Feed on

I am pretty sure that this was an unintended outcome of the “stand your ground” law in Florida. Tavarious China Smith is from Manatee County in Florida. He sold drugs to undercover cops and had a pending warrant. He was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

He has also been able to use the “stand your ground” defense twice.

On two occasions, more than two years apart, he committed homicides but was not charged thanks to provisions of Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Smith claimed self-defense in both cases and prosecutors agreed. He never faced a judge or jury for fatally shooting Nikita Williams, 18, in February 2008 in a drug-related incident or Breon Mitchell, Williams’ 23-year-old half-brother, in December 2010.

Smith’s only punishment stemmed from using a gun to kill Mitchell. Since he was by then a felon, convicted on drug charges, Smith wasn’t allowed to carry the Ruger .357 Magnum he used to shoot Mitchell outside a Palmetto nightclub in 2010. In January, a federal judge in Tampa sent Smith to prison after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm….

Arthur Brown is the assistant state attorney in Manatee County who reviewed both of Smith’s homicides and declined to prosecute Smith in the Mitchell case. He said both were clear-cut cases of self-defense and that provisions of the “stand your ground” law only strengthened Smith’s claims.

Smith is serving seven years for the gun possession charge.

Marissa Alexander is serving 20 years for a warning shot after a physical altercation with her estranged husband. She had never been arrested before this incident.

Alexander’s case was prosecuted by Angela Corey, the Florida State’s Attorney who is also prosecuting George Zimmerman. Alexander was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and because she discharged a firearm during the incident, the case fell under Florida’s “10-20-life” law, enacted in 1999, which mandates a 20-year sentence for use of a gun during the commission of certain crimes.

Corey initially offered Alexander a three year deal if she pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, but according to CBS affiliate WTEV, Alexander did not believe she had done anything wrong, and rejected the plea. Her bet did not pay off: the jury in the case returned a guilty verdict in less than 15 minutes.

OK. Yes, I do beleive there should be some kind of review of “stand your ground” and “10-20-life” laws.

Something just isn’t right with all this.



Corporate primacy = poverty for people

I’ve been able to talk with USW president Leo Gerard a couple of times and was impressed with his intelligence and insight. Go read his entire post:

The GOP has contended for 30 years that the primary function of government is to serve corporations and the 1 percent, and that when they thrive, the 99 percent may receive hand-me-down benefits. Democrats believe the principal function of government is to serve the majority of people and that when they benefit, the economy thrives for everyone.

For all the fancy talk in Ohio on Thursday, it comes down to this: Do Americans want a government of the people by the people for the people, one conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal? Or do Americans want a government of the corporations by the corporations for the corporations, one dedicated to the proposition that the rich are better than everyone else?

For the rich, like Mitt Romney, the proposition that they are better than everyone else is a given. Romney believes that he, the son of a wealthy car company executive and governor, the youth who attended exclusive private schools and wallowed in every privilege, is a self-made man.

That is basic Republican philosophy: Every wealthy person and every successful corporation achieved that all by themselves. They didn’t inherit; they didn’t benefit from taxpayer-funded infrastructure like roads, schools and patent enforcement; there was no luck involved. They achieved it alone by virtue of their own grit, hard work and dedication.

Anyone can do it, the GOP believes, if they would just buckle down, work hard and follow all the rules. As a result, in Republican world, anyone who isn’t rich has only himself to blame.

Therefore, in GOP-logic, the poor and middle class are inferior beings. Government should not serve them. The government, Republicans think, should bow to the successful, who earned service. The government must not, according to the GOP, reward shiftlessness by providing benefits to middle class scallywags who have failed to do what it takes to get rich.

The letter

This is, I believe, the second year that indie musicians got together for a Big Star tribute for the late Alex Chilton:

On May 28th, some of indie and power pop’s elite gathered together to perform Big Star’s “Third” in its entirety, plus a whole lot more. Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow, Mitch Easter, Robyn Hitchcock, Brett Harris, Norman Blake, Chris Stamey, Django Haskins, Mike Mills and Ira Kaplan knocked out over two hours of music. Some great stuff and I have it all for a possible post if there is enough interest.

Oh, and Ray Davies:

Mittens: Straight parents are better!

If I was placing an infant in an adoptive family, would I choose my warm, loving, self-deprecating gay brother and his kind, thoughtful partner — or the Romneys? Geeze, I wouldn’t even hesitate a minute! There’s no way in hell I’d place a poor, defenseless child with a shallow, rigid and money-hungry man who’s the epitome of white male privilege, and his pampered wife who’s subordinate to a judgmental, patriarchal belief system. I mean, duh.

What if Mittens had adopted Glee’s Rachel Berry instead of her two gay dads? Unthinkable.

Apparently Mittens still thinks being straight is inherently enough to make you a superior parent:

Mitt Romney made a speech via satellite at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Saturday morning in which he reiterated his view that children are better off growing up with hetereosexual parents.

“We need to strengthen the commitment that exists in this country to family. I hope to be able to talk to young people and tell them how important it is to get married before they have children because the opportunity for a mom and a dad to help guide the life of a child gives them such an enormous advantage in their lives going forward,” Mr. Romney said.

The Politicker reached out to the Romney campaign to see whether they felt a child could equally benefit from the guidance provided by a gay couple. Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Mr. Romney, said it is the candidate’s long held belief children are better off with straight parents.

“This is what he’s been saying forever,” Mr. Williams said. “He’s always said that the ideal setting to raise a child is with the mom and the dad.”Though Mr. Romney believes states should be allowed to give gay couples the right to adopt children, he has said in multiple interviews that he believes a heterosexual marriage is the“ideal setting” for children to grow up in. He opposes granting either marriages or civil unions to gay couples.

Swing vote

The white working class voters.

Jesus hates Jeff Sessions

Sen. Jeff Sessions is so reliably on the wrong side of the angels that you know when he pushes policy as a “moral issue,” it will be anything but.

What else would you call a $2 billion cut in food stamps during a depression? I can’t wait until he dies and he finds out Jesus hates him.


Woman on kidney transplant list denied kidney based on her “substance abuse” – medical marijuana use. Doesn’t anyone have any common sense anymore?

Vagina, vagina, VAGINA!

Picture from Eclectablog.

You remember this, right?

A male Republican House leader in Michigan silenced two female Democratic state legislators on Thursday after the pair tried to advance a measure that would have reduced access to vasectomies.

While discussing a bill that would erode the availability of abortion, Reps. Barb Byrum and Lisa Brown introduced an amendment to apply the same regulations to vasectomies that GOP lawmakers wanted to add to abortion services.

The debate grew heated, as Republicans sought to gravel down the women. Byrum was not permitted to speak in favor of the measure and Brown was repeatedly interrupted. “I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no,” she said. The next day both were silenced.

Well, quite a few people turned out last night on the front steps of the Michigan Capitol to listen to a reading of “The Vagina Monologues” – about 5000 or so.

The crowd was welcomed by state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, who said “Welcome to all of you and your lady parts!”

Austin Muir, 21, of Lapeer, came bearing a sign that said “Trust Women,” and to show support for the women in his life, including his mother, who is a midwife.

“It’s ridiculous what’s going on here,” he said.

Former state Rep. Maxine Berman, D-West Bloomfield, doesn’t participate in too many political events any more. “But last week just put me over the top.”

Lisa Brown is Berman’s representative, “And if she has no voice, than neither do I,” she said.

The event was a lesson in creative signage. Angela Ash, 25, of Grand Rapids, held aloft “Keep Your Mitts off my bitts,” While Sherry Alef, 58, of Algonac, carried a sign that proclaimed: “Angry white woman. Don’t shush me.”

Pasted on her backside was another warning: “this slut votes.”

Let it be

Paul and the boys:

I’ve just seen a face

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