Sunday Open Thread

Good Morning, Everyone. Enjoy today with family and friends.

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27 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. Yahtc says:

    Music for a Sunday evening:

  2. Liza says:

    New excavations begin at Florida reform school

    A search for unmarked graves in September yielded two bodies. A second dig with heavy machinery is now searching for 50 possible burial sites.

    By David Zucchino
    October 26, 2013, 5:39 p.m.

    With each scrape of the Florida Panhandle soil by an excavator’s metal claw, anthropologists are moving a step closer to unraveling a century of mystery over the fates of missing boys from an infamous reform school.

    Some of those sent to the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys as “incorrigible” never returned. Those who survived have described decades of beatings, rapes — and possible murders — at the school in Marianna, Fla., from 1900 until it was shut down in 2011.

    A team of anthropologists is carefully digging on the school grounds in search of boys buried in unmarked graves. Any remains will be autopsied and their DNA tested to help determine how the boys died while also returning them to their families for burial. Relatives of 10 missing students have provided DNA swabs for comparison.

    “We’re bringing a last measure of human dignity for these boys,” said forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle of the University of South Florida, who leads the team.

    Two bodies were recovered by hand during the team’s first dig in September in woods near a school burial ground known as Boot Hill. A second dig with heavy machinery began last week, probing for 50 possible burial shafts identified by ground-penetrating radar.

    The grave sites are not marked. Thirty-one white crosses that dot the burial ground were erected in the 1990s to commemorate the unnamed boys buried there.

    The excavations have been a long time coming for men including Roger Dean Kiser of Brunswick, Ga., who was sent to the school at age 12 in 1959 and stayed two years.

    “They’re going to find a lot of bodies out there, and there are a lot more bodies they’ll never find,” said Kiser, now 67, who wrote a book about Dozier, “The White House Boys,” named for a house on school grounds where students were beaten.

    Kiser was twice beaten bloody with a leather whip reinforced by a slab of sheet metal, he said. Other boys were beaten so badly that their underwear was pounded into their bare skin. Many were sodomized or forced to perform oral sex on staff members, he said.

    Boys were beaten for such infractions as spitting, cursing or talking back. Staff members placed bets on who could draw blood first.

    An investigation by the U.S. Justice Department documented some of the abuse and led to the closure of the school. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded in 2010 that, although it found dozens of graves, there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges.

    But Kiser and others sent to Dozier say they know what they saw, and their stories have a grim consistency.

    Kiser said he saw a boy tossed into an industrial clothes dryer and spun until he died. Another was mauled to death by search dogs after he tried to escape. Kiser said he was working at the school infirmary when he was ordered to remove the dead boy’s shoes, which were filled with blood.

    Some bodies were burned in the school incinerator, he said, and he once saw a severed hand in the “hog bath” where leftover food was dumped to feed pigs.

    After one of his own beatings, Kiser said, he told a staff member that he’d one day tell the world what was happening to boys at Dozier. The staffer replied: “Talking like that is a good way to end up dead tomorrow morning, sonny boy.”
    Read more…
    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-florida-reform-school-20131027,0,671596,full.story#axzz2iujaj5JA

  3. Yahtc says:

    “Ben Crump flooded with civil rights cases after Trayvon”

    http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/usatoday/article/3182651

    Excerpt:

    Benjamin Crump quickly lists his latest clients: There’s the Pittsburgh teenager paralyzed by police bullets. The Florida man who suffocated to death under a police cruiser. The California woman who lost consciousness while handcuffed in the back of a police car and died at a hospital soon after.

    The common theme: a black person whose rights allegedly were violated by police. It’s an area of law that has people from all over the country calling Crump, a Tallahassee attorney made famous by representing the parents of Trayvon Martin.

    Headlines now herald Crump’s cases, and the people he represents become subjects of national media attention. Some caution against high-profile attorneys like Crump who may grandstand and complicate cases. But others have started comparing Crump to past legal stars.

    “He’s this generation’s Johnnie Cochran,” said Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of African-American studies at Duke University, referring to the quotable attorney who defended O.J. Simpson.

    “I can’t think of anybody who has been as publicly on the record as really doing work in support of black and brown men and boys. That’s not work most folks think of as enjoyable. In some regards, that’s a real sacrifice.”

    For nearly two years the nation heard about Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen who was shot to death by neighorhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed the teen attacked him; Trayvon’s parents said he was profiled and murdered. Crump’s successful campaign to have Zimmerman arrested and put on trial earned him a reputation as a dogged advocate, lawyers and his most recent clients said.

    Zimmerman was acquitted of manslaughter and murder this summer, but Crump won the late teen’s family more than $1 million in a settlement with Zimmerman’s homeowners association.

    Throughout the ordeal, Neal said, Crump and his team presented Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s parents, as a calm, grieving family bent on seeing the justice system work. Crump’s ability to keep that portrait intact and win a settlement is a testament to his skills, Neal said.

    Crump, often dressed in a full suit and decorative tie no matter the weather, has a sort of familiar style in and out of court. His heavy voice carries a southern accent with a serious yet mostly friendly tone. He seems to befriend his clients while also watching over them like a protective parent. His indictments of racial and judicial inequalities come through in easy sentences. He often repeated at the height of interest in Trayvon’s death, “All we want is simple justice.”

    However, Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, paints a different portrait of Crimp. O’Mara questioned Crump’s ethics, pointing to claims he made against Zimmerman and the circumstances surrounding Trayvon’s shooting.

    “A lot of what he said was happening was all personal opinion or misinterpretation of the facts,” O’Mara said. “That is very frustrating to me because I feel as lawyers we are bound by ethical constraints.”

    O’Mara added that he would be happy to see Crump zealously representing “the downtrodden” but hopes Crump is adhering to the ethics of the bar.

    Crump has no regrets about how he represented Trayvon’s family. “It has made me more stoic in knowing that there’s no guarantee at justice,” Crump said referring to Zimmerman’s acquittal.

    Records show Crump is a member of the Florida bar in good standing with no history of disciplinary action for the past decade.

    Crump, 44, and his legal partner, Daryl Parks,started their firm in 1995 shortly after graduating from law school at Florida State University.

    The Parks & Crump Law Firm handles mostly cases of personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice, but civil rights cases have flooded the office since Crump began holding strongly worded press conference calling for the arrest of Zimmerman.

    Before Trayvon’s death, the firm was little known outside Florida. Crump represented the family of Martin Lee Anderson, a 14-year-old who died in 2006 in a Florida juvenile boot camp after being hit by a guard. Eight former boot camp workers were acquitted of manslaughter, but the state closed other boot camps and the legislature agreed to pay Martin’s family $5 million.

    Now, Crump said, the firm gets up to 50 calls and 30 letters a day from people asking him to represent them in discrimination cases that often deal with people of color dying or being injured in encounters with police. The work can be physically and emotionally draining, he admits.

    “I get so many calls that say, ‘My case is like Trayvon,'” Crump said. “What they want is Ben Crump to wave a wand and make the justice system work the way it should for every American. Unfortunately, a lot of times, it just doesn’t happen. The tragedy is some of our children are going to be taken from us in unimaginable ways and nobody is going to care.”

    He turns down requests from people like the family of a mentally ill man who was shot by police after waving a knife. The jury most likely would side with officers, Crump said.

    For every 50 calls, he said, at least one is worth taking. He weighs the financial costs of taking a case and the likelihood that a civil suit can be won. Like most plaintiff’s lawyers, he gets paid only if his clients win.

    Recently, Crump agreed to help the family of Kendrick Johnson, 17, who was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Ga. The family wants video of the gym released and thinks the teen may have been murdered. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has ruled the death accidental, and police say the case is closed.

    Kendrick’s father, Kenneth Johnson, said he and his wife, Jacquelyn, had been trying to get additional information about Kendrick’s death and attention for more than nine months after the teen was found dead Jan. 11. About a month ago, he called Crump’s firm. Since then, his son’s story has been told in several national news media.

    “We just needed more power to help bring awareness of what was going on,” said Johnson, 44, a truck driver. “I think now they (police and state authorities) know we’re serious. Ben brings a lot to the table.”

    Krystal Brown, whose ex-husband Marlon Brown, 38, suffocated under a police cruiser after being chased by an officer, agrees.

    Marlon Brown’s family said video showed he was run over by the car, but a medical examiner ruled that Brown was not struck by the vehicle and died because he suffocated after the car came to rest on him. The officer driving the cruiser was fired and not charged.

    Krystal Brown, who had two children with Marlon Brown, credits the family winning a $550,000 settlement to Crump’s representation.

    Crump is also helping Leon Ford, 17, of Pittsburgh, who was paralyzed when a police officer shot him four times after Ford sped off during a traffic stop. Crump argues that police kept him pulled over for too long after he provided all the documents they requested. The teen faces several charges, including aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

    The family of Alesia Thomas, a woman who died within hours of passing out in a Los Angeles police car, is also among his clients. Thomas died after being kicked by an officer who is now charged with assault.

    The list includes not only police incidents but clients he said are wrongly imprisoned or whose deaths were not properly investigated. There are also nine women in Madison, Fla., who Crump said were wrongly arrested for voter fraud.

    “Even with these high-profile cases, it’s about terrible unjust scenarios and trying to level the playing field,” Crump said. “With minorities, you have to fight for justice, where with others you seem to get justice just by breathing.”

  4. rikyrah says:

    More than 10,000 people line up in Dallas for information on Obamacare
    October 27, 2013
    By Anomaly
    In Texas, a statewide education and outreach event focusing on the new Affordable Care Act drew more than 10,000 people to the Dallas Convention Center on Saturday, which was hosted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield and more than 30 community partners to provide health services and information. This is but a small glimpse into the world of the uninsured, or those with costly insurance coverage looking for reasonable rates.

    Dr. Dan McCoy of Blue Cross and Blue Shield said, “There’s safety in having an insurance card in your pocket.

    http://freakoutnation.com/2013/10/27/more-than-10000-people-line-up-in-dallas-for-information-on-obamacare/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=more-than-10000-people-line-up-in-dallas-for-information-on-obamacare

  5. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama shows she’s still got her husband’s back
    10/25/13 07:15 PM
    By Morgan Whitaker

    President Obama has a strong ally while he works through the bumpy rollout of his signature policy achievement: his wife.

    First lady Michelle Obama hit the fundraising circuit Friday to help give her husband the Democrat-controlled Congress that could help him further his agenda, and didn’t shy away from blasting her husband’s opponents for shutting down the government in an ultimately fruitless attempt to stall or stop the Affordable Care Act Friday.

    “So when a small group of folks in Congress shuts down our government to try to shut down Obamacare, and we watch as our president stands strong, that’s not just some political fight in Washington,” she said at the Women’s Leadership Forum Conference in DC. “It is a battle about our most fundamental values and aspirations.”

    “If you don’t like seeing folks in state government trying to undermine Obamacare or chip away at women’s rights and women’s health, then I urge you—let’s not just sit around feeling angry or helpless or hopeless, especially not [as] women,” she said. She encouraged members of the audience to write a “big old check” to help.

    “The fact is that right now we are just 17 seats away from taking back the House–yes, 17. But they are 17 hard seats,” she said. “And we’re just six seats away from losing the Senate. And that’s how close these midterm elections are. And we all know that it’s not enough to elect Barack Obama if we don’t give him a Congress that will help him keep moving this country forward.”

    She also extolled the benefits of Obamacare.

    http://www.msnbc.com/politicsnation/flotus-goes-bat-potus

  6. rikyrah says:

    WHO would have thought..

    As insane as I think the GOP was…

    that they would DELIBERATELY HURT people in their OWN STATES by having GOP GOvernors refusing to expand Medicaid.

    And, refusing to set up the state exchanges.

    WHO actually thought that the feds would ultimately be responsible for setting up HALF THE EXCHANGES because the GOP Governors refused to do so?

    WHO actually thought these mofos were that fucking evil?

    I had a low opinion of them, but even I was shocked at the extent of their fucking evil in condemning their working poor to lives without health insurance.

    Always remember:
    the feds asked for 5 billion for the rollout…got one billion.

    do you not remember Sebelius being forced to go to the healthcare industry for money for the rollout?

    do you not read the reports from the states where these GOP evil asses are doing everything they can to put up roadblocks for those folks who have chosen to go out there and help people sign up for Obamacare?

    but, I guess it’s too much for the MSM to do their JOB and include all these not so small facts in their ‘ oh no, Obamacare is a disaster because of website glitches’ stories.

  7. rikyrah says:

    the thing that kills me about all this whining about a website?

    the disconnect…the utter and absolute disconnect from people who don’t have health insurance.

    This is the country that has people who will stand out in the cold in November, for the promise of a $25 DVD PLAYER, and people think folks won’t have the patience of JOB to get HEALTH INSURANCE?

    that a website will stop them?

    The only people who think that are mofos who have never been without health insurance.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  9. rikyrah says:

    Sorry this was late. Spent last night in the Emergency Room. Everything is ok with my family member, but you know how ER’s are.

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