stephenjohns2

From The Washington Post:

Grief, Shock After a ‘Gentle Giant’ Loses His Life in the Line of Duty
By Christian Davenport and Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 11, 2009

Colleagues called Stephen T. Johns “Big John,” for he was well over 6 feet tall. But mostly friends recalled the security guard’s constant courtesy and friendliness.

“A soft-spoken, gentle giant,” said Milton Talley, a former employee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where Johns was killed yesterday in the line of duty — shot, authorities said, by an avowed white supremacist who entered the museum with a rifle.

Details of the shooting remained sketchy last night, but apparently the 39-year-old, who was armed with a .38-caliber revolver, did not have time to react when James W. von Brunn walked into the museum, according to police sources.

“Immediately upon entering the front doors of the museum, he raised the rifle and started shooting,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said of von Brunn, 88, adding that he “was engaged by security guards, and there was an exchange of gunfire.”

When the smoke cleared, von Brunn was critically wounded. The only casualty among the guards was Johns, who lived in Prince George’s County. At least one bullet from a small-caliber rifle hit Johns in his upper-left torso, according to Johns’s employer, the Wackenhut security company.

“Two other . . . armed security officers opened fire with their service revolvers,” the company said. “The intruder was hit at once” and wounded.

Johns died at George Washington University Hospital.

“There are no words to express our grief and shock over these events,” the museum said in a statement, describing Johns as “an outstanding colleague who greeted us every day with a smile.”

Johns, a 1988 graduate of Crosslands High School in Temple Hills, lived in an apartment in the Temple Hills area. Friends said he had a son.

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Afternoon Open Thread

11 Jun 2009

Good Afternoon.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And continue to have a peaceful day.

israeliinsult
Some Israeli newscasters are crying foul over this photo of President Barack Obama, snapped in the Oval Office on Monday as he spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The journalists on Tuesday called the image insulting, since in many parts of the region, it is considered an insult to show someone the sole of your shoe.

From AOL News:

Some Israelis Insulted By Obama Picture
Howard Arenstein , CBS News
posted: 1 HOUR 21 MINUTES AGO

Israeli TV newscasters Tuesday night interpreted a photo taken Monday in the Oval Office of President Obama talking on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an “insult” to Israel.

They saw the incident as somewhat akin to an incident last year, when the Iraqi reporter threw a shoe at President Bush in Baghdad.
It is considered an insult in the Arab world to show the sole of your shoe to someone. It is not a Jewish custom necessarily, but Israel feels enough a part of the Middle East after 60 years to be insulted too.

Was there a subliminal message intended from the White House to Netanyahu in Jerusalem, who is publicly resisting attempts by Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to force Israel to stop any kind of settlement activity in occupied territories once and forever?

Whether or not it is true, it shows the mood in Israel. They feel cornered. The reactions out of Israel reflect that feeling.

Um, whatever.

Thursday Open Thread

11 Jun 2009

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Good Morning.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

Steele must have that handkerchief tied on extra tight. Wow. In the words of Three 6 Mafia, it really must be hard out here for a pimp…and a white man, apparently. Via BlackPoliticsontheWeb

In an interview with CNN’s Campbell Brown on Tuesday, the Republican Party leader insisted that white males would not be granted even-handed jurisprudence under a Court with Obama’s nominee.

“God help you if you’re a white male,” said Steele. “If you’re seeking justice, this may not be the bench you want to go before.”

The remarks come at a time when Republican officials have attempted to remove any semblance of racial politics from their opposition to Sotomayor’s nomination. Earlier on Tuesday, Sen. Mel Martinez, a Hispanic Republican from Florida, defended Sotomayor’s now-infamous “wise Latina” remarks as sensible.

Evening Open Thread

10 Jun 2009

bo-obama-close-up-2
Bo Obama getting his grooming on.

Good Evening.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And continue to have a peaceful day.

picture-337

Music has played a major role in the struggle for African American dignity, equality and self respect. For Black Music Month it is fitting that we honor the African Americans who have provided the soundtrack to the various struggles African Americans have gone through and continue to go through. I was lucky enough to meet one of the people who has dedicated his life to representing that struggle through Hip Hop, Chuck D at Black Harvard Graduation while I was doing a story on Justin Cosby, the young man who was killed at Harvard last month.

So check out my own Top 5 Political Black Artists and Top 10 Black Political Albums after the jump. Please add some of your own as well.

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UPDATES: The incredibly courageous security guard and one brave brother at the USHMM, Stephen Tyrone Johns has died, after saving the lives of many others. I know you join me in praying for him and his loved ones.Also:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama was “concerned” and “saddened by what — what has happened”.

What happened at the Holocaust Museum is a shame. The USHMM was a client of mine and I can tell you that they are well-prepared for attacks. Security (sadly) has always been tight. You don’t just roll up uninvited to their offices, let’s put it that way. Now an old and angry white man has taken it upon himself to threaten the lives of those who threaten him not.

The not very well coded rhetoric of some right wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Pat Buchanan, Sean Hannity, etc, I believe, is partly to blame. It was only a matter of time before violence ensued because of speech that’s filled with hate and division. Terrorism comes in multiple forms and more than one race. It will be interesting to see if conservative hate speech moderates as a result of this incident or if they continue to stoke the flames of discontent among those confused by change. Let’s not forget the connection between homegrown whites-only terrorists, racism and anti-Semitism:

Von Brunn considered himself a student and acolyte of Rear Adm. John Crommelin, an anti-Semite who worked with Pierce, the neo-Nazi whose novel, “The Turner Diaries,” inspired Timothy McVeigh to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Here’s how the terrorist describes himself, showing the strong links between race hate and anti-semitism:

James W. von Brunn holds a BachSci Journalism degree from a mid-Western university where he was president of SAE and played varsity football.

During WWII he served as PT-Boat captain, Lt. USNR, receiving a Commendation and four battle stars. For twenty years he was an advertising executive and film-producer in New York City. He is a member of Mensa, the high-IQ society.

In 1981 Von Brunn attempted to place the treasonous Federal Reserve Board of Governors under legal, non-violent, citizens arrest. He was tried in a Washington, D.C. Superior Court; convicted by a Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys, and sentenced to prison for eleven years by a Jew judge. A Jew/Negro/White Court of Appeals denied his appeal. He served 6.5 years in federal prison. (Read about von Brunn’s “Federal Reserve Caper” HERE.) He is now an artist and author and lives on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Very nice. Naturally, the white supremacist community is delighted. One said on Stormfront: ” James von Brunn deserves our utmost respect. The man is visionary.”

I pray for all involved, especially any children who witnessed this. As a friend told me, “This is a real lesson. The need for the Holocaust Museum continues even today.” Share your thoughts with the rest of the JJP family.


Remember this from the Bush era (circa Feb 2004)?:

The Bush administration says it improperly altered a report documenting large racial and ethnic disparities in health care, but it will soon publish the full, unexpurgated document.

“There was a mistake made,” Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, told Congress last week. “It’s going to be rectified.”

Mr. Thompson said that “some individuals took it upon themselves” to make the report sound more positive than was justified by the data. [...]

President Bush’s budget would cut spending for the training of health professionals and would eliminate a $34 million program that recruits blacks and Hispanics for careers as doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

It was so bad that even Dr. Bill Frist, then-Senate Majority Leader and a man known to have done some freelance experimenting on cats while a medical student, raised his voice in opposition, saying: “African-Americans and Native Americans die younger than any other racial or ethnic group…These gaps are unacceptable.”

That was a messed-up era in which facts and science were best known as inconvenient for certain folks, no matter if it was our lives on the line. All that’s different under Barack Obama’s watch. The Obama administration just released a report that gives up all the dope and it ain’t pretty. Despite having one of the most expensive healthcare systems, black folks and minorities generally are getting the shaft. I’ve got some highlights below. 

What you do need to know is that the Obama administration is ready to have some open dialogue about this with us. Kathleen Sebelius and her team at HHS are having health care  reform discussions over at http://www.healthreform.gov/. Check out their Forums from around the country and also see the report from your state – it’s actually very cool. It’s a new day, I hope. Especially for all of us who have struggled to make sure our relatives and kids get the healthcare they deserve. Above, you can check out a recent vid from The Brother in Chief on healthcare reform and the White House forums project.

 

The United States spends more than any other nation in the world on health care – in 2007 we spent $2.2 trillion.1 Despite consistent increases in spending, disparities among demographic groups persist. Low-income Americans and racial and ethnic minorities experience disproportionately higher rates of disease, fewer treatment options, and reduced access to care. With unemployment on the rise, the disparities already apparent among these groups will continue to increase. It is vital that health reform reduces costs to make health care affordable; protects a patient’s choice of doctors, hospitals, and insurance plans; invests in prevention and wellness; and assures quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

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Afternoon Open Thread

10 Jun 2009

Good Afternoon.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And continue to have a peaceful day.

This was a comment from monie:

I wanted to ask this question,….

A local newpaper had an article that detailed what I felt was an issue that is probably pervasive all over the country.

In Hampton, Virginia, Blacks/AA make up about 47 percent of the population, YET the city of Hampton contracts/does only 1.6 percent of its business with minority-owned businesses. Local groups like the NAACP and so forth were basically silent regarding this issue….at least according to one local Black journalist.

The question: Is President Obama repsonsible or should be held “accountable” for this?

Now there was a JJP post that claims President Obama overlooks racial inequality…and I am not here to argue for or against the premise of that article….but when I see situations such as what has existed in Hampton, the questions becomes, who is accountable for such a disparity as that one….should Obama be held accountable for that and yet every local citizen, city council members, Black elected leaders be off the hook.

I want to see us more ENGAGED in our local government…..we must be EDUCATED about what goes on in our backyards, it may surprise you at the inequalities that exist and are right up under our noses EVERY DAY.

Hold President Obama accountable…yes for what he can DIRECTLY be held accountable for…there are many facetsof our lives that are determined by our state and local governments and yet that is where most of our apathy lies

But before we get on the megaphones saying he ain’t addressing Black/AA issues, let’s make sure we attend a city council meeting in our city/town…..contact the mayor’s office….attend School Board meetings, who often has a LOT of say about our local schools and how they operate…..demand that funds be routed to upkeep and improve our local communities…ask that funds be directed for our young people and make sure we make a damn good case justifying it…….

Discuss

Candidate Woods’ Website

anthonywoods

From the DailyBeast:

Insurgent congressional candidate Anthony Woods’ life story reads like Aaron Sorkin wrote it—he’s a gay, black Iraq veteran with a Harvard degree. He talks to The Daily Beast’s Benjamin Sarlin about running on his biography.

In every election cycle, there’s one candidate whose life story stands out among the crowd. In 2004, it was Barack Obama; in 2006, it was Vietnam vet Jim Webb. This year, an underdog candidate for U.S. Congress in California is the clear winner and it’s not even close. Anthony Woods’ biography—he’s a gay, black Iraq vet with a Harvard degree—reads like a West Wing script Aaron Sorkin threw into the wastebasket for being too over the top.

Woods, 28, is currently running in a crowded Democratic field to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher in California’s 10th district, which includes parts of Sacramento and San Francisco’s East Bay area. (Tauscher is leaving Congress to serve in Obama’s State Department; there’s no date yet for the special election.) Though he was briefly an aide to Gov. David Paterson in New York, Woods is the political unknown in the field, which includes California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan.

Of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy he’s fighting, Woods said, “We’re a country fighting two wars, having trouble recruiting, yet we want to turn away some of our most talented, most well-trained soldiers?”

All that is likely to change soon, as Woods’ resume seems perfectly tuned to attract national attention. One of his top issues is repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, an issue that seems to be gathering steam as liberals try to hold President Obama to his campaign pledge. Woods has already received an endorsement from Dan Choi, a fellow West Point graduate whose recent discharge for being gay made him a rallying point for activists, and popular blogger Andrew Sullivan recently took note of his campaign as well.

For Woods, the issue is deeply personal. He was forced to leave a promising Army career after he came out in 2008. He received an honorable discharge under the DADT rules.

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