Archive for Civil Rights

Drama Queens: Death by Fear Podcast

Speaking of post-9/11 effects, as I do from time to time, I lace gunslinger civilians, police brutality (and murder), and Americans’ gulping obeisance to authority. I talk locally, as in the sniveling shelter-in-place orders and behavior after the Boston Marathon bombings. (Boston Strong is more like Boston Gutless.)

George Zimmerman types and open-carry monsters kill without consequence, as do far too many police officers. Word is OBEY, obey authority, obey anyone with a gun, obey TSA gropers and on and on. Too many cops kill and skate with the casual claim, “I felt my life was threatened.”

How did so many police officers turn into knock-kneed murderers? How could they even think to justify shooting repeatedly from a distance and slaying instead of disarming or, well, policing? I contend it is an emotion-based mind shift that we need to reverse immediately. Mayors, police chiefs and superintendents, prosecutors and judges have to put their palms out. Basta! We absolutely must not continue to infantilize cops and let them escape responsibility.

See also, Lethal Force as a First Resort, by Slate’s Jamelle Bouie here.

icon for podpress  Death by Fear [21:35m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Trek from Gun Violence Podcast

cartridgesAngry and saddened by the latest and legacy of mass killings by a gunman, the POTUS demanded state and federal gun laws to deal with licensing and sales issues. Sure, sure, those are essential, but let’s change America’s gun culture. That would literally be the gift of the century to current and future citizens.

I exhort us to do that. We can. Already as polls show repeatedly, over 90% of us want greater gun licensing and sales controls. Clearly the state and Congressional NRA-bought solons lack the courage and will to attend to our desires and judgment. So we need to help them.

In my lifetime, I have seen us advance from segregated schools and miscegenation laws to at least half way to racial tolerance and balance. That cultural shift can only continue. We need to do the same with our gun culture. We need to employ naming and shaming — yes, to our lawmakers, but as important in our normal interactions with friends, neighbors, coworkers and those we need. Think the office or factory, the church coffee hour, on the subway and on and on.

Implicitly and explicitly, threatening in any way our fellow citizens has to and can be made unacceptable. Listen to my raving on this by clicking below.

By the bye, the best info on the Roseburg shooter I’ve seen appears in the Britsh The Daily Mail here.

WaPo created a sobering graphic of the number of mass shootings in the U.S. (four or more killed) this year. See it here. There has not been a week without one and up to 5 per week.

icon for podpress  Roseburg implications [19:54m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Closing (unnecessary) equality blog

From 2004, I had blogged at Marry in Massachusetts. I’m closing the figurative shop.

Thinking of doing that kept me awake. I rose those relieved and still delighted that the SCOTUS declared same-sex marriage as a right and the law of the land.

Yes, I’m heavily invested in the themes and the blog. Yes, I know that plug nasties and loons will still try to harm, hinder and hurt homosexuals. Yet over a decade ago, I pledged to shut it down when marriage equality won in the Untied States.

This show is self-indulgent. It is omphaloskepsis. I did it coming up on 12 years. I spoke out for equality. I am not one of the magnificent warriors who made this happen, more a fellow traveler. I know we have come to a good stopping place.

My political blogging will be here, occasionally at BlueMassGroup, and at my personal blog, Harrumph.

icon for podpress  Bye to marriage equality blog [19:20m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


SC Racism Podcast

Communications guru Marshall McLuhan married a South Carolinian and continued to visit the state regularly from his native Canada. I once heard him speak to the educational broadcasters down there. He concluded that South Carolina was ready to lead the parade into the 21st Century, because it has missed the 20th. He was optimistic but his half jest had a true basis.

Yes, SC was the first to secede from the U.S. Yes, it led in slavery, both of Native Americans and the African/West Indies trade. Yes, it saw active KKKs and lynchings. Yes, it is known for racism.

I spoke to the years I was in SC, as a student and working. I married a native and visited many times, with more in the works. I edited the weekly for Black South Carolinians. I saw quotidian racism. I interviewed a Grand Dragon.

I saw changes in the 70s and more recently. I live in Boston, where we admit African Americans and Latinos are not yet equal in many ways. Yet, we pretend we are not racists here.

I spoke of why SC is much worse than MA and whether McLuhan had a real point.

That interview of Darnell Williams, CEO of the Urban League of Eastern MA by Chris Lovett, on the Charleston murders, is here.

icon for podpress  SC Racism [24:45m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Murders in the Palmetto State

While I’ve lived 35 years in Boston, plus nearly two in Cambridge in college years, I have deep and wide Southern roots. As a child, I knew segregated schools, stores, pools and water fountains. My first college was in South Carolina. I used to be the editor of the Black weekly newspaper in the SC capital. My wife is an SC native, and on and on. I know a lot about the state.

Let me speak of the people and events I knew in my childhood and youth. Perhaps as I talk, I can come to some terms with the brutal murders of nine in a Charleston AME church yesterday.

If you are not already at work or on the way and can listen live, click this URL at 10:30AM EDT Friday to do so. I’ll take calls so long as your number is not blocked to view at 718-664-6966. Of course, any swearing or racist callers get the mute immediately.


Evangelical Boycotts, All Fail

Today was a 17-minute tirade, but a fairly jolly one. Evangelicals and anti-gay types try to copy the political success of pinkos, but with no good purpose means failure. Lefties frequently influence politicians, corporations and others through personal letters, visits, calls and yes, even boycotts. How hard can that be?

Well, apparently too hard for the other sides to emulate.

BGEA reads like a gay-friendly support group. It’s the opposite. The late Rev. Billy Graham;s son Franklin now heads daddy’s church-like object. He doesn’t care for homosexuals or equal rights and positively hates same-sex marriage. Lately he’s calling for a boycott of Wells Fargo and other companies who support equality and gay rights.

The proximate cause of the boycott call was that Wells Fargo used a TV ad that showed two women learning sign language and signing to a little girl they were adopting that they were going to be her mommies.

Many wee-brained folk live by such bluster and bombast. I’ll speak about a few, such as MA-based MassResistance. They are a small but loud and yet dwindling group. I have heard their only continuous member, their leader, spout anti-gay rhetoric since long before the group started, when we were both members of a computer society here. He could work homophobic lingo into even geek speak.

These anti-equality folk promise much and deliver little to nothing. They pick up on effective left-wing boycott talk and action, only to fail again and again.

icon for podpress  Evangelicals fail [18:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Boston Councilor Josh Zakim Next Week

n activist from a family of activists, first-term Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim jumped right in. He chairs the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Rights. That alone lets him put fingers in many pies. He’s on immigration, housing, policing and much more.

He joins us to talk about his goals large and small, To hit hot buttons like the 2024 Olympics and casinos, and, of course, the pending Council-wide re-election campaign.

Join us at the usual day, but an hour later at 3:30PM Eastern. To listen live then, click this URL. Afterward, you can go there to download or listen to his show, return here to do the same, or go to our iTunes page.


SCOTUS Poised to Creep to Equality

Simple enough and it should be a nine-to-zip decision affirming marriage equality. However, the right-leaning, idealogue Supreme Court will most likely be a five-to-four vote.

Last week’s arguments and a flood of amicus briefs was not a battle of equals on either of the two flavors on the table — 1) should homosexual couples have the right nationwide to marry and 2) if not, must all states recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states and nations? Of course if the Court finds 1, then 2 is moot. Decisions should appear in mid- to late June.

The yes-to-equality side had the legal arguments down, as well as logic and compassion. The no side really didn’t have anything. They dealt in extra-legal humbug, cliché and vague forecasts of doom. Yet the three most conservative, really reactionary, justices took several of the most absurd claims from the no side seriously, judging by their questions and comments. Fortunately, the lefties at the banc burnished away the smutch.

I expect a yes-to-equality decision.

Of course, that won’t stop the plug nasties. My word, they are still trying to undermine a woman’s right to choose four decades later. Expect attempted tricks at the state level to prevent having to recognize such marriages (comity anyone?). Expect local pols to pander to anti-gay sorts by proposing all manner of unnecessary, redundant alleged protections to protect the clergy from the horror of being asked to solemnize a gay wedding. Yes yes, they already have such protections nationwide in statute and case law, but that won’t stop the dummies from dumbing down. Oh, and expect too more prophesies of ministers being thrown in jail and churches litigated to penury. Again, they are overly protected, those things haven’t happened and won’t, but that won’t stop the anti-gay liars and slanderers.

Take a moment to chuckle at the Chicken-Little predictions of doom following Massachusetts starting same-sex marriage. The poor, bemused anti-gay sorts have been reduced to muttering, “None of that happened yet. Just you wait!”

icon for podpress  Gay Marriage Before SCOTUS [26:43m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


1st Amendment Games Podcast

Yes, indeed, we can be too clever for our own ends. We’re seeing it now in Indiana, where the poorly drafted and worse defined Religious Freedom Restoration Act has blown up. The Republican legislature should be embarrassed but is not. The Republican Gov. Mike Pence (a POTUS hopeful) should claw back the openly discriminatory law, but won’t.

Foolish attempts at cleverness constantly backfire, and not only at dinner parties. The most common and to the worst effects must be politically. In this case, numerous major companies and non-profits are pulling back on investments there. I also predict that this debacle ends Pence’s shot at being the GOP POTUS nominee. He has been pitching himself as the guy who can appeal to moderates, independents and conservative Dems, as well as his own party. Forget it, Mikey.

I talked about the winger media lie that the IN law is the same as the Federal version and those in many other red states. I noted the major differences, and which made it unacceptable to so many people and businesses.

I also predicted that wingers in and beyond IN won’t stop, even after what should be a most obvious failure. They did this with marriage equality and continue to do so, even with the wide, dark shadow of the pending SCOTUS ruling making all their anti-gay paranoia and lies moot. They shall continue until there is no legal option for deceit…and cleverness.

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