• Just a friendly reminder from yours truly that black history isn't something you can just shove into the shortest month of the year and promptly forget about it when that month ends. Every Month is Black History Month.
  • Pictured above is the treacherous Marxist Usurper in Chief, Baraq Hussein Superallah Obama al-Kenya, currently engaged in a vile act of vanity in preparations for Oscar night. Off-screen, the First "Lady" of the American Republic prepares a calorie-laden macaroni casserole while torturing a patriotic Real American with a single arugula leaf. 

    More and more haters are climbing out of the woodpile for our esteemed president. Just ask Rudy Giuliani, would-be/could-be/shouldn't-be contender for the 2016 presidential elections, who recently expressed doubts over POTUS's love of country and all it stands for, for better or worse. Meanwhile...

    - The Great State of Alabama officially apologizes for mistaking an elderly Indian man for a really skinny black guy. You know how these things are and, well...they all look alike sometimes. Fortunately for Sureshbhai Patel and family, the Indian government has brought to bear tremendous pressure upon the state on their behalf, resulting in the offending officer's swift dismissal and arrest. Meanwhile, the black community looks on in envy.

    - Police shootings are kinda getting out of hand. You shouldn't be shot 16 times in your own bed for grabbing your wallet. At least the victim got a $3 million settlement out of it.

    - As it turns out, the conservative PACs that benefited most from Citizens United have been lining their own pockets by fleecing their donors:

    Let’s say Ronald Reagan is still alive and someone starts the Re-Elect Ronald Reagan To A Third Term PAC. Because people love Reagan, let’s suppose that conservative donors pony up $500,000 to help the organization. However, the donors don’t know that Ronald Reagan has nothing to do with the PAC. Furthermore, the real goal of the PAC is to line the pockets of its owner, not to help Ronald Reagan. So, the PAC sets up two vendors, both controlled by the PAC owner: Scam Vendor #1 and Scam Vendor #2. Let’s assume it costs $50,000 to raise the half million the PAC takes in. Then, the PAC sends $100,000 to the first company and $100,000 to the second company to “promote Ronald Reagan for President.” Each of the companies then goes out and spends $1,000 on fliers. The “independent expenditures” that show up on the FEC report? They’re at 40%. That’s because the FEC doesn’t require vendors to disclose how much of the money they receive is eaten up as overhead. The dubious net benefit that Ronald Reagan receives from an organization that raised $500,000 on his name? It’s $2,000. On the other hand, the net profit for the PAC owner is $448,000. Is that legal? The short answer is, “It’s a bit of a grey area, but, yes, it is legal.”

    I'm not surprised. This is what happens when you open the floodgates to every grifter and con artist on the block.

    - Dinesh D'Souza continues to fight for America's freedoms using the power of Twitter. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

    And remember folks, a little rioting is healthy for the soul. Unless you happen to be black, then it's a mug's game for thugs or, as buyers of commemorative "I Am Darren Wilson" sweatshirts would say, "a good day for a good shoot."

  • I'll admit - I've been out of the loop these past few months. A lot of things have happened and there's a lot of ground to cover, but playing catchup, let alone keep up with a fast-paced news cycle that has a life expectancy shorter than Michael Sam's NFL career, takes time and effort. But I'll do my best, which leads me to ISIS.

    Or IS. Or Islamic State, as it seems to be called at the moment. According to the mainstream media, it's a terrorist group that's shaped up to be the worst thing that's happened to the world since...well...this happened.* According to Gary Brecher, Pando Daily's (and formerly NSFWCorp's) very own War Nerd, it's just a collection of sullen Sunni Arab combatants who weren't happy about winding up on the losing end of the latest rounds of sectarian warfare. Sorta like the various Confederate revanchists who weren't happy about the dream of the southern planter class going up in smoke.

    See that analogy? IS reminds us of a lot of things. The most recent antics of IS reminded Chauncey DeVega of a little thing that most good Americans have worked hard to studiously ignore, which is the lengthy reign of terror suffered by black Americans all throughout the post-Reconstruction and pre-Civil Rights era. Domestic terrorism, even under the guise of white anti-federalism as expressed by the likes of Timothy McVeigh, isn't really called that. That's a title generally reserved for leftist groups and people of Middle Eastern persuasion or non-Christian religious mores.

    The people who were responsible for the 4,743 officially counted lynchings that occurred between 1882 and 1968 - good, upstanding Christian Americans one and all - wouldn't have considered themselves "terrorists," nor are they referred to that anywhere other than the occasional comment on a black-oriented blog. Make no mistake - those acts were every bit as much terrorism as the act of hurling two fully-loaded jets into the tallest skyscrapers New York City had to offer. Both acts were designed to instill sheer terror in those watching or even hearing about them.* The main difference is that 9/11 was designed to strike terror into the heart of all Americans. With few exceptions, the average lynching struck terror in the heart of minority groups who weren't fortunate enough to have their rights as citizens and human beings respected.

    It's that comparison that apparently drew the ire of the War Nerd:

    For people like Chauncey’s fans or Moyers’s admirers, nothing that happens outside the US matters at all. Only our sins are important. So a man burned alive in the Syrian desert becomes nothing but an excuse for a sermon on American History X, because only America matters, only America’s sins are real.

    Brecher's beef lies with how, along with Bill Moyer, DeVega seemingly discounts Muadh al Kasasbeh’s death in favor of expounding on America's own flaws and ills. It's something that many of the more conservative types accuse liberal minded folks of doing - gleefully pointing out how America's just as bad as the bad guys it fights. It's no wonder this apparent failure to acknowledge this act and its ramifications in the broader geopolitical world in favor of domestic navel-gazing somehow struck a nerve:

    Try imagining Chauncey or Bill minimizing an IDF phosphorus bombing in Gaza the way they trivialize this IS pyro video. Phosphorus burns people alive just as horrifically as kerosene, but would Moyers or de Vega trivialize Palestinian kids burnt alive with phosphorus by saying, “Remember the KKK! We’re just as bad!” Never. Because everyone would scream, quite rightly, that they were trivializing the IDF’s atrocity.

    But both these fools spend thousands of words trivializing IS snuff movies, because…ah, it’s too stupid to paraphrase, but it goes something like this: “The US is the root of all evil, so IS is only acting out because it’s a victim. We did something bad to it somehow.”

    If Brecher thinks DeVega is minimizing terrorist actions overseas by throwing up comparisons to lynching, then he should probably step back and consider this from the perspective of the average black person, a person unencumbered by the sectarian shit-kicking antics of a dying terrorist group in a land beset by sectarian strife and international intervention, but sorely affected by an entire institution seemingly sanctioned to commit a much quicker and more solitary form of lynching.

    To the average black person on the street, the doings of IS pale in comparison to what they've directly and collectively experienced at the hands of America's own oft-acknowledged terrorist groups, with plenty of ongoing help from state institutions that continue to instill terror in black Americans to this day.

    To say that DeVega gives few damns about what the IDF does to Palestinian children because what the NYPD does to young black Americans by far and large somehow overshadows the former is...well...a damn sight moronic in its own right, as DeVega himself points out. As for the distress over how lefty liberals are loath to go all-in on IS-bashing, Moyer's biggest fear is how it might lead to a renewed occupation effort by U.S. forces - the very thing that many on the left had fought tooth-and-nail against during the salad days of Iraq.

    I respect the War Nerd's work, as it offers a no-bullshit perspective of current events (which is why I enjoyed NSFWCorp in the first place) and the occasional no-holds-barred takedown of some of the more egregious assholes who've somehow managed to actually get paid for their fluff work (I see you, Jen Percy). But he's off-base on this one. Even the commentariat over at Pando's calling foul.

    * That's right Mack, just crack open the hornet's nest with your bare fist.

  • If you're anything like yours truly and walked in on the ending segment of this year's State of the Union address, here's your chance to see it again in its entirety.

    The White House recently broke tradition by releasing the full text of the speech to the public shortly before the address. Of course, there's also an official transcript of the full address available on the White House website.


  • In light of all that's happened in the past year, all the lives unnecessarily lost and the unhinged hatred put on display thus far, one has to wonder what would the iconic civil rights leader would have to say about it all?

    We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

    And it's something that a lot of people, including the very officers tasked with protecting and serving the citizenry, are having exceptional trouble grasping.

    But America's obligation to the Negro has been, for lack of better words, wanting:

    Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

    But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

    That "shameful condition" that existed at the time Dr. King uttered the above still exists, and not on part of the Negro, as many would gleefully claim.

    Just a little food for thought on this MLK day.

    Previous posts:

  • A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours, from yours truly.

    And yes, I know I've been remiss about blog posts here, especially with everything that's been going on these past few weeks. Expect some stuff to come out soon.

  • In any case where a young person of color has been beaten, shot and/or killed at the hands of law enforcement, there are inevitably two competing narratives: one where the victim is described by parents, family and friends in the most positive and loving light as possible and one where the victim is reduced to that of either a mere criminal or a potential criminal.

    Prior to Michael Brown's fatal encounter with Ferguson P.D. Officer Darren Wilson, Brown was featured on surveillance camera at a nearby convenience store, where it appeared that he was involved in a strong-arm robbery. The events, as they unfolded on-screen, fed into the "Michael Brown is a Criminal" narrative trotted by CNN and many other mainstream news outlets. It also gave many with an already-low opinion of Brown and black Americans like him all the justification necessary to consider his life forfeit at the hands of Wilson. In other words, to say that Michael Brown deserved to die, but without actually uttering those words.

    Narratives are a powerful thing. They can easily influence how Americans think or feel about an issue and sway opinion from one end to another. The pictures and footage of 1960s-era civil rights advocates suffering assault after ruthless assault at the hands of a cultural and state apparatus intent on status-quo preservation created a powerful narrative that swayed many on the side of justice. But even that narrative had to compete with the equally powerful narrative firmly codified by D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation and ruthlessly reinforced by the behaviors and actions of both cultural and state actors.

    Painting Michael Brown as a deadly giant of a criminal wipes any sympathy that anyone has for what happened to him that fateful day. It encourages a mindset that figures, "he was a natural-born criminal and he had it coming. He deserved to die."

    He didn't deserve to die, but that's all academic at this point.

    As it turned out, he did pay for what he was suspected by many of stealing. But I suppose that's also academic at this point, too.

    Michael Brown's designated status as a deadly giant and a vicious beast is nothing new. Trayvon Martin was described by many in the media and elsewhere as a powerful Uber-Negro with innate MMA training and the capacity to destroy innocent lives by sheer force of his own blackness, nevermind his actual physical appearance. The powerful narrative of the black man as a superhuman beast is a common one, carefully cultivated over the centuries as proof of his suitability and destiny in the fields of the planter class.

    Sheena C. Howard's Huffington Post piece goes into detail about this powerful and long-lasting narrative and how it's shaped this country's perception of black men and women. By highlighting this prolific and persistent pathology, it's easy to understand why the American public is both in awe and in fear of the black specimen:

    During the Reconstruction Period (1866 -- 1877), many Whites argued that free Blacks were a danger to society because they were animalistic beasts and savages that needed to be tamed by White slave owners. In 1901, the writer, George T. Winston stated, "The black brute is lurking in the dark, a monstrous beast, crazed with lust. His ferocity is almost demoniacal. A mad bull or tiger could scarcely be more brutal. A whole community is frenzied with horror, with the blind and furious rage for vengeance". These sentiments are eerily consistent with the ways in which Officer Darren Wilson describes Mike Brown as a "demon" in his testimony.

    Since the 1930's scientists have been trying to generate evidence of superhuman physical features that characterize Black people to explain their exemplary success in sports. The century old-debate of the "slave gene" seems to resurface every four years, particularly when athletes of African descent outperform competitors at the Olympics, -- most notably in track and field.

    The supposedly untamable, animalistic nature of the black man justifies mainstream America's fear of him while, at the same time, justifying his return to his proper lot in life (under the watchful eye of the slave holder). It also justifies dealing with the so-called superhuman in the most final manner possible. So instead of merely talking a man out of wielding his weapon or spending minutes ordering him to surrender peacefully, law enforcement officers are expected to respond to the dire life-or-death presence of the superhuman Negro by ending said Negro's existence, full stop.

    America's pathological obsession and fear of black men, a current that runs deeply underneath the national bedrock, was useful as a way to destroy any sympathy for the black creature as he was used and abused on the farms and plantations. It remained useful for severing any sense of solidarity between poor freed blacks and their equally impoverished white counterparts, while keeping the rest of America in fear of their mere presence. And today, it's used as an effective narrative to continue justifying the actions and tactics of law enforcement agencies throughout the nation, as well as the corrupt actions of the prosecutors and the judiciary.

    Sadly, enforcing that narrative always comes at a cost. For Michael Brown's family, it cost them their son. For black families across the U.S., it cost them their peace of mind and sense of justice. For America, the cost is its morals and, as some would say, its soul.

  • Michael Brown's death and the subsequent protests in the city of Ferguson, Missouri have laid bare a few simple, troubling facts about living in this country as a black American:

    1. You are always considered a danger or a threat until proven otherwise.
    2. As a possible threat, you are subject to the wishes and whims of law enforcement, the courts and the penal system.
    3. Even ordinary citizens can deal with you as they see fit if they consider you a threat, as codified in both de facto and de jure forms.
    The above has had an effect on how the black community sees and deals with law enforcement, as highlighted in Ta-Nehisi Coates' latest piece. When you know the police are more likely to see you as a threat rather than as a person in need, you're less likely to want to interact with them in any way, shape or form. Out of necessity, community-driven self-policing becomes the norm.

    But the reason for LEO insistence on treating black Americans as a clear and present danger has little to do with criminal stats or personal experiences - those are often used as pretextual justifications for their behavior. Instead, it's a bit deeper than that:

    The police departments of America are endowed by the state with dominion over your body. I came home at the end of this summer to find that dominion had been. This summer in Ferguson and Staten Island we have seen that dominion employed to the maximum ends—destruction of the body. This is neither new nor extraordinary. It does not matter if the destruction of your body was an overreaction. It does not matter if the destruction of your body resulted from a misunderstanding. It does not matter if the destruction of your body springs from foolish policy. Sell cigarettes without proper authority and your body can be destroyed. Resent the people trying to entrap your body and it can be be destroyed. Protect the home of your mother and your body can be destroyed. Visit the home of your young daughter and your body will be destroyed. The destroyers of your body will rarely be held accountable. Mostly they will receive pensions.

    Ownership of and authority over the black body is something that stretches as far back as the beginning of the slave trade, when the purchase and use of involuntary African labor came into vogue. It was most apparent during the heyday of the plantation system, with the southern planter class and their allies in control of black labor and black movement. The black body was theirs to do as they saw fit.

    This attitude did not vanish once the plantation system - at least in its slavery-supported form - vanished. The loss of control over the black body also meant a grievous economic loss. When black Americans began taking advantage of the Reconstruction period, there was a realization that this loss of control could be permanent. The fight against Reconstruction, the imposition of Jim Crow laws throughout the south and the use of those laws to create a new prison-supported plantation system marked the re-imposition of control over the black body.

    Today, mainstream America struggles to maintain authority over the black body, to do as they see fit with it. Even if it means warehousing your body in a secure facility for decades on end. Or bruising your body to the point of disfigurement and paralysis. Or simply destroying your body outright.

    It doesn't take a united organization to exercise that sort of control over the black body. Such tasks are often outsourced to ordinary individuals - people who have their own agendas, but nevertheless inherently understand the need for policing the black body. Jason Zimmerman did his part to re-impose societal control over the black body - he understood clearly what society subconsciously asked of him once he saw those black teenagers behaving in a way that suggested a lack of control.

    LEO behavior in Ferguson, L.A., N.Y.C. and points elsewhere are part and parcel with the continuing need to control the black body, whether for the benefit of the scared white suburbanite, the unrepentant Lost Causer, the workaday man or woman who doesn't want to lose their job or home to "those people," the businessmen who see black bodies as a goldmine of dependable cheap labor or the politician who uses black bodies as a "tough on crime" liferaft to keep his or her career afloat.

    Control of the black body has always been good for business and good for society. Yours truly doesn't expect that to stop anytime soon.

  • It's been established throughout history that there's nothing scarier to many Americans than the sight of a black man with a gun, let alone a large group of black men armed to the teeth.

    In light of Michael Brown's death at the hands of an overzealous police department in a racially charged tinderbox of a town, it looks like I'll have to amend that, as follows:

    It's been established throughout history that there's nothing scarier to many Americans than the sight of a black man.

    Of course, it's not so much "fear" than it is an ingrown, almost reflexive need for "control." Today's highly-militarized law enforcement are the runaway slave patrols of the new millennium - if they're not busy funneling a growing number of able-bodied black men and women into the prison-industrial complex and the permanent underclassery that it entails, they're busy with displays like these.Walking around in full military-surplus gear. Firing tear gas into private homes. Aiming AR-15s at innocent passersby.

    Make no mistake: this is state-sanctioned terrorism. It's something black America has long since been intimately acquainted with, from the moment the first batch of African slaves were dragged off the boat.

    Throughout slavery.

    After Reconstruction.

    During the Jim Crow era.

    During the Civil Rights era.

    During the so-called era of "colorblindness" and "post-racial America."

    Up to today.

    And yes, there are people out there who not only support this state-sanctioned terrorism of black souls (because they're assumed to be criminals who probably definitely deserve it), but they revel in it.

    It's a small taste of the shit sandwich black America has had to deal with for generations on end. And there's no end to it in sight.

    This and other acts of state-sanctioned terrorism is a cancer. This is the cancer that is slowly but surely killing this nation. It metastasized early on, up to the sloppy and life-threatening surgery that was the American Civil War. It went into remission with Reconstruction, but flared up in its full glory with Jim Crow. Chemotherapy came in the form of the Civil Rights movement and after that, everyone thought it would finally stay in remission and eventually disappear.

    But like any virulent cancer, it never leaves. It just bides its time until the conditions are right to spread. And spread, it has. And it keeps spreading.

    The cancer won't go away until America is finally ready to acknowledge that black life has the same worth as a white life, and that a black life deserves just as much protection. Until then, this country will remain in hospice, slowly awaiting the day when the cancer swallows it whole.

    Tell us something we don't know.

  • NOTE: The following was originally posted on July 7, 2012. For further food for thought, here's Dave Zirin's repost of Frederick Douglass's famous speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"

    On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, a document that declared the 13 colonies under the control of and at war with Great Britain to be independent entities. Within the document's Preamble is the following phrase:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Please note that at the time, these unalienable Rights were reserved only for the white male inhabitants of this burgeoning nation. Woman and African slaves were not afforded many, if any of the rights outlined here.

    In 1789, the Articles of Confederation were replaced with what would be known as the United States Constitution. This document set the tone for law and order throughout the entire young nation. Once again, the rights defined in this document were reserved only for the white male inhabitants of this nation. Women and African slaves were not afforded many, if any of the rights outlined here.

    The founding fathers' failure to put paid to the question of whether a country should actually declare itself a genuine symbol of freedom when it was willing to quietly tolerate and ignore the subjugation and enslavement of millions of people in its own borders eventually led to the American Civil War, in which the southern states sought to secede to protect their interest in the "peculiar institution," among other reasons. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order calling for the freedom of nearly 3.1 million slaves within the Confederate states. Approximately 50,000 were immediately set free, with more to come as Union troops made short work of Confederate forces.

    Lincoln's gesture is sometimes seen as magnanimous, but it was more a tactical maneuver designed to deprive Confederate forces of their readily available pool of manual labor and a potential source of "volunteers" to draft into service. As Lincoln said himself in his August 1862 letter to Horace Greeley:

    If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. . . . I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.

    Lincoln's first and foremost goal was to save the Union. Whether he realized that this action, along with the eventual defeat of the Confederacy in 1865 would sew the seeds of resentment, revenge and low-level retribution in the Deep South would remain uncertain, as he didn't live long enough to see any of that.

    Hopscotching over the Black Codes, Jim Crow, Separate but Equal, the Civil Rights Movement and the pubic hair on Clarence Thomas' Coke can, we come to Chris Rock, whose Fourth of July tweet upset the delicate sensibilities of many Independence Day celebrators:

    Yep, this is what got him yelled at throughout the Internet and Twitter. Maybe he should have let Louis C.K. or some other white American comic "unironically" fire this one off.

    Look at it this way -- during the first 89 years or so of this country's official existence, black Americans had little, if nothing to celebrate about. Most were enslaved and the scant few fortunate enough to buy their freedom could not enjoy it as their white counterparts could. For at least a hundred years afterwards, black Americans were officially second-class citizens, denied the full and unalienable rights given to their white counterparts (which now included white women). Today, efforts continue to remind black Americans that even though a guy who mostly looks like them is now the President, their black asses are still not deemed worthy of the unalienable rights they fought and died to get and to enjoy.*

    For the past 188 years or so, that part in the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence was, as far as blacks were concerned, a lie. And yet people still expect black Americans to suck it up, put on their patriotic faces and wave those flags around like good Americans. People expect the same of the native Americans, nevermind how the U.S., for all intents and purposes, ethnically cleansed tribe after tribe, leaving mere remnants to drink themselves into depression and death on the reservations. If someone did that to your people, it'd probably drive you to drink, too.

    Black Americans have more to celebrate about Juneteenth than Independence Day. Too bad everyone tends to forget about Juneteenth. As Ta-Nehisi Coates once mentioned, everything surrounding the American Civil War is treated as a series of tragic events, at least outside of Confederate war re-enactments and antebellum society balls. Actually celebrating Juneteenth the same way we do the Fourth of July is more or less a breach of established decorum -- everything has to be Ken Burns-grade somber, like visiting the grave of an old friend. You wouldn't dance on your old friends grave...unless you hated him, right?

    Perceived hatred. That's another thing that annoys me about the bitching that comes when black Americans speak up and speak out. Chris Rock's tweet was immediately construed as some sort of hatred for the Fourth of July and consequently, a hatred of white people and America. How the hell does that happen?

    Apparently, unless black Americans remain in the role of white America's best (black) friend, offering only flattery, positive advice and a shoulder to lean on when they're not busy making white America look good, blacks are immediately assumed to harbor some sort of deep-seated hatred for white folk. It's almost as though it speaks to an innate fear that practically every white American has had since one of their forefathers came up with the idea of bringing black slaves onto the country: a sudden and swift revenge riot that ends with countless white heads on sticks and countless white women claimed as trophies. White America's been waiting for a "payback/revenge" plot** that most likely will never materialize. We've proven we're much better than that.

    A lot of people don't want to hear the truth, especially when it comes to this country's screwed-up ethnic relations. Chris Rock tweeted an uncomfortable truth and many of us proved we couldn't handle it. We have to do something about that and it doesn't include shouting a great comedian into silence.☨ Maybe we should give that whole "unalienable rights" thing another go, this time, for all Americans, no matter their ethnicity.

    These days, even the white men and women whom were guaranteed these unalienable rights are losing them, bit by bit.
    ** If some of these folks started listening to James Brown's "The Payback," they'd probably get the wrong idea and piss themselves in a fit of conspiracy theorizing.
    ☨ Because if there's something that's practically impossible, it's shouting down a great comedian.

  • “If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.”

    Maya Angelou, the American poet and author, died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday. She was 86.

    The news was confirmed to the Guardian by an assistant to Winston-Salem mayor Allen Joines. It was also confirmed in statement issued by Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, where she had served as a professor of American Studies since 1982.

    Angelou’s failing health was reported as recently as Tuesday, when she canceled an appearance honoring her with a Beacon of Life Award because of “health reasons”. The ceremony was part of the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon, in Houston, Texas, part of Major League Baseball’s Civil Rights Games.
  • So Benghazi is a thing again. If you're wondering why John Boehner and Co. are bothering with yet another attempt to mold that tragic series of events into an impeachable moment for the president, it may have a lot to do with events like these:

    Just a few miles from his family home, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) felt the wrath of the tea party Saturday, when activists in his congressional district booed and heckled the second-most powerful House Republican.

    They also elected one of their own to lead Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Republican Committee, turning their back on Cantor’s choice for a post viewed as crucial by both tea party and establishment wings in determining control of the fractured state GOP.

    Cantor appeared with his family at the event, where Republicans had packed the house. He was there in part to address his own reelection prospects. He faces David Brat, a tea-party backed opponent, in a June 10 primary that will be open to all voters in the district.

    Any sign that Cantor’s support has slipped among the region’s most active Republicans could spell a tougher challenge during next month’s election. And some of the crowd’s reaction Saturday when Cantor took a shot at Brat made clear that the Republican majority leader has not yet fully shored up support.

    “When I sit here and I listen to Mr. Brat speak I hear the inaccuracies — my family’s here.” Cantor said. As he was interrupted by the raucous crowd, Cantor’s anger was evident: “That’s enough — we are a country of free speech, so decency’s also part of this.”

    When you grab the tail of the tiger, you can expect to get mauled at some point. It's little wonder that the GOP's energies have gone into calming the tiger with a bucketful of red meat (with the red meat in this case being yet another investigation into Benghazi. You do what you gotta do to keep the Tea Party tiger from getting another go at your throat.