Tuesday, July 30, 2013

President Obama Visits Chattanooga Tennessee

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Cross-posted on Life in the Snark Lane


Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke Describes Limo Ride with Obama
After being one of the first people to welcome President Barack Obama to Chattanooga, Mayor Andy Berke described his ride from the airport to the Amazon fulfillment center in the presidential limousine, known as "the beast."

"No big deal," Berke joked.
But although the ride may have been brief, Berke said the face time with the president was invaluable for the city. Berke said that during their transit from the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport to Amazon, he shared stories of the city's success with Obama.

"The opportunity to spend a few minutes with the president of the United States comes only once in a lifetime," Berke said. "I certainly wanted to make sure that I portrayed Chattanooga in the best possible light because I think the president was genuinely curious about what we're doing here. It was a fantastic opportunity."

Berke said he and the president discussed items such as the city's record Internet speeds, efforts to reform education in the state and Chattanooga in general.


Don Lemon Logic ~ Shoe Shines, Litterbugs and Belts

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Previous Post:
CNN's Don Lemon Blames the Black Community for Trayvon Martin Racism


CNN Transcripts Saturday July 27, 2013
DON LEMON: Michael Skolnik, I talked in that segment about the so-called thug culture that the hip-hop and rap community promotes, and you are a -- you are a proponent for hip-hop and rap. You don't believe that we should stop saying the n-word.

MICHAEL SKOLNIK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GLOBALGRIND.COM: Don, I think your comments sounded like a conservative preacher on a Sunday and certainly Bill O'Reilly should welcome you on his show. I'm disappointed in you --

LEMON: Yes, but -- go ahead, I'll let you finish.

SKOLNIK: Here's the thing. You are talking about sagging pants. I've heard the rap for years. Let's not talk about sagging pants and let us talk about why we incarcerate 2.2 million people in this country and why young kids look up to guys who come out of jail. We waged a war against black and brown people 40 years ago, the war on drugs and it failed miserably and now we are reaping the repercussions.

LEMON: But Michael, -- Michael --


LEMON: Not every black kid is in jail and there are rules and people should know where that style comes from whether it's a black kid or a white kid whether it's Justin Bieber or any -- that is glorifying prison culture. Who wants to see someone's butt crack?

SKOLNIK: No. The community has been destroyed. Black men went to jail as diseased drug addicts and they came out as criminals because they taught them criminal behavior in prison. We destroyed the black community.

LEMON: Then why do you have to glorify that through rap and hip hop culture?

SKOLNIK: It's not glorifying it, it's a reflection of our society. Our society incarcerates 2.2 million people more than anyone else in the world. It's a reflection, it's a mirror. Don't break the mirror. Look at yourself.


I have likened privilege to an intoxicant, one that will have you tripping so hard that you will think you don’t have it. Privilege, I have said, is one “helluva” drug. Inhale enough and you will start believing that you are among the oppressed. At its essence, however, privilege is simply the liberty not to know. I watched in horror this week as a colleague suffered a “contact high”.
A swift kick to the backside, or “tough love” as CNN anchor Don Lemon calls it, will not tear down the strictures of race, class and gender in this country. To say so gives rise to the aspersion that distressed communities are simply the manifestation of a collective moral failing.
. . . Despite his self-professed humble upbringing, Lemon betrayed a nascent understanding of the societal and political pathologies that left generations of devastation in their wake.
~ Goldie Taylor on The Grio

Whether you know it or not Don, when you jump on O’Reilly’s racist bandwagon, you come across as a clueless sock puppet…a sell-out, who has lost touch not only with the black community, but with your own soul, as well.
When you raised those five points you broad-brushed the entirety of my community just like O’Reilly does with his “fire-ready-aim” approach to ranting about how terrible and deserving of scorn black people are.
~ Kwik on Daily Kos

Don Lemon is a friend of mine, but on then score I think that Mr. Lemon has missed the boat. The reality is we can’t blame the victims. We can’t blame people who are victimized by a vicious attitude that profiles them.
Bill O’Reilly has advanced no profound commitment to or sympathy for African-American people. He’s constantly lecturing us from his bastardized podium where he condescendingly throws out nuggets of wisdom to us without understanding the existential and moral crisis that attend the kind of victimization of black people.
Are we going to say white culture is pathologized because it refuses to take care of its children? Its kids are going to hell in a hand basket because they are on meth and they don’t care about the fundamental structure of the family?
We can indict the white family. There’s a lot of negativity, there’s a lot of dismissiveness, there’s a lot of crass materialism that refuses to care for the other.
~ Michael Eric Dyson on MSNBC's Martin Bashir

Sunday, July 28, 2013

CNN's Don Lemon Blames Black Community for Trayvon Martin Incident

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DON LEMON, HOST: We're going to take a break from the headlines to talk about something I've had on my mind for quite some time now. So much so that I felt compelled to bring back our segment where we hold politicians, leaders, and pundits accountable for what comes out of their mouths. It's time now, again, for “No Talking Points."

The Trayvon Martin murder case got just about everybody talking about race, and not just specifically how it related to the case. It got some, many on the political right, wondering why the so-called liberal media wasn't talking about other problems in the black community.

JUDITH MILLER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Let's talk about race. Let's talk about black-on-black violence.

DAVID WEBB, TALK RADIO HOST: The outrage that I have is in the lack of really the national attention to what is an epidemic of crime in the black community committed largely by blacks.

LEMON: Why aren't we talking about it? Good question. Actually, that's not a good question. We talked about it many times on this show and on CNN. It's actually a good deflection as I've said a number of times to a number of guests here on CNN and also on the radio.

LEMON: David, do not that false equivalent. That is not…

WEBB: No, I'm not trying to equivocate

LEMON: But, listen, crime happens all the time and because a crime happens, it does not mean that you should shift the focus from what happened here. Let's stick to this particular point so continue and let's talk about this case.

LEMON: So, that's the reason I didn't want to discuss at length crime in the African-American community or how to fix other ills that seem to be plaguing the community in general. But now that the jury has reached its verdict, one that everyone must accept, it's time now for some tough love on the subject. Someone on another network got the chance to go first because I couldn't go during the week. I'm only here on the weekend, so listen to this.

BILL O’REILLY, FOX NEWS: The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African-American family.

LEMON: He's got a point. In fact, he's got more than a point. Bill?

O’REILLY: Raised without much structure, young black men often reject education and gravitate towards the street culture, drugs, hustling, gangs. Nobody forces them to do that, again, it is a personal decision.

LEMON: He is right about that, too. But in my estimation, he doesn't go far enough. Because black people, if you really want to fix the problem, here's just five things that you should think about doing. Here's number five, and if this doesn't apply to you, if you're not doing this, then it doesn't apply to you, I'm not talking to you. Here's number five. Pull up your pants. Some people, a lot of them black, gave me flak for saying that recently on the “Wendy Williams Show."

LEMON: If you're sagging, it means I think your self-esteem is sagging and who you are as a person it's sagging. Young people need to be taught respect and there are rules.

LEMON: Sagging pants, whether it's Justin Bieber or no-name Derek around the way, walking around with your ass and your underwear showing is not okay. In fact, it comes from prison when they take away belts from the prisoners so that they can't make a weapon. And then it evolved into which role a prisoner would have during male-on-male prison sex. The one with the really low pants is the submissive one. You get my point?

Number four now is the N-word.

RAPPER JAY Z: For our generation, what we did was we took the word and we took the power out of that word.

ACTOR/COMEDIAN CHRIS ROCK: We took this word, and we made it into poetry.

LEMON: I understand poetic license, but consider this: I hosted a special on the N-word, suggesting that black people stop using it and that entertainers stop deluding yourselves or themselves and others that you're somehow taking the word back.

LEMON: By promoting the use of that word when it's not germane to the conversation, have you ever considered that you may be just perpetuating the stereotype the massa intended acting like a nigger?

LEMON: A lot of African-Americans took offense to that, too. And I wondered if I gave the right advice, I really did. But confirmation came the very next day on my way home when I exited the subway on 125th Street in Harlem. This little kid in a school uniform, no older than 7 years old, he was crying his eyes out as he walked down the sidewalk with his mother. I'm going to be honest here, she turned to him and she said, “I'm sick of you. You act like an old ass man. Stop all that crying, nigger.” Is that taking the word back? Think about that.

Now number three: respect where you live. Start small by not dropping trash, littering in your own communities. I've lived in several predominantly white neighborhoods in my life. I rarely, if ever, witnessed people littering. I live in Harlem now, it's an historically black neighborhood. Every single day I see adults and children dropping their trash on the ground when a garbage can is just feet away. Just being honest here.

Number two: finish school. You want to break the cycle of poverty? Stop telling kids they're acting white because they go to school or they speak proper English. A high school dropout makes on average $19,000 a year. A high school graduate makes $28,000 a year. A college graduate makes $51,000 a year. Over the course of a career, a college grad will make nearly $1 million more than a high school graduate. That's a lot of money.

And number one, and probably the most important: just because you can have a baby, it doesn't mean you should. Especially without planning for one or getting married first. More than 72 percent pf children in the African-American community are born out of wedlock. That means absent fathers. And the studies show that lack of a male role model is an express train right to prison and the cycle continues.

So, please, black folks, as I said if this doesn't apply to you, I'm not talking to you. Pay attention to and think about what has been presented in recent history as acceptable behavior. Pay close attention to the hip-hop and rap culture that many of you embrace, a culture that glorifies everything I just mentioned, thug and reprehensible behavior. A culture that is making a lot of people rich, just not you. And it's not going to. That said, though, the political right is not off the hook.

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS: If conservatives are so concerned about black-on-black crime, it's a little concerning the only time I hear them talking about it is when they want to stick it to the black community.

LEMON: And that's today's "No Talking Points."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Crime or Punishment? ~ Snowden Remains Stuck in Moscow Airport

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Previous Post:
Opinions Range from Naive Joy to Good Riddance as Snowden Plans to Leave Moscow Airport


New York Times Story
Mr. Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, and Russian news agencies had reported earlier on Wednesday that the Russian Federal Migration Service had issued a certificate confirming his application and permitting him to pass through Russian border control. A huge throng of reporters and camera crews gathered at the airport terminal in anticipation of Mr. Snowden’s departure.

But at about 6 p.m.. Antatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer assisting Mr. Snowden with his asylum request, emerged from the transit zone and said that the certificate had not been received.

He did not cite any specific reason for the delay but said officials had informed him that Mr. Snowden’s situation “was not a standard process” and that the paperwork needed to allow him to depart the airport.

Mr. Kucherena said he had met with Mr. Snowden and described him as being in good spirits, with plans to learn Russian. He said he had brought him the copy of “Crime and Punishment.”

I have to say I did not expect to see so many journalists at the airport today . . . but there is a procedure, a certain procedure, for the federal migration service to follow. It has to consider the request that Edward Snowden filed on the 16th of this month. According to Russian laws, there is a government decision that regulates such matters. For example, it says that a request for temporary asylum should be considered for three months. So today some initial papers were issued.
. . . First they issue a temporary document, then they consider the request. Today there was some misinformation saying that this paper had been issued. NO, this paper has not been issued, and the papers are still being considered.
I talk to migration authorities almost daily as they work on Edward Snowden's case.
. . . I think this situation will be resolved shortly. At this point I'm not ready to give a specific date.
~ Snowden's Attorney Anatoly Kucherena via RT

Reuters: Fugitive Snowden's Hopes of Leaving Moscow Airport Dashed
. . . Kucherena confirmed Snowden was staying somewhere in the many corridors and rooms of the transit area between the runway and passport control - an area which Russia considers neutral territory - and that he had learned the Russian for "Hi", "Bye-bye" and "I'll ring you."

The 30-year-old had received calls from across Russia, with offers to give him money and a place to stay, and even a suggestion by one woman to adopt him. He said he had enough money to get by for now.

Kucherena said he had brought him fresh underwear and shirts and added that he had given him the novel "Crime and Punishment" by 19th Century writer Fyodor Dostoevsky and short stories by Anton Chekhov.

President Vladimir Putin signaled last week that he did not want the dispute to derail Russia's relations with the United States, and the decision on temporary asylum could be delayed until after U.S. President Barack Obama visits Moscow for a summit in early September.

Background on Attorney Kucherena from Bob Cesca on The Daily Banter
. . . Kucherena reportedly sits on the Public Council for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Until 1995, the FSB was known as the Federal Counter-Intelligence Service (FSK). Before that, it was two agencies: the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAPSI). And before that? It was the Committee of State Security. The acronym: KGB.
In other words, Snowden, who claims to be highly suspicious if not totally disdainful of spy agencies, has hired a lawyer with direct ties to the spy agency formerly known as the KGB. But there’s more. Kucherena is connected with President Vladimir Putin, who, in turn, was a lieutenant colonel with the KGB earlier in his career and, to date, doesn’t have a stellar human rights record. Kucherena was also the lawyer for a pro-Putin filmmaker named Nikita Mikhalkov who publicly supported a plan for Putin to remain in office even after his term had expired.
There’s still more. Kucherena is the founder of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, a conservative think-tank that was established in part by the Krelim as a PR front. The institute is essentially a form of pay-back against western nations that have questioned Russia’s elections and human rights record.

Opinions from Naive Joy to Good Riddance as Snowden Plans to Leave Moscow Airport