Would Arizona Police Stop Jennifer Lopez for ID?

Picture this: A-list actress Jennifer Lopez and All-Star third baseman Alex Rodriguez are hanging out at a Phoenix club, dancing and drinking with friends after leaving their courtside seats a few minutes before the end of the Suns’ 116-83 shellacking of the 76ers. They decide to discreetly slip away from their entourages and the paparazzi to get something to eat at a nearby restaurant. While walking the two blocks to get there, they are stopped by the police and asked for ID. But neither has any because J.Lo’s pocketbook and A-Rod’s wallet are back at the club with their personal assistants. So they are questioned, detained, arrested and then transported to the local INS lock-up where a deportation hearing is scheduled. No way, you say. Way, I say. Although this never really happened, it could if Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 is upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court, which began hearing arguments on April 25th and is expected to reach a decision by the end of June. Read more »

Occupy Philly Activists Go to Trial, Maybe to Jail

On April 26, 2012, several defendants could be sent to prison for what they did outside a government facility on November 29th last year, prior to the police arriving and catching them in the act. Sounds like a gang of terrorists caught red-handed, doesn’t it? But words, like appearances, can be deceiving. These were no terrorists. And they weren’t gangsters either. They weren’t even criminals. They were simply a group of nonviolent and selfless activists who, in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., social reformer Maggie Kuhn, homeless advocate Mitch Snyder, and labor leader Dolores Huerta, did what justice demanded. Read more »

Florida State Attorney Should Prosecute Zimmerman Like She Does Black Kids

In America (which obviously includes Florida), “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” W.E.B. Du Bois was correct when he wrote that in 1903. And he’d be just as correct 109 years later by replacing the 20th century with the 21st century. That’s why I always say I’m not a lawyer who happens to be a black man. Instead, I’m a black man who just happens to be a lawyer. Accordingly, I view the February 26th shooting death of the stalked and confronted unarmed kid, Trayvon Martin, by the stalking and confronting armed adult, George Zimmerman, as an intentional and racist criminal homicide, not a mere happenstance and spontaneous killing. Therefore, Zimmerman should have been—and still should be—charged with first, not second, degree murder. Read more »

Not Everyone With an Illegal Gun Deserves Jail Time

Most Philadelphians believe that violent crime is the city’s biggest problem. As a result, you might think severe punishment for anyone who illegally possesses a gun—regardless of whether the person committed a separate non-violent crime with it—is part of the solution. Mere unlawful possession, you’d argue, is enough to warrant mandatory imprisonment. No probation. No fine. No community service. No parole without a required minimum jail sentence. Good, you say. Bullshit, I say. Read more »

Gil Scott-Heron’s Revolution Will Be Televised

When he first told America in 1970 that “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” after writing it in 1968 at age 19, Gil Scott-Heron set the stage for what would become part of the musical and poetic soundtrack for black, white and brown progressives and revolutionaries. And he didn’t stop until 40 years later. Gil was the “musical grandson” of insurrectionist Nat Turner and liberator Harriet Tubman, and the “poetic son” of fiery author David Walker and anti-lynching editor Ida B. Wells. Read more »

Florida Teen Trayvon Martin Was Murdered Twice

It’s been more than a few hours since your teenage son went out to buy some snacks during a break in a televised NBA All-Star game that you, he and his little brother were watching. But it’s no real big deal because you know he’s a good kid. No arrests. No gang stuff. No delinquency. No drugs. In fact, he’s an A/B, 11th-grade student athlete with aspirations of becoming an aviation mechanic. So you know you really don’t need to worry. Maybe he ran into a cute girl. Maybe one of his buddies called him on the cell phone he was carrying and told him about an NBA party being held by some cool neighborhood youngsters. Although you tell yourself you don’t really need to worry, you begin to worry anyway. A few hours turn into several hours, and the night turns into day. So you call the local police department’s Missing Persons Unit, but they don’t have any info. So then you call 911, and the cops ask you for a description. Shortly after, they show up with a photo of a bloody-mouth kid lying dead on a morgue stretcher. Toe-tagged as John Doe. Read more »

Pop Language Quiz: Racist or Not Racist?

Racism is not just lynching, cross-burning, redlining, employment discrimination, educational barriers, or even malicious slurs, and those who manifest the unconscious and passive form of racism are not so easily identifiable. Generally speaking, they’re mostly good people. Yes, they are white. And yes, they reap the benefits of white privilege. And yes, for the most part, they prefer to—and almost always do—live, work, socialize and worship primarily with other white folks. But they’re still kinda cool. Well, at least until their unconscious and passive racism slips from inside their heads to outside their mouths. Here are some leading examples. You tell me: racist or not racist? Read more »

Our Racist Judicial System Wishes a Happy Birthday to Dred Scott

Yesterday (March 6th) was the 155th anniversary of the blatantly racist, but patently honest, 1857 Dred Scott decision—and the American legal system threw a birthday bash. Our legal system provided the venue. Judges served as the hosts, and the blind-eye-turning members of the American political majority worked the room as the guests. Guess who wasn’t invited: black people! As a wise man once said about political inclusion, “If you’re not sitting at the table, you’ll be eaten on the menu.” And this country has been feasting on us since 1857, actually 1788 when the Constitution with its slavery-promoting clauses was ratified, or certainly 1776 when independence was declared by 56 white male land owners—one-third of whom were slaveholders—or surely 1619 when Africans were first enslaved on this land. Read more »

Why It’s Time to Abolish Black History Month

Black History Month (BHM) should be abolished and should never be officially honored or even informally acknowledged. It’s nothing more than some reverse racism entitlement nonsense that gives credit to a whiny race of shiftless people who have always received much more than they have ever given to America and the colonies. Moreover, BHM is unfair to white ethnics whose ancestors came here through Ellis Island and were subjected to harsh discrimination. But instead of complaining, they simply fought through it, pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, and in just a few generations became educated, successful, and even prosperous members of society, living the American Dream. They didn’t need no damn English, Irish, Italian, German, Polish, or other history month. So let’s abolish BHM right here and right now. Read more »

Can Citizens Keep Philly Cops in Line?

At the outset, I must say this: Philadelphia’s Police Advisory Commission (PAC) is made up of well-intentioned and civic-minded professionals. Unfortunately, however, the PAC itself is a complete waste. And that’s because it’s nothing more than a paper tiger. No, it’s a cardboard kitten. Actually, it’s a tissue pussy (cat). It does absolutely nothing to stop police brutality, abuse or corruption. It can’t put brutal, abusive or corrupt cops in jail. It can’t fire, demote or suspend them. It can’t do shit. Well, it can do shit—in the form of meaningless recommendations and advice. Read more »

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