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Blue_Tires

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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 37,576

Journal Archives

Oh, FFS Kobe!

L.A. Lakers player Kobe Bryant opened up in a new interview with The New Yorker, and one of the issues they touch on is Trayvon Martin and how members of the Miami Heat wore hoodies in his memory two years ago. Bryant admitted he’s not comfortable with the idea of being compelled to defend someone just because they’re black, saying he would rather just sit back and wait for all the facts to come out before passing judgment.

The relevant passage is only available to New Yorker subscribers, but ColorLines reposted it in its report on Bryant’s remarks.


I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” he said. “That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”

Bryant’s remarks have already spawned a flurry of Twitter backlash, including from MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/kobe-bryant-admits-he-wasnt-comfortable-with-miami-heats-trayvon-protest/

http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/03/kobe_bryant_was_not_impressed_by_the_miami_heats_trayvon_martin_protest.html

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I hope for Kobe's sake that there is a more generous context of his comments in the full piece...

Joe Gaetjens - the footballer who disappeared

One of the biggest shocks in World Cup history happened in 1950, when the US beat England, thanks to a goal scored by Haitian Joe Gaetjens. After Gaetjens returned to Haiti a hero, he later disappeared and was killed, possibly by the president himself.

Joe Gaetjens made his name on 29 June 1950. "Out of nowhere apparently, my father came and went head first and hit the ball hard enough to change its direction - so the goalie from the England team was going one way and the ball went the other way," says his eldest son Lesly.

The 15,000 football fans in Brazil's Belo Horizonte stadium went wild - moments earlier they thought the US didn't have even the slightest chance of beating England. Even the US coach had described his side as sheep ready to be slaughtered.

While the England players were professionals, the Americans were part-timers - one was a teacher, another drove a hearse for a living and Gaetjens was an accountancy student.

Jo Gaetjens, Paris 1951-52
He was born in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, in 1924 to a relatively well-off family. He loved football and by the age of 14 was signed up to the Etoile Haitienne team where he became known for his goal-scoring headers.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26515082

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Black Pathology and the Closing of the Progressive Mind

Quite a long commentary, but well worth the read:

Among opinion writers, Jonathan Chait is outranked in my esteem only by Hendrik Hertzberg. This lovely takedown of Robert Johnson is a classic of the genre, one I studied incessantly when I was sharpening my own sword. The sharpening never ends. With that in mind, it is a pleasure to engage Chait in the discussion over President Obama, racism, culture, and personal responsibility. It's good to debate a writer of such clarity—even when that clarity has failed him.

On y va.

Chait argues that I've conflated Paul Ryan's view of black poverty with Barack Obama's. He is correct. I should have spent more time disentangling these two notions, and illuminating their common roots—the notion that black culture is part of the problem. I have tried to do this disentangling in the past. I am sorry I did not do it in this instance and will attempt to do so now.

​Arguing that poor black people are not "holding up their end of the bargain," or that they are in need of moral instruction is an old and dubious tradition in America. There is a conservative and a liberal rendition of this tradition. The conservative version eliminates white supremacy as a factor and leaves the question of the culture's origin ominously unanswered. This version can never be regarded seriously. Life is short. Black life is shorter.

On y va.

The liberal version of the cultural argument points to "a tangle of pathologies" haunting black America born of oppression. This argument—which Barack Obama embraces—is more sincere, honest, and seductive. Chait helpfully summarizes:

The argument is that structural conditions shape culture, and culture, in turn, can take on a life of its own independent of the forces that created it. It would be bizarre to imagine that centuries of slavery, followed by systematic terrorism, segregation, discrimination, a legacy wealth gap, and so on did not leave a cultural residue that itself became an impediment to success.

The "structural conditions" Chait outlines above can be summed up under the phrase "white supremacy." I have spent the past two days searching for an era when black culture could be said to be "independent" of white supremacy. I have not found one. Certainly the antebellum period, when one third of all enslaved black people found themselves on the auction block, is not such an era. And surely we would not consider postbellum America, when freedpeople were regularly subjected to terrorism, to be such an era.

We certainly do not find such a period during the Roosevelt-Truman era, when this country erected a racist social safety, leaving the NAACP to quip that the New Deal was "like a sieve with holes just big enough for the majority of Negroes to fall through." Nor do we find it during the 1940s, '50s and '60s, when African-Americans—as a matter of federal policy—were largely excluded from the legitimate housing market. Nor during the 1980s when we began the erection of a prison-industrial complex so vast that black males now comprise 8 percent of the world's entire incarcerated population.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/03/black-pathology-and-the-closing-of-the-progressive-mind/284523/

Jack Nicholson on ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ twice


Maybe this is just values dissonance at work, but no amount of suspension of disbelief in the world can get me past the idea of a ranking law enforcement officer simply handing an abandoned baby over to a strange couple just on their say-so—not even in ‘60s small-town America, and least of all when the claim they’ve laid on the child is a explicit admission of horrifying negligence.

His second appearance was a meatier part in 1967, around the time he began making serious turns toward the weird, writing the script for Roger Corman’s bizarre attempt at counterculture pandering The Trip and appearing in the drugsploitation oddity Psych-Out. But in Andy Griffith’s season 8’s episode 7, Aunt Bee is called to serve as a juror and finds herself recast as Henry Fonda from 12 Angry Men. Nicholson plays the defendant. I suspect there’s loads of potential in this episode for a mashup with A Few Good Men.

http://dangerousminds.net/comments/jack_nicholson_on_the_andy_griffith_show_twice

Obama defends NSA spying in meeting with Chinese president

Source: Los Angeles Times

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — President Obama on Monday defended U.S. surveillance programs as serving national security rather than commercial interests, in a wide-ranging meeting with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of a nuclear summit.

In the private session with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Obama defended the National Security Agency’s espionage tactics days after news broke that the U.S. spy agency had tapped into Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei’s computer system. The revelation, stemming from documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, appeared to undermine Obama’s regular complaint that Chinese companies conduct corporate espionage and intellectual property theft.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said Xi raised the matter, which was reported by the New York Times and Der Spiegel on Saturday. The president countered that “the United States does not engage in espionage to gain a commercial advantage,” Rhodes said, adding that Obama said the U.S. believes there’s “a clear distinction between intelligence activities that have a national security purpose and intelligence activities that have a commercial purpose.”

Obama thanked the Chinese leader for welcoming First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters on a trip to Beijing this week. Xi thanked Obama for U.S. help in trying to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, which was carrying many Chinese passengers.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-obama-nsa-spying-chinese-president-20140324,0,3780214.story#ixzz2wtxXlMNp



The Chinese don't seem to be too outraged over this...Maybe they just see it as "everyday business as usual?"

Does anyone still want to claim SnowWald are *NOT* specifically timing these true-but-not-that-shocking "gotcha" releases for maximum political damage? They're pretty predictable by this point now...

Just for laughs, I highly suggest DUers regularly check out Greenwald's twitter feed -- It's a dizzying, nonstop perpetual motion machine of circular logic on the Chinese story, the Russia issue, Russia Today, etc. etc...Only on twitter does Greenwald throw away the mask and be his true, unfiltered self -- It's very eye-opening....

WHY would Kathleen do such a thing over the phone? And why is it even news??

World War One weapon explodes, killing two

A shell or grenade buried in western Belgium since World War One, has exploded, killing two people.

At least two more were injured, one of whom is in critical condition.

The device was set off as workmen at a building site in Ypres were trying to dig it up.

A strategic city, Ypres was shelled by German forces for most of the war and unexploded weapons are often found there.

The area, where a factory is being built, has been sealed off and local explosives experts have been brought in.

It is thought that thousands of explosives from the 1914-1918 war still lie buried in and around Ypres, yet to be discovered.

Every year the former battlefields of western Belgium throw up hundreds of Great War armaments. Most are destroyed without incident by a special Belgian army bomb squad.

Despite that, several hundred people have been killed in similar explosions since the end of the war.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26654314

NSA top lawyer says tech giants knew about data collection

The top lawyer for the National Security Agency and others from the Obama administration made it clear to the US government's independent oversight board that tech titans knew about government surveillance while it was going on.

NSA general counsel Rajesh De told the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on Wednesday that tech titans were aware that the NSA was collecting communications and related metadata both for the NSA's "PRISM" program and for "upstream" communications crossing the Internet. PRISM is a surveillance program designed to collect and process "foreign intelligence" that passes through American servers.

The law that authorized the program was 2008's Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. The Guardian reported that when asked if collection of communications and associated metadata occurred with the "full knowledge and assistance of any company from which information is obtained," De said, "Yes."

De explained to the board that "PRISM was an internal government term that as the result of leaks became the public term." Data collection under PRISM, he said, was a "compulsory legal process, that any recipient company would receive."

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57620600-38/nsa-top-lawyer-says-tech-giants-knew-about-data-collection/?Privacy

The other shoe drops...I've said from day one that not only did corporate America know, they were willing partners...

Holder: We're on track to meet NSA reform deadline

The Justice Department and the National Security Agency are on track to meet President Barack Obama's call for officials to come up with plans to revamp or replace an NSA program which gathers massive amounts of data on telephone calls made and received by Americans in order to help investigate possible terroist plots, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday.

"We will meet the deadline that the president has set," Holder said, referring to the March 28 deadline Obama laid out in a speech in January promising reforms to U.S. intelligence gathering practices.

National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander said in a February 14 speech that "ideas" were headed to the White House the following week, more than a month ahead of the deadline.

In Obama's January speech, he called for an end to the NSA's bulk collection of telephone metadata. He urged replacing the program with one that stored the data with telephone providers, or with a third-party created for that purpose, or that used other capabilities to provide a similar ability to gain insight into terrorist plots.


http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2014/03/holder-were-on-track-to-meet-nsa-reform-deadline-185375.html

Malaysia's Culture Of Secrecy Is A Huge Obstacle In The Plane Search

You almost have to feel bad for the Malaysian government. For years, the world has largely looked the other way from its corrupt and oppressive political system thanks to its impressive economic performance. But now, the search for a missing plane—from an airline that, by the way, has one of the region’s best safety records—has tarnished the country’s reputation in just a week.

While the disappearance is genuinely baffling, and I think it’s far from clear that any country could have done a better job at finding the plane, the search is already being described as an illustrative example of the country’s opaque and dysfunctional political culture.

Then again, you can’t feel too bad for the government. While Malaysia’s lack of transparency isn’t the reason the plane hasn’t been found yet, it’s clearly not helping. Officials have been heavily criticized for waiting four days before publicly disclosing that military radar may have picked up signs that the plane was diverted from its course.

Vietnam says it is scaling back its participation in the search after complaining of “insufficient information” from the Malaysians. China, home to more than two-thirds of the plane’s passengers, has also criticized the “confusion” of the Malaysian response.

http://www.businessinsider.com/culture-of-secrecy-malaysia-2014-3
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