Monday Open Thread

GQ was an American group, formed in 1978 in The Bronx, New York, primarily noted for its success in disco music and R&B. The core membership of the group commenced playing professionally, under different group names, as of 1968.

GQ was first formed in 1968 as a quartet called Sabu & the Survivors, with “Sabu” being a moniker of member Keith Crier. The group then evolved in the 1970s as The Rhythm Makers, playing primarily funk music. The Rhythm Makers were composed of Emanuel Rahiem Leblanc (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Keith “Sabu” Crier (bass and vocals),[1] Herb Lane (keyboards and vocals) and Kenny Banks (drums and vocals). The group released one album, Soul On Your Side in 1976, from which the group had one major international dancefloor hit, “Zone”. At the time that Kenny Banks left The Rhythm Makers and was replaced by Paul Service in 1978, the group’s manager suggested that the group name be changed to “GQ”, which stood for “good quality”.

Can you shimmy,  watusi, do the jerk, tighten up, mashed potatoes, twist, cabbage patch, running man, GQ, electric slide, Texas two step? Want to learn a few steps of the oldies but goodies? Stay with 3 Chics this week, as we get down with it. don’t hurt yourselves, now!

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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61 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Lawrence is cracking me up right now in the rewrite segment.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Black Canseco ‏ @BlackCanseco

    Tamron up at MSNBC convertin’ cats. She got Lawrence O’Donnell riding for Black folk like he Rev/ Michael Pflegler.

  3. rikyrah says:

    O’Donnell was devastating tonight in the segments regarding Trayvon Martin.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:44 PM ET, 03/26/2012
    Romney: Yes, I’ll eliminate whole departments, but I won’t tell you which ones
    By Greg Sargent

    Jonathan Chait points us to a remarkable Mitt Romney interview with the Weekly Standard, in which Romney confirms that he intends to eliminate whole departments of the federal government. But he’s reluctant to tell us which ones, because so doing could be politically damaging:

    Romney, ever cautious, is reluctant to get specific about the programs he would like to kill. He did this in his bid for the Senate 18 years ago and remembers the political ramifications.

    “One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education,” Romney recalled. “So I think it’s important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies. So for instance, I anticipate that housing vouchers will be turned over to the states rather than be administered at the federal level, and so at this point I think of the programs to be eliminated or to be returned to the states, and we’ll see what consolidation opportunities exist as a result of those program eliminations.

    “So will there be some that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I’m not going to give you a list right now.

    Chait sees this as a moment of unintentional political candor, in which Romney is admitting that detailing specific plans for cutting government risks being unpopular. Americans always say they hate government in the abstract, but their anti-government zeal suddenly goes wobbly when specific progams are on the chopping block. So Romney is avoiding detailing specifics that could damage him in the general election.

    That’s bad enough. But there’s still another layer to the rhetorical contortions on display here. Romney isn’t just refusing to detail specifics because he’s worried about hurting himself in the fall. He’s also trying to sell conservatives on the idea that he shouldn’t have to detail all the ways he’ll downsize government, because it will weaken him against Obama. Romney’s intended audience here is conservatives who want reassurances that he genuinely intends to pursue a major downsizing of government. He’s basically asking them to let him keep things vague (wink, wink) so Dems can’t use his promises against him.

  5. rikyrah says:

    In Secret Documents, Anti-Gay Marriage Group Looked To Divide Gays, Blacks

    Blunt language and broad plans from the National Organization for Marriage. Another project: “Sideswiping Obama.” posted Mar 26, 2012 10:07pm EDT

    The leading opponents of same-sex marriage planned to defeat campaigns for gay marriage by dividing black voters from gay voters and by casting President Obama as a radical foe of marriage, according to confidential documents made public in a Maine court today.

    The documents, circulated by the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, are marked “confidential” and detail the internal strategy of the National Organization for Marriage.

    “The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies,” says an internal report on 2008 and 2009 campaigns, in a section titled the “Not A Civil Right Project.”

    “Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots,” advises the document.

    The document also targets Hispanic voters, whom conservatives have long hoped would join the backlash against gay rights.

    “The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values?” the document asks. “We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity – a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”

    The group also makes clear that its plans include the 2012 election.

    In a “$20 million strategy for victory” keyed to the 2010 midterm elections, the group says its agenda “requires defeating the pro-gay Obama agenda.”

    “A pro-marriage president must be elected in 2012,” the document says, although Obama has offered tepid opposition to same-sex marriage.

    The same document, an update to the group’s board, described a $1 million plan through the conservative American Principles Project to “expose Obama as a social radical.”

    The section, headed “Sideswiping Obama,” suggests raising “side issues” including pornography to attack Democrats’ flanks.

    The group also sought to identify “victims” of same-sex marriage — children raised in gay households — and in another document budgeted $120,000 to locate “children of gay parents willing to speak on camera.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    anyone else watching Lawrence O going after the reporter from the Sentinel?

  7. Ametia says:


  8. rikyrah says:

    Lawrence O’Donnell is going all in on Zimmerman.

    • Ametia says:

      That Oliver CLOWN needs a good AZZ WHUPPING. He knows damn well “coon asses” is not a term of endearment. Gawd, how much is MASSA paying this slave-catcher?

      Folks in Lousiana should hunt this negro down and kick Joe Oliver’s ass

    • Ametia says:

      Craig Sonner fled the set of The Last Word. That lying COWARD can run, but he cannot hide.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Rubio’s Waterboy

    by BooMan
    Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 01:34:20 PM EST

    I guess Marc Theissen just doesn’t want to accept that Marco Rubio is a two-bit grifter and a thief. Yet, unlike the case with Sarah Palin, Rubio’s record is well-documented. The reason there is a whispering campaign in Washington DC against selecting Rubio as a running mate is because people know he’s a grifter and a thief. They read about it in their newspapers. That the Florida voters decided to elect a crook as their senator (and their governor) is somewhat inexplicable, but that changes nothing when it comes to sending Rubio out to face a national audience and press corp.

    The most confusing thing of all is that Marco Rubio was stealing from the Republican Party. Ordinarily, that would be something that would annoy Republicans. I know I wouldn’t be impressed by a Democrat who used the party’s credit cards to buy liquor and make repairs on their SUV.

    And that’s totally aside from his naked corruption when he served as Speaker of the House in Florida.

    I don’t dispute that Sen. Rubio has some things to recommend him as a vice-presidential candidate, but so did Sarah Palin. They’re both attractive and telegenic. The Tea Party base of the GOP loves them both. They each bring some strength among key demographics. But Romney will spend a lot of time trying to explain Rubio’s record in the Florida House if he is stupid enough to go with him as his running-mate.

    And he’ll also have deal with the birthers. And the fact that Rubio has consistently lied about when he parents left Cuba. They did not flee Castro’s revolution, as Rubio would like you to believe. Theissen tried to clean that mess up, too.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Zimmerman Friend Defends Racial Slur: ‘Coon Asses’ Used Proudly In Parts Of This Country
    By Adam Peck on Mar 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Joe Oliver, the most vocal defender of Trayvon Martin’s shooter, has been pushing back against charges of racism leveled against George Zimmerman by defending his use of racially coded language as nothing more than misinterpretations.

    An audio clip of a recorded 911 call placed by Zimmerman on the night of the shooting seems to show Zimmerman using the racially-charged word “coon” to describe Trayvon Martin. There has been some disagreement over whether the word in question really is “coon,” but Oliver appeared on MSNBC on Monday and told Chris Matthews that even if Zimmerman did use the word, it was not a display of racism because the term is actually not negative at all:

    That’s a term I listened to over and over on there and to me, it’s a matter of interpretation of whether he’s saying ‘coon’ or ‘goon.’ There are a lot of parts of this country where people proudly call themselves ‘coon asses,’ in Louisiana in particular.

    1, where is the coon graphic.

    2. we need a graphic for Harriet Tubman shooting slave catchers.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:33 AM ET, 03/26/2012
    Nope: Paul Ryan is not at all serious
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    There’s no one quite like Paul Ryan out there. All of his budgetary bluff and bluster, which he fails to back up with actual numbers and actual choices, while simultaneously insisting that his proposals be recognized as courageous and unusually serious — no one else dares attempt such a thing.

    The latest: Via TPM, Ryan went on the weekend shows and, when pressed, claimed it’s not his job to say which tax deductions he wants to end in order to pay for lower rates under his tax reform proposal:

    [T]hat’s what the Ways and Means Committee is supposed to do. That’s not the job of the Budget Committee. What we’re saying is we want to do this in the light of day. Not in some backroom deal. We want to have hearings in the Ways and Means Committee that Chairman Dave Camp has already started this work, to say what tax benefits should go, which ones are the ones where Washington is picking winners and losers, so we get to a cleaner flatter tax code.

    Typically, even on the surface this makes no sense. It’s not as if some tax breaks give advantages (“picking winners and losers”) and others don’t, so that you can go through and only eliminate the purely neutral ones.

    The bigger point here is that Ryan is offering a highly idiosyncratic version of the division of Congressional labor. He’s right about one thing: Normally, it’s reasonable that Ways and Means fill in the details of tax legislation, and that Budget only give broad outlines of general goals. But when it comes to cutting tax rates, Ryan is not proposing broad outlines. He’s dictating two very specific tax rates, 10% and 25%.

    So Ryan wants it both ways: He is proposing specific cuts in tax rates, in order to be greeted as serious and courageous about deficit reduction. But he is not explaining how he would pay for them, and he won’t list any of the large chunks of government that would have to be shut down to make his proposal work, which shows that … he’s not at all serious and courageous about deficit reduction.

    Overall, Ryan’s excuse won’t wash. Ryan says he wants Republicans to flesh out his fiscal proposals in “the light of day.” But that’s exactly the opposite of what he’s doing. Either Ryan is hiding very unpopular tax changes that his proposals would require in real life (ending the mortgage interest deduction and the child tax credit, for example), or he’s hiding the fact that his only real policy goal is a massive tax cut, mostly for wealthy people. There might be some appropriate words for this, but neither “courageous” nor “serious” would seem to apply.

    Or, as Paul Krugman mockingly responded: “Give that man an award for fiscal responsibility!”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Still creating their own reality
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:57 PM EDT

    Here’s a tip for politicians seeking major public offices: don’t consider “grunt work” to be synonymous with “getting the facts straight.”

    In Ohio, state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) is running against incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in one of the year’s most closely-watched U.S. Senate races, and the conservative Republican candidate is pushing the claim that Brown is responsible for a policy agenda that moves Ohio jobs to China.

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer has asked Mandel to back up the claim, and the Republican has so far struggled to provide any evidence. But as Greg Sargent noted today, the problem in this case is not just that the politician can’t support one of his own claims, it’s that Mandel doesn’t even see the need to bother.

    Consider his response in an interview last week when asked again to identify a single Ohio job that went to China because of a decisive vote by Brown.

    “If that’s the level of specificity you’re looking for, you’re the reporters — you go do the grunt work,” said Mandel.

    The Republican added that he considers the claim to be true — even if he can’t offer evidence, and even if reality points in another direction — and vowed to repeat the attack “again and again” as the Senate race continues.

    This comes up from time to time, but candidates aren’t generally this brazen when it comes to deliberate deception. Usually, just for the sake of appearances, politicians at least pretend to care about honesty and substantiating their own rhetoric, but Mandel, perhaps borrowing a page from his party’s likely presidential nominee, has decided to simply throw caution to the wind.

    You want to know if his claims are true? Then it’s up to you to do the “grunt work” — just don’t expect Mandel to care what you find out when you do.

    I often think about Ron Suskind’s 2004 piece on the Bush/Cheney White House, and the senior adviser to the president who said reporters were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” The Bush aide said at the time, ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore…. [W]e create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”

    It’s a sentiment that seems to have inspired a whole generation of Republican actors.

  13. rikyrah says:

    You’re treated better if you are wealthy and guilty than if you are poor and innocent
    By Vanessa Silverton-Peel

    Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:44 PM EDT

    You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Al Gore to give a TED talk; you just have a big idea. Actually, let’s capitalize the phrase, let’s call it a Big Idea. Big Ideas can be baskets you use to gather and carry around information and stories that would have otherwise been scattered (see: “Schools kill creativity”). Big Ideas can reify previously inchoate thoughts and assumptions so that now, all of a sudden, you have a clear argument to make at cocktail parties (see: “Time to end the war in Afghanistan”). Big Ideas can even save you a trip to the therapist’s office or, conversely, inspire you to increase your appointments-per-week ratio (see: “Listening to shame”).

    Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and part of his Big Idea is about kids in prison, and the country that keeps them there until they die (that’s us). America is the only country in the world with kids serving life in prison without parole (LWOP) sentences for crimes they committed as children. And that, Stevenson says, changes our identity as a country. It changes us.

    Last week Bryan Stevenson was at the Supreme Court arguing that LWOP sentences for kids are unconstitutional. Tomorrow, Stevenson will be on The Rachel Maddow Show talking about this Big Idea and why he thinks the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, it’s justice. Watch his TED talk that we’ve posted above and then tune in tomorrow night.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Connie Rice: Trayvon Martin Case Reveals Struggle For African-Americans
    March 24, 2012 | 3:22 p.m. PDT

    The shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida triggered public outrage and discussions about racial relations in America. Connie Rice, the co-founder and co-director of the Advancement Project in Los Angeles, shared her thoughts in an interview with Neon Tommy.

    Neon Tommy: What does it say about race relations in the U.S. today that shootings like this still happen?
    Connie Rice: I don’t know what it shows. I am going to wait for the investigation. But if you try to understand the outrage, it’s about millions of African-American men who have been stopped [by authorities] during the year for no reason. They constantly worry about whether the police will stop their sons when they move to a new area. It’s connected to the long history that still shadows us today and the suspicion that black men still meet. Some people have raised the horrific Emmett Till [killing] that happened in 1955 and compared it to Trayvon Martin’s case, but I think that the two were quite different. The country’s reaction is different. Everybody is saying the little boy should not have died, even Republican candidates. The president is saying there should be an investigation to determine whether prosecution would be proper. You have an African-American president who was just saying yesterday, “If I had a son, he would have looked like Trayvon.” The time is quite different.

    We have made a lot of progress, but still we have not gotten over the subliminal and unconscious fear of what it suggests. There could be an investigation that shows something unexpected at this point. But if the investigation shows the little boy was shot for no reason and we have a vigilante who was just looking for reasons to find suspicion on the little black boy, that would tell us we have more work to do to understand the racial fear. You don’t have to be overtly racist to have your action dictated by fear of another race, which often triggers an overreaction, sometimes including a shooting.

    NT: How would you evaluate the public outrage that has come in response to the shooting, prompting federal investigation?
    CR: For the African-American community, this is not just one child that got shot down. It is feeling the pain of this kind of killing for hundreds of years. While this killing may be connotatively different, the community develops a kind of psychology that triggers the same reaction as you had with Emmett Till when it is subjected to this kind of subjection, oppression and police force in the past that has not been justified. They can’t help it because they still find themselves under the same kind of attack.

    For other communities, the case of this particular child, who carried a bag of Skittles coming from the store to his father’s place, is just heartbreaking. You see Caucasions, Asians, Latinos at the rally saying they want an investigation and don’t want this “Stand Your Ground” law to be an excuse for an unjustified shooting.

    The fact that this shooting hasn’t been politicized is significant. It may end up disintegrating into that, but people are focused on the important things, such as why there wasn’t evidence collected, which determines whether prosecution is needed. They should have done a number of things that they didn’t do, such as examine the shooter to see if he suffered any injury that could support the claim of self-defense. Remember, self-defense is not an argument for not arresting someone. It is a legal defense that you make as a defendant in trial, and is not something that police get to decide. If you have someone who kills another person, you have to take them in and start the investigation. I think people are right to be focused on the investigation.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Dem senators push for social-media privacy
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:43 PM EDT

    Under existing employment law, when an American applies of a job, he or she can go into an interview knowing certain questions won’t be asked. An employer can’t inquire about an applicant’s religious beliefs, for example. It also can’t ask about an applicant’s ethnicity, whether he or she has kids, or whether the person has any physical disabilities.

    But the law gets a little trickier when it comes to social media.

    The Associated Press caused quite a stir last week with a report on recent changes in hiring practices, with a growing number of employers asking applicants for their Facebook usernames and passwords — just so the employers can poke around.

    Facebook executives began an effort on Friday to discourage the practice, even threatening legal action against employers who keep doing this. Soon after, some Democratic lawmakers took an interest in the controversy, too.

    Two U.S. senators are asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether employers asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews are violating federal law, their offices announced Sunday.

    Troubled by reports of the practice, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said they are calling on the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to launch investigations. The senators are sending letters to the heads of the agencies. […]

    Personal information such as gender, race, religion and age are often displayed on a Facebook profile — all details that are protected by federal employment law.

    Schumer and Blumenthal believe areas of existing law — most notably the Stored Communications Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act — may already be applied to protect job applicants from these inquiries, but are also reportedly eyeing additional legislation to update the laws to protect modern social media.

    If the recent fight over SOPA and PIPA were any indication, lawmakers won’t want to get on the wrong side of this one.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Plouffe targets the ‘Romney-Ryan’ plan
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:15 AM EDT

    It’s hard to describe how happy Democrats are to see Mitt Romney embrace Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget plan. Much of the glee is seen behind the scenes, but the phrase “Christmas in March” keeps coming to mind.

    Last week, the Republican frontrunner proudly proclaimed, “I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It’s a bold and exciting effort…. I applaud it. It’s an excellent piece of work and very much needed.” By the end of the week, Romney was even defending the Ryan plan, in a remarkably dishonest way, against Democratic criticism.

    It hardly came as a surprise, then, when White House senior adviser David Plouffe appeared on Sunday shows yesterday, arguing, “[T]his is really the Romney-Ryan plan. It will be rubber-stamped if Mitt Romney is elected president.”

    Oddly enough, around the same time yesterday, Paul Ryan was saying the exact same thing.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Ryan told Norah O’Donnell yesterday he fully expects Romney, if elected, to enact his budget plan and follow through on Ryan’s proposed reductions.

    And that’s exactly what Democrats wanted to hear: the more Romney is on the hook for backing Ryan’s radicalism, the easier it will be for Dems and the Obama campaign to use this against the likely Republican nominee in the fall.

    Indeed, at least on policy grounds, this may well become the anti-Romney criticism of 2012.

    While the various themes and narratives are important — Romney’s flip-flops, his dishonesty, his out-of-touch elitism will clearly matter — the more straightforward attacks will simply reference the Ryan plan Romney has accepted so enthusiastically.

    Romney is “very supportive” of a budget plan that ends Medicare’s guaranteed benefit, takes health care coverage from millions, radically redistributes wealth in the wrong direction, slashes taxes on the very wealthy, and would “take food from poor children, make it harder for low-income students to get a college degree, and squeeze funding for research, education, and infrastructure.”

    It doesn’t even help reduce the deficit, which is another issue Romney sometimes pretends to care about.

    Shaking the Etch A Sketch won’t make this go away.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin, and when a Black Man deserves to die.

    Pop quiz: if Trayvon Martin were 25, would you care to know his name?

    If he had just been released from prison two weeks earlier, would you care that he was dead?

    Why do you care so much about what happened to this one particular young man?

    I ask because so much of the outrage surrounding Martin’s shooting has to do with his age. He was 17, shot on the way home from buying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea from a corner store. The imagery is striking — this young, skinny kid, far away from home, shot dead by a vigilante while returning from buying candy for his little brother. It tugs the heart strings, and it gets attention from even those “tired of talking about race.” A boy died, and there appears to be ample reason to believe that he got shot for, literally, trying to mind his own business. It’s the rare case where race is an unavoidable variable, probably the catalyst for everything bad that happened, and there is no polarizing effect. That’s what happens when kids get shot. No one wants to be the one to condone a child being stalked like prey. It’s an easy case to get behind.

    But if our victim wasn’t so pristine, not a babe in the woods, are we having this discussion?


    Check the last quote in this story, offered by the now-kinda-resigned police chief in Sanford.

    “We are taking a beating over this,” said Lee, who defends the investigation. “This is all very unsettling. I’m sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to relive Sunday, Feb. 26, he’d probably do things differently. I’m sure Trayvon would, too.”

    The most annoying thing about being a black man is constantly having to explain what reason you have for being wherever the fuck you are at a given moment. George Zimmerman tracked Trayvon down because he was unfamiliar. As self-appointment overlord of the neighborhood, he needed to know who this odd black person was. In fact, based on the 911 calls, he needed to know who every unfamiliar black man was. When you’re black and male, you’ve always got a purpose. No one wants you just hanging around. It’s called “loitering,” in case you weren’t aware. No matter what, it would behoove a black man to have a helluva explanation for why he is doing whatever he’s doing. Because, if you wait long enough, someone is going to ask. If you don’t answer quickly enough, the cops will probably be called. And, if you don’t answer quickly enough, you might wish someone had called the cops, cuz they may have been your only hope for walking away unscathed.

    Where’s your ID? Why are you here? Who’d you come to see? Hurry up and get where you’re going. We always have to prove we belong or, in other instances, that we deserve to be where we are.

    In cases like this, we tend to try to figure out if the victim deserved to die. Did he have a weapon? Was he high? Was he behaving in a suspicious way? Was there any reason why someone may have thought, “I need to protect myself?” Or, put more simply, did he have it coming?

    So what would have made it OK to shoot the kid? Or me, for that matter.

    Not to get all self-indulgent, but with a hood on, 6-3, 140 pound Trayvon didn’t look much differently than I would. And I first would have walked quickly, then run. And if Zimmerman got out of his car and came toward me, I’d have swung on him. And then he would have shot me, and I would have been just as dead. Thing is, since I’m a grown man, chances are Zimmerman would have had some marks on his face for the cops to see.

    Would you, after the fact, have then thought it was OK to shoot me?

    For giggles, let’s say that Trayvon’s body was found with a gun nearby. This happened in a town I went to school in many years ago, where Irvin Landrum, Jr., the victim of a police shooting, was found with a gun nearby. Cops claimed the young man drew down on them. The gun was once registered to a deceased former cop. The district attorney found no evidence the gun was planted, though.

    For a second, forget whether or not the gun was planted. The real question is whether simply having the gun made it OK for cops to shoot this man. By that token, any cop riding in Sanford would have open season on George Zimmerman. He had a gun, after all. But we all know simply having a gun doesn’t mean you deserve to get shot. They wouldn’t license them if that were the case, no?

    Had Trayvon Martin had a gun on him, would it have been OK to shoot him? Not had he pulled it. Just if he had it. Would that have been enough?

    Those are the trickier questions when things like this come up. The biggest reason people feel so comfortable fighting on behalf of Martin and his family is there are no issues like those. He is a perfectly clean victim, the opposite of Rodney King.

    Thing is, it’s not cool to shoot dirty victims for no reason, either. Had Martin been packing with a quarter-ounce of weed in his pocket, George Zimmerman still shouldn’t have followed and shot him. If Martin had a rap sheet long as my arm, there still would have been no reason to end his life. Bottom line: “looking suspicious,” is not probable cause, especially not for some dude who just lives in the damn neighborhood.

    But so many black men look suspicious. The elephant in the room in this case is how mainstream the belief is that black men look “suspicious.” I’ve seen the outrage from many white people — and black ones, for that matter — that this could happen, but not a lick of introspection.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Over the last 48 hours, there has been a sustained effort to smear Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old African-American who was shot dead by George Zimmerman a month ago. Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, “They killed my son, now they’re trying to kill his reputation.”

    Thus far these attacks have fallen into two categories: false and irrelevant. Much of this leaked information seems intended to play into stereotypes about young African-American males. Here’s what everyone should know:

    1. Prominent conservative websites published fake photos of Martin. Twitchy, a new website run by prominent conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, promoted a photo — purportedly from Martin’s Facebook page — that shows Martin in saggy pants and flipping the bird. The photo, which spread quickly on conservative websites and Twitter, is intended to paint Martin as a thug. As Twitchy later acknowledged, it is not a photo of Trayvon Martin. [Examiner]

    2. The Sanford Police selectively leaked irrelevant, negative information about Martin. The authorities told the Orlando Sentinel this morning that Trayvon was suspended from school for ten days “after being found with an empty marijuana baggie.” There is no evidence that Martin was under the influence of drugs at the time of his death, nor would prior possession of marijuana be a reason for killing him. It’s unclear what the relevance of the leak was, other than to smear Martin. [Orlando Sentinel]

    3. On Fox News, Geraldo said that Martin was dressed “like a wannabe gangster.” Bill O’Reilly agreed with him. The sole evidence is that Martin was wearing a hoodie. Geraldo added that “everyone that ever stuck up a convenience store” was wearing a hoodie. [ThinkProgress; The Blaze]

    4. Without any evidence, prominent right-wing bloggers suggested that Martin was a drug dealer. Right-wing blogger Dan Riehl advances the theory, also advanced in a widely linked peice on a site called Wagist. There does not appear to be any evidence to support this claim whatsoever. [Riehl World View]

    5. Without any evidence, a right-wing columnist alleged that Martin assaulted a bus driver. Unlike Zimmerman, Trayvon has no documented history of violence. This allegation continues to be advanced by a blogger on the Examiner even after the real reason was leaked to the police and confirmed by the family. [Miami Herald; Examiner]

    6. Zimmerman’s friend says Martin was to blame because he was disrespectful to Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s friend Joe Oliver said that Martin would not have been shot to death if Trayvon had just said “I’m staying with my parents.” Of course, Zimmerman was not a police officer, and Trayvon had no duty to tell him who he was or where he was going. [NBC News]

    The final part of the effort to smear Trayvon Martin is to link him and his supporters to irresponsible fringe groups like the New Black Panthers and marignal provocateurs like Louis Farrakhan. Threats by these groups are serious and should be investigated, but they have nothing to do with Martin or his supporters. The leader of the effort to associate Martin with these groups is Matt Drudge. You can see how he is framing the story today here.

    Ultimately, whether Martin was a perfect person is irrelevant to whether Zimmerman’s conduct that night was justified. Clearly, there are two different versions of the events that transpired on February 26, the night Trayvon was killed. There are conflicting statements by witnesses and conflicting evidence as to who was the aggressor. Zimmerman has the right to tell his side of the story. But his opportunity to do this will come in a court of law after he is charged and arrested. In the meantime, Zimmerman’s supporters should stop trying to smear the reputation of a dead, 17-year-old boy.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Racist Hunger Games Fans Are Very Disappointed

    The good news? The Hunger Games made $155 million at the box office its opening weekend, making it the third-best debut in North American box office history. The bad news, however, reflects a level of idiocy that we weren’t really expecting.

    As CNN reports, “Only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight — both sequels, with the strength of a franchise behind each — recorded bigger opening weekends.” Plus, unlike those two flicks, Hunger Games was written by a woman and stars a woman (much as we love JK Rowling, her series isn’t named after Hermione) — making it a true lady-centric blockbuster franchise.

    Now as you may know, Katniss, the main character in the book and film, was described as having “straight black hair” and “olive skin.” It’s a post-apocalyptic world, so she could be a mix of things, but some pictured a Native American. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jennifer Lawrence won the part and dyed her hair dark.

    But when it came to the casting of Rue, Thresh, and Cinna, many audience members did not understand why there were black actors playing those parts. Cinna’s skin is not discussed in the book, so truthfully, though Lenny Kravitz was cast, a white, Asian or Latino actor could have played the part.

    But. On page 45 of Suzanne Collins’s book, Katniss sees Rue for the first time:

    …And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that’s she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor…

    Later, she sees Thresh:

    The boy tribute from District 11, Thresh, has the same dark skin as Rue, but the resemblance stops there. He’s one of the giants, probably six and half feet tall and built like an ox.

    Dark skin. That is what the novelist, the creator of the series, specified. But there were plenty of audience members who were “shocked,” or confused, or just plain angry.

    The tumblr Hunger Games Tweets has collected a smattering of Twitter postings, with the goal of exposing “Hunger Games fans on Twitter who dare to call themselves fans yet don’t know a damn thing about the books.” What people are saying is disappointing, sad, stomach-churning, and just plain racist.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Witness: Zimmerman Straddled Trayvon
    …with hands pressed on his back: neighbors

    Another day, another completely conflicting witness in the Trayvon Martin killing. This time, a neighbor is rebutting George Zimmerman’s claims of self-defense and trying to help Martin after the shooting. Mary Cutcher and her roommate say they went outside after hearing shots fired and spotted Zimmerman on top of Martin, “straddling the body, basically a foot on both sides of Trayvon’s body, and his hands pressed on his back,” Cutcher told MSNBC, adding: “Zimmerman never turned him over or tried to help him or CPR or anything.”

    “And for me it was a shock to see, oh my God, that it’s a kid. So skinny, baby-faced,” said Cutcher’s roommate. After the shooting, Zimmerman just walked around with his hands on his head, like he was in shock. Who was crying during the incident is also a muddle. The crying “sounded young,” said Cutcher. “It didn’t sound like a grown man is my point. It sounded to me like someone was in distress, and it wasn’t like a crying, sobbing boo-hoo, it was a definite whine.” (Also, a friend of Zimmerman’s says he didn’t call Trayvon a racial epithet … but a term of endearment?)

  21. rikyrah says:

    Zimmerman’s friend: No trial is needed for Martin shooting

    Joe Oliver, a friend of George Zimmerman, who has become the subject of protests for shooting unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, said he felt Monday morning that the controversial incident did not require a trial.

    Appearing on NBC’s Today with Zimmerman’s lawyer Craig Sonner, Oliver was asked by co-host Ann Curry if any part of him believed the case “should be facing a jury?”

    “From what I know, no,” he said. “From what I know, the bottom line is, there was a life and death struggle in that instance, and someone was going to die.”

    Oliver also expressed on ABC’s Good Morning America that Zimmerman was remorseful about the shooting, saying Zimmerman would tell the Martin family that he’s “very, very sorry.”

    “This is a guy who thought he was doing the right thing at the time and it’s turned out horribly wrong,” Oliver said.

  22. rikyrah says:

    We’ll remind folks that Howie didn’t say SHYT about Fox News and the Tea Party.


    Al Sharpton’s Conflicting Roles in the Trayvon Martin Case
    by Howard Kurtz Mar 26, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

    He leads a Trayvon Martin rally and covers it for MSNBC.

    Al Sharpton, who has been crusading in racial cases for three decades, has claimed a starring role in the Trayvon Martin case.

    He’s also assumed a starring role in MSNBC’s coverage of the cas

    These are colliding in ways that have nothing to do with journalism.

    I’ve covered Reverend Al for a long time, back to the Tawana Brawley days, when he was mainly a New York figure in a leisure suit. He has every right to jump on the Trayvon Martin tragedy as a classic case of racial injustice.

    It was hardly surprising that he flew to Sanford, Florida last week and addressed a protest rally over the 17-year-old boy’s death. He also met with Trayvon’s parents and accompanied them to a meeting with Justice Department officials. Sharpton is, in short, a partisan who is helping to represent the family against the shooter, neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.

    Around 5 p.m. at the rally last Thursday, Sharpton bellowed: “We came for permanent justice. Arrest Zimmerman now! That’s what this rally is about.”

    At 6 p.m., Sharpton hosted his MSNBC show, Politics Nation. His guests were the slain teenager’s parents. Here’s how he opened the show:

    “Nearly a month ago, a tragedy took place just beyond the gates behind me. Earlier today, Trayvon’s parents, attorney and I met with the Justice Department here. And later tonight, we rally for justice for Trayvon.”

    About an hour after that, Sharpton was addressing the rally again. He appealed for funds: “I want us to to get some money out. I want some of you business types, some of you preachers…And now, I’m going to start off with twenty five hundred dollars,” he said, holding up a check.

    “Trayvon represents a reckless disregard for our lives that we’ve seen too long. And we’ve come to tell you tonight: enough is enough.”

    It seems to me that by sandwiching his show between his activism, Sharpton was essentially covering himself.

    In what other context would a news organization allow someone to become such an integral part of the story and then represent the organization? Shouldn’t Sharpton have to choose between his dual roles? Would it be okay if he attended a rally for President Obama, asked the crowd for money and then interviewed Obama immediately afterward?

    On my CNN program Reliable Sources, Eric Deggans, media critic for the Tampa Bay Times, made this point: “The problem is that MSNBC has to cover this as a news organization and as I said, we’re getting to the point where George Zimmerman is starting to speak up, the man who shot Trayvon Martin. He has an attorney. He has a side. Is he going to feel like he can talk to NBC News or MSNBC and be treated fairly when one of their signature on-air personalities has spent weeks talking about how he should be arrested and he should be in jail?”

    • Ametia says:

      Fuck Howie Kurtz. Phil Griffin had no qualms about hiring Rev. Al, and was fully aware and agreed that Rev. Al would keep up his activism. So FUCK HOWIE KURTZ!

  23. rikyrah says:

    How was George Michael Zimmerman, after having been arrested and booked on two felony counts allowed to apply for and receive a concealed weapons permit? Two of the charges state violence against an arresting officer. The third charge seems to be speeding but the license suspension had to be lifted because the cop failed to show up in court.

  24. Ametia says:

    Racist Hunger Games Fans Are Very Disappointed

    The good news? The Hunger Games made $155 million at the box office its opening weekend, making it the third-best debut in North American box office history. The bad news, however, reflects a level of idiocy that we weren’t really expecting.

    As CNN reports, “Only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight — both sequels, with the strength of a franchise behind each — recorded bigger opening weekends.” Plus, unlike those two flicks, Hunger Games was written by a woman and stars a woman — a true lady-centric blockbuster franchise.

    Now as you may know, Katniss, the main character in the book and film, was described as having “straight black hair” and “olive skin.” It’s a post-apocalyptic world, so she could be a mix of things, but some pictured a Native American. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jennifer Lawrence won the part and dyed her hair dark.

    But when it came to the casting of Rue, Thresh, and Cinna, many audience members did not understand why there were black actors playing those parts. Cinna’s skin is not discussed in the book, so truthfully, though Lenny Kravitz was cast, a white, Asian or Latino actor could have played the part.

    But. On page 45 of Suzanne Collins’s book, Katniss sees Rue for the first time:

    …And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that’s she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor…

  25. Ametia says:


    Nearly three in four Americans think police should arrest George Zimmerman after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin one month ago in Florida, according to a CNN/ORC poll released today.

    In the same survey, only about one in four felt that neighborhood watch members should carry guns, but a little more than half approved of “stand your ground” laws.

    Martin was walking to his father’s fiancee’s home in a gated Sanford, Florida, community, when neighborhood watch volunteer Zimmerman shot the unarmed teen, according to police. Zimmerman told police he shot Martin in self-defense, and he has not been charged. The U.S. Department of Justice and Florida officials have launched investigations into the shooting.

    CNN should change its name to SIN SIN SIN. WTF are they doing a survey. 30,000 folks rallying to get justice for Trayvon Martin isn’t good enough measure for what AMERICANS THINK? Who are they surveying?

  26. Ametia says:

    I Don’t Trust This SCOTUS
    by BooMan
    Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 09:59:43 AM EST

    As the Supreme Court begins to hear arguments about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know that pretty much every legal scholar is predicting that the Court will uphold the law, but I wonder.

    If I had to bet money, I’d probably agree with the consensus and predict an 8-1 decision in favor of Obamacare, with only Clarence Thomas objecting. But I also remember Bush v. Gore. And I think about how long and hard conservatives have worked to get a functional majority on the court. Right now, they seem to have a functional majority about half the time, with Justice Kennedy siding with big business at every opportunity, but not following along on many social and religious questions.
    In this case, siding with big business means siding with the individual mandate, since the mandate provides millions of new customers to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and also makes the whole health care reform work financially for the insurers. Striking down the mandate would be a major blow to big business and cause all kinds of confusion and chaos. For these reasons, I foresee Justice Kennedy upholding the mandate.

    If Alito and Roberts realize that the administration is going to win, they’ll probably fall in line. And Scalia will probably try to be as silent as possible since he won’t want to ruin his reputation among the wingnut faithful.

    But if for some reason Kennedy is inclined to become a radical, I expect the rest of the conservative Justices to join him in striking down the individual mandate, and maybe even gutting the entire law. Conservatives have been waging an ideological war to the death, and the Court is their greatest weapon. Will they fail to use it now?
    I can’t be certain. What I do feel confident about though is that Kennedy’s replacement on the Court will be the most influential Justice in a century or more. If a Republican replaces Kennedy, Roe v. Wade will be struck down. And you can go down the list of cases where Kennedy has sided with the liberals in 5-4 cases to see how things will change for the worse

  27. Ametia says:

    Judge tosses lawsuit on MLK documents
    By HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press
    Friday, March 23, 2012

    A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the estate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. seeking documents and other material connected to the civil rights leader from a Mississippi TV anchor.

    The lawsuit was filed in September in U.S. District Court in Jackson against Howard Ballou, an anchor for Jackson-based WLBT-TV. The suit said Ballou’s mother worked for King as a secretary from 1955 to 1960 and kept documents during the time King led the Montgomery Improvement Association and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

    In dismissing the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Tom Lee said there was nothing to contradict Maude Ballou’s testimony that King gave her the material. Lee dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning it can’t be refiled. The King estate could appeal the ruling.

    “Mrs. Ballou could not recall whether she was also given originals of some documents, but she made clear in her testimony that the documents she personally kept were those that Dr. King gave to her personally, to keep,” the judge wrote. “Plaintiff has offered no proof to contradict or undermine Mrs. Ballou’s testimony.”

    Read more:

  28. Ametia says:

    Any one read the series or seen the movie?

    ‘The Hunger Games’ rakes in $155M at box office opening weekend, third highest in history
    The adventure flick is also the highest grossing film for a non-sequel opening weekend – in history

    By Ethan Sacks / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Sunday, March 25, 2012, 3:23 PM

    Read more:

  29. Bobby Womack Diagnosed With Colon Cancer, in Hospital with Pneumonia

  30. rikyrah says:

    Prepare For the Beat Down

    by BooMan
    Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 12:24:10 AM EST

    Apparently, the Romney campaign will rely almost exclusively on the RNC for voter reg/GOTV efforts and on television advertising to get their voters to the polls. They don’t even pretend that their candidate has any innate appeal:

    “For the Republicans, what’s going to drive turnout is not going to be Mitt Romney — it’s Barack Obama,” [Doug] Gross [a veteran GOP activist and Romney’s 2008 Iowa chairman] said.

    Meanwhile, the president’s team is already in the field registering voters.

    The campaign appears poised to be even more aggressive this year. Volunteers are registering new voters in an effort to expand the pool of supporters. They are knocking on doors to identify likely voters — an activity that usually occurs in the summer or fall. And the reelection effort has begun blanketing battleground states with field offices, including 18 in Florida, 13 in Pennsylvania and eight in Iowa. In the process, Obama’s apparatus has locked up local Democratic operatives across the country much earlier than expected.

    “It’s made it tougher to find good staff for local campaigns,” said Jim Ross, a San Francisco-based Democratic strategist who runs campaigns in California, Oregon and Nevada.

    That traditional field work is being buttressed by a massive technological investment aimed at expanding the campaign’s voter database, which in turn fuels the organizing efforts. Nearly a fifth of the campaign’s spending so far — $15.1 million — went to online advertising, technology consulting and Web hosting. The campaign recently opened a field office in San Francisco for volunteers who want to contribute their high-tech skills to Web development and other projects.

    Obama’s reelection effort also will draw on the resources of the Democratic National Committee, for which he’s helped raise $138 million in the last year.

    I’m going to predict right now that the Obama campaign will fill up Georgia with field offices while Romney is poll-testing what kind of advertising can make Northern Virginians take him remotely seriously.

    The Obama campaign will have identified its soft supporters in Montana before Romney can select a running mate. While Romney is bleeding money to air commercials in Pittsburgh and Phoenix, Obama volunteers will be completing their third walk-thrus of neighborhoods in Tucson and Harrisburg.

    The community organizers already proved the superiority of their model once. Hillary, McCain and Pailn scoffed at us up until the moment they realized that their gooses were cooked.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Lindsey Graham: ‘We All Know There’s A Racial Component’ To Trayvon Martin’s Death

    By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Mar 25, 2012 at 11:15 am

    After President Obama weighed in on the shooting on Trayvon Martin, the GOP presidential candidates also rushed to condemn the African-American teenager’s death. But Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were equally as quick to blame Obama for making it a racial issue after the president said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Gingrich called Obama’s remark “disgraceful,” and Santorum accused Obama of trying to “drive a wedge in America” by using race.

    But on CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the attacks by his fellow Republicans are unhelpful. He told Candy Crowley that, yes, there is a racial aspect to the case, but said that doesn’t mean the president would be insensitive if it had been a white teenager:

    GRAHAM: We all know there’s a racial component to this, and when the president highlights it, I don’t think it adds a whole lot. But nobody suggests that the president’s insensitive to the 17-year-old if he’d been white. I think the criticism by our guys was a little off-base.

    Graham echoed a White House adviser David Plouffe’s criticism of the GOP candidates. Plouffe called Gingrich’s remarks “reprehensible.” “You can make a decision whether to go out with some shred of dignity or say these irresponsible, reckless things, and he’s clearly chosen the latter path,” he told George Stephonopoulos on ABC’s This Week.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Gun Owners Of America Chief Defends George Zimmerman: Trayvon Martin Was ‘Assailant’

    By Alex Seitz-Wald on Mar 25, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Larry Pratt, the executive director of Second Amendment group Gun Owners of America, offered a rare defense of the man who killed Trayvon Martin, saying George Zimmerman was acting in self defense when he shot the Florida teen. As the facts of the case have emerged, everyone from President Obama to RIck Santorum and Rep. Allen West (R-FL) have condemned the killing.

    But appearing on Current TV’s “The Young Turks” with Cenk Uygur Friday, Pratt said Zimmerman and the police acted properly. “Martin passed from becoming a victim to becoming an aggressor” during an alleged altercation, he said. Pratt’s said his view of the facts are based on a single eye witness interviewed by an Orlando news station. “[Martin] should have run away,” Pratt explained, saying Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws are irrelevant, because “we’re talking about fighting off an assailant.”

    “Once Martin had neutralized the threat, that’s when he should have taken off to get out of there. He doubled down, and he started to really beat the tar out of the guy,” Pratt said. Martin “gave up his rights,” Pratt added.

    • What is wrong with these people? How can a little skinny kid weighing 140 lbs beat the tar out of a grown ass man like Zimmerman? Trayvon Martin was a child. A minor! Pratt is a disgrace, a loser who would rather defend a monster than an innocent child.

    • Ametia says:



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