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Six Shots Ripped Through Michael Brown’s Body, Two In Skull

August 18, 2014

There is no way to not conclude Michael Brown was murdered.  

Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by a white police officer on August 9. He was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, according to the preliminary results of an autopsy that his family requested.

Family attorney Anthony Gray said the independent autopsy conducted Sunday found that Brown was shot twice in the head and four times in the right arm — all to the front of his body.

Last week, the St. Louis County Police Department said an original autopsy found that the teen died of gunshot wounds. But the department wouldn’t say how many times he was shot or give any other details.

According to the preliminary results of the family autopsy, the bullets that struck Brown were not fired from close range, as indicated by the absence of gunpowder residue on his body.

One of the bullets shattered his right eye, traveled through his face, exited his jaw and re-entered his collarbone, according to the autopsy.

The last two shots were probably the ones to his head, attorney Gray said. One entered the top of his Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when he was struck.

The independent autopsy was conducted by high-profile pathologist Michael Baden, who testified in the O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and Drew Peterson murder trials.

Political Cartoons Of Police In Ferguson, Missouri

August 17, 2014

The nation collectively shook our heads over the military tactics used in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of an unarmed 18 year-old.

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Politial Cartoons Of Michael Brown Shooting

August 17, 2014

Powerful.  Pointed. 

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Troubling Demographics In Ferguson, Missouri

August 17, 2014

One of the best reads in the Sunday newspapers.

All week long I have been trying to better understand the root causes of the festering despair in Ferguson, Missouri.   One of the ways to fathom the outrage that exists in this community is to examine how it reached this point through their demographics.

The origins of the area’s complex social and racial history date to the 19th century when the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County went their separate ways, leading to the formation of dozens of smaller communities outside St. Louis. Missouri itself has always been a state with roots in both the Midwest and the South, and racial issues intensified in the 20th century as St. Louis became a stopping point for the northern migration of Southern blacks seeking factory jobs in Detroit and Chicago.

As African-Americans moved into the city and whites moved out, real estate agents and city leaders, in a pattern familiar elsewhere in the country, conspired to keep blacks out of the suburbs through the use of zoning ordinances and restrictive covenants. But by the 1970s, some of those barriers had started to fall, and whites moved even farther away from the city. These days, Ferguson is like many of the suburbs around St. Louis, inner-ring towns that accommodated white flight decades ago but that are now largely black. And yet they retain a white power structure.

Although about two-thirds of Ferguson residents are black, its mayor and five of its six City Council members are white. Only three of the town’s 53 police officers are black.

Turnout for local elections in Ferguson has been poor. The mayor, James W. Knowles III, noted his disappointment with the turnout — about 12 percent — in the most recent mayoral election during a City Council meeting in April. Patricia Bynes, a black woman who is the Democratic committeewoman for the Ferguson area, said the lack of black involvement in local government was partly the result of the black population’s being more transient in small municipalities and less attached to them.

 

Cry Me A River For Political Evangelicals

August 17, 2014

Evangelicals  seem to not understand why they have no one with real political heft interested in making sure their twisted views make it into the 2016 presidential dialogue.  The nation is moving in one direction and the extreme right-wing evangelicals seem to not realize the arc of history is leaving them behind.

Many social conservatives say they feel politically isolated as the country seems to be hurtling to the left, with marijuana now legal in Colorado and gay marriage gaining ground across the nation. They feel out of place in a GOP increasingly dominated by tea party activists and libertarians who prefer to focus on taxes and the role of government and often disagree with social conservatives on drugs or gay rights.

Meanwhile, the list of possible front-runners for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has a limited relationship with evangelical activists, and the libertarian-leaning Paul, the senator from Kentucky who only recently began reaching out to social conservatives. One prominent establishment favorite weighing a bid, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), is a supporter of legal same-sex marriage who claims his views on the issue could help him and his party appeal to younger voters.

 

The Time When Lyndon Johnson And John Kennedy Went Deer Hunting

August 17, 2014

Just one great political story.

Excerpts from a longer read.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, 1960, before dawn, at the L.B.J. Ranch near Johnson City, Tex., Vice President-elect Lyndon Johnson had his houseguest, President-elect John F. Kennedy, woken up to go deer hunting.

It was nine days after the two men had won the national election. Neither a natural early riser nor a hunter (although as president he would shoot skeet with friends at Camp David), J.F.K. pulled on a checkered sport coat, white button-down oxford shirt and penny loafers; his hair remained unkempt.

The clashing versions of the deer hunt later provided by Kennedy and Johnson, the Bostonian and the Texan, foreshadowed the sharply different attitudes held today — often regional in nature — by many Americans about hunting and other recreation involving firearms.

William Manchester began an early version of “The Death of a President,” his widely read 1967 book on Kennedy’s assassination, by describing the 1960 Kennedy-Johnson hunt.

Drawing largely on his interviews with Jacqueline Kennedy, who told him what her husband had told her after the deer hunt, Manchester wrote that the president-elect, despite his belief that “all killing was senseless,” had “looked into the face of the life he was about to take,” then “fired and quickly turned back to the car.”

Manchester wrote: “Yet he couldn’t rid himself of the recollection. The memory of the creature’s death had been haunting, and afterward he had relived” it with his wife, “to heal the inner scar.”

According to Manchester, after Kennedy’s inauguration, L.B.J. brought the mounted deer head and antlers to the White House and insisted that the new president put them up in the Oval Office. After Johnson’s repeated requests, followed by Kennedy’s demurrals, J.F.K. finally ordered the trophy to be displayed in the West Wing’s Fish Room (now called the Roosevelt Room).

“The president,” wrote Manchester, “had granted a favor — how great a favor only the first lady knew — and his vice president had been genuinely pleased.”

One reason Johnson was so indignant about Manchester’s rendition of the deer hunt was that he knew that Kennedy’s assassination had jaundiced many Americans against hunting and guns, and he did not want to suffer unpopularity by association.

Just as he avoided returning to Dallas, scene of the assassination, until February 1968, a month before he announced that he would not face the voters for re-election that year, Johnson respected this cultural shift by winding down his old custom of prodding L.B.J. Ranch houseguests to go deer hunting with him.

Let President Kennedy have his own last word. As it happened, not only did he talk to the first lady about his trip to the L.B.J. Ranch, but he also described it to a friend, Senator George Smathers, a Democrat from Florida.

In 1988, I asked Smathers (who died in 2007) what Kennedy had related to him about his experience deer hunting with L.B.J.

Smathers replied, “Kennedy told me, ‘That will never be a sport until they give the deer a gun.’  ”

Another Autopsy on Michael Brown To Be Conducted

August 17, 2014

The level of intensity to make sure the investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown was ratcheted up today with the announcement of another autopsy.

The federal government will perform their own autopsy on the unarmed teen shot dead by local police in Ferguson, Missouri.  The feds have already opened up a civil-rights investigation into the case which has sparked outrage in the black community across the country.

There seems to me a need also to have a special prosecutor that can step in–and perhaps better stated as stepping over the local DA–to make sure that justice and a complete investigation is conducted.  Nothing that has happened on the local level in Ferguson up to this point has allowed for those of us who watch this story from around the nation to have any degree of trust in their competency.

It only makes sense that everything is done to make sure that competent people run the investigation and make the calls for how justice can be obtained.

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