Well, This Ferguson Stuff is Just the Worst.

The DOJ is not going to bring charges against that police officer that shot the unarmed black teenager.  People feel different ways on that.  I get it.  But their report on the city of Ferguson is pretty awful and has pretty much set fire to the rain.

DOJ: Ferguson Police report

 

Lisa Bloom has something to say, y’all.

I’m sure more is going to come up.  The people who haven’t been disciplined still have to face judgment.  And I’m sure that some apoligists have something to say.  So stay tuned.

#BlackLivesMatter and the Protests in Light of Recent Horrible Murders

Several police officers have been murdered recently.  This is a horrible thing.  Two officers were murdered in NYC and one in Florida.  Other individuals have been arrested because of threats made toward officers.

This is ridiculous and needs to stop.  Police officers should not be attacked.  Period.

At the same time there is a legitimate movement happening.  #BlackLivesMatter is important but is in danger of being derailed due to this.  That needs to stop.  Now.  I made a thing that shows what I think about this.

 

Awkward SNL Things Re: Ferguson

I don’t watch much SNL because it’s not that great and because usually I’m out doing stuff.  But the December 13 2014 episode was pretty good and had a bunch of stuff in it about Ferguson.  Pretty good stuff.

 

This sketch below was apparently “cut for time.”  But it’s awesome.

 

And the first two minutes of this are hot fire:

While I was watching these sketches I was on www.silive.com which is apparently a website about Staten Island and it’s happenings.  As with most websites, it has ads.  These were the ads when I looked at the website:

NYPD-RecruitingI don’t know, this just seems poorly timed…someone should probably get fired for this.  Or at least chewed out.

What Am I Supposed to Feel Here?

 

 

So when you watch this video are you supposed to have hope for the future or are you supposed to be disappointed because you know that some of these children are likely to be racist?

I mean, there is that old pic that floats around facebook stating that no kid is born racist, but those kids all grow up…

The Most Important Thing I Have Ever Said, Revisited

Back in the past I said this.  I wanted it to be the most important thing that I had ever said, and something that I would have wanted you to remember me by when I am gone.

Turns out that while it’s the most important thing that I have said, someone else came up with it first.  In a piece on cultural appropriation at Tea and Breakfast, well, here:

https://twitter.com/azealiabanks/status/540303068659580928

I should have known.  Anything cool that I can think of Paul Mooney (pictured above, pic courtesy of a YouTube video that I didn’t watch but probably made Richard Pryor blush) already thought of 25 years ago.  This was actually part of a sketch that he did on Chappelle’s Show which was pretty rough.  I don’t want to get in trouble for showing it here so Google it.  Or don’t and just take my word for it.  If anyone needs me I’ll be thinking of another important thing to say.

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and the St. Louis Rams

image above from CS Monitor

“St. Louis, Missouri (November 30, 2014) – The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.

“Five members of the Rams entered the field today exhibiting the “hands-up-don’t-shoot” pose that has been adopted by protestors who accused Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson of murdering Michael Brown. The gesture has become synonymous with assertions that Michael Brown was innocent of any wrongdoing and attempting to surrender peacefully when Wilson, according to some now-discredited witnesses, gunned him down in cold blood.

“SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda said, “now that the evidence is in and Officer Wilson’s account has been verified by physical and ballistic evidence as well as eye-witness testimony, which led the grand jury to conclude that no probable cause existed that Wilson engaged in any wrongdoing, it is unthinkable that hometown athletes would so publicly perpetuate a narrative that has been disproven over-and-over again.”

“Roorda was incensed that the Rams and the NFL would tolerate such behavior and called it remarkably hypocritical. “All week long, the Rams and the NFL were on the phone with the St. Louis Police Department asking for assurances that the players and the fans would be kept safe from the violent protesters who had rioted, looted, and burned buildings in Ferguson. Our officers have been working 12 hour shifts for over a week, they had days off including Thanksgiving cancelled so that they could defend this community from those on the streets that perpetuate this myth that Michael Brown was executed by a brother police officer and then, as the players and their fans sit safely in their dome under the watchful protection of hundreds of St. Louis’s finest, they take to the turf to call a now-exonerated officer a murderer, that is way out-of-bounds, to put it in football parlance,” Roorda said.

“The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology. Roorda said he planned to speak to the NFL and the Rams to voice his organization’s displeasure tomorrow. He also plans to reach out to other police organizations in St. Louis and around the country to enlist their input on what the appropriate response from law enforcement should be. Roorda warned, “I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I’ve got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours. I’d remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser’s products. It’s cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do. Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it’s not the NFL and the Rams, then it’ll be cops and their supporters.”

Statement from St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, Courtesy of Ksdk.com, [St. Louis Poilce Officer’s Association] condemns Rams display

The NFL will not adhere to a request from the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association to discipline St. Louis Rams players who did the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose used by protesters in Ferguson, Mo. during pre-game introductions on Sunday.

“We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.

NFL says it won’t discipline Rams players for Ferguson protest

 

 

But this may have been the best tweet of all about it:

UPDATE:

1.  The St. Louis Ethical Society of Police, which appears to be the equivalent of Essence of Ebony at ACU, put out a statement about this:

ST. LOUIS CITY AFRICAN AMERICAN POLICE OFFICERS SUPPORT THE RAMS PLAYERS ACTIONS

The Statements of the St. Louis Police Officers Association does not represent the opinion of a majority of African American Officers.

General Counsel, Attorney Gloria McCollum, on behalf of THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE- St. Louis, STATES:

“THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE, is the primary voice of African
American Police Officers in St. Louis City, and as such it COMPLETELY SUPPORTS THE ACTIONS OF THE ST. LOUIS RAMS FOOTBALL PLAYERS IN WHICH THEY SHOWED SUPPORT FOR THE FAMILY OF MICHAEL BROWN BY ENTERING THE STADIUM WITH THEIR HANDS UP.

We think that their actions were commendable and that they should not be ridiculed, disciplined or punished for taking a stand on this very important issue which is of great concern around the world and especially in the community where these players work.

THE STATEMENTS OF THE ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS
ASSOCIATION DO NOT REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF THE MAJORITY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN POLICE OFFICERS IN THE DEPARTMENT BECAUSE THERE ARE NO AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFICERS ON THEIR GOVERNING BOARD AND THEY HAVE A MINIMAL AMOUNT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MEMBERS.

The Ethical Society of Police has been the primary bridge between African American community and the police department for many years. The Ethical Society will use its best efforts to continue to work with the community leaders and the Department of Justice to address issues that affect our community such as racial profiling, police brutality and disparities in hiring and disciplining practices of African American Officers.

source:  Colorlines and Death and Taxes

2.  The current President of the Ethical Society Of Police is apparently named “Darren Wilson.”  But it’s a different Darren Wilson.  Man, that’s unfortunate.

3.  Other sports figures have joined in the protest with more possibly on the way.  It looks like most of the people in the protest are wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts after Michael Brown.

Think on This

“There’s this statistic that explains why white people have a hard time understanding what’s going on in Ferguson. This article explains that statistically speaking, white people only ever really hang out with other white people. Like: 91% of white people’s social circles are comprised of other white people. Ninety-one percent!

‘Oh, god,’ I thought. ‘No wonder we have a hard time listening to each other. I can’t imagine having such a limited perspective into the experiences of minorities – only 9%! I mean, it’s a good thing my social circle is wider than that! I’m so glad that my perception of the world around me is influenced by many diverse voices!’”

[…]

“I am not here to talk about the grand jury process. I am not here to speculate about the possible motivations of the prosecution. I am not here to go full Serial on Darren Wilson’s testimony. I am not here to question why the medical examiner didn’t go buy camera batteries, and I am not here to wonder why the information surrounding the tape at the convenience store was leaked in such a specific and odd manner. I’m not here to talk about whether or not Michael Brown was a good kid, or a bad kid, or on drugs, or a robbery suspect. I’m not here to talk about any of that. It’s a worthwhile conversation, mind you, but not the one I’m interested in right now.

I’m here to tell you instead, fellow white people, that Ferguson is about more than just one scared cop and one unarmed black teenager.

I’m here to ask you, fellow fishes, to wake up and smell the water.

I’m asking you to consider, if you have not already, that the anger and frustration pouring out of Ferguson is outrage at a system of power that does not include minority voices.

[…]

I’m asking you to imagine what it must be like to experience inequality, every single day, in ways that are sometimes small and subtle and sometimes overt and unjust.

I’m asking you to consider what it must be like to walk home at night and watch white people cross the street, fearful of their own safety. I’m asking you to imagine trying to hail a cab after a long day at work, but no cabs will stop. I’m asking you to imagine changing your name on a job application, because no one will hire you. I’m asking you to imagine telling your children not to wear hoodies when they leave the house, just in case.

I’m asking you to imagine putting your faith in a school system that suspends black students at triple the rate of their white peers, all the while cheerfully preaching the gospel of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but only, mind you, during the designated month of February. I’m asking you to imagine living in a shitty house in a shitty neighborhood, not because you want to, but because you are unable to move elsewhere due to housing discrimination.

And then – and only then, once you think about the everyday reality, once you actually try to imagine living your life without the benefits that being white has afforded you, I want you to consider what it must feel like hear the story of Roy Middleton, who was shot fifteen times in his own driveway because a neighbor assumed he was breaking into his own car. I’m asking you to consider the story of Henry Davis, who was beaten viciously by the Ferguson police department and later charged with property destruction for getting blood on their uniforms.

And then I’m asking you to consider what it must be like, to consider the body of Michael Brown, lying lifeless on the street for four and a half hours, and think, “Michael Brown looks like my brother. Michael Brown looks like my husband. Michael Brown looks like my son. Michael Brown looks like me.”

[…]

Racism isn’t over because Barack Obama is president. Racism isn’t over because Beyoncé. Racism isn’t over because Oprah. Racism didn’t end when we all read To Kill a Mockingbird in tenth-grade English class, and it’s not over now.

Racism is when you reduce a human being to a series of beliefs, stereotypes, or cultural identities that remove their ability to be seen as a unique individual. Just as you wouldn’t minimize any of my personal problems related to being a woman by saying, “But your problems aren’t real, because Hillary Clinton and Taylor Swift are both doing pretty great for themselves!!” – you cannot argue that having a black president is the hallmark of a country that has moved beyond the issues of race.

Racism is when you equate all black people in Ferguson with the specific few vandals who were looting buildings and smashing windows. Racism is inherent in the word “thugs.”

(Double irony points if you’re using the word “thug” now, but were one of the people celebrating on Broad Street in Philadelphia during the 2008 Phillies World Series win, when cars were burned and windows smashed and storefronts destroyed. I remember that evening well. Back then, we called them “fans.”)”

[…]

“But as Ferguson burned, I also read posts from my white friends about how excited you are for Black Friday deals. Your outrage at FedEx for a misplaced package. Nail art. Weight loss advice.

You are the same people who dumped buckets of ice over your heads for ALS. You are the same people who wear t-shirts emblazoned with “Boston Strong.” You post that same picture of an eagle and the American flag on 9/11. “Never Forget.”

And when the riots began, you were …. instagramming photos of your dinner? Excited about your new H+M sweater? You literally have more to say about The Big Bang Theory than a national ******* tragedy?

I also received several OkCupid messages that night. All from white dudes. No, I don’t want to come to Cherry Hill and eat pizza with you. I’m watching the world burn down.

What that tells me is that, for some of you, the destruction in Ferguson was not a “Never Forget” situation, or a national tragedy, or even something to be particularly concerned about … because the bodies in the streets did not look like yours, or your family’s. Because it looks like “other.” Because the problems faced by Black America are not the same as the problems faced by White America, and therefore, they aren’t worth considering.

Perhaps you don’t see this because your number is closer to 99% than 91%.”

http://iambeggingmymothernottoreadthisblog.com/2014/11/27/race-ya/

You Should Vote Because: Ferguson

So a couple of days ago I was in Dallas having a beer with a friend.  I had an O’Doulls and MAN, it was gross.  I remember when defense attorneys would cross-examine police officers on DWI trials and talk about how O’Doul’s might have had the odor of an alcoholic beverage in it but there was no alcohol content, so maybe their client had one of those.  Having had one, I know that’s not the case because no one would waste the odor of an intoxicating beverage on that hot flaming garbage.

 

Hot.  Flaming.  Garbage.

Hot. Flaming. Garbage.

So we were talking about how the 2014 elections went down and she told me that she had gotten her deputy voting registrar status, which means that she can get people registered to vote.  It’s pretty easy to get.  Once she got it, she went outside bars, clubs and social places and talked to people about getting out to vote.  Many didn’t even know that there was an election to vote for.

Right up before the election and right after there was a lot of talking about voting and all of that.  But then for a while there was nothing.  There are so many different causes, #Hashtags and other problems that it can be really difficult to keep up with everything.  Also, Scandal.  I decided that I wanted to have a semi-regular place to talk about why people should vote.  I never got it off the ground, though.

Then, Ferguson.

There’s been a huge outcry about ferguson the past couple of days and there will be a lot more.  But I think it’s important to note that voting can change things.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 6.42.34 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-25 at 6.44.55 PM

What is a Grand Jury?

A grand jury consists of twelve people whose job is to review criminal complaints and decide if there is sufficient evidence to issue an indictment.  The standard of proof for an indictment is probable cause.

Who can serve on a Grand Jury?

A person can serve on a grand jury in Harris County if he:

is a citizen of Harris County, Texas, and qualified to vote in Harris County;

is of sound mind and good moral character;

is able to read and write;

has never have been convicted of any felony;

is not under indictment or other legal accusation for theft or any felony;

is not on probation for theft or any felony;

has not served as a grand juror or grand jury commissioner in the last year;

is not related to any person selected to serve or serving on the same grand jury;

is not a complainant in any matter to be heard by the grand jury during the term of court for which he has been selected as a grand juror.

How is a grand jury selected?

The court selects 3 to 5 grand jury commissioners.  These commissioners are charged with compiling a list of not less than 15 nor more than 40 persons to be summoned as grand jurors.  From this list, the court impanels twelve (12) grand jurors and two (2) alternate grand jurors to serve.

The law requires the commissioners to select grand jurors who “represent a broad cross section of the population of the county, considering the factors of race, sex and age.”

This means that if, even if the court summons you, you may or may not be selected to serve.  If you are not selected, this is not a reflection on you, but rather the court’s attempt to comply with the requirements of the law.

Why would I want to serve on a Grand Jury?

Only a small percentage of citizens are privileged to serve on a grand jury.  Those who take advantage of this unusual opportunity enjoy having a close up view of the criminal justice system and participating in the process.  Serving on a grand jury provides a unique education about our criminal justice system.

Grand jurors meet new and interesting people and often form lasting bonds with fellow grand jurors.  We always receive letters from former grand jurors stating what a rewarding experience they had and how much they will miss their fellow grand jurors.

Grand jurors are also offered the opportunity to ride with a patrol officer from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department and take a tour of the county morgue.

When and where does the Grand Jury meet?

Ten new grand juries are empanelled for each of the January and July Terms, with five serving at one time in three-month intervals.   Each grand jury meets for two scheduled days a week at 1201 Franklin, 3rd Floor, Houston, Texas 77002.   The grand jury’s workday can last as long as a regular work day, but is often shorter.

Will I be paid for Grand Jury Service?

          Grand Jurors are paid $6.00 for the first session and $28.00 for each subsequent session in the grand jury term.

How can I serve on a Grand Jury?

To be considered for the next grand jury, you must fill out the grand juror application, have it notarized, and mail it in to the Administrative Office of the District Courts, 1201 Franklin, 7th Floor, Houston, Texas 77002.  If you do not truthfully answer the questions on your application, you could be prosecuted for criminal offenses.

Source:  http://www.justex.net/grandjuryinfo/faq.aspx

In Texas, the prosecutor that presents a case to the grand jury works for the District Attorney.  The “Court” that selects Grand Jury Commissioners is run by a Judge.  Both of those positions are elected positions, meaning that voting matters.  The Judges that your cousin keeps going in to see because he can’t get right/got that girl pregnant/etc. are elected in Texas and probably are going to do more to affect the quality of his life than the President ever would.

There are going to be more of these coming in the future, but if you’re mad about Ferguson then you need to vote.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 6.55.33 PM

Point/Counterpoint re: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Hashtag Activsm

Point/Counterpoint is when I get some different articles together about a specific subject. I am not advocating on either side really, I just want to make people think.

POINT:

What is even more bothersome of the upsweep of this campaign is what it reflects. Ferguson was put on the map by social media. Now social media is inundated with people throwing ice water on themselves in name of a disease that really isn’t a priority anyway you slice it. ALS is safe and apolitical – essentially due to its randomness and whiteness – unlike other social challenges that are systematic and based in social stratification. People can participate in this fun feel-good challenge without getting too serious, politically, and socially charged. Meanwhile, several West African countries are in a state of emergency due to the inadequacy of their health infrastructure to handle an epidemic, while water is a scarcity in many of those countries and here at home. Goodness, what about all of the celebrities who claim California as their home but dump clean ice water on their heads in the middle of a drought?

Jorie Ella, Lets Keep it Real: The ALS Bucket Challenge is an Embarrassment

We pay scant attention to the happenings in our world unless a celebrity or a viral YouTube video commands us to, and then we jump on board. But only temporarily, and the travesty is that our fleeting attention to these matters trivializes the issue as a whole.

This isn’t to say hashtag activism is a lost cause. Both Occupy Wall Street and the tea party did an effective job of using social media to draw attention to a larger cause. With proper organization and a consistent message, hashtag activism can be very effective.

I look at my Turkish college classmate as an example. He would often use hashtags on social media describing the Turkish unrest last year. Images of him defying a crackdown to stand up for a cause still burn in my mind today.
Thirty people died in a Boko Haram car bombing this week, and the kidnapped Nigerian girls still have not been brought back home, but no one seems to have noticed.

As a millennial, I am very disappointed to see how quickly we engage in an issue only to #LoseInterestOverTime.

Sydney Oliver, The Failings of Hashtag Activism, Dallas Morning News

COUNTERPOINT:

I get that they’re cranky, but I think maybe they don’t realize what it’s like to face this insidious disease and then realize that it’s nearly invisible to the rest of the world. As I watch my husband become entombed inside his own body, I feel desperate for people to understand that this sort of inhumane condition exists. But for some reason, while everyone acknowledges it’s one of the worst fates imaginable, funding for research and patient care is nearly nil. I recently mentioned to a doctor that my husband has ALS and she first looked confused and then said, “Oh, that’s Lou Gehrig’s Disease, right?” Right. Why does she -a doctor of medicine – still only know it by Lou Gehrigs Disease? Because we humans need to associate things with people. It’s easier that way. That’s why the celebrity faces and personal challenges happening in the ice bucket challenge are so effective at bringing in money. And if someone gets to look good while plunking their $50 in the ALS tip jar, I have zero problem with that.

Because here’s the deal: We are in for the fight of our lives with this monster, and the very LAST thing I want is for people to give quietly, anonymously, and then slink away. Raise the roof! Raise a ruckus! Call all sorts of attention to yourself! I will be happy for you and every Facebook like you receive, as you nudge ALS an inch or two closer to the collective public consciousness.

Bo Stern, What An ALS Family REALLY Thinks About the Ice Bucket Challenge

“It is time for the world to realize that hashtags are now a centerpiece of our culture. I knew what was occurring in Ferguson, but did not understand the magnitude of the situation until I saw it trending on Twitter. After seeing the trend, I searched and began to read about the unjust actions committed by the police department. This curiosity and inspiration to act all started with a hashtag I saw while browsing my Twitter timeline.
[…]
Police are still harming protesters in Ferguson. ALS is not cured. Has social media affected anything? Social media has allowed people to protest against Michael Brown’s murder even though they are not in Ferguson. Without Twitter, Howard University students could not have shown their solidarity for Michael Brown. Twitter is a medium that permits people from all over the world to not only post about the hamburger they had last night, but to speak their mind as well. These students utilized it to protest an injustice.

Imagine if Twitter was around during the Civil Rights Era. Think about the greatness of hashtags such as #ihavedream or #selmatomontgomery Hashtags don’t sound too unnecessary anymore, do they?”

Avi Sholkoff, “Hashtag Activism is Here to Stay,” The Huffington Post

Welp, Jon Stewart Just Said What I’ve Wanted to Say for Years.

 

Thank you, Jon Stewart for explaining what I have been trying to explain for years.

The truth is that it really doesn’t matter what you think about African Americans and law enforcement.  I know what I’ve seen and dealt with.  You can either believe it or not.

I think that instead of doing any more arguments on this matter, I’m just going to refer people to this video.

above pic of jon stewart  from here