Friday Open Thread | #HealSTL

HealSTL 25One of the byproducts of the aftermath of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson is the national attention that has been paid to the dramatic disparity in voter participation and political representation of African-Americans in the small suburb of St. Louis.

Ferguson is a city of 23,000 and is roughly two-thirds Black. Its six-member city council has just one African-American member. The level of voter participation by Black residents has been abysmal, sometimes as low as 6 percent.

In the last week, a number of local elected officials and local organizations are seeking to address this situation.

“Everybody is trying to move in that direction now,” said Courtney A. Curtis, a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, in an interview with “It’s an area where there is a lot of work to be done and a number of people are now trying to do that work.”

As one example, Antonio French, an alderman in St. Louis, has put together an organization a few miles north of his district, in Ferguson, to encourage local residents to register to vote and to become more engaged politically.

The organization, Heal St. Louis, has set up a small storefront in Ferguson and has opened for business with local residents.

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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36 Responses to Friday Open Thread | #HealSTL

  1. rikyrah says:

    There’s a Horrible Bosses 2 coming out!


  2. Ametia says:

    Say it ain’t SO. That filthy piggy cop who raped 8 black women is out on bond?

  3. Ametia says:

    WUH? No Herman Cain?! LMBAO


  4. rikyrah says:

    How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty

    By Radley Balko
    September 3


    The Foristell warrant stemmed from a speeding ticket in 2011. As mentioned before, Bolden didn’t show up in court because she didn’t have the money to pay it and feared they’d put her jail. It’s a common and unfortunate misconception among St. Louis County residents, especially those who don’t have an attorney to tell them otherwise. A town can’t put you in jail for lacking the money to pay a fine. But you can be jailed not appearing in court to tell the judge you can’t pay — and fined again for not showing up. After twice failing to appear for the Foristell ticket, Bolden showed up, was able to get the warrant removed and set up a payment plan with the court. But she says that a few months later, she was a couple days late with her payment. She says she called to notify the clerk, who told her not to worry. Instead, the town hit her with another warrant — the same warrant for which she was jailed in March.

    Bolden’s bond was set at $1,700. No one she knew had that kind of money. Bolden broke down; she cried, she screamed, and she swore. She was given a psychological evaluation, and then put on suicide watch. She finds that memory particularly humiliating. Bolden would remain in jail for two weeks, until Foristell’s next municipal court session. She wouldn’t let her children come visit her. “I didn’t want them to see me like that,” she says. “I didn’t want them to think it was normal, that it was okay for one of us to be in jail. I missed them so much. But I wasn’t going to let them see me like that.”


    While in jail, she missed a job interview. She fell behind in her paralegal studies. When she finally got her day in court, she was told to change out of her jail jumpsuit into the same clothes she had worn for three days straight, and that had been sitting in a bag for the previous two weeks. She was brought into the courtroom to face the judge, handcuffed, in dirty clothes that had been marinated in her own filth. “I was funky, I was sad, and I was mad,” she says. “I smelled bad. I was handcuffed. I missed my kids. I didn’t feel like a person anymore.”

    Voss was able to get Bolden’s bond reduced to $700, but that was still too much for Bolden or her family to pay. The judge also told Voss that he wouldn’t consider an indigency motion until the next session, which meant another two weeks in jail. Bolden was taken back to her cell. The next day, her mother borrowed against a life insurance policy to post her daughter’s bond. “It doesn’t just affect you,” Bolden says. “It affects your family. Your kids. Your friends. My mother is disabled. And she had to help me out. My sister had to put her life on hold to watch my kids.”

    Stories like Bolden’s abound across the St. Louis area. And despite the efforts of the ArchCity Defenders and legal aid clinics like those at Saint Louis University and Washington University, the vast majority of the people swept up into the St. Louis County municipal court system don’t have attorneys to inform them of their rights or to negotiate with judges and prosecutors.

    There are 90 municipalities in St. Louis County, and more in the surrounding counties. All but a few have their own police force, mayor, city manager and town council, and 81 have their own municipal court. To put that into perspective, consider Jackson County, Mo., which surrounds Kansas City. It is geographically larger than St. Louis County and has about two-thirds the population. Yet Jackson County has just 19 municipalities, and just 15 municipal courts — less than a quarter of municipalities and courts in St. Louis County.

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Economist Denounces One-Sided Account of Slavery [Updated]
    By Jonathan Chait

    The Economist reviews The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, by Edward Baptist. Not having read the book, I cannot credibly assess it. I do have enough familiarity with the basic facts to know that The Economist’s reviewer’s argument that the book is fatally biased seems a little … off:

    Unlike Mr Thomas, Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy.

    I can think of reasons other than ideological bias to explain why almost all the black people would be victims, and the white people villains, in a book about white people who captured black people and subjected them to torture, rape, murder, humiliation, and oppressive forced labor.

    Unless The Economist wants to suggest that there were overlooked cases of deserved slavery, it seems pretty intuitive that the black people are mostly going to be victims in a book about slavery. It also seems like the white people are inevitably not going to come off terribly well, either, in a book about slavery. Sure, there were plenty of white people who had nothing to do with slavery, but they may not feature so heavily in a book about slavery.

    Update: The Economist has withdrawn the review and apologized:

    Apology: In our review of “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” by Edward Baptist, we said: “Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.” There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so. Slavery was an evil system, in which the great majority of victims were blacks, and the great majority of whites involved in slavery were willing participants and beneficiaries of that evil. We regret having published this and apologise for having done so. We are therefore withdrawing the review but in the interests of transparency, anybody who wants to see the withdrawn review can click here.

  6. rikyrah says:

    St. Louis County Sounds Like One Big Shakedown Racket Targeted at Black People
    By Ben Mathis-Lilley

    Yesterday the Washington Post published an epic investigation of the municipal-fine system in outlying St. Louis County cities and towns like Ferguson. If that sounds boring—and I admit, as the person who wrote the preceding sentence, that it sounds boring—try this: In appalling detail, reporter Radley Balko makes a case that St. Louis County is home to a large-scale state-enforced shakedown racket that extorts black residents by using unjust imprisonment as a weapon.

    Balko is a civil liberties advocate who’s written for the libertarian publication Reason, so if you’re inclined you can take his framing of the issues with a grain of salt. But the most stunning parts of his piece aren’t anecdotes or rhetoric; they’re facts about a system that raises money for itself by deluging a largely-black population with fines and tickets for minor civic infractions, then punishes them again and again with arrests and imprisonment for not being able to navigate a convoluted judicial system. Here’s a quote (about drivers’ licenses) from the former president of the Missouri Municipal and Associate Circuit Judges’ Association:

    “There are now 26 different ways you can lose your license in St. Louis County,” he says. “There used to be five. You can now lose your license for things that have nothing to do with driving. We definitely have a problem with over-criminalization.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    All I know is that I loved me some Tony Brown’s Journal

    I learned more Black (and I mean the entire diaspora) history from Brown than anywhere else on tv

    Remember When Black TV Programs Were Angry and Unapologetic?

    Remembering Black Journal host William Greaves and the black power movement that spawned a generation of public-affairs programs.

    By: Todd Steven Burroughs

    Posted: Sept. 3 2014 3:00 AM

    When I was growing up in a northern-New Jersey ghetto in the early Afro-picked 1970s, my mom used to take me places in her car. Our radio dial was locked to 1430 WNJR, a soul AM station, and in the afternoons I would hear something at the top of the hour called “National Black Network News.” National black newscasters were talking about the condition of black people.

    We don’t hear enough of that anymore.

    I was reminded of that when I heard that William Greaves had passed away on Aug. 25 at the age of 87. Nearly 50 years ago, Greaves was fighting a war in the media world and we were all the beneficiaries. The skirmishes were over black public-affairs television programs—shows that presented undiluted African-American political, social and cultural views on white television during the height of the civil rights movement and black power eras. Greaves was a pioneer of one: Black Journal.

    In 1968, more than 100 cities had caught aflame after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The Kerner Commission Report had just been released, and its media chapter explained that the virtually all-white news media were complicit in making black people invisible. Across the nation, virtually all of major-market television responded–local and national, commercial and public—with black public-affairs television shows—programs that would reflect the black experience.

  8. rikyrah says:



    Tidbit of McDonnell trial info:

    This lady called into the local radio show and wanted to know why 2 black attorneys who had been associated with the McDonnell defense at first were no longer on the scene by the time of the trial.

    After talking about it,she and the host concluded the first black attorney couldn’t be on the McDonnell defense team because his law firm represented Jonnie.

    But they couldn’t figure out why the second one was no longer on the scene. They said the 2nd black attorney used to be a US prosecutor (so he would know how the Feds operate), knew how the judge in this case operated and was local in Richmond.

    He was with McDonnell & em at first but then McDonnell dismissed all the local Richmond attorneys and went with a high powered Washington DC defense team.

    All I know is McDonnell & his attorneys were strutting around Thursday morning like Romney the day on Election Day (or Cantor on Election Day), confident he had it in the bag, only to get his face cracked when that decision was handed down.

    Maybe if McDonnell had stuck with the local Richmond attorneys who knew the scene, he’d be home right now planning his career as a free man. Instead, he went with some slicksters out of DC who are now running to the mic screaming the jury “didn’t understand”, the jury didn’t do their job right and the judge was too confusing.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Black America Needs Its Own President

    We need a chief executive who can artfully make the compelling case to the country that we continue to be unfairly and unconstitutionally subjugated.

    By: Theodore R. Johnson III

    Posted: Sept. 5 2014 3:00 AM

    Every so often, an incident symptomatic of deeper issues triggers a release valve for collective despair. The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., sparked a movement much larger than concerns about the aggressive policing of black men. The marches and protests are a larger commentary about the economic and societal disenfranchisement of black people and the response to Brown’s death is a coalescing event, sounding the latest clarion call for America to revisit her unresolved original sin.

    But movements need leaders. And while this one certainly has organizers doing important work, it is missing the critical element that black America has not produced for some time: a national, unifying figure. Black America needs its own presidential figurehead—a chief executive who can artfully make the compelling case to the country that we are unfairly and unconstitutionally subjugated. A case that needs to have a face and voice with which the nation can interact, associate and, in theory, negotiate.

    Though familiar faces take the mantle in times of uncertainty or calamity, none are the embodiment of the larger, enduring and unrelenting cause. In a survey last year, a plurality of black Americans (40 percent) said there is no leader who speaks (pdf) for them. Even when familiar names were presented, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson or current Congressional Black Caucus members, only 1 in 10 felt these leaders were adequately giving voice to their issues. The most popular name was the Rev. Al Sharpton, but there is a growing sentiment that his vision and approach lack currency. And the individual who might be the most capable, President Barack Obama, has explicitly stated that he’s “not the president of black America,” he’s president of the United States.

    The call for a president of black America may, at first blush, sound odd. And some rightly point out that, technically, no such entity exists. But black America is about 45 million people strong and has buying power of just over a trillion dollars. This means black America has an economy roughly equivalent to Portugal’s and a population that is about the same as Spain’s. That should translate to a significant amount of economic and political power. But without a leader to marshal this capital, we’re treated like a subcultural afterthought that only commands national attention when it appears in need of a good squelching.

  10. Ametia says:

    Missouri Republicans Are About to Pass One of the Harshest Abortion Laws in the Country
    By Molly Redden

    GOP lawmakers called the session to try to override several of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes. At the top of the list: a bill that would force women seeking an abortion—including victims of rape and incest—to wait 72 hours between their first visit to a clinic and the procedure itself. Nixon vetoed the bill in June.


  11. rikyrah says:

    Kansas’ Kobach won’t let Dem Senate candidate quit
    09/05/14 08:02 AM—UPDATED 09/05/14 08:14 AM
    By Steve Benen

    It seemed pretty straightforward. Chad Taylor, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Kansas, decided he wanted to drop out of the race and have his name removed from the statewide ballot. He contacted state elections officials, received guidance, filed the paperwork, and announced his decision to the public.

    Piece of cake, right? Wrong.
    Despite dropping out of the Kansas Senate race this week, Democrat Chad Taylor will remain on the ballot, Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced on Thursday. […]

    Kobach told reporters that candidates must declare they are “incapable” of serving if elected in order to withdraw their name from the ballot. “The law is the law,” Kobach said, according to The Kansas City Star.
    And if the law were unambiguous, Kobach might have a credible argument. But it’s not – as elections-law expert Rick Hasen explained, the relevant statute isn’t entirely clear. Indeed, it’s probably why state elections officials reached the opposite conclusion the day before Kobach’s decision.

    Part of the problem with the process, of course, is that Kobach has an obvious conflict of interest. The far-right Kansas Secretary of State, a notorious figure for all sorts of reasons, is an active supporter of Sen. Pat Roberts (R). At the same time, Kobach is chiefly responsible for deciding who’ll appear on the ballot in the race against Sen. Pat Roberts (R) – and in this case, the Secretary of State apparently wants the senator to have two opponents, instead of one, thereby dividing the vote and improving Roberts’ chances.

  12. rikyrah says:

    A Pittsburgh man suspected of sexually assaulting women on a popular jogging lane got more than he bargained for when he tried to strip the pants off a woman who proved to be a United States Marshal on Tuesday, The Patriot-News reports.

    According to court documents, Robert Flynn, 19, ran up to the U.S. Marshal, groped her buttocks and pulled down her shorts. The marshal — who is not named, as she was the victim of a sexual assault — pulled up her pants and identified herself, yelling, “Federal marshal! Stop!”

    She then asked passersby to call 911 while she pursued Flynn, who was attempting to flee on foot. The marshal caught up with him in a nearby apartment complex, where she cornered him behind a staircase. Flynn “attempted to charge” the marshal, who “feared that [he] was going to assault her again,” so she kicked him in the crotch, grabbed him by the shoulder, then repeatedly punched him in the face.

  13. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Okay, we know that the DOJ is NOW investigating the Ferguson police department.

    This article (with Video) was posted at 4:08 p.m. September 4.

    What’s up with it (and its timing)?

    ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – County Executive Charlie Dooley is now taking the blame for everything that happened in Ferguson after the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
    Thursday at the St Louis County Economic Council Luncheon, Charlie Dooley went “off script” and made remarks about Ferguson. He said, “It happened on my watch,” Dooley says. “Don’t blame yourself. Blame Charlie A. Dooley.”

    18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. Protests started in response to the shooting of the unarmed teen. Peaceful demonstrations turned into looting and police responded with tear gas. The images of a protesters sparring with police grabbed the attention of the nation.

    The Missouri Highway Patrol was put in charge of policing Ferguson. The protests died down after Michael Brown’s funeral over two weeks after he was killed.

    The Department of Justice is now investigating St. Louis County police and the shooting in Ferguson. A Grand Jury is also looking into the shooting in the St. Louis suburb.

    Be sure to watch the video of his speech by clicking the article’s link:

  14. rikyrah says:

    Bet now they wish they hadn’t phucked with him….but, he was only ‘ the chef’, so they thought they could mess with him.

    Chef who brought down McDonnells dishes on Bob and Maureen

    Posted 7:23 am, September 4, 2014, by Scott Wise and Lorenzo Hall,
    Updated at 07:00am, September 5, 2014

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A key figure in the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, sat back and watched the legal and political drama play out on television.

    Former Virginia Executive Mansion Chef, Todd Schneider said Thursday, justice was being served on the menu after the conviction of the former first couple.

    Schneider was the chef in the mansion from 2010 – 2012.

    It was Schneider, you may recall, who went to the FBI with the key evidence used to indict the McDonnells on charges they accepted gifts and money from political donor and Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting Williams’ company, Star Scientific, and its dietary supplement supplement Anatabloc.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Russell Schaffer @RussOnPolitics
    Here is the jobs report! 142,000 jobs created in August. Unemployment rate is at 6.1%. Longterm unemployed falls.
    7:32 AM – 5 Sep 2014

  16. rikyrah says:

    President Obama with other NATO Summit leaders at Cardiff Castle last night

  17. Ametia says:

    Happy FRY-day, Everyone! :-)

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