Sunday, August 10, 2014

Last Call For Another Lost Soul

Another week, another police murder of an unarmed black youth, this time in the St. Louis neighborhood of Ferguson, where 18-year old Mike Brown was due to start college on Monday before cops put ten bullets in him and left him dead in the middle of a city street.  The police story:  Brown was shot as he reached for a police firearm in the back of a police car.

Brown was found dead 35 feet from the cruiser at the scene.

The killing drew criticism from some civil rights leaders, and they referred to the 2012 racially charged shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was acquitted of murder charges, as well as the New York City man who died from a police chokehold.

"We're outraged because yet again a young African-American man has been killed by law enforcement," said John Gaskin, who serves on both the St. Louis County and national boards of directors for the NAACP.

The Rev. Al Sharpton called the shooting death "very disturbing" and the New York-based civil rights leader said he planned to go to Ferguson to meet with the family Monday night or Tuesday.

A few hundred protesters gathered outside Ferguson Police headquarters about the time the news conference was to begin. At one point, many of them marched into an adjacent police building, some chanting "Don't shoot me" while holding their hands in the air. Officers stood at the top of a staircase, but didn't use force; the crowd eventually left.

Protesters outside chanted slogans — "No justice, no peace" and "We want answers" — and some carried signs that read "Stop police terrorism" and "Disarm the police."

Critics have contended that police in the St. Louis area too often target young black men. Statistics on police-involved shootings in the region were not immediately available.

St. Louis County Police Department is in charge of the investigation. County Executive Charlie Dooley, who showed up at the protest Sunday to urge calm, said he will request an FBI investigation. U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said Sunday that Attorney General Eric Holder had instructed attorneys in the department's civil rights division to monitor developments.

My father had "The Talk" with me when I was ten, growing up in North Carolina.  "You can't lose your temper being who you are.  You have to remain calm and always be yes, sir, no, sir, three bags full sir."  It's advice I've taken to heart since then.  It's advice I'd give my own children, should I ever become a father.

But Mike Brown is dead, and a weary country shrugs its shoulders and moves on.

Read more here:

Abercrombie & Finished

In the governor's race, Ige, 57, begins the general election as the frontrunner, given Hawaii's long tradition of electing Democrats. But he faces a potentially challenging race.

In addition to Republican nominee and former lieutenant governor Duke Aiona, Ige also faces former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann, a well-known former Democrat who is running as the Hawaii Independent Party candidate. Because of his appeal to some Democrats, Hannemann could attract voters who would otherwise vote for the Democratic nominee.

Ige celebrated his victory by reminding supporters how much of an underdog he once appeared to be.

“People told me I was crazy for giving up my seat in the state Senate, but I knew we needed change. They reminded me that no incumbent governor had ever lost a primary election. That changed tonight," Ige told supporters.

The loss by Abercrombie, 76, likely marks the end of a political career spanning more than two decades.

A longtime liberal congressman who was elected to the state's top job in 2010, Abercrombie's approval rating has been very low during the past couple of years.

He pushed an unpopular pension reform program and clashed with organized labor leaders. He also faced heat for appointing Schatz to the Senate in late 2012 instead of Hanabusa, following the death of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D), a political icon. Inouye wanted Hanabusa to succeed him.

Ige overcame Abercrombie's heavy cash advantage. The governor outspent him by about 10-1.

A rare win for the little guy here, as Abercrombie is a career politician and trashed Hawaii's liberal base whenever possible.  The result?  He got his ass soundly and deservedly kicked.   Picking Brian Schatz to fill Daneil Inouye's Senate seat made him among the least popular governors in the country, and despite raising the state's minimum wage and signing into law same-sex marriage, Abercrombie was doomed from the start when he picked Schatz, his own Lt. Governor, to succeed Inouye in the least white state in the nation.

Not sorry to see him go.

Wrecker-tary Of State

Hillary Clinton has officially gotten to the "I would have done a better job than President Obama" part of her triangulation phase of her "I'm not actually running for president" campaign, just in time to remind Democrats why she lost to Obama in 2008.

“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said.

As she writes in her memoir of her State Department years, Hard Choices, she was an inside-the-administration advocate of doing more to help the Syrian rebellion. Now, her supporters argue, her position has been vindicated by recent events.

So yes, President Hillary Clinton would have gotten us into Syria's civil war.  Awesome.  Just what we needed!

Of course, Clinton had many kind words for the “incredibly intelligent” and “thoughtful” Obama, and she expressed sympathy and understanding for the devilishly complicated challenges he faces. But she also suggested that she finds his approach to foreign policy overly cautious, and she made the case that America needs a leader who believes that the country, despite its various missteps, is an indispensable force for good. At one point, I mentioned the slogan President Obama recently coined to describe his foreign-policy doctrine: “Don’t do stupid shit” (an expression often rendered as “Don’t do stupid stuff” in less-than-private encounters).

This is what Clinton said about Obama’s slogan: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

Of course.  This is why I voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries.  "Don't do stupid stuff" is very much an organizing principle, and if Hillary can't see that, and if she's going to spend the next 27 months running on how she would have done a better job than President Obama and expecting those Democrats who disagree with her to just shut up and fall in line, she's got another thing coming.

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