THANK GOD!: Pilot Refuses Body Scan and Questions TSA Surveillance Policies In General

I have been hoping, wishing and praying someone would finally stand up to this, because the Transportation Security Administration is out of control.

I was watching CNN just moments ago, when ExpressJet pilot Michael Roberts was interviewed by Kiran Chetry, about his refusal to go thru the new body scan machines at airport he was flying through, and then was subjected to the invasive body pat-down. I hope CNN posts the video because he said a lot of interesting things.

What I liked most about his interview was that he didn’t make this about his personal issue to be free from the increased surveillance as a pilot. Chetry tried to suggest in her questioning that “Isn’t the security there to protect the safety of the passengers?” He framed his response about the TSA surveillance system as an abuse of power by the state, and as an issue of protecting interests that have nothing to do with travelers, not as an issue of “security for passengers.” Roberts went so far as to compare TSA security to bank security guards: They’re there to protect the bank’s interest, not your safety.

He was kind of dismissed by Chetry and co-anchor (whom I despise) John Roberts in the post interview banter (Which is what I pay close attention to–this chatter between stories to fill time or build transitions is where the political views and comittments of so-called objective journalists often is the most exposed.).

I usually find it hard to find a place to support issues like this as they are often framed in the media from a libertarian “the state should leave people alone, but by people we mean white men” perspective. With all of the anti-Washington, anti-government spending, anti-government intrusion in personal liberties rhetoric of the Tea Party movement, that the issue of the increased militarism and police state practices now ubiquitous in American society has not been taken up by this movement, is interesting. I guess it speaks to the centrality of racialized notions of “crime prevention,” “security,” and “war on terror” for maintaining the military and prison industrial complexes in such a way that keeps most people invested in these things you’d assume would be the first thing they’d protest, even in there narrow and often obnoxious worldview. Anyhoo, here’s a link to a much more boring story about this from the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Beating a Dead Horse: Prop 8 & Race

So finally the new data on the exit polls on what voters helped pass Proposition 8 in California has come out. And it shows about a 58% pro-Prop 8 voted amonf Black voters in the state of California, which is only slightly higher than other racial groups, but far less than the 70% once stated. What’s interesting is that the original exit polling data was reported by CNN, and I have yet to see a story on CNN about the new data, or retracting their intial projections. Anyhoo, the stories written by the San Francisco Gate and The Advocate. But here are a couple comments by readers of The Advocate, a gay magazine. It really speaks to how non-Black members of the community are committed to believing that “Black people hate gays” more than other groups, despite data in this case to prove pretty similar vitriol to other groups.

Name: Pedro
Date posted: 2009-01-07 2:49 PM
Hometown: San Diego


People LIE about knowing a gay person. There is no way more than 30% of the population KNOWS a gay person in real life. I believe the CNN and AP polls were correct or close to correct in the actual numbers of black voters casting their ballots for discrimination. I think this survey is an attempt to rollover to blacks who do not want to take responsibility for the overwhelming anti-gay hatred in their community and instead want to blame gay people for Prop 8.

Name: Alan Pires Ferreira
Date posted: 2009-01-06 8:00 PM
Hometown: Belo Horizonte, MG


So 57% of the blacks voted against full citizenship to homosexuals. Will they be considered gay-friendly now? Will they win a GLAAD nomination?

CNN’S BLACK In America: On Black LGBT Folks

….yes. We weren’t there. At best, we got Phil Wilson of Black AIDS Institute, who was interviewed but was not talked about as a Black gay man, but who’s observations on HIV/AIDS were made about the whole community. Secondly, the family they profiled, the Rands, the first family had a son who was a dancer studying at Julliard who’s only appearance was in a photo wearing a purple unitard. I am not certain he’s gay, but I’m just sayin!

As usual, we were marginal, sidelines, and noticeably invisible–not to say anything of lesbians, and transgender folks, who were completely absent.

D-LIST: CNN Denies Me Entrance to ‘Black in America’ Screening

I, like Kathy Griffin, am so D-LIST!!!!

Last week I received an email from my homegirl, a very smart and talented journalist and editor, that CNN was having a screening and reception for their upcoming 2-part special investigation called Black in America tonight at the CNN Center in Manhattan hat they’ve been promoting the hell out of. The event, according to the email, was going to feature CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien and Time Warner Chairman, Richard D. Parsons (He’s Black!).

Well, I am Black in America! And I dabble in media work. So I figured it would be good to attend the event, and tell you all about it here. So I emailed immediately to RSVP as the email requested, as did my friend. Yesterday, she and I (as we do daily) send a flurry of gchat messages talking about what we were going to wear, who else we thought might be there, and a good networking opportunity for Educated Black People like ourselves! As of yesterday we hadn’t heard any thing when I asked her if she had gotten a response from them confirming her place. She hadn’t, and neither had I. So we assumed we were good to go. Well, NOT SO MUCH!

Under the cloak of the night, and presuming I’d be asleep (which I WAS NOT), I got an email from “CNN Screening” sent at 210AM which read coldly

Regretfully we must decline your rsvp as we are at capacity. Thank you for your interest”

First of all, it’s RSVP–ALL CAPS. And where is the “.” after the word interest? Is this the kind of punctuation we should expect from a multi-national million dollar news organization? And what’s up with them sending it in the middle of the damn night? What if I had bought a new outfit the day before? I am so not appreciating this treatment CNN. I can’t wait to see what the series looks like. If the correspondence about it’s premier is as tacky as this, I can’t imagine what this series is gonna look like, let alone the substance. I will be SURE to write all about it when I am watching on regular cable like the rest of America.

Maybe this treatment is thematic–being responded to late, half-assed and when they think you’re not looking is definitely what is like being Black in America.

Bitten By The Obama Bug: New Hampshire Be Damned!

I’ve been obsessed with the election. I admit it. I guess that makes me a bad radical. Good revolutionaries (at least in America, for some reason) aren’t supposed to be concerned with elections and the political process (I think leftists in Venezuela, Kenya, and Iran–to name a few–would beg to differ.). But I have been somewhat bitten by the bug. My cynicism is somewhat on hold, and I am trying real hard to show some restraint and not run out and get one of those “Barack The Vote” hoodies I saw for sale. Maybe that’s what’s different here–elections as commodity, politicians as celebrity. But I am joining my homie The Black Snob and am allowing myself to get caught up. Fuck it!

Well, CNN and the Associated Press have just declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the New Hampshire primary. So I guess white people in New Hampshire got in that voting booth and pulled a stunt! Barack is now addressing the audience in NH. He asked them to give Senator Clinton a round of applause–did she do that for him when she lost last week?. He’s dreamy!

It’s interesting because he’s still using the “there’s something happening in America” line. Instead of using it to refer to his historic candidacy, he’s using it to talk about the new dawn of American politics that are about compromise and not about screaming matches. He is calling his voters, and America by extension, “the new majority.”

They clearly love him. They’re chanting O-ba-ma with such fervor! I do have to say it is interesting to see a candidate that inspires so much hope in people.

To my fellow readers, friends, admirers, comrades: I haven’t lost my mind. I don’t agree with everything he says, but hell, I don’t agree with half of what you all say or think half of the time! I am worried about what his role as “Commander in Chief” is going to mean in terms of militarism and policing and prisons and what not. But I do feel inspired by a vision of something less arrogant, less violent,. Can I have that, please? LOL! I feel like I am betraying the $11,000 debt I just racked up for J-school (so I guess I’ve officially given up a conventional career in journalism. The one progressive news outlet I was trying to write for, blew me off, so the hell with it) by publicly supporting a candidate, and betraying my leftist community by being involved in electoral politics, which is a movement faux pas, from what I understand.

He ends his speech with Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.” The pundits on CNN seem to think it was a funny thing, given the fact that he didn’t take the #1 slot (he’s now only 2% points behind with 79% of the vote–not exactly a blowout) Clinton’s speech is good, but she’s not fire like Obama, who seems to be on nothing short of a mission.

Speaking of speeches? Wanna know something about the editor behind Obama’s speeches? Read this Newsweek story.

Psychos: Republican Youtube Debates

In between Top Model and Project Runway, I needed something to do. So I turned on the CNN Youtube Debates. This time with the Republicans–who delayed this debate for several months.

These people are crazy.

Now, as much as I hate liberalism, these people are blood thirsty, trigger happy lunatics! And I am talking about the audience as much as I am the candidates!

I wish I was taking more studious notes (I wasn’t planning to blog on this), but the audience has applauded for some of the most violent rhetoric around gun control, crime, the death penalty and the war on terror. The audience booed when Ron Paul said about Iraq “It’s time to give these people their country back!” They cheered when Mitt Romney said essentially (but not an exaggeration) that Black people were pathological becuase they are fucking like animals out of wedlock.

If one of these jokers wins this election, pack your bags. I mean, I know if any of the Democrats win, things aren’t gonna be paradise. But at least they can be reasoned with, and will listen to people. These people–who call themselves Republicans these days–want blood.