Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Man Carries Assault Rifle to Obama Protest

At this point, it seems like someone wants to see something bad happen to Obama. I don't care if you're not breaking the law, you should not have a gun/weapon around Obama at any time, especially a rifle as large as this. I try not to always bring race into the equation (as if you could tell from my previous post, ha!) but seeing that it's a black man that's doing this is quite disturbing to me. Arizona is quite conservative and the home of John McCain so I guess it shouldn't be that much of a surprise. CNN reports:

PHOENIX, Arizona (CNN) -- A man toting an assault rifle was among a dozen protesters carrying weapons while demonstrating outside President Obama's speech to veterans on Monday, but no laws were broken. It was the second instance in recent days in which weapons have been seen near presidential events.
A man is shown legally carrying a rifle at a protest against President Obama on Monday in Phoenix, Arizona.

A man is shown legally carrying a rifle at a protest against President Obama on Monday in Phoenix, Arizona.

Video from CNN affiliate KNXV shows the man standing with other protesters, with the rifle slung over his right shoulder, a handgun in a holster on his left hip and a bullet clip in his back pocket.

"I'm exercising my rights as an American in Arizona," the man, who refused to give his name, told KNXV.

Phoenix police said authorities monitored about a dozen people carrying weapons while peacefully demonstrating.

"It was a group interested in exercising the right to bear arms," police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said.

Arizona law has nothing in the books regulating assault rifles, and only requires permits for carrying concealed weapons. So despite the man's proximity to the president, there were no charges or arrests to be made. Hill said officers explained the law to some people who were upset about the presence of weapons at the protest. Video Watch the rifle being legally carried at rally »

"I come from another state where 'open carry' is legal, but no one does it, so the police don't really know about it and they harass people, arrest people falsely," the man said. "I think that people need to get out and do it more so that they get kind of conditioned to it."

The man, wearing a shirt and tie at the health care rally, added that he was unhappy with some health care reform proposals.

"I'm absolutely, totally against health care, health care in this way, in this manner," he said. "Stealing it from people, I don't think that's appropriate."

Gun-toting protesters have demonstrated around the president before. Last week, a man protesting outside Obama's town hall meeting in New Hampshire had a gun strapped to his thigh. That state also doesn't require a license for open carry.
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U.S. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan acknowledged the incidents in New Hampshire and Arizona, but said he was not aware of any other recent events where protesters attended with open weapons. He said there was no indication that anyone had organized the incidents.

Asked whether the individuals carrying weapons jeopardized the safety of the president, Donovan said, "Of course not."

The individuals would never have gotten close to the president, regardless of any state laws on openly carrying weapons, he said. A venue is considered a federal site when the Secret Service is protecting the president, and weapons are not allowed on a federal site, he said.

In both instances, the men carrying weapons were outside the venues where Obama was speaking.

"We pay attention to this obviously ... to someone with a firearm when they open carry even when they are within state law," Donovan said. "We work with our law enforcement counterparts to make sure laws and regulations in their states are enforced."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rapper Gets Two Years in Prison for "Kill Me a Cop" Song

In theory, this song is a threat, so in that sense, it's wrong, but there have been worse songs in the history in hip hop with the same theme and the penalty then didn't go past the government attempting to censor it. I guess what seperates this one from the pack is the fact that he specifically mentions the cops names. My take on things like this is, yes, the message is conflicted and disturbing, but songs like this are a s a cry for help. Instead of imprisoning minorities for relaying messages like this, those who take offense should take a second to dissect the message to better understand where the artist is coming from. They should ask, "Why would he even feel the need to make song like this?" Or "What's the motivation for this song?" I don't agree with the way some rappers attempt to get their point across or how they verbalize their struggle by glorifying the negative aspects, but there is a reason why they even feel the need to rap about these issues it in the first place; they are products of their environment. Another thing that bothers me is the fact that historically, people have gotten less time for harsher offenses, such as actually KILLING someone (like NFL player Donte Stallworth, who got 24 days in prison). I guess he can't make a good case for himself when his prior offense was cocaine related but whatever. Read the story below (source):

Florida rapper Antavio Johnson has been sentenced to two years in prison for his song "Kill Me a Cop", which he produced as a teenager.

Johnson wrote the song in response to harassment he received from two Florida police officers. In the song, Johnson specifically mentions the two officers - one male and one female - by name, saying they would be shot with a "glock" in the "dome" if they "get my timing wrong."

After the song was completed, Johnson put it up on his MySpace page, and authorities stumbled across it while looking for gang-related activity on MySpace. The song was never played on the radio.

The 20-year-old is already serving time for violating probation related to cocaine use.

Johnson has received some support from the American Civil Liberties Union, saying that while Johnson's lyrics might disturb, "We [shouldn't] punish bad thoughts in America."

Teen Girl Shot in the Head

I grew up about 2 miles south of where this occurred. Very sad. I need to find some more positive news to post, this stuff is depressing. Read below, from the Chicago Sun-Times:

A 15-year-old Chicago girl was shot in the head outside her Far South Side home Wednesday as she shielded a younger relative from gunfire.

The girl was in critical condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center after being shot about 8 pm. in the 11000 block of South Normal, officials said.

Police said there was an argument between the occupants of two vehicles when shots were fired. The girl was not the intended target, police said. It was unknown whether the vehicles were moving when shots were fired.

Claudia Lanfair, who lives near the victim, said she called police after hearing about five or six shots.

"At first, it sounded like a firecracker. There were too many coming too fast," she said. "I'm like, 'That's no firecracker.' "

She heard a cry from the girl's older sister and went to her window to see the girl lying on the ground, she said. "When I went to the window, her sister was screaming at the top of her lungs."

She said the girl is among the children who play with her 11-year-old son on the street.

Calumet Area detectives are investigating.

Woman Takes Too Long to Get License & Insurance; Get's Tasered

As I said in the previous post, "Police don't have the best relationship with blacks, and the evidence is shown historically and even in the present day." This full video was uploaded online last month and based on the date it occured roughly 3 years ago. The thing that riles me up the most is that the police clearly said, "You were doing 70 in a 65." Last time I checked, you were legally allowed to do 5 mph over the limit. Ridiculous...

Man Has Gun at Obama Rally, Police Let Him Stay

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This is completely absurd. There is not a doubt in my mind as a young black man in America that if I attended a Bush rally with a fully loaded gun, I would be thrown to the grown, beaten, tasered, etc, etc. Police don't have the best relationship with blacks, and the evidence is shown historically and even in the present day.

Even though it's legal to have a licensed gun displayed in New Hampshire, there is no reason why it should be allowed while in the presence of a president/political figure, especially the nations first Black president; a man who receives death threats on a regular basis simply because there are some people who still can't seem to grasp the fact that a Black man holds the nations highest office. Chris Matthews called out this ignorant man and I commend him for that. You can read more on this issue on AOL Black Voices [HERE].

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor Becomes First Latina/o Supreme Court Justice

This is an amazing achievement, and despite all of the blatant racism that has been occurring since Obama's election, it shows that some of us really do want change and are progressing in the right direction. Although she faced many detractors (i.e. Pat Buchanan) who felt as though she wasn't qualified, in my opinion, mainly because she is a minority as well as a woman, she defied the odds. Many conservatives seem to believe she is a beneficiary of affirmative action despite her long list of achievements (being an alumni of Princeton and Yale University being two of them). However, I find it odd that the same opponents of Sotomayor fail to discuss the UIUC (my alma mater) case of admitting students based on clout. That, in my opinion, is affirmative action for you, but i digress.

I commend Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, as this is a great day in American history as we continue to strive for equality throughout society. As of August 8th 2009, Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina/o Supreme Court Justice. Thurgood Marshall would be proud...

You can read an official press release about this [HERE].

Police Body Slam 80 Year Old Woman

This is just sad. Apparently she was waving a knife in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. But seriously, I'm not saying that's right, if it's indeed true, but couldn't they just have grabbed it our of her hand with minimal force? I'm sure she couldn't overpower them, and is backup really necessary? It's disturbing to see such a elderly woman get slammed like that on the concrete. Thanks to CiTeach for pointing this out.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Typical Day in America: Violence & Racism

Just a few disheartening news headlines I came across this morning. Again, I'm from Chicago, so more times than not, by news headlines will focus on things occurring in or around the city.

Chicago teen charged in "brutal slaying" of another teen:

The Southwest Side suspect confessed to dragging Alex into an alley and beating him in the head with a brick, police said. But the suspect said he did not shoot or burn the boy.

Three other people have been charged in connection with the death.

Officials have said Alex was walking with three girls to a friend's house in the 3000 block of West 54th Place when he was twice confronted by neighborhood gang members. The first group was on bikes and second rode in a Ford Mustang.

The gang members asked him "what he was about" and demanded he "throw up a crown" in support of the Latin Kings street gang, prosecutors have said.

But Alex resisted. He allegedly told the group he was about "nothing" and even lifted his shirt to prove he had no gang tattoos, authorities said.

Read the
rest here...

Teen shot in neck while watching motorist argue:

A 15-year-old boy was hospitalized after suffering a gunshot wound that went through his back and lodged near his neck after an apparent road rage incident Wednesday night in the South Side’s Englewood neighborhood.

The boy was standing outside watching two motorists argue after they were involved in a “minor fender-bender” at 10:20 p.m. in the 6800 block of South Throop Street, police said.

Both drivers got out and started fighting with each other and one produced a gun and started shooting into the street -- not coming anywhere close to the motorist, but striking the boy in the back, according to police, who said the boy does not know the motorists.

Read the
rest here...

Two female firefighters from Houston are victims of racism & sexism:

Just one day after discovering racist and sexist remarks drawn on the wall of Station 54, the two firefighters at the center of this scandal are breaking their silence.

"It's demented. Somebody is sick," said Houston Firefighter Jane Draycott.
Keys and Draycott claim the harassment has been going on for months; acts so low, they say, as defacing photographs of their family, even a deceased daughter.
"They wrote 'dead' on her face and they wrote 'die' on my face," said Draycott.
The women's attorney told us about the harassment he claims they endured during the months leading up to Tuesday's incident.

Attorney Joseph Amad said, "Ranging from turning the cold water off in the shower so they got scalded, from having firecrackers to go off when they opened the bathroom stall to taking the mattresses away from their beds."

Read the rest here...

In addition to this story, a captain at the same fire department, Keith Smith, reportedly kept a nooses in his locker. He later issued an apology claiming to have kept them there as a reminder of his training days and had no idea what they symbolized. Davey D (who I stole this article from, haha) made a good point in stating that the fact that Jena, La is only 6 hours away from Houston, so that makes it hard to believe he wasn't aware of that news story (which centered around the hanging of nooses). The coverage on the Jena 6 story (which was only 2 years ago) was constantly flooding the airwaves and newspapers, so unless he was living under a rock, he should have been notified of its symbolism then. Besides, who just keeps nooses around?!

Instances like this make you realize that although African Americans have played a large role in shaping American history their history is often overlooked. Although, I'm confident he knows what a noose symbolizes, the sad part is, a lot of people really don't know, whether young or old or black or white. Education regarding minority groups in the school system is certainly lacking, and this case is just further proof.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Good Hair (Trailer)

I can't wait to see this! I commend Chris Rock, my favorite comedian, for doing this documentary. This is truly a pet peeve of mind, because the very ideology of "good hair" has been ingrained in our minds through hundreds of years of conditioning by way of slavery, and the repercussions are still present today. It has caused self-hatred amongst many in the black community who feel they have to live up to many Euro-centric standards that center around having a slender nose, blond straight hair, and blue eyes. Historically speaking, slaves with lighter skin (aka house slaves) were usually given more privileges because of their likeness to whites. Today, many would rather go through unnatural processes to alter their appearance (hair relaxing, plastic surgery) than to deal with their natural features. Although I've never been, I seriously doubt that Africans straighten their hair (or feel the need to partake in any of these processes that may alter their appearance) for these reasons, or if they do it at all. So, I always wonder, are African American women doing this because they want to, or because they feel they have to...

The medias influence, as well as a lack of African American representation in the media, play a large role in shaping these conflicted mind states as well. Let's not get it confused though, although I believe women have it harder as they are expected to have certain body shapes and sizes, men contribute to this as well, as many of us would seem to be infatuated, solely with women who have Euro-centric features. Furthermore, how many jobs would even hire black women (or men) if they wore their hair natural? So, we not only put pressure on ourselves, but it is reciprocated back throughout society. Things like this leave me feeling very conflicted...

"Big Ben vs. Kobe? Does Race Matter?"

I follow Dr. Boyce Watkin's column pretty regularly so I was glad to see he touched on this topic. This essentially touches on whether or not the media treats athletes, that may have had similiar allegations, differently based on the color of the their skin. I could certaintly write an article on this myself, but I'm glad Dr. Watkins took the liberty to do it. There is no doubt in my mind that the media (particularly ESPN)picks and chooses who they want to cover more, and more times than not, their (negative) media coverage centers on the cases of black athletes. When the accusations of rape first came out against Kobe, a nation that formely labeled him "the next Jordan" was quick to push him under the bus, despite the fact that "all men are innocent until proven guilty." When the accusations came out against Ben Roethlisberger, it took ESPN about two days to mention it, and when they did and it was a small news bit and hardly ever discussed again. They didn't mention the fact that this might ruin his reputation (maybe because they have the power to do so by increasing their coverage on him, because, ESPN really is the ONLY option for sports coverage nowadays). I'm convinced that ESPN and other media outlets wanted to protect Ben Roethlisberger. The evidence of that may be that many of you don't know that much about the case OR the fact that you know a brunt of your information about it because you read it online, or were informed of it on twitter (like myself). Well, enough of my rambling, here is what Dr. Watkin's had to say:

In a civil lawsuit, Andrea McNulty accuses "Big Ben" of engaging in some disturbing activities. She claims that Ben forced himself on her sexually when she went into his hotel room to check on a broken television set. All of this allegedly took place in Vegas and of course Ben is denying it. I am not sure if he did it or not, since I've never wanted to know much about Ben Roethlisberger's sex life.

Ben's situation is similar to the disturbing allegations made against NBA star Kobe Bryant in the summer of 2003. Kobe's case was not much different from Ben's, in which Kobe was also accused of doing some pretty unacceptable things.

Both cases have their shaky points. For Kobe, there was the evidence that the alleged victim spent a lot of "quality time" (sexually) with other men during the same week she was allegedly raped by Mr. Bryant. This doesn't mean that she couldn't have been raped, but it certainly hurt her case in the eyes of the American public. In Ben's situation, the woman waited nearly a year to file a civil suit against him. Not a criminal suit; a civil one. Whether she was raped or not, she has decided that she definitely wants to get paid.

Again, wanting to get paid doesn't imply that you can't be raped, but similar to Kobe's accuser, Andrea McNulty's request for cash has weakened her case in the eyes of those trying to sort out the facts. Fortunately, the public doesn't decide rape cases, since there is enough bias in favor of high profile athletes. Simultaneously, there are many people in the world wishing to take advantage of athletes, as false rape charges are all too common.

What is also interesting about these two seemingly similar situations, is that while Kobe's case was all over the news for several days in a row, the world has heard barely a peep about the case of Ben Roethlisberger. Sure, I've seen it mentioned in the news here and there, but there hasn't been the sort of brain-drain hyperanalysis which took place during the Kobe Bryant fiasco or in the case of Michael Vick. Why would that be?

Read the rest HERE.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shuck N' Jive

As sad as it is, I have to agree with this spoof. In my humble opinion, label executives have successfully convinced rappers that it is ok to exploit themselves and black culture for a quick buck. A majority of commercial rap really is a modern day minstrel show (word to Little Brother) from the images the rappers represent to the music they make. I mean seriously, in Chicago, they're playing a song called "Do the Chicken Wing" (see below) on the radio. It's not just rappers though, even professional athletes are partaking in the cooning (again, see below). Affion Crockett captures this image perfectly, as usual...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Henry Louis Gates Discussion on Larry King

Larry King gathers up Michael Eric Dyson, Judge Joe Brown, Larry Elder and Ben Stein to discuss the recent controversy involving Gates and the Cambridge police department. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that Larry Elder was the same dude that was the judge on one of my favorite shows (Moral Court). I NEVER agree with him when I hear him giving his opinion on things of this magnitude. I tend to agree more with Dyson and Joe Brown on this matter, as I believe I have been racially profiled as well several times by police officers, both black and white.

In this situation, I think both parties overreacted a tad, so in that instance I also agree with Ben Stein. Because, the officer was shown proof of Gate's residency, so at that point, the issue should have been concluded. However, I don't believe Gates should brought up race as an issue (at the moment). In those instances where I felt profiled, I did not bring that up in the heat of the moment, because I felt it would only make the situation worse, and besides, the officer is the one with the gun. BUT, the officer did resist giving Gates his badge number, and citizens have a right to ask for that. Overall, I don't think the officer was racist, nor do I believe what he did was ignited by racism. I think it may have been a case where Gates, a world renown professor knew he didn't do anything wrong so he may have talked back in a way that the officer didn't agree with (aka, he spoke his mind, or maybe the officer felt he was speaking down to him, being he is a Harvard professor). Thus, the officer felt compelled to hold his ground, and he may have let his pride get in the way of things. Obama called the two gentlemen to the White House to discuss this matter and I think that was a good to settle the controversy (on a personal level), because issues like this happen everyday and more times than not, the officer does seem to be a white male who is acting off of racist impulses. In my opinion, it is essential that officers understand where blacks are coming from on this issue and it's also important for blacks to comply with officers, unless of course they become blatantly ignorant or violent. You have to earn respect in this world, and it seems that neither party had respect for the other in this situation...

While the officer in the Gates case may have not been racist, another officer on his team certainly is. I'm sorry, he's not racist, what he DID/SAID was racist. I'll never forget that JSmooth vlog. SMH @ this fool below...