Category Archives: United States

‘Dear White People’ Director And Star Break Down Why Black People Can’t Be Racist

logan browning and justin siemin

Logan Browning and Justin Simien: Black racists who are never racists.

Of course there is no double standard in the eyes of these folks. That irony is as rich as their lack of self-awareness.

From HuffPo: Netflix’s “Dear White People” has been described as a strong modern-day take on race that is both clever and dynamic in its approach.  

The show, directed by Justin Simien, was adapted from his 2014 film of the same name, and is set on the fictional and predominantly white campus of Winchester University. Simien crafted a season filled with diverse portrayals of the black experience ― told through the lens of several students on campus ― that speak to the varied ways people of color are impacted by race.

The show touches themes like interracial relationships, police brutality, the complexities of the n-word and what it can be like to speak out against racism in the face of opposition ― something that feels especially timely. Simien and the show’s star, Logan Browning, stopped by HuffPost Black Voices to discuss myths that often come up in conversations about race and racism.

In the video above (video is at the HuffPo link), watch as Simien and Browning explain why double standards around racism simply don’t exist, like: Why a show titled “Dear Black People” would be offensive, why the n-word is off-limits to white but not black people; Why minority-focused spaces like HuffPost Black Voices exist but HuffPost White Voices does not; and why there’s simply no such thing as reverse racism.

Interesting comments Justin made in an interview via the Daily Beast (from April 2017):

“I’m sure people will feel gratified that they have seen themselves [represented]. I’m sure people will take issue with some of the choices that the characters make, but that’s all, in my opinion, part of doing my job as an artist.

But in a weird way, I feel like subconsciously we made the show for the Trump era. Watching it back now there are certain moments that are so chillingly accurate that I don’t know what part of our brains that came out of. So yeah, we assumed Hillary would be president, but, we also, you know — I think Dave Chappelle said something similar. I know white people so I don’t know that I was ever completely sure that she was going to win. I was just as shocked and crestfallen as most of the rest of us.”

During the Q&A at SXSW, you said you wanted the show to be a “clap back” against Trump’s election. What did you mean by that?

“What I meant was, once I had sort of processed my grief over the result of the election — and I’m sure someone will read this and not agree with me politically or whatever — but I was really going through the stages of grief, like a lot of people. But what made me feel better was, as we were editing the show, I was just like, boy, it felt so good to have something artistically at the ready to respond to the times that we’re in. I didn’t have to go back and write something; we already made it. It was already on deck. I found some comfort in that. And when I say response or “clap back,” Dear White People is not about all the evil things that white people do, it’s just that I think that the show attempts to analyze the hidden forces behind these conflicts. If this had happened and I didn’t have something ready to put out artistically, I would have felt even more empty about what happened. So I was just happy that we decided to speak about political things and racial issues that clearly played a factor in the result.

In his mind, as an “artist” his political opinion has more weight. And, of course, he can never be a racist.

DCG

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Demand soars for concealed carry permits, data shows

second amendment3

Shannon Watts hardest hit.

From Fox News:  The number of concealed carry permits in the United States has topped 15 million over the last year, according to data collected by the Crime Prevention Research Center.

That’s the largest one-year increase ever in the number of permits issued, according to the research center. In July 2016, the center reported that 14.5 million people had concealed handgun permits. As of May of this year, the number is already 15.7 million.

John Lott, founder of the group and a Fox News columnist, said several states, including Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Texas, have seen a big jump in the number of gun permits issued. There are several reasons for the increase – most notably, a rise in women and minorities seeking to purchase handguns, Lott said.

“I think you’re continuing to see a change in the composition of people who go and get permits,” Lott said. “Women are growing at a much faster rate than men.”

Between 2012 and 2016, Lott said, the growth rate for women was twice as much as it was for men. He also said minorities are purchasing handguns at a higher rate compared to previous years.

Firearms instructors are reporting an increase in the number of black women learning how to use guns around the country, as noted in an earlier Fox News report. Gun instructors who teach self-defense courses say more women are looking toward guns to protect themselves against crime.

In a May 10 statement to Fox News, NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said women are the fastest growing segment of firearms buyers in the country. “The NRA is a natural home for women firearms owners,” Mortensen said. “Increasingly, women today don’t want to rely on a spouse or neighbor for protection. They want to be able to protect themselves and their families.

The Crime Prevention Research Center – a nonprofit, gun advocacy research group – releases an annual report each July documenting firearm statistics by citing numbers provided by state agencies. The center’s official report for 2017 is due in July but Lott said data already collected shows a significant increase in permits in a number of states.

Arizona had 272,622 such permits in 2016 and 315,107 as of May 2017. Florida had 1,581,742 last year compared to 1,755,580 as of April 30.

Lott noted other factors contributing to an increase in permits. “You’re seeing states making it easier for people to go and get permits,” he said.

In contrast, states like California and New York have among the toughest requirements for permits in the nation. 

In Sacramento County, as of December 2016, residents are “required to pay $220 in application fees, pass a state criminal background check, take a 16-hour training course and have approval of the sheriff’s department by having ‘good moral character’ and a good reason to have CCW,” according to the center.

DCG

About that sinister pic of Trump touching a glowing orb

A photograph of President Trump in Saudi Arabia with his hands on a glowing orb is making a buzz online.

Here’s the explanation from Australia’s ABC, May 21, 2017:

Mr Trump, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman gathered around a luminescent sphere, in a tableau which drew comparisons to scenes from Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter on social media.

But no, this isn’t the Eye of Sauron or some gadget from Dumbledore’s study.

During his first presidential trip to Saudi Arabia, Mr Trump, along with King Salman and Mr el-Sisi, were opening the new Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology.

The simultaneous touching of the ornamental globe signified the official start to the facility’s operations, and appears to have been intended as a gesture of solidarity for peace and shared values.

The centre has employed data analysts from across the world to monitor and analyse extremist propaganda and communications on both traditional and online platforms.

The opening of the centre followed Mr Trump’s major speech in which he called on Middle Eastern leaders to combat a “crisis of Islamic extremism” emanating from the region.

Mr Trump received a warm welcome from Arab leaders who have set aside his past campaign rhetoric, instead focusing on his desire to crack down on Iran.

In 2016 Mr Trump declared that “Islam hates us”.

But on Sunday, standing before dozens of Muslim world leaders, he said Islam was “one of the world’s great faiths”.

So, nothing sinister there — although the pic will be good fodder for a FOTM Caption Contest.  😉

~Eowyn

1/4 of Americans can’t pay their monthly bills

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System just published its 172-page annual Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2016.

First, the good news:

  1. “Overall, the modest improvements in financial well-being that were observed in recent years continued into 2016” with 70% of adults reporting “that they are either living comfortably or doing okay financially,” compared to 69% in 2015 and 62% in 2013.
  2. “Compared to previous years, fewer adults are ill-prepared for a modest financial disruption”.

These marginal improvements aside, the report contains some disturbing information although the U.S. supposedly is nearly eight years into an economic recovery:

  • As many as 30%, or approximately 73 million adults, are either finding it difficult to get by or are just getting by financially.
  • 13% of adults struggle to pay their bills in some months due to “income volatility” or month-to-month variability, while just under one-fourth of adults are not able to pay all of their current month’s bills in full.
  • 44% of adults say they either could not cover an emergency expense costing $400, or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money. (In 2013, the percentage was an even more alarming 50%.)
  • 47% of adults of adults report that their income exceeded their spending in the prior year.
  • 46% of adults with a credit card report that they are carrying credit card debt.

Some other findings:

  • Education, specifically a college education, makes a big difference:
    • 40% of adults with a high school degree or less report that they are struggling financially, compared to 17% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree.
    • 82% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or more in education said last year they were “living comfortably” or “doing okay,” up from 80% the year before, as well as 69% of those with some college or an associate degree, up from 66%.
    • 79% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree vs. 52% of those with only a high school diploma said they would still be able to pay all of their other bills in full if hit with a $400 charge.
  • Whites are slipping behind other races: “Non-Hispanic white adults with a high school degree or less are somewhat less likely than those of other races and ethnicities or those with more education to report that their financial well-being improved in 2016.”
  • 28% of adults who haven’t yet retired reported to being grossly unprepared, which suggests they have no retirement savings or pension.
  • Healthcare costs continue to be a burden:
    • 23% of adults had to pay a major unexpected out-of-pocket medical expense in the prior year.
    • 1/4 of adults report forgoing one or more type of health care in the prior year due to affordability.
    • Approximately 24 million people, representing 10% of adults, are carrying debt from medical expenses that they had to pay out of pocket in the previous year.

ZeroHedge reports that commenting on the report’s findings, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard, a Hillary Clinton supporter, said:

“the survey findings remind us that many American households are struggling financially, including fully 40 percent of those with a high school diploma or less. More broadly, 44 percent of all respondents could not cover an unexpected $400 emergency expense or would rely on borrowing or selling something to do so. The survey also shows that many adults have no savings for retirement.”

~Eowyn

Melania swats away Trump’s hand

This GIF has gone viral.

This morning, Air Force One landed in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

As President Trump and Melania are escorted by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who’s holding hands with wife Sara, Trump reaches his left hand to Melania, who’s walking slightly behind him.

Melania swats his hand away, without breaking her stride.

Here’s the video from which the GIF was made:

This video says that later, Melania held hands with Trump when they visited the Old City in Jerusalem.

~Eowyn

Jon Stewart: ‘pizza doesn’t need cleavage to be sexy’

In October 2013, Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show had a supposedly-funny (not) segment by decidedly unfunny “Senior Women’s Issue Correspondent” Kristen Schaal on “sexy” Halloween costumes.

Schaal said “If you are going to sexually objectify yourself, what better way than to become a sexy inanimate object” like a pizza costume? An image of a blonde in a pizza dress was flashed on the screen (2:23 mark in the video below).

To which Stewart said something really strange (2:37 mark):

“I don’t know that pizza needs cleavage to make it sexy, you know what I mean.”

Schaal said, “I don’t think they go far enough. Ladies, why are we being so coy about this? Why don’t we just show everyone what we mean when we put on those sexy kitty/carrot/nurse costumes and take things to the obvious next level?”

Schaal brings out a woman encased in a giant vagina costume, and says: “I call this one ‘the sexy vagina’. And what better way to get everyone thinking of sex than to dress up as the place where sex happens?”

Then Schaal hangs a mockup of a big slice of cheese-and-pepperoni pizza on the vagina costume and says, “But we all know the one thing that makes giant vaginas sexier? Pepperoni.” At which point, Stewart is squirming with discomfort.

Reportedly, the Jon Stewart pizza video is repeatedly taken down by YouTube. Thanks to enterprising posters on Voat.co, I learned how to save the video to my computer. Here it is:

The entire unfunny segment on The Daily Show makes no sense to us innocents, until we plug in the woeful knowledge some of us have acquired some three years after that Daily Show was aired — Pizzagate’s world of pedophile code-words where, according to The Daily Sheeple and others on the Alternate Media:

  • pizza = girl
  • cheese = little girl
  • hotdog = boy
  • pasta = little boy

Urban Dictionary confirms the meanings of some of the code-words, including:

Did you know that Jon Stewart and Anthony Weiner once were roommates? After college, they shared an apartment in Soho and have been friends for many years.

Weiner is the disgraced former New York Congressman, husband of Hillary’s right-hand aide Huma Abedin, and convicted felon. On May 19, 2017, Weiner pleaded guilty in federal court to transferring obscene material to a minor — a 15-year-old girl (“pizza”) in North Carolina. Under a plea agreement, Weiner faces a sentence of 21 to 27 months, and will be required to register as a sex offender. Sentencing is scheduled for September 8, 2017.

~Eowyn

Planned Parenthood Will Close 4 Iowa Clinics Due To New State Restrictions

mammograms

Don’t’ believe the fearmongering of this article from Refinery29. There are still PLENTY of health care clinics in Iowa. My quick search found the following:

The Iowa Association of Rural Health Clinics has a list of over 140 rural health clinics in Iowa. And of course, there are the countless other municipal health care clinics as well as private health care facilities.

Plenty of facilities for Iowa residents to receive “vital health services” that only Planned Parenthood can provide.

From Yahoo (Refinery29): Following in Texas’ disastrous footsteps, four Planned Parenthood clinics will close in Iowa because of the state government’s actions to partially defund the health organization. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed a health and human services budget that discontinued the state’s federal Medicaid family planning waiver and replaced it with a state program that excludes any clinic that offers abortions.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced on Thursday that it will close one third of its 12 health centers in Iowa this summer, leaving an estimated 14,600 patients in Quad Cities, Burlington, Keokuk, and Sioux City without their current healthcare provider.

Iowa’s $1.77 billion health and human services budget keeps roughly the same amount of funds for family planning as the previous year, but places new restrictions on which facilities can receive money to cover low-income patients’ health care. Because the Hyde Amendment already prevents federal funds from paying for abortion, the budget change is the latest attempt by Republican politicians to shut down abortion providers.

Defunding Planned Parenthood and forcing clinics to shutter keeps low-income women from accessing vital health services such as contraception and cancer screenings, as the organization says abortions make up roughly 3% all services it performs.

Back in 2011, Texas took similarly drastic measures, cutting its family planning budget by more than $70 million and directing it away from clinics that provided abortion. Across the state, 25% of all family planning clinics closed, and about 30,000 fewer women had access to a health clinic two years later.

Clinic closures in the Lone Star State also forced women to drive four times farther to have an abortion. A Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) study found that Texas women whose closest clinic stayed open drove an average of 22 miles, while women whose closest clinic closed drove an average of 85 miles for health services. The women furthest from an open clinic had to drive more than 250 miles.

Iowa’s new regulations forced clinics to close right away, which foreshadows what will happen if the healthcare bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in May becomes law. The GOP’s American Health Care Act proposes cutting off Medicaid reimbursements Planned Parenthood currently receives for treating low-income patients for one year unless its clinics stop performing abortions.

“We have seen what happens in states like Texas, and now in Iowa, when politicians attack access to care at Planned Parenthood — it’s devastating, and sometimes deadly, for the women who are left with nowhere to turn for care,” Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement to Refinery29. “I am concerned about the health and well-being of the people in Iowa who now can no longer turn to their trusted health care provider.”

Texas has already proven that when a state cuts off Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funds, it forces clinics to close and keeps women from getting the health services they need. Now, Iowa has followed suit and essential care for women is at stake in one more state.

DCG