Bill Maher took on our bloated defense budget and the "vessels of our outsourced masculinity" in America during his New Rules segment on Real Time this Friday night.
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After watching the better part of a couple of days of coverage on this tragic school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in CT, I was glad to see at least one show on television where there was a discussion about the fact that what happened there, and the trauma that those children and their families are going through right now, is an all but too common occurrence which is sadly all too familiar to Americans living in our inner cities across the country.
Whether it's Chicago, or New Orleans or the other big cities across the country facing high crime rates, far too often the violence has been glossed over and ignored to the point by our national media, that it's just considered acceptable or something we're expected to live with.
As Melissa noted, to date Chicago has suffered at least 425 gun-related homicides in 2012 as of Dec. 14. The Huffington Post has more on that story here: Chicago Homicides Reach 400 This Year, City Turns To Twitter For Ideas To End Violence. And 117 of those victims this year alone were under the age of 21.
And in her home town of New Orleans, we've had 174 murders, most of which are gunshot deaths and in Los Angeles, there have been 512 homicides recorded for the year, and 75 percent of those deaths resulted from gunshot wounds.
HARRIS-PERRY: These are the gun related homicides that get treated as routine -- tragic, but expected. And yet, they need to be included when we talk about Newtown, CT, because their victims are just as real.
The Nation's Ari Melber followed with this:
MELBER: So while we understand exactly how terrible this is and why the story of it and the way it happened is so dramatic and we're rushing to it and the President's speaking to it, it's also true as a policy matter that if 27 people dying is something that connotes the President's attention or our attention and action, well then every day is this day, as you were saying and all around the country.
As Michael Eric Dyson noted, President Obama did bring up those in Chicago during his statement following this most recent shooting and made this important point:
DYSON: The reality is, we've become accustomed to believing that little black and brown kids and poor white kids in various spots across our landscape are doomed to this kind of violence by this... we are surprised it happened here. It's not supposed to happen here.
Which means by implication, that it's supposed to happen there, in Detroit, or Oakland, or California, in LA and the like. And I think that's the tragedy here.
As Harris-Perry rightfully noted a bit later in the segment, she just wants the same level of outrage when you're seeing these kids in our inner cities having their childhoods taken away from them with the violence that they are growing up around as a part of their daily lives as we've seen from these mass shootings that garner so much national attention in the media.
I hope if there is an ounce of good that comes out of this shooting, it's that conversations like this one are more common where we're talking about what we can do to put a stop to gun violence along with a host of other topics that are all interwoven with the same subject and those are not just gun control and gun violence, but mental health, providing adequate health care for all of our citizens, education, poverty, our social safety nets and just what kind of country we're allowing way too many of our children to grow up in.
After the recent freakout on Fox, with Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Eric Bolling and their ilk all attacking Bob Costas for speaking out about gun violence, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart slammed them pretty hard this Monday evening for their pious proclamations that now is the wrong time to talk about gun violence -- "now" meaning "anytime whatsoever".
Unless of course you're Ted Nugent, or someone trying to make light of the need for gun control. Then it's perfectly alright.
Media Matters has more on that here: For Fox News, It's Never The Right Time To Discuss Gun Violence:
Fox News is helping to lead the right-wing media charge against NBC sportscaster Bob Costas after he brought up the issue of gun violence during halftime of Sunday night's NFL telecast. Fox's heavy-handed move reflects a long pattern of gun advocates trying to make sure a larger media discussion about gun violence in America does not take place.
Sadly, they appear to be succeeding. [...]
As I've noted for years, the mainstream media long ago stopped covering gun violence as a major issue. And even in the wake of horrendous massacres, like in July when a gunman armed himself with a Smith & Wesson M&P15 and shot 70 moviegoers in Aurora, CO., the press has routinely turned a blind eye to the American epidemic. High-profile shootings are mostly covered as a crime issue, not a larger social one.
And even when the topic is covered the press has done a woeful job including crucial context, like the fact that 30,000 people die and 70,000 more are wounded each year from gun violence in this country. Those figures represent eye-opening details that help tell the larger, disturbing story about gun violence in America. But they're ones that rarely get cited by the U.S. news media when covering gun deaths.
That may be why Fox was so quick to slap down Costas: The GOP channel doesn't want any semblance of a media debate about gun violence to take hold. And Fox certainly doesn't want it to take hold in the high-profile forum of a primetime NFL telecast.
Note that the now-is-not-the-time-to-discuss-guns line of attack pushed by Fox has become common practice among conservatives and Republican politicians. Following the Aurora massacres, Sean Hannity and Fox contributor Michelle Malkin were furious the "left wing" was trying to "politicize" the story when they simply made the obvious connection between run-away gun violence and the movie theater mass murder.
After pointing out that Republicans are no longer having success running on issues like inner city crime and opining over New York's Time Square becoming "a Disney-fied, bubble gum, wimp company" where "the worst that could happen is one of those giant M&M's tries to flash you his peanuts," Colbert opined over the fact that
this disturbing lack of violence isn't just a problem for our cities" but for the Republican party as well.
As Colbert noted, in this last election Republicans lost the blacks, the women, young voters, Latinos by 44 percent and "even more surprising, they failed to get 100 percent of the white male vote." Colbert had a suggestion for a new wedge issues if Republicans want to turn the voter tide back in their favor -- white male patriarchy.
My reaction to this segment by MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry reminds me a whole lot of how I felt after initially listening to Rep. Jackie Speier's remarks on the House floor, after finally being fed up with listening to her colleagues demonize Planned Parenthood and abortion. It's every bit as brave, honest and powerful and something every one of these anti-woman, anti-abortion zealots ought to have to listen to, after Richard Mourdock's callous remarks about conception via rape being "God's will."
Dear Mr. Mourdock,
Sometimes I still flinch when I’m touched a certain way, even if it’s the loving embrace of my husband. I can’t stand to watch TV shows where rape is the central plot line. Even some seasons of the year are harder for me. Those of us who are sexual assault survivors call these triggers. We spend our lives — the lives we lead after the attack — avoiding and managing these triggers.
A congressional debate shouldn’t have to come with a trigger warning. But apparently, Richard, yours should. Because in Tuesday’s debate for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat, you said this Tuesday night during a debate in New Albany, Indiana.
Bill O'Reilly's been on a hell of a tear this week attacking the Occupy Wall Street movement. On this Monday's show, he was calling them "terrorists" because a protester was giving him a hard time while watching a show on Broadway. Our friends over at News Hounds have more on that and O'Reilly's double standard when it comes to what sort of protesters he likes.
And never mind the hypocrisy of someone like Bill O'Reilly having the nerve to call protesters "terrorists" when he's done his best to inspire a few actual terrorists of his own as Dave Neiwert wrote about here: Bill O'Reilly has Dr. George Tiller's blood on his well-stained hands.
This Tuesday, he followed up as promised and here's how Fox's blog, Fox Nation promoted the piece tonight: The O'Reilly Factor: The Architects of The Occupy Movement:
Bill O’Reilly Asks: Who is Backing the Occupy Protesters and Why Won’t President Obama Repudiate the Movement?
Thousands of protesters and members of the Occupy movement hit the streets of Chicago during the NATO summit. 90 people were arrested and dozens were injured including a police officer who was stabbed. Tonight on The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly looked further into who is really behind the movement, which he notes is now very well organized. He called it a “hardcore, far-left movement designed to cause as much trouble as possible.”
He found that the movement is being run out of Washington, D.C. in offices belonging to the Institute for Policy Studies. The director of the Institute is John Cavanagh, a longtime liberal activist and his nonprofit accepts money from George Soros through the Tides Foundation. O’Reilly also reported that the Service Employees International Union headed by Mary Kay Henry is paying rent for the OWS crew in D.C. at about $4,000 month.
O’Reilly stated, “It is long past time for President Obama to condemn the anarchistic element of the occupiers, which is now dominant. Instead, the president falls back on protecting freedom of speech platitudes. Sure, tell that to the Chicago cop who got stabbed, Mr. President.”
The Institute for Policy Studies' John Cavanagh responded to O'Reilly's attacks on their organization and Occupy Wall Street later that same evening here: The Nonsense Zone:
On this weekend's The McLaughlin Group on PBS, after host John McLaughlin asked his panel whether or not the Occupy Wall Street is going to have any impact on the upcoming presidential race next year and whether the movement is "transitory or enduring", Pat Buchanan responded by comparing the movement to the demonstrations we saw in the 1960's, proving once again that he still hasn't quit reliving his days from back in the Nixon White House.
BUCHANAN: It's going to be very damaging to the President for this reason if he gets too close to it because it’s going end very, very badly with these folks in the winter, and they’re not going to be getting publicity, they’re going to be acting up and acting badly, like the worst of the demonstrators in the 60's.
MCLAUGHLIN: You mean overnight camping? Things like that?
BUCHANAN: Well not just overnight camping. They’re going to start fighting with the cops.
Eleanor Clift followed up by noting that it was a Iraq veteran and not the police who was harmed during the Occupy Oakland protests and asked Buchanan which side he was going to blame for that. And both Clift and Page responded the they believe the group has staying power. As Page noted, they've already succeeded in changing the debate in America from deficit reduction, which is all you heard from these Villagers in the corporate media, to income disparity and the wealth gap, as demonstrated by the fact that they were even having that very conversation during this segment.
Buchanan and his ilk have been using the tactics of divide and conquer and fear for political gain in order to divide the working class against each other for decades now. I'm sure he's hoping they'll manage to do the same thing by demonizing the Occupy Wall Street movement as we've from him and his cohorts on Fox and in the right wing media ever since the movement started picking up steam and they could no longer ignore them completely.
The Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff's Department are investigating two gunshots that were fired through the window of U.S. Rep. Gene Green's (D-TX) office Tuesday.
Houston Police told Fox 26 that they were not ruling out the possibility the shots could have come from a BB or pellet gun.
The Capitol Police were also investigating the matter, according to Politico.
Thanks to a law signed by Gov. Rick Perry, Texans with concealed-carry permits can bypass the metal detectors when carrying weapons into the Texas Capitol building as of Thursday.
Earlier this year, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head outside a Tucson supermarket.
Lawrence O'Donnell took Republican House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy to task for the reports that the "good Christian" showed his fellow GOP House members a clip from The Town during a closed-door meeting, encouraging them to vote for John Boehner's latest proposal for raising the debt ceiling that he already knows is D.O.A. in the Senate.
TPM has more on that here -- CRAM IT! ALL Senate Dems Tell Boehner His Debt Limit Plan Is DOA.
And here's more from The Huffington Post on that meeting with McCarthy 'The Town' Clip Played By Kevin McCarthy At GOP Meeting Ahead Of Debt Ceiling Vote: Report (VIDEO) :
Amid contentious negotiations taking place in Washington on the issue of raising the debt ceiling, the Washington Post offers a glimpse of what went on behind the scenes during a closed-door meeting among House Republican lawmakers on Tuesday.
The gathering took place as some conservative members of the chamber remain at odds with their GOP colleagues on a plan put forth by House Speaker John Boehner to lift the nation's deficit limit. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on Tuesday morning that at the time he was confident the proposal did not have sufficient GOP votes to pass.
According to the Post, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sought to foster a sense of unity among House Republicans at their meeting by playing a clip from The Town, a 2010 crime thriller starring Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner.
In the segment of footage reportedly shown, Doug MacRay, a bank robber played by Affleck, says to his friend Jem Coughlin, played by Renner, “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later. And we're going to hurt some people.” Jem then responds, "Whose car are we gonna take?"
Republican aides tell the Post that Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a Tea Party-backed lawmaker with a penchant for making eyebrow-raising remarks, told his colleagues after the clip was shown, "I’m ready to drive the car."
After showing the beginning of the clip from the movie that McCarthy quoted, O'Donnell reminded everyone of just what McCarthy was using to "inspire" his fellow Republicans.
O'DONNELL: That's right, good Christian Kevin McCarthy tried to inspire the party that believes this country was founded on Christian values and should be governed by Christian values, by showing them a film clip about some distinctly un-Christian Boston career criminals who were on their way to beat the living s**t out of a guy.
And as Lawrence noted here and the article at the Huffington Post pointed out, Ben Affleck responded this way:
On Wednesday, Affleck -- who wrote and directed "The Town" -- said that he too found the whole scenario a touch bizarre. And in a statement his spokesperson provided to The Huffington Post, he suggested that Republicans use a different one of his movies next time they need to whip votes.
"I don't know if this is a compliment or the ultimate repudiation," said the actor, who is currently in Turkey directing and starring in "Argo," an adaptation of the Tehran hostage crisis. "But if they're going to be watching movies, I think "The Company Men" is more appropriate."
Three New Jersey men are suspected of burning a cross near a family of African Americans Wednesday night.
Nicholas Comis, 22, of Tuckerton, Daniel Enders, 22, of New Gretna, and Christopher Hurrll, 21, were seen near an 8-by-4-foot wooden cross around 8 pm Wednesday night, according to State Police spokesman Stephen Jones.
Comis apparently had gas stains on his pants.
The three were arrested Thursday.
"All three are charged with bias intimidation and conspiracy to commit arson. The charges carry a three- to five-year sentence upon conviction," The Associated Press noted.