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Do we want another Tawana Brawley?

Tawana Brawley

A conservative friend of mine ended his rant with this line – “How many more Tawana Brawleys and Duke Lacrosse teams do we need before we stop railroading and judging people guilty on a whim?” Let me stand back for a second. With regard to the Trayvon Martin case, as I have said repeatedly (here, here, here and here), all anyone in the United States should want, all we should ask for, is for justice to be done. I’ve never called for a speedy investigation. I want a thorough investigation wherein all the rocks are overturned. It is that simple.

I’ve also mentioned repeatedly that we need to focus on the investigation and not the sideshow. For the sake of this post and clarity today, I will address the sideshow. Conservatives have consistently over the last few weeks focused on the sideshow. Several have focused on how the family wants to try this case in the court of public opinion. First, we must try to understand the frustration the family must feel after their son has been shot and the police simply stonewalled them. The police appeared to “kill” the investigation. Secondly, there is no doubt that there are many people and organizations who simply cruise the Internet and look for opportunities to jump on the bandwagon of race-based issues. I would like to think that their agenda is to improve equality in America, but I think we have seej time and time again that their agenda is to elevate their own individual status or organizational status.

I find it fascinating that many conservatives have decided to bring up Tawana Brawley case. Basically, a brief review – in 1987, Ms. Brawley, a 15-year-old girl, had been missing for over four days. She was found near her home in Wappingers Falls, New York, in a dumpster lying in a garbage bag. She was disheveled. Her clothing was torn. She was covered in feces. She had the words, Bitch, KKK and N!gg*r written on her in what appeared to be charcoal. She claimed that she had been repeatedly raped by three white men. Her behavior in the emergency room can only be described as bizarre. She and the family requested to be interviewed in the emergency room by a black officer and this was granted. This was the case that vaulted Al Sharpton into prominence. He was the first black personality to latch on to this case and scream that justice be done. There was a huge public outcry. Many celebrities (Bill Cosby and Spike Lee included) got involved. There was fundraising and there were marches. There was tons of finger-pointing. There were prominent attorneys.  In spite of the characterization that many conservatives have of this case, the outcome was 100% correct. There was a thorough investigation. There was a Grand Jury convened and the conclusion of that Grand Jury was that there was no rape. There was no sexual assault. You can read the rest of the Grand Jury conclusion here.

So, in spite of the mischaracterization that many conservatives have of this case, justice was served. Nobody died. Nobody went to jail unjustly. There was a thorough investigation. There was a thorough review of the evidence. There was a clear and unmistakable conclusion which the vast majority of Americans have accepted as correct – whites and blacks alike. What can we learn from this case is a couple of things. First, the black community, no surprise, is very mistrustful of our justice system. This needs to be fixed. I don’t know how to do it. The perception in the black community is that the criminal justice system is completely and 100% stacked against minorities. There was a Chicago police shooting in which an unarmed female was shot to death.  There was an 18-year-old male who was jailed for marijuana possession who seems to have been allowed to hallucinate and cry out for help for hours in jail before he died in jail.  There’s Alan Gomez, who appears to have been an unarmed 22-year-old who was somehow shot by police. In spite of a thorough investigation, the circumstances of his death remain somewhat mysterious. The official investigation cleared officers of all charges.  There was the shooting rampage in Tulsa which now appears to be part revenge and part racially based. Now, I’m not saying that the police were right or wrong in all of these situations. Instead, what I’m saying is that there is a preponderance of situations in which minorities die and it seems like the overall justice system is not adequately responding to the cries of the minority community. Secondly, as I mentioned earlier, there are individuals and organizations who latch onto these racially charged issues like leeches. They do little or nothing to illuminate the situation. As a matter fact, in my opinion, they muddy the waters. I’ll go so far as to say they should be ignored.

Trayvon Martin

Much of the problem that I see in the United States has developed over a lack of compromise from both sides. Everyone wants to say that they’re right. No one wants to admit that the other side may have a point. Our society is slowly evolving into left versus right, progressive versus conservative, white versus black. In fact, we have to acknowledge that our country is much more complicated than that. We have to acknowledge that we have not solved the problems of racial inequality and social economic inequality in this country. We should recoil at the statements of Rick Warren, pastor of a large mega-church, who asked, “…or does fairness mean that everybody has an opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.” He’s just repudiated the teachings of Jesus. This is not about socialism. Instead this is about opportunities for all. Currently, in our highly toxic talk environment, there is no middle ground. How can you compromise with the man is supposed to be a Nazi and wants to murder your kids? This is our problem. Extremism. Until we all pull back to the center, our country is in trouble.

So, where does that leave us with Trayvon Martin? In my mind, we’re still at the beginning. We are continuing to patiently wait for the thorough investigation to conclude. Until then, I will continue to hope and pray that justice will be done. It is that simple.

By |2013-11-03T17:14:22-04:00April 10th, 2012|Legal, Race|2 Comments

Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Today voters go to the polls in Michigan and Arizona. We’ve had 20 debates and over a year of campaigning for some candidates. Who would’ve thought that Michigan was going to be a key state? In 2008, Mitt Romney smoked his Republican competition. Since then, he came out firmly against the auto bailout. Yet, by all accounts, the auto bailout not only worked but worked fabulously well. So, instead of admitting a mistake, he and the other Republican candidates have doubled and tripled down on the Let Michigan Die, free-market rhetoric. If Mitt Romney loses Michigan, his home state, a state where his father was governor, his candidacy is in real trouble.

President Obama proposes cutting corporate tax rates and closing corporate loopholes. There is no doubt that we need to fix our corporate tax system. The Tax Policy Center produced the following graph.

Newt has one. Ron Paul has one. Romney has several. Even Rick Santorum has his own billionaire. Can I have my own billionaire, too?

Could it be that Governor Scott Walker is resigned to the fact that he’s going to be recalled? He has declined to challenge signatures ahead of Monday’s deadline. It looks like the recall election will have a date set some time next week.

The deadly shooting in Ohio is such a tragedy. A second teenager has died. Once again, we are at a loss. I would caution everybody against overanalysis.

It takes a special kind of thief to scam a nun. Lowlife.

It appears that sleeping pills are associated with a fourfold increase in premature death. This details of the study can be found here.

Omega-3-fatty acids are associated with more brainpower and are shown to retard brain aging. I’m going back for a second helping of fish!

A new political action committee has formed in order to combat anti-choice legislators.

I’ll be the first to admit that I really do not understand gas prices. Back in 2007 and 2008, I interviewed some oil “experts” who talked about supply and demand and world supply and refinery production. They sort of really made sense. World demand has increased. This is clear. American utilization of oil has decreased dramatically over the last two years. Yet we have seen a steady rise in oil prices over that timeframe. Instability in the Middle East, in my opinion, has been the same for over the past 40 years. It is an unstable part of the world. Whether it is Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela or somewhere else, some oil country is threatening to cut off the supply almost all the time. So what economic force can be conjured up to explain the recent spike in oil prices? Oil speculators? These are the guys with the, to quote Alan Greenspan, “irrational exuberance?” I should pay an extra 25 or 50 cents per gallon because these guys get a wild hair? A federal judge is looking into these oil speculators. Just to confuse matters even more, another expert is telling us that this oil price spike shouldn’t be that bad because other fuel prices are relatively low.

Canadian company decides to go ahead with the Keystone pipeline.

Internal workings of the German government may cause problems in the Eurozone bailout. You didn’t think that this would be easy, did you?

Climate change and increasing volcanic activity.

I’m not sure what that was at the Daytona 500. Texting during the race? Crashes. Then we had more crashes. Why race at night? Isn’t there better lighting during the day? Wouldn’t you want the best and fastest conditions for the best race in the US?

Thoughts? What stories are you following?

By |2012-02-28T09:28:41-04:00February 28th, 2012|Big Oil, Business, Economy, Environment, Party Politics|Comments Off on Tuesday Morning News Roundup

NFL: Week Four

Cam Newton

Carolina Panthers versus Chicago Bears – This is an interesting game. Both teams are still looking for their identity. I’m not sure what happened to the Chicago Bears. Somehow, they’ve changed from a tough running football team to a pass first football team. This is fine, except, there’s one problem. Their offensive line is a sieve. I’m not sure that the Carolina Panthers are going to be able to take advantage of this. Cam Newton has really impressed. He’s moving well in the pocket. He’s getting the ball out of his hands very quickly. He’s making good decisions with the ball without the turnovers. I’m giving a slight edge in this game to the Chicago Bears.

Buffalo Bills versus Cincinnati Bengals – Can the Buffalo Bills capitalize on their tremendous win from last week? Simply put, the Bills are playing very well on both sides of the football. Cincinnati, on the other hand, have been stuck in mediocrity for several years. I don’t see this trend changing anytime soon. I think, I hope that the Buffalo Bills put it all together and win another game. Just imagine 4-0, Buffalo Bills. It is pretty mind-boggling.

Tennessee Titans versus Cleveland Browns – Can the Cleveland Browns run the ball against the Tennessee Titans? I don’t think so. This makes the Cleveland Browns a one-dimensional offense. I don’t think that Colt McCoy is ready to carry this team on his back. Matt Hasselbeck is playing almost better than ever. He’s not showing any of the indecision that we saw over the last couple of years in Seattle. His number one receiver, Kenny Britt, is out. Can Nate Washington step up? The Tennessee Titans have a solid defense. I think that Chris Johnson is way overdue for a 100-yard game. I look for the Tennessee Titans to begin to flex some muscle and win this game.

Detroit Lions versus Dallas Cowboys – There’s no doubt about it, the Detroit Lions are playing extremely well. Last week, I bet against, my Dallas Cowboys. I just didn’t think that they would ever be able to put it together to beat the Washington Redskins. I still think that the Cowboys have some problems in the secondary. Terence Newman has been in and out of the lineup. Michael Jenkins, the other cornerback, has also been banged up. He seems to have lost the ability to press cover receivers. We also have some problems at safety. On the other side of the ball, I don’t see how Dallas is going to be able to run, pass, and block the Detroit Lions. The offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys has some issues. (The center seems to have a habit of randomly snapping the ball. This isn’t a good trait.) My mind says to choose against the Cowboys again this week. My heart says the Cowboys are beginning to heal and are playing better football. Putting those things together, I think that Detroit, if Matthew Stafford does not turn the ball over, should win this game.

Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Houston Texans – This is the best that the NFL has to offer. It should be the best game of the day if the Texans don’t roll over and play dead. The Pittsburgh Steelers are still trying to find their groove. Ben Roethlisberger is simply not seeing the field well. He’s thrown some interceptions. He’s held onto the ball and fumbled several times. He simply hasn’t looked good. The Steelers haven’t been running the ball that well either. If the Steelers want to win this game, they have to be able to pound the rock. I simply just don’t know about the Houston Texans. For the last several years, there has been a point in the season when the Houston Texans look almost invincible. Then, without explanation, they fall apart. I thought last week they needed to stand up and play an outstanding game against the New Orleans Saints, a team that really hasn’t put all their pieces together, yet, with a victory. That didn’t happen. I think that this is a must win game for the Houston Texans. If they want to be taken seriously, they need to win this game. I look for the Texans to win this, late in the game with a field goal.

New Orleans Saints versus Jacksonville Jaguars – Simply put, the New Orleans Saints need to travel to Jacksonville, break out a BIG can of woop, get back on the bus and go home. The New Orleans Saints can and should dominate this game. Look for the New Orleans defense to create several turnovers, which could turn this game into a blowout.

Minnesota Vikings versus Kansas City Chiefs – Somebody has to win (unless it is a tie and if it is a tie then both owners should fire everyone). I promise. Somebody has to win this game. I give the edge to Minnesota. By the way, what happened to Donovan McNabb? Too old? Too many hits? Too much time carrying the Eagles without help? It is very sad to see a once elite quarterback struggle to make the simplest throws.

San Francisco 49ers versus Philadelphia Eagles – If there were ever a recipe for the San Francisco 49ers to win, it is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are having trouble stopping the run. The one thing that San Francisco should be able to do is run the football. How do the 49ers slow down the Philadelphia Eagles? I don’t think the 49ers have a good answer. Will Michael Vick get hurt, again? Will we see Vince Young? I think that Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles will figure out a way to win this game.

Washington Redskins versus St. Louis Rams – I think that the St. Louis Rams will play a more competitive game than they did last week. They need to upgrade several positions. I think the Washington Redskins are going to try to get on top early. If Rex Grossman can avoid turning the ball over, I think the Redskins can come away with a victory.

Afternoon Games

Eli Manning

New York Giants versus Arizona Cardinals – There is no way that the New York Giants should allow Arizona Cardinals hang around. New York needs to take the opening drive and cram the ball down the Cardinal’s throat. They have to establish that they’re not going to piddle around this game. If they’re able to do this and Eli Manning is able to avoid turnovers, the New York Giants should cruise to victory. (By the way, the Giants appear to be getting healthier.)

Atlanta Falcons versus Seattle Seahawks – In spite of the fact that the Atlanta Falcons just don’t have it all together, they should cruise to victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks have so many problems that they need to address. Atlanta should be able to ground out a victory. This is a must win game for the Atlanta Falcons, in my opinion.

Denver Broncos versus Green Bay Packers – I really do not know the identity of the Denver Broncos. Are they a running team? Are they a passing team? Do they play suffocating defense? I don’t have answers to any of these questions. I do know what to expect from the Green Bay Packers. The Packers will spread the field and Aaron Rodgers will pick the Denver defense apart. I look for the Packers to continue their winning ways.

New England Patriots versus Oakland Raiders – This may be one of the best games on Sunday. The Patriots are kind of reeling from their loss last week. You know they want to get back on track and send a message to the league that they are still the most dominant team in the NFL. (I really think the best team in the NFL is currently the Green Bay Packers.) So, can Oakland slow down Tom Brady? I really think this is the key to the game. I do think the Oakland Raiders will be able to move the ball against the Patriots defense. I just don’t think that the Oakland Raiders will be able to hold up to a shootout with Tom Brady. If the Raiders get a few turnovers, especially turnovers early in the game, I think they can win. I don’t think that you can depend on Tom Brady to throw another four interceptions. I think a victory by the Oakland Raiders would really shake up the NFL, but I just don’t see it happening. I look for Tom Brady to figure a way to win this game.

Miami Dolphins versus San Diego Chargers – I simply don’t know what happened to the Miami Dolphins. Why haven’t they found a real quarterback? Their defense seems to be getting better, but they need better play from their quarterback. I look for the San Diego Chargers to figure out a way to win this game. I do not think it will be pretty.

New York Jets versus Baltimore Ravens – can the Baltimore Ravens run against the New York Jets? I think the answer is yes. I don’t think that the Jets are playing the same type of defense they played last year or the year before. I think that this is the key to the game. On the other side of the ball, I don’t think that the Jets will consistently be able to move the ball against the Baltimore Ravens. So, once again, things come down to Baltimore’s erratic quarterback, Joe Flacco. Can Joe Flacco protect the football? I think the answer is – maybe. I look for Joe Flacco to limit his mistakes in this game by handing the ball off a lot. I look for the Ravens to grind out a victory on the ground.

Monday Night Football?
Indianapolis Colts versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers – There was a time, back long ago, when Monday night was reserved for the best that the NFL had to offer. That was a long time ago. This game will not be anywhere close to the best that the NFL has to offer. The Indianapolis Colts are struggling to play real professional football. I look for them to get slapped all over the field by the up-and-coming Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I like the way Josh Freeman is throwing the football. I also like the way they’re running the football. If they can protect the football, this game is Tampa Bay’s to lose. I look for the Colts to go 0-4. (By the way, have I mentioned that the Colts are so awful that their owner should refund Colts season-ticket holder’s money? I’m just saying.)

By |2011-10-01T20:28:11-04:00October 1st, 2011|Sports|Comments Off on NFL: Week Four
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