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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 41,653

About Me

Blocked on Twitter by that rat bastard fuck @ggreenwald

Journal Archives

The Hard Truths of Ta-Nehisi Coates

Late this spring, the publisher Spiegel & Grau sent out advance copies of a new book by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a slim volume of 176 pages called Between the World and Me. “Here is what I would like for you to know,” Coates writes in the book, addressed to his 14-year-old son. “In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.”

The only endorsement he had wanted was the novelist Toni Morrison’s. Neither he nor his editor, Christopher Jackson, knew Morrison, but they managed to get the galleys into her hands. Weeks later, Morrison’s assistant sent Jackson an email with her reaction: “I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died,” Morrison had written. “Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates.” Baldwin died 28 years ago. Jackson forwarded the note to Coates, who sent back a one-word email: “Man.”

Morrison’s words were an anointing. They were also a weight. On the subject of black America, Baldwin had once been a compass — “Jimmy’s spirit,” the poet Amiri Baraka had said, eulogizing him, “is the only truth which keeps us sane.” On the last Friday in June, the day after Morrison’s endorsement was made public and then washed over Twitter, Coates sat down with me at a Morningside Heights bar and after some consideration ordered an IPA. At six-foot-four, he towers over nearly everyone he meets, and to close the physical distance he tends to turtle his neck down, making himself smaller: “A public persona but not a public person,” explained his father, Paul Coates. Ta-Nehisi said he thought ­Morrison’s praise was essentially literary, about the echo of Baldwin’s direct and exhortative prose in his own. The week before, The New ­Yorker’s David Remnick had called the forthcoming book “extraordinary,” and A. O. Scott of the New York Times would soon go further, calling it “essential, like water or air.” The figure of the lonely radical writer is a common one. A writer who radicalizes the Establishment is more rare. “When people who are not black are interested in what I do, frankly, I’m always surprised,” Coates said. “I don’t know if it’s my low expectations for white people or what.”

It had been nine days since the young white supremacist Dylann Roof had massacred nine black churchgoers in Charleston, and Coates, whose great theme is the intractability of racial history, had helped to orient the debate, to concentrate attention on the campaign against the Confederate flag: Even casual tweets he sent out were retweeted hundreds of times. The television behind the bar was tuned to President Obama’s eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney, which was just about to start. The broadcast was muted, but Coates noticed the tableau: “There’s a sister over here to the left, she’s natural, no perm, and a very black dude, and then an African-American president.” Coates imagined how this would appear to a 4-year-old white boy: “That’s the world as he knows it,” Coates said. “So all these people saying that symbols don’t mean anything — that’s bullshit. They mean a lot.” Coates has often been a critic of the president from the left — of his instinct to submerge race in talk of class, of his moralizing to black audiences. “I’m going to make a prediction,” he said. “He’s going to say something incredible.”


Harvard Law grad arrested in bizarre kidnapping case police once said was a hoax

A bizarre kidnapping case that police once called a hoax took yet another surprising turn Monday. The FBI issued a warrant for the arrest of a 38-year-old Harvard Law School graduate in connection with the case and a separate alleged home invasion that occurred last month.

In court documents unsealed Monday, the FBI said that there is probable cause to believe that Matthew D. Muller of Orangevale, Calif., kidnapped Denise Huskins from a Vallejo home on March 23.

At the time, her boyfriend Aaron Quinn told police that assailants entered the home in the early morning, drugged them and tied him up, and disappeared with Huskins. She appeared mysteriously days later in her hometown, unharmed after a person or persons claiming to be her kidnapper demanded thousands of dollars in ransom.

Vallejo Police said after Huskins reappeared that the situation was likely a hoax and that there was no evidence that there had even been a kidnapping.

Months later, the FBI’s statement on Muller’s arrest appears to vindicate Huskins’s and Quinn’s story.


Here's the charging document -- Even Hollywood can't make up stories like this... I defy you to stop reading it once you start:


Mass killer Breivik to study at Oslo University, from jail

Source: Reuters

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik won a place on Friday to study at Oslo University from solitary confinement in prison, despite outrage at his massacre of 77 people four years ago.

"He meets the admission requirements. We stick to our rules and he will be admitted," Oslo University rector Ole Petter Ottersen told Reuters, saying prisoners are eligible to study as long as their academic grades are good enough.

Many were appalled when Breivik, who holds far-right anti-Muslim views and has shown no remorse, applied for the three-year bachelor's course in political science. Some students now at the university survived his attacks, while others had friends or relatives killed.

"I realise there are many feelings involved here. He tried to demolish the system. We have to stay faithful to it," Ottersen said. The course includes study of democracy, human rights and respect for minorities.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/17/uk-norway-breivik-university-idUKKCN0PR1D720150717?utm_source=twitter

I know Norway has more enlightened views on imprisonment, but wow...

German squirrel arrested after woman complained it was stalking her

An "aggressive" squirrel has been arrested by German police officers after a woman complained it was stalking her.

Police in North Rhine-Westphalia received the bizarre emergency call on Wednesday from a woman who claimed the rodent was chasing her.The woman, from Bottrop, tried to give the pursuant rodent the slip but eventually rang the police out of desperation.

Officers captured the squirrel and "arrested it," according to a message posted on the force's Facebook page.

They agreed the animal was behaving in an "aggressive" way and brought it back to the station, where it was discovered to be suffering from exhaustion.

Now the squirrel has become an internet sensation after officers posted a short video online of them feeding the little rodent some honey. The video has since been viewed around 12,000 times.


Ida B. Wells: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

A pioneering African-American woman who used journalism to stand up against white supremacy and segregation and who led an anti-lynching crusade in the 1890s is celebrated on her birthday with a Google Doodle.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett would have turned 153 on July 16. She was a writer and editor, a suffragist and an early leader in the civil rights movement.

“We salute Ida B. Wells with a Doodle that commemorates her journalistic mettle and her unequivocal commitment to the advancement of civil liberties,” Google says.

Wells-Barnett is also known for her rally cry, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

Here’s what you need to know about Wells-Barnett:


The most successful female athlete of all time just got body shamed in the New York Times

As a woman in the public eye, it seems like even being one of the most gifted athletes isn't enough to stop the media from calling you fat.
On Friday, just as Serena Williams was preparing to clean up her historic sixth Wimbledon victory, the New York Times decided it was a good time to critique her body:

Williams, who will be vying for the Wimbledon title against Garbiñe Muguruza on Saturday, has large biceps and a mold-breaking muscular frame, which packs the power and athleticism that have dominated women’s tennis for years. Her rivals could try to emulate her physique, but most of them choose not to.

The real disgusting part of this, though, is that the Times didn’t really critique Williams. Instead, it let her competitors do it by explaining that they don't envy Williams' physique even as she uses it to dominate them.

In the story, the Times printed the words of several top female tennis players unloading about their body image issues and describing their wish to be seen as small.

“People say, ‘Oh, you’re so skinny, I always thought you were huge,’ ” said. “And then I feel like there are 80 million people in Germany who think I’m a bodybuilder. Then, when they see me in person, they think I’m O.K.”


Obama's clemency grant largest since the 1960s

Source: USA today

WASHINGTON — President Obama granted clemency Monday to 46 men and women who faced decades in prison for non-violent, drug offenses, part of an overall effort to address sentencing disparities nationwide.

"Their punishments didn't fit the crime, and if they had been sentenced under today's laws, nearly all of them would have already served their time," Obama said in an announcement video posted on the White House website.

The 46 commutations — the most granted by a president in a single day since at least the Lyndon Johnson administration of the 1960s — all involved drug crimes, mostly cocaine trafficking.

The prisoners will all be released by Nov. 10.

In the video message, Obama said the people whose sentences he commuted were not "hardened criminals," but "the overwhelming majority had been sentenced to at least 20 years," while 14 of them received life sentences for non-violent drug offenses.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/07/13/obama-clemency-46-men-and-women-facebook/30086127/

Henry Woods Bowman, former Cook County finance chief, dies in crash

Source: Chicago Tribune

H. Woods "Woody" Bowman, a former state representative, Cook County finance chief and college professor, was killed Saturday in a car crash in southwest Michigan.

Bowman, 73, and his wife, Michele Thompson, were driving on Interstate 94 near Mattawan when a semi truck rear-ended the couple's Cadillac around 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to local fire officials. The truck driver might have been distracted by the sight of fire crews extinguishing a grass fire in the highway median, official said.

"Apparently he was looking at the fire or the units clearing the fire and didn't see the car in front of him," said Mattawan Fire Department Lt. Kenneth King.

Bowman, professor emeritus with DePaul University's School of Public Service, was Cook County's chief financial officer under former County Board President Richard Phelan in the early 1990s.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-henry-woods-bowman-obit-met-0714-20150713-story.html

Son of Boston Police Captain Arrested as Possible Terrorist

Source: ABC News

The estranged son of a respected Boston police captain was arrested July 4 by FBI agents as part of a counter-terrorism operation against alleged ISIS-inspired domestic terrorists, federal officials told ABC News today.

Alexander Ciccolo, 23, of Adams, Mass., was taken into custody on gun charges after buying two pistols and two rifles from an undercover FBI confidential informant, federal officials said. In a search of his apartment, officials reported they found it loaded with possible bomb-making equipment including a pressure cooker, a variety of chemicals, an alarm clock, along with “attack planning papers” and “jihad” paperwork. FBI agents said he used the name Abu Ali al-Amriki and neighbors said he was a recent convert to Islam.

“This is a very bad person arrested before he could do very bad things,” one senior federal official briefed on the arrest told ABC News.
According to the FBI, Ciccolo attempted to stab a nurse in the head with a pen during a routine screening, “leaving a hole in the nurse’s skin.”

An FBI affidavit said Ciccolo initially planned to travel to “another state” and used a pressure cooker bomb “to conduct terrorist attacks on civilians, members of the U.S. military and law enforcement personnel.” The FBI said the attack location was later changed to a town with a state university and would be concentrated on “college dorms and cafeteria, to include executions of students, which would be broadcast live via the internet.”

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/officials-son-boston-police-captain-arrested-terrorist/story?id=32414150

How does someone go from peace protestor to jihadist in just a few years?

Anger still crackles 30 years after France bombed Greenpeace ship

Wellington (AFP) - Thirty years after France's deadly bomb attack on the Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand, anger still crackles in Pete Willcox's voice when he discusses the sinking of the Greenpeace flagship.

Willcox was captain of the environmental group's converted trawler when frogmen working for French intelligence slipped into Auckland Harbour late on July 10, 1985, and fixed two large limpet mines to its hull.

Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira died in the subsequent blasts, which New Zealand's then-prime minister David Lange described as "a sordid act of international state-backed terrorism".

"Fernando had two children and his murder blew a hole in their lives that can never be patched up," Willcox told AFP ahead of the anniversary.

"And as a captain, the worst thing you can do is lose a crew member. It was hard."

The Rainbow Warrior had docked in Auckland on its way to protest French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll, about 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) southeast of Tahiti.

But France's spy agency, the DGSE, had other ideas, launching the ominously titled "Operation Satanique" to stop it.

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