Wednesday, April 25, 2012

David Simon | I meant this, not that. But yeah, I meant it. (re: Trayvon Martin)

Where once it was incumbent on people who take a life to prove that they did so in self-defense, now – in Florida and nineteen other states – hundreds of years of American jurisprudence and English common law are reversed so that the burden of proof is on the state. Now, Florida must prove that someone who takes human life did not have reasonable cause to believe they were in grave jeopardy.

Previously, this was a legal standard that we extended only to sworn and trained law officers. If they had reason to believe that they, or fellow officers or citizens were in jeopardy – even if they were wrong in that assessment – then grand juries were routinely told not to indict. Our legal system has long understood that even good police – those not prone to excess, those fully trained in the use of lethal force – can still give you a bad shoot in a decision that is often made in a short second or two.

And now, quietly, by dint of both cash infusions from the gun lobby to legislators and scant attention from a hollowed-out press corps, this cautious standard is gone in twenty states. Now, anyone — regardless of their role, training or ultimate purpose — can bring a gun to an argument and take a life. And then, if they can manufacture enough of a threat to their person, they can justify the act. Maybe witnesses will be present to contradict their version of events; maybe not. Maybe there will be physical evidence to invalidate their claims; maybe not. But now, the baseline for responsibility lies not with the shooter, but with the state.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

First Read - NBC/WSJ poll: Obama leads Romney by six points, but Republican ahead on economy

According to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, President Barack Obama large leads among women, Hispanics and independents and is viewed as being more in touch with the middle class, but Mitt Romney is seen as more likely to  have "good ideas for how to improve the economy." NBC's Chuck Todd reports.

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Marguerite Casey Foundation - Equal Voice: Grantees in the News

Senate Races 2012: Republican Establishment Tries To Tamp Down Tea Party Insurgency

Mitch Daniels, Indiana Governor, Expresses Disappointment With Mitt Romney's Rhetoric

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Car Impound Laws In Los Angeles: New Policy Faces Challenge From The Police Union - The Huffington Post

HOT ON THE HILL: ROBERT DRAPER PALACE INTRIGUE - Obama to Weiner (before the scandal): 'Enjoy your last ride on Air Force One' - TIME 100 includes Rubio, Cuomo - POLITICO Playbook -

Link: (sent via Shareaholic)


-“[Rep. Anthony Weiner] would enter in his office in the Rayburn Building screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘Why the fuck am I not on MSNBC?!’ When the health care debate kicked in, Anthony Weiner became the one-man standard-bearer for the single-payer system. He was now on MSNBC every week, sometimes every day – to the point where he was carrying his own makeup kit. (Or rather, his press guy was.) But because he believed that a fighter should also go into the enemy camp, he was also the designated liberal brawler on Fox. He rather enjoyed his screaming matches with Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly. It burned bile, he liked to say.

“Neither Pelosi nor anyone else deputized him to speak for his party. But as the ultimate freelancer in a boy of 435 legislative entrepreneurs, Anthony Weiner had discovered that if you go on TV often enough and say something catchy, two things happen. First, your point of view, through repetition across each network, can actually become the conventional wisdom. … Second, by speaking for the party, you are a de factor party spokesman. But not just perceptually: as if to fulfill the prophecy, Pelosi and Steny Hoyer were no actually turning to him to issue points of order on the House floor! They’d seen he was quicker on his feet than most of his other colleagues, not to mention an obliging slasher. …

“In September 2009, after spending a day with Obama in New York to promote a financial reform bill, Weiner hitched a ride back to Washington on the president’s private plane—and, being Weiner, couldn’t resist giving the leader of the free world some advice on how to achieve health reform. ‘Mr. President, I think you’re looking at this entirely the wrong way,’ he said. ‘You need to simplify it. Just say that what we’re doing is gradually expanding Medicare.’ Weiner was advocating a single-payer system. ‘We don’t have the votes for that,’ said Obama. ‘Mr. President,’ said Weiner, ‘you only have votes for something when you go out and fight for them.’ At least Obama had a sense of humor. ‘Well,’ he’d said with a grin after their conversation was done, ‘enjoy your last ride on Air Force One.’ Needless to say, the president had ignored his advice.” $18.66 on Amazon

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage -

NYDN- Bill Cosby: Trayvon Martin case is about guns, not race

LA Times - At Tolliver's barbershop, pondering what 20 years have wrought

First, you can't have an A-plus recovery with C-minus schools. And second, you can't have a turnaround when thousands more good-paying jobs — in aerospace and industry — have become but a memory. Target and Starbucks do what they do just fine, but they don't send your kids to college the way Firestone and Hughes Aerospace per-pupil funding, Beverly Hills spends nearly twice what's spent on a student in his old neighborhood.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sun-Times: Mayor tells black firefighter-trainees they are correcting past ‘mistakes’

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "EZRA MCCANN" <>
Date: Apr 7, 2012 6:10 PM
Subject: Fwd: Sun-Times: Mayor tells black firefighter-trainees they are correcting past ‘mistakes’
To: <>

Benjamin Dias, enter viewed in this article, along with many more in this city have no clue of how The City of Chicago and The Fire Fighters Union Local #2 collectedly worked together to keep Blacks from being hired on the Chicago Fire Department for the last 100 years. The history of the past Mayor Richard Daley and his Father making sure that Blacks were not hired on to The CFD must be told now. If you don't know this sort of past history you will have the same mind set as Benjamin Dias. So now, we that are left,  that know this History, that kept Blacks waiting and waiting and never being hired should speak up. Reach out to the media, tie our past history to this class through the media. This 17 year ordeal, which wasted $83,000,000 of the tax payers money is not the fault of these Black Applicants, tell the story. Also there is an attitude at the Fire Academy like this group has done something wrong for wanting to work. When I was an instructor at the Chicago Fire Academy I was assigned a group. We, the instructors met with our groups at every role call and once a day in a private setting.  I was like a counselor to my group, kept them on the right track. If I saw a member that needed help I made sure that they got that help. I kept the group tight. I encouraged being #1. It was like a competition between the Instructors as well as the candidate classes,   Mind you, my groups back then were majority White. I did not want to see anyone fell. The 2 classes that I worked with left no one behind. I do not see or hear this type of relationship at the drill school for this class. I see hate coming from these instructors to the Black Candidates. If you were never an instructor at the drill school you would not notice these things, I was an Instructor at the Drill School, 2 different classes . Also, the Lock Down, when I was an instructor it was common for Fire Department members working and retired to stop in at the academy and say hello to relatives and friends in the class. I stopped by the academy March 16, 2012 after lunch. The Candidates were locked in a class room. When I tried to make entry I was advised in a very loud Black angry voice to leave the building. It is clear that they don't want you to talk to the group.The City should welcome any outside help from retired members or active members to help this class be successfully. Last but not least, the majority of these very fortunate 111 Blacks also have no clue of how this has happened for them and their Families. If they knew the history of The Black Fire Department and the History of their case Lewis V Athens City of Chicago, they indeed would work harder at achieving these jobs. They need to know that there is a lot of people watching this across this Country and abroad. 

 We won 111 Jobs through the Courts. We should not look at this as 111 tries, we need to see 111 Jobs for the Black Community at the end. No One Should Fell...........
5,000 Chicago Fire Fighters and Paramedics only 400 Black Members...Should we the Black Community be angry Benjamin Dias.

Ezra L. McCann
Retired Captain CFD
773 716-5466

Sent from my iPad

Begin forwarded message:

Date: April 7, 2012 1:30:39 PM CDT
Subject: Sun-Times: Mayor tells black firefighter-trainees they are correcting past ‘mistakes’

Mayor tells black firefighter-trainees they are correcting past ‘mistakes’

4/7/12 2:06 AM

By: FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter

Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a surprise visit to the Chicago Fire Academy on Friday to deliver a pep talk to 111 middle-aged black firefighter-trainees who waited 17 years to realize their dream.

“The city in the past made a mistake. You are about correcting that mistake,” the mayor’s office quoted Emanuel as telling the rookies.

“You have a special responsibility. You are the select few that got in. And together, we’ll make sure there is a different future than the past.”

The rookies—a few of them in their 50s—were the chosen few from among more than 6,100 African-Americans bypassed by the city’s discriminatory handling of a 1995 entrance exam.

In 2005, a federal judge ruled that the city’s decision had the effect of perpetuating the predominantly-white status quo because 78 percent of those “well-qualified” candidates were white. Five years later, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that the black candidates did not wait too long before filing their lawsuit.

The legal odyssey ended last summer, when the city agreed to hire 111 bypassed black firefighters and pay at least $40 million in damages to 6,000 others who will never get that chance. Chicago taxpayers will also be on the hook for up to $20 million in back pension benefits for those hired.

The Fire Department’s age limit for new hires is 38. That does not apply to the 111 black firefighters because the discrimination occurred before the cutoff was established.

The new class entered the fire academy on March 16 amid concern about how many would survive the grueling six-month training and how well those that do would be accepted at firehouses.

“We are not na├»ve enough to think that, just because we’ve prevailed and Mayor Emanuel has been cooperating in administering the remedy that the problem of racism in the Chicago Fire Department disappears,” Matt Piers, an attorney for the black firefighters, said on that day.

“I am always worried, given the history of the Fire Department and the history of this case…There’s been a terrific amount of bias and bigotry…We intend to be on close watch.”

Widespread acceptance of the new black firefighters may be easier said than done.

Benjamin Diaz said he’s one of 17,000 firefighter hopefuls who’s been waiting to be hired since passing a 2006 entrance exam only to be leapfrogged by the court-mandated class of 111 blacks.

“Since this training class was pushed to the front of the line over us, it just delays our chances of having the same opportunity they did,” Diaz wrote in an e-mail to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Am I speaking out of anger? Not at all. It’s more out of frustration...Most of the (2006) candidates are reaching the age limit because of the delay. Others have taken physical exams and are just left up in the air without any notice of when things will move along.”

Mayoral spokesman Tom Alexander, who accompanied Emanuel to the fire academy, said the mayor expects that the new recruits are “gonna be welcomed with open arms—both by fellow firefighters and by Chicagoans.”

Throughout the campaign and as mayor, Emanuel has made periodic stops at Chicago firehouses.

But Friday’s visit to the fire academy was different, Alexander said.

“It was a little bit beyond a pep talk. These folks have been through a pretty long and intense experience. They’re also just getting started with their careers. He wanted to let these folks know that he’s 100 percent in their corner and personally glad the mistakes of the past have been rectified,” Alexander said.

Sent from my iPad

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