By Doug Porter
Television networks presented live coverage of the funeral for slain NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu on Sunday. As the ceremony was underway officers on the streets outside the funeral parlor turned their backs when New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared on on streetside screens to give a eulogy.
Estimates of just how many officers participated in this protest varied, with some outlets saying a majority turned their backs and the New York Times reporting only “hundreds” involved. The rank and file NYPD action (many higher ups are political appointees) occurred despite a plea for no political statements from Liu’s widow.
As the snarky website Wonkette noted, a photographer documenting the situation was treated for “minor irony-induced whiplash” after being told by officers at the scene “You’re being very disrespectful walking around like that.”
She asked you not to turn your backs. So disrespectful. You dishonor #WenjianLiu and his family. SHAME on you #NYPD ! pic.twitter.com/UjyXxQ7l0Y
— Glen Ellyn Gurl (@glenellyngurl) January 4, 2015
Police continue to be the focus of anti-policy brutality demonstrations around the country even as activists point to the larger issue of institutionalized racism. Some officers/departments appear to want to keep it that way. (I should also point out police associations are different than unions, more often resembling Guilds from the Middle Ages. Many do not affiliate with Labor Councils or the AFL-CIO.)
Richmond, CA Police Chief Chris Magnus was accused of breaking the law by the local Police Officers Association after he was photographed hold a sign saying #BlackLives Matter.
When a picture appeared on twitter showing Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay holding a placard which said: “I resolve to challenge racism @ work #EndWhiteSilence”, the local association head went on TV saying “the chief is calling us racists.”
Are cops racist? I say, if the shoe fits, wear it. If not, it’s time they did the right thing.
What’s emerging now is that, within the thin blue line of the NYPD, there is another divide – between black and white officers.
Reuters interviewed 25 African American male officers on the NYPD, 15 of whom are retired and 10 of whom are still serving. All but one said that, when off duty and out of uniform, they had been victims of racial profiling, which refers to using race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed a crime.
The officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping. The majority of the officers said they had been pulled over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them.
Also Clueless: Oprah
Police associations aren’t the only ones not understanding the nature of what’s going on with anti-racism protests around the country.
“I think it’s wonderful to march and to protest and it’s wonderful to see all across the country, people doing it,” Winfrey told People Magazine in a Thursday interview promoting “Selma,” a film she produced about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1965 campaign to win voting rights for African-Americans.
“But what I’m looking for,” she continued, “is some kind of leadership to come out of this to say, ‘This is what we want. This is what we want. This is what has to change, and these are the steps that we need to take to make these changes, and this is what we’re willing to do to get it.’ “
Protest organizers and sympathizers swiftly slammed her comments, calling her condescending, ill informed, and dismissive of youth-led organizing in a way that widens the generational civil rights divide.
There is, in fact, leadership within the new civil rights movement, although Oprah and others may not recognize it because personalities are deliberately being downplayed. And the modern day issues are vastly different than 50 years ago. A new civil rights act (as if such a thing could pass Congress) could not address the connections between implicit bias and the criminal justice system.
Back to Vox.com:
In 1965 people were openly, and proudly racist. During the civil rights era depicted in “Selma,” blatant, explicit discrimination kept African-Americans from the polls. The Voting Rights Act, which civil rights protestors in Selma pushed for, could actually fix that. It was possible for the federal government to pass a law making it easier for African-Americans to vote because it was racist laws — and lawmakers — that were making it so hard for African-Americans to vote.
The fight there was between people who believed racism was good and people who believed racism was bad. Today, the fight is over whether racism persists as a live force in American life at all.
The battle is no longer between people who say African-Americans should have equal rights and those who don’t. It’s between those who believe that we already have a colorblind society —a society where, if you just listen to what police officers say and don’t behave like a thug, you’ll be fine — and those who believe that racism still infects the criminal-justice system, including among people who don’t believe themselves to be racist.
Can Republicans Govern? 114th Congress Will Debate the Question
Get out the popcorn and the hankies. The 114th Congress is about to be start. Thirteen new senators and 58 new house members will be sworn in this week, giving the GOP control of the legislative branch for the first time in eight years.
First up: A Teahadist hissy fit. Texas Republican Louie Gohmert (aka America’s dumbest Congressman) is challenging House Speaker John Boehner for his post in Congress.
He’ll be lucky to get two dozen votes (29 will force a second ballot). Still…
One the Senate side, majority leader Mitch McConnell has a modest goal: don’t scare people.
From the Washington Post:
The incoming Senate majority leader has set a political goal for the next two years of overseeing a functioning, reasonable majority on Capitol Hill that scores some measured conservative wins, particularly against environmental regulations, but probably not big victories such as a full repeal of the health-care law. McConnell’s priority is to set the stage for a potential GOP presidential victory in 2016.
“I don’t want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome. I want the American people to be comfortable with the fact that the Republican House and Senate is a responsible, right-of-center, governing majority,” the Kentucky Republican said in a broad interview just before Christmas in his Capitol office.
It’s a far cry from his defiant declaration in 2010 that his “single most important” goal was to make President Obama a one-term president, an antagonizing oath that Democrats frequently invoke to embarrass the GOP leader — Obama won reelection comfortably in 2012, and McConnell’s party lost seats.
Shmoos on Parade
There nothing like a story related to immigration bring out the shmoos in society. Here’s the front page of the newspaper in Santa Barbara:
And if you really want to cringe, go look at the comments on the UT-San Diego story on the same subject.
Example: So NOW the illegal aliens WANT to stand in line. It was bad enough having to spend hours at the DMW, but now you have to hear Spanish all day.
The Daily Fishwrap is not the only place shmoos lurk in the comments. Consider this story from KPBS:
Climate change will be high on the Catholic Church’s agenda in the coming year, and a San Diego scientist played a role in convincing Pope Francis to take up the issue.
In 2015, the pope will reportedly issue an edict calling on the world’s estimated 1.2 billion Catholics to take action on climate change. He’ll also visit regions devastated by recent natural disasters, and will attempt to influence United Nations’ climate talks taking place in Paris late next year.
The church is prioritizing climate change just months after the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Veerabhadran “Ram” Ramanathan organized a Vatican meeting on the issue.
And here is some of the ‘enlightened’ discussion:
…This so called ‘pope’ …is NOT the pope..! he’s a radical marxist – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. (you can’t have 2 popes – and he is NOT the pope!)…
…Just another tool of the NWO. What did they pay him or blackmail him? It seems way too convenient that Benedict stepped down and allowed this (very strange, in my opinion) Pope to be elected….
…Since you libs bow to the Pope now it means you new bible thumpers also have to be anti gay, pro life and anti evolution. Who’s the new neocon fear mongering my kids? That be you, planet lover!…
NFL: More than a Bad Call?
A Sunday playoff football game between the Detroit Lion and the Dallas Cowboys demonstrated to me just how rotten things are in this so-called professional sport. (Neither team was a personal favorite of mine, btw.)
A penalty for a very obvious (and well documented by TV cameras from multiple angles) infraction (pass interference) was withdrawn without explanation. The referees threw the yellow marker, announced the infraction and then, without further comment, changed the call at a crucial part of the contest. The Cowboys went on to win.
The NFL official who, at some point this week, will explain the reasoning behind this decision to the world was photographed during the offseason hanging out on the Cowboys infamous “party bus.”
The Sky is Falling: LA’s Getting a Stadium
The Los Angeles Times says St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who just happens to be married to WalMart heiress Ann Walton, is moving ahead with plans to build a football stadium in Inglewood.
Not so fast, says Times columnist Bill Plaschke:
This newspaper’s latest scoop about St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s plans to build a stadium in Inglewood would be considered groundbreaking football news but for two key missing ingredients.
A shovel and a football.
For nearly each of the 20 years since the NFL last played in Los Angeles, there have been stories about its imminent return, so excuse us if we require the appearance of those two items before proceeding with giddy optimism.
Keep that in mind as various sportswriters around town spin tales about moving vans spotted outside Qualcomm Stadium.
On This Day: 1869 – The nation’s first black labor convention was held in Washington, D.C., with 214 delegates forming the Colored National Labor Union. 1948 – Warner Brothers-Pathe showed the very first color newsreel. The footage was of the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl football classic. 1998 – Representative Sonny Bono died in skiing accident.
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bob dorn says
Google News headlines today featured the names Boehner, Gohmert and Yoho in just one headline. Sounds like a law firm in a Carl Hiassen novel.
Maria E. Garcia says
Doug, I am having trouble leaving this comment right where the police funeral story is however because I wanted to tell you that we, as a country have to admit that we do have racism in every profession, career, family, or whatever. If we start from being willing to admit that it is a problem we can look for a solution. I support the Police, what I can not support is the behavior at these funerals or killing kids. Like every profession it is time to clean your house. I feel the same way about educator. We can not defend or justify bad teacher, or racist teachers. Thank you for taking this on. I wonder if police chiefs would be willing to have open and honest dicussions???