For The George Zimmerman Defense…Race

Kind of hard to escape the last few days evisceration of the first prosecution witness in the Trayvon Martin murder case by the media.  And the role race has played in that.

Rachel Jeantel can’t read cursive. That’s the main takeaway from the fourth day of the George Zimmerman trial: Jeantel, the heavyset, snappy prosecution witness who was on the phone with her friend Trayvon Martin minutes before he died, cannot read script handwriting. Defense attorney Don West underlined that fact for the benefit of the jury, the general public, and everyone else looking for an excuse to dismiss her testimony.

Given the extent to which Jeantel’s demeanor was covered on television and in news articles, you’d be excused for thinking—as Jezebel’s Callie Beusman put it—that she was the one on trial. Over the past couple of days, Jeantel has recounted that Martin told her he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker” who, it seems, then proceeded to attack him. Pundits, meanwhile, have made snickering observations that have had little to do with the substance of her testimony. They’ve criticized Jeantel’s weight, her attitude, her manner of dress, and her mumbling, inarticulate answers to West’s questions. These observations are generally framed as discussions of her credibility and how she’ll be received by the jury. But they’re also an excuse to point and laugh at a poor, black teenager who comes from an America that we’d rather not acknowledge exists.

The media has consistently treated Jeantel as if she were some sassy alien life-form. TheNew York Daily News story about yesterday’s proceedings focused on Jeantel-as-sideshow, calling the cursive story an “especially cringe-worthy moment,” and noting that, “[a]t one point, the key prosecution witness blurted out, ‘That’s retarded, Sir’ in response to West’s suggestion that Martin attacked Zimmerman.” On Piers Morgan Tonight, Morgan repeated the phrase “creepy-ass cracker” as if it were some inscrutable bit of baby talk. The day before, panelist Jayne Weintraub disdainfully asserted that “it’s really not about this young woman’s … credibility, because her credibility, it’s a wash whatever her testimony is. Yes, she was a difficult witness. She was impossible.”…

Racial and socioeconomic stereotypes play differently in different contexts. The statements and mannerisms that make Jeantel a laughingstock now might have made her a viral video star outside the courtroom. As I was watching Jeantel’s testimony and the subsequent reaction, I couldn’t help thinking about Aisha Harris’ Slate piece from Mayabout the “fairly recent trend of ‘hilarious’ black neighbors, unwitting Internet celebrities whose appeal seems rooted in a ‘colorful’ style that is always immediately recognizable as poor or working-class.” Charles Ramsey, Antoine Dodson, Sweet Brown—these people caught white America’s attention in part because they so blatantly violated normative behavior. If Jeantel would’ve been filmed saying “That’s retarded, sir” to some reporter on the streets outside her house, the Internet might well be singing her praises. Black people are celebrated when they play the fool in the proper setting.

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Dead Sea Scrolls Available Online Today

A couple of thousand years later – the Dead Sea Scrolls are now online, with a little help from Google

Now, even armchair conspiracy theorists can make up their own interpretations ans translations!

Unlike this picture, the scrolls have been scanned at up to 1200 Megapixels so that the tiniest detail is visible

Scrolls available for viewing online are:

  • The Temple Scroll: lays out plans for the construction and operation of the Temple. Written on thin animal skin.
  • The War Scroll: one of the first scrolls to be found. The War Scroll outlines an end of days time where the the archangel Michael leads the “Sons of Light” against the “Sons of Darkness”.
  • The Community Rule Scroll: also known as the manual of discipline, the scroll outlines a comprehensive guide for the “community”, whose identity remains uncertain, although is believed to be the Jewish sect the Essenes.
  • The Great Isaiah Scroll: the best preserved of all the biblical scrolls, it contains a Hebrew version of the book of Isaiah.
  • The Commentary of Habakkuk Scroll: interprets the first two chapters of the book of Habakkuk.

No Habanero English!

The Queen of Stupid, and current defacto head of the Republican Party - the Sno' Ho'

With the right wing fuming about “English spoken” you would think conservatives would learn to use the language themselves. I mean – if we are going to mandate that everyone speak English in this country…

That means the ignorant conservative types too.

Have ou noticed how many times conservatives go into a furor over something said by a Democrat Politician – only to find out it is a tempest in a teapot (or is that Teabag?) . Once upon a time conservative pundits were masters of the language looking down their narrow noses at the unwashed masses in distaste…

Now, its getting damn hard to find a conservative who can conjugate a verb…

Although they seem to be experts on that conjugation part when it involves somebody you’re not supposed to be “conjugating” with!

Part of the communication problem between those of us on the left and the conservatives…

Is simply they take pride in their ignorance, and can’t understand the English Language – “Is our children learning”…Indeed.

Many English Speakers Cannot Understand Basic Grammar

Research into grammar by academics at Northumbria University suggests that a significant proportion of native English speakers are unable to understand some basic sentences.

The findings — which undermine the assumption that all speakers have a core ability to use grammatical cues — could have significant implications for education, communication and linguistic theory.

The research, conducted by Dr Ewa Dabrowska, showed that basic elements of core English grammar had not been mastered by some native speakers.

The project assumed that every adult native speaker of English would be able to understand the meaning of the sentence:

The soldier was hit by the sailor.”

Dr Dabrowska and research student James Street then tested a range of adults, some of whom were postgraduate students, and others who had left school at the age of 16. All participants were asked to identify the meaning of a number of simple active and passive sentences, as well as sentences which contained the universal qualifier “every.” Continue reading

This is Alabama. We Speak English…

An ad by an Alabama Republican running for Governor has sparked some controversy…

Alabama Candidate Vows to Conduct Driver’s Test Only in English

As if tension over immigration weren’t high enough, Alabama (Republican) gubernatorial candidate Tim James just dialed up the volume on the debate with a new ad declaring that, if elected, he will allow the state’s driver’s license test to be conducted only in English.

As if tension over immigration weren’t high enough, Alabama gubernatorial candidate Tim James just dialed up the volume on the debate with a new ad declaring that, if elected, he will allow the state’s driver’s license test to be conducted only in English.

The brief ad shows James, son of former Alabama Gov. Fob James, taking issue with the many languages offered to administer the test.

“Why do our politicians make us give driver’s license exams in 12 languages? This is Alabama. We speak English,” James says. “If you want to live here, learn it. We’re only giving that test in English if I’m governor. Maybe it’s the businessman in me, but we’ll save money and it makes sense.”

James pauses, looks down contemplatively, and then gazes up again to ask: “Does it to you?”

One question… Does that mean and Alabama Drawl English…

Or the variants of English as spoken above the Mason Dixon Line?

Y’all…

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