Monday, March 23, 2015

Martese Johnson, Respectability Politics, And Why Being A Young Black Male Is So Damn Treacherous.

So another week, another brother catching a beatdown from police. I didn't touch this story when it broke last week, mostly because I was busy with life, but also because I'm just plain tired of these stories. They're all the same: someone gets beatdown by cops, the usual suspects step forward to claim that maybe the guy had it coming, while others immediately jump to the conclusion that the cops were racist. The rush to judgement from both sides is predictable, yet still ultimately counterproductive.

I don't know Martese Johnson, but I'm only about 90% certain I looked just like him, high top fade and all, when I was a youngster in college. We share the same fraternity. We were both at college on academic scholarships. I'm pretty sure he had the whole "work twice as hard to get half as far" mantra drilled into his head by his parents as I did. I'm certain he was taught to be respectful of those in positions of authority, especially when said authority figures have guns. And like me (and, well, every college student ever) he drank before he was of legal age, because again, that's just what kids do.

What happened between the time when Johnson was asked to leave the Irish pub after being denied entrance and when he ended up face down on the concrete bleeding like Tully Blanchard remains to be seen. What's somewhat notable about this case is that despite there being dozens of people standing around when this happened, there video evidence made public to date only shows the end result, not the events that occurred before Johnson caught a beatdown. Since society loves to jump to conclusions, many (including the arresting officers) have asserted that Johnson had to be belligerent and drunk, thus leading to his arrest. Well, the owner of the bar is finally speaking (perhaps to mute some rumblings by former employees that they actively discriminated against black male patrons) and his story seems to contradict that of the officers.
Martese Johnson, the University of Virginia student whose bloody arrest outside a pub last week triggered protests, was "polite and cordial" when he was denied entry and did not appear drunk, the management of the bar said. Images of Johnson being held down by officers, his face streaked with blood, were shared widely online. The hashtag #JusticeForMartese gained popularity online, while some people held "Black Lives Matter" signs on a march through Charlottesville.

Trinity Irish Pub said that Johnson, 20, was denied entry after he gave the wrong answer when a bouncer examined his ID and asked him the ZIP code. The bar's statement quoted its managing owner, Kevin Badke, as saying that Johnson was "a disappointed patron."

Mr. Badke immediately responded that he could not accept it. Mr. Johnson, probably realizing the reason for the error, stated that he had moved. At this point, Mr. Badke and Mr. Johnson had a brief conversation because Mr. Badke is from the south side of Chicago, where Mr. Johnson indicated he was from. In Mr. Badke's opinion, Mr. Johnson did not appear to be intoxicated in the least. Despite the conversation, which was cordial and respectful, Mr. Badke reiterated that he could not permit him to enter. He handed Mr. Johnson his ID back and Mr. Johnson began walking in a north westerly direction up University Avenue. A few moments later, Mr. Badke heard a commotion, turned, and saw Mr. Johnson on the ground about 30 feet further up on University Avenue with ABC agents detaining him.

"There have been reported comments that management of Trinity were belligerent towards Mr. Johnson or that Mr. Johnson was belligerent towards management," the statement said. "Those allegations are patently untrue, as the brief conversation that occurred was polite and cordial."
So yeah, it seems like Mr. Johnson didn't present a fake ID[1] and wasn't being some drunk hothead after all, not that even that would have justified how he was treated.

We'll see how this case unveils, but one thing I'm certain of is that Johnson's gonna sue the state of Virginia and will probably get a very nice settlement when all's said and done. Not that that makes this any easier, of course.

Question: What do you think actually happened here?

[1] I do have the question the judgement of a 20 year old trying to enter a 21 and over bar with an out of state non-student ID that was 4 years old. I mean, come on bruh, you're 20 now but look 16. In that ID photo you must have looked 12. Bad look, homie.

So How Screwed Up Is Your NCAA Bracket?

Like 90% of Real Americans, I spent a good portion of last week parked in front of my TV watching free labor generate billions of dollars for corporate overlords. Sure, the NCAA made some cosmetic changes to silence critics last year, but the fact remains that the kids hardly make any money for all that fancy dribbling and dunking. Whatever. It is what it is. I suppose these same kids could just go play in the NBA D-League for a year instead of subjecting themselves to the tyranny of comely co-eds, universal on-campus adoration and as much free Jordan Brand® gear as they want. So yeah, I guess you gotta hear both sides.

All that said, this past weekend showed everything that's great and awful about college basketball. The game, when it's at its best can be fast paced and full of momentum changing plays. Any team can, on the right day when the shots are falling, beat any team. On the other hand, the quality of play isn't universally high. For every UNC/Arkansas nailbiter, there's a bunch of poorly paced Maryland/West Virginia games where neither team can score in a brothel and turn the ball over more often than I used to blog here.[1] In the end, it's all a mixed bag and truth be told, if not for the element of betting I really wonder if it would be as much of an American cultural phenomenon as it is.

So yeah, I'm cheering for my Tarheels, and my hometown Wolfpack who both advanced to the 2nd weekend but probably have no real chance of surviving to the Final Four. Kentucky has plenty of flaws, but certainly has got a puncher's change of ending the season undefeated and hoisting a trophy. I hate Duke with a passion but I could certainly see them on the business end of that L once all's said and done. If you're a betting man you might wanna run with that.

Question: How screwed up is your bracket? Who you got winning it all?

[1] Huzzah!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Oklahoma Fraternity Suspended For Being Racist Idiots.

Given how many racist frat party photos surface every Halloween, should we really be all that surprised by this? I'm not really sure...
The University of Oklahoma is immediately severing "all ties and affiliations" between the school and its local Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, the university president said today, in the wake of a video that purportedly shows members of the chapter singing a racist chant.

The video, which surfaced over the weekend, was posted to Twitter by Unheard, which describes itself as "an alliance of black students organized for change within campus administration and atmosphere." The video shows young men on a bus chanting, "There will never be a n----r at SAE."

The tweet, directed at OU president David Boren, said, "Racism is alive at The University of Oklahoma." Boren said in a written statement today that all ties and affiliations between the school and chapter are "hereby severed."
Here's the video in question.

Note: If you look at the photo above (apparently the same frat, different chapter, a few years ago) you'll notice there are indeed, quite a few niggers in SAE. But whatever.

I'm glad the school moved quickly and swiftly to root out these morons. Good for you, OU.

Question: Does this even surprise you?

President Obama's Selma Speech.

I watched this live, with my wife and all 3 of our kids. I'm not particularly prone to hyperbole, but this speech felt like history in the making. It was, in a word, excellent.

Speeches like this both inspire and frustrate me. Inspire, because this guy's such an excellent orator when he's really dialed in. Frustrating, because for all of his beautiful rhetoric, he's such a mediocre leader who seems like he essentially checked out of this job about 4 years ago. I could go on and on, but why bother?

Let's just enjoy this speech for what it is. Riveting. Beautiful. And most likely, timeless.

Question: Did you watch this speech live? How did it make you feel?


Despite being the race favorite there were questions about Carpe Diem heading in to Saturday’s Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby. Carpe Diem had impressed as a two year old, winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Futurity before finishing second to Texas Red in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The issue wasn’t his performance as a two year old but the fact that he hadn’t raced since. Trainer Todd Pletcher wanted to ‘bring him along slowly’ and two months out from the Kentucky Derby there was some opinion that he was starting his three year old season too late to be a factor.

Those thoughts surfaced again near the start of the Tampa Bay Derby when Carpe Diem emphatically refused to enter the gate. He eventually made it in and from that point he ‘flipped the switch’ and transformed from a balky horse making his three year old debut to a monster that already ranks among the horses to beat at the Kentucky Derby. Carpe Diem maintained perfect position throughout the race before closing strong, eventually taking the win by five lengths and looking like he could have run the rest of the afternoon. If you missed out this time to bet on Carpe Diem, then make sure you don't miss out on Kentucky Derby. This site has a list of Kentucky Derby betting rules and types of bets you can place on horses.

Carpe Diem is owned by WinStar Farms and the stable’s President, Elliott Walden, said that railbirds had been telling him that his horse was the ‘best training in Florida’. He continued to explain that it’s one thing to hear that from third party observers but quite another to see the horse prove it on the track. Walden also brushed off any concern about Carpe Diem’s balky pre-race behavior saying that ‘he’s a little headstrong’.

Trainer Todd Pletcher won the Tampa Bay Derby for the third time in his career. He won previously with Limehouse (2004) and Verrazano (2013). Pletcher watched Carpe Diem give him victory number three via simulcast from Gulfstream Park.

The Tampa Bay Derby has become a good launching pad for a Kentucky Derby bid in recent years. The Pletcher trained Super Saver didn’t win the Tampa Bay Derby but peaked on the first Saturday in May to win the ‘Run for the Roses’. Street Sense also parlayed a Tampa Bay Derby run into a Kentucky Derby victory in 2007.

You! Drugstore, a face of modern Canadian pharmacy

Each economy strives to bring improvements and innovations. It is a part of a big global race that changes day to day, and its participants along with it. In the process, many companies perish because of the bad adaptation to the new situation. Some of them see opportunity in a crisis. They grow in a volatile environment, making the best out of newly established rules of the game. It all depends on the character of the company and the mindset of the management. As they say: “He who dares, wins.” This is something that can be applied in all the countries and for all the companies. Canada, as one of the leading countries in the world, abides by these rules. This is a country with good economy and solid heath care system. One of the firms that managed to adapt to these modern set of rules is You! Drugstore in Canada.

This is one of the premium Canadian pharmacies, with headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is situated in 359, Johnson Avenue West, in the northern part of the city. The store is a part of shopping strip. The neighborhood is really nice, with a lot of green areas and trees. For those that want to purchase their medicine from this place, there is a medium-sized parking lot in front of the office. Others that use the bus to reach the pharmacy have a stop nearby.

Like any other pharmacy, this one makes its living selling drugs. There is nothing special to be mentioned about that. The catch is how they do it. This is a Canadian online pharmacy. Although it has normal headquarters like any other drugstore, it makes most of the sales through the Internet. The management created a widespread network that serves entire Canada and helps provide medication to people all over the country. Besides internet orders, there are also mail and phone orders. All you need is to register, chose a product and provide the doctor’s prescription. If you have any additional question, you can either call the staff of this Canadian online pharmacy or inquire through the internet. The web site is very modern and up-to-date, providing all the necessary information to its customers. This pharmacy has CIPA seal (Certified Canadian International Pharmacy), meaning that they have premium service and products. If there is any issue with the provided medication, you can always send it back to this Canadian drugstore. There is a 90 days return policy, giving you more than enough time to return the drugs back to You! Drugstore. Under the Canadian legislation, all the returned medication will be destroyed.

In this modern world, things change in a blink of an eye. This makes for a dynamic environment in which no company is safe. For us, consumers, this is a great opportunity. The fact that everyone is running around in order to please you is excellent. You will always be certain that the companies such as You! Drugstore are doing their best to provide you exquisite experience.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Your Daily Reminder Of Why You Should Never, Ever, Ever Move To Ferguson, Missouri.

The Feds finally released their investigation into the foolishness that is Ferguson PD, and the findings were not pretty. There's a lot to unpack here, and I don't have the brain space to do so. Read, digest, and discuss below.
The federal government on Wednesday called for a massive overhaul of the law enforcement practices of this St. Louis suburb in a scathing report that found the city regularly engaged in unconstitutional practices that had the heaviest impact on Ferguson’s black residents.

The long-anticipated report detailed systemic issues with the Ferguson Police Department and its municipal court, and provided accounts of individual incidents, many based on police reports authored by Ferguson officers. The report lends force to the complaints of protesters and some Ferguson residents, who have long said the city treated them as sources of revenue rather than citizens to be protected.

In a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, a Justice Department official expressed confidence that Ferguson could implement a lengthy list of necessary reforms. The official said the city cooperated with the DOJ investigation, and a meeting with Ferguson officials on Tuesday was not adversarial.

But the public reaction of Ferguson officials to the damning report left unclear what will happen next. Mayor James Knowles III made a brief statement before cameras on Wednesday night, announcing that one Ferguson employee who sent racist emails mentioned in the report had been fired, and two other employees who sent racist emails were on leave.

Yet Knowles, who appeared without police Chief Tom Jackson or other city officials, gave no indication that his government would continue to cooperate with federal civil rights officials. And the racist emails, though disturbing, were only a minor component of the lengthy federal report, which called into question the city’s entire approach to policing and the enforcement of its municipal code.

The report raises the question of whether the Ferguson will continue to operate its own police department or instead contract with another law enforcement agency. Ferguson is one of the smallest cities subjected to such a Justice Department probe, and the high cost of implementing reforms, along with an anticipated decrease in municipal court revenue from fines and fees, may force the city to consider disbanding its police force of just over 50 officers.


A damning report released by the Justice Department on Wednesday heavily criticized the operations of the police department and municipal court in Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, was shot and killed by a white police officer in August.

DOJ’s civil rights investigation into the Ferguson criminal justice system found that authorities have routinely violated the rights of black citizens and have used tickets to generate revenue for the city.

Many police officers “appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominately African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue,” in part due to city policies, according to the report.

The Justice Department also disclosed several emails sent by current Ferguson officials over the past several years that reveal racial bias. One email depicted President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee. Another email described a man who wanted to get welfare for his dogs because they were “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.” A third email included a photo depicting bare-chested dancing women with the caption “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion,” while another email included jokes about Muslims.

The report found that city, police and court officials have “worked in concert to maximize revenue at every stage of the enforcement process” for several years.
Ugh, my brain hurts.

Question: What's your read on all this?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Somebody Take Steve Francis To Rehab, Please.

Man, it's sad watching a person go from sugar to sh*t so publicly, and so swiftly. Former Maryland Terrapin and NBA All Star Steve Francis has seemingly been on a 24/7 bender since he got traded from the Rockets. Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for homie, he got duffed onstage at a concert of some sort over the weekend.

This isn't the first time Stevie Franchise got jumped in the club.

Or did something downright head-scratching in the club.

Seriously, Steve, just stay out the club. Bad things tend to happen to old guys there.

All jokes aside, go to rehab, please Steve. Not that Rehab, real rehab.

Letting Your Kids Play Outside Unsupervised Is Now Known As "Free Range Parenting".

I grew up in an outer suburb of a medium-sized city in North Carolina. In the 80's. Our town was safe, meaning random violent crime was basically non-existent. Like most of you, I played around the neighborhood, rode my bike all over town with my friends, went out first thing in the morning and came home when the streetlights came on. And yes, I occasionally got into trouble and did a lot of stuff a preteen probably shouldn't have been allowed to do. In retrospect, I probably had a little too much freedom, but reality is, having few boundaries as a child actually helped me learn to respect them as an adult.

Fast forward 30 some years, and I have 3 kids of my own. I live in the inner suburbs of a very large city. It's every bit as safe as the neighborhood I grew up in. Sometimes I see kids ride their bikes up the street without parental supervision, but most of the kids who are outside tend to congregate in driveways and shoot hoops at most. Our kids are too young to do much of anything outside without us, and I'm not sure they will when they're of age. Not because the world's become more dangerous for kids (it hasn't), but because societal attitudes towards unsupervised play have changed dramatically. In short: if your kids are out on their own, somebody is prolly gonna call CPS on your ass.

Case in point, this story, from my current hometown.
The Maryland parents investigated for letting their young children walk home by themselves from a park were found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect in a decision that has not fully resolved their clash with authorities over questions of parenting and children’s safety.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv hoped the nationally debated case — which has lit up social media and brought a dozen television film crews to their Silver Spring home — would be dismissed after a two-month investigation by Montgomery County Child Protective Services.

But the finding of unsubstantiated child neglect means CPS will keep a file on the family for at least five years and leaves open the question of what would happen if the Meitiv children get reported again for walking without adult supervision.

The parents say they will continue to allow their son, Rafi, 10, and daughter Dvora, 6, to play or walk together, and won’t be swayed by the CPS finding.

The case dates to Dec. 20, when police picked up the two Meitiv children walking in Silver Spring on a Saturday afternoon after someone reported them. The parents said that they gradually let the pair take walks on their own and that their children knew the area, which is along busy Georgia Avenue.

The Meitivs said they would not have allowed the one-mile outing from Woodside Park to their home if they did not feel their children were up to it. The siblings made it halfway before police stopped them.

The Meitivs’ decision letter, dated Feb. 20, said the CPS investigation had been completed and would be closed. It cited a finding of unsubstantiated child neglect and made note of an appeals process.
Since this happened not far from my house, I've probably got a very different take on this than some might. The park that the kids were left in is notorious for having homeless people and random walkers by. Sure, there are lots of parents there usually, but it's a huge, sprawling area with lots of trees. If someone wanted to grab your child and make a run for it, they prolly could and you wouldn't notice it. Likewise, the mile that the kids walked home is through a very busy and congested downtown area. The cops probably should have stopped the kids, and were definitely in the right for considering this a case of possible neglect. Walking back home from your neighborhood playground, this is not.

On the other hand, I sorta get where these parents are coming from. While society's views on this topic have changed, reality is that kids simply don't get abducted by strangers any more now than they did when I was a child. Sure, the omnipresence of shows like "To Catch A Predator" and "20/20" makes it feel that way, but more times than not when kids go missing it's via a parent and part of a custody battle. You've got a better chance of winning the DC Lottery than your kid being snatched off the sliding board.

All that said, while I admire these parents (and really, really hate the term "Free Range Parenting"[1]) they were dead assed wrong here. There are other ways to prove your point. Having your kids play Frogger on Georgia Avenue isn't one of them.

Question: Do you allow your kids to play outside unsupervised? Do you differ from your parents on this issue? Were these "Free Range Parents" dead assed wrong?

[1] "Free Range Parenting" sounds like something you do to livestock.