Too Young To Live, Too Black to Live.

Does Tamir Rice’s Black Life Matter? Cleveland says “no.”

“There can be no doubt that Rice’s death was tragic and, indeed, when one considers his age, heartbreaking.   However … I conclude that Officer Loehmann’s belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death was objectively reasonable as was his response to that perceived threat.”
~ S. Lamar Sims, a prosecutor from Colorado, in his report to the grand jury

“Tamir Rice is in the wrong  He’s menacing. He’s 5-feet-7, 191 pounds. He wasn’t that little kid you’re seeing in pictures. He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body.”
~ Steve Loomis, Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association

It only took a year, but today Cuyahoga County District Attorney Timothy McGinty told the world something everyone already knew:  he would not indict the two cops who blew away Tamir Rice in 2014.

Just like they didn’t indict Daniel Pantaleo for killing Eric Garner.

Just like they didn’t indict  Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown.

Just like they didn’t indict the two cops for killing John Crawford III.

Just like they didn’t indict Dante Servin for killing Rekia Boyd.

Just like they didn’t indict the two LAPD cops for killing Ezell Ford.

Just like they didn’t indict anyone for killing Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.

Just like they didn’t indict anyone for Sandra Bland’s death.

Same as it ever was.

This outcome was so obvious–so painfully obvious–even Ray Charles could have seen it coming and he’s both blind and dead.

Nobody will ever convince me if Tamir Rice had been a 12-year-old White kid named Todd Rice and everything else remains equal that the grand jury wouldn’t have brought an indictment against Timothy Loehmann.   But Rice had the bad luck to be born Black and his life doesn’t matter. Certainly not to McGinty and his handpicked grand jury and pro-cop experts who were never interested in justice, only giving the appearance they were.

A few years ago, I did a two-week stint on a grand jury.  An interesting experience.  The prosecutors come in and run their rap about why we should indict some no-good son of a bitch who’s up for everything from domestic abuse to dealing drugs to murder.   I can’t recall how many indictments we rubber-stamped, but it had to be at least 90 percent.    A grand jury will pretty much give a prosecutor any result they want.

police-brutality02

Same as it ever was.

What does a Black parent tell their son or daughter what the legal stamp of approval of Tamir Rice’s murder by the Cleveland Police means? Lie to them that they are valued and protected members of society or tell them the truth their lives have no meaning and they have no rights, not even the right to live because a cop can take that away from them at any time for any reason and walk.

Sandra Bland last week and Tamir Rice this week. Wanna take bets on the cop who blew away Walter Scott taking a walk? Cops don’t go to jail for killing Black men, Black women or Black children. It’s like looking for hen’s teeth or whiskey in a wine glass. It doesn’t happen.

Ohio is an open carry state but the cops still executed Tamir Rice within two seconds.  You won’t hear the NRA screaming about his 2nd Amendment rights.

Tamir’s murder isn’t a Black Lives Matter problem or a Black people problem. It’s an American problem and not until America realizes the lives of your Black children are every bit as important as your White children’s lives, will there ever be an end to this madness.

America has a legal system. It does not have a justice system and it never has. As if anyone really needed yet another reminder.

Black lives matter.  But to whom?   Tamir Rice’s Black Life Matters.   But not to Timothy McGinty.   His blood is on your hands just as much as Timothy Loehmann.

Same as it always is.

“Jessica Jones” Is Nobody’s Super Hero.

A good detective…

When Jessica Jones was introduced in Alias, the Brian Michael Bendis/Michael Gaydos comic from Marvel’s adult-themed MAX imprint, it didn’t skimp on the violence or the sex. The first encounter between Jessica and Luke Cage was...memorable with a bit of kink thrown in.

Some SPOILERS follow…

I’m fine with anyone who says where Jessica Jones,  the Netflix TV show is coming from, is somewhere they don’t want to go.   They probably would be happier with lighter superhero fare like Supergirl. You can’t get much less grim and gritty than Superman’s cousin.

The original plan was to binge-watch all 13 episodes over two weeks.  It took closer to a month.   At various times I found the show to be intense, meandering, exciting, boring, violent, talky, sexy, contrived, memorable and forgettable.  It’s not an easy show to wrap your arms around, but Jessica Jones provided many moments hard to forget.

As the title character, Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a complete mess.  She drinks too much, she lives and works in a dump of an office in a crummy apartment building, she pisses off her best client, blows off her best friend, and sleeps with the husband of the woman she murdered.    She’s rude, surly, selfish and thoughtless. She’s not a nice person.

Jessica Jones has a much bigger supporting cast than Daredevil and while gal pal Trish Walker (Rachel Taylor) and Luke Cage (Mike Colter) are big assets, the amount of face time given over to Jessica’s neighbors Malcolm (Eka Darville), the drug addict with a big secret,  and the crazy twins upstairs Reuben and Robin are big drawbacks every time they get more than 30 seconds of face time.  They simply didn’t interest me as they were there mostly to fill the 60 minute running time.

Reuben’s banana bread and unrequited love for Jessica means a bad end for him from Kilgrave and Robin’s annoynace powers crank up to ten after he exits the show.   I hated every time they showed up siphon screen time.  Even when Reuben gets snuffed it does nothing but move an irritating second banana off the screen and gives another one even more chances to be irritating. Big mistake Jessica Jones writers!  I was hoping Kilgrave would make her die slowly.

…always finds a way…

Death is not in short supply on Jessica Jones as they practically stacked corpses.  I was initially stoked for the show, but ended up lukewarm  over a show most critics gushed over.  Instead,  I found myself echoing a few who came out feeling as let down as I was.

We thought Jessica Jones was the newest Marvel superhero show, but what it is is the story of a rape survivor still being tormented by her rapist. Jessica is an alcoholic, antisocial, abrasive and damaged woman who cares about nothing and no one, not even herself. That’s what the show was going for and it succeeded, but the unpleasantness of her personality as well Jessica’s lack of likeability made it hard to completely pull for her.

As a survivor, Jones is always on guard, uncomfortable and hostile to strangers and wary of even simple acts of kindness lest there be some hidden strings attached.  Only

Jones is damaged, teetering on losing her grip on sanity, drinking to numb herself from feeling anything and pushes her only friend away so she won’t get dragged down in her misery.   Kilgrave has violated her mind, body and soul and nothing she fears more than him repeating the violation.  It’s not your standard super-hero vs. super-villain dynamic.

David Tennant was fine as Kilgrave, the bane of Jessica’s existence,  but he lacked imagination. Make a guy stand and face a wall while he pees and craps on himself? Nasty, but far from lethal. If you’re going to make everyone in a police station hold their guns on each other, then make them pull the trigger and let the carnage ensue. Lethal would be Kilgrave walking into an air control tower and telling the staff to make planes crash into the ground and each other or instructing the doctors, nurses and patients in the hospital to kill each other.

Kilgrave delighted in torturing Jessica mentally with his sick mind games and dropping bodies all over the place because she wasn’t ready to commit to taking him out. Jessica should have listened to Breaking Bad’s Mike Armentrout about the foolhardiness of “half-measures.” If you’re going to be a villain, go all out and really pose a threat to our anti-hero. If you’re a hero, stop dicking around with your half-baked schemes and take out the villain before he drops more bodies.

The show peaked at Episode#10 with its huge body count and then dragged its ass to a finish I saw coming a mile off.  When you’re only telling one story over 13 episodes there are going to be peaks and valleys and there were plenty of both.    Here we had a tough woman who didn’t want to be saved or redeemed.   Jessica only wanted to be left the hell alone.

I liked Jessica Jones, even if I didn’t love Jessica Jones and while it limped to a padded-out, obvious end,  I enjoyed watched her end up as much damaged goods as she started.   Still drinking hard.  Still bitter as hell.  Still along.  Still with a broken door to match her broken life.

…to get her man. In bed.

Fat Tony Would Prefer You Lesser Blacks Go Back to Your Lesser Schools.

Scalia knows how many intelligent Blacks he’s met.

I’m a bit behind the news so I missed on commenting on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s outrageous remarks during oral arguments on an affirmative action case, but it doesn’t mean I’m cool how boldly Scalia showed his contempt for Black college students.

You know the conventional wisdom is  Scalia is the possessor of a brilliant legal mind and is easily one of the most intelligent jurists ever to sit on the Supreme Court? The conventional wisdom is wrong and so is Fat Tony.

“One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas.  They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”

What exactly is a “lesser school?” A HBCU or another college not as big as the University of Texas? What classes are “too fast” for Black students?

Fat Tony is saying Black scientists/students come from “lesser” (re: inferior) schools where the pace has been slowed to a point where they can keep up (re: since Blacks are slower in processing complex and difficult material, it must be kept as simple, basic and rudimentary as possible for them to grasp it).

“I’m just not impressed by the fact that the University of Texas may have fewer” minority students. Maybe it ought to have fewer.”

Well, golly gee Tony. I wish you had told me this before I had my daughter waste three years at predominantly White institution before she transferred to a HBCU. We could have sent her to a Black school from the get-go and not wasted the time exposing her to all those White kids she’s not smart enough or fast enough to keep up with.

You don’t have to parse Scalia’s words to find his contempt for the intellectual capacity of “minority” students. You only have to read.

The strongest argument possible against affirmative action is making Clarence Thomas a lifetime member of the United States Supreme Court. He was unqualified when he was selected and time has not made him any less so.

Thomas’ hypocrisy and intellectual inconsistency reeks like an infant’s diaper after too many jars of cream corn. I’m attacking this unqualified, groveling, sniveling dullard because he is the WORST sort of hypocrite because Thomas benefited from the very same affirmative action he now lusts to destroy.

The man is a joke and not a particularly funny one at that. I am repulsed by Clarence Thomas. Not because he’s a conservative. Because he’s selfish, cold, hateful, vengeful and malicious. Thomas is fueled by spite and has turned that spitefulness into a long and sustained attack on African Americans from his seat on the Supreme Court. Where his predecessor Thurgood Marshall fought for and articulated for the Constitutional rights of 35 million Blacks, Thomas wages war against them

If Scalia thinks Blacks can’t hack it, he should start with the moron who sits next to him, but he won’t because Uncle Thomas is Scalia’s idea of a Good Negro. Never speaks out of turn, defers to his betters, and knows his place. Yep, Uncle Thomas is Scalia’s boy, all right.

A boy and his dog.

My opinion on affirmative action is this: it was a necessary remedy due to the sickness of institutional racism that stigmatized and excluded people of color. And it’s still necessary.

Fat Tony’s insulting, belittling, and despicable remarks have the stench of industrial strength racism wafting from them and I have no reason to be respectful of an unrepentant bigot. Calling Scalia “fat” is a mild insult compared to his massive insult Blacks are too stupid to compete on the collegiate level.

Scalia is a fossil and when he finally dries up and blows away it will be a net plus for the highest court he drags into a sewer of ignorance.

“Batman v. Superman” Shows (and Tells) Too Much

Super Stink Face

Super Stink Face

The new and (hopefully last!) trailer for  Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has dropped and it indicate the first sign of the glaring absence of executive producer Christopher Nolan to tell writer David S. Goyer and director Zack Snyder, “I wouldn’t do that if I were for you”.  In Man of Steel, Nolan resisted their idea for Superman to kill Zod and the Dynamic Duo him it would be cool (it wasn’t).

Now with the adult out of the room, who’s gonna tell the kids they can’t eat pizza for breakfast and to flush after using the john?

Let’s sum up the trailer:

Batman is mad at Superman. Superman doesn’t give a shit about Batman being mad. Bruce and Clark have a snark fest. Lex Zuckerberg does a bad Joker riff. Previous scenes from earlier trailers. Bats and Supes duke it out. IT’S A BRO FIGHT! Mark Luthor unleashes his eeeeeeeevil scheme with Zod’s cold dead body. Doomsday is here looking like a moving pile of puke and poop. Bats and Supes team up to fight the greater menace. Mass destruction and big explosions. Suddenly, Whatta Woman appears! Bats and Supes exchange puzzled looks. “Is she with you, dude?” We Stand As One to Kick Doomsday’s nasty ass!

The trailer GIVES AWAY THE WHOLE FUCKING PLOT OF THE MOVIE FOR CHRISSAKES!

I save $10 bucks! This might be the worst trailer since Castaway in giving away all its big moments way too soon.  I’m certain there are more than a few secrets left to reveal in Batman v. Superman, but Great Scott that trailer was spoileriffic.

And it still looks to me like passing over Bryan Cranston in favor of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was a turrrible idea as Charles Barkley might say.   It’s completely out of place and character for a DC flick since they disdain being “jokey” like Marvel movies. I didn’t mind the exchange as much as I agree it’s a little tone-deaf after the laugh riots of Nolan’s Batman trilogy and Man of Steel.
The thing which bugs me most about this trailer isn’t Batman or Superman or Wonder Woman or even Doomsday.  Okay, I’m lying a bit  because  Doomsday looks like shit and he’s never been anything but DC’s knockoff version of Hulk Lite so Superman has someone he can hit that won’t splatter from the punch.

It’s Jesse Eisenberg’s goofy Lex Luthor because nothing screams “BEWARE, MY WRATH!” like an angry Jesse Eisenberg!

Look, no knock on Eisenberg as an actor. Loved him as anti-social, unlikable The Social Network, but his Luther looks like the same smart-ass motormouth he played in Now You See Me. In fact, I’ll go further. Between Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey and now Eisenberg, the best actor to play Lex Luthor was…Clancy Brown.

My brother tells me I’m being a buzzkill and the trailer doesn’t spoil everything about Batman v. Superman.  We still haven’t seen Aquaman, but that’s a pretty thin branch to perch on.  If you’re depending on Aquaman to save your movie, it’s a lost cause already.

jesse-eisenberg-lex-luthor-not-bryan-cranston-meme2016 is going to be a huge year in super hero films with Batman v. Superman,  Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Suicide Squad,  and maybe one film where superheroes aren’t beating up each other, Deadpool.

Every genre reaches a point of saturation and if super hero movies aren’t there yet, they are getting close.   When the heroes are beating up each other it’s a sign they are running out of villains to beat up instead.

It’s going to be a big year, but to make it a good year, something is going to have to grab my interest in a way Avengers: Age of Ultron (saw it once and promptly forgot all about it) and Ant-Man (didn’t bother to see it) did not.   Maybe I’ve aged out of getting excited about seeing comic book characters on the big screen or maybe I’m just waiting for one that actually gives me a reason to get excited.

Donald Trump: American Mussolini

The names have changed but the song remain the same.

The names have changed but the song remain the same.

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.

Mr. Trump stated, “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.” – Donald J. Trump

 

I laughed at the idea of Donald Trump running for president.  It was funny.  Such a wacky joke!

Joke’s over.

I laughed and so did you. Why wouldn’t we? Donald J.Trump? The Celebrity Apprentice guy? The blowhard who imports his wives from other countries even while he says he wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans out? The WWE guest wrestler? The guy who ran the USFL out of business and declared bankruptcy

The guy who wants to ban all Muslims–including native-born American Muslims–from entering the country or reentering it should they leave it for any reason.

That guy. The G.O.P. frontrunner, same as he has been for nearly half of 2015.

This is the man who wants to lead your party, Republicans. The Party of Lincoln and Reagan. If you don’t stand against Donald Trump, you stand with Donald Trump.

I understand there are people in America who are at flirting with the notion of supporting Trump, even if they aren’t inclined to say so out loud. I’m inclined to say they are supporting Trump’s bigotry, racism, intolerance, sexism, misogyny, lies, deceptions, fabrications, slanders, lack of patriotism and neo-Fascist tendencies.

All due respect to these people and I’m sure some of them very nice people, but supporting Donald Trump is not a nice thing to do. I’ve yet to hear anyone proclaim support for Trump for reasons that didn’t make me want to hurl.

I’d wager there are Latino Americans and gay Americans and Jewish Americans and female Americans and Black Americans and Muslim Americans and an international community who are very concerned and distressed over what Trump is saying and how well he’s doing.  As a writer I owe it to the reader and be precise in my language. Donald Trump is the dark underbelly of everything that is bad, unsavory and toxic in American politics.

I mean, I know why Trump says this off-the-wall stuff. Hell, it could practically be a TV show: Shit Donald Trump Says. He fell behind Terrible Ted Cruz in Iowa and he’s throwing out the reddest chunk of bloody red meat to the base to pimp up his polling numbers. And polls are the only thing Trump cares about. He says what nobody else would dare to say and his poll numbers go up.

Rachel Maddow showed Trump supporters being asked what they thought of his idea to essentially make Muslims illegal in the U.S. and they were all cool with it. Not one person said, “This is not who we are as Americans.” Not one person said, “What ISIS wants most is the West to go to war with 8 billion Muslims and this is how it is done.”

I find those people more detestable and deplorable than Trump because they keep him afloat. They make me ill. Actually physically sick.

There has always been a strong strain of nativism in America and Trump’s rise is based exclusively on fear, suspicion and hatred of The Others. Those people with their strange names and customs and beliefs and dress and religion. They aren’t like us and we can’t trust them. We have to register them, watch them, follow them, close down their mosques, ban them from country, cast them out, hunt them down and kill them.

Hatred of the Other is Donald Trump’s idea of how you make America great again.   Mussolini would be proud.

We are crossing the Rubicon in our political discourse when in our fear we begin to cannibalize each other for no reason other than we are different. Normally, I deeply distrust slippery slope arguments, but in the case of Donald Trump and what he says he will do if elected President I will make an exception. We sit by idly because as long as it’s Muslims and Mexicans Trump is trashing we can shrug and say, “He’s not talking about me,” but it really does feel like this is a Martin Niemoller moment.

I can’t tell if Trump is the embodiment of the maniacal Greg Stillson of Stephen King’s The Dead Zone or the most elaborate executor of performance art I’ve seen since Andy Kaufman in his prime.

It’s not a risk worth taking to find out.  Donald Trump is a dangerous fascist and he is our American Mussolini.

"Here's your trophy, Ali. Now get outta my country!"

“Here’s your trophy, Ali. Now get outta my country!”

Prayers Are Not Enough

There have been thousands more memorials for the dead since Sandy Hook.

As opposed to the slow-to-no response from the 2016 Republican presidential candidates to the Colorado Springs shootings less than a week ago, following this week’s  the shooting spree in San Bernadino that left 14 dead, most of them reacted  quickly to get out their expressions of shock and sympathy for public consumption.

Notice any differences between the Democratic and Republicans?

“Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders in San Bernardino who willingly go into harm’s way to save others,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted.

It was remarkably similar to the response from Cruz following the shooting at a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs last week.

“Praying for the loved ones of those killed, those injured & first responders who bravely got the situation under control in Colorado Springs,” Cruz tweeted at the time.

“Praying for all those victimized by the shootings in San Bernardino, California today,” tweeted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Jeb Bush’s message was nearly identical.

“Praying for the victims, their families & the San Bernardino first responders in the wake of this tragic shooting,” he tweeted.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the shooting victims and their families in San Bernardino,” wrote Ben Carson.

Donald Trump, not surprisingly, offered a response with a bit more attitude — but it still said nothing about guns.

“California shooting looks very bad. Good luck to law enforcement and God bless. This is when our police are so appreciated!” Trump tweeted.

The Democratic hopefuls struck a strikingly different tone.

“I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now,” Hillary Clinton tweeted.

“Mass shootings are becoming an almost everyday occurrence in this country,” Bernie Sanders tweeted. “This sickening and senseless gun violence must stop.”

Martin O’Malley called out the National Rifle Association by name.

“Horrifying news out of #SanBernardino. Enough is enough: it’s time to stand up to the @NRA and enact meaningful gun safety laws.”
Prayers are no substitute for taking action. The Democrats say something must be done but lack the will or votes to do anything. The Republicans say a prayer and do nothing.

My reply? God helps those who help themselves.

Not sure which “meaningful gun safety laws” could be enacted to address rampant gun violence in America, but one thing clear to me is prayers aren’t working.

Prayers are no substitute for action.

obama grief

There may be value in prayer and I’m not knocking it, but if God is busy at a football game or something, I don’t leave it all in His hands. More has to be done than sending up prayers to a God who may not be there or may not be interested in getting involved.

I prayed for change.
I prayed after Sandy Hook.
I prayed after Charleston.
I prayed after Paris.
I prayed after Colorado Springs.
I prayed time and time again after senseless acts of violence here in America, in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and around this troubled globe.

I pray and nothing changes.   If we have learned nothing from Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Aurora, Colorado,  and now San Bernardino it’s that grief is not enough, tears are not enough, prayers are not enough.

This says to me maybe I should pray less and do more.