and goals of Kennedy’s New Frontier. Without JFK to set him up would LBJ have succeeded so spectacularly well in finishing what Kennedy had started?
If not for his foolish escalation of the Vietnam War, Johnson might have stepped out of the long shadow cast by the murdered president, but Johnson wanted to finish what Kennedy had started and it tarnished his presidency beyond salvation. While LBJ got so much more done particularly in making civil rights for Blacks a priority, his failure in Vietnam makes his overall legacy a decidedly mixed one.
We’ll never know all the answers to the questions of the Kennedy assassination. 50 years after the fact, a murder is still a murder and I don’t believe for a second a creepy little loser like Oswald pulled off the Crime of the Century all by himself. Too many things fell right into the assassin’s lap to be sheer coincidence or dumb luck. But too much time has passed and there are too many that might know the answers to Kennedy’s killing as dead and dust as he is now.
Kennedy is frozen in history and in the mind of the American people. Many of those who weren’t around to draw breath when Kennedy drew his last one are skeptical of the Warren Commission report and disbelieving of its “long gunman” nonsense. They’ve seen the movies, read the books, watched the documentaries, and heard the theories and they don’t believe the official story now any more than critics of the Warren Commission did then.
We will never know the whole truth of the JFK assassination. We can speculate and ruminate until the corpse of Jack Ruby reanimates from the dead. It’s not going to help. All of the principal players are dead and gone. Any conspiracy that has held for five decades isn’t going to unravel when there’s nobody left to tell how it went down.
This does not sit well with anyone who admired President Kennedy for what he did and could have done had his life not been prematurely snatched away from both his family and his country, but it seems unlikely the full details of his killing will ever come to light and just as unlikely that any answer would ever be accepted as the definitive. The assassination of JFK is like a knotty and complex mystery novel with the last ten pages ripped out before the reader can learn whodunnit.
It remains impossible to fully process and assess what the promise of JFK’s presidency might have been as it remains frozen in time by six seconds in Dallas.
- Six JFK-Assassination Skeptics (nation.time.com)
- The Kennedy Assassination 50 Years Later (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- 50 years without John Fitzgerald Kennedy (everything JFK on 12160) (12160.info)
- The one JFK conspiracy theory that could be true (kdvr.com)
I haven’t been able to say anything about the killing of Renisha McBride for the same reason I haven’t been able to write my reaction to seeing 12 Years A Slave.
It’s too real and too much pain involved. I needed a little time to compress and process. Now that I have, here’s what I have to say.
Your name is Renisha McBride. You are 19 years old and you live in Detroit. You are in the suburb of Dearborn Heights and get in a car crash. Your cell phone is dead. You’re injured and bleeding. You go looking for help and knock on the door of a house. Someone opens the door armed with a loaded gun, shoots a woman in her face and then claims it “discharged by accident?”
I call “bullshit” on that.
A gun doesn’t aim itself and triggers don’t pull themselves. Human beings do that.
Scared, stupid, racist human beings who can kill an injured and unarmed woman and two weeks later the killer still hasn’t been arrested or even identified.
Smells like George Zimmerman chillin’ at the crib for nearly 45 days after blowing away Trayvon Martin all over again only this time it’s a remix with the bizarre circumstances of the Jonathan Ferrell shooting of a few months ago. As if Black people needed yet another reminder of how cheaply their lives are regarded by the injustice system here comes a hard slap across the face.
Yes, it’s a different situation from the Ferrell shooting in that in this case if was a homeowner, not a cop, who blew Renisha McBride away.
Otherwise, what’s so different?
The overarching lesson here seems to be if you’re Black and you get in a car crash at night and your cell phone is out of juice and you need help, DON’T go knocking on the door of any nearby homes unless you want to get shot.
Just sit there in the wreckage of your vehicle and suffer. You’ll still be injured, but you might not end up dead.
All things considered, is slowly freezing to death or dying slowly of internal injuries so much worse or any less than being shot in the face with a .12 gauge shotgun by some trigger-happy cretin?
Each of these cases have more than one thing in common. They each have a White shooter (with the exception of Zimmerman) and a Black victim and all of them united by the supposed fear of the shooter of the victim.
Each of these cases shows how “laws” like Stand Your Ground have been designed to protect the killers, not the victims. There is a culture of death that already plagues the Black community as they die by violence perpetrated among themselves, but White fear of Black people has become legally sanctioned as reason enough to kill them with impunity.
The American system of jurisprudence is blind, but it is not color blind. If the race of the shooter and the victim were reversed there is no way a Black man would not be arrested for shooting a 19-year-old White female in the face as she sought help after an auto accident.
We don’t know why Mr. X shot McBride. We know he is 54 years old and a White male. His attorney says he feared McBride was trying to break into his home and he shot her accidentally which if you believe that, I have some nice property in the Everglades to sell you.
Where is the evidence Renisha attempted to break into the house of the man who shot her?
Self-defense only applies when someone needs to defend themselves (or at least it did before SYG laws turned the concept upside down). Renisha was injured, disoriented and unarmed. Where is the threat? Or is knocking on a door now grounds to shoot someone in the face?
Trayvon Martin. Jonathan Ferrell. Renisha McBride. Scared shooters. Dead Black people.
Trayvon Martin. Black male. Racially profiled. Shot by vigilante. Dead.
Jonathan Ferrell. Black male. Car crash. Seeks help. Shot by cop. Dead.
Renisha McBride. Black female. Car crash. Seeks help. Shot by homeowner. Dead.
Once is accident. Twice is coincidence. Third time is proof.
People whom are not protected by the law will soon have no respect for the law. If that is the lesson America wants to teach its Black citizens, they should know they are building a hothouse where only discontent, rage and hate will grow.
When it reaches full bloom it won’t be pretty to behold. That’s not a warning. That’s a prophecy.
- Dream Hampton on Renisha McBride and ‘Criminalizing Black Corpses’ (colorlines.com)
- Justice for Renisha (whyracestillmatters.wordpress.com)
- Renisha McBride And Kym Worthy – OpEd (eurasiareview.com)
- Autopsy: Renisha McBride blasted in face; still no charges for shooter (salon.com)
If you play fantasy football, you have to be cautious of what I call “The Shiny Toy Theory.” Show a baby a shiny toy and they become hypnotized by the sight of it. In fantasy football, there are players that get hot for a week or two and put up impressive numbers. Everyone wants to pick them up because they are pretty and shiny.
Most of these players aren’t built to last. They are teasers, not pleasers. Showers, not growers.
Enter Chris Christie. This week’s Designated Savior of the Republican Party and one of the media’s favorite shiny toy.
The Republican bench of potential candidates for 2016 is long, eager and many are rabid red-meat right-wingers whom refuse to compromise, negotiate or acknowledge political realities. This plays well with the base of the party. It scares the hell out of the general electorate in a presidential election.
Christie is one of those guys who went from obscurity to popularity and never stopped at humility. He should enjoy his time riding high in the news cycle. It won’t last because it never does. Another shinier and prettier toy will come along and the media and the public will trot along behind it like puppies.
In politics destiny is occasionally confused with inevitably. New Jersey has been the nexus of this phenomenon of late when two separate, but important events occurred. Cory Booker went from the ambitious and nationally popular mayor of Newark to the first African-American to win a Senate seat in a state election since another ambitious African-American named Barack Obama did the same in 2006. We all know where his ambitions took him and have no doubt Booker will eventually try to follow Obama’s career arc.
But that’s further in the future. Here and now the other notable event was the Garden State’s incumbent governor, Chris Christie, easily won reelection in a race he was supposed to win in a Democratic state that admires his rough-around-the-edges Republicanism. What made the victory notable to the self-styled seers and wise men sifting the tea leaves for the 2016 presidential race is how the governor cobbled together enough votes from traditionally Democratic supporters for a fawning national media to dub Christie the man to rescue a party that seems to have forgotten how to win national elections.
It’s too early to tell, but he appears to have the makings of such a politician. It isn’t just that his four-year record of incumbency netted him a reelection margin of 60.4 percent compared to just 38.1 percent for his Democratic opponent, although that suggests that he is capable of generating considerable political force. More significant is his performance among particular voter categories. Women gave him a 15 percentage-point advantage over his female rival. People who identified themselves as moderates gave him a 21-point advantage. Independent voters turned to him by a 31-point margin. Even 30 percent of self-described liberals backed him. Meanwhile, he took half of the Hispanic vote and more than 20 percent of the African-American vote.
If Christie could be elected by the slobbering mainstream media, he’d be the next POTUS. Unfortunately for him, he’s gonna have to go stand in some Iowa cornfield in about two years and try to explain to some skeptical farmer chewing tobacco and spitting it out why he should support him over a true believer like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul.
Without a doubt it was a big win for the big man, but Chrstie’s triumph looks even more impressive in comparison to Tea Party poster boy and right-wing radical Ken Cuccinelli’s humbling defeat in Virginia to Terry McAuliffe, a Bill Clinton insider.
Christie’s appeal lies in when compared to the right-wing extremism of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and the “oh no, not another one” stink all over Jeb Bush, he benefits by being the least terrible choice. For the GOP insiders, while they may grumble over Christie literally embracing President Obama, they can’t deny his popularity and the possibility his gruff, take-no-stuff persona may play well nationally.
What won’t play well is Christie’s imperious and often rude attacks on teachers, labor unions, journalists and other Republicans who cross him. The GOP base won’t care about dissing those first three groups, but if Christie hopes to win the nomination he can’t treat the rest of the Republican field like bleeping idiots even if they are bleeping idiots.
I’m trying to imagine Christie in a debate with Paul, Cruz, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and whomever shows up all slicing and dicing into him and getting redder and madder as he struggles to hold his volcanic anger in check. I don’t think he can for an entire campaign without at least one major eruption of Mt. Chris Christie.
Americans like tough guys, but they don’t like mean guys and Christie can be very mean. That’s a liability and he’ll have to learn how to temper his noted temper.
Christie is not a secret liberal fantasy. He’s a solidly mainstream Republican who has some moderate positions because he’s a governor in a pretty blue/Democratic state. That will serve Christie well in a general election, but can he even get out of the Republican primaries when everyone from Cruz to Paul to Marco Rubio and the rest are going to be aiming for that target on his double-wide butt?
It’s not a lock Christie even gets the nomination despite the fact many of the traditional Republicans will hold their nose and support him despite not being ideologically “pure.”
Christie would be a moderate but only more moderate in comparison than Cruz, Paul or Rubio (but not that much more). Christie’s lap-band surgery isn’t about slimming down but to take off the table the lingering question of whether Americans wants an obese president, but until the pounds melt away, Christie will still offer plenty of room for his admirers and critics to ride his butt all the way to 2016.
- Mitt Romney Says Chris Christie Can ‘Save Our Party,’ And Disses Ted Cruz (businessinsider.com)
- Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio downplay Chris Christie’s victory (nj.com)
- Chris Christie’s squeeze (dailykos.com)
- President Christie, tea party doom (wenatcheeworld.com)
While our lamestream media (thanks, Sarah Palin!) has short-stroked over the botched roll-out of Obamacare, they have largely ignored the latest chapter in the Republican plan to obstruct President Obama at every turn.
Returning to their evil ways, Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked motions to end debate on confirming Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Patricia Millett to join the D.C. Circuit Court. Why? Because that’s what Senate Republicans do.
You’ll never do it, Harry. You don’t have the balls to do it. One day we’ll be running the Senate and what you do to us we’re going to do it double to you when we take over. Tom Coburn may have apologized for calling you an “absolute asshole” but he only said out loud what the rest of us all believe: you are an asshole Harry and your impotent threats are full of shit.
The Dems are fuming and talking smack about how mad they are and this time they’re really gonna do it. They’re gonna pull the switch and go nuclear! Ooh, they are SO mad. Cover your ears ’cause there’s gonna be a big boom!
The Republicans just laugh and say, “Sit your punk asses down. Y’all ain’t gonna do nothing because you never do nothing. Just bitch, whine, moan and then bitch, whine and moan so more.”
The Dems should either roll the dice and use the nuclear option or don’t and shut the hell up with the empty threats. Their constant yapping about it reminds me of an over excited toy dog that makes a lot of noise, but if you raise your voice it scurries away in a panic. But still yapping even as it does.
Reid is the Senate Majority Leader but he’s like a guard in a prison. He doesn’t run things, but the ones that do run things allow him to have that illusion.
Reid has about as much power as expired Viagra.
A word that is often invoked in the Senate is “comity.” It means mutual courtesy and respect. In this case though it also means fear. Fear is why the Democrats can’t to pull the trigger on the nuclear option. When–not if–the Republicans are back in the majority and running the Senate and its Reid and the Dems in the minority
Back in June, Reid and McConnell avoided going nuclear with a deal allowing the president’s nominees for the National Labor Relations Board and two Cabinet vacancies to receive floor votes. At the time Reid was positively bubbly.
“We have a new start for this body. And I feel very comfortable about it. I don’t know how I could be happier.”
Steady there, hoss. Don’t start tweaking your nipples just yet.
“It’s a step in the right direction that the majority has chosen not to exercise the nuclear option. We feel good about that, I think they feel good about it, so I think that crisis has been averted,” McConnell said
But has it?
Reid won’t invoke the nuclear option out of fear when he’s not the Majority Leader and McConnell is, the Democratic minority will not have the 60-vote super majority and filibuster options available to them as it is for the Republicans. Which means Reid doesn’t want to piss off McConnell now in case McConnell is in charge later.
There’s one thing wrong in Reid’s reasoning. What if the Republicans take control of the Senate next year and McConnell says the hell with comity? I’m gonna screw the Democrats and use the power of being in the majority to end the 60 vote rule and the filibuster.
What would Harry Reid do then? Besides his head popping right off his shoulders over McConnell screwing him after he passed up screwing him first.
Here’s the thing about power: if you don’t use it, you should because once you don’t have it you might wish you had. Being nice to the enemy in hopes they will be nice to you is frankly all kinds of stupid. Harry Reid is a weakling who constantly is stymied and outfoxed by McConnell who makes promises he know he won’t keep and deals he intends to ignore.
Yet Reid comes back time and again like the spouse in an abusive relationship who rationalizes, “It’s not so bad.”
Figure it out, Harry. It IS that bad. McConnell and the Republican minority will use and abuse the rules to stop the Democrats from getting their way until they are in the majority and once they are they will press their advantage to get their way.
Some Dems get that and they don’t want to wait for it to happen. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) has argued for the nuclear option and after the latest in Republican obstructionism he said, “What happened today was really an attack on the other branches of government. In January, Mitch McConnell made a commitment to return to the norms and traditions of the U.S. Senate. On nominations, the norms and traditions are up and down votes and we did not get that today. That is something that cannot stand as it is.”
It shouldn’t stand, but until Reid’s balls drop stand it will.
- It’s all on Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell - (jfxgillis.newsvine.com)
- When is enough going to be enough for Senate Democrats to go nuclear? (dailykos.com)
- Dems Resume ‘Nuclear Option’ Threats to Bypass GOP, Confirm Obama Nominees (joemiller.us)
It’s Wednesday and time to discuss something other than yet another Obamacare-is-gonna-kill-your- mama story or whatever stupid thing Kanye West said when he woke up.
SANTA ROSA, California (Reuters) - No more than 10 seconds elapsed from the time sheriff’s deputies spotted a 13-year-old California boy carrying what they thought was an assault rifle and the moment they shot him dead, only to learn afterward the gun was a plastic replica, police said on Thursday.
It took 16 seconds more for the two officers to call for medical assistance, according to the time line of events released by police investigating Tuesday’s shooting in Santa Rosa, a suburb in northern California’s wine country.
Andy Lopez Cruz, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, had been on his way to a friend’s house clutching the imitation gun designed to shoot plastic pellets, police said. He died at the scene. A toy handgun also was found tucked in his pants.
An autopsy performed on Thursday found seven bullets struck the boy, and that two of the wounds were fatal. Investigators believe a total of eight rounds were fired by one of the two deputies who confronted the youth.
But the tragedy has reignited calls in the community for creation of civilian review boards to examine such incidents.
“People have to do something,” said Elbert Howard, a founding member of the Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline of Sonoma County. “He’s a child, and he had a toy. I see that as an overreaction to shoot him down.”
An advisory panel of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission urged Sonoma County to create civilian-review boards in 2000 following eight fatal officer-involved shootings in less than three years, but that recommendation went unheeded.
As many as 200 mourners gathered on Thursday around a makeshift memorial consisting of flowers, balloons, teddy bears and pictures of the boy at the site of the shooting.
Some held candles and signs that said: “What a tragedy, what a travesty.”
What could justify gunning down a 13-year-old kid walking down the street because he had the misfortune to carry a toy gun that looked too real?
Fear? A siege mentality? A sugar rush from one too many jelly donuts? Another minority kid wearing a killer hoodie?
Point of fact: Andy Lopez Cruz wasn’t a gang-banger. Wasn’t a thug. Wasn’t a criminal. He was a 13-year-old kid carrying a TOY gun and one that wasn’t “real looking”
Kid walking down the street carrying a toy gun that kind of looks like the real deal, but isn’t. Cops roll up, tell the kid to drop it and then what? Lie down on the ground? Put his hands in the air?
Doesn’t matter. He turns around–in response to the cops–and gets shot down. That’s the end of Andy Lopez.
So what’s the moral of the story here? Better to err on the side of caution? Shoot first and ask questions later?
How about maybe cops need better training on how to discern a real gun from a fake one because it can’t be excused as just “a very tragic accident” every time a citizen with an air-gun in his or her possession steps outside their door and ends up getting popped and dropped?
Santa Rosa has been rocked by the event, with hundreds marching on Wednesday to protest the shooting of “an innocent young boy,” as one sign read. The deputies, who have not been named, are on leave while the incident is investigated, and the FBI announced on Saturday that they’re conducting an independent investigation of the incident.
The shooting is the latest in a long line of incidents of police shooting — and sometimes killing — people whom they have mistakenly thought to be armed with a real firearm. Last year, police fatally shot a Texas eight-grader who was carrying a pellet gun that resembled a black Glock. The year before, Miami police shot and killed a 57-year old man who had a realistic replica gun after getting 911 calls about the ostensible weapon. “This is not the first time,” says Karen Caves, spokeswoman for a California state senator who has pushed stricter regulations on imitation firearms. “It happens every year.”
…but I’m not surprised more people aren’t. After all, it’s not as if Andy Cruz was twerking or riding on a wrecking ball buck naked or something important like that.
Being thirteen doesn’t make you a little boy. It makes you an eighth-grader and still too young to drive a motor vehicle, sign legal documents, drink a beer or legally buy a gun.
Being thirteen should mean you get the benefit of the doubt that you’re NOT a spree shooter or a kid killer, but Andy didn’t get that benefit of the doubt.
Not that he needs it any longer.
The cop in Charlotte who put ten bullets in Jonathan Ferrell said he feared for his life. Here’s a thought: If these cops are so full of fear should they even be cops in the first place?
Some will worry about the state of mind of the two deputies and how will they sleep after this. I’m more concerned a boy is dead and he shouldn’t be. Nor am I particularly upset if the lives of the cops will never be the same. They still have their lives and will as likely as not suffer any real repercussions for their mistake. They won’t lose their jobs. They won’t lose their freedom. They probably won’t even lose any pay.
Andy Cruz lost his life. Where is the concern for him? I’m not indifferent to how the cops feel, but they have lost nothing compared to what they have taken.
I don’t take the officers at their word because they are human beings and when human beings royally fuck up as in this case they can handle it one of two ways:
1. Oh shit! I royally fucked up. I had better come clean and own this with a complete and honest account of what happened.
2. Oh, shit! I royally fucked up. I had better cover this up and lie my ass off with a totally bullshit story of what happened.
This is not me saying the cops are lying. This is me saying under stress human beings fuck up. They miss important details. They forget. They think something was black when it was actually white. If “fight or flight” is a natural response to dangerous situations, “come clean or cover my ass” is also a natural response to dangerous situations.
Until I know more about what happened and why Andy Lopez Cruz is dead, I am not assuming good intentions on the behalf of the police officers because long before they were cops, they were still human beings.
No matter what the facts turn out to be they will still be child-killers and nothing can change that.
- We Want Justice! Hundreds In California Protest Police For Shooting 13-Year-Old Holding Toy Gun (PHOTOS) (bagladyboutiqe.wordpress.com)
- California police shoot and kill boy carrying replica of assault rifle (theguardian.com)
- Protesters Rally After Boy Killed By Calif. Deputy (npr.org)
When the Grambling football team decided to boycott their game against Jackson State over the shoddy training facilities, poorly cleaned uniforms and pads, 14 hour-long bus trips and being charged for their own Gatorade it quickly evolved beyond a simple sports story into a eye-opening look at the sorry state of cash-strapped Black colleges and universities.
The athletic complex is a place where we as a team prepare for competition. In our opinion, the complex is in horrible condition, and has many hazards that may contribute to our overall health. First, the complex is filled with mildew and mold. Mildew and mold can be seen on the ceiling, walls and floor, and are contributing to water leaks because of faltering walls and ceilings. Grambling student-athletes are not the only ones complaining about this particular hazard. When Lamar University came to play our team they refused to go in the locker room for half time due to mold and mildew. Second, the weight room and care of game and practice gear are in bad condition, in areas where the floor is coming up, it causes players to trip while lifting large amounts of weight. Equipment in the weight room is falling apart, as well as workout benches are tearing and ripping apart.
We as student athletes would also like better detergent for our uniforms and practice uniforms. The uniforms are poorly cleaned and contribute to the multiple cases if staph infection. Several players have been infected with staph multiple times.
Student-athletes have been complaining since summer 2013 about the way summer camp and work outs were set up. We did not receive Gatorade or Muscle Milk. We had to pay for those expensive items ourselves. We were also forced to get water from hoses underneath the stadium in 90 degree plus weather. Student-athletes often complained of the high grass we had to practice in. The grass was up to our knees and was rarely cut. This was a huge inconvenience to the team. Shortly after that we found out that we would not be housed for camp. Players that live off campus were responsible for commuting back and forth to campus three times a day, not to mention, we were already paying for summer school out of pocket.
During summer 2013 we were told we would be taking two major trips this season, Kansas City, Missouri and the other to Indianapolis, Indiana. We were pretty excited but found out later we would be taking a bus. Both trips, we traveled excessive hours. One trip was 14 hours while the other was 17. Players were drained and exhausted after those long rides. Long rides take a toll on athlete’s bodies both mentally and physically. However both the president and athletic director traveled by plane. In our opinion, any trip over 8 hours should be taken by plane. We also found out that we would not travel to a hotel and stay overnight for home games. It is tradition for us to travel for home games but that tradition was broken also.
The next complaint is about money donated from friends of football and the alumni association. Money from both organizations is being rejected. The funds donated can help take care of some of our expenses. The funding can supply Muscle Milk, Gatorade, help house us or even get the complex cleaned and updated. All things that are much needed. The funds are rejected by the university, because the organizations that donate the money want to put their money toward a specific cause, not the university or athletics as a whole.
The letter must have gone off louder than a bomb with university officials, but when the student newspaper Tweeted pictures of the torn workout bench, dirty walls, filthy weight-lifting belts and the mold and mildew covered football equipment, Grambling State retaliated by removing the editor from the paper. Seems they figured freedom of the press doesn’t extend to exposing the squalid conditions the jocks have to endure, but nobody was paying any attention to the dire state of Grambling University before this dramatic gesture by the players and now its a national news despite attempts by Grambling officials to suppress the story, The picture coming in focus is of a crumbling football program, a school on financial life support, and an uncaring system that uses up the bodies of young men whom receive none of the profits but take most of the risks.
Don’t blame these young men for speaking truth to power. Applaud them for standing up for something other than winning meaningless football games or is the purpose of higher education only to fill up stadiums on Saturdays and plug new cogs in the college football machine?
William C. Rhoden, an award-winning sports columnist for the New York Times wrote, “While much of the language of college athletic reform has focused on exploitation of players and especially the low graduation rates of black players, the significance of the Grambling protest is that players at a historically black college complained that the institution was treating them unfairly and was exploiting their muscle. The boycott targeted a system that exploits all players, whether they attend Grambling or Georgia Tech. The issues at Grambling are different from the issues at Georgia Tech, but players at each institution play by the same N.C.A.A. rules. Those rules prop up an outdated and exploitative system. “
There is plenty of blame to spread around in the Grambling mess. The team is lousy this season (0-8), the university administration seems more interested in shutting up the students and covering their own asses than fixing the many problems of the troubled school. But if there’s one specific bad guy to be called out look no further than Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who has repeatedly cut state funding for Grambling as Deadspin detailed:
In 2009, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal turned down stimulus money from the federal government. That same year, Jindal cut $219 million in state funds for higher education, including $5 million that would have been earmarked for Grambling. In January 2012, Jindal announced an additional mid-year budget cut of $50 million for higher education, with Grambling losing out on nearly $1 million of that total. This is not chump change.
It gets worse. According to a 2011 university financial report, Grambling’s share of funding from the state of Louisiana was projected to decrease nearly 40 percent by the 2011-12 school year from its peak in 2007-08. According to Frank Pogue, the university president, that figure is now up to more than 50 percent in the last eight years. To help offset the shortfall, the school hacked some $200,000 from its athletics budget in 2010-11. And that same report called for an additional cut of $1.19 million from athletics in 2011-12.
There was not one single act nor one specific person to be blamed for the situation at Grambling State. All the stupidly heavy-handed response by university officials to squelch the student newspaper’s criticism got them was even more negative attention and bad press. Way to go President Pogue. Moron.
When my daughter was considering a HBCU to attend we toured several and came away stunned by the poor condition of the campuses and specifically the dormitories. It never occurred to me to check out the athletic facilities. If they were anything like Grambling State, I’m probably glad I didn’t without wearing a hazmat suit.
It’s unfortunate the young men at Grambling State have to go put up with this crap, but there are more important things than playing another football game. Taking a stand and demanding to decent working conditions (and make no mistake, college football is a job) isn’t something reserved only for those picking up a paycheck. The Grambling officials and the NCAA probably wish these student athletes would act more like stereotypical dumb jocks than young Black men speaking out, but they deserve as much applause for what they are doing now as much as anything they have ever done on a football field.
- Sorry State of Affairs at Grambling State (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Grambling football team not bluffing – ESPN (espn.go.com)
- LISTEN: Roland Martin Talks to Grambling State University President, Dr. Frank Pogue, About the Issue Surrounding the Football Team (blackchristiannews.com)
- Disgruntled Grambling Football Players Air Their Grievances (clutchmagonline.com)
Hear that creaking sound? That was John McCain finding his spine again.
Just before the Republican Kamikazes went over the edge with their mad scheme to kill off Obamacare, McCain took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to tell off the titular leader of the Kamikazes, Senator Wacko Bird, The Asshole Previously Known As Ted Cruz) just how doggone mad he was about the government shutdown dragging into the second week and cutting off military benefits.
“Somehow, to think that we are going to repeal Obamacare, which would have required 67 Republican votes, of course, was a false premise, and I think did the American people a great disservice by convincing them that somehow we could.”
McCain never mentioned Cruz by name. He didn’t have to. Everyone knew who Johnny Mac was ripping a new hole for. The rules of Senate decorum prevented McCain for calling off Cruz for his suicidal strategy. In a profile of Senator Wacko Bird for GQ magazine, an aide to McCain was less circumspect of how his boss felt about Cruz.
“He fucking hates Cruz,” an adviser of the Arizona senator said. “He’s just offended by his style.“
Fight! Fight! Fight! Cruz is riding high on Johnny Mac’s shit list and of course he was absolutely right how utterly doomed to failure the shutdown was and how badly Republicans would be scarred from the shrapnel when it all blew up in their faces.
The Washington press corps loves John McCain. If he were a woman they would cheat on their wives to be with him. As it is, they blow him wet kisses every time he talks tough. It sends a chill down their spine and they squeal like little girls.
There is no good reason for this.
For all his vanity, McCain has no more power than any of the other 99 Senators. He is not a part of the senior Senate leadership. His vote counts for no more than any other Senator, but that hasn’t stopped him from assuming the position of “The Senator of Senators,” first among equals.
Predictably the mainstream media felt a tingle go up their legs. At last! The return of the Reasonable Republican. Someone “moderate” to talk sense to a Grand Old Party body-snatched by the Tea Party. Those guys aren’t just angry. They’re mean. Not like Johnny Mac.The Maverick is back!
Oh, if only we had elected THIS guy instead of the smooth talker.
Professional loudmouth Chris Matthews once admitted, “The press loves McCain. We’re his base” and the hero-worship of the Washington media confirms this. He is their favorite Republican Matthews was raked over the coals for fawning over Barack Obama in 2008 for his infamous “tingle up my leg” quip, but he also said about McCain that he “deserved the presidency.”
McCain bitch slapping a cocky blowhard like Cruz absolutely delights Matthews and the rest of the punditocracy. Since losing to Obama, this version of McCain hasn’t been seen much lately. Where has this John McCain been?
Oh, let’s see. Losing a presidential election. Inflicting the unparalleled idiocy of the mentally challenged Sarah Palin on the country, running for reelection by taking far-right stances and then promptly casting them aside, offered lukewarm support for Mitt Romney despite despising him almost as much as he does President Obama, agitating for war against Iran, Libya, and Syria, losing his shit over Benghazi, led the lynch mob to block Susan Rice’s nomination to be Secretary of State, fought the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, opposed withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, permitted David Gregory to give him lap dances during his weekly appearances on “Meet the Press”, blasted Obama’s every foreign policy initiative, stabbed his old buddy and colleague Chuck Hagel in the back as he opposed his nomination for Secretary of Defense, got into grumpy old man fights with those Rand Paul and Ted Cruz whippersnappers and pouted.
LOTS of pouting.
When the books about the Great Shutdown of 2013 is written, Johnny Mac will be a minor figure, not a major player, but not to hear him tell it. Siddown, ya little bastards and your old Grandpa Johnny Mac is gonna tell ya a story how I reopened the whole damn federal government all by myself when that smart-ass Harvard professor in the White House couldn’t do it! Certainly he got more face time and high praise than his deeds deserved, but what did McCain DO? He didn’t negotiate the reopening of the government. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell did that. He certainly didn’t influence the House of Representatives to do anything. What do those nuts care about the senior Senator from Arizona and what he thinks about anything?
While Johnny Mac may think he is the Shadow President of the United States, all is just one of 100 Senators, with no more power than any other but more ego than all of them put together.
Give him credit for being the principled Republican willing to take on his party’s extreme wing, but Congressman Peter King has gone even further and called out Cruz directly and he doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere as much credit as McCain.
Any credit coming to Johnny Mac is taken away by his former running mate, Sarah Palin, standing side-by-side with Cruz, not McCain. If for nothing else, Johnny Mac will never live that one down.
- McCain: No more shutdowns, ‘I guarantee it’ (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- John McCain Back on Porch Warning Tea Partiers to Get Off His Lawn (shepherdspiehole.typepad.com)
- [WATCH] John McCain on Rep. Louis Gohmert: He’s someone who ‘has no intelligence’ (redalertpolitics.com)
- Aide: John McCain ‘f*cking hates’ Ted Cruz (rawstory.com)