The rage isn’t only over George Floyd

What we’re missing

patriotJim Reisner wrote this: “Rage equals anger plus helplessness.
“If you are confounded by the destructiveness of protestors, then maybe there was another way to go. Maybe justice could have been rendered in the deaths of Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown Jr., Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Tanisha Anderson, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Jermane Reid, Tony Robinson, Phillip White, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Terence Crutcher, Philandro Castile, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, Eric Harris, Tony Robinson, Laquon McDonald, Sam DuBose, Jamar Clark, Jeremy McDole, William Chapman II, Sean Reid, Steven DeMarco Taylor, Ariane McCree, Terrance Franklin, Miles Hall, William Green, Samuel David Mallard, E. J. Bradford, Jamee Johnson, Michael Dean, Antwon Rose, Stephon Clark, Tony McDade, Yassin Muhamed, Finan Berhe, Miles Hall, Darius Tarver, William Green, Kwame Jones, De’Von Bailey, Christopher Whitfield, Anthony Hill, Eric Logan, Jamarion Robinson, Gregory Hill Jr., Jaquavion Slaton, Ryan Twyman, Brandon Webber, Jimmy Atchison, Willy McCoy, EJ Bradford, Jr., D’etrick Griffin, Jemel Roberson, DeAndre Ballard, Robert Lawrence White, Anthony Lamar Smith, Lamarly Graham, Manuel Loggins, Jr., Trayvon Martin, Wendell Allen, Kendric McDade. Larry Jackson, Jr., Jonathan Ferrell, Jordan Baker, Victor White III, Dantre Hamilton, Kajieme Powell, Laquan McDonald, Charly Keunang, Brendan Glenn, Christian Taylor, Mario Woods, Quintonio Grier, Gregory Gunn, Akiel Jenkins, Alton Sterling, Keith Lamont Scott, Alfred Alongo, Jordon Edwards, Danny Ray Thomas, DeJuan Gillory, Patrick Harmon, Jonathan Hart, Maurice Granton, Tanishe Anderson, Yvette Smith, Miriam Carey, Shelly Frey, Malissa Williams, Alesia Thomas, Shantel Davis, Rekia Boyd, Shareese Francis, Aiyana Stanley Jones, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
“This is by no means an exhaustive list of weaponless African Americans who have been killed by police within the past 10 years.
“Stop wondering why Minneapolis is burning.”

Getting it

Jim, BTW, is a minister, a white guy, I suppose I should point out. He used to pastor in Albany but is now in Maryland.

Who was George Floyd? In Houston’s Third Ward, where he lived until 2018, they know him for how he lived for decades — “a mentor to a generation of young men and a ‘person of peace’ ushering ministries into the area.” The 46-year-old father of two daughters was a “gentle giant” to those who knew him.

The Three Stories of George Floyd.

I’m not a person of violence, at least some of which is stirred up by white nationalist group posing as Antifa calling for violence on Twitter. But read What we’re missing when we condemn “violence” at protests and How to respond to “riots never solve anything!”

Nothing Is Certain But Death, Taxes, And Police Infiltration Of US Protests.

Chattanooga police chief tells officers OK with George Floyd death to turn in their badges.

A photo from Thursday night’s protest in downtown Louisville appears to show a line of white women, arms locked, standing between Louisville Metro Police officers and black protesters.

Minneapolis Bus Drivers Refuse to Transport George Floyd Protesters to Jail.

Girl Gone Smart: Uncomfortable? Good!

George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper: The Daily Social Distancing Show with Trevor Noah.

And my personal favorite: Wife of officer charged with murder of George Floyd announces she’s divorcing him.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

The anatomy of a homicide


The encounter began around 8 p.m. when an employee at the Cup Foods convenience store called police to say that a customer later identified as George Floyd had tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes…

The defendant [officer Derek Chauvin] pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car at 8:19:38 p.m. and Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed. [Officer J.A.] Kueng [one of the original arresting cops] held Mr. Floyd’s back and [Thomas] Lane [the other one] held his legs.

The defendant placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck. Mr. Floyd said, “I can’t breathe” multiple times and repeatedly said, “Mama” and “please,” as well. The defendant and the other two officers stayed in their positions.

The officers said, “You are talking fine” to Mr. Floyd as he continued to move back and forth. Lane asked, “should we roll him on his side?” and the defendant said, “No, staying put where we got him.” Officer Lane said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” The defendant said, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.” None of the three officers moved from their positions.

BWC video shows Mr. Floyd continue to move and breathe.

At 8:24:24, Mr. Floyd stopped moving.

At 8:25:31 the video appears to show Mr. Floyd ceasing to breathe or speak. Lane said, “want to roll him on his side.” Kueng checked Mr. Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said, “I couldn’t find one.” None of the officers moved from their positions.

At 8:27:24, the defendant removed his knee from Mr. Floyd’s neck. An ambulance and emergency medical personnel arrived, the officers placed Mr. Floyd on a gurney, and the ambulance left the scene. Mr. Floyd was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.

[It appears to be Positional Asphyxia. The Minneapolis Police Were Sued A Decade Ago In Similar Restraint Case.]

This Was, at least, Second-Degree Murder

Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder. Before they were leveled, quoting from the very rightwing Daily Signal in a story called The Unacceptably Unjust Death of George Floyd:

What, then, is the appropriate criminal charge to take before a jury?

Minnesota, like most other states, requires an element of intent for first-degree murder… [And it’s very difficult to prove intent. Although one wonders, since they may have known each other.]

Similarly, third-degree murder is likely off the table. Even though it might seem applicable as the unintentional killing of another person “by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard to human life,” the Minnesota Supreme Court has clarified that third-degree murder “cannot occur where the defendant’s actions were focused on a specific person.” [And yet that was the charge…]

We are left, then, with second-degree murder, which appears to be an appropriate charge. In Minnesota, this offense occurs when a person unintentionally causes a death while committing a felony offense.

Arguably, Chauvin committed the felony offense of assault, as his use of force was not authorized or justified under state law. Floyd died as a result of this unjustified assault, even if the officer did not intend to kill him.

Keep in mind, too, that Chauvin also could face criminal charges under federal law for civil rights violations, and the FBI is conducting its own investigation alongside state authorities.

Because Floyd ultimately died, a conviction under these federal statutes would carry equally significant penalties as a conviction for second-degree murder under state law.

This man makes it far worse.

“Let me be clear. This is revolting. The Bible is not a prop. A church is not a photo op. Religion is not a political tool. And God is not your plaything.”

Father James Martin, SJ

Being a good black person with a gun

the perception of arms and race

art of the shot
Photo courtesy of the Department of Defense
Annoyingly frequently, a story will catch my attention in the “while black” section of the news. In this case, “sleeping while black.”

A black woman was shot and killed after Kentucky police entered her home as she slept, her family says. “Louisville Metro Police Department officers were looking for a suspect at the wrong home when they shot and killed Breonna Taylor, according to a lawsuit.” Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who had a licensed firearm, fired his gun when he thought someone was breaking in. He was arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder on a police officer.

People have asked me if I would feel safer being a good black person with a gun. Hell, no.

Back in 2018, a black man killed by police in Alabama mall was shot from behind. “Emantic ‘EJ’ Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, was shot when police officers responding to reports of gunfire at the mall mistook him for the gunman. According to witnesses, Bradford was helping other shoppers to safety.”

That same year, there was an interesting article in The New York Times. ‘I Am the “Good Guy With a Gun’: Black Gun Owners Reject Stereotypes, Demand Respect. “After recent incidents in which police officers shot black men who tried to stop a shooting, African-American gun owners told us how they navigate being wrongly perceived as a threat.”

In the second half of 2018 alone, at least three black men in the United States had been shot by police in separate incidents while trying, according to witnesses, to stop an active shooting. Jordan Klepper, in his short-lived series, produced a piece, Open Carrying While White vs. Open Carrying While Black.

Philando Castile, RIP

I’m still pained, and slackjawed by the death of Philando Castile in 2017, a black man with a legally-owned gun, who announces in a traffic stop that he has a weapon in the vehicle and ends up dead.

This story is interesting: Racism and the black hole of gun control in the US. “Would tighter gun laws help protect African Americans or make them more vulnerable to racism and police brutality? Charles E Cobb Jr notes of the civil rights movement that “if not for the threat of gunfire, many more peaceful protests – and possibly the movement itself – would have been silenced by violence.”

Still, the perception of arms and race are quite different. And historical. Check out The Racist Origins of US Gun Control Laws Designed To Disarm Slaves, Freedmen, And African-Americans by Steve Ekwall.

In 2016, Agent Orange encouraged supporters to “watch” polls on election day. And similar noise is being made this year. Yet the tiny New Black Panther Party doing it in previous years was seen as terrorism, not Second Amendment freedom. What’s the difference here? It’s as simple as black and white.

May rambling: Put on your mask

Zero-sum politics don’t work in a pandemic

Seuss shirt
From here

If you haven’t, PLEASE fill out your Census form.

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Adam Zyglis: Put on your mask.

Take Me Out of the Ballgame: the Decline in Participation and Identification of African-Americans in Baseball by Holly Prior.

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Last Week in Corruption and What’s Up With the Stock Market?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: United States Post Service.

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Longtime comic book and TV writer Marty Pasko has died at the age of 65 and the coroner is saying “natural causes.”

Disco Percussion Pioneer Hamilton Bohannon Dead at 78, an influence on Talking Heads.

Dolphins Hall of Fame coach Don Shula dies at 90. 17-0 in 1972 (cf 18-1).

Betty Wright, US soul, funk and R&B singer, dies aged 66. She was the Cleanup Woman.

Now I Know

What’s the only US state with a four-syllable name that doesn’t border another US state with a four-syllable name? (Answer below)

Nebraska’s Fearless Maid and Shear Determination and The Belgian Grandmothers That Helped Win the War and The Illegal Onions That Go Great With Spaghetti and It’s Genuine, but is it Genuinely Good? and The Sandwich You Don’t Want to Eat.

Video: Why Does Pisa’s Tower Lean? (And How to Fix It)


Wear a mask
Beautiful Song of the Week, going strong for 10 years!

Pandemic Saturday.

Longest Time – Quarantine Edition – Phoenix Chamber Choir.

What A Wonderful World – GECA & Aubrey Logan

You Can’t Do That – MonaLisa Twins

Stranded In The Jungle – starring Big Daddy.

Any Wednesday – the Royal Guardsmen.

In the South overture, subtitled “Alassio – Edward Elgar.

Sesame St parody of Glee.

Paradise Garage – Tim Curry.

Coverville: 1307: The 50th Anniversary of Let It Be and 1308: They Might Be Giants Cover Story II

K-Chuck Radio: The many hits of one-hit wonder Robin Ward.

Black folk musicians created the soundtrack for a movement—and helped Bob Dylan find his sound .

Answer: Indiana

Nat King Cole Show (1956-57)


nat king cole showThe Nat King Cole Show was the first show to feature a major black star to headline a variety series.

I was too young to remember it. But my parents told me that every black person they knew watched it.

Until recently, I didn’t realize that it was only 15 minutes long when it debuted on a Monday night in November 1956 on NBC-TV. It filled the remaining time allocated to the nightly news. This was barely enough time to sing a few songs. It wasn’t until July 1957, when his slot moved to Tuesdays at 10 that he was allocated a full half hour, which changed to Tuesday at 7:30 in the fall.

The IMBD refers to the Nat King Cole Show as “highly rated.” If by this, it means well-regarded, that would be true. But if it meant big ratings, that is contradicted by most other accounts. The Brooks and Marsh TV book, e.g. said it had only a 19 share when there were only three networks.

No national sponsors

The show originally aired without a sponsor, “but NBC agreed to pay for initial production costs; it was assumed that once the show actually aired and advertisers were able to see its sophistication, a national sponsor would emerge. None did; many national companies did not want to upset their customers in the South, who did not want to see a black man on TV shown in anything other than a subservient position.”

Jim Davidson’s Classic TV Info confirms this. “Had the ratings been higher, national sponsors might have been willing to support the show. But the combination of a relatively small audience and skittishness about viewer reaction kept them away. While crediting NBC with keeping the show on the air, Cole felt advertisers should have had more guts.” Said Cole of the doomed series, “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.”

“While NBC was willing to keep the show going, Cole decided to call it quits… He didn’t feel comfortable asking his guest stars to work for practically nothing. ‘You can wear out your welcome,” he commented. “People get tired if you never stop begging.'”

And they were quality guests such as Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Peggy Lee, The Mills Brothers, Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Harry Belafonte, Billy Eckstine, Mahalia Jackson, Eartha Kitt, Frankie Laine, Tony Martin, Oscar Peterson, Mel Tormé, and a very young Billy Preston.

Still, Nat said in a 1958 Ebony article, “For 13 months, I was the Jackie Robinson of television.” Nat King Cole would have been 101 years old on March 17.

Diahann Carroll as Julia was a big deal

“Are you just trying to be fashionable?”

Diahann Carroll.TV GuideWhen Diahann Carroll played the title role in the sitcom Julia in 1968-1971 on NBC, it was a very big deal in America. She was the first black woman to star in her own network program not playing a maid. She was the first black star of a scripted show since the controversial Amos and Andy a decade and a half earlier.

With the number of television outlets now, it may be difficult to imagine how rare it was any for any blacks on TV who weren’t maids or other marginalized roles. The trick with the show Julia is that a black person was expected, by various factions, be all things African American, an impossible task. Julia was a middle-class, attractive, professional woman (nurse) and didn’t speak like folks from the “ghetto.”

She was a single mom, which irritated a number of people who felt an emasculation of the black family. (Conversely, read What Diahann Carroll meant to black single moms like me.) Julia was a war widow raising her pretty perfect, cute “little man” (Marc Copage as Corey).

The show actively eschewed social issues at a time in America when there was war, racial divide, and assassinations. When “Julia” talked to her potential employer and told him on the phone about her race, he quipped, “Have you always been a Negro, or are you just trying to be fashionable?”


Carroll was acutely aware of this tension. In a 1968 interview, she said, “With black people right now, we are all terribly bigger than life and more wonderful than life and smarter and better—because we are still proving. For a hundred years we have been prevented from seeing ourselves and we’re all overconcerned and overreacting. The needs of the white writer go to the superhuman being.” In other words, what would be later dubbed The Magic Negro.

Still, our household watched it. Every black person I knew watched it, because “WE” were on the screen in a positive light. “Julia” was beautiful, talented, and poised when “WE” had hardly been represented at all. It was just as most African Americans watched the short-lived Nat King Cole Show a decade earlier, my parents told me.

Julia was ranked seventh by Nielsen among the most popular show in its first season. In its second season, it was ranked twenty-eighth. It may have been canceled not because of her race but because it was a tad bland and the creative team wanted new horizons. Still, it was a major step for television.

Before and after

Diahann Carroll had already been making major strides. She was featured in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts, such as Carmen Jones in 1954, and Porgy and Bess in 1959. She was the first African-American woman to win a Tony for lead actress in a Broadway production, for the Richard Rogers musical No Strings.

Later, Diahann Carroll starred as Dominique Deveraux – great name, that – in the nighttime soap operas Dynasty and its crossover, The Colbys. I’ll admit I did NOT watch. But I did see her as recurring characters on A Different World (1989-1993), and Grey’s Anatomy (2006-2007).

Diahann Carroll, born Carol Diann Johnson in NYC on July 17, 1935, was a trailblazer in the entertainment industry. When Tyler Perry opened his new movie studio in Atlanta, he named one of the sections after the illustrious actress, even before she died October 4, 2019.