Friday, January 30, 2015
Righting History, 54 Years Later
Precisely fifty-four years ago, nine young black men sat at the whites-only counter of McCrory's five-and-dime in Rock Hill, S.C. and ordered burgers and cokes, for which crime they were arrested and convicted of trespassing. On Wednesday, eight surviving members of the Friendship Nine returned to court, where a judge - whose uncle had originally sentenced them - threw out the cases. Mindfully, he ruled the record of the charges be preserved: “This will remain part of our history as corrected.”
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Thursday, January 29, 2015
Seattle Police Still Going Nuts
Just in case you forgot what country we're living in: See a berserk (white, female) Seattle cop feverishly screaming "Get back!" as a peaceable (black, male) teacher, having just given a MLK Day speech about civil rights, ambles past talking on his cell phone, at which point the cop pepper sprays him in the face. Seattle police have been here before. Because author and activist Jesse Hagopian has too, he is suing them and the city. His remarkably mild response: "Wish we had a better world."
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Sniper As Hero: Our Deep Sickness
Chris Kyle's American Sniper, to one critic "an odious homage (to) wholesale slaughter," is everywhere. The film has made millions, the book tops bestseller lists, the media gears up for the trial of the vet who killed Kyle. For many, America's eagerness to lionize a guy who saw all his victims as "savages" while mouthing the mindless, jingoistic pieties of America's wars highlights the moral failings of the culture. His widow to the NRA: He was "an everyday man who loved his God and country."
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Celebrating Moderate Beheadings: Pentagon Says Tell Us Why Abdullah Was Cool and Win A Wife
Mind-bogglingly, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey is sponsoring an essay contest to honor Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah as "a man of remarkable character and courage,” presumably on the basis of Abdullah's achievements - his jailing, torturing, mutilating, oppressing, beheading and otherwise infamous denying of basic human rights to many thousands of his own citizens. Go U.S. military: ever on the wrong side of history.
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Monday, January 26, 2015
Use Me Instead
There is, it seems, grace in the world. Appalled that North Miami Beach Police were using photos of young black men for target practice and resolved to "put ourselves in the place of those whose humanity is denied," dozens of clergy and others have offered their own collared, smiling, sacred photos to police shooters with the hashtag #UseMeInstead. Their comments range from concise - "Not cool" - to caustic - "Sorry I'm so pale" - to hauntingly apt: "Inasmuch as you do it to the least of these."
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Names Matter: New GOP Head of Committee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights Is Actually Kinda Meh on the Civil and Human Rights Part
With no formal announcement, the GOP has decided to remove the words "civil rights and human rights" from the former Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights to focus on what chair John Cornyn of Texas calls their "sacred responsibility" to serve as "a watchdog against unconstitutional overreach" by the Kenyan Marxist Obama rather than get distracted by all this "civil rights" nonsense they've already taken care of thank you very much. It could be a long two years.
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Friday, January 23, 2015
Healing Veterans' Unseen Scars
Over 230,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan - roughly the same number as those with PTSD - are said to suffer from both wars' signature injury: blast neurotrauma, or so-called "mild traumatic brain injury" from IED explosions and other "blast events." With alarmingly little known about a devastating but invisible "war on the brain," one project seeks to help veterans vent the pain and rage behind their daily masks by proclaiming the force of explosions that "rattle the earth around you."
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Thursday, January 22, 2015
Think Of Us When You Are Warm: Rebuilding Gaza, Or Maybe, Mournfully, Not
Job-like, Gazans get yet more bad news: Even as they squat in rubble and tents battling to keep their children alive - a fifth just froze to death - amidst cold, wet, wind, and food, fuel and power shortages, U.N. officials say a program to rebuild over 100,000 destroyed homes will end this month because ignoble world donors oblivious to their fate have reneged on funding promises. With a heartrending plea from those forgotten in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon: "We are slowly dying here."
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I Am Not Corn: Guantánamo Diary Reveals 14-Year-Long Vision of Hell
After a seven-year legal battle and 2,500 redactions by the same government that has beat, tortured and held him for twice that time, we have the first harrowing book detailing life and near-death inside Guantánamo by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian electrical engineer caught in an "endless world tour" of U.S. black sites because he fit an absurdist profile that was "smoke but no fire." His attorney: "It's not that they haven't found the evidence against him - there isn't any."
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Fox News (Sic) Can't Get No Respect
Talk about idiotic chickens coming home to roost. Since Fox "News" committed its infamous No-Go-Muslim-Zones-in- Europe crime against coherence, it's had to issue red-faced apologies for its "regrettable errors," faced merciless spoofs from France's version of The Daily Show, and now seen Paris' Mayor threaten to sue their clueless butts for trashing France's "image" and "honor." Today, the White House even forgot the "News" in their name. Mark Twain: "Genuine humor is replete with wisdom."
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