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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 41,451

About Me

Blocked on Twitter by that rat bastard fuck @ggreenwald

Journal Archives

It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males

I get really really tired of hearing the phrase “mental illness” thrown around as a way to avoid saying other terms like “toxic masculinity,” “white supremacy,” “misogyny” or “racism.”

We barely know anything about the suspect in the Charleston, South Carolina, atrocity. We certainly don’t have testimony from a mental health professional responsible for his care that he suffered from any specific mental illness, or that he suffered from a mental illness at all.

We do have statistics showing that the vast majority of people who commit acts of violence do not have a diagnosis of mental illness and, conversely, people who have mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.

We know that the stigma of people who suffer from mental illness as scary, dangerous potential murderers hurts people every single day — it costs people relationships and jobs, it scares people away from seeking help who need it, it brings shame and fear down on the heads of people who already have it bad enough.

But the media insists on trotting out “mental illness” and blaring out that phrase nonstop in the wake of any mass killing. I had to grit my teeth every time I personally debated someone defaulting to the mindless mantra of “The real issue is mental illness” over the Isla Vista shootings.

“The real issue is mental illness” is a goddamn cop-out. I almost never hear it from actual mental health professionals, or advocates working in the mental health sphere, or anyone who actually has any kind of informed opinion on mental health or serious policy proposals for how to improve our treatment of the mentally ill in this country.


Keith Olbermann on Rachel Dolezal and Effa Manley

How exactly do the physics of this operate?

John Coffey Frontman Did The Most Rock Star Thing Ever At PinkPop Festival Yesterday

Every once in a while, every element of the universe combines together in just the right way for one brief, magical moment, putting all other moments to shame and leading grown men and women to openly weep with joy in the streets. One such moment occurred at Dutch punk band John Coffey’s set at the Netherlands’ PinkPop Festival yesterday. While crowd-walking during his performance, lead singer David Achter de Molen — aka the biggest rock star on the planet — casually caught and downed a cup of beer perfectly thrown to him from what looks to be a pretty solid distance. Everything about it, including the incredible athleticism of the throw and the utter nonchalance of the catch, is beautiful. Watch it below in both video and gif form, and you can read an interview (in Dutch) with the guy who threw the beer here.


The African Diaspora on BBC's "Witness" Podcasts

I personally find these fascinating to no end...They're all about 9-10 mins each, and there are plenty more to search for...

There's a general collection here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01h9dl0

And here are some of my other favorites:

Dorothy Mulkey - US Fair Housing Campaigner
In 1967, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling which effectively outlawed discrimination in the American housing market. The case was brought by Dorothy Mulkey, a Californian woman who had been preventing from renting an apartment in a white area. She talks to Adam Smith for Witness. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02rq84x

Bob Marley's Funeral
On 21 May 1981 the legendary reggae singer was buried in Jamaica. Hundreds of thousands of people had turned out to pay their respects. His friend and fellow musician Michael Ibo Cooper remembers. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02rbvv7

The Building of Kariba Dam
In May 1960 the massive Kariba hydro-electric dam on Africa's Zambezi river was opened. About 60,000 people lost their homes to what is still the world's largest man-made lake. We hear from Mwiindachi Siamwiza, who was 12 years old at the time of the resettlement. With Penny Dale. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02qx0cy

Bloods and Crips truce
In April 1992, the main black street gangs in Los Angeles started a historic truce. Aqeela Sherrills took part in peace negotiations in the Watts district. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nnv6w

The Fall of Idi Amin
In 1979 Tanzanian troops invaded Uganda and ousted its brutal dictator. His downfall marked the end of a six month conflict between the two countries, which had been triggered by Amin's ill-fated invasion of northern Tanzania. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02n4xt2

The Murder of Archbishop Janani Luwum
The Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Janani Luwum, took the brave step of speaking out against dictator Idi Amin. In February 1977 he was summoned to a meeting by the government and never seen alive in public again. Hear from his daughter, Julie Luwum Adriko.

Sophiatown Removals
On 9 February 1955 apartheid South Africa forcibly evicted residents from Sophiatown, a multi-racial suburb in Johannesburg. It was demolished and turned into a whites-only area called Triomf. Victor Mokine was a child at the time and shares his memories with Witness. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02k61z6

The Looting of the Benin Bronzes
The British attack Benin City in 1897 and steal its ancient artwork, the Benin bronzes. We hear from Mark Walker, the grandson of a British soldier who took part in what was called the Benin Punitive Expedition, launched after a group of British officials are killed.

The Greensboro Sit-In
Four young black men began protesting against racial segregation in February 1960 by staging a sit-in at a whites only lunch counter in a Woolworth's store in Greensboro, North Carolina. One of the four, was Franklin McCain - he spoke to Witness in 2011.

Britain's First Black Woman MP
In 1987 Diane Abbott became the first black woman elected to the British Parliament. The daughter of first generation immigrants she was one of only four black MPs. Diane Abbott has been speaking to Witness about her election and making political history in the UK.

1968 US Race Riots
In April 1968 major cities in the United States were rocked by race riots following the assassination of black civil rights leader Martin Luther King. In Washington, Chicago and Baltimore, it took tens of thousands of soldiers to quell the violence. Witness has been speaking to Virginia Ali, whose restaurant, Ben's Chili Bowl, was just one block away from where the riots began in Washington DC.

The Mysterious Death of an MP in Kenya
Kenyan MP Josiah Mwangi Kariuki, considered a possible future president, disappeared in mysterious circumstances in March 1975. His widow, Terry, tells Witness about how she finally confirmed that he had been killed. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02l69xc

Inter-racial Marriage in South Africa
In South Africa in June 1985, the ban on marriage between people of different ethnic backgrounds was finally lifted. Suzanne Le Clerc and Protas Madlala were the first couple to tie the knot under the new rules. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02t8tlt

The Death of Walter Rodney
In June 1980, the Guyanese opposition leader and academic, Dr Walter Rodney, was killed in a bomb explosion. He was one of the leaders of a movement trying to bridge the racial divide in Guyana’s politics. His supporters said he had been assassinated on the orders of the government. We hear from his widow, Patricia Rodney, and from Wazir Mohamed who was a young activist at the time.

Larnaca Airport Shootout
In 1978 Egyptian commandos and Cypriot troops ended up fighting each other during a botched attempt to end a hostage crisis at Larnaca airport in Cyprus. 15 Egyptian commandos were killed in the gun battle. Former Cyprus Airways pilot, Adrian Akers-Douglas, witnessed the shootout. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02jtk1z

Haile Gebrselassie
In 2000, the great Ethiopian distance runner, Haile Gebrselassie, won the Olympic 10,000 metres by a single second - beating his closest rival in the process. Gebrselassie, who announced his retirement in May 2015, describes the race to Fred Dove. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02r1lxz

Black Golfer at the Masters
In 1975, Lee Elder braved death threats to become the first African-American golfer to play at the prestigious US Masters in Augusta. It was one of the last colour barriers in US sport and made him a hero to many black sportsmen - including Tiger Woods. In 2013, Lee Elder spoke about the tournament to Simon Watts. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02n0czc

Rwanda v Uganda: The Match that Made History
The crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between rivals Rwanda and Uganda. A match that had it all - amazing saves, ‘witchcraft’, a mass brawl and a goal that made history. Rob Walker reports. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02mj969

The Black Stars of Ghana
In the 1960s, the Ghanaian football team dominated Africa, winning tournament after tournament. Known as the Black Stars, they were an exciting attacking force which President Kwame Nkrumah hoped would help promote African unity. But in 1965, the Ghanaians faced an uphill struggle in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunis.Their star striker, Osei Kofi, remembers the match for Witness. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02j2b43

The Harlem Globetrotters in the Soviet Union
In 1959, the Harlem Globetrotters paid an unlikely Cold War visit to the Soviet Union. Their mixture of athleticism and American-style entertainment eventually won over basketball fans in Moscow and earned them hugs from Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev. Former Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon talks to Sporting Witness. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02g13gy

The Indomitable Lions
In the opening game of the 1990 World Cup, rank outsiders Cameroon faced the reigning champions, Argentina - led by Diego Maradona. Few gave Cameroon a chance. Alex Last speaks to defender N'Dip Akem Victor about a defining game for African football.

Tegla Loroupe wins NY Marathon
How Tegla Loroupe, an unknown Kenyan runner, became the first marathon champion from Africa, with an exceptionally fast finish. She tells us how a tough upbringing in the mountains of her homeland shaped her whole approach to breaking barriers. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02c0vp9

Pele Joins NY Cosmos
An insider's account of Pele's shock move to a soccer team in the United States in 1975. We hear from Clive Toye, the former General Manager of the New York Cosmos, who persuaded Pele to play football in the US. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02bdl0t

The Three Degrees
In the late 1970s, three black West Bromwich Albion players revolutionised English football. Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson and Cyrille Regis had to face racist abuse, but won many fans thanks to their attacking flair. The three footballers even earned the affectionate nickname The Three Degrees, after a famous pop group of the time. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p029fgxn

Black Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm
In January 1972 Shirley Chisholm became the first major-party black candidate to make a bid for the US Presidency. She was also the first black woman elected to Congress. Witness has been speaking to Congressman Charles Rangel who worked with Shirley Chisholm.

War of Canudos in Brazil
In 1897, at least 15,000 people died when the Brazilian army crushed a rebellion by peasants in the arid backlands of north-east Brazil. The rebels were led by a charismatic preacher called Anthony the Counsellor. The War of Canudos is now seen as a defining moment in the emergence of modern Brazil. Witness tells the story of the conflict using a contemporary account by the Brazilian author, Euclides Da Cunha. The programme also speaks to professor David Treece of King's College London. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0205w53

The Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa
The activist Steve Biko led the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa before he was killed in police custody in 1977. We hear from one of the early members of the movement, Mamphela Ramphele who had a relationship with Steve Biko. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01ys3s4

For Their Civic Participation, Girl Scout Troop Rewarded With Racist Abuse

This past spring, a group of Girl Scouts went to a public meeting in Cecil County, Maryland, to protest what they saw as inhumane conditions at the local animal shelter. Apparently, their reward for this spirited youthful foray into civic participation was to have a bunch of adults yell gross, racist things at them. Now, video of the incident has started to circulate online, and this week, ABC 2 in Baltimore reported on the incident, interviewing the girls who claim they were called “animals” and told to “go back to Baltimore.”

Things started when Chesapeake Bay Troop 176 arrived at the public meeting with handmade signs and asked questions about how the animals were being treated in the local shelter, which has recently been under fire for cramped conditions. The audio ABC 2 captures shows that things got heated immediately (one of the troop leaders was accused of pursuing a vendetta against the shelter, or something), and a gang of adults angrily followed the girls out of the meeting. “You guys, no racial comments, OK?” you can hear a troop leader saying on the audio. “Saying that they belong in Baltimore because they're black, that is wrong. Please don't say that OK?”

A Buddy for Life Inc., which runs the shelter in question, posted a statement on Facebook disavowing responsibility for the incident and reiterating the allegations of vendetta; one of the troop leaders, it argues, has “personal reasons stemming from dissatisfaction with a case where the law did not provide the outcome she wanted.”

That may be true! Let's redirect the conversation toward that hazy grievance and away from the spectacle of adults screaming racial abuse at little girls.

This incident comes on the heels of the pool party debacle in McKinney, Texas, which highlighted police abuse against black teens and children, and which also started when adults decided to hurl racial abuse at minors doing things they disapprove of, such as swimming in a pool or advocating in defense of cute animals.


Young Man, Adult Crime

A teenage boy stands accused of killing an innocent man. Can the criminal justice system acknowledge a juvenile’s potential to change while also holding him accountable for a terrible act?

This story was written by Dana Goldstein for the Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that covers the U.S. criminal justice system. Sign up for their newsletter, or follow the Marshall Project on Facebook or Twitter.

In 2012, Kahton Anderson found a gun.

The .357 Magnum, a revolver with a silver barrel, was hidden inside the radiator in the kitchen of the apartment Kahton shared with his mother and two siblings in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Kahton said he had watched his older brother, Lakim, hide the gun there.

At first, Kahton, who was 12 at the time, only looked at the gun in its hiding place. But he quickly got to know the weapon better, removing it from the radiator, toying with it, and taking pictures of himself holding it. “If I could get some bullets for this mag, we would clear a lot of shit out,” he boasted to a friend on Facebook. By March 2013, Kahton was writing, “When beef come, we ready!”

A year later, this boy, with this gun, would take an innocent man’s life on a New York City bus. The case was easy fodder for the tabloids, which quickly dubbed Kahton a “fiend” and “thug.” It also raised some of the most difficult and pressing questions in criminal justice: What is the right venue for trying a teenager accused of murder? And is there a way to acknowledge a young defendant’s immaturity and potential to change while simultaneously holding him accountable for a terrible act? Fear of crimes like Kahton’s threatens to derail efforts in New York and other states to revise laws that treat teenagers as adults in criminal court. But a closer look at the circumstances that led to his offense illustrates the need for a system that acknowledges the gray space between adulthood and childhood—and that offers more than just adult prison sentences as the response to youthful violence.


An Interview With Mark Stebbins, the Original Rachel Dolezal

Before Rachel Dolezal, there was Stockton, California's Mark Stebbins. In 1983, Stebbins won election to the Stockton City Council in a largely black and Latino district. During the campaign, when asked about his racial identity, he said he was black. But after the election, one of his defeated opponents—a larger-than-life local figure named Ralph White, who called himself "the black messiah of Stockton"—argued that Stebbins should be recalled from office because he'd lied about his race and was actually white.

Stebbins is indeed white, and he admitted as much in interviews with the media outlets (including national publications like Ebony and People) that covered his story after White demanded the recall. "As far as a birth certificate goes, I'm white," he told Ebony. "My grandparents were white. My parents are white. ... But I'm black." He said he simply felt black—"culturally, socially, genetically." A community activist before his council run, Stebbins (like Dolezal) was a member of the NAACP. He ultimately lost his recall election narrowly, though many in the black community continued to support him. (Ebony spoke to Stebbins' barber, a black man, who cleared him of Ralph White's allegation that his curly, Afro-like hair was permed. "Mark doesn't put anything on his hair. A white boy with a permanent? Nope.")

Reached at a U-Haul rental outlet he owns called Stebbins of Stockton, Stebbins—now 72—spoke freely to Slate about his life, Dolezal's story (which he hadn't heard about when initially contacted—he called back later after reading up), and the history of "race." This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

So do you have an opinion on the Rachel Dolezal controversy?

I just read the story in the newspaper this morning. It seems to me that stories like this are about a race construct that's coming apart at the edges and the desperate attempt to glue it back together. There also seems to be no regard in all of this for the personal lives of people involved, there's no regard for the privacy of the individual. The importance of trying to maintain a race construct is overriding.


Stop waiting for racism to die out with old people. The Charleston shooting suspect is 21.

Dylann Roof has been charged with murder for killing nine black people at a Charleston, South Carolina, church on June 17 in an attack that's being investigated as a hate crime. He's 21 years old. His birth year — 1994 — means he's not just a millennial, but one of the younger ones.

The accused killer's youth is a reminder that the cultural myth of racism eventually dying out along with an aging, backward-thinking generation is nonsense.

Obviously, as time passes, many of the elderly people who were alive and just fine with it when legalized segregation was enforced, who took full advantage of the days when saying the n-word was normal, and who could publish a racist rant in the local paper without any consequences are leaving the Earth and taking their brand of stubborn, proud bigotry with them.

But to look for comfort in the idea that their departure will make America a place where black people can enjoy equality and peace is a piece of American fiction that's as dangerous and lazy as it is seductive.

Roof, according to his roommate, is "big into segregation and other stuff" and worries that "black people are taking over the world"; is a fan of the former racist regimes of apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia; and, according to police, uttered a "racially inflammatory remark" at the scene of the church massacre. A manifesto attributed to him details his hatred of African Americans. Roof developed these twisted views not in pre-civil rights movement America, but in the past two decades. He — along with many more who perpetuate racism in lower-profile, legal ways — is proof that it's not just the elderly who continue to have and act on racist views.


Obama said the n-word to make a point. The media's reaction proved him right.

In President Obama's interview with comedian Marc Maron for Maron's WTF podcast, which was posted Monday, Obama made a vague but worthwhile point about racism in America: Some kinds of explicit racism might be considered bad manners now, but that doesn't mean underlying problems have been addressed:

Racism, we are not cured of it. And it's not just a matter of not being polite to say 'ni**er' in public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 or 300 years prior.

This statement can be interpreted as a critique of the media, as much as anything. There's much more interest in covering discrete incidents of outright racism than there is in covering subtler but still influential ways that racial bias shapes society. Donald Sterling got pushed out as owner of the LA Clippers for telling his girlfriend not to bring black men to games, not for his history of lawsuits over racist housing practices.

So how did the media respond to Obama's critique? By leading with his use of the n-word:

Of course, Obama isn't the first president to use the word. Other presidents have used it, not to criticize racism but to, well, be racist. Only a few years before Lyndon B. Johnson signed the biggest civil rights laws in American history, he routinely described an earlier civil rights bill as "the ni**er bill." Harry Truman referred to pioneering black Congressman Adam Clayton Powell as "that damned ni**er preacher." (This column by Randall Kennedy, who literally wrote the book on the subject, goes into much more detail about the history of the word.)


Pittsburgh Man Charged With Robbing Bank With a Sex Toy

A bomb squad blew up a briefcase and other suspicious items in a Pittsburgh man's car Monday after he robbed a bank, police said. With a sex toy. Specifically, a vibrator.

Aaron Stein, 35, faces a preliminary hearing June 25 in Allegheny County Magisterial District Court on nine felony counts including aggravated assault, robbery, threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and the unusual charge of possessing a facsimile weapon of mass destruction, according to court documents.

That last one would be the vibrator.
IMAGE: Bomb squad detonates device after bank robbery
The Allegheny County Bomb Squad detonates a suspicious device found in a car after bank robbery Monday in Crafton, Pennsylvania. WPXI-TV

Stein was arrested after a PNC Bank in the Pittsburgh suburb of Crafton was robbed of an undisclosed amount of money Monday. Crafton Police Chief Mark Sumpter told NBC station WPXI of Pittsburgh that Stein "stated he had a bomb, showed the teller wires hanging out from his shirt and demanded cash."

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