Heartbreaking letter from LaRanda Jackson, a 20-year-old Wal-Mart employee who posted it to Alice Walton (heiress to Sam Walton’s Wal-Mart empire) on Wal-Mart’s “Hunger Games” Tumblr page.
I’m writing to you because it hurts to see the pain in my younger brothers’ eyes when we can’t afford food to fill their stomachs. Sure, they see that I’m working hard, taking the bus an hour each way to get to work at Walmart. Even though they know that things are tight right now, that our mom is often too sick to work, they just can’t understand why last year on Thanksgiving they didn’t get turkey and gravy like other kids their age.
But hey, what can Alice do? How could she help? All she did was inherit tons (literally) of money. Well, Walton family, listen to activist economist Robert Reich (above).
Jay Smooth Breaks Down Ferguson, The Riots, & People Being Pushed To Their Absolute Boiling Point (Video)
Jay Smooth always comes correct with the insightful social commentary on a variety of topics & events. The recent riots & protests taking place around the country in relation to what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri is no different. I couldn’t relay my thoughts as perfectly as Jay Smooth did here in his latest opinion piece. I agree with him 100%
VICE News is literally going into the hot zone (Monrovia, Liberia) to bring us news on the fight against Ebola at ground zero; right as U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the American military would have boots on the ground shortly
The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa began in Guinea in December 2013. From there, it quickly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Cases also appeared in Senegal and Nigeria, and there was another outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today, Liberia is at the center of the epidemic, with more than 3,000 cases of infection. About half of them have been fatal.
As you’ll see in the mini-documentary, the threat is not a ‘threat’… it’s REAL. And for those in the West; we have not been hit hard, but we’ve been hit. Maybe this will wake us up to the reality that problems over there ain’t just “their” problems. Watch, learn… about the outbreak, response & solutions, frustrations and more.
Thank you, VICE News… again… for news coverage and information (not just a quick scare before moving on to the next shiny story).
In the minds of most Westerners, still, the Black Plague triggers thoughts of history lessons, or of movies about the Middle Ages. This is not a modern era illness we face. To oversimplify, the Black Death is supposed to be dead. Well, with recent mainstream reporting about a third world outbreak – and a public health scare as two victims returned to Atlanta (Georgia, USA) for treatment – the West likely experienced a mental software upgrade that re-ranked the disease much higher among the threats to health and chances of survival. However, as is oft the case for mainstream media, another shiny new story came up, and another (Ray Rice, U.S.-led airstrikes…whatever, take your pick); and Western reporters moved on to the next one…on to the next one. But not VICE. This is where VICE lives: Embedded in the hottest areas of stories too dangerous AND too low on the ‘this just in’ scale of current events for big-budget reporting outfits to care about; usually in faraway places and affecting people who are to far removed from ‘us’ to care about. THAT is why we f#ck with VICE: Because as a noble reporting institution that could do otherwise, it consistently chooses to find and stay on the stories that thinking and feeling people would indeed care about (or care about longer) if they were told and kept fully informed about them. Like this Black Death that the mainstream news (liberal and conservative leaning) thinks is ‘dead’ (e.g. a dead story). It is still VERY much alive. And not knowing and keeping up with it could still get lots and lots of us KILLED.
[I]n the fall of 2013, Beranimbo [Madagascar, Africa] had been an epicenter of a black plague outbreak that resulted in nearly 600 cases and more than 90 deaths across the country. Madagascar reports the most instances of the disease in the world. Depending on which century you’re talking about, it’s perhaps best known as the plague—a scourge generally associated with the Middle Ages, when rats, fleas, and poor hygiene resulted in the deaths of between 75 and 200 million people. The disease remains an enduring threat in third-world nations; public-health watchdogs report up to 2,000 cases a year.
VICE gives a detailed, two-part documentary report and writeup. Watch, starting with part 1 above. Follow the link to read more below; and hit the jump for part 2. Get this knowledge in you like medicine! Folks and the media think the ‘curing’ of two folks in the ATL is a triumph over what could be considered a ‘scary outbreak that happened over there.’ Nah, maaan. This thing could hit a city! Thousands to millions of people at risk. Maybe that’d make it ‘big’ enough to get outbreak coverage again but… as the VICE report adeptly put it: “[H]istory has taught us, by the time there are enough people with the plague to classify it as an “outbreak,” it’s already too late.”
Punchlines That Sting: Comedian John Oliver Delivers Biting Commentary on The Mike Brown Shooting & Subsequent Protests (Video)
Comedian John Oliver put on a clinic on how you deliver stinging social commentary as thinly veiled comedy. VERY thinly veiled. On the last episode of his Last Week Tonight show on HBO, he spent a huge chunk of the show talking all things Ferguson. The delivery vehicle – a satirical news-formatted TV broadcast – puts viewers (except for hardened Conservatives dead set against the Liberal-leaning Brit they know from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart) in a “hey-you-gotta-be-able-to-laugh-at-things” mode to start. He expertly pulls some chuckles in his segment about the recent events – Mike Brown’s fatal shooting by Ferguson (Missouri) cops, the brutality and militarization of American police departments, etc. But he kept raising the temperature on the presentation until his beef with the entire situation was well cooked. Smoke. Fire. BURN!
Sure, we laugh. But it ain’t funny. John knows…and he let the viewer know he knows this is some bullsh!t.
Cover Story: Park Security Officer Pepper Sprays, Handcuffs, And Removes A Man From A Protest… Who Was Not Protesting And Never Threw A Punch (Video)
Okay, even if you have NO idea what happened before the cam started capturing this action… you can tell the officers got this wrong. Like pepper-spraying-an-innocent-bystander wrong! Then rough-handle him wrong… then whisk him away, retreating into a “private” building wrong.
Demonstrators protest the violence in Gaza during a pro Palestine rally in Seattle. As protestors lined the sidewalks in Westlake Park, a pro Israel supporter walks by, harassing the demonstrators, yelling in peoples faces, screaming obscenities, and racial slurs. After crossing the street and harassing another group of demonstrators, the man tore off his shirt and began walking towards the group with fists clenched. As someone who wasn’t a part of the demonstration walked by, the pro Israel supporter turned and said something as he passed. The man then turned around as if he was going to swing, but thought better of it. The pro Israel supporter squared off with him, but a Westlake security guard who was watching the interaction pulled out his pepper spray, and sprayed the innocent passerby, grabbed him by the arm and tried to wrestle him to the ground. He was eventually led off into Westlake Center as SPD arrived on the scene.
A subset of the photos taken documenting the moments before the video are included after the jump (source). THEN go back and watch the video again. Let it sink in. Then Google this phrase: quis custodiet ipsos custodes? And watch it again.
I thought I’d make a crack about out of control security officers being frustrated for not being ‘real’ cops; not having real guns. Then I thought:
- I don’t hate on anyone doing her/his job (and some security officers actually do their jobs)
- I am SO glad that ALL the officer had was pepper spray (another gun on another authority figure could’ve meant another Black man dead in this case).
Shout to @Carmen_Breezy for dropping this lead in the inbox!
Daaaaamn! T-Pain wildin’ (hope that money’s pilin’)! I mean… What man doesn’t like going to strip clubs every now & then to have a drink with friends? But even a multi-multi-millionaire or even a billionaire has gotta say to himself, “There’s no way to make sense of spending millions of my dollars in strip clubs! I gotta chill.” And what about buddies? Ain’t no other ballers rolling with him to throw some piles on all them azz taxes? And what about wifey? Pain said she likes to go, too. Cool; no doubt, very cool. But ya gotta wonder if she ever nudged her man on some save-some-for-Mami’s-g-string *ish. Hmmm, wifey’s a cutie (see after the jump). Wonder where she’d fit on the Universal Hot-Crazy Matrix?
Check out the full interview from New York’s at Hot 97. Fun watch.
Last Thursday, Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died…on camera, in front of citizens of these United States. DAMN! Staten Island’s son passed away after being put in a lethal choke hold by police. The man had chronic asthma AND sleep apnea, but the cops could not have known that in their initial seconds of exercising force. BUT, soon enough (after he was on the ground) he told police officers he could not breathe many times. They literally choked the life out of the brother!!
If you are mumbling to yourself angrily, trying to square your feelings, and not throw a garbage can through a shop window. You, like us, know that the struggle is still very real. You may even flashback to that tragic scene with Radio Raheem and the cops in Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing.”
The above edited rendition is stirring. But hit the jump. That’s our fallen brother Eric ‘shopped into the image and shared by Spike Lee himself. Don’t tell us movies are ‘make believe.’ Too real. Disturbingly real.
ESPYs Special Moment: Sports Anchor Stuart Scott Accepts The 2014 Jimmy V Award And A Hug From His Baby Girl (Video)
I’m not special. I just listened to what the man said.
– Stuart Scott
The man, to whom ESPN anchor Stuart Scott refers in his statement above, was the late coach and ESPN commentator Jimmy Valvano. But if you witnessed Stuart’s acceptance of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs… through your tears… you witnessed what the man stood for – a demonstration of character, strength in the face of adversity, humility, honesty, and love. What you witnessed was heart; and it was beautiful.
Stuart is also battling cancer. And in his acceptance speech, he revealed how hard he is fighting – having undergone four surgeries in the days before due to complications with the disease. Such courage, wisdom and grace. Worthy of praise and so hard to put into words; but more than worthy of our attempt here.
Stuart is living V’s words: He will not give up…ever! Neither will his extended family (ESPN coworkers and execs, mom and dad siblings, girlfriend, daughters, other loved ones and friends); because, as he said, he cannot fight alone.
Watch the ultimate ESPN highlight; capped by the most beautiful moment of the night – when his youngest daughter, Sydni, walked on stage and gave Daddy the hug he needed.
What? 21 Jump Street like a mug… The authorities are out of control though…
This is the story of Jesse Snodgrass, a kid with Asperger’s syndrome who was arrested by an undercover cop posing as a student at Jesse’s high school. This is the story of how the war on drugs preys on the most vulnerable.
Employing forensics akin to what you’d see on CSI or NCIS, and taking what’s learned into the field (like on ’24’). the FBI is growing what will likely be America’s greatest asset in defending the U.S. against terror… information. Gathering artifacts and evidence from and related to bombs used against soldiers and civilians, compiling and crunching data on explosions that happened and that were prevented, identifying what makes bombs and bombers tick, predicting what or who spells trouble with regard to bomb attacks against the U.S. – all that and more has been going on for 10 years in TEDAC. Great article. Businessweek is the bomb y’all (alright, alright…stop groaning).
VICE News visited the slums of Port of Spain and spoke with police, activists, community leaders, and gangsters to understand the country’s decade-plus spike in killings [more than tripling over the past 15 years]. Many of the murders are attributed to ruthless and politically connected street gangs who control territories that are sometimes no larger than a city block. The gangs fight over lucrative government contracts meant to provide social services and combat unemployment.
But gang violence is just where the problems start. Trinidad has become an important stop for drugs headed to West Africa and the United States. The “big fish” keeping and growing the country into a mega narco-state — the political and business elite.
The psalmist wrote, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the mourning.” Often, mourners gain comfort from these words; because they remind them that the pain of losing a loved one will not last. But the memories, legacy and love… those should. But first the respect due, demands we take a somber moment, family.
For House heads, dancers, and fans worldwide, it is not ‘breaking’ news so much as heartbreaking news that the
The Huffington Post reported yesterday: “Frankie Knuckles… Godfather of House Music… dies at 59 in Chicago.”
Bronx, New York (USA), native DJ Frankie Knuckles died unexpectedly on Monday afternoon; his cause of death not officially disclosed as of Tuesday morning. Having started DJing in The Bronx in 1972, Knuckles moved to Chicago in the late 1970s and played regularly at major venues through the late 1980s. His sets laid the groundwork for electronic dance music culture — his best known tracks, crossing and puling in fans from many genres, included “Your Love,” “The Whistle Song,” “Tears” and remixes of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Pet Shop Boys, Chaka Khan, Depeche Mode and many others. Knuckles won a Grammy in 1997, had a stretch of Jefferson Street in Chicago (where the famed Warehouse venue once stood) named after him in 2004 and was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
For the legend, the set has now moved to another venue. Yet, we have much to celebrate and celebrate with here. Take your time, fam. Join the party when you’re ready… after the jump.