July 16 – 23 Rambles

July 16:

I watched some of Rachel Jeantel’s court testimony yesterday.  Yes, she was sometimes hard to understand, but the speech problem was pretty obvious if you were really looking and paying attention.  Her answers were short, and sometimes she was impatient with Don West.  I thought the way he treated her, badgering and asking the same questions over and over, was poor.  His was an obvious effort to confuse her and destroy her credibility in front of a basically all white jury.  It was like watching the cultural divide between black and white in this country, the often total lack of empathy and understanding between the groups.  She sometimes didn’t understand him, and more often he didn’t understand her (or pretended to).  He may have achieved his goal, but I thought his was a pretty disgraceful performance.  Watching Trayvon’s parents cry at her treatment was another painful part I suppose juror B37 just missed.  At one point Mr. Martin just leans over and shakes his head, then his shoulders start to heave.  What torture!  How do we bridge the divide when we don’t even speak the same language or even try to?

I’ve also now seen the Piers Morgan interview.



What a contrast!  Here she’s wearing makeup, her hair done and with a pretty outfit on.  You see the black humor of a good girl who knew her friend very well.  But the language is “black talk” – something white America needs to learn, remembering that a lot of the words and phrases we use in  “white talk” are just as unintelligible to them.  How do we get people to spend some time with each other listening as well as talking, asking questions and learning to understand?

July 20

It amazes me that people are so quick to condemn something they’ve seen on the cover of a magazine or heard about through gossip and feel free to say the most awful things about stuff they know nothing about.  This week’s cover of Rolling Stone is one example.  People just saw that face and went off, or they heard about it and went off.  The other is the President’s remarks yesterday on the Trayvon Martin shooting.  I doubt that many of them actually listened, but off they went making the most outrageously awful, ugly and prejudiced statements on Facebook.  The Media say we’re polarized.  I think there may be more to it than that.  Both the stories are tragedies for Tzarnaev and his family, and for Trayvon’s family.  Are they both victims of the hate that gets thrown around on the internet under a cloak of anonymity?  The remarks about Obama’s speech that I saw had little to do with what he said, it was more about the writer’s hatred for him.  Todd Starnes Facebook page is an education in right wing nasty looniness.  I must be living in some other country where people try to reach across divides and understand each other no matter what their differences.  This is what Todd Starnes said that began the discussion:

 President Obama is now our Race-Baiter in Chief. His remarks today on the Trayvon Martin tragedy are beyond reprehensible. Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” he said. He actually said the outcome might have been different if Trayvon had been white.

Folks – we have reached a very dangerous point in this nation when the president of the united states begins to question the judicial system.”

That’s a deliberate misinterpretation of what the President said.  He questioned the validity of one particular law, not the entire judicial system.

A kind of “balance” can be had it you also check out Newshounds.  At least it’s somewhat better written and more understandable than Starnes’ site. (Why do I read this stuff, anyway?)  It’s hard to know what the folks on Starnes’ site actually believe.  What would they say if confronted in person about their words?  Quite possibly, like the crowds of Obama haters at their rallies.

From Clipboard

July 21:

Another Rolling Stone article that shows the appalling effects of confrontations between people when gun carrying is permitted, especially confrontations between races and folks of different ages.  Why does an older white guy pull a gun on a carful of black teenagers whose music, he thinks, is too loud?  Would the result have been the same had the carful of teens been white?

Politifact Florida has some interesting data on murders that have to do with this.  And here’s another link to some interesting information on the same site.

July 23:

Zimmerman is said to have helped the family in a car crash.  It’s reported in various places on the internet.  Is no one skeptical of this report besides me?  The responding officers have reported this, but we’ve heard nothing from the family involved.  Z was supposedly with another man & both helped.  Is this related in any way to the guy here in Ohio who’s raising money so Z can replace his gun?  Somehow, the story of this “rescue” doesn’t fit with the portrait of Z that came out in the trial.  I can see him standing by and watching as his friend really helps pull people out of the overturned van, but I can’t see him physically participating.  It doesn’t fit with the pudgy, flabby, out of shape guy we saw at the trial.  Is it media manipulation to restore a better image?  Again, we don’t have enough details to be sure – and that’s a problem all by itself.  No amateur video.  That’s a surprise.  No video from the police.  Could it be that his buddies in the police department are trying to clear his name by making some sort of “hero” out of him?

The story is reported on CBS news, Foxx News, and USA Today, but I have seen it nowhere else.  I’m still suspicious, even though it also turned up at the LATimes .  There are no pictures of him at the scene, though CBS says the “rescued” family identified him.  George has friends on the Seminole County police department who reported the incident.  They might have an interest in the rehabilitation of his reputation.  Why did the rescued couple cancel the interview they were supposed to give?  Knowing what we know about what happened in the missing Sunil Tripathi case, and the way the media works these days, I’m going to hang on to my doubts.

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