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h/t: Calum MacLeod at USAToday.com

thepoliticalfreakshow:

FERGUSON • Police officers here began wearing body cameras on Saturday as marchers took to the streets in the most recent protest of a shooting two weeks earlier by a city officer that left an unarmed teenager dead.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said his department was given about 50 body cameras by two companies, Safety Visions and Digital Ally, about a week ago. The companies donated the body cameras after the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson.

Company representatives were at the police department on Saturday training officers to use the devices that attach touniforms    and record video and audio. Some members of the police department have been specially trained on the devices’ use.

“We are still playing with them,” Jackson said.

The cameras are being assigned to squads and each officer will get one to use, he said.

Jackson said the officers had the devices on during the protest march on Saturday and were able to capture video images of crowd members taunting officers.

“The quality is good,” he said.

The batteries in the cameras that were used on Saturday were drained because of their constant use throughout the day. “Under normal use the battery would last a full shift,” Jackson said.

Officers are receptive to the cameras, the chief said. “They are really enjoying them,” he said. “They are trying to get used to using them.”

The police department bought three dash mount cameras that it does not have the money to install, he said.

Video recordings are seen as a way to allow judges and juries to follow police-involved events as they unfold, helping to shed light through the often-conflicting or hazy recollections of eyewitnesses.

In the wake of Brown’s shooting, other police departments in the St. Louis area are also moving toward the use of wearable cameras. Ellisville approved a $7,500 expenditure shortly after the shooting to buy cameras    for its officers.

They are also catching on elsewhere. Earlier this month, a New York City official championed a $5 million pilot program to outfit 15 percent of the city’s police officers with wearable cameras.

Meanwhile, 152,000 people have signed a petition to create a national “Mike Brown Law” requiring all police to wear cameras.

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Michael Sam’s chances of playing in the NFL got worse today as every team let the window close on a chance to pick him up, reportsESPN.

The Rams cut the out defensive end from its roster on Saturday in favor of another rookie, Ethan Westbrooks, who had been undrafted. After putting Sam on waiver, teams had 24 hours to sign him, but none did. 

Now ESPN reports that Sam must focus on making a practice squad. Even there, the Rams won’t say if they will take Sam.

Sam reacted to Saturday’s news in a statement shared on social media, seeming hopeful about eventually making a team. 

"The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known," he said. "The journey continues."

Whether Sam deserved a spot on the Rams or another NFL team is hotly debated. Outsports described the Rams’ decision as solely based on which positions were available but said homophobia did “play a role” in his being passed over by the other 31 teams.

"Sam has proven he can play in the NFL," wrote the site’s co-founders, Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler, in a joint editorial. “Only a couple other players have more sacks this preseason than his three. In a league that places a high value on pass rushers, and continues to develop rules that help passing offenses, guys like Sam are coveted. Sacks aside, he’s played well or very well in each of his three preseason games.”

Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy made headlines for saying in Juy that he wouldn’t have taken Sam if he still led a team. Dungy said Sam “should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.”

Sam’s preseason has obviously not been devoid of homophobia. In one of the clearest incidents, happening in the week before Sam was cut, ESPN reported on whether fellow Rams players were showering with their openly gay teammate. The network apologized afterward and some on the team publicly voiced disappointment with the coverage, which included anonymous worries by Rams players about showering together. 

When Sam was drafted at number 249 of 256 players, the first uproar started because he kissed his boyfriend to celebrate while ESPN was broadcasting live. An online kiss-in started over the aggressively homophobic reaction that the kiss sparked across social media.

Almost immediately, Sam’s jersey for the Rams was a top-seller, showing his huge support. Even One Direction member Harry Styles sported a jersey during a concert in St. Louis. It was ranked second among rookies in sales only to star Johnny Manziel — who Sam sacked during the preseason. And Outmagazine put Sam on the cover of its sports issue.

Sam has been the target of the usual antigay voices. When the antigay Westboro Church picketed a basketball game that Sam was attending, thousands of supporters lined up outside to counter. Peter LaBarbera, president of the antigay organization Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, wrote an open letter encouraging Sam to get so-called reparative therapy and warned against his influence on black youth. A right-wing lobbyist named Jack Burkman pushed for national legislation that would ban any professional sports team from employing a player who “has openly declared himself to be a homosexual.” 

But even with all of that, Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters yet again on Saturday, according to The New York Times, that Sam wasn’t a distraction. “He’s not about drawing attention to himself,” he said. “He kept his head down and worked and you can’t ask anything more out of any player for that matter.”

A conservative group in Olympia, Washington has vowed to boycott Labor Day because of the holiday’s association with labor unions.

According to the Seattle Times, business backed conservative think tank the Freedom Foundation plans to protest the national holiday by refusing to take Monday off and having a “work-in” all day instead.

“I can’t think of a problem in society that can’t be traced in some way back to the abuses of organized labor, so it would be hypocritical of us to take a day off on its behalf,” said the Freedom Foundation’s CEO Tom McCabe.

Times columnist Danny Westneat pointed out that if McCabe really wants to protest union-led reforms in the workplace, then he should work every Saturday, as well.

“What’s odd about it, though,” Westneat wrote, “is that only 12 percent of American workers even belong to unions anymore. Yet we — I say ‘we’ because I’m in that 12 percent — somehow retain an almost supernatural mind-meld authority over the oppressed and hapless other 88 percent.”

Freedom Foundation materials call public labor unions a “disease” that is “running rampant” in Washington state.

Westneat pointed to Seattle-based company Boeing’s fiasco with the 787 Dreamliner jet-building program, in which Boeing management ran rough-shod over union protests about how the massive jetliners were being built.

“The 787 is now being called ‘a case study in how not to build an airplane,’” Westneat said. The jets were grounded all over the world after serious problems were found in their electrical systems and fuel lines, costing the company billions.

“It was the workers who warned that the program wasn’t going to fly, and management who ignored them,” Westneat wrote. “Yet it was management who were handsomely rewarded, while the workers — when they weren’t saving the Dreamliner debacle from imploding — who had their retirements slashed.”

“But let’s all protest against this and stagnant wages and outsourced jobs and all the other realities of work in America by…working on Labor Day!” the columnist concluded, saying that he isn’t just taking Monday off, “I’m boycotting Tuesday, too!”

h/t: David Ferguson at The Raw Story

h/t: Jack Jenkins at Think Progress Election

H/T: Bryce Covert at Think Progress Economy

justinssportscorner:

thepoliticalfreakshow:

In the midst of another weekend of demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., a fracture has developed between St. Louis-area political officials who rallied there over the past three weeks.

In a series of tweets sent Friday evening, Ferguson Democratic committeewoman Patricia Bynes accused St. Louis city alderman Antonio French of using the protests to bolster his political profile. The Twitter tirade was apparently prompted by an earlier tweet sent by French, who lamented the “turf battle” that seemed to be forming among officials and activists.

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There are several battles to be fought in the days, weeks, and months ahead. A “turf battle” should not be one of them.

@AntonioFrench You are a political looters. You will NOT take advantage of the #Ferguson community when it is vulnerable.

@AntonioFrench I told you that yesterday & I want to make it clear and plain. Using #Ferguson to advance your own agenda is disgusting

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@AntonioFrench The people of #Ferguson will empower themselves. That is how this change will come.

@AntonioFrench The citizens of the 21st Ward in the City of St. Louis, not in St. Louis County or Ferguson need your help

@AntonioFrench A body of a decomposed person was found the other day near your ward. Kajimme Powell was shoot on video in the City.

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@AntonioFrench you r on the Public Safety Commission for the city. You need to rep your citizens and put heat on YOUR police chief

@AntonioFrench You disrespected the Councilwoman, the state reps of the area, and me. You can’t possibly be for helping Ferguson

@Antoniofrench your ward in St. Louis City needs you. You have been ignoring it. Please do your part there.

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Now please excuse me as I go back to doing the real work to help Ferguson. The fraudsters are just about the visible surface area.

I could not respect myself if I didn’t say anything

Where was your voice for #KajiemmePowell@Antoniofrench We needed your voice on that issue so we could move this together for the region.

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I will not sit back and let #Ferguson get hustled in this fragile state that it is in. My God and my conscious won’t let me do that.

By the typical political rule book I’m not suppossed to call out politicians who try to exploit these situations

NOT calling it out is what us here in the first place. No, I won’t sit by and watch someone different do the same thing.

French told BuzzFeed that Bynes and several other local political officials had shown up at the offices of his new Ferguson-based, non-profit organization, Heal STL, for a meeting on Thursday.

“They told me in no uncertain terms: Get out of Ferguson,” French said.

But French, who’s risen to national prominence for his role in documenting the protests, said he was committed to staying in Ferguson. He said he opened the offices of Heal STL earlier this week, filling it with tables and chairs and iPads for volunteers who come into town looking to help the city of 21,000.

“We want to harness all of the energy of people who want to help in some way,” French said. “I’m committed to what we started here. I’m willing to work with anybody. … I don’t know where this is coming from.”

Bynes told BuzzFeed a different story of the meeting on Thursday. In her version, she and other local leaders offered to work with French but were rebuffed. “There was a behind the scenes, private conversation,” she recalled, “and it became very clear that he was not going to work with the leadership that is here.”

She went on to cite a recent story by St. Louis Public Radio in which French said the black population in Ferguson doesn’t have representation. The remarks apparently stung local party leaders, such as Bynes, who increasing want French to retreat back to his own turf and hand over the reins. “Instead of being able to tackle this at a regional level,” Bynes said, “he slammed the representation that is here in Ferguson.”

“It seems very strange that he would open an office in Ferguson when he does not represent anyone in Ferguson,” Bynes said. “I’ve had my own constitutes calling me asking, ‘What is this Antonio French guy doing here?’” Over the past week, several other community activists had also grumbled — off-the-record — about French spending more time in Ferguson rather than his own district in St. Louis.

Bynes went on to say that leaders in Ferguson need to bring their message to the people, not the other way around: “We go into their homes — we don’t come to the office.”

“Antonio and I were on the front lines almost every single night,” Bynes said. “But we are beyond that point in time right now. We are at a point in time right now where we need a plan for Ferguson.”

French brushed off those criticisms.

“This fractured state in St. Louis, it didn’t just happen by accident,” he said. “It happened because of all these turf battles. It’s going to be a long hard battle to try to change that out here. If we only had to fight racism, our battle would be half as hard.”

By Saturday afternoon, both French and Bynes were among hundreds of people who had taken to the streets of Ferguson in protest of the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

They each posted pictures from the demonstrations.

Patricia Bynes / Via twitpic.com

UPDATE

This post has been updated to include an interview with Bynes. Aug. 30, 2014, at 2:36 p.m.

Source: Joel Anderson & Jim Dalrymple II for Buzzfeed News

thepoliticalfreakshow:

A U.N. committee urged the U.S. Friday to stop police brutality, in light of the shooting of Michael Brown that set off the riots in Ferguson, Mo.

In a news briefing Friday, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (C.E.R.D.) vice chairman Noureddine Amir said the “excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against racial and ethnic minorities is an ongoing issue of concern.”

"Racial and ethnic discrimination remains a serious and persistent problem in all areas of life from de facto school segregation, access to health care and housing," Amir added. "This is not an isolated event and illustrates a bigger problem in the United States, such as racial bias among law enforcement officials, the lack of proper implementation of rules and regulations governing the use of force, and the inadequacy of training of law enforcement officials."

THIS IS NOT AN ISOLATED EVENT AND ILLUSTRATES A BIGGER PROBLEM IN THE UNITED STATES.

The U.N. panel also called for a review of the controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws and for further investigation into the shooting. 

Several officers in Ferguson have been pulled off duty as a result of brutality. One, who threatened protesters with a gun, was removed earlier in August. Another, who pushed CNN’s Don Lemon during a live broadcast, has also been relieved of his duty. In all, the acts in Ferguson have led to a $41.5 million lawsuit against the Ferguson and St. Louis County police forces over civil rights abuses.

The panel isn’t the only international call    for curbing police misconduct. The New York-based International Action Center held a protest outside NYPD headquarters supporting Michael Brown. The Human rights    organization Amnesty International also sent observers to Ferguson. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commented through spokesperson Stephane Dujarric that authorities should “ensure that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are protected… He calls on all to exercise restraint, for law enforcement officials to abide by U.S. and international standards in dealing with demonstrators.” 

Source: Shirley Li for The Wire

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Another young person has been thrown out of his home for coming out as gay.

I have written about this on a number of occasions covering such events in the United StatesNigeria and Uganda.

This time the event was recorded. Trying to imagine the evil some people can impart on their children is no longer necessary. Now we can hear them in their own self righteous voices

It started when the family called 20-year-old Daniel Pierce to an “intervention.” He left his phone recorder going during the confrontation and was later posted online as “How not to react when your child tells you he is gay.” It has now gone viral.

In the video, Daniel explains to what sounds like his mother, step-mother and father that he is gay. The choices this set of parents makes as a reaction are almost as bad as they possibly could be.

His mother makes a statement at the outset that becomes increasingly shocking as the video proceeds and the parenting adults collectively verbally attack and physically abuse the young man.

The mother’s statement is: “I have known since you were a young boy that you were gay.” If there was ever clear pointed evidence that Daniel was “born that way,” her comment would be it.

She knows who her child is, yet due to her own personal agenda she pretends he is making a choice and coldly rejects him as a result.

Watch:

This is my open letter to Daniel’s parents.

To Daniel’s family:

Now you know.

You have handled this badly. I don’t know you, and I don’t know of what you are capable, good or bad. I hope that there are better people within each one of you than those displayed on that video.

I am a parent as you are. For me, contributing to my sons’ welfare, personal joy and life success is my purpose and mission in this world. I hope that somehow in your own warped way, that you want that for Daniel. I have written to children killed by parents who feared they might grow up as gay, and I can’t be sure those aren’t individuals who share your mindset.

To Daniel’s dad: I hear great frustration of not being thanked for having provided the food and “roof over the head” of a child for twenty years. Accomplishing that is no small feat — I have two sons, 11 and 12, and I provide for them. I have to. I will not get thanked for it. It’s cool, it is the gig I signed up for. Part of being a parent is being your child’s oxygen. They need us to survive, but they do not thank us as they take each breath. We just have to provide for them, because being a parent means you do that.

We seek to inspire our children to be the best they can be, and to do that, we have to know who they are. You all now know Daniel.

Choice is relevant here, but not for Daniel. It is for you. You are choosing only to accept him if he is as you want him to be, rather than who he really is. Instead of embracing this child that you nurtured through life, you cling to a bastardized concept of “the word of God” that has turned a religious practice into an exercise of superstition.

Where exactly you get this religious mandate is itself a mystery. The Bible does not define itself as being “the word of God.” It defines Jesus, and Jesus alone as being “The Word.” Jesus never once claims that gay people choose to be gay. The Bible directs us to the covenant of God, under Jesus, as written on one’s own HEART and HIS MIND (Hebrews 8).

I believe that Daniel DID ask God, and God wrote back on Daniel’s heart and mind, “I made you gay.” God generally does not cc others so, you getting a copy of that directive is unlikely. That is what the Bible says and you can choose to believe it if you want.

To Daniel’s Mom: At the beginning of the recording you tell him you love him. He says he believes you. I don’t believe you.

For me, my sons come first — before my dogma, before my standing in the local community, before anything. If I was Abraham in the desert and Jason and Jesse were strapped to a stone slab, and a big voice in the sky was telling me to make a sacrifice of them to Him, I would turn to the heavens and say “Screw you.”

That’s how monumental my kids are to me — they are beyond biblical proportions of importance. All the real parents I know feel the same about their kids.

Daniel has very little choice here. He is who he is, and now thanks to your rejection, he will do what he has to in order to survive. Our community will come around him, love him support him. He will be our son now and we will give him healthy alternatives. Many in his situation do not get that chance. They end up on the street and within weeks are surviving through less than savory means.

We will watch Daniel, and encourage him to grow. We will give him hope for his life, and a vision for an inspiring purpose. That purpose for him may or may not include a family of his own. We will show him how to find joy and fulfillment, and he will do it without you. Unlike you, we will let him know he can be his authentic true self.

Your choices are important ones that will affect the rest of your lives. Rejecting is a choice. Not caring for Daniel is a choice. Saving your face in the community over the well being of your son is a choice. What is your best possible choice? That would be a sincere re-evaluation of your priorities, bringing him home, and working towards a level of acceptance.

Whatever you choose, it will define you forever. You will either be defined as the people who worked to grow as parents, or the people who should never have been parents in the first place.

If you do have any love in you at all, it will fester and one day you will find yourself sitting upright in bed, having a better educated sense about the nature of the true God, and realize that you have made a horrific and terrible mistake. One that, at that point, you may not be able to fix.

You may truly be cold loveless shells. Certainly, it appears that one or more of you deserves to be in jail right now for assault. Instead of looking for healing, you may launch into a further tirade of homophobia and tell us about the vengeful God that you emulate.

You will not need to preach to us about hell, however. We will see it in your eyes.

Good move, Riverfront Times! Since The St. Louis Post-Dispatch & STLtoday.com is seeking the juvenile records of now-deceased Mike Brown, it’s only fair that the RFT does so for Wilson. 

Relevant section to Missouri’s Juvenile Section: http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/c200-299/2110000321.htm

h/t: Riverfront Times

H/T: Paul J. Weber at HuffPost Politics

thepoliticalfreakshow:

1. While speaking to college students, he assumed (wrongly) that an immigration activist was undocumented.

7 Scandals In 7 Days: One Governor's Very Bad Week

No really. It went like this:

http://www.flagpole.com/news/in-the-loop/gov-nathan-deal-presumes-uga-immigration-activists-are-undocumented

Gov. Deal: I presume you are…. [undocumented]
Woman: I don’t know why you thought I was undocumented. Is it because I look Hispanic?

Apparently you can tell a person’s citizenship status just by looking at them. #NewSuperpower

2. An investigation showed Gov. Deal rewarded the families who bankrolled his campaign with plum seats on the state’s top boards.

7 Scandals In 7 Days: One Governor's Very Bad Week

Yea, we did a spit take too when we saw the headline.

Side note: Gov. Deal appointed only 5 women and 1 African-American out of 51 seats. #Diversity

3. A leaked email from Gov. Deal’s staff promised favors for state legislators in return for campaign contributions.

7 Scandals In 7 Days: One Governor's Very Bad Week

You just can’t make this stuff up.

4. On Wednesday, a watchdog group filed a complaint against the governor’s top staff for illegal conduct.

7 Scandals In 7 Days: One Governor's Very Bad Week

The governor’s top staff intervened in an ethics investigation of his campaign, allegedly even threatening the top ethics official. The silver fox has seen a lot in his day, but we think he would agree this is just wrong.

5. Now the governor is struggling to explain why he takes $10k a month from a business that owes Georgia $74 million in back taxes.

7 Scandals In 7 Days: One Governor's Very Bad Week

Because earning millions for yourself always takes priority over funding education or helping middle-class families…

6. And a judge is questioning why the state hid evidence in a major ethics trial that kept the governor off the witness stand.

7 Scandals In 7 Days: One Governor's Very Bad Week

What memos? There were no memos? We promise!

7. When you act like this, it’s probably better to keep the press away. Maybe that’s why he stayed silent as a journalist was dragged out of a GOP rally Gov. Deal was headlining.

7 Scandals In 7 Days: One Governor's Very Bad Week

Gov. Deal sat idly by as a videographer was dragged from a public rally.

Did we mention that she was invited to the event? So much for transparency.
Gov. Deal, of course, had no comment.

What. A. Week.

7 Scandals In 7 Days: One Governor's Very Bad Week

7 scandals in 7 days.

We know, it’s hard to keep up.

We think it’s safe to say that #GeorgiasReady for an honest government. #ChangeTheDeal

Source: Team Carter for Buzzfeed Community