hough

An open letter to left-wing RNC protesters

Cleveland is not your enemy.

hough

50 years ago in Hough

Dear Left-Wing Protesters,

Please don’t destroy the city of Cleveland or its people in which you could find so much sympathy, support, and common ground. Whatever your cause, someone here will hear you out. Not everyone all the time. But you’ll find people who will listen.

Here’s something to start with: Monday, July 18, 2016–the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland–is the 50th anniversary of the Hough Riots. The Hough Riots were a violent clash between police, the National Guard and residents of the Hough neighborhood on the East Side of Cleveland.

Hough had been home to people from Eastern Europe and Appalachia during the first half of the twentieth century. Continue reading

BLM

#WhichCorpsesMatter

That’s what I want to know

Here’s my big reason to care about the #BlackLivesMatter versus #AllLivesMatter jousting match. I’m not the sentimental sort. I don’t have a deeply personal interest in the deeply personal pain countless families are feeling, whether by race, or by innocence of victim, or even the families of the police. If I spent time on those feelings, it would just be sadness. My sadness and $5 will get you a cup of fancy coffee somewhere. My reason is abstract, because any particular dead person is a particular case of a general phenomenon, and might not adhere to any particular script very well.

I’m even cynical enough to consider the striking possibility that both sides are “wrong” depending on how one defines the sides and defines what they mean by wrong. Continue reading

Cui bono: how did Berrien County, Michigan hit the headlines?

Horse race reportage, part umpteen. Special Edition: Not Election Coverage

I first spotted this tragic news at BBC, when there wasn’t yet anything world newsworthy about it, even from their own coverage perspective. One might notice the author was in such a rush to post they didn’t even bother to finish writing it first. The telltale error of haste that reveals the race to the bottom should embarrass an author not yet qualified to have their own byline.

Rule 1 of race to the bottom reporting: Be sure to include factoids that do not advance the non-story even a little, and don’t bother to edit it when done. Continue reading

Sports

Fighter jets and paratroopers and black knights, oh my: sports totems as a reflection of militaristic cultural norms

It’s not enough to accept military vehicles, body armor and weaponry from our civilian police. We now have to cheer for it.

by Michael Smith

There was a chapter in a Carl Sagan book from the mid-nineties, Billions and Billions, where he wrote about how totems of North American sports teams had been changing over the years from traditional animals for older clubs — like the Bears, the Tigers, and the Lions — to newer ones more reflective of concerns over atmosphere and the environment — like the Hurricanes, the Avalanche, the Lightning, and the Heat, etc. His point was that we no longer feared animals — there were no more bears in Chicago, after all — so they were no longer acceptable totems for making our team represent power; striking fear into the opposition. Whether or not everyone consciously accepted the reality of climate change in the ’90s, it had become enough of a subconscious concern in our lizard brains that these newer totems felt edgy and fierce.

I think that’s what’s been bothering me about the most recent changes in the NHL. Continue reading

PoliticalMonkey2

RNC train wreck heading for Cleveland

RNCitemswIt will be an interesting couple of weeks in the CLE…

Whenever someone mentions the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which is about every hour if not more often, I can’t help but have Johnny’s Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” play in my head:

I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when. . . .

The accompanying mental mashup is a combination of the train wreck in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth and any Insane Clown Posse video. On any level, this is not a cheery picture. And every day there is some new wrinkle, some plot twist that keeps this impending disaster from being just a week-long annoyance. It’s mesmerizing enough to make me want to go downtown a couple of times just to witness the disaster first-hand. Yes, I realize that is potentially dangerous – but there it is. Continue reading

#blacklivesmatter versus #alllivesmatter

White man ISO white people to explain something to me

I have yet to take a strong stand on this whole #blacklivesmatter and #alllivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter and #enoughwiththehashtagsmatter issue, and I’m fairly certain it’s a privilege thing that I, as a cisgendered white hetero man in farm country, have this luxury. I can’t help that. Continue reading

photo-op-0011

Chilcot is out, and it’s devastating

photo-op-0011 So, after seven years and lots of pounds, the Chilcot report on “lessons to be learned” from Iraq has finally been published. It tells us nothing we didn’t already know, frankly, and takes away the rationale for the ongoing denial we have continued to see among Blairites over the years, although god knows they’re still trying. I could write a long post on this. Or I could just let The Independent summarize in seven sentences,which they have done, and which admirably seems to sum up the entire enterprise. Continue reading

CATEGORY: UnitedStates

Another Fourth, another episode of blissful national blindness

No red, white, and blue adorn my flagpole. No patriotic bunting arches over my front door. No fireworks await their flaming demise. I no longer enjoy the nation’s formal parting from Great Britain (which was on July 2, anyway).

2f45d-free_wallpaper_patriotic_eagle_american_flag_background-1-1024x768I suppose, at one time, July Fourth carried great meaning to all Americans. After all, because of the acts of the Continental Congress and subsequent versions of it, I can (and do) criticize my government without fear or favor. I can own a weapon. My home and person cannot be searched or seized without cause. I am not obligated to incriminate myself. I can practice the religion of my choice — or decide not to — without government coercion. I can peaceably assemble with others to protest almost any damn thing I want to. I can vote to select who will govern me. And Congress cannot prevent me from owning a press in which I tell others what I see and what I know and what I feel.

I love my country because of the ideals inherent in the Constitution and especially in the Bill of Rights.

But lately, I have come to dislike this overwrought holiday. Continue reading

Brexit

Brexit: “Leave” voters are stupid

BrexitBrexit will decrease the standard of living and increase the gap between rich and poor.

Okay, let’s dispense with all the “respect the decision of the people” nonsense. Brexit is stupid. It’s a stupid decision that will hurt Britain in both the short and long term.  And the people who voted for it are stupid. Not only ignorant, not only frightened, not uninformed. Stupid. Continue reading

Donald-Trump-snake-oil

Does Trump actually want the job?

If Donald Trump really is running for president, he’s doing it all wrong.

trump-hillaryNew poll this morning:

In new poll, support for Trump has plunged, giving Clinton a double-digit lead

Support for Donald Trump has plunged as he has alienated fellow Republicans and large majorities of voters overall in the course of a month of self-inflicted controversies, propelling Democrat Hillary Clinton to a double-digit lead nationally in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

For pure political theater, there simply hasn’t been anything like this in my lifetime. Continue reading

brexit

#Brexit: when the walls started coming up again all over Europe

brexit‘Everything I know about the world has changed. Things are going to get very dark and very ugly. There will be fear and suspicion and it will not end.’

I remember where I was on 11 September 2001. I remember how it felt. I remember what I thought.

There were a group of us gathered in the boardroom at Deloitte in Cape Town. It was the first meeting of the newly-established board that would govern the non-profit organisation I ran, Business Beat.

I remember ANC member of parliament Ben Turok emphatically telling me that I shouldn’t ‘dabble’, but should take things seriously. It was an odd, and oddly uninformed, rebuke considering that even by that date, I’d spent eight years working in South Africa’s townships to help undo the economic damage caused by Apartheid.

A secretary interrupted and had a brief, nervous conversation with our chair. He immediately, softly, said, ‘An airplane has just flown into the World Trade Centre in New York. I think we should cancel today’s meeting.’ Continue reading

2560

Don’t panic: a #brexplanation

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image courtesy of the guardian

First, remember that the non-binding referendum is non-binding. The United Kingdom, unequaled in terms of global power and influence, unparalleled in her commitment to justice, and unbound to this referendum, which diminishes her majesty in hideous fashion, remains loyal to the European Union. For all the bleach blond rhetoric, for all the false promises to fund the National Health with nonexistent dues paid to the European Union, a non-binding referendum REMAINS non-binding. Continue reading

CATEGORY: Music

Asian-American band to SCOTUS: review our trademark victory

by Amber Healy

It’s not often a winning party in a long-fought legal battle asks the Supreme Court in the United States to review a lower court’s ruling that had been made in its favor. But for the Portland, Oregon-based, Asian-American dance-rock band The Slants, that’s just what happened this week.

In December, The Slants won the ability to legally register and protect their band name, something the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had said was offensive to Asian Americans. It was a victory nearly six years in the making.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled that the USPTO was in violation of the Constitution by rejecting the band’s trademark application by a 9-3 margin. The court found that the section of the archaic and little-known Lanham Act used by the USPTO to deny the application, the “disparagement” portion, could not be used to prevent or deny the application. Continue reading

Trump Cook Out

Hypocrisy Watch: FOX reporter cares deeply about the liberty of those who agree with him

Donald Trump, Kim Davis and Cook Out: because the Constitution guarantees redeemed sinners the right to fast food.

First, the headline:

‘Hell No!’ Cashier refuses to serve Trump backers

Shannon Riggs and her cousins were famished after attending a Donald Trump rally last week in Richmond, Va., so they decided to drop by Cook Out – a regional restaurant chain known for its tasty burgers.

The group was decked out in Trump swag – from T-shirts to those iconic red hats emblazoned with the campaign’s slogan: “Make America Great Again.” Continue reading

Can we just repeal the Fourth Amendment?

We’re not really using it anyway

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

DUI checkpoints. Stop and frisk. Racial profiling. Total Information Awareness. CIA. NSA. AT&T. Surveillance state. Cheek swabs. No-knock warrants. Civil forfeiture. More civil forfeiture. Border searches, subpoenas instead of warrants, metadata, facial recognition, medical records. Expanded background checks. Continue reading

CATEGORY: Guns

Human rights vs gun rights: after Orlando and before the next Sandy Hook…

Human rights, gun rights and what is right.

by Michael Frantz

Here’s what is clear to me—we have by law and action made it too damned easy to kill and demean.

Let’s start where I hope there is less debate. Can we all agree that regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, color, religious (or not) affiliation, age, mental and physical differences, veteran’s status or any other “identifier” that all humans should be inherently endowed with equal rights? Continue reading

CATEGORY: Guns

To reduce gun violence, make gun owners and sellers liable for violence committed with their guns

GunShowLet me start this post with an admission. If I had the power, I’d happily ban assault weapons completely. I’d also round up the majority of assault-style weapons presently in circulation and destroy them, along with any magazine larger than about five rounds (if you need more than that for hunting, you’re doing it wrong). I think they’re disgusting and useful for only one thing – killing other human beings – and that every argument in favor of owning assault-style weapons (they’re safer, they’re lighter, and they’re great for varmint hunting are a few of the ones I’ve seen offered since Orlando) is bullshit. The fact that AR-15 style weapons were renamed “modern sport rifles” specifically to circumvent the original assault weapon ban tells me that even the gun makers know that they’re selling assault weapons, not hunting rifles. I’ll probably vote to support a ban in the future, and this is one of the many issues on which I grade candidates when I vote. I suspect that many folks reading this are probably very happy that I don’t have this power.

However, I recognize that a ban may not be politically feasible at this time, and even a ban won’t fix everything. Gun crimes, even mass shootings, would still occur- the murderers would simply buy their weapons from the black market or steal them. But there is something that would help reduce the number of deaths due to guns overall, not just gun crimes. Suicides, accidental discharges, and crimes all would be reduced by what I’m about to propose:

Make gun sellers and owners criminally liable for gun crimes committed using their weapons. Continue reading

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Sometimes a gun is just a gun

il_340x270-731368759_4lvuJust because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they’re not after you. – Kurt Cobain

Did you know that in Russia it is legal to own a handgun but not a rifle? If you are a gangster and you want to shoot someone at point blank range, to rob them or to exact revenge or to terrorize their fellow citizens, the government has no problem with that. It’s the medium to long range shooting that falls under regulation. As it happens, rifles are necessary to overthrow a government. Continue reading

t143872

Mr. Cameron’s Brexit nightmare

t143872Brexit could be a model for what nations should do if the political leadership was there. But it isn’t.

I imagine when British Prime Minister David Cameron secured an agreement with European political leaders last winter on immigration and other issues relating to continued UK membership in the European Union, he thought he had dealt with this. He seemed pretty confident at the time that this would persuade British voters with concerns about immigration and EU membership in general that their concerns had been addressed. Now, even though I dislike Cameron and his politics, I used to think that he had pretty good political instincts—he has led the Conservatives to two election victories, after all, the past one giving him a majority in Parliament. I was wrong—Cameron’s political instincts appear to be as muddled as the Republican leadership in the US who thought that Trump would fold after every outlandish statement. It turns out that this is the year of outlandish. This is not Mr. Gumpy’s Outing. Continue reading

The American experiment continues

Hillary Clinton will lose in a landslide.

coetxg-ueaajfolWe can build a bridge to tomorrow, with hopes and dreams and renewable energy and some new alloy that US Steel is keeping under wraps. The common man has achieved equal status with the upper crust. We can come to some arrangement wherein power is shared and, gradually, peacefully, handed over. The future belongs to the folks who live then.

Hillary Clinton is not part of that future. She is a hired gun, an enforcer of the regime. Bernie Sanders is a visionary who sees it coming. He’s been consistent his whole life saying what the Chinese already know, that without internal stability there is no external security. Why do you think we fell apart like a dry rotted tapestry during a guerrilla attack? September 11th was scary. I was there. I inhaled the asbestos from the twin towers. It was not “uproot the foundation of the republic” scary. Why, then, did we uproot the republic? Continue reading