Video

Must-see morning clip: John Oliver’s amazing takedown of the Miss America pageant

John Oliver Screenshot | HBO

Salon

How is Miss America “still a thing?” wonders John Oliver

In just 15 minutes, John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” has taken down the sexist tradition of beauty pageants, challenged the credibility of the entire Miss America organization, and brilliantly parodied the ridiculous production that is the pageant. The segment also illustrated how, increasingly, Oliver’s program seems to be a journalism-driven show with aggressively researched, truth-seeking stories told with a sense of self-awareness and lots of wit.

After revealing Miss America’s dubious and troubling relationship with its so-called scholarships (arguably the only thing that keeps the pageant relevant in 2014), Oliver hosted a beauty contest of his own. Comedian Kathy Griffin participated as a contestant, flipped the script and then judged the beauty of pageant host Oliver next to a model. The model, who is a model, won the contest because it favors people who look like models. Oliver then declares, “Pageants are horrible! I feel bad about myself.”

“I’m not your brother!”: Video reveals police’s stunning double-standard for black Americans

Screenshot of officer approaching Chris Lollie and mugshot of Chris Lollie

attribution: screenshot from video/Chris Lollie mughshot

Updated to include victim’s “mugshot”.

Salon

In a shocking video posted to YouTube, police tase and arrest a black man picking his kids up from preschool

The latest in police misconduct was captured in a cellphone video that surfaced earlier this week. The video depicts a black man, identified as 28-year-old Christopher Lollie, sitting in a public space waiting to pick up his young children from New Horizon Academy in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota.

“I want to know who you are and what the problem was back there,” a female cop says to Lollie at the start of the video.

“There is no problem, that’s the thing,” he replies.

“So talk to me and let me know who you are and you can be on your way.”

Lollie explains to the officer that he has been sitting in a public area for 10 minutes and protests that he doesn’t have to tell her his name because he had not broken any laws.

“The problem was –” the officer says.

“The problem is I’m black,” Lollie interrupts. “It really is, because I’m not sitting there with a group of people. I’m sitting there by myself, not causing a problem.”

A second officer then approaches the two and attempts to touch Lollie. “I’ve got to go get my kids,” Lollie says, growing upset. “Please don’t touch me.”

“You’re going to go to jail then,” the second officer replies.

“Come on, brother,” he says. “This is assault.”

“I’m not your brother. Put your hands behind your back, otherwise it’s going to get ugly.”

Shortly thereafter, the phone gets knocked out of Lollie’s hands as the cops cuff him. One can then hear the sound of a taser charging and Lollie’s screams as the cops tase him.

The police report states that two officers, Michael Johnson and Bruce Schmidt, were called to the First National Bank Building “on a report of uncooperative male refusing to leave.” The female officer has not yet been identified.

The Twin Cities Daily Planet reports:

His children had been attending New Horizon for about 9 months at that time, he said, so many people at the school already knew who he was. Luckily, he said, his children weren’t there to witness the incident since the children’s mother still hadn’t arrived. But Lollie’s children’s classmates and teacher all witnessed the event, he said.

“The teacher actually gave me a witness statement, stating that ‘he was calm, he wasn’t doing anything wrong, he was talking to them, and they just started assaulting him,” he said.

Since then, Lollie said he fought the charges and because of the teacher’s statement and the footage from the building’s security cameras, all charges against him were dropped as of July 31.

Lollie said that he didn’t want to post the video until the charges were dropped. “It hurts, it really does,” he said. “Because no matter what — I could be the nicest guy in the world, talk with respect, I can be working, taking care of my kids, doing everything the model citizen is supposed to do — and I still get that type of treatment.”

Warning: The video below could be upsetting to viewers.

Russell Brand absolutely demolishes Fox News over Ferguson coverage

Russell Brand absolutely demolishes Fox News over Ferguson coverage

Russell Brand (Credit: AP/Ellis O’Brien) 

Say what you will about Russell Brand but that fact is, every now and then he makes salient points on his video program.  This is just one example…

Salon

On the latest episode of his Web series, the British comedian takes Fox to task for its one-sidedness

Russell Brand eviscerated Fox News’ coverage of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday, blasting the network for its one-sidedness.

“It’s so outrageous,” Brand said on the latest episode of  his show, “The Trews.”

“It’s almost art.”

Brand criticized Fox News for its nearly unanimous support of Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown earlier this month, and for its deeply negative attitude toward protesters in the Missouri city.

“I think what’s interesting about Fox News’ coverage is the complete evisceration of any compassion in the argument,” Brand said. “Pain and suffering is the lifeblood of their channel. There’s no one so disadvantaged, so oppressed, that Fox News can’t get some mileage out of exploiting or condemning them.”

Beginning his takedown, Brand homed in on Greg Gutfeld’s comments on “Red Eye,” where the host said that “the media, like humanity, can only handle two sides to a story, and they almost always flock to one side — and it’s David, never Goliath.”

Cutting in, Brand cannily responded: “Yeah … When you look at the Bible, you think, ‘Hang on here! Should we revise this clearly allegorical story about David and Goliath? What about Goliath — the hapless, lovable giant?’ No, you don’t — Goliath is clearly there to demonstrate oppressive power, isn’t he?”

Brand continued his assault on Gutfield, playing a segment where Gutfield called the overwhelming support for Brown whom the “Red Eye” host deemed the “underdog” the result of “decades of pop culture, deeming what’s cool and what isn’t.”

Interjecting, Brand offered his rebuttal.

“It’s not ‘cool’ to stick up for the people of Ferguson, who after a century of oppression and the only limited success of the civil rights movement, have decided that after the killing of an unarmed man to protest. They’re doing it because they like some of their trainers,” Brand said, referring to expensive athletic shoes.

Brand also took aim at Fox News contributor Jason L. Riley, author of the book “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed.” Riley, who consistently has attempted to explain black crime as a pathological deficiency, recently lambasted President Barack Obama for his comments that “black crime stems from poverty, or a racist criminal justice system, which is nonsense!”

Brand wouldn’t stand for it.

“That’s outrageous,” Brand said. “Of course there’s an economic aspect to the argument. Of course there’s a social aspect. You can’t just bring out the author of the book ‘We Deserve to Be Shot’ to bring out arguments just so Fox News can keep being as they are.”

He continued: “People don’t just spontaneously have an attitude toward the criminal justice system …Like the same way you might not have an attitude to your dishwasher. If your dishwasher doesn’t do anything except wash the dishes, you won’t just suddenly wonder one day, ‘You know, it’s really unjust the way that dishwasher keeps shooting unarmed black men!’”

Watch the whole clip here:

NYPD drags a 48-year-old naked woman from her apartment as neighbors protest and tape arrest

NYPD drags a 48-year-old naked woman from her apartment as neighbors protest and tape arrest

NYPD outside of the United Nations General Assembly Building | AP

A friend emailed me today and asked me why hadn’t I reported some of the malicious treatment by police officers against alleged “perpetrators” in recent weeks.  I think I wrote back saying that I have in fact reported on police violence in the past but wanted to stick to the tagline of this blog: Sorting out the crazies.

The truth of the matter (and my friend touched on this in his email) I probably didn’t want to offend the readers of this political blog with stories of police misconduct across the nation.  Perhaps there’s even a deeper reason…

So, I have decided to include some of the police misconduct craziness going on across the country (especially in the northeast) perpetrated by poorly trained, unprofessional cops everywhere.   (H/t: LTL)

Hence, the following story:

Salon

Disturbing video captures the NYPD arresting a woman as she shouts that she needs her oxygen. The woman was dragged naked from her Brownsville, Brooklyn apartment by NYPD.

Denise Stewart, a 48-year-old Brooklyn woman was dragged by NYPD from her apartment and arrested in the late hours of July 13, New York Daily News reported. The grandmother had just taken a shower and was only wearing a towel and pair of underpants when NYPD pounded on her door.

The NYPD officers were responding to a domestic violence 911-call made from the Brownsville apartment building. However, according to the Daily News, they did not know the apartment number. After hearing shouts from Stewart’s apartment they banged on the door at 11:45 PM. According to the Daily News, Stewart told the police they had the wrong apartment and attempted to close the door. Denise Stewart was then dragged by the NYPD cops into the hallway.

Neighbors captured part of the arrest on video, which shows male officers struggling to subdue the woman, and Stewart calling for her oxygen.

“For approximately two minutes and 20 seconds, Stewart was bare-breasted in the hallway as additional police officers tramped up the stairs and through the hallway, glancing at her as they passed by,” the Daily News reported. Eventually a female officer covered her with a towel.

Shouts of “Oxygen, get my oxygen” can be heard int he video.

“Ok, ok,” a police officer says, and leaves the frame.

“Her asthma! Her asthma! Her asthma,” shouted bystanders.

Stewart, who has asthma, fainted during the arrest, according to the Daily News.

The NYPD arrested Denise Stewart and charged her with assaulting a police officer — she bit an officer’s finger during the scuffle. Denise Stewart’s 20-year-old daughter Diamond Stewart was arrested and charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child, resisting arrest and criminal possession of a weapon. Stewarts’s 24-year-old son Kirkland Stewart was charged with resisting arrest.

Stewart’s 12-year-old daughter was also taken into custody. According to the police, the 12-year-old had injuries on her face and claimed that her mother and sister hit her with a belt. The 12-year-old daughter later resisted arrest, and allegedly kicked out a police van window, cutting an officer’s chin. She was charged with criminal mischief, criminal possession of a weapon and assaulting a police officer.

Denise Stewart’s lawyer, Amy Rameau, was told by a Legal Aid lawyer that the original 911 call came from a different apartment at the Kings Highway address. The NYPD allegedly arrived at Stewart’s apartment by mistake.

“They manhandled [Stewart] and behaved in a deplorable manner,” Rameau said. “She feels completely mortified. This is about human dignity.”

Rameau also explained that the Administration for Children’s Services investigated and found no evidence of neglect.

 

Related Stories:

HOMICIDE: Medical examiner says NYPD chokehold killed Staten Island dad Eric Garner

Video shows cop apparently putting arm around neck of seven-months pregnant Brooklyn woman

Utah Will Not Recognize Same-Sex Marriages That Have Already Been Performed: Governor’s Office

This is wrong on so many levels, but legally it’s a tough call…

The Huffington Post

The office of Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) said same-sex couples who were married after the state’s ban on gay marriage was struck down, but before theSupreme Court halted gay marriages in the state, will not be recognized as legally married.

Herbert’s chief of staff Derek Miller emailed the following instructions to Cabinet Members on Tuesday:

Dear Cabinet,I’m sure you are all aware of the issuance of the stay regarding same-sex marriage in Utah from the United States Supreme Court yesterday. This stay effectively puts a hold on the decision of the district court, which found state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage in Utah to be unconstitutional.

After the district court decision was issued on Friday, December 20th, some same-sex couples availed themselves of the opportunity to marry and to the status granted by the state to married persons. This office sent an email to each of you soon after the district court decision, directing compliance.

With the district court injunction now stayed, the original laws governing marriage in Utah return to effect pending final resolution by the courts. It is important to understand that those laws include not only a prohibition of performing same-sex marriages but also recognizing same-sex marriages.

Based on counsel from the Attorney General’s Office regarding the Supreme Court decision, state recognition of same-sex marital status is ON HOLD until further notice. Please understand this position is not intended to comment on the legal status of those same-sex marriages – that is for the courts to decide. The intent of this communication is to direct state agency compliance with current laws that prohibit the state from recognizing same-sex marriages.

Wherever individuals are in the process of availing themselves of state services related to same-sex marital status, that process is on hold and will stay exactly in that position until a final court decision is issued. For example, if a same-sex married couple previously changed their names on new drivers licenses, those licenses should not be revoked. If a same-sex couple seeks to change their names on drivers licenses now, the law does not allow the state agency to recognize the marriage therefore the new drivers licenses cannot be issued.

We appreciate your patience and diligence in this matter. We recognize that different state agencies have specific questions and circumstances that will need to be worked through. Please do so with the Assistant Attorney General assigned to your respective agency in coordination with the Governor’s General Counsel. We also recognize that these changes affect real people’s lives. Let us carefully and considerately ensure that we, and our employees throughout the state, continue to treat all people with respect and understanding as we assist them.

U..S. District Judge Robert Shelby struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban in a Dec. 20 ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court put a halt to same-sex marriages in the state weeks later, on Jan. 6.

John Roberts Refuses To Grant Obamacare Emergency Stay

Chief Justice John Roberts

The Huffington Post

The Supreme Court has refused a group of doctors’ request to block implementation of the nation’s new health care law.

Chief Justice John Roberts turned away without comment Monday an emergency stay request from the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. and the Alliance for Natural Health USA.

They asked the chief justice Friday to temporarily block the law, saying Congress had passed it incorrectly by starting it in the Senate instead of the House. Revenue-raising bills are supposed to originate in the lower chamber. They also wanted blocked doctor registration requirements they say will make it harder for independent non-Medicare physicians to treat Medicare-eligible patients.

Still pending is a decision on a temporary block on the law’s contraceptive coverage requirements, which was challenged by a group of nuns.

Shame On DC: Americans Speak Out Against Washington’s Inaction On Gun Control

The Gun Caucus

The Huffington Post

One year has passed since 20 children and six teachers were shot and killed in Newtown, Conn., and yet, Washington, D.C. has still failed to enact major legislation on gun control. Using #ShameOnDC, Americans throughout the country wrote in to HuffPost Live to express their frustration, advocate for change, and make their voices heard.

“I am a mother endowed with old-fashioned common sense and respect for the sanctity of human life. And I am here on behalf of my two children unafraid to say that the gun lobby emperor has no clothes.”
– Jennifer Mendelsohn, mother of two children

“I know longer think of gun violence as something that happens to somebody else. Those meaningless numbers are real people to me now.”
– Pam Simon, 2011 Tuscon shooting survivor

“It’s such a magical age… A six-year-old may want to be a veterinarian one day, a ninja the next, and a banker after that.”
– Kimberly Wilkins, mother of seven-year-old son

“The instant he drew his last breath was when I decided that too many [children] have died.”
– Mary Leigh Blek, lost son to gun shooting in 1994

“The service we ask of you is one that demands you imagine what isn’t yet, what appears to be beyond what you can accomplish and then make it happen.”
– Rabbi Aaron Alexander

“It’s a terrible thing to know that your government would rather cave to gun lobbyists and their money than to stand up for innocent children, students, employees, and citizens.”
– Ariana Henderson, student at Penn State University

Is Pope Francis Leaving Vatican At Night To Minister To Homeless?

Pope Francis

Never in my almost seven decades of life have I labeled a Pope “awesome”.   Now, with Pope Francis at the Vatican helm, I can finally say it.  This Pope is awesome.

How can one tell just how great Pope Francis really is?  Just look at all the right-wing talking points against the Pope…

The Huffington Post

A recent interview with Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the “Almoner of His Holiness,” raised speculation that the Pope joins him on his nightly trips into Rome to give alms to the poor, and it turns out that the rumors are probably true.

A knowledgable source in Rome told The Huffington Post that “Swiss guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women.”

Krajewski earlier said, “When I say to him ‘I’m going out into the city this evening’, there’s the constant risk that he will come with me,” and he merely smiled and ducked the question when reporters asked him point-blank whether the Pope accompanied him into the city.

He’s not the only Pope known for nocturnal wanderings. There are stories of Pope John XIII sneaking out to enjoy the beauty of Rome in the evenings, and reports tell of Pope Pius XII dressing as a Franciscan during WWII to help smuggle Rome’s Jewish population to safety. More recently, Pope Benedict XVI popped out unannounced to visit an art exhibit.

When Pope Francis was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, he was known to sneak out at night to break bread with the homeless, sitting with them on the street and eating with them to show that they were loved.

And we love him for doing it now.

Stephen Colbert Calls Out Don Lemon For Obama, Rob Ford Comparison (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post

Stephen Colbert poked fun at the various comparisons that pundits are making about the failure of the Obamacare rollout on Monday, specifically CNN Don Lemon’s recent argument that Rob Ford and Obama are in a similar boat.

The glitches in the president’s health care exchange system have been defined as the worst thing to happen to the country “since slavery,” and have been compared to numerous past disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

But Colbert’s favorite Obamacare comparison as of late was CNN anchor Don Lemon’s recent statement pinning President Obama and Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford side-by-side.

Lemon stated on CNN’s “NewsRoom” that “you won’t find two politicians who’ve had worse weeks…. President Obama saying ‘I’m Sorry’ over and over for his so-called signature achievement Obamacare, Rob Ford though admitting to crack– to be a crack smoker.”

To this, Colbert was completely perplexed, and called out what he believed was the absurdity in “comparing the first black president to the first blackout mayor.”

“Yeah, they’re both in trouble. Therefore it’s an entirely fair comparison,” he mocked. “The same way that since they’re both on video, it’s fair to compare Don Lemon’s reporting to this dog milking a goat.”

Watch the video for the full clip. 

Jon Stewart Blasts ’60 Minutes’ For ‘Sort Of Acknowledging’ Benghazi Story Was ‘Total Bullsh*t’

The Huffington Post

On Monday, Jon Stewart dove into the scandal rocking CBS News, and what he called the “meh culpa” offered by “60 Minutes” in response to learning the key figure in its Benghazi story was lying.

Stewart mock-sympathized with what a “pain in the ass” it is to have to ask “Is this true?” before going to broadcast, and then went off after rolling a clip of Lara Logan revealing that Dylan Davies had lied to CBS:

“What? If you can not trust an international mercenary existing in the netherworld ‘twixt assassin and bounty hunter, whose very livelihood is predicated on the flexible morality needed to survive in the chaos and lawlessness of failed nations, who can you trust?”

But CBS isn’t the only one having to deal with this mess; Jon Stewart’s favorite southern gentleman (and accent) Lindsey Graham has some tough questions to answer now, too.