Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve.

It's almost 2015, so here is hoping that all of you field hands have a safe and fulfilling new year.

Also, be careful out there tonight if you plan on sending off 2014 with a bang.

Personally, I will be fast asleep next to my wife when the clock strikes midnight, but I will be right there partying with you in spirit.

To all of my right- wing friends out there, go out and party like it's 1955. (h/t to my twitter fam for that line.)

 Just remember that when you wake up tomorrow it will be 2015.

 Sorry. :( 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

An alleged racist and a convicted tax cheat. And once again an unarmed black man is shot by the police.

These past few months haven't been good to my friends in the GOP.

Yes, thanks to more moderate candidates and the inability of democrats to articulate their message and run on the accomplishments of their president, they (republicans) won sweeping victories in the mid-term elections.

Now, though, they find themselves having to deal with a racist and a tax cheat in their fold. This, coupled with the fact that ----thanks to an ongoing economic recovery---- their sworn enemy, Barack Obama, is enjoying his highest approval ratings in a very long time. 

Of course, in the case of the racist, he is being supported by his party leaders who seem to think that adding one more racist to a party with a perception problem when it comes to matters of race is a good idea.

"More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment, and he was right to acknowledge it was wrong and inappropriate. Like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character. He has my full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all Americans,"

To me, Representative Scalise didn't just make "an error in judgment". He knew exactly who he was speaking to when he spoke to that white supremacist group and why he was doing it. The fact that he called racism a "novelty" and  his only issue with David Duke is that he couldn't get elected tells you all you need to know about the man.

"The novelty of David Duke has worn off," Scalise said. "The voters in this district are smart enough to realize that they need to get behind someone who not only believes in the issues they care about, but also can get elected. Duke has proven that he can't get elected, and that's the first and most important thing."

All this of course, speaks to a larger issue with the GOP and men like Steve Scalise. If you go into the comments section of conservative blogs (and even progressive blogs like this one) you will see the overwhelming support for what Scalise did back in 2002. What's the big deal? They ask. Aren't the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of the world black supremacist? Why demonize this poor man for standing up for white people? If you happen to have this point of view that's fine. But the problem for those with these views is that most of our leaders who happen to share these views can't state so publicly.

Unfortunately for folks like Steve Scalise and his many supporters, it's just not cool to be a racist publicly in America these days. Publicly.

Sadly for them, though, they still have to reassure like-minded people that they still have their backs in this politically correct world where the brown people are slowly taking over.

"He [Scalise] has never been affiliated with the abhorrent group in question. The hate-fueled ignorance and intolerance that group projects is in stark contradiction to what Mr. Scalise believes and practices as a father, a husband, and a devoted Catholic.." 

Translated: Sorry y'all, now that I have been exposed I have to disavow any knowledge of what we were trying to do back then. But hang in there with me, as soon as this all blows over it will be business as usual.

Finally, I can't let tonight's post go without highlighting yet another police shooting of an unarmed man here in America.

"Houston, Texas – This week, Houston police shot an unarmed man multiple times because he was acting suspicious and not obeying their commands. Two officers fired multiple shots at 38-year old Mike Walker, with some of those shots being fired even after it was obvious that he did not have a gun.

The shooting occurred in the parking lot of a convenience store on Buffalo Speedway and West Fuqua, in front of multiple witnesses.

Walker was the passenger in a car that was pulled over for making an illegal lane change, but whether or not the driver was actually guilty of any traffic violations has not yet been proven. When the driver of the vehicle saw the police lights behind him, he pulled into a nearby Sunny’s Food Store.

shooting1According to police, they ordered the occupants of the car to sit still and put their hands up, and then they claim that Walker ignored their orders and reached under his seat. That’s when police immediately opened fire.

At that point, Walker, after already being shot, got out of the car  and began to strip off his clothes. Clearly unarmed and not posing a threat, another officer got involved and shot him several more times.

“When I was about to walk into the store, I heard gunshots, so immediately I turned around and grabbed my son and got us both on the ground,” witness Laquesha Spencer told 2 News.
“I’m telling him ‘Lay down, they are going to shoot you. They are going to kill you.’ And I guess he was in shock, he had already been shot three times, because I heard multiple gunshots,” Spencer said.

There were a number of witnesses who overwhelmingly agreed that the police used excessive force and unnecessarily escalated the situation.

In a statement to the media, Houston Police Department spokesman Victor Senties said:

They saw the doors open up, one of the officers gave repeated verbal commands to stay inside the vehicle, then the officer went to brace the door to keep him (the passenger) inside. At one point he had his arm all the way under the seat, right up to the elbow, as if he was trying to grab something. The officer gave him commands to show his hands … at that point the officer was in fear of his life and that of his partner. The second officer seeing the suspect try to reach into his waistband and into his sweater as if he was trying to locate something. He also feared for his safety and once he was out of the area, where there were people behind him the officer discharged his weapon as well.”

However, many witnesses dispute this struggle, and say that the man was simply ignoring officers, but not being aggressive in any way.

According to the victims mother, the police would not let her into the hospital to see her son, and had guarded his room for hours after the shooting.

“I was there ’till about 5 a.m. this morning, they have a police officer in his room and they won’t let me in there. He didn’t even have a gun. He’s never owned a weapon, he didn’t have one on him,” 53-year-old Laura Walker told reporters.

After shooting Walker, Police then arrested the driver and impounded his car to search for weapons, but they have not said if the driver, or Walker will face any charges.

Walker is currently being treated at Ben Taub Hospital where he is listed in serious, but stable condition." [Source]

So they still not sure if Walker will be even charged with a crime. Interesting.

I swear that there should be this code be in the criminal statutes of some states: Acting suspicious while black. Punishable by serious wounding or even death.   


Monday, December 29, 2014

Tasing Tario.

I hate to come off  like a one trick pony of late, but if bloggers like yours truly don't bring attention to cases like these of police misconduct, you folks will never know what is happening in our beloved country.

The latest case of cops behaving badly comes to us from South Carolina. *cue in Inner Circle music here: Bad boys, bad boys, what you gonna do?...*

"A South Carolina woman has filed a complaint with the Greenville City Police Department after officers Tasered and then arrested her autistic 34-year-old son on Christmas Eve after he attempted to avoid them, reports WYFF.

According to Carolyn Anderson, her son, Tario, has a severe form of autism rendering him almost incapable of speaking.

“Tario can say yes or no, he might ask for a thing or two, but just verbal, no,” Carolyn Anderson explained.

Right before midnight on Christmas Eve, Greenville police responded to a call about gunshots in the neighborhood when they spotted and attempted to detain Tario as he walked on the street near his home. According to his mother, her son frequently goes for walks in the evening, visiting family members who live in the neighborhood.

Police say when they spotted him on the street he attempted to walk away from them.
“When they put their spotlight on him, he immediately put his head down, put his hands in his pockets and began to walk away from him,” Officer Johnathan Bragg with Greenville Police said. “They then got out of the vehicle and approached him and ordered him to stop at which point he did flee from the officers and they pursued him.”

After police caught up with Anderson they used Tasers on him in order to take him into custody.
Neighbors familiar with Tario — who has lived his entire life in the same neighborhood– heard him yelling as the police attempted to subdue him and they immediately called his mother.

“If you had seen my baby was out there, laying on that sidewalk and every time he reached for me, I reached for him- [they'd say] “Get back, we gonna Tase you”,” Carolyn Anderson said. “I was trying to make them take me to jail. I curse everything, ‘Take me! I’m the one causing trouble! Take me. He’s not doing nothing.’ No matter what I said, it didn’t make no difference to them.”

According to Officer Bragg, officers were not aware of Anderson’s disability, but that he still broke the law when he attempted to flee.

“From what he did, he did break the law so in any case like that, we do go ahead and arrest them and make the charges and we’re not deemed certified to declare anyone as mentally ill or with a disease or anything like that so we don’t technically know if he is,” Bragg said.

Following his arrest, Anderson was treated on the scene by paramedics before being taken to a detention center where he was charged with interfering with police and resisting arrest.
Carolyn Anderson, who said her son has never been arrested before, was outraged.

“Interfering? Resisting? It’s against the law to take off running? I still don’t understand. I really don’t,” she said. “I say if you hear gunshots, are you going to stand there and wait to see if the bullet hit you or are you getting out the way?”

Bragg later released a statement saying that police are looking into the Anderson complaint, but added that 'members of the public need to be cooperative with police when stopped.”' [Source]

Yes officer, they should "be cooperative", but that is kind of hard to do when you have severe mental challenges that you have to overcome.

We all know, of course,  that any special kind of consideration Tario could have received went out the window when police saw that  he was a tall "scary looking" black man.  (Taze first and ask questions later. I suppose that it could have been worse; poor Tario  could have shot him to death.)

Anyway, In spite of everything that happened, Tario was still arrested and charged. 

Never miss a chance to put a black man in the system. Even a severely autistic one.



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Another police shooting brings some questions, and an alleged suicide brings even more.

Embedded image permalinkAnother day brings news of another questionable use of lethal force on a civilian by someone in law enforcement.

This time the shooting took place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the home of the University of Michigan and all those college educated types. 

I think it's time that police departments consider changing some of their protocols when responding to domestic violence or  certain types of 911 calls. The woman in this case was mentally ill, and from all indication she was carrying a knife when she was shot and killed by the officer. Still, it doesn't necessarily mean that she should have lost her life.

"Police on Tuesday released the name of the 40-year-old woman shot and killed by an Ann Arbor police officer Sunday night.

Aura Rosser was fatally shot after police say she confronted officers with a knife inside a home in the 2000 block of Winewood of Ann Arbor, according to officials.

Rosser, of Ann Arbor, was shot once, according to Michigan State Police First Lt. Sean Furlong. Rosser's boyfriend, 54-year-old Victor Stephens, initially told The Ann Arbor News she was shot twice, once in the head and once in the chest.
Furlong wouldn't release where on her body Rosser was shot because the case is still under investigation. An autopsy was being performed Tuesday morning and any information about the official cause of death and details about the injuries likely wouldn't be released until it was complete.
Investigators wrapped up processing the scene Monday and were continuing to conduct interviews Tuesday, Furlong said. A toxicology report will also be conducted on Rosser to see if she was intoxicated at the time. The investigation could take weeks." {Source}

Did "color arousal" play a role in this poor woman's death? Maybe. But this case, unlike the one involving Eric Garner and Michael Brown, is not as clear cut.

TVictor Whitehe death of Victor White III is a little more "clear cut" as far as I am concerned, because the way the police describes it defies logic.

"At 11:22pm on March 2nd, 2014 a deputy from the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a fight at a convenience store. Minutes later, Victor White III and his acquaintance Isaiah Lewis (who were not involved in the fight, but were present at the store when it happened) were stopped a few blocks away by Corp. Justin Ortis.

According to an Iberia Sheriff’s Office service report obtained by NBC News, White consented to a pat-down during which Ortis “located suspected marijuana in [White’s] front pants pocket”. After back up arrived, an additional search was conducted on White resulting in the discovery of a small amount of cocaine. Lewis was let go, while White was placed in the back of a cruiser with his hands cuffed behind his back, and transported to the Iberia Country Sheriff’s Office. That was the last time anyone other than law enforcement saw White alive.

The night White was arrested, his father Reverend Victor White II called the Sheriff’s Office looking for his son. He was told that his son had never been arrested and was not in their custody. It wasn’t until a friend told him about a press release the Louisiana State Police posted on their Facebook page that Rev. White found out what happened to his son:
March 3, 2014   
State Police Investigate In-Custody Death of Iberia Parish Man
Iberia Parish- Early this morning, Louisiana State Police Detectives began investigating the death of 22 year old Victor White III of New Iberia after he was found deceased of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Troopers began the investigation at the request of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal.
The initial investigation indicates that last night at about 11:22 p.m., deputies with the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office were responding to the report of a fight in the 300 block of Lewis Street. Upon responding to the area, deputies located White and discovered he was in possession of illegal narcotics. White was taken into custody, handcuffed behind his back, and transported to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office for processing. Once at the Sheriff’s Office, White became uncooperative and refused to exit the deputy’s patrol vehicle. As the deputy requested assistance from other deputies, White produced a handgun and fired one round striking himself in the back. White was transported to a local hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the case.

The family hired Carol Powell-Lexing and Benjamin Crump and sought to get more information from the Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana State Troopers, but little was revealed until the coroner’s report was released on August 25th, 2014. The report revealed that White’s fatal gunshot wound actually entered the right side of his chest and exited under his left armpit (unusual since White was a left handed). Abrasions and gunshot residue were found on White’s body, but the report did not indicate whether his hands were tested for the substance. Despite these inconsistencies, Iberia Parish coroner Dr. Carl M. Ditch neglected to change the ruling on Victor’s death from a suicide to a homicide." {Source}

I blogged about this tragedy back in March ,when I first learned about it, and nothing I have learned about the case since has caused me to change my opinion about how this all went down: Something is fishy in Iberia Parish.

*Victor White III pic from the Grio. 


Saturday, December 27, 2014


I need a caption for this pic.

*Pic from The Guardian. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Getting beyond prejudice, and solving the racism problem.

I am still on the road,  but I am finding time to read some interesting articles.

"How prejudiced are Americans? The internet knows. Whether it's racism, sexism, cissexism, transphobia, classism, sizeism, or ableism, online residents are watching out for it and pointing it out at tremendous volume. Whole tumblrs are dedicated to meticulously cataloging the prejudiced histories of famous people.

While often useful and necessary, this strategy comes up short. The idea is that by "calling out" individual acts of oppression, we can raise awareness about the myriad subtle ways that prejudice manifests itself. The citizenry, better educated, will adjust its behaviors.

The problem is that white people, our dominant and most privileged socioeconomic group, tend to resist these critiques. In the case of racism, they are the ones who benefit from prejudice, and they squirm out of this stigma in increasingly interesting ways. How? These days, by loudly agreeing with those critiques, thereby signaling that they are meant for other, bad white people.

Think of the guy in critical theory class who embraces radical feminist authors extra-fervently in a bid to escape his own implication in the patriarchy. This bit of political jujitsu is rather "like buying an indulgence," as Reihan Salam put it at Slate.

One might respond that the answer is improved self-knowledge, greater humility, and more self-flagellation on the part of the privileged (see: #CrimingWhileWhite). Sure. But the problem is that there is no possible demonstration of prejudice and privilege that cannot also be appropriated by white people in the service of demonstrating the purity of their own views, resulting in an endless vortex of uncomfortable, obnoxious earnestness. Being a Not-Racist these days is getting very subtle indeed.

But there's another approach that is both simpler and far more difficult. Instead of focusing on individual guilt and innocence, the socioeconomic structure that undergirds racism can get equal or greater billing. If educating the privileged has reached a point of diminishing returns, then attacking racist outcomes with structural policy can make that education unnecessary.

Now, it should be noted that any individual instance of calling out prejudice is surely harmless and heartfelt. It should further be noted that many if not most anti-prejudice activists share these structural goals. The problem is a question of emphasis. Prejudiced words tend to get 10 times more attention than racist acts and structures. For example, Donald Sterling was hounded mercilessly for his racist comments, but largely ignored for his concretely racist actions as a landlord.

And the problems America faces go far beyond one rotten rich person. There's the prison-industrial complex. The stupendous wealth and income gap between black and white. The fact that the police randomly gun down unarmed black men and boys on a regular basis. That's just for starters — and it's getting worse, not better.

Working on those problems is going to take a massive nationwide policy effort. Prison and sentencing reform, ending the drug war, overhauling American policing, and implementing quota-based affirmative action would be a good start. In particular, there is a good case for class to take center stage in any anti-prejudice effort. Nearly all racist oppression is heavily mediated through economic structures and worsened by endemic poverty.." {More} 

I agree with the reforms needed to curb institutional racism, and that economic self-reliance is remedy and possible cure-all for "racist oppression". But what is also needed is a level of individual soul searching that so call Christians found during the Christian Awakenings of the 18th and early 19th century in the United States.

It won't be easy. The "individual guilt" the author writes about, in my humble opinion, is tied to the larger institutions because of the makeup of the people and policy makers who run those institutions.

We will probably never be able to change what is in their hearts, but we can certainly hold them accountable and shame them into doing the right thing-----even if they do so reluctantly.



Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Making it harder to come together.

Whether you  believe that the shooting death of Michael Brown was justified or not, it should not excuse  the racist behavior on the part of those who agree with the officer's action on that faithful day.

"Singer and lodge member Gary Fishell reportedly sang the song to the ’70s hit “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce.  The lyrics of the original song were changed to show blatant disrespect over the death of a boy who was brutally gunned down by an officer:
Michael Brown learned a lesson about a messin’
With a badass policeman

And he’s bad, bad Michael Brown
Baddest thug in the whole damn town
Badder than old King Kong
Meaner than a junkyard dog

Two men took to fightin’
And Michael punched in through the door
And Michael looked like some old Swiss cheese
His brain was splattered on the floor

And he’s dead, dead Michael Brown
Deadest man in the whole damn town
His whole life’s long gone
Deader than a roadkill dog
The charity golf event was thrown by retired LAPD cop Joe Myers who reportedly threw the soirée for about 60 people — half of whom were retired and current cops.

Fishell, who is a private investigator, only now reportedly realizes that the song was “off-color and in poor taste,” according to his lawyer who spoke to TMZ, “He’s a goofball who writes funny songs.”  As to why Fishell would think that a song mocking the tragic death of a young Black boy would make anyone laugh, his lawyer replied, “He thought the room would get a kick out of it.”
Glendale Elks Lodge is now reportedly disassociating themselves from the Myers’ event.  An unnamed trustee for the lodge told TMZ that the dinner was not an Elks Club affair and that Myers, who is a member, was allowed to hold a dinner at the location.

An attendee of the Myers’ function taped the song and was reportedly upset that no one else appeared to be ruffled by the dubious song."
Anyway, that's just one song at one event. The bigger issue  is the attitude of many in law enforcement (or at least the perception of it) to those in the minority community. I say many because it's certainly not all. But folks are always calling for a discussion and some kind of open dialogue on race relations between those in law enforcement and minorities, and incidents like the one I mentioned above are not going to help us to get there.   

Night off.

I am out of pocket right now. So no post tonight.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Misplaced blame.

My thoughts go out to the family of the two police officers who were assassinated by that lunatic who posted what he was going to do on social media in the name of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Before he got to New York the shooter shot his girlfriend and put her in critical condition.

Anyway, as is to be expected, some of the inmates in this asylum called America have declared that these police officers were shot to death because of the protest movement against police brutality and leaders such as Barack Obama and Al Sharpton.

If the former mayor of New York did not also make such an idiotic declaration, it would not even be worth commenting on. Sadly, though, what Rudy Giuliani said was indicative of the mindset of quite a few people who take the simplistic approach of placing blame for the actions of one lunatic on a just and needed movement.

What Giuliani and the other inmates don't understand, is that by trying to clean up the act of those in law enforcement we can prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future. He blames the actions of Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley on the leaders of the protest movement and the protesters themselves, but what he fails to realize is that if Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo did not act they way they did, this lunatic might just have taken himself out without trying to make a political statement in the process.

But hey, as that Doobie Brothers song says, "what a fool believes he sees."


Saturday, December 20, 2014


I need a caption for this pic.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Boys To Men.

Here we go again.

Because we all know that black boys cannot be children. They look like grown men. They are a threat.

"The NYPD is investigating the circumstances surrounding an arrest caught on video, in which a plainclothes cop allegedly punched a 12-year-old, already restrained by three cops, repeatedly.

The video, uploaded to Facebook by actress Sarah Doneghy on December 15, depicts a group of officers attempting to restrain two black males, arrested for assaulting a person with a cane. “They had supposedly pushed one of their classmates down,” Doneghy wrote on Facebook. “However when the victim was asked, he said those weren’t the guys.”

Suddenly, a plainclothes officer barrels in from out of nowhere and began striking one of the boys, despite a witness yelling “He’s 12!”
“I can’t believe he just did that after everything that’s happened,” a passerby is heard saying, referring to the recent spate of videotaped assaults by policemen on black males, particularly the recent Eric Garner case.

The NYPD tells New York Daily News that they plan on investigating the incident." {Story with video}

Once again one of our white friends had to come to our rescue.

Thank you Sarah.

You know that if one of us had posted that video they would only say that we are too sensitive and that we look for racism where there is none.

Finally, WTF are they putting in the Vegemite sandwiches in Australia?

They are becoming quite American with the level of barbarism they practice these days.

"An Australian woman was arrested for murder in the killings of eight children, seven of whom are believed to be her own, police said Saturday. The children were found dead inside the woman's home.

The 37-year-old woman, who is recovering in a hospital from stab wounds, was under guard and speaking with police, Queensland Police Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said. She has not yet been charged.

Police haven't said how the children died. But Asnicar said they're examining several knives in the home that may have been the weapon used to kill them.
The children ranged in age from 18 months to 14 years, Asnicar said. The woman is thought to be the mother of seven of the children. The eighth is believed to be her niece.

Queensland police were called to the home in the Cairns suburb of Manoora on Friday morning after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries. When they got to the house, they found the bodies of the children.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was also found in the home with the children, suffering from stab wounds to the chest. Asnicar said she is in stable condition, lucid and talking to police.

"We're not looking for anybody else — we're comfortable that the community at large is safe," Asnicar said.

A coroner was conducting autopsies to determine the causes of death, and police were continuing to comb through the house for evidence.

"They're looking to establish 100 percent what happened in that house when these offenses were committed," Asnicar said.

He dismissed rumors that the house had been the subject of calls from the Department of Social Services.

"It's not a problem house as has been speculated," he said. "This is an ordinary neighborhood — a lot of good people, a lot of kids in the area. This is something that has caught everybody by surprise. It's just an absolutely tragic thing."
Lisa Thaiday, who said she was the injured woman's cousin, said earlier that one of the woman's other sons, a 20-year-old, came home and found his brothers and sisters dead inside the house.

"I'm going to see him now, he needs comforting," Thaiday said. "We're a big family ... I just can't believe it. We just found out (about) those poor babies." {Source}

My Lord! The woman allegedly kills EIGHT children with a knife. Now that's sick.
I thought that Andrea Yates had some issues, but this woman might have her beat.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Remember when conservatives were gushing about Putin and telling anyone who would listen that they wanted him to be their president? And, that he was playing "chess while president Obama played checkers"?

Well, sadly for my wingnut friends , it seems that Mr. Putin wasn't such a genius after all.

But you have to wonder where all this Putin love came from. Maybe it was seeing him riding bareback on a horse. All that macho imagery. It must have reminded them of their other hero, Ronald Reagan. Or, maybe it was because he was picking fights with their enemy, Barack Obama, and he seemed to be winning at the time. (Seemed to be.)  

Anyway, things haven't been going so well for Vladi of late.

"A funny thing happened on the way to Vladimir Putin running strategic laps around the West. Russia's economy imploded.

The latest news is that Russia's central bank raised interest rates from 10.5 to 17 percent at an emergency 1 a.m. meeting in an attempt to stop the ruble, which is down 50 percent on the year against the dollar, from falling any further. It's a desperate move to save Russia's currency that comes at the cost of sacrificing Russia's economy.

But even that wasn't enough. After a brief rally, the ruble resumed its cliff-diving ways on Tuesday, falling another 14 percent to a low of 80 rubles per dollar. It was 60 rubles per dollar just the day before. The problem is simple. Oil is still falling, and ordinary Russians don't want to hold their money in rubles even if they get paid 17 percent interest to do so. In other words, there's a well-justified panic. So now Russia is left with the double whammy of a collapsing currency and exorbitant interest rates. Checkmate.

It's a classic kind of emerging markets crisis. It's only a small simplification, you see, to say that Russia doesn't so much have an economy as it has an oil exporting business that subsidizes everything else. That's why the combination of more supply from the United States, and less demand from Europe, China, and Japan has hit them particularly hard. Cheaper oil means Russian companies have fewer dollars to turn into rubles, which is just another way of saying that there's less demand for rubles—so its price is falling. It hasn't helped, of course, that sanctions over Russia's incursion into Ukraine have already left Russia short on dollars.

Add it all up, and the ruble has fallen something like 22 percent against the dollar the past month, with 11 percent of that coming on Monday alone. As you can see below, the Russian ruble has fallen even further than the Ukrainian hryvnia or Brent oil has this year. The only asset, and I use that word lightly, that's done worse than the ruble's 50 percent fall is Bitcoin, which is a fake currency that techno-utopians insist is the future we don't know we want.

And this is only going to get worse. Russia, you see, is stuck in an economic catch-22. Its economy needs lower interest rates to push up growth, but its companies need higher interest rates to push up the ruble and make all the dollars they borrowed not worth so much. So, to use a technical term, they're screwed no matter what they do. If they had kept interest rates low, then the ruble would have continued to disintegrate, inflation would have spiked, and big corporations would have defaulted—but at least growth wouldn't have fallen quite so much." [Source]

So maybe he isn't the grandmaster wingnuts perceive him to be. Maybe he exposed his Queen and Obama took it with a checkers move. It wouldn't be the first time. Obama has been beating wingnuts at their own game for eight years.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Viva La Cuba.

I would like to start this post by saying thank you to O's administration for easing travel restrictions to Cuba. A brother's cigar collection will lose some value, but I can live with that.

I am just looking forward to getting a little R & R in Havana and checking out all those cars from the fifties

Of course, as is to be expected, the Cuban exile community in Miami is upset about the move. To them, Fidel Castro is the closest thing to the devil himself.

I feel their pain. But it's a good political move on O's part. Most (not all) of those Cubans in South Florida are all conservative republicans and would never vote for a democrat if their lives depended on it.

Truth be told, I have more love for my Cuban brothers and sisters who were stuck in Castro's Cuba than for the ones who escaped to sunny South Florida.

"Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban "Steve" Bovo, a Republican whose father was a pilot in the 1996 Brothers to the Rescue mission, called Democratic President Barack Obama a sellout.

"Today will be a sad day for all those who have dedicated their lives for a free Cuba. Our President has sold out freedom," Bovo posted to his Twitter account, @CommBovo.

He followed up with two more posts, directed at the dissident Ladies in White and at the Brothers to the Rescue families, whose relatives were shot down by the Cuban Air Force.

"Damas de Blanco @BarackObama and his accomplices sold you out," he wrote. Then: "Family members of murdered pilots of Brothers to the Rescue @BarackObama Sold you out."

Maggie Khuly, the sister of Armando Alejandre Jr, one of the four Brothers to the Rescue members shot down, said the families of the failed mission's victims were outraged.

'I was expecting this, but I can't believe it,' Khuly said. 'No one (in the federal government) had the decency of telling us anything."'

Ahhhm, excuse me, but who the hell are you?

Maggie, No one in the federal government owes you an explanation for a damn thing.

Still, I hate to say it, but I actually agree with a FOX VIEWS host about some of the bad possibilities of this move.

"Reacting to the news that President Barack Obama intends to loosen restrictions on the U.S. embargo on Cuba, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith wondered whether we’ll “ruin” the island nation with the influx of capitalist goods rather than basic necessities.

“I think the last time I went [to Cuba], I brought back Cuban rum, Havana Gold for like four dollars,” Smith reminisced. “Think of how all of that will shift if this actually happens.”

His guest, Gerri Willis of the Fox Business Network, noted that PepsiCo put out a statement on Wednesday asserting their eagerness to begin trading with Cubans.

'You know the fear among anybody who’s ever been there or who cares at all about the Cuban people, as so many of us do,” Smith continued, “the last thing they need is a Taco Bell or a Lowe’s.'” [Source]

Don't forget Burger King and Wal- Mart.

Finally, please check out this video and tell me what you think.

This is what happens when a black police officer tries to arrest a white man who happens to have a higher rank in the police department than he does.

Oh ohhh. 

Pic from

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Use of force.

Now maybe some other people will believe me when I say that we live in a police state.

What the police in Texas (Where else?) did to 76 year old Pete Vasquez was outrageous.

"A Texas cop was recorded on his dash cam video hitting a 76-year-old man with a stun gun over a dispute involving expired car tags. Nathaniel Robinson pulled over Pete Vasquez to ask him about the expired inspection ticket on his car. Vasquez said it was a dealer’s car with special plates, and that’s why he didn’t need a current one.

In reaction, Vasquez says, Robinson got angry and grabbed him, proceeding to put him in handcuffs. And then, after a few seconds of struggling, you see on the video that Robinson tackles Vasquez to the ground, and then gets up and hits him with a stun gun.

Vasquez says he was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the leg. He was not actually charged with anything and says Robinson came to his house to apologize.

Robinson has been placed on administrative duty." [Source]

With all the police officer's being put on "administrative leave" lately, soon there will not be enough cops to put on the street.

Still, if these rogue police officers have folks like Sandra McElroy to get their backs, they will be just fine.

Free to kill 12 year old children playing with a toy gun in a park, and free to kill a Wal- Mart shopper (in an open carry state) who is holding a gun he picked up in the store.   

"The Smoking Gun released a lengthy report revealing that “Witness 40,” whose testimony helped convince a grand jury not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, completely fabricated her story and has a criminal history marked by mental illness, lying to authorities, and blatant racism.

According to the report, Witness 40 is a 45-year-old woman named Sandra McElroy, and her account that Brown charged at Wilson helped exonerate him (and, as The Smoking Gun points out, became part of the narrative surrounding the events of Ferguson). But a glance at her history throws her credibility into doubt: Though diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 16, McElroy told the grand jury she hasn’t taken any medication for her condition in 25 years, and admitted that a car accident in 2001 left her “struggl[ing] with a faulty memory” ever since.

McElroy first reached out to prosecutors nearly four weeks after Brown’s death, and her account closely matched with the account Wilson gave of the shooting — not surprising, considering that in the weeks leading up to her contacting authorities, she posted statements supporting Wilson on her Facebook wall:
In the weeks after Brown’s shooting–but before she contacted police–McElroy used her Facebook account to comment on the case. On August 15, she “liked’ a Facebook comment reporting that [witness Dorian] Johnson had admitted that he and Brown stole cigars before the confrontation with Wilson. On August 17, a Facebook commenter wrote that Johnson and others should be arrested for inciting riots and giving false statements to police in connection with their claims that Brown had his hands up when shot by Wilson. “The report and autopsy are in so YES they were false,” McElroy wrote of the “hands-up” claims. This appears to be an odd comment from someone who claims to have been present during the shooting. In response to the posting of a news report about a rally in support of Wilson, McElroy wrote on August 17, “Prayers, support God Bless Officer Wilson.”  
…Commenting on a September 12 Riverfront Times story reporting that Ferguson city officials had yet to meet with Brown’s family, McElroy wrote, “But haven’t you heard the news, There great great great grandpa may or may not have been owned by one of our great great great grandpas 200 yrs ago. (Sarcasm).”

I wonder how many other people like Sandra McElroy are out there. I suspect that there are quite a few, and that they are all too willing and ready to let officers like Darren Wilson go free without having to answer to anyone for their actions.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Siege Down Under and next door.

An escaping hostage is caught by a policeman in Sydney, 15 DecemberToday, sadly, was a day of sieges.

One was over 16,000 miles from the kid in the land of cricket and kangaroos, and the other was just a few miles from where I sit writing this post in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Of course Americans are more up in arms over the Muslim terrorizing folks in a café in Sydney, Australia. It was all horrific to be sure, and when it was over three people lay dead, including the depraved lunatic who thought it was cool to terrorize innocent people to make a religious point.

Australians aren't used to this. So now, they too have lost their innocence.

The other lunatic was literally a domestic terrorist. Not only is he home grown, but he terrorized family members and loved ones. (That's the domestic part.)

"PENNSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A man went to three houses in the Philadelphia suburbs before dawn Monday and fatally shot six people, authorities said, including his recently engaged ex-wife, who had told neighbors she feared he would kill her.

Police swarmed from one community to another as they searched for Bradley William Stone but said late Monday they didn't know where he was.

Police earlier had surrounded his home in Pennsburg, where he had been believed to be holed up.

"Bradley, this is the police department!" officers yelled. "Come to the front door with your hands up. You're under arrest."

But Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said at an evening news conference investigators were still searching for Stone and didn't know how he's getting around. Ferman said investigators had recovered Stone's cellphone and his car.

The rampage started at ex-wife Nicole Stone's Harleysville apartment, investigators said. Stone broke in through a glass door around 4 a.m., firing multiple rounds and fleeing with their two children, the woman's neighbors said.." [Source]

This guy, unlike the extremist in Australia, is still on the loose. That has to be a terrifying thought for anyone who knows him and got on his bad side.

Just the thought of some Muslim extremist jacking me while a sip coffee in Starbucks is scary, but so is the thought of some random dude with family issues going all Falling Down on the kid while I go about my daily business.

Honestly, I think I will just stay away from public spaces as much as possible in the near future.

Finally, I can't comment too much on the story on this video, but I am just putting it out there to get some feedback.

"Philly's finest" put down a young black man, and his family has some questions.



Sunday, December 14, 2014

The killing of Jack.

So have you all heard about the tragic shooting of a beloved family pet in Questa Verde, California?

It seems that while the family was inside the home, a police officer was investigating a burglary call. He went into the backyard of the home, and the poor dog, who always played with the mailman, suddenly charged him. (The officer's uniform must have fooled him.)

Sadly, officer William Moreland fired three bullets into the family dog killing him instantly.

Now the people of Questa Verde are outraged. The seven year old Welsh corgi named Jack did not have do die this way. Officer Moreland has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a further investigation of the incident.

PETA and various other groups have been picketing the police station and calling for the officer to resign. It is reported that the family is in seclusion and are devastated.

OK, so I just made up that entire story to make a point. Unless you believe that the movie Poltergeist was not based on fiction, you will understand that there is no town called Questa Verde, California. And the last time I checked, detective William Moreland was Wendell Pierce's character in The Wire. Jack? Well I think that was the name of the scruffy little dog on Little House On The Prairie.

But here is the thing, had it all been true, more people in the majority population would be up in arms about the shooting death of Jack the Welsh corgi than they would the shooting death of Tamir Rice , or the choking death of Eric Garner.

No matter how egregious the actions of the police officers were in these cases, we learn that poll after poll shows that most people in the majority population just do not see it that way. To them, their local police are fair to black people.

Again, had the story above been true, I suspect that polls taken about the actions of Officer Moreland would have had a different result than they do about the actions of the police officers in these latest high profile cases where black men were killed. White folks take it to a whole different level when it comes to their pets. When it comes to the lives of young black men, on the other hand, not so much.

The president has dogs. Why isn't he on television saying if he had a Welsh corgi he would look like Jack It's an outrage!

*As far as I know the dog in the pic's name is not Jack and he is doing just fine.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Caption Saturday.

I need a caption for this pic.

Holla at me.