The Call Up

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September 13, 2014 5:52 pm


Will Darren Wilson ever be arrested?

Let’s keep in mind that the death of Mike Brown was the first homicide in the history of Ferguson, MO. Who are the animals?

(via mydrunkkitchen)

August 18, 2014 6:44 pm

In this city of about 21,000, West Florissant is a major thoroughfare and is lined with nail and hair salons, a few restaurants and an array of retailers. It is common to see commercial jetliners fly overhead as they arrive or depart from the nearby Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

But for more than a week, the road has been a battleground nearly every night.

On Sunday night, police officers in riot gear marched through smoke-filled streets. As midnight approached, the roadway was filled with debris: spent canisters of tear gas, wooden and rubber bullets, gray cinder blocks and shattered bottles.

But by the time the lunch hours arrived on Monday, the street was largely swept clean, sometimes by volunteers clutching black trash bags.

It was not so simple for Dellena Jones, who runs a hair salon where the door frame was free of glass on Monday. The night before, demonstrators had tossed concrete slabs into the business as Ms. Jones’s two children prepared for what had been scheduled as the first day of school.

As Ms. Jones waited for a wooden board to place over her door, she fretted about what might become of her business as customers have chosen to stay away.

“I had a full week that went down to really nothing,” she said. “They’re too scared to come.”

As she spoke, a man walked by and shouted, “You need a gun in there, lady!” If the unrest continues, Ms. Jones said she may have to meet customers elsewhere.

“I may have to go for a minute and work somewhere else,” she said. “But I’m paying rent here, so I will have to pay somewhere else to work, which is not fair.”


The New York Times, "Stores Are Boarded Up But Open For Business in Ferguson" (via inothernews)

Dear business owners of Ferguson:

Sue the fuck out of your police force. Sue the chief of police. Sue the St. Louis city PD. Sue the county PD. Sue them all.

Their misuse of force murdered Mike Brown. Their negligence and total mishandling of the aftermath of the shooting exacerbated a tense situation. They are responsible for the lost wages and damage to your city. You can bet that very little will happen to actually hold the cops responsible in an official way. So sue em.

August 14, 2014 8:27 am August 13, 2014 5:42 pm
"The worst part of outfitting our police officers as soldiers has been psychological. Give a man access to drones, tanks, and body armor, and he’ll reasonably think that his job isn’t simply to maintain peace, but to eradicate danger. Instead of protecting and serving, police are searching and destroying…By all accounts, Brown was One Of The Good Ones. But laying all this out, explaining all the ways in which he didn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street, is in itself disgraceful. Arguing whether Brown was a good kid or not is functionally arguing over whether he specifically deserved to die, a way of acknowledging that some black men ought to be executed."

What’s happening in St. Louis is endemic to what is happening across America.  Cops with too much fire power and not enough understanding of the communities they serve.  Portraits of a black victim that lay out all the reasons why he could have justifiably been killed, rather than screaming with outrage at the fact that an unarmed 18 year old was shot multiple times in the street, without resisting.  A community in anguish with no recourse but to riot. 

The picture of the police officer standing over Michael Brown’s dead body is like something straight out of Birmingham in 1960.  Neighbors called the ambulance, the police didn’t.  His body was uncovered for hours.  Cops fired tear gas into a candlelight vigil when the local residents refused to “disperse” and instead chanted “We live here!” 

I know some feel that the rioting, looting and general unrest happening in Ferguson is counter productive.   FUCK THAT.  Somebody needed to riot.  Somebody needed to call attention to this shit.  When the cops met them in full riot gear, shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed demonstrators, citizens of Ferguson stepped into the breach. They didn’t run.  They live there. 


August 12, 2014 10:56 am
"By that point, Johnson says the officer and Brown were face-to-face. The officer then fired several more shots. Johnson described watching Brown go from standing with his hands up to crumbling to the ground and curling into a fetal position."

How does this happen? Better yet, how does this keep happening?



August 11, 2014 7:31 pm
Reports from St. Louis. No way to live.

Reports from St. Louis. No way to live.

7:25 pm

Today in America

You know what’s fascinating…today, a good chunk of St. Louis was in rebellion because yet another black, unarmed teenager was shot and killed for no good reason.  Stories, reactions, opinion pieces…are nowhere to be found.  It’s literally become such a common occurrence as to be mundane, which is why it’s scary.  If we aren’t outraged anymore, well…we’re fucked.

A black guy who works for me told me today, sort of casually, that on his first day at one of our clinics, the nurses told the security guard that he was there to steal their cars. Despite the security guard telling them that he was in fact there to train, they persisted.  Then on his first day at my clinic, the security guard (also a black man) hassled him about why he was there.

It’s called structural racism.  It’s built into our minds, our infrastructure.  And if we can’t even muster the energy to call it out, it will never go away. 

May 6, 2014 10:40 pm
"Tomorrow, President Obama is going to do interviews with meteorologists all across the country about a new climate change report," she said. "I hope they ask him about Benghazi." "Like, the weatherman from Montana should ask him about Benghazi," she quipped. "That would be great. I dare you."
April 27, 2014 1:31 pm March 18, 2014 10:33 pm
"The Homicide Report addresses two questions every newspaper covering a major metropolis should answer: who was killed last night, and why? But most newspapers don’t do this because the logic of most newsrooms is that not all murders are sexy, grisly, or surprising enough to be written about. The Homicide Report operates on the inverse principal: Every murder gets a story because murder is inherently worthy of our attention."

From “Murder in Los Angeles.”  A fine piece of journalism.

(Source: The Awl)

February 18, 2014 8:07 am

But some are given more days than others, and I think of dying at 17, in my loudness, in my vanity, which is to say in my human youth, and I tremble. I was barely anything. I understood barely anything. When Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis, he obliterated a time-stream, devastated an open range of changes. And somewhere on that American jury, someone thought this was justice, someone believed in the voodoo of shotguns and teleportation. Michael Dunn killed a boy, and too robbed a man of his chance to be.

And this will happen again, must happen again, because our policy is color-blind, but our heritage isn’t. An American courtroom claiming it can be colorblind denies its rightful inheritance. An American courtroom claiming it can be colorblind is a drug addict claiming he can walk away after just one more hit. Law and legacy are at war. Legacy is winning. Legacy will always win. And our legacy is to die in this land where time is unequal, and deeded days are unequal, and blessed is the black man who lives to learn other ways, who lives to see other worlds, who lives to bear witness before the changes.


Ta-Nehisi Coates, on the killing of Jordan Davis. (via theatlantic)

Jesus. TNC consistently brings it into perspective. The whole long narrative of race, experience in America, and why this keeps happening. And that’s helpful, and for a moment it makes it seem better — we can’t help ourselves, it’s nurture. But after a moment’s consideration, it really just makes me more upset that we are so stupidly pathological. And I sometimes wish TNC would just get pissed.

(via theatlantic)

February 17, 2014 11:33 pm
"The most interesting news about Fox News is that for some years now it has been damaging the right far more than the left. As a pair of political analysts wrote at Reuters last year, “When the mainstream media reigned supreme, between 1952 and 1988, Republicans won seven out of the ten presidential elections,” but since 1992, when “conservative media began to flourish” (first with Rush Limbaugh’s ascendancy, then with Fox), Democrats have won the popular vote five out of six times. You’d think they’d be well advised to leave Fox News to its own devices so that it can continue to shoot its own party in the foot."

Interesting piece on the decline of the GOP and increasing irrelevancy of Fox News.  Rich thinks the Fox bubble has worked against the party, as the echo chamber just gets louder and more extreme.  He also argues that the left should just let them go ahead and shoot their party in the foot, since they’ve been doing it rather effectively for the last decade.  Hard to say whether it’s correlation or causation though.  

However, the notes about how blind Roger Ailes is to new media, the internet, and the importance of younger markets, is incredible.  Remarkable that someone who successfully overturned the media market now looks so crusty and old fashioned.
January 30, 2014 9:39 am
"In a state with a booming economy but simmering problems with its public schools and water infrastructure and with high rates of poverty and people without health insurance, one of the central questions hanging over the race is how long, exactly, Ms. Davis lived in a trailer in Fort Worth as a single mother."

I have a lot feelings about this issue. And I was trying to figure out why exactly (other than obvious targeting of a female politician). She’s not being crucified for being a single mother, she’s being targeted for getting help as a single mother and not being fully transparent about it. And she’s being targeted for wanting a better life for her family and working towards that goal, potentially at the expense of a fuller family life.

So I started thinking about all the missteps and falsities around Bill Clinton’s past, George W.’s past and even Obama’s . Stories of drugs, women, ambition…these men were able to get past those storylines. The issue is that simultaneous to all of those character flaws, none of those men were accused of being bad parents. Indeed, no man would ever face the same accusations as Wendy Davis, because no man would ever be in the same predicament as Wendy Davis. Raising kids alone at a young age, having to lean on a spouse for support while trying to be a parent and a student…men don’t have these problems. And if they do have these problems, it’s not the least bit controversial and happens quietly and out of sight.

Yes she exaggerated some aspects of her storyline. I don’t think anyone would argue that there’s some serious issue with her mother having a 9th grade education vs. a 6th grade. Or that she moved from a trailer to a small apartment. I don’t care. It isn’t at all relevant. What stands out to me is that in order for her to make something of herself, she needed help because you can’t do it on your own in America today. And apparently that’s appalling. Nevermind the pedigrees and backgrounds of her opponents who invariably received help from spouses or parents or other sources. We have a problem with a husband supporting his wife through law school. And women aren’t allowed to leave the nest. This subtle undercurrent of chauvinism is gross and so very Southern.

(Source: The New York Times)

October 15, 2013 10:43 am


An exclusive Esquire-NBC News survey shows us that everything we are told about politics in America today… is wrong. The data, compiled by the Benenson Strategy Group (pollster for Obama for America ‘08 and ‘12) and Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies (lead pollster for Romney for President), show us there is a large group of American voters—even a majority—who make up a New American Center that is passionate, persuadable, and very real. They are merely waiting for Washington to find them.”

13 Things That Define the New American Center

An interesting look at American ideology. What’s clear from all this is that politics is a very poor reflection of modern American values. And that out traditional political labels no longer seem very relevant. The fact that you have to ask such direct and defined questions to help identify what people want and how they define their views just clarifies how much our traditional political categories are failing us.

September 11, 2013 10:58 am
aatombomb: Putin is angry. He thinks the United States doesn’t take him seriously...

Putin is angry. He thinks the United States doesn’t take him seriously or treat Russia as a major player. Okay, fine, that’s how he feels. If I were president, I’d get in a room with him and say, ‘Look at the slaughter going on in Syria. You can stop it. Do it, and I’ll see to it that you can…