Saturday Open Thread

Trayvon Martin (February 5, 1995 – February 26, 2012) was an African American teenager who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a multiracial man (Peruvian mother, Caucasian father)[4][5][9][10][11][12] in Sanford, Florida. Martin, who was unarmed, had been walking to his father’s home from a convenience store when Zimmerman called 911 and followed Martin after witnessing what he described as “suspicious” behavior.[13] Soon afterward, he fatally shot Martin during an altercation between the two.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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52 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    David Axelrod‏@davidaxelrodReply

    This Etch-a-Sketch thing just won’t die. Funny thing is, all this time, I figured the game of choice over there in Mitt-land was Monopoly!

  2. Ametia says:

    Obama arrives in South Korea for nuclear summit
    By the CNN Wire Staff
    updated 5:54 PM EDT, Sat March 24, 2012

    Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — President Barack Obama arrived in South Korea on Sunday for a three-day trip centered on an international nuclear security summit in Seoul.

    He flew into Seoul, where he is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak.

    Top officials from 54 countries, including China and Russia, will attend the summit meeting on Monday and Tuesday.

    But its message of international cooperation has been overshadowed by North Korea’s announcement last week that it is planning to carry out a rocket-powered satellite launch in April.

    South Korea has said it considers the satellite launch an attempt to develop a nuclear-armed missile, while the United States has warned the move would jeopardize a food-aid agreement reached with Pyongyang in early March.

    President Lee has already said he will use the summit to drum up international support against the actions of his northern neighbor.

  3. Ametia says:

    Cheney Receives Heart Transplant; Bush Still on Waiting List for Brain
    Halliburton Performs Reconstruction of Former VP

    FALLS CHURCH, VA (The Borowitz Report) – Former Vice President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant today, but former President George W. Bush remained on a waiting list for a brain, hospital officials confirmed.

    As part of a government contract signed while he was still Vice President, Halliburton performed the reconstruction work on Mr. Cheney’s circulatory system at a cost to taxpayers of $14.2 billion.

    The doctor who performed the surgery called the procedure “extremely invasive – just the way the Vice President wanted it.”

    A hospital spokesman said that Mr. Cheney was expected to make a full recovery, but that he was “somewhat disoriented” coming out of anesthesia: “When we asked him who the President of the United States was, he said, ‘Is it still me?’”

    Former President Bush made an appearance at the former Vice President’s hospital, hanging a “Mission Accomplished” banner in Mr. Cheney’s room hours before the operation was completed.

  4. Ametia says:

    Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will win the Louisiana GOP primary, CNN projects.

    Twenty of the state’s 46 delegates are at stake in the primary and will be awarded proportionally.

    Before the Louisiana vote, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had 563 delegates, more than twice the 251 Santorum had in hand, according to a CNN estimate.

    A total of 1,144 delegates are needed to secure the Republican nomination ahead of the party’s convention in Tampa, Florida, at the end of August.

    The Republican candidates face off again on April 3 with contests in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

    Follow real-time results of these contests on, on CNN’s apps and on CNN’s mobile website. Follow CNN Politics on Facebook and on Twitter at #CNNElections.

  5. [wpvideo wJHloQ84]

  6. Ametia says:

    Aide says former Vice President Dick Cheney had heart transplant
    By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, March 24, 6:14 PM

    WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant Saturday and is recovering at a Virginia hospital, his office said.
    An aide to Cheney said he had been waiting for a transplant for more than 20 months and does not know the identity of the heart donor.

    Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several close associates of the former vice president.

    Cheney was recovering Saturday night at the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., after surgery earlier in the day.

    Cheney suffered a heart attack in 2010, his fifth since the age of 37. He had bypass surgery in 1988, as well as two subsequent angioplasties to clear narrowed coronary arteries.

  7. Ametia says:


  8. Ametia says:

    NRA: Helping People Kill People
    March 24, 2012
    By Pat Tiffin

    The Stand Your Ground law in Florida is on the books in 23 states. It is sometimes referred to as the “Make My Day” law or the “Shoot First” law. Whatever they call it, the law shifts the burden of proof away from the actions of the shooter and places it on the actions of the victim. Police state the reason George Zimmerman wasn’t arrested is that he claimed self-defense under the law after scuffling with Trayvon.

    How and when the law applies has been brought into sharp focus. What used to be known as the “Castle Doctrine” – where people were allowed to use deadly force to protect themselves in their homes, or cars or workplace – has been taken to the streets. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has lobbied hard for the Stand Your Ground concept. When the law passed the legislature, the NRA said that this bill was a victory for gun activists everywhere.

    Why is this law a victory for gun activists? It doesn’t affect their right to own a gun, buy a gun, have a concealed carry permit – nothing of that nature. It simply gives them the right to shoot that gun at another human being without fear of consequences.


    Guns don’t kill people – people kill people. That is the NRA’s pat response on the issue of gun control. At the same time, they take great affront to any effort that might help keep guns from getting into the hands of the “killer people.” They have fought waiting periods, background checks, the ban on assault rifles – the list goes on and on. But most of those challenges have been hidden behind the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.

    The Stand Your Ground law is about your right to use them without fear of criminal prosecution. There is nothing in the Second Amendment about that.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin and the End of Excuses
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 1:12PM

    We have become a nation in which children have become expendable. Trayvon Martin is just the most recent example.

    We executed children in this country until long after the rest of the world — except Iran — thought that was a good idea. Almost six million children live in poverty in this country. Almost six million of them are without health insurance of any kind, and that’s reckoned to be an improvement. None of this is accidental. These children are expendable because the people we elect make policy decisions of which we approve — or, at least, of which we do not disapprove. The Republicans in Congress — behind the “leadership” of zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan — would like to zero out the SCHIP children’s health-care program. If they do that, it will not be done by accident. The Florida legislature, behind the leadership of the National Rifle Association, passed the “stand your ground” law, despite the fact that even police and prosecutors were warning that it amounted to a hunting license for anyone who had both a gun, and the ability to concoct a good story. Trayvon Martin is not dead by accident.

    But, already, even in the face of widespread outrage, the notion is continuing to circulate through the country, like topical anesthetic working on an open wound, that what happened to Trayvon Martin was, if not entirely accidental, then merely a combination of unfortunate circumstances culminating in an entirely regrettable event. (That’s not even to mention the wilder precincts of mouth-breathing public commentary. If you ever needed proof that whatever consulting genius came up with the idea of having a Comments section follow every newspaper story deserves to die a slow and painful death by honey and fire ants, this story is pretty much what you’re looking for.) Conservatives caution the president not to “inject race” into the incident any further, because, as we know, we can’t tell how much of a factor “race” was, because George Zimmerman was half-Hispanic and because of the backward masking on the Sergeant Pepper album. (I am not kidding.) Geraldo Rivera, looking for relevance in all the wrong places, blames hoodies:

    But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was…. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie…. When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation.

    (And every time I see someone convicted of ripping off pension funds, he’s wearing a $500 suit. Don’t wear $500 suits!)

    For his part, the president was calm and measured, because that’s the way the president is, and because he is rather circumscribed in what he can say publicly on topics like this because of factors that should be obvious from the Comments section above. Nevertheless, he neatly put Florida’s deeply unpopular Republican governor, Rick Scott, on the spot:

    “I am glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into this, but the governor of the state of Florida has put together a task force.”

    Translation: Make it a good one, Rick, because your ass is in this jackpot, too.

    Well I certainly don’t feel calm and measured, and it’s not because my kids “could have been Trayvon.” No, they could not have. My kids are white. They lived in the suburbs. They could wear their pants anyway they liked. They could have worn hoodies to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and nobody would have looked askance at them, let alone blown them away with a handgun. (As I recall, I once wore a black hoodie to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.) The worst threat to my children’s lives in the big wide world was that some suburban matron who couldn’t see over the steering wheel would run them down in the family SUV. They didn’t have to worry about running into some trigger-happy, half-mad wannabe on the way home from the convenience store. And that’s what keeps me from being calm and measured.

    I am sick to death of people who celebrate “the family” making excuses about why other people’s children are expendable. I am sick to death of politicians who are more concerned about protecting zygotes than about the teenagers on whom they seek to balance their budgets and advance their careers. (Barney Frank’s line about conservatives’s believing that life “begins at conception and ends at birth” was not entirely a joke, although it’s always been treated as one.) I am sick to death of opportunistic yahoos who can look at this country’s unhealthy attachment to firearms and declare that the actions of George Zimmerman, while unfortunate, were pretty much what the Founders had in mind. I am sick to death of the steady drip-drip-drip of all the topical anesthetics we mix up whenever something like this happens. Had Emmett Till been killed in 2012, there’d be at least three people sitting in the CNN Green Room right now — and probably 15 of them sitting offstage at Fox — waiting to explain how unfortunate it was that the lad so transgressed against local custom that circumstances dictated that he be beaten to a pulp and tossed into the river tied to a cotton-gin fan. I am sick to death about how we can argue about anything simply to argue about it, and then move along to the next argument, as though anything at all has been settled.

    I think this controversy has some legs to it. What alarms me is not that Zimmerman hasn’t yet been arrested, but the awful feeling that the Florida legislature, with the approval of the people of Florida, may have passed a law so idiotic that it prevents local law-enforcement from arresting him at all. (I can’t imagine what the good cops in Sanford must be feeling today. The dispatcher told this clown not to pursue Martin, and he did it anyway. They must simply be angry at the world at this point.) And what makes me angry down to my soul is not that my children could have been Trayvon, but that, because of the way we have ordered our politics and our society, only someone like Trayvon could have been Trayvon.

    Read more:

  10. rikyrah says:

    How Does it Feel to be a Problem? A Reflection on Trayvon Martin
    By Joyce B.

    My heart has been heavy since I heard about Trayvon Martin. I’ve read all the coverage and signed all the petitions. I’ve talked about it with family and friends and sat my own teenaged son down for yet another “talk.” I have read the commentary of a lot of very smart people on this case that make the historical and social intellectual connections better than I could have. Like Mark Anthony Neal, here. R. L’Heureux Lewis here. And the Crunk Feminist Collective here.

    What is compelling me to write is much more personal than academic. I have a 15-year-old son. He’s 5’11” and football linebacker size (left guard, actually). He is sweet and kind and mild mannered. He is polite to adults and more courteous than your average teenager. What breaks my heart is that it’s not enough. There isn’t enough kind or polite or courteous in the world to outweigh the skin he’s in. This marker that he carries with him every day, that in his adolescent daze he is only partially aware of, sometimes… is everything. It was all there was when George Zimmerman decided that Trayvon was suspicious. It was everything when Amadou Diallo was gunned down in New York City, there was nothing more when Andre Burgess was shot in the city carrying a candy bar, it was THE thing when Jordan Miles was beat down in Pittsburgh. It is what led WEB Dubois to ask, “How does it feel to be a problem?”

    The fact that my son walks through the world looking suspicious just because of who he is, because of his body, just destroys me sometimes. It makes me want to hold him close, to limit his movements, to tell him, no…you can’t go out.

    “Mom, why? Don’t you trust me?” “It’s not you baby… It’s not you.” How many mothers and fathers have had this talk with their sons? Did Trayvon’s mother have that talk with him? “Son, when you’re out in the world, people don’t just see you as you are.” “Boy, when you’re in a store, make sure you don’t look like you could be stealing anything.” “My son, if the police stop you, make sure you cooperate.” “Baby, when you’re in public…not too loud, not too fast, not too slow, don’t look at them in the eye, step off the curb, shuffle your feet, cooperate, lay down, smile—but not too hard or too long, put your hands behind your back, pull your pants up, take your hood down BECAUSE THEY ARE KILLING BLACK BABIES OUT HERE.”

    Most of the parents of black children I know have had that conversation with their children. “You’re black honey…and that means certain things to certain people.” We do it to protect them, to give them a lens so that when they’re treated out of line they don’t think they’re crazy, or that something is wrong with them. We do it so they can survive this world that encodes crime and drugs and lust and danger on their bodies. And yet, there’s Trayvon, there’s Jordan, and hundreds of others beaten and killed because they wear the ‘suspect’ suit as their birthright. It’s not new—of course. It’s old. It’s Emmett Till old. It’s slavery old. Both the racism and this talk, this lesson, is as old as black dirt.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Virginia Is For Lovers, Not Culture Warriors: Obama Surges In The Commonwealth
    Tom Kludt March 23, 2012, 6:17 AM

    President Barack Obama’s 2008 triumph in Virginia was widely attributed to a well-orchestrated campaign that mobilized large swaths of voters, even in reliably conservative areas. Four years later, it’s growing support among women that’s giving the president momentum in the Commonwealth — and according to some observers, he can thank the Republican party’s revival of the culture wars for powering his re-election bid there

    The president’s 2008 victory in Virginia followed the same electoral blueprint as the 2005 gubernatorial win by current United States Senate candidate Tim Kaine (D-VA). Obama, like Kaine, won both Loudoun and Prince William counties — two erstwhile GOP strongholds in northern Virginia with large concentrations of wealth — due to unusually high turnout by exurban and minority voters in the suburban Washington, D.C. communities.

    Republican Governor Bob McDonnell’s success in Loudoun and Prince William in the 2009 gubernatorial race has some wondering whether Obama will enjoy the same level of support in the northern Virginia suburbs — not to mention college towns such as Charlottesville — that propelled him to a six-point win over Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). But in the wake of the GOP’s recent reinstatement of the culture wars, the president may now have the luxury of an alternative gateway to Virginia’s 13 electoral votes.

    Count former Congressman Tom Davis (R) among the Virginia Republicans concerned about the party’s renewed emphasis on social issues. Davis, who represented Virginia’s 11th Congressional District from 1995-2008, fears that recent debates over abortion in the Virginia state legislature along with the contraception fight in Washington have damaged the GOP’s brand with women voters, particularly those who live in the suburban areas targeted by both parties.

    “When we stick to social issues, it undercuts our message with women,” Davis told TPM. “These are issues that are not likely to appeal culturally in northern Virginia.”

    Democrats believe that the GOP’s tactics have handed Obama a firewall, which might allow the president to weather a potential dip in enthusiasm among minority and exurban voters. One Democratic strategist in Virginia set an extremely lofty threshold for the eventual Republican presidential nominee. “If Republicans can’t hold at least 45 percent of suburban women, they’ll just get killed,” the strategist told TPM.

    That might be a daunting task for a party embroiled in what Democrats are labeling a “war on women.” Making matters worse for the GOP: Obama’s increasingly strong standing in Virginia since the beginning of the new year. A Quinnipiac survey released this week shows the president leading all potential GOP challengers in head-to-head match-ups, including a 50 percent to 42 percent advantage over Mitt Romney. An NBC/Marist poll released earlier this month had Obama holding a 17-point lead over Romney in the Commonwealth. Those encouraging poll numbers represent a recent development for Obama, who claimed his first lead over Romney in Quinnipiac’s polling of Virginia only a month ago.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Walking While Black: The Senseless Killing of Trayvon Martin
    By Darron

    The recent slaying of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin is yet another reminder of the every day presence of racism in the United States. I find it necessary to remind everyone that this is not an isolated incident, but one that occurs daily across America for most black men. The difference here is that the normal threats and harassment that Trayvon would typically encounter on any given day as a black man, turned into his innocent death. As Malcolm Gladwell discussed in the death of Amadou Diallo, an innocent black man in New York City who was mistakenly shot 19 times by 4 police officers (who fired a total of 41 shots), the decisions that George Zimmerman made about Trayvon Martin were done in a “blink of an eye”. His actions, on the other hand, were done in justification of his already conceived (and likely subconscious) thoughts about this young man rather than in response to Trayvon’s clearly non-threatening behavior. Any one of Zimmerman’s compilation of actions that fateful evening, if terminated, would have likely resulted in a different outcome, one where Trayvon would still be alive today. But Zimmerman is operating on societal-based stereotypes and assumptions of anti-black racial frames about black men that has been around since the mid-1600’s and continues in today’s white-dominated society.

    I find it hard to understand why anyone would be foolish enough to discount the continuing assault on the black male presence. Black men have always been public enemy number one in white America, and that has not changed much in 400 years. Since slavery times, African American men were seen as threats to white manhood. Unrelenting white racial stereotypes around black male bodies provided the perfect justification for the incredible violence directed at them, whether in the cotton fields or working for his master in the big house.

    Black men were clearly not on equal footing with other men, especially white men for centuries. The conditions, stories, received wisdoms and other discourses created by whites about black folk constituted predictable cognitive road maps or frames that white folks enacted on black bodies. Frames are patterned ways of thinking about human differences such as race that apply generally to people at large and influence our legal system, schooling, healthcare, unemployment and housing to name a few. The white racial frames created around “Black” were and remains anathema, which is certainly the case with Trayvon’s senseless death. The shooter, George Zimmerman, a man of apparent Latino heritage and self-proclaimed neighborhood watch captain, mystifies many white observers. Given that both black and brown people in American are oppressed, how could this be? What’s happening here is that Zimmerman is acting on the existing white racial frames that operate as unconscious scripts on how to interact with racial “others” in our society.

    White racial framing of black male bodies is a large-scale centuries-old undertaking that not only affects white behavior toward Blacks, but black and Latino behaviors toward each other and themselves. These racial understandings have existed ever since Europeans first stepped foot on the Western shores of Africa and began a long and tortuous relationship with Africans. And this continues today where the steady stream of media portrayals of young black men as “dangerous” predators is too prolific in our society to ignore. Anyone reading this blog can certainly think of one or more stereotypes about black men. When you think of the face of crime, it is easy to conjure the image of Trayvon or another young man of color as the scary and dangerous “other” or the boogey man. Minorities are not immune to this frame or thought process. Latinos, Blacks and other Americans of color receive and act on many of the same white racial stereotypes and impulses, and Mr. Zimmerman is no exception.

    Now, take the context of white society from its historical vantage point and see how it continues the play out (albeit less overt at times). Floridians have instituted a law that has resurrected the Wild Wild West, which allows an individual to take the law into his/her own hands. A law seemingly provoked by the looting that occurred following several Florida hurricanes. After filtered media images following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the assumption is that the people looting are black. Thus, the law can be interpreted such that if a black man is stealing, a white man can shoot and kill him. And the onus is placed on the victim from prove he was innocent of a crime before being shot. We have now gone even beyond the egregious “eye for an eye” and moved to a place where a heart can be taken for the loss of a finger, but no one seemed to care that the law implied it was the heart of a black man until it was taken literally. What results is that someone like Trayvon Martin has become caught in the crosshairs of a nation that has yet to truly reconcile its profoundly racist past.

    While the nation continues to mount an all out and justifiable assault on the circumstances surrounding Trayvon’s death, let’s not forgot the conditions that gave rise to this young man’s death in the first place: white supremacy, or to put it nicely, a white dominated society. Rest in peace Trayvon Martin; may your death not be in vain.

  13. rikyrah says:

    March 24, 2012
    Geraldo Rivera, electronic yardstick

    Hostile reaction to that “narcissistic, self-involved slut” of a man, Geraldo Rivera, is misguided.

    Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa, for example, harshly tweeted that Geraldo is a “Moron,” while CNN’s Roland Martin similarly commenced a Twitter assault whose offensive operations were designed around the general proposition that Geraldo is “dumb.”

    Next will come a social media campaign that demands Geraldo’s firing by Fox News, merely because the former is indeed moronic and dumb enough to assert that utterly innocent victims of violent crime can be, and one assumes often are, equally culpable in causing their own deaths. To wit: “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was” — which is like saying that Abraham Lincoln, by advertising himself in the president’s theatre box, was as responsible for his assassination as John Wilkes Booth was.

    Moronic? Sure. Dumb? You betcha. Yet our hostility toward Mr. Rivera should be more tempered and measured, since Geraldo’s level of public prominence in civic deliberations is a directly proportionate and rather handy measurement of America’s embrace of really dumb cable news networks.

  14. Ametia says:

    Sen. Hutchison’s “Second Opinion” on Obama Health Care Law

  15. Ametia says:

    Kay Bailey Hutchinson

  16. rikyrah says:

    Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 01:00 PM PDT
    This week in the War on Voting: Blocking the electoral vote +*

    by Joan McCarter

    The Brennan Center for Justice has identified 189 electoral votes in 2012 coming from states with new restrictive voting laws.

    Since the beginning of 2011, 13 states passed, or are on the verge of passing, restrictive voting laws that will impact the 2012 election. The states — Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia — make up 189 electoral votes, or 70 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
    An additional three states — Alabama, Ohio, and Rhode Island — passed restrictive laws that will not be in effect in 2012. Ohioans will vote in November on a referendum to repeal their state’s law.

    The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee delves a little deeper into those numbers, and highlights the critical votes: those in the swing states, where as much as 80 electoral votes could be allocated.

    Last year, Florida passed sweeping voter suppression legislation that raised barriers to everything from registering people to vote to actually casting a ballot. ][…]

    The Department of Justice has objected to these provisions of the Florida law, placing its ultimate effect on the 2012 election in question.

    Ohio was on track to become another swing state with a suppressive voting law in place for the 2012 election. House Bill 194, passed by the GOP-controlled legislature and signed by Gov. John Kasich, made receiving absentee ballots more difficult while shortening the time for early voting. The measure is now subject to a SB5-style “people’s veto,” as citizens collected sufficient signatures to place the measure on the ballot this November. Consequently, implementation of the law has been suspended pending the outcome of that vote. […]

    Pennsylvania is another quintessential swing state with newly-passed suppressive voting legislation. The state’s GOP-controlled legislature approved HB 934 last week, and Republican Gov. John Corbett signed the voter ID bill into law. Opponents have pledged to fight the law in court, an effort that may be bolstered by recent decisions barring the enforcement ofWisconsin’s voter ID law.

    Virginia Republicans took full advantage of their GOP tie-breaking vote in an evenly-divided state Senate to ram through a strict voter ID bill earlier this month. Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to sign it into law any day now. Since the measure must face Justice Department scrutiny under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, it may yet see the resistance faced by voter suppression bills in Texas and South Carolina.

    That’s 80 electoral votes in total, coming from states where the voting rights picture is still a little murky just seven months from the election.

    It’s also precisely the end game Republicans have been for in this all out effort to block the vote.

  17. Ametia says:

    Suprised the Po Po didn’t gun down this MASKED MAN.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    What’s missing from the Trayvon Martin tragedy?

    by digby

    Now here’s a good question:

    Think about it. Every other situation in which an innocent person gets gunned down there is a cacophony of gun nuts screeching that if only this person had been armed he could have defended himself. It’s been the basis of every concealed and open carry argument for the last couple of decades.

    And yet, in this case, nothing. No impassioned appeals for loosening the gun laws so that ordinary Americans could go to the store in the evening to buy some candy and an iced tea without getting stalked and shot by some unhinged vigilante. No solemn op-eds about the dangers for average Americans when venturing unarmed into the streets of their own neighborhoods. No fiery speeches from Wayne LaPierre insisting that if only everyone in the neighborhood had been armed with submachine guns they could have run outside and started firing immediately upon hearing the screams for help. Nada. Why do you suppose that is?

    Update: Last night I saw Zimmerman’s friend on CNN defending him in a very revealing way:

    During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on AC360, Taaffe said that a problem could have been avoided if Martin had been “up front and truthful” with Zimmerman.

    I guess it has escaped him that in America it isn’t a capital offense to refuse to answer a stranger’s questions on the street. In fact, the kid had a right to tell this self-appointed “watchman” to go fuck himself if he wanted. Why under Florida law he would have been completely justified in killing the guy under those circumstances, right?

    This friend has also said that he’d do the same thing in Zimmerman’s place. Even now. Luckily for other kids in that neighborhood, this vigilante doesn’t carry a weapon.

  19. rikyrah says:

    My Pet Mitt
    By Dana Milbank, Published: March 23

    In Washington, even the dogs are pundits.

    My dog, a 2-year-old golden retriever/poodle mix named Z.Z., had her cable news debut this week, on MS­NBC’s “The Last Word.” Host Lawrence O’Donnell had us on to discuss Z.Z.’s membership in Dogs Against Romney.

    Z.Z. lay quietly at my side, mugging for the camera, as I explained her objections to Mitt Romney driving a car with his dog tied to the roof. At the end of the segment, Z.Z. ate a treat off the anchor’s table.

    “Z.Z., thank you very much for joining me tonight,” O’Donnell said. Noticing that the camera had moved back to him, O’Donnell instructed: “No, don’t shoot me. Take a shot of this down here under the desk. Z.Z. gets the last bite tonight. ‘The Ed Show’ is next.”

    That would be Ed Schultz, not Mr. Ed.

    As I watched video of Z.Z. obediently performing, however, I realized: Z.Z. isn’t a Dog Against Romney. Z.Z. is Mitt Romney.

    The similarities are uncanny. Hold a treat in front of Z.Z., and she will go through her whole repertoire of tricks — sit, shake hands, lie down, roll over — until one of them works. So, too, does Romney adopt any number of positions until he finds one that satisfies.

    Likewise, Z.Z. shows unstoppable determination in pursuit of a desired object, such as a ball or a squirrel. Giving chase, she will sometimes run smack into a tree or a soccer net, then charge ahead as though nothing had happened. So, too, does Romney pursue his desired object — the Republican nomination — with such doggedness that he ricochets without visible embarrassment from gaffe (“I like being able to fire people”) to blooper (“I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners”).

    Z.Z., hearing her name called in a reproachful tone, hangs her head and looks remorseful, even though she has no idea what she has done wrong. So, too, does Romney adapt his behavior to the perceived mood of his audience (“I’m learning to say ‘y’all’ and I like grits”).

    The goldendoodle, Z.Z.’s breed, is playful, smart and gentle. But loyalty is not a strong point. Z.Z. has little concept of a master. She likes her human family well enough, but she probably would be just as happy going home with the UPS delivery guy if he offered her a treat. When a stranger comes to the door, she wags her tail so vigorously her hips twist; she picks up a toy and, forgetting her owners, brings it to her new friend.

    To paraphrase Lord Palmerston, Z.Z. has no permanent friends, only permanent interests.

    And this is what makes her so much like Romney. Consider Romney’s response when asked about his aide’s claim that the general election would be like an Etch a Sketch, erasing conservative positions he took in the primaries. “I’m running as a conservative Republican,” the candidate told a group of reporters Wednesday after his town-hall event in suburban Baltimore. He didn’t say he is a conservative Republican; he said he’s running as one. As if this is a persona for this particular campaign.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Kathleen Parker

    by BooMan
    Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 01:50:03 PM EST
    I wish Kathleen Parker would stop prattling on about “moderation.” At least she realizes that moderation is a state of mind and not a location on the ideological spectrum. But she never reacts accordingly. There are plenty of Democrats and even a handful of Republicans in Congress who are capable of using “an open mind, a willing ear, an unjaundiced eye” when discussing public policy. But that willingness is meaningless when one party embarks on a scorched earth strategy of total obstruction.

    I’m a progressive and a moderate at the same time, but in the current political atmosphere the following doesn’t resonate with me at all.

    First, we must recognize moderation once again as a virtue, both in our public and private lives. Those who shun political moderation view its practitioners as traitors to some higher cause, spineless and weak.

    I don’t consider people who are moderate in their tastes and style to be weak. I consider them well-formed, sane, reliable, and virtuous. But there’s nothing moderate about cutting a deal with a crocodile like Mitch McConnell. We’re trying to craft an energy policy with a party that pretends to disbelieve in climate change. We’re trying to reform the health care system by working with a party that talks about death panels. We’re trying to pass a surface transportation bill with a party that thinks bicycle paths are an insidious plot by the United Nations to strip our country of its sovereignty. We’re trying to address our long-term structure debt with a party that thinks math is for snobs. The GOP controls one half of one branch of government and yet they are behaving as if they have a mandate to totally rewrite the last 80 years of American political history.

    The moderate in me knows that the way our government is structured means that progressives, Democrats, and people on the left generally, have to work with people on the right to craft policies. I don’t expect to enact laws that look like what I would create unilaterally. But there are no partners for crafting anything at all anymore.

    I suppose there is small infinitesimal benefit to Kathleen Parker’s bleating, but it would be better if she would be a lot more specific about why we’re having a complete breakdown in Congress.

    Look to the party that is attacking women’s contraception in the name of religious liberty. Leave the Democrats out of it.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Yesterday at 3:17 PM
    The Barbarism of the Health-Care Repeal Crusade
    By Jonathan Chait

    On the second anniversary of the signing of Affordable Care Act, the bitterness of the health-care fight remains a core fissure in American politics, and the nature of the fissure is clear. The two parties are fighting over whether access to regular medical care ought to be a right or an earned privilege.

    To me, and essentially everybody on the liberal side, the answer to that question is obvious. I’m comfortable with the market creating vastly unequal rewards of many kinds. But to make health insurance an earned privilege is to condemn people to physical suffering or even death because they failed to secure a job that gives them health insurance, or they don’t earn enough, or they happened to contract an expensive illness, or a member of their family did. (If you think I am overstating, you ought to read my friend Jonathan Cohn’s book, Sick, which, in addition to explaining the dysfunctionality of the health care system, offers a gut-wrenching portrait of many Americans who saw their lives destroyed by lack of access to decent medical care.) The principle strikes me as nothing short of barbaric.

    Yet the health-care fight increasingly brought that principle to the fore. If you want to see this idea expressed in its rawest (and, I think, most honest) form, here is a rally of protestors against the health-care bill disparaging a man who has Parkinson’s disease:

    Their language is instructive. They decry the bill for requiring “handouts,” and insist, “you have to work for everything you get.” Which is to say, they consider universal health care exactly like welfare — a giveaway of something that people rightly ought to earn on their own.

    Republican politicians have increasingly come to endorse this same principle, though in less openly cruel ways. They describe the health-care fight as a question of “personal responsibility” — the language of welfare superimposed onto health care.

    The root of the problem is that the conservative movement has organized itself around opposition to the redistribution of wealth, and universal health care requires redistribution. Some people will be unable to provide for their own health care, either because they earn unusually low incomes, or because they pose an unusually high actuarial health risk. There are many possible ways to redress this. All of them require, at the most basic level, the provision of resources to the poor and the sick.

    And that is something the conservative movement refuses to do. The House Republican budget, which has become the lodestar of conservative public policy, is instructive. It repeals the Affordable Care Act and leaves nothing in its place to cover the uninsured. It further imposes enormous cuts to Medicaid, increasing the uninsured population even further still. It offers no plan to fill the void it creates. This is not because such a plan lies too far outside its breadth — it is a sweeping statement, including such disparate objectives as deregulating the financial industry, and laying out a vision that would stretch decades into the future. It’s a statement of how the Republican Party would allocate resources, and the crystal clear answer is, Republicans oppose allocating resources to cover the uninsured.

    The party’s goal could not be any more clear. Oh yes, there have been times concurrent with Democratic efforts to pass health-care reform that Republicans have proposed their own, alternative plans. During the 1994 health-care debate, Republicans in the Senate offered a “free market” alternative to Bill Clinton’s plan. As Clinton’s plan sank and Democrats turned their eyes to the Republican plan, its sponsors abandoned it in droves. Newt Gingrich matter-of-factly conceded, during a recent presidential debate, that he had endorsed an alternative plan during this time merely to stop the Clinton plan.

    The same dynamic occurred during the most recent health-care debate, with numerous Republicans “endorsing” an alternative bipartisan plan, but signaling they opposed most of its actual provisions. The Republican plan to cover the uninsured, when it does appear, is always a mirage hovering just beyond reach, dissolving when approached.

    But that sort of open advocacy of mass lack of insurance remains the exception. More frequently, conservatives sublimate their belief in the bloodless language of budgets. Charles Krauthammer’s column offers a helpful example. On its face, Krauthammer is merely complaining about the budgetary impact of the Affordable Care Act

  22. rikyrah says:

    the answer is simple to me:



    Why Has Nancy Grace Been Silent About Trayvon Martin On HLN?
    by Jon Bershad | 1:24 pm, March 22nd, 2012

    Remind me to never get to a place in my life where, after a horrible, heartbreaking tragedy happens, people instantly start wondering when I’m gonna start talking about it. That’s where Nancy Grace is though. After years of becoming the news world’s loudest voice whenever the public becomes obsessed with a wrongful death (a trait that’s made her a ratings leader for her network), it shouldn’t be surprising that people automatically assumed she’d be all over the Trayvon Martin case. And that’s why it is surprising that the HLN host has basically been relatively silent on the subject.

    There’s been no “Tot Mom”-esque nicknames, no clear accusations of guilt. Over at TVNewser, they pointed out that Martin hasn’t been discussed once this week on Grace’s show while the other prime time shows hosted by Jane Velez-Mitchell and Dr. Drew Pinsky devoted tons of air time to it (Velez-Mitchell even donned a sweatshirt on air to get in on yesterday’s hoodie march of support). TVNewser writer Alex Weprin ventured a possible explanation for Grace keeping mum:

    “Another possibility is that Grace, who usually presumes guilt, whether it is in regards to Casey Anthony or Whitney Houston being “pushed” under the water, isn’t on Martin’s side in this case.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    Fringe Finally Answers the Season-Long Question of How Peter Will Get Home

    All along, Fringe fans have been asking the question: How will Peter get home?

    Friday’s episode proved that we’ve been asking the wrong question the entire season. The truth is, Peter (Joshua Jackson) has been home the entire time. The question we should’ve been asking is: How will Peter get everyone to remember him?

    In the Season 3 finale, Peter decided not to choose one universe over the other, essentially bridging the two in hopes they would work together to find a solution before they both ended up destroyed. Peter then mysteriously disappeared into thin air, with the Observers noting that he never existed. Well, he did, technically, but only until he died as a boy. His future was essentially erased from the minds of everyone he interacted with, which is why the producers insisted before the fourth season began that the last three seasons were not a wash.

    Watching Peter struggle with how he could possibly get home was a season-long misdirection. It’s as if the producers magically kept the audience so focused on the one hand that we didn’t realize the other hand was pulling the wool over our eyes the whole time. The switcheroo also afforded the Peter-Olivia (Anna Torv) ‘shippers a second chance to see them fall in love all over again. Sweet? Yes. Needed? Not necessarily.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Detective who fired first bullets in 50-shot barrage that killed unarmed NYC man is fired
    By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, March 24, 8:59 AM

    NEW YORK — An undercover police detective who fired the first bullets in a 50-shot barrage that killed an unarmed New York City man as he left his bachelor party has been fired and three other officers involved in the slaying will resign, ending a disciplinary process that dragged on for nearly 5 ½ years.

    Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly made the decision to push the four officers out Friday, four months after a department administrative trial judge concluded that detective Gescard Isnora acted improperly in the 2006 killing of the would-be groom, Sean Bell.

    NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Friday that “there was nothing in the record to warrant overturning the decision.”

    Isnora and fellow detectives Marc Cooper and Michael Oliver and Lt. Gary Napoli were widely condemned and brought up on criminal charges following the shooting outside a Queens nightclub, but were acquitted on all counts following a trial in 2008.

    The detectives, who had been monitoring the club for drug activity, decided to stop Bell and his friends after they left the nightspot and got into their car following a verbal altercation with another group of men. Isnora said he believed they were in the vehicle to retrieve a gun. In fact, the men were unarmed, but Isnora began shooting when the driver hit the gas and rammed a police van.

    Isnora fired 11 shots into the car. The 23-year-old was killed and two friends seriously wounded. Cooper and Oliver also fired shots. Another detective who fired his gun, Paul Headley, has already resigned, while a fifth shooter was ruled by the administrative judge not to have acted improperly. Napoli was a supervisor at the scene.

    The firing means that Isnora will lose his pension and health care benefits.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Komen foundation continues to see fallout from Planned Parenthood controversy
    By Lena H. Sun and Sarah Kliff, Published: March 21

    Fallout from the Planned Parenthood controversy continues at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, with several executives at headquarters and affiliates departing, questions arising about fundraising ability, and structural changes underway to give affiliates more influence, officials said Wednesday.

    The chief executives of the Greater New York and Oregon affiliates, among the most outspoken in their criticism of Komen’s unsuccessful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, are leaving. Three officials at the Dallas headquarters have left or announced their resignations, a spokeswoman said.

    Meanwhile, questions are being raised about the breast cancer charity’s ability to raise money after the public relations fiasco. The New York affiliate postponed two events, including its annual awards gala, “because we were not certain about our ability to fundraise in the near term,” spokesman Vern Calhoun said Wednesday.

    Komen is asking staff members at headquarters to review budgets for the fiscal year beginning April 1 because of anticipated drops in revenue, according to a source familiar with the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Budgeting for the coming year was basically completed before the Planned Parenthood controversy erupted.

    Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun declined to comment on the internal budget process. But she added: “It goes without saying that you can’t budget for things you don’t know are going to happen.”

  26. Ametia says:

    President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland early March 24, 2012, en route to South Korea to attend 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  27. Ametia says:

    March 24, 2012 8:35 AM
    Obama to S. Korea for nuclear meeting

    AP) WASHINGTON – Far from home if not away from election-year politics, President Barack Obama is returning to the threat to American security that he calls the gravest of all: terrorists getting material for a nuclear bomb.

    In South Korea, where Mr. Obama is headed, the president will join a massive gathering of world leaders whose united goal is to secure nuclear material and prevent it from being smuggled to states or groups intent on mass destruction.

    Right across the border but not participating: nuclear North Korea, labeled by the White House as “the odd man out.” It is brinksmanship with North Korea and Iran, another nation not invited to the summit, that has dominated much of the nuclear debate and that will cast an unquestionable shadow over talks in Seoul.

  28. Ametia says:

    12:05 PM EST
    DNC Chair: Stand Your Ground ‘Needs To Be Repealed’

    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), the chair of the DNC, is calling for the repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which has become the center of the political discussion following the death of Trayvon Martin.

    From a statement Wasserman Schultz tweeted Saturday:

    This case is further evidence that Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground Law,’ which passed in 2005, needs to be repealed. The failure of the Sanford police to further investigate this crime as a result of their interpretation of this law is an injustice to Trayvon’s family and to all Floridians.

    National Republicans have already begun defending Stand Your Ground, a law passed at the urging of the NRA.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Zimmerman’s “legal adviser” says Z is “under a lot of stress.” I’m sure #Trayvon’s parents Wish we was alive to be under a lot of stress.

    who gives a fuck about his stress level.

    • Seconded! The gall of Zimmerman’s legal adviser. No one gives a damn about a child killer’s stress. KMBA!

    • Ametia says:

      We must keep the pressure on this MOFO, law enforce, courts, and th emedia. The media is showcasing this murderers life and trying to build a case for Zimmerman as someone who mentored a black boy, so how could he murder Trayvon? FUCK THIS SHIT.

  30. Reverend Al Sharpton ‏ @TheRevAl:

    I speak at the Saturday Action Rally at the House of Justice from 9-11 am est. Watch live stream at

  31. Students demand Justice for Trayvon Martin

    [wpvideo ndyLvn3s]

  32. dannie22 says:

    good morning all

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