Taking out the Garbage

August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

The visual content is graphically disturbing.  The ease in which a life is lost, tossed like garbage,  is shocking.

This is the shooting that occurred in north St.Louis in August, 2014.  Well after Micheal Brown was killed.  There is a longer version of this video.  The man that was shot was 23, wandering around being odd (mental illness?).  The photographer et al, were watching him and laughing.  Not feeling threatened.  I do not feel that there were no other options for the officers.  But I am not a cop and I was not there.

De-escalation.  Again, what happened to talking people down?  Or at least trying?  This reminds me of the child with the toy gun shot dead in Cleveland.

Taking out the Garbage was originally published on It Matters

On Images of the Prophet

January 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

In the wake of the massacre that took place in the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, I have been called upon as a scholar specializing in Islamic paintings of the Prophet to explain whether images of Muhammad are banned in Islam.
– Christine Gruber

The author, “Christiane Gruber, is associate professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Michigan. Her primary field of research is Islamic book arts, paintings of the Prophet Muhammad, and Islamic ascension texts and images, about which she has written two books and edited a volume of articles. She also pursues research in…

Read more and Gruber’s article “The Koran does not forbid images of the Prophet” in On Images of The Prophet, on my website: FieldGrass

Isaiah’s vision of Jesus riding a donkey and Muhammad riding a camel, al-Biruni, al-Athar al-Baqiyya ‘an al-Qurun al-Khaliyya (Chronology of Ancient Nations), Ottoman lands, ca. 1560. Bibliothèque nationale de France Read more at: http://toni-two.com/blog/on-images-of-the-prophet/ | FieldGrass


What about the “other” immigrants?

December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Future Uncertain for Asian Americans in the U.S.

Published November 26, 2014 Voice of America

In the debate about immigration in the United States, one group often overlooked is the estimated 1.3 million illegal immigrants from Asia. President Barack Obama’s recent executive order can provide a temporary reprieve from deportation to about 400,000 of these people, but for many more, the future is uncertain. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee reports.

What about the “other” immigrants? was originally published on It Matters

Dead Dogs

December 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am reminded in the wake of recent legal events…

Michael Vick went to prison for killing dogs.

No indictment for the police officer that used a lethal tactic, one that had been officially stopped 20 years ago by the NYPD, which resulted in Eric Garner’s death.  An unauthorized lethal tactic in a non life threatening situation.  One of the numerous marshal arts moves Mr.Garner suffered under during his death.  These were specially trained, non-uniformed, officers.

I mentioned this before and would like to note that Michael Brown tried to take an armed policeman’s gun.  He was not shot for stealing cigars.  Eric Garner’s death was shocking. Unfortunately, Michael Brown’s was not.

The Ohio deaths are in this consideration as well.  I do not know enough details to comment.  I did just see the video about the child with the toy gun in Cleveland.  I am not able to deal with it at the moment.

There is a question raised, what happened to de-escalating a situation?

Dead Dogs was originally published on It Matters

Don’t feed the animals

December 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

Outrageous. I am sick. Illegal to feed people. The value and caliber of our society is falling hard and fast.

If there is one thing I will always do, it is to escort a hungry person to an eatery and buy them food. Or reach in my shopping bag and share. Sometimes it only takes a beverage to make a difference.

via PressSync

International Crisis Group

November 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

I read about conflict quite a bit.  The only way to remain sane is to include sources that help to provide solutions, not just reports, blame, and criticism.

The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.

The Crisis Group in the field – video

Gathering information and stories from with conflict zones.  And some critical recent topics, and questions.  E.g.”Why are these young men drawn to the jihadi narrative?”


http://www.crisisgroup.org/  Articles, info and crisis hotspots – by region and country.

http://blog.crisisgroup.org/  In Pursuit of Peace, very interesting blog.

https://www.youtube.com/user/crisisgroup  Videos on YouTube

Crisis Group Approach: Three Basic Elements

1. Expert field research and analysis

Crisis Group’s credibility is founded on its field-based research. Our analysts are based in or near many of the world’s trouble spots, where there is concern about the possible outbreak of conflict, its escalation or recurrence. Their main task is to find out what is happening and why. They identify the underlying political, social and economic factors creating the conditions for conflict, as well as the more immediate causes of tension. They find the people who matter and discover what or who influences them. And they consider the actual and potential role for other countries and inter-govern-mental bodies like the United Nations, European Union and African Union.

2. Practical, imaginative policy prescriptions

Crisis Group’s task is not merely to understand conflict but to prevent, contain and resolve it. That means identifying the levers that can be pulled and those who can pull them, whether political, legal, financial or ultimately, military. Some of these prescriptions require action by the national government or local actors; others require the commitment of other governments or international organisations. Some will be within the current marketplace of received ideas; others will be over the horizon but nonetheless the right way forward. These policy prescriptions, along with our field-based research and analysis, are presented in succinct, timely and readable reports.

3. Effective, high-level advocacy

Identifying the problem and the appropriate response is still only part of the story. All too often the missing ingredient is the “political will” to take the necessary action. Crisis Group’s task is not to lament its absence but to work out how to mobilise it. That means persuading policymakers directly or through others who influence them, not least the media. That in turn means having the right arguments: moral, political, legal and financial. And it means having the ability to effectively deploy those arguments, with people of the right credibility and capacity. Crisis Group’s board is instrumental in giving us access at high levels of governments.

About the group – video

The International Crisis Group is today generally regarded as the world’s leading source of information, analysis and policy advice on preventing and resolving deadly conflict.

International Crisis Group was originally published on It Matters

Who’s Making Money Off The War On Drugs?

November 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Excellent!  Easy watching, lots of info.

from Al Jazeera America

Who’s Making Money Off The War On Drugs? was originally published on It Matters

Ferguson questions swirl: If it’s about finding facts, why no trial?

November 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

A quick read and excellent, well-cited, piece. – me

Analysis & Opinion | The Great Debate

Ferguson questions swirl: If it’s

about finding facts, why no trial?

By Allison Silver
November 25, 2014

Demonstrator sits in front of a street fire during a demonstration following the grand jury decision in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown, in Oakland, California

The St. Louis Prosecutor Robert McCullough made a series of highly unusual decisions on Monday. He was reportedly seeking to defuse the highly charged situation in the wake of a white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer killing an unarmed black teenager.

He did not succeed.

Protests ignited in Ferguson, fanning flames, literal and figurative, throughout the night. Demonstrations spread from New York City to Oakland, California. Even as President Barack Obama spoke to the nation, cable news channels showed him on a split screen with the violent protests. He did not even get three-quarters of the shot.

McCullough was continuing the string of leadership miscalculations that have been the rule for Ferguson ever since Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

Jelani Cobb astutely analyzes this in The New Yorker’s Daily Comment on Tuesday:

“From the outset, the great difficulty has been discerning whether the authorities are driven by malevolence or incompetence. The Ferguson police let Brown’s body lie in the street for four and a half hours, an act that either reflected callous disregard for him as a human being or an inability to manage the situation. The release of Darren Wilson’s name was paired with the release of a video purportedly showing Brown stealing a box of cigarillos from a convenience store, although Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson later admitted that Wilson was unaware of the incident when he confronted the young man. (McCullough contradicted this in his statement on the non-indictment.) … Despite the sizable police presence, few officers were positioned on the stretch of West Florissant Avenue where Brown was killed. The result was that damage to the area around the police station was sporadic and short-lived, but Brown’s neighborhood burned. This was either bad strategy or further confirmation of the unimportance of that community in the eyes of Ferguson’s authorities.”

McCullough fits right into this pattern. First, it was around midday when the grand jury decided not to indict. McCullough, however, waited until 8:00 p.m. Actually, 8:15, since he was late for this most important news conference. In any case CNN tweeted at 7:45 p.m. that the panel had decided it did not have enough evidence to indict.

The prosecutor then launched into a convoluted 20-minute address, opening with an attack on social media’s inflammatory role. He attempted to explain why this decision was reached, and took questions about the grand jury process. He also authorized the document dump of all grand jury testimony — particularly unsettling because it repeated the way McCullough overloaded the grand jury with extraordinary amounts of conflicting information.

(Here’s a link to Wilson’s testimony Here’s Ezra Klein’s smart piece about why the story Wilson tells in his testimony is so bizarre that it is unbelievable. Law professor David Troutt raised similar points about the unbelievability of the confrontation soon after it happened.)

McCullough’s address only served to convince many commentators that a trial was necessary. Noam Scheiber said as much in The New Republic:

The problem with this is that we already have a forum for establishing the underlying facts of a case—and, no less important, for convincing the public that justice is being served in a particular case. It’s called a trial. It, rather than the post-grand jury press conference, is where lawyers typically introduce mounds of evidence to the public, litigate arguments extensively, and generally establish whether or not someone is guilty of a crime.

Though many Americans viewed the decision not to indict as a sucker punch — it was actually not unexpected. The unexpected decision would have been to indict Wilson.

Ben Casselman at FiveThirtyEight explained why. First he laid out  “It’s Incredibly Rare for a Grand Jury to Do What Ferguson’s Just Did.” He presents jaw-dropping statistics. Out of 162,000 federal cases in 2010, for example, grand juries declined to indict in only 11.

 The big exception, though, is when a police officer is involved. Casselman listed three key reasons. One is often cited: The public almost reflexively supports police.

But Casselman emphasized the point that prosecutors depend heavily on the police, both for testimony and for information. So they may present — even unconsciously — a less compelling argument.

Talking Points Memo highlights a shocking stat that the police, not drug dealers or domestic violence, have been responsible for the most shooting deaths in Utah over the last first years. Though Utah certainly isn’t Missouri.

It is also worth reading a remarkable interview that ran in the Washington Post’s Wonkblog. Mark Peffley and Jon Hurwitz, who wrote Justice in America: The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites, have the stats to show why “White people believe the justice system is color blind. Black people really don’t.”

The gender gap is nothing compared to this chasm. When asked, for example, if police “care more about crimes against whites than minorities,” the authors found 70 percent of blacks agree, versus only 17 percent of whites. This is stunningly relevant, though it ran in August 2013. The case in question at that time? The shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The Justice Department is still conducting its own investigation, according to the Los Angeles Times, and various civil rights groups could file civil suits against both Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department.

So, more to come. Maybe.

PHOTO (Top): A demonstrator sits in front of a street fire during a demonstration following the grand jury decision in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown, in Oakland, California Nov. 25, 2014. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

PHOTO (INSET 1):  A protester stands in the street after being treated for tear gas exposure after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

PHOTO (INSET 2): A man enters a burning Walgreens drug store after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Allison Silver is the executive editor of Reuters Opinion. She has served as the Opinion editor at Politico, Sunday Opinion editor at The Los Angeles Times and founding editor of The Washington Independent. She is the author of “20th Century Travel.”

From Reuters: Ferguson questions swirl: If it’s about finding facts, why no trial?

Ferguson questions swirl: If it’s about finding facts, why no trial? was originally published on It Matters


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