Thursday Morning Open Thread: Rejoice (But Keep Working, Too)

And TIL (today I learned) something that might come in handy for people, as the election gets closer:

(I know I know, but the Washington Post is still the company paper for the town whose industry is national politics. And there’s lots of worthwhile reporting apart from the more obtuse columnists — I’m very happy with my own paid digital sub!)

***********

What else is on the agenda for the new day?



No Longer Breaking News that was Poorly Reported and Lost in the Shuffle: CNN & Hillary Clinton’s Email Edition

Last Friday CNN reported that:

The FBI has not yet interviewed Clinton as part of its investigation. As CNN first reported, investigators have not found evidence to support criminal charges against Clinton and none are expected, but no final determination will be made until that interview has taken place.

This was the fifth paragraph of a longer report dealing with emails about the US drone program. The context was of State Department officials emailing Secretary Clinton about the drone program, which is classified, during the Winter holidays (Christmas to New Years) in 2011 while on leave, away from the office, and unable to access the classified email systems, but still having to conduct their work. It is also spillage – the information was sent to her, she did not go and take classified information and purposefully place it into an unclassified email. This CNN report got lost in the shuffle over the weekend, for obvious reasons, but its important to highlight it nonetheless.



Monday Evening Open Thread: Captain ‘Never Read the Comments’ vs. the Ink-Stained Wretches

He’s never been on good terms with the press, outside of the infotainment sector that’s served him as an unpaid public-relations office, but Trump’s ongoing war with reality is now fighting on too many fronts to sustain…

(Ioffe has reason to distrust Trump & his most fervent supporters — as do other Jewish journalists.)



Update on James Wesley Howell: Police Have Retracted Their Statement of His Intentions

The Santa Monica Police Department have clarified and retracted yesterday’s statement regarding James Wesley Howell’s intentions at the Los Angeles Pride Parade. The LA Times is now reporting that the information that was released yesterday, that Mr. Howell had traveled to Santa Monica with the intent of doing “harm to the parade” was incorrect. Santa Monica PD Lt. Saul Rodriguez has clarified what they know:

“It was a misstatement,” Rodriguez said. “Unfortunately, she was given incorrect information initially, which indicated that that statement was made; however, that statement never was made. He did indicate that he was planning on going to the Pride festival but beyond anything as far as motives or his intentions that statement was never made nor did any officer receive that statement.”

At this time law enforcement is still trying to ascertain what he was doing with several long guns, as well as tannerite and other chemicals in a five gallon bucket. Howell’s traveling companion has stated that “Howell didn’t harbor any ill will toward gays or lesbians.” And that he is bisexual.

Since I did the write up on this last night, based on what had been released by law enforcement to the news media, I wanted to make sure I did a corrective update as soon as possible. I apologize to Balloon Juice readers and to Mr. Howell for posting what we now know is incorrect information. I have also gone back and corrected the original post from last night. 



Guest Post: lamh36’s Final Reflections on Roots 2016

Balloon Juice commenter lamh36 posted her final thoughts on the recently aired remake of Roots as a comment last night. I asked her if we could put it up as a guest post because I think it deserves to be seen by more than those who happened to be commenting on one particular post on Friday night. She graciously said yes and sent me the link to where she’d posted it on her own blog. She also has a very interesting post about the Roots remake that she posted before it had aired, so make sure to click through and check that one out too. Lamh36’s post viewing remarks on Roots are below.

So, yesterday I watched the finale of the Roots tv reboot.

Here are my final final reflections.

So, you may already know, I wasn’t gonna watch…then thanks to blogger Awesomely Luvvie ( On ROOTS Reimagined and Retelling This Classic Story) and other folk I respect I decided to give it a chance. I never saw the original. Usually, I shy away from this type of drama because unless you are a heartless bastard it sticks with you and unless you are a ditzy absentminded sort of person it lingers in your mind even after watching…but I disregarded my usual aversion and I watched episode one.

So first of all, History channel did a GREAT job of filling in some of the holes in the story, that folks expressed about Haley’s original book with facts, figures and real life events of the time. In fact, even though it was based on Haley’s book and ancestors, they stuck to the story Haley told, but interspersed the personal family story, with a History channel style reenactments of real life events and happenings of the time in which the story was set (if you followed them on twitter, they also sent out factoids about the time and the people during the commercial breaks, and also with blurbs at the end of scenes with significant historical impact).

Another thing I applauded, was that unlike with the orignal mini-series, they didn’t go for ANY stunt casting (no white sitcom stars or black pro-athletes in this one). Instead, other than for a couple of the iconic roles (i.e. Fiddler, Kizzy, Tom Lea…) the cast was made up of new, and hopefully, up and coming young actresses and actors of color, including some  for whom the show was their very first real acting job (US or otherwise).  The standouts including Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte, Regé-Jean Page as Chicken George, Erica Tazel as Matilda, and a number of other younger actresses and actors.  The casting for the series was really good.

As I expected, each and every scene lingered. but as I watched the first ep and the second ep…I began to see this NOT as a story of victim hood, or airing grievances against white people (though to be fair from this family’s saga standpoint and millions of others who were slaves…the grievances against white folks were valid and should NOT be forgotten or erased from conversation). Anyway, I began to see it as the story of SURVIVORS! From Africa to the Americas…these people SURVIVED all this brutality and came out of it on the other side yes bloodied but ALIVE and in many cases unbowed. So even with the painful acts and lingering anger at the entire institution of slavery in America, I feel blessed to know that I come from generations of these Survivors and I’d like to hope that their stories are told and heard by as many folks as can see or hear them, Black or white.



Florida’s Statute Pertaining to Battery: Chapter 784.021

Since there’s some questions about exactly what constitutes battery in Florida, here’s the statute:

784.03 Battery; felony battery.

(1)(a) The offense of battery occurs when a person:

1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or
2. Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who commits battery commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(2) A person who has one prior conviction for battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery and who commits any second or subsequent battery commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. For purposes of this subsection, “conviction” means a determination of guilt that is the result of a plea or a trial, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld or a plea of nolo contendere is entered.
History.s. 5, Feb. 10, 1832; RS 2401; s. 1, ch. 5135, 1903; GS 3227; RGS 5060; CGL 7162; s. 2, ch. 70-88; s. 730, ch. 71-136; s. 19, ch. 74-383; s. 9, ch. 75-298; s. 172, ch. 91-224; s. 5, ch. 96-392; s. 4, ch. 2001-50.
Chapter 784 of the Florida Code also covers the following, with full definitions and explanations at the link:
CHAPTER 784
ASSAULT; BATTERY; CULPABLE NEGLIGENCE
784.011 Assault.
784.021 Aggravated assault.
784.03 Battery; felony battery.
784.041 Felony battery; domestic battery by strangulation.
784.045 Aggravated battery.
784.046 Action by victim of repeat violence, sexual violence, or dating violence for protective injunction; dating violence investigations, notice to victims, and reporting; pretrial release violations; public records exemption.
784.047 Penalties for violating protective injunction against violators.
784.048 Stalking; definitions; penalties.
784.0485 Stalking; injunction; powers and duties of court and clerk; petition; notice and hearing; temporary injunction; issuance of injunction; statewide verification system; enforcement.
784.0487 Violation of an injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking.
784.049 Sexual cyberharassment.
784.05 Culpable negligence.
784.062 Misuse of laser lighting devices.
784.07 Assault or battery of law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical care providers, public transit employees or agents, or other specified officers; reclassification of offenses; minimum sentences.
784.071 Assault or battery on a law enforcement officer; missing while in line of duty; blue alert.
784.074 Assault or battery on sexually violent predators detention or commitment facility staff; reclassification of offenses.
784.075 Battery on detention or commitment facility staff or a juvenile probation officer.
784.076 Battery on health services personnel.
784.078 Battery of facility employee by throwing, tossing, or expelling certain fluids or materials.
784.08 Assault or battery on persons 65 years of age or older; reclassification of offenses; minimum sentence.
784.081 Assault or battery on specified officials or employees; reclassification of offenses.
784.082 Assault or battery by a person who is being detained in a prison, jail, or other detention facility upon visitor or other detainee; reclassification of offenses.
784.083 Assault or battery on code inspectors.
784.085 Battery of child by throwing, tossing, projecting, or expelling certain fluids or materials.


I’ll Take Journalism I Disdain For $1,000, Alex

This, in today’s Grey Lady, got my goat:

While Mr. Sanders’s direct rhetoric is an enduring source of his success, Mrs. Clinton has a way of meandering legalistically through thickets of caution and temporization.

Asked whether she would fire the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to remedy water problems in Flint, Mrs. Clinton gave a nearly 200-word response emphasizing the need for a full investigation to “determine who knew what, when.” Mr. Sanders’ 16-word response drew enormous applause: “President Sanders would fire anybody who knew about what was happening and did not act appropriately.”

On the one hand, fine:  as a performance critique, that’s a perfectly understandable distinction to draw (though in this case even the stated critique is patent BS, about which more in a moment).  But there’s more to political journalism than amateur theater criticism.

William_Hogarth_028

Some interest, even a glimmer of curiosity in the quality of the content of the answer would be welcome.

So, let’s take a look.  When asked if she would fire people at the EPA over the Flint crisis, here’s what Clinton actually said:

CLINTON: Well, I think that the people here in the region, who knew about this and failed to follow what you just said, rightly, the law required, have been eliminated from the EPA.

COOPER: So far, one person has resigned.

CLINTON: I don’t — well, I don’t know how high it goes. I would certainly be launching an investigation. I think there is one. I was told that — you know, some of the higher-ups were pushing to get changes that were not happening.

So I would have a full investigation, determine who knew what, when. And yes, people should be fired. How far up it went, I don’t know. But as far as it goes, they should be relieved, because they failed this city.

But let me just add this, Anderson. This is not the only place where this kind of action is needed. We have a lot of communities right now in our country where the level of toxins in the water, including lead, are way above what anybody should tolerate.

(APPLAUSE)

We have a higher rate of tested lead in people in Cleveland than in Flint. So I’m not satisfied with just doing everything we must do for Flint. I want to tackle this problem across the board. And if people know about it and they’re not acting, and they’re in the government at any level, they should be forced to resign.

So — yes, she’d fire people when and as they were found to be culpable, but such actions, she argues, are not enough.  I’d go further, and say that they’re cosmetic, unless the same duty of care that Flint deserves is applied across the board.

And I don’t know about you, but to me, the demand to take the lessons of Flint on the road is hardly a legalistic detour into “thickets of caution and temporization.”  The gap between that characterization and what was actually said (and not quoted in the offending thumb-sucker) is, shall we say, interesting.  Given the Times‘ history with Hillary, I’d even say, suggestive.

I know it’s a lot to ask (it isn’t, actually. It’s merely impossible for current practitioners to answer — ed.) but I’d like to see even a hint of acknowledgement that what Clinton said may have been less dramatic than Sander’s reply, but, just maybe, contained something worth thinking about.  Even more, some recognition that two hundred words is not too much to spend on the problem of failed infrastructure, the abandonment of governmental responsibility, and poisoned kids.

Just for perspective — the average speaker takes roughly 80 to 90 seconds, maybe a skosh more, to utter two hundred words.  I’d have thought a hero of the English language like a New York Times reporter might have the stamina to stick it out that long.

Color me grumpy.

Image:  William Hogarth, An Election Entertainment from the Humours of an Election series, c. 1755