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Violence in America

tamir rice

Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy who was playing in a Cleveland, Ohio park with a toy gun. Someone called 911 and reported that a “juvenile” was pointing a gun at passersby and that the gun was probably a toy. Two city police officers named Loehmann and Garmback arrived on the scene in separate cars. Critical information had NOT been related to them: they were not told that Tamir was a child, nor that Tamir appeared to be playing with a toy gun. It appears, however, that within two minutes of arriving on the scene Officer Loehmann had taken out his real gun, aimed, opened fire, and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

It is unclear to me how anyone, including a trained police officer, can assess a scene in under two minutes. It is unclear how a grown man can not recognize the difference between a child with a toy gun and a threatening adult. It is equally unclear to me how anyone with a conscience can ever again sleep at night after shooting a child to death. Yet two “independent experts” in police shootings stated that this police shooting was justified and/or reasonable.

In South Carolina, a female high-school student refused to leave the classroom, and security was called. The so-called “school resource officer,” Ben Fields, confronted the girl, grabbed her, and then turned over her desk with her in it, throwing her on the floor in the process. He then dragged her out of the classroom while choking her. Of course, everything was caught on a cell-phone video. Another student, who complained about her classmate’s treatment by calling out “Stop! What are you doing to her?” (or something along those lines), was then arrested for interfering. The security guard has since been fired – but was this the best way to handle a teenager?

America is simply too violent. It seems the only way we try to resolve a dispute is with a gun. Shoot first and asked questions later. It’s as if we live in the Wild, Wild West with Wyatt Earp and John Wesley Hardin, who once shot a man for snoring. Where is Wild Bill Hickok? We have to have a better way of resolving our differences.

Continue reading Violence in America

Red Tails

This is a must-see movie. It is simply fun and entertaining. It is as George Lucas mentioned in his interview with Jon Stewart. He was unable to tell the whole story of the Tuskegee airmen in two hours. When you think about it, he’s exactly correct. This movie goes into none of how the Tuskegee airmen were formed or the hardships they had before they got over to Europe. This movie starts when they are in Europe. It really focuses on the skill and the camaraderie that these World War II aces had. Racism is not the focus of this movie. Yes, the movie does touch on racism, somewhat. More importantly, the movie, in my opinion, captures what it must’ve been like to be a Tuskegee airman in the early 1940s. Because you were Black, race was a part of your daily life. It didn’t matter if you were an officer. This is captured extremely well in the movie.

Let me take just a second to talk about the special effects. This movie has the best flight and air to air combat sequences that I’ve seen since Top Gun. It is outstanding. It’s clearly a leap forward. You feel like you’re really in the cockpit flying with these guys.

I know that some people worried about a movie containing both Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Don’t worry. The acting is fabulous. They are more than adequate in their roles. Nate Parker (Marty ‘Easy’ Julian) and David Oyeleowo (Joe ‘Lightning’ Little) are outstanding. Their friendship, their camaraderie, really makes the movie. Daniela Ruah (of NCIS – Los Angeles fame) was a pleasant surprise as an Italian civilian and romantic interest. This movie’s script and the cinematography are done with 1940s-type feel. If you made a war movie in the 1940s, there had to be a romantic interest. Someone of substance whom you, as the audience, became attached to, must die. That’s part of the 1940s formula for war movies. This movie follows the same pattern.

This movie is not Malcolm X. It is a war movie. It is about action. It is about the heroes who flew the P 51 fighter planes. If you’re looking for something more, you need to find a different movie. If you’re looking for a movie that is fun, full of action and truly honors the legacy that the Tuskegee airmen left, then this is clearly the movie you need to see. I give this very entertaining movie an A-.

Friday Evening News Roundup

For some reason, I got a call from the Republican National Committee. The guy started off with some small talk and then said that he knows I’ll agree that President Obama has not handled the economy in a responsible way (I’m paraphrasing). I said, “No, I don’t agree with that statement.” He hung up. 🙂 Let’s skip over the fact that somebody placed me on the RNC call list. Let’s think about this statement just for a second. President Obama has mishandled the economy. How? What was he supposed to do? Economists almost universally agreed that we needed a stimulus package. We needed a stimulus package that equalled somewhere around 10% of GDP. That would’ve been a stimulus package of $1.5 trillion. He was barely able to get a package through Congress that was half of what we needed. So, when economic growth petered out after 12 months or so, who’s surprised? Who were the ones who limited the size of the stimulus? Was it the Democrats or was it the Republicans? Again, I would ask what was Obama supposed to do? More tax cuts which don’t work?

Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, has passed a bill which alters the filibuster. It doesn’t eliminate it, but it alters it. I’m not sure I completely understand this.

Gaile Owens was released from prison in Tennessee. She was on death row but the governor pardoned her last year. She was placed on parole today. Read about her story here.

As most of you know, the predator drone is this small attack airplane that is flown via remote control. Well, it seems that some computer virus has gotten into its system. This can’t be good. This seems like an episode of NCIS – LA.

Rick Perry just stated at the Values Voter Summit that “every human being is entitled to life.” I guess that doesn’t include the 234 people that have been executed while he’s been governor of Texas.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has proposed zero corporate tax if corporations bring their money back from overseas. Of course, he wants us to forget that this has been tried before and it’s been nothing but a windfall for big corporations who momentarily bring their money back only to open new tax shelters overseas.

There’s some serious concern that Monarch butterflies, which fly from as far north as Canada and then roost in Mexico won’t make it through Texas. Read more here. (This has nothing to do with Rick Perry and the death penalty, I promise.)

More e-mails have been released from the White House regarding Solyndra, the failed solar panel company. Just for a second, let’s get some perspective. We, the American people, have been paying somewhere around $4.5 billion per year in tax deductions, preferences and credits for the oil and gas industry. Let’s see… $4.5 billion verses $535 million. Secondly, even those guys who understand money, venture capitalists, don’t get 100% return on their investment. Instead, they’re expecting a 20% return on their investment. They’re expecting that only one or two companies out of every 10 that they invest in to make it big. They are expecting several companies to break even and a couple to fail. This is their business model. Their business model isn’t 100% success on every investment.

It seems that AT&T wants to stick it to customers.

The new job numbers are out. They were slightly better than I expected.

I guess that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor does not like democracy. He seems to have some issues about Occupy Wall Street. He says that he’s becoming increasingly concerned about the “mobs.” I guess he should’ve been equally concerned about the Tea Party.

Read the compelling stories of the new Nobel laureates for Peace. Very powerful.

Occupy Together is the unofficial hub of all of the events going on around the country. Check it out.

So, what’s on your mind? What stories are you following?