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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SHOE ON THE OTHER FOOT

By Chris Miller


I’m white. Yep, I was born Caucasian. That is the way God made me. All of my youth spent lying in the sun cannot change my skin tone… it just fades back to white. It also doesn’t matter how many Black or Hispanic friends I have, I will never know what it was like to grow up or live today as a non-white citizen.

Airline flying in the United States, and around the world, is a privilege, not a right. After the attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001, the security process required for anyone to fly was forever changed. It has evolved over time as other breaches in security have occurred. Thankfully, nothing to the extent of that horrible September morning has been repeated.

Because of different events, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) last week answered the call for increased screening of passengers as they embark into the friendly skies. Problem is people, mostly Caucasian, are upset. Why are they upset, because they are now learning how it feels to be searched, patted down, or touched in places that another person should not touch someone unless they are partnered… all while they have done nothing wrong.

Ask any Black man, he will tell you that this procedure was either a normal part of his upbringing or he lived in fear of this happening just because he looked different or was in what someone else perceived to be the ‘wrong neighborhood’. Am I speaking ‘out of turn’? I challenge anyone to ask an ethnic male friend if this is true to see if I am right. I am!

Now you have leaders such as Congressman-Elect Alan West (R-Florida) talking about ‘Trend Analysis’ in determining who should be searched. As a man of African-American heritage, I challenge him to call it out for what it really is…’Racial Profiling’ Mr. West needs to take a step back and remember Timothy McVeigh and the “Shoe Bomber” were Caucasian.

If we, as Americans, do not want a repeat of that life-changing 9/11 event, we have to pay the price. If TSA caves to public pressure, removes some safeguards just because a ‘Professionally Trained Agent’ is trying to keep the skies friendly, and another catastrophic event occurs, who will be to blame? The President, TSA, or the people with the biggest voices who felt inconvenienced or violated.

Air flight is a privilege, not a right. The US Government, airline companies and TSA are charged with making it safe to fly.

If you don’t like it, take the train!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Open Letter to Sen. Harry Reid Regarding the Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

MEDIA CONTACT:
Laura Martin : 702 292 1279
laurakmmartin@gmail.com



The Honorable Harry Reid
U.S. Senate
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


Dear Senator Reid,

A very narrow window exists during the post-election session of Congress in which swift and decisive leadership must be displayed in order to secure successful repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT). With all of the hard work that you have done to get this repeal as far as it has progressed thus far, it would be simply unacceptable for Congress not to get a chance to repeal DADT before the 111th Congress concludes its term.

As Senate Majority Leader, you control whether, when, and how bills are brought before the full Senate chamber. As a strong and principled supporter of ending the discriminatory DADT policy, you have the power to see that DADT gets acted upon in the lame duck session. We, therefore, ask you, the Senate Majority Leader, to oppose any effort to strip language repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The current language in the Senate Armed Services Committee-approved version of the NDAA offers important and overdue protections for servicewomen and military dependents, as well as provides those service members who are lesbian, gay or bisexual the opportunity to serve their country with honesty and integrity. Time is of the essence with ensuring that DADT is not removed from NDAA. We have the votes to end DADT this year. Now we must see more strong leadership from you, Senator Reid.

We know that you are committed to ending the dangerous and discriminatory policy that is DADT. We know that you are one to keep your promises, and we fully expect NDAA to be brought back up before you recess for Thanksgiving. We know you will follow through on your commitment to our LGBTQ community and our military here in Nevada, and across the nation, by ensuring that the DADT repeal provision is not excluded when NDAA is brought forward for a vote.

Sincerely,

STATE SENATOR DAVID PARKS (D-NV)
ROBERTA LANGE CHAIRWOMAN CLARK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY
CANDICE NICHOLS DIRECTOR OF THE GAY & LESBIAN CENTER OF SOUTHERN NEVADA
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION
EQUALITY NEVADA
GAY LESBIAN & STRAIGHT EDUCATION NETWORK OF LAS VEGAS
LAMBDA BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION
LAS VEGAS EQUALITY
NEVADA STONEWALL DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS
PARENTS & FRIENDS OF LESBIANS & GAYS OF NEVADA
PROGRESSIVE LEADERSHIP ALLIANCE OF NEVADA
PROGRESS NOW NEVADA
SI SE PUEDE LATINO DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS
STAND OUT FOR EQUALITY
STONEWALL DEMOCRATS OF SOUTHERN NEVADA
STONEWALL DEMOCRATS OF NORTHERN NEVADA

VETERAN & STUDENT ALLIES
Jonathan Abbinett
Ronald Ramsey
Conroe Brooks
Loretta Harper
Jennifer Webb
Christopher Mendez-Preciado
Marcos Penaloza
Adriana Felix
Robert Cavazos
James Lee
Edith Byrd

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Diversity isn't "fair"

Chris Collins, executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (police union), last night said a coroner's inquest "jury" that is as diverse as the population of Clark County is not fair to law enforcement officers, suggesting that somehow diversity and fairness are mutually exclusive.

I attended the final meeting of the Coroner's Inquest Review Panel Monday night, where a panel brainstormed to come up with solutions to a process of investigating officer involved fatal shootings that is widely criticized by the public for being ineffective. I went partly to support friends on the panel but mostly to support a friend who has been a relentless advocate against the inquest process which sees officers walk free and the county using tax payer money to settle with victims.

From my seat in the Clark County Government Center commission chambers gallery I saw some news cameras and a few reporters scattered about. My hopes for good coverage disappeared when it was apparent that most of them weren't paying attention.

A cameraman sat in a chair and scrolled through his blackberry. A reporter who sat a few rows down from me was scrolling through his iPhone and giggling. Another reporter had her coat draped over her, slumped down in her seat and seemed to be dozing off (Ironically, during her evening news report, sleeping beauty said the meeting was "exhaustive").

So it's no surprise that there were no reports of Mr. Collin's offensive comments. There was also no report that the community members in the gallery erupted in applause after Mr. Collins was rebuked by Las Vegas NAACP representative Richard Boulware.

What was reported is interestingly the only bit of news Clark County tweeted: recently re-elected District Attorney David Rogers made a motion to remove his office from the entire coroner inquest process.

The purpose of the inquest is fact-finding in the occasion a police officer murders someone. The inquest brings out all facts and details leading to the murder for the public. A "jury" then decides if the use of force was justified, negligent or criminal. No punishments are made. Witnesses are not cross examined. Officers involved don't even have to participate. The last time an officer was found criminally negligent through this process was 1976.

Erick Scott was murdered leaving a Costco. Three Las Vegas police officers shot him in the chest and the leg. They then shot him five more times as he lay dying on the ground. He had a permit for the weapon he was carrying, but it was never removed from its holster.

Trevon Cole was murdered on his knees, in his bathroom, by Detective Bryan Yant (who has murdered a robbery suspect in 2001). Detective Yant claimed Mr Cole was dealing small amounts of marijuana to serviceman at the nearby Air Force base. But it turns out, Detective Yant had been targeting the wrong guy.

Erik and Trevon are just two of the six officer involved fatal shootings. Diversity isn't what we have to worry about when it comes to fairness. What isn't fair is for 36 years law enforcement officers in Clark County have gotten away with murder. In recent cases, these officers are cleared of all negligence despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

Let's hope Mr. Collins can put aside his issues with "diversity", the Nevada press will wake up and the Coroner's Inquest Panel can come to a consensus on a solution that is not only fair, but just.




--
Laura

President Obama and his kabillion dollars a day trip overseas

It's been a little over two years since Barack Obama was first elected president and the American people have been deluged with crazy rumors ever since. He's a Muslim. He was born in Kenya. He's a fascist. He wants to be Hitler 2.0. He hates white people (which really doesn't go with the whole Hitler accusation). He's the anti-Christ.

As the president embarks on his latest trip to play nice with India and visit his boyhood home in Indonesia, the Republicans are at it again; claiming the trip is costing the US tax payers $200 million per day. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann seems to be "Idiot 0" in this latest whopper which was (surprisingly) quickly debunked by members of the White House Press corps.

Bad media reports are to blame for this rumor, and it's my wish that all rumors/lies can be debunked this quickly and cleanly. We all remember Senator John McCain lying to Jake Tapper on This Week about Phoenix being the kidnap capitol of the world. A claim that was not anywhere near true, but McCain was given a pass because he heard it from media reports--reports he was never asked to name.

---
Laura

Harry Reid wins, public polling be damned

All public polling done for Nevada's Senate race was wrong. Several polls leading up to election showed Sharron Angle beating Harry Reid between 10 and 5 points. Pollsters and poll analyzers will hem and haw and suggest they "underestimated" certain groups of voters, but they were just wrong. Even Nate Silver of 538 fame, who's credited with teaching numbers how to fuck, was WAY off in his forecasting.

I was standing next to Harry Reid during his press conference when he was finally able to say in public that polls for his race were bullshit, and the press still "gobbled" them up. In a twitter back and forth with 8 News Now's Jonathan Humbert, he suggests he "has" to rely on bad polling because "what else do we have to go on?" Uh, how about nothing? Why report on a lie? Your employers spent a lot of money on bullshit polling. You should be apologizing, not making excuses.

Nevada's HPIC Jon Ralston got it right. His Sunday-after column says Reid won because of preparation. The Reid campaign spent the primary cultivating relationships with leaders of constituency groups. Seconds after the primary votes were counted in June, the Reid camp and its allies went live with their anti-Angle websites, Twitter accounts and facebook pages defining the "extreme" granny with a gun from up north before she ever had a chance to define herself.

--
Laura

The Grind

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