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Showing posts from 2015

The Laquan McDonald shooting video: Why does it veer AWAY from the shooters?

Since November 24 Chicago been quaking in its boots in response to the release of the shocking police video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald taken by a dashboard camera the night of October 20, 2014 and made public only a year later after the City was compelled to do so by court order.
The video is hard to watch. It’s damningly incriminating. But I’ve seen no mention made of one of its more damning aspects: the stunning fact that the squad car whose dashcam is intended to record the interactions of police and citizens defeats this purpose — intentionally or otherwise — by veering away from the shooters. This veering away occurs within the first seven of the approximately 20 seconds that it took Officer James Van Dyke to shoot Laquan McDonald 16 times.
Make no mistake, the video does clearly depict Van Dyke making his first shot. It also captures some of Van Dyke’s shots as they hit McDonald’s prostrate body. That said, for all but one of the shooting’s 20 seconds — the very first —…

What's wrong with American capitalism? Jimmy Carter says it's our money-driven, oligarchical electoral system.

This morning I stumbled (via Reddit) on Jimmy Carter's blunt July 28 comments about America's money-driven and arguably oligarchical electoral system (his word!). And here he is, talking on Thom Hartman's radio program:


Carter's comments have been overlooked (suppressed) in mainstream media, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. Remember, this is President Jimmy Carter. Here's the latest on media coverage of them.

Moments before seeing Carter's comments, I read today's NYT op ed by David Brooks calling for "a great debate about the nature of capitalism". I then wrote the following comment to it: 
OK, so I won't hear from David Brooks, even though the political media I propose would by design be independent of the "strong government" he sees as a curb on economic growth.   

As difficult as would be the creation of the political media outlined above, the dangers of not creating it are far, far greater.  Think abou…

The Lincoln Scenario: How Rauner and Madigan Finally Ended their War for Illinois and United Illinois' "House Divided"

August 30 The updated, extended version of this piece is here at our Medium site. Author's note: So is necessity really the mother of invention? If it is, here's a look at how close Illinois is today to a workable alternative to the politics of self-destruction that's fueling the fratricidal "War For Illinois". So far, three experts and two State Reps have commended this piece. Like it? Please help advance it. See how, below. Here's a Printable Copy. By mid-summer of 2015, a grinding yearlong power struggle between governor Rauner and House speaker Madigan had gridlocked into trench warfare. Mounting losses in precious time, energy, resources, services and money were bankrupting Illinois and destroying public faith and trust in government itself.

It became clear that for whoever won this contest, victory would be pyrrhic. The Land of Lincoln, in Lincoln's famous biblical phrase, would be "a house divided against itself": a state too polarized and…

On the Charleston S.C. Massacre and the Deeper Roots of Ignorance in America

My good friend Penny Lundquist just posted a link to a Psychology Today article by secular humanist David Niose entitled "Is Anti-intellectualism Killing America". It holds anti-intellectualism and a "culture of ignorance" partly responsible for the racially-motivated murders of nine Black churchgoers in Charleston, SC by 21-year old Dylann Roof. And it holds this culture responsible for the death of reason itself in America as well.

Interesting. The idea of a culture of ignorance got me thinking in two directions: about the factors that contributed to Dylann Roof's homicidal mindset and about those that underlie America's broken system of political discourse.

Thinking about all this, I decided that before discussing anything I needed first to come to terms with the idea that something - anything - may be killing America. This notion is discomfiting: it locks one into the narrow dualistic box that America is either being killed or it is not. Heck, that&#…

How Spike Lee's Chiraq Can Help Chicago Deal with Youth Violence - Part I

PRINTABLE VERSION (750 WORDS) SHORTENED VERSION (635 WORDS)

So now along comes Spike Lee from the Big Apple to show the Second City how to deal with youth violence. OK by me. We needall the help we can get.

Here we have the worst youth violence problem of any big city in the country. And what are we doing to solveit?

Nothing.Fact is, we've never tried to solve it. We've tried to contain it, reduce it, ignore it, prevent it, stop it, and pray for it togo away. But neverto solve it.

The end result?Youthviolence today is "as bad as it's ever been, or worse"