Thursday, July 7, 2016

Someone has wounded you, Dear World

55yrs ago today John Lewis was released from Parchman Penitentiary after being arrested in Jackson for using "white" restroom

It is July 7th, 2016,
As I sat down to begin my blog today celebrating all that today holds, I was sorry to read about the passing of John McMartin, a great journeyman actor, whom I always loved and enjoyed. I offer condolences to his family.
As I sat down to begin my blog today, the song playing on my iPod was Send In The Clowns sung by Vincent Wolfe. It is apros pros. There is a lot of hurt and anger in the world right now.
The United States is reeling once again over the senseless death of yet another African-American man, 37 year old Alton Sterling, by a police officer because the police felt "threatened".
Before the day was over, there was another shooting,  Philando Castile.
Wayne LaPierre, of the NRA, says the only thing that will stop a bad man with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
These guys didn't have a chance! WHY!?!?! Why are these cops filled with so much rage that they have taken someone's LIFE. The trajectory of the lives of this families, friends, and everyone who knew them are changed forever because of an action that will never get a do-over. A trigger was pulled. It is also the lives of the two police officers and so on and so on...

The 911 call that brought police to a Baton Rouge convenience store Tuesday came from a homeless man, according to a senior law enforcement official.
Marlene Dietrich sings "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" at the Royal Variety Performance. 1963. Arranged and conducted by Burt Bacharach.

The homeless man had approached Alton Sterling, repeatedly asking him for money, the official said.
Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Trivia Weatherspoon takes a photo

Sterling showed his gun and the homeless man called police, according to the official.
Sterling was later shot and killed by police at the scene.
The incident was captured on video by two bystanders.

So - not all homeless people are good. Some are just plain vindictive. Just my opinion after 30 years in NYC and being relentlessly pursued to the point of fear of bodily harm from more than I care to count.

Was Mr. Sterling a legal gun owner? Yes. However.....
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"In 2015, the Brady Campaign, an organization committed to preventing gun violence, gave Louisiana a score of -27 out of 100, making it the fourth friendliest state toward guns behind Wyoming, Arkansas, and Arizona. And according to The World Atlas, it was also ranked the sixth most dangerous state in 2015. That same year, Mother Jones calculated that guns were present inside of nearly 50 percent of households in the state.

There are a lot of things that Louisiana doesn't require of gun purchasers, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. If a Louisiana resident wants to purchase a gun, for example, he or she only needs to present a driver's license to prove age. No background checks or gun permits are needed if the buyer doesn't plan on carrying it in public. Furthermore, gun dealers can sell firearms with no license and are not required to keep a record of what they sell to whom. Additionally, residents over the age of 21 can buy as many firearms as they please, even in the same day. 
Lastly, there are currently no regulations imposed on high capacity magazines, ammunition, or guns in the workplace.
Obtaining a concealed weapon permit, however, is slightly more difficult. If a resident wishes to carry a loaded weapon, he or she must undergo a background check and have an entirely clean record. A training course and safety class are also required.
Unlike recent mass shooting cases, the point in question is not Sterling's alleged possession of a firearm. Instead, the Department of Justice's civil rights division is investigating the police officers' indiscretion. Though gun laws don't as heavily affect officers who are already licensed to carry firearms on the job, the prevalence of guns in the state could latently encourage authority to act in a certain manner toward suspects that might be carrying. - Hillary Crawford op ed"
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So - people in Louisiana can buy as many guns as they want - but they can't carry them. Right. Because anyone who owns a gun NEVER wants to actually CARRY it for protection, eh, NRA?

Yeah - that works. As evidenced by this horrendous debacle.
-Annie EQUALITY Hughes

Martin Luther King Jr. said it best in 1966: "[The] law cannot make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important also."
In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. His death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities. READ MORE

How many innocent black men (dismissed as guilty) have to be murdered before things change?
How many women have to be raped and/or sexually harassed (and dismissed as gold diggers or liars) before things change?

How many LGBTQ people have to be beaten or killed or publicly shamed before things change?
If we continue to allow it to happen, nothing changes.
-Shelly Goldstein

7 Things to Keep in Mind When You Feel “Violated” 

I reached out on Facebook to see if anyone would be interested in weighing in on some of the topics trending today. My friend Paul Lucas stepped up to the plate. Here is the result of several things trending today: Please weigh in:

Bill O'Reilly



Bill O'Reilly: Fox News Host Shares Photos of Barack Obama at Muslim Wedding
O'Reilly shared the photos on his show Wednesday, saying they were taken at Obama's half brother Malik's wedding. He said Obama's "emotional attachment to the Muslim world has hurt the USA."

Try as he might to distance himself from Trump, O’Reilly is cut from the same cloth and uses the exact same playbook.
The notion that understanding Islam or speaking with nations with which we have strained relationships is absurd.  ISIS is at war with Islam itself for the most part, but we play into ISIS’s hands when we paint all Muslims as unreasonable fundamentalists who are all potential terrorists.  ISIS would prefer nothing more than to drive a huge wedge between Islam and the West, as it would exponentially increase their potential pool of recruits.
It is an inability, or unwillingness, to exist with one and half billion people that will be our downfall, not an “emotional attachment “ (an empty, meaningless, hard-to-prove-either-way-phrase) that will be our downfall.

Edward Snowden: Whistleblower Shares Reaction to FBI Director Saying Hillary Clinton Should Not Be Charged
FBI Director James Comey said "no charges are appropriate" after Clinton used private servers for government emails. 

Snowden tweeted a hand-on-chin thinking emoji after the comments on Wednesday.

I don't know enough about the intricacies of the Snowden case to really comment on this other than to say that his was a deliberate act and Clinton’s actions may or may not have had some unfortunate consequences.

Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan: House Speaker Requests That Hillary Clinton Be Denied Access to Classified Information. On Wednesday, Ryan sent a letter asking Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to deny Clinton access to classified information for the remainder of the presidential campaign.
This is absurd on so many levels.

First of all, as former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has already had access to more classified information that Paul Ryan will, hopefully, ever have in his life.  Second, it is Trump who we should really worried about having classified information.  He has absolutely no scruples, and, as Senator
Chris Murphy said, “He wouldn’t think twice of taking classified information and putting it out in the public realm if he thought it served his political purposes.”
Add that to Trump’s connection to, and praise of Putin, and you have a recipe for disaster.  (He recently praised Saddam Hussein as well.)

James Comey: FBI Director
James Comey: FBI Director Testifies Before US House Oversight Committee After Clinton Email Review
Comey appeared before the House Oversight Committee on Thursday, two days after he said the FBI would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton about how she managed classified and work emails.

While I have been critical of Hillary’s actions in this case, particularly immediately following Comey’s speech, it is becoming increasingly clear that he both overstepped his bounds and mis characterized a number of things. Despite his claim that a “very small number” of her emails were in fact classified at the time (which contradicted what Hillary said), the State Department has now confirmed that this small number (two, in fact) were not actually classified at the time, and had merely been marked incorrectly during the course of the investigation.  In addition, it has become clear that Clinton did nothing demonstrably wrong with her email, and that these two emails that were sent to her by her aides in 2012 were harmless, used only to schedule phone calls with foreign leaders, and clearly would not have been classified at the time.  Don;t take my word for it, a spokesman for the State Department has confirmed that they were not classified.

But back to the original question, it is in the GOP’s best interest to continue to make it look as though Hillary is a crook and perpetually under investigation, which she is not for this allegation.  Trump, on the other hand, is under investigation for the rape of a minor, but the GOP seem silent on that point.  This latest move is a smokescreen and a waste of time and money.  More money has been spent on investigating Benghazi alone than on the investigations of Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Watergate and the JFK assassination, and yet, like every other investigation of Hillary, they discovered basically no wrongdoing.

Minnesota: Fatal Police Shooting Livestreamed On Facebook As Victim Lay Dying
What ELSE is on YOUR mind?

The senseless, daily, systematic murder of young men of color by the police in this country.
It is a product of institutional racism and a gun culture out of hand. And the fact that people of color are not taking to the streets daily is a surprise.  I cannot begin to imagine the kind of outrage that people of color must have, and have every right to have.

Paul Lucas is an writer and producer based in New York City. His Fringe First and Amnesty

International Freedom of Expression Award-winning play, Trans Scripts, which focuses on the real experiences of seven trans women as told in their own words, will have its US premiere at American Repertory Theater at Harvard University in January 2017. 
www.transscripts.org

Video from National Day of Action on gun reform activities on MSNBC.

I also discovered on Facebook today a request for a black out. I received this request from a friend and I reached out to him and he put me in touch with the guy behind this, W. Jerome Stevenson. This is the request: I'm participating in an experiment to learn more about the potential power of the thing we call social media. If you genuinely believe that there is a real problem with the killing of unarmed American citizens, make your profile (and if so inclined your cover photo) black. I believe there is power in story-telling and I ask your indulgence. This is not some copy and paste thing I got from anyone else. Let's just call it a piece of art I'm working through, as well as showing solidarity with a group of people that I love as family. Let's tell our collective story. Also, I will not hold it against you if you don't. I'm just curious as to what happens if you do.
‪#‎cuttoblack‬
Black. Lives. Matter.
(Copied from and with profound respect to my friend W. Jerome Stevenson)
 

I reached out to him for more information and he graciously answered a few questions for me.
Philando Castile "memorized the names of the 500 children he served every day — along with their food allergies."
Experts weigh in on why police aren't trained to shoot to wound
Please give me a brief description of who and what you are all about and how and why you came up with the #CuttoBlack Campaign.
I'm a 43 year old African-American husband, son and father. I'm a theatre actor and director living and working in Oklahoma. I'm an engaged adult who is frustrated and frightened with the number of gun deaths that take place in this country. I am particularly disgusted with how common place it has become to hear of unarmed American citizens being killed by law enforcement. Like so many people, I've felt increasing hopeless to affect any change in these area and felt like the American people have decided to accept that gun deaths are simply an American way of life and anyone the police are in no way accountable in the deaths. After constantly complaining without much action, I decided to try experiment in which I asked my friends to show that they too were fed up with this present course by making their profile pic simply the color black. No picture. No Texture. Just a black screen. I thought if I can just get 50 or 100 of my Facebook friends to share their frustration maybe we can make some collective contribution. At last check, it has since spread to 3000 people on the event page.

What is the biggest surprise since you launched this?
Member of the Congressional Black Caucus: 'Racism is alive and well in America'

The number of people who have expressed how utterly helpless they've felt in regards to these issues. People have written me to say that they didn't know that they would be welcome contributors because they aren't African-American or they are not anti-police and they would be made to feel as though they had no place. I have great respect for police officers and believe that they should be honored for their service. Criticism of individuals or systemic flaws in the system is not an indictment of the profession or those who do it with honor. It feels like we have nurtured such intolerance for opposition that healthy debate and problem solving is practically impossible. I sincerely hope Americans can and will be better than that.

Your biggest disappointment with this campaign so far?
The vitriol and utter ugliness in which folks express opposition to an opinion. So much of the response has been in kindness and solidarity – and for that I am overwhelmed with gratitude. It's such a shame that people feel that when they disagree they must do so with no empathy and no kindness. This philosophy that my opposition is my enemy is far too prevalent and dangerous.

Where you would like to see this campaign go?

I hope it empowers people to take action in their lives. This country has greatness in it's very DNA. America is a living experiment that should seek to improve with each generation.
The challenges we face as a people require us to work together. Serious people working together towards serious objective. We are so much better than name calling and bullying behavior.

How pro-active are you in terms of creating change
From a parent at the school where Philando Castile worked.
As an artist, I feel like I am constantly using story-telling to promote change but I am not sure how pro-active I can say that I've been outside of the occasional political donation or volunteering effort. I know I haven't done enough and I'm ready to do more.

Anything else that's on your mind?
I really hope we can choose civility and still work towards solutions. We are in desperate need of both.

This should link you to the #CUTTOBLACK event.
Please SHARE
   

Chita Rivera
(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser)
Tony winners Chita Rivera, Norbert Leo Butz, Kelli O’Hara, Jessie Mueller, Brian Stokes Mitchelland many more Main Stem faves will head to Florida for a benefit concert in aid of those impacted by the recent events at Pulse Nighclub. 

From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert For Orlando—a healing night of music and dance to honor the 49 victims—is scheduled for July 25 at the Walt Disney Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. As previously reported, the company of Fun Home will be at the venue to raise money for the tragedy on July 24. (Source: Broadway.com)

We ALL Have to BE MORE!

BRADY CAMPAIGN CALLS FOR NATIONAL DISCUSSION ABOUT RECENT POLICE SHOOTINGS
Gross: “These men were among the 90 people a day whose lives are taken by a uniquely American problem – gun violence — a problem that disproportionately claims the lives of Americans of color.”
WASHINGTON - Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign, issued the following statement after the shooting deaths of two black Americans by police officers.

"This week, more than 900 people were killed by guns in this country. Two of them, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile – both young, black men – were shot and killed by police. They are two Americans who stepped foot outside their homes and will never return to their families. Sterling was a father, and Castile died with his girlfriend by his side in the car, his seat belt still on. Make no mistake about it, this is gun violence. These men were among the 90 people a day whose lives are taken by a uniquely American problem – gun violence — a problem that disproportionately claims the lives of Americans of color. This is a problem that we, as country, have to confront. It's a problem that is deserving of meaningful, honest conversation. And the fact is that we all have a responsibility to seek out and push for answers to the difficult questions that will come."
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The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz. 
About Us: The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of more than 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history - The Million Mom March, Mother’s Day 2000



This blog is devoted to ALL of the LOST LIVES today due to our senseless gun laws
 
 
CLICK HERE

   






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