The National Football League, under pressure from many fans and the man in the White House, announced rules meant to remove the spectacle of players kneeling in protest during the playing of the national anthem.
Team owners voted Wednesday to require all team and league personnel who are on the field during the anthem to “stand and show respect” for the flag and the song. Those who choose not to stand for the anthem can stay in the locker room or away from the field, although each club can adopt its own additional rules.
Rick Christie, editor of the Palm Beach Post’s Editorial Page, says the owners are ordering players to subdue their protests against racial injustice: “In other words: Don’t demonstrate downtown, I have shopping to do. Don’t demonstrate at a sporting event because you take away from my entertainment. Why can’t you all just shut up and dribble?”
We could try to explain away an experienced Starbucks store manager over-reacting and calling 911 when those two black men — Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, both 23 — asked to use the restroom while sitting and waiting for friend.
But that would be denial.
There are some who may choose to believe that the decision by police to handcuff and arrest the two men was justified.
But any rational person viewing knows it wasn’t.
Instead, we have a new hashtag blowing up social media: #WaitingWhileBlack.
We’re left shaking our heads in frustration. (Hell, many folks are just pissed off.) What happens when otherwise good people who work for an otherwise socially conscience company show as much racial bias as the worst of us?
There’s a lot to unpack here. Starbucks, as a corporate citizen, has not only sought to force us as a society to face the race issue head on — and flubbed the effort — but has also redefined the term “public space” by inviting us to come in and meet with folks over an over-priced cup of coffee. It’s not unusual for folks to linger at a Starbucks for hours.
That’s what the two young black men were attempting to do, by the way, when the store manager called 911. Well, they hadn’t bought a cup of coffee yet. They were waiting on a white local businessman to talk over a potential real estate opportunity.
But after a couple of police arrived, the two men calmly, and respectfully answered their questions. Then, a few more cops arrived. They continued to calmly, and respectfully answer questions. They were arrested anyway for trespass. They were not charged.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, a black man who at first staunchly defended his officers’ handling of the encounter, is now backtracking. “I should have said the officers acted within the scope of the law, and not that they didn’t do anything wrong,” Ross said. “Words are very important.”
At a news conference, a somber Ross said he “failed miserably” in addressing the arrests.
Yeah, he did.
For their part, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson stepped up and owned the incident. After apologizing publicly, he met with the Nelson and Robinson to apologize personally. The two men have accepted the company’s apology.
Meanwhile, the store manager has reportedly left the company or been moved to another location.
Perhaps, more significantly, Johnson brought out the big gun, founder and executive board Chairman Howard Schultz, to announce plans to close more than 8,000 of the company’s U.S. stores for several hours on May 29 to conduct racial bias training for nearly 175,000 workers.
The training is “designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks feels safe and welcome,” according to a Starbucks news release. The curriculum, being developed with civil rights groups, will be made available to other companies — including businesses that license the Starbucks brand to operate stores, like Barnes & Noble.
Starbucks responded quickly, communicating remorse and a commitment to social justice. Ross, the Philadelphia police commissioner, can learn a lot from them, starting with whether bias played a role in how police responded to the complaint. After all, police do have some discretion in these situations.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, forged during the Obama administration, was to unite 12 countries, representing 40 percent of the world’s economic output, in a trading bloc. The hope was to strengthen economic ties by slashing tariffs and writing policies and regulations — and to counter China’s dominance in Asia.
Critics on the left, as well as Trump-supporting nationalists, assailed the pact as costing U.S. jobs and said it was developed with too little transparency.
So what do you think? Is the U.S. better off outside the TPP? Or should we get back in?
President Trump, denouncing as a “barbaric act” the suspected poison gas killing of more than 49 people in a city held by the Syrian opposition, said Monday he will decide within 24 to 48 hours whether the U.S. will respond militarily.
“We’re talking about humanity and it can’t be allowed to happen,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “We’ll be making that decision very quickly, probably by the end of today. We cannot allow atrocities like that.”
The president suggested that Syria’s patrons in Russia and Iran may also be responsible, and seemed to imply that he would take action of some sort to punish them as well.
“If it’s Russia, if it’s Syria, if it’s Iran, if it’s all of them together, we’ll figure it out and we’ll know the answers quite soon,” he said. “So we’re looking at that very strongly and very seriously.” (New York Times)
Just days ago, Trump said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Syria. But after the Saturday night attack on rebel-held Douma, White House officials said a missile strike is a possibility. After a similar chemical attack a year ago, Trump responded by attacking a Syrian air base with cruise missiles.
Sinclair Broadcast, which is pretty tight with President Donald Trump’s White House and pushes a conservative political agenda through its stations, gained infamy earlier this week when word got out that it forced news anchors at its 170-plus stations to read a “must-run” statement/editorial about “fake news” which also cast aspersions on its media brethren.
And yes, that on-air diatribe included respected WPEC news anchors Liz Quirantes and John Discepolo.
Needless to say, a number of WPEC viewers didn’t take the news very well, hammering the station on social media — Facebook and Twitter — as well as its own website. (It apparently had to shut down comments on the latter, at least temporarily.)
The clearly ethical conduct needed would be to either clearly label the content for what it is, via disclaimer, or allow for a rebuttal afterward, i.e. a point/counterpoint.
I, for one, discovered these shenanigans a while back and quickly dumped Channel 12 as my local news provider after many years as a viewer. I have found Channel 5 or Channel 25 do the job quite nicely.
We all know the “ones to turn to ” (MSNBC or Fox) to receive our national or international news coverage with whatever slant we choose. Can’t we please leave our local stations as a sacred source for unbiased news and investigative reporting affecting our community?
And this one from Judith Abramson of Delray Beach:
Vigilance needed to spot fake news
Sinclair Broadcast Group is probably the most powerful company you’ve never heard of. The conservative giant owns around 170 TV stations across the country, including our local West Palm Beach CBS affiliate,WPEC. Sinclair has been pushing its right-wing agenda since the Bush administration and, like Fox, has close ties to Trump.
It’s been reported that they order their local anchors to read corporate-written editorials to push their views and criticize other new sources.
This is just another example — as with the plethora of information coming out about Cambridge Analytical,the targeting citizens on Facebook, Russian bots flooding social media every single day and their proven meddling in our elections — at mind control.
I implore my fellow citizens to be more vigilant and realize that they must scrutinize what they hear and read and try to sort out what is opinion and what is real news and not be manipulated. [READ MORE]
So here’s what makes all the Sinclair must-run editorial so concerning to many readers and viewers.
The company is trying to get even bigger. By owning and operating a total of 193 stations nationwide, Sinclair already covers far more than any other station owner.
It is currently trying get Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to buy Tribune Media’s 42 local stations, allowing Sinclair to reach 72 percent of U.S. households.
Previously, Sinclair was prohibited from serving more than 39 percent of households under a statute of the Telecommunications Act.
Last year, however, Trump’s Federal Communications Commission, under chairman Ajit Pai, brought back to life the technologically obsolete “UHF Discount” rule. The rule, from the pre-digital era when local stations were hard to tune in to, allowed local stations to be counted as a fraction of the 13 “normal” stations found on the “top dial.”
Of course, today most people get all of the old UHF channels as easily as “top dial” channels, making Trump’s resurrection of the old rule not only silly but clearly in violation of both the letter and spirit of the Telecommunications Act. Free Pass and other activist groups are currently suing to prevent the UHF “loophole” and the Sinclair-Tribune purchase from going further, but with corporate masseuse Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, don’t hold your breath.
And while Trump is green-lighting Sinclair, he’s been blocking AT&T’s purchase of CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, saying “it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”
That would just happen to be the same CNN that Trump repeatedly labels as “fake news,” the same sentiments that Sinclair just happened to echo in its recent collective Trump incantation.
But does Sinclair — and by extension, WPEC — really deserve all of this grief?
Thanks to the outspokenness and energy of surviving students like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, the tragic shooting has sparked a movement against gun violence and for common-sense gun control laws. The constant rhetoric, rallies and TV appearances of Parkland shooting survivors moved a previously immovable Florida Legislature to enact in three weeks what it had refused to do in nearly three decades: stricter gun controls.
Though state lawmakers still have more work to do, long-time Tallahassee political observers marveled at what these well-spoken, impatient teens have already been able to accomplish.
But those efforts, and the teens’ further demands for more stricter gun controls, have put them squarely in the sights of the powerful gun lobby led by the influential National Rifle Association.
As a result, they’ve been attacked repeatedly by regular folks, politicians, celebrities and even law-enforcement officers on radio, TV and in social media.
Fox News host and conservative firebrand Laura Ingraham was forced to take a week off from her show after she was pilloried for criticizing Hogg on Twitter after he talked about his difficulties getting into the University of California.
Artist and musician Frank Stallone was forced to apologize after a profanity-laced criticism of the Parkland survivors over the weekend.
But rocker and NRA board member Ted Nugent has been unapologetic. Nugent, who began his attack of the Parkland teens over the weekend, doubled down on WABC’s Curtis + Cosby show on Monday.
“(David Hogg) has been brainwashed, it’s tragic,” Nugent said. “I don’t think the guy can be fixed. … This guy is a lost cause. He is consumed with hate. He is part of the problem, not the solution.”
Nugent also said Hogg and the Douglas High School students are “not very educated” and “wouldn’t know an AR-15 from a pterodactyl.”
Pro-gun supporters and others argue that the teens stepped into a serious grown-up issue and thus relinquished the right to be treated with kid gloves. If you dance to the music, you’ve got to pay the piper, they say.
Do you agree with the criticisms being leveled against the student survivors of the Douglas High School shooting by right wing and NRA supporters? Or should there be a hands-off approach to these outspoken teens who suffered an unimaginable tragedy?
UPDATE: According to the Daily Beast, Chief Manley Thursday morning told an audience in Austin that he now feels comfortable calling the Austin bomber “a domestic terrorist,” according to reporters at a panel discussion on the bombings. “When I look at what he did to our community—and as your police chief—I actually agree now, that he was a domestic terrorist for what he did to us,” Manley said. Read more…
To some degree, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley probably wishes he could take it back. But it’s far too late for that.
After Austin police, ATF, FBI and other law-enforcement finally caught up to 23-year-old serial bomber Mark Anthony Conditt earlier last week, after he terrorized the Texas capital for three weeks, killing and maiming several people with homemade bombs, the unemployed college dropout took himself out by detonating one of his own devices.
The authorities viewed a 25-minute cellphone video left behind by Conditt that detailed the differences among the weapons he built and amounted to a confession. It seemed to indicate that he knew he was about to get caught; in fact, Austin SWAT was closing in on him when the device detonated and killed him.
Chief Manley, possibly a bit punch drunk from weeks with little sleep and continued stress, felt compelled to give an arguably unqualified and politically unwise assessment of Conditt based on the cellphone recording.
“It is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his own life,” Manley said of the recording, which authorities still have not released amid the ongoing investigation.
Hold up. The “outcry of a very challenged young man”? people asked.
Let’s recap: This “very challenged young man” just held an entire city in a grip of fear for weeks with bombs he made from materials bought at Home Depot.
Isn’t that the definition of a “terrorist”? That’s the question that blew up quickly all over social media after Manley statement — what many criticized as just the latest example in which a white suspect seemed to receive an injection of humanity that is less often extended to blacks, Muslims and others.
“Remember how they talked about innocent black children” like Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice or Freddie Gray, tweeted Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
“I believe passionately in acknowledging the humanity of those who commit even terrible crimes. Reading this police chief’s empathy for this young white man highlights the awfulness — the plain awfulness — of the persistent refusal to extend this empathy to young black people,” Ifill added.
Those young black males were described as “thugs” by some authorities and in popular discourse. Another case often cited is that of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old fatally shot by a white officer in August 2014 in Ferguson, Mo. The New York Times described Brown as “no angel” in a profile, a phrase that drew an angry response from readers and was criticized by its own public editor.
Beginning March 2, police say Conditt planted bombs in different parts of Austin, killing two people and severely wounding four others. He began by placing explosives in packages left overnight on doorsteps, killing 39-year-old father Anthony Stephan House and 17-year-old musician Draylen Mason and critically injuring 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera. He then rigged an explosive to a tripwire along a public trail, injuring two young men who crossed it. Finally, he sent two parcels with bombs via FedEx. One exploded and injured a worker at a distribution center near San Antonio.
Police are still trying to figure out Conditt’s motivations. The recording is only one piece to figuring out that puzzle.
After Manley drew fire for calling Conditt “a challenged young man,” he struck a different note Saturday, saying: “The suspect in this incident rained terror on our community for almost three weeks.”
That’s not an apology; nor does it come right out and label Conditt a terrorist.
The same can now be said for U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, who after hearing the recording called Conditt a “sick individual,” but not a terrorist, according to the Associated Press.
McCaul, a former federal prosecutor who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, chose instead to use his news conference to heap praise on law enforcement officials for bringing the three-week spree to an end. He called the investigation, which included more than 800 officers, a textbook example of how local, state and federal agencies should work together, the AP reported.
Of Conditt, McCaul said: “He did refer to himself as a psychopath. He did not show any remorse, in fact questioning himself for why he didn’t feel any remorse for what he did.”
Conditt makes no mention of a racial motivation on the recording, but investigators are still looking into that as a possibility, McCaul said. The first three victims were minorities.
In the days and weeks to come, as law enforcement officials look into what motivated Conditt, it will be interesting to see whether or not they move away from this kinder, gentler description of the bomber.
Marco Rubio provided much of the drama at Wednesday night’s remarkable town hall on gun violence.
First, simply by showing up in blue Broward County, and to face hundreds of grieving teenage survivors of the Parkland school shooting and their traumatized friends and parents.
There was the moment when Fred Guttenberg, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Jaime in the slaughter, told him: “Your comments this week, and those of our president, have been pathetically weak.”
The moment when student Cameron Kasky asked Rubio to refuse accepting any more money from the National Rifle Association (NRA) — and, perhaps mentally flashing on the $3.3 million he got from NRA in 2016, Rubio said no. “The answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda.”
But to me, the most important moment came when Chris Grady, a Douglas High senior, asked Rubio, “Would you agree that there is no place in our society for large capacity magazines capable of firing off — over — from 15 to 30 rounds and if not more?”
And Rubio said that “after this and some of the details I learned about it, I’m reconsidering that position, and I’ll tell you why… Because while it may not prevent an attack, it may save lives in an attack.”
With fewer bullets for the killer to fire, “three or four people might be alive today.”
“It wouldn’t have prevented the attack but it made it less lethal,” Rubio said.
Bingo! That’s exactly what people who urge banning semiautomatic weapons are saying.
Nothing is going to eliminate all gun deaths in America. And nothing is going to completely keep demented people from getting hold of firearms. But we can at least limit those guns’ lethality.
Guns like the AR-15, which fire with such force that they left victims of the Parkland school shooting “with only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet,” an emergency room radiologist tells us, via The Atlantic. “There was nothing left to repair.”
If you see the logic of making gun cartridges less lethal, then you must see the logic of making guns themselves less lethal.
Rubio, possibly without knowing it, destroyed his own longstanding argument. The day after the Parkland shooting, Rubio took to the Senate floor to say gun-control measures don’t work. “Whether it is a political assassination of one person or the mass killing of many, if one person decides to do it and they are committed to that task, it is a very difficult thing to stop,” he said, before adding, “that does not mean we should not try to prevent as many of them as we can.”
Yes, stopping a determined killer is a hard thing to do. But once you’ve allowed that the lethality of the instrument is the determining factor in whether something should or shouldn’t be lawful, then why not be consistent? Why not concede that we should be making it much harder for would-be killers to get their hands on armaments that are essentially weapons of war?
Rubio should be applauded for changing his mind on high-capacity ammo magazines. It should be a short step to changing his mind on assault weapons, period.
Many who had decided to forego getting a flu shot earlier, are now lining up at doctor’s offices, hospitals, walk-in clinics and drugstores. Others who are already “feeling a little achy” are looking for relief that can ward off even worse symptoms.
It home for me this past weekend when my daughter, Elisabeth, called Saturday night to say that she had been sent home from work because she was exhibiting flu-like symptoms and looking a bit peaked to her supervisors. (Elisabeth is musical theater major at the University of Central Florida; and has a part-time job at a local restaurant.)
We told her to head to a walk-in clinic the next morning to get checked out for the flu; and if tested positive, to get a prescription for Tamiflu to help knock it out early. Tamiflu is most effective if you take it within 48 hours of contracting the flu virus.
She did go, and tested positive for the flu — of course. She got a prescription for Tamiflu, and Benzonatate (for cough). The Tamiflu prescription cost more than $107 to fill at her local Walgreens.
Yep, you heard right … more than $107.
We’re insured. And of course, she got the prescription. But it did occur to me that there are a lot of folks out there who are uninsured — and under-insured — who cannot afford to pull $150 out of their pockets to pay for Tamiflu.
Apparently, some doctors are realizing that too. Between a spotty shortage due to a run on the anti-viral medicine and the cost, doctors are giving folks a cheaper route by simply treating the symptoms.
To that end, they’re recommending folks take over-the-counter medicines like TheraFlu, DayQuil and NyQuil to hopefully get them through it.
But what would your grandma or nana say if she found out you were sick? Well, other than, “Here, take this, sweetie.”
That’s right; she’d say, “Don’t worry, grandma will fix you right up.” And she would too.
Everyone’s got some kind of “Old World,” home remedy for this kind of thing. Once, when I was down with flu-like symptoms from working non-stop, my wife’s mother gave me a concoction that had me out of bed and headed to the office and hour after I drank it.
To this day, I still have no idea what was in it. But I’m still alive 28 year later.
Then again, scientists really don’t know what it is about chicken soup that works either. But folks swear by it.
At a time like this, when the slightest sniffle, cough or headache has folks worried their coming down with the flu, it might be time to look up those old remedies.
A former colleague posted a tea remedy made from “star anise,” which is what TheraFlu is derived from, complete with instructions.
You never know what might work for some people.
To be sure, if you can get in to see a doctor, do it. And if you can afford Tamiflu, buy it. But if you can’t, it may be a good time to dig up grandma’s remedy.
Do you want to share that remedy? Of course you do… so please, leave it in the Comments section on this post. And feel better soon.
When my niece was about 13, her two favorite insults were “That’s old” and “Well, I’ve never heard of it.” We heard them mostly when she didn’t like whatever pre-2000-era song was playing on the car radio. It tickled us, because imagining that anything that’s escaped your seasoned and vast 13-year-old frame of reference is irrelevant is the height of hilarity. Girl, you can’t even drive or be out after dark without an adult. You’re funny.
While that attitude is hilarious when you’re 13, wishing your aunt would stop playing The Bangles in the car, it’s less cute when you’re a 22-year-old professional journalist who can’t come up with any better clapback at another journalist who disagrees with you than “Dude, you’re old.”
Because if you’re lucky, 22-year-olds, you’ll be old one day, too. And that’s a good thing.
I’m talking about Katie Way, a writer for a website called Babe.net, which I had never heard of before last week, a fact that doesn’t automatically make it irrelevant because I’m mature enough to know that I don’t know everything. Way wrote an explosive story about a sexual encounter between actor Aziz Ansari and an anonymous photographer called Grace, which has been characterized as everything from assault to a bad date. I’m not going to debate that point, because I wasn’t there, and if even the two people who were can’t decide on what happened, heck if I’m gonna try.
But CNN Headline News anchor Ashleigh Banfield had a lot to say about it, and after an impassioned on-air “open letter” in which she accused Way and “Grace” of carelessly belittling the #MeToo movement with a hap-hazard takedown. After Banfield’s clip went viral, Headline News reached out to Way, whose response was not only, as she wrote, “an unequivocal no,” but an attempt to highlight Banfield’s irrelevancy that just proves her own immaturity.
Way’s rebuttal does detail her “disgust” that Banfield never attempted to speak to her or “Grace” before blasting her on TV, and reiterates “Grace’s” bravery at speaking up and adding to the conversation. But too much of the email is a shockingly juvenile taking of umbrage with the fact that someone as old as Banfield, “someone I’m certain no one under the age of 45 has ever heard of,” would dare have an opinion. She attacks the older reporter as a “burgundy lipstick bad highlights second wave feminist has-been” and reiterated that “no one my age would ever watch your network.”
Oh, good burn, sweetie. Obviously if you wouldn’t watch it, it’s trash.
I am hoping that if Way had a moment to think about how she was responding before hitting “Send,” that she would have realized how dumb and unprofessional she sounds. See, Katie, you have a right to defend your work, and to defend “Grace.” But 50 percent of that defense is that the person criticizing you is too old to matter. And that’s petty and unhelpful. In case someone hasn’t told you yet, Ashleigh Banfield has interviewed world leaders. She is on a national network. She has almost 80,000 Twitter followers, a mark of success that perhaps someone your age might appreciate.
She may be someone you’ve never heard of, but a lot of other people have. And the fact that you think that she’s nobody because you don’t know her is rich, since a lot of people never heard of you or Babe.net before this Ansari story, either. Of course you disagree with her take. So do that. Talk about what you think is a lack of ethics. Talk about her professionalism. Talk about how you think “Grace” has been disrespected. Talking about her highlights and her lipstick means you’ve run out of argument.
Here’s the thing — being 22 and having a public platform is great. Having that sort of energy and passion at any age is something to be proud of. But if you are lucky, Katie, and all the other Katies out there who throw out “old” as a pejorative, you will one day be 30. And 40. And, as Banfield is, 50. And you will have made mistakes, and gotten a few wrinkles, and stopped recognizing half the names on the MTV VMA Awards. And hopefully you will have become accomplished in whatever field you chose, and have gained some wisdom.
Aging, if you’re lucky enough to actually not die before your time, is not a sin. It’s not bad. It’s just the natural order of things. There are many foolish 45-year-olds, and many wise 22-year-olds. All age says is how many birthdays you’ve had. It doesn’t automatically define how smart you are, how cool you are, or your worth as a person. Your ability to take criticism and not lash out at people? That’s another matter.
Because you know who was 22 years old once? Ashleigh Banfield. And you know who’s not gonna be 22 years old next year? You. Youth is not forever. But immaturity can be if you won’t listen. Don’t let that be you.