Tag Archives: Michigan

“Walk With Me” – How Judge Damon J. Keith Reshaped America

Judge Damon J. Keith isn’t that well known, and isn’t lauded by most historians. However his impact on Civil Rights, and the Civil Rights of all Americans is incredible. Back in 1992, when the Bush Administration dragged Uncle Tommy Clarence out from under his porch such as to fill the “Black seat” on the Supreme Court left by Thurgood Marshall – Judge Keith was one a dozen or so black Jurists whose qualification far exceeded that of Uncle Tommie.

There is a lesson in courage and determination here I hope the young folks in BLM appreciate and emulate. The way things are shaping up in this country with the Chumph and his violent racist crew…We are going to need it.


‘I don’t scare easily’: A 94-year-old judge’s refusal to bow to racism, death threats

Long before federal judge Damon Keith became known as a “crusader for justice,” he was a new Howard University Law School graduate working as a janitor while he studied for the bar exam.

It was 1949, and Keith cleaned the bathrooms at The Detroit News, his hometown newspaper. One day, Keith recalled, he was leaning against a wall in the men’s room with a law dictionary in his hands when he was interrupted.

“What are you reading?” a white reporter asked him.

Keith, the grandson of slaves and a World War II veteran, told the reporter he was studying the law dictionary to prepare for the bar exam.

“What for?” the man asked.

“I’m going to be a lawyer,” Keith responded.

The reporter laughed.

“A black lawyer?” he asked incredulously. “You better keep on mopping.”

Keith, now 94 and still serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Detroit, recounted that story two weeks ago in a Howard University moot courtroom, where students, lawyers, his former clerks and a Supreme Court nominee gathered to watch a new documentary about his life, “Walk with Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith.”

The following day, the legendary judge sat in the front row as President Obama and black luminaries from across the country celebrated the opening of the Smithsonian’s new African American Museum of History and Culture.

Keith, one of the oldest federal jurists in the country, has been handing down important rulings on racial discrimination, presidential power and other contentious legal issues for nearly 50 years. And he shows no signs of retiring. He’s at his chambers each day by 9 a.m., where the first thing he does is read his Bible, he said. He works until about 5:30 pm.

Last month he issued a scathing 38-page dissent in an Ohio voting rights case, accusing two colleagues on the 6th Circuit Court of turning their backs on African American voters likely to be impacted by restrictions on early and absentee voting. He included photos and biographies of 36 people who died during the long struggle for civil rights and equal protection, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Emmett Till.

“By denying the most vulnerable the right to vote,” he wrote, “the Majority shuts minorities out of our political process. Rather than honor the men and women whose murdered lives opened the doors of our democracy and secured our right to vote, the Majority has abandoned this court’s standard of review in order to conceal the votes of the most defenseless behind the dangerous veneers of factual findings lacking support and legal standards lacking precedent.”

He also warned: “The unfettered right to vote is the bedrock of a free and democratic society—without it, such a society cannot stand.”

Then he created even more of a stir by giving an interview to Slate lamenting “the racist attitude of the majority” and mentioning his two colleagues on the panel, John Rogers and Danny Boggs.

He doesn’t apologize for calling them out by name.

“I thought the panel’s decision was racist,” he told The Post. He noted that his grandparents couldn’t vote in Georgia. His fellow judges, he said, “don’t know what we’ve gone through. They don’t know what I’ve gone through.”

Keith learned the power of the law — and of dissent — when he was student at Howard, where future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was one of his professors…Read the rest Here

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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Black History, BlackLivesMatter, Giant Negros


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Right Wing Harassment of Welfare Recipients a Total Failure

Bad news for the white right. Unlike their racist stereotypes, most folks on welfare (SNAP) aren’t on drugs. Yet another state fails miserably making a racist assumption and passing it into law… This one by the man responsible to murdering and maiming children in Flint with tainted water.

Guess how many welfare recipients tested positive in Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s drug test?

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who faced criticism earlier this year for his handling of the water crisis in Flint, could face more pushback after the apparent failure of his program requiring drug tests for welfare users.

The Guardian reported that none of the 303 people tested under the auspices of the Family Independence Program have tested positive for drugs as of the end of May.

The pilot program ends on Sept. 30 and received $300,000 in state funding, although a spokesperson for the state health department said only $300 had been spent thus far.

“The governor will wait until the pilot program has concluded and the report is delivered, as required by the legislation, to reach any conclusions,” said Anna Heaton, a spokesperson for Snyder’s office.

The program allows health department officials to require applicants to go through a drug test based on the results of the 50-question screening process. Refusal to do so disqualifies them from receiving financial assistance for six months. However, none of the applicants reportedly refused to go through the test.

As Think Progress reported last year, several other states with similar programs also found little evidence of high drug use among social program recipients. For instance, only 11 out of 2,783 applicants in Kansas’ program tested positive.

“As we’ve seen time and time again, these misguided policies are devoid of any scientific credibility and have proven to be a colossal waste of our time and money,” said Eric Harris, a spokesperson for Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), who recently proposed a measure that would make drug tests mandatory for people reporting deductions of more than $150,000 on their tax returns.



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First Flint Water Criminal Charges

The Michigan State AG has filed the first charges for the Flint Water Contamination impacting thousands of Flint, Michigan residents and their children with lead poisoning.

One would hope that this is just the first round, as the stink on this one reaches all the way to the Governor’s office, although it is questionable whether a Republican AG would be that honest. This may well be just the sacrificial lambs tossed under the bus to escape real culpability.

Criminal charges today in Flint water crisis

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette will announce criminal charges today in connection with his ongoing investigation of the Flint drinking water crisis, three sources familiar with the investigation told the Free Press on Tuesday.

Officials believe the city got artificially low lead readings because they didn’t test the homes most at risk — those with lead service lines or other features putting them at high risk for lead. Among those to be charged is a City of Flint official who signed a document saying the homes Flint used to test tap water under the federal Lead and Copper Rule all had lead service lines — a statement investigators allege was false.

Schuette is to announce felony and misdemeanor charges against at least two, and possibly as many as four people, according to two other sources familiar with the investigation. The investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected, sources said.

The charges, which will be brought against individuals connected with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Flint, relate to the lead contamination of Flint’s drinking water and not to the possible link between Flint River water and an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that is tied to the deaths of 12 people, one of the sources said.

Schuette, a Republican who is widely expected to run for governor in 2018, opened an investigation in January, tapping former Detroit FBI Director Andrew Arena and Royal Oak attorney Todd Flood to head the probe.

Andrea Bitely, a spokeswoman for Schuette, would neither confirm nor deny the charges.

Sources said the number of people to be charged Wednesday was still uncertain late Tuesday because of the possibility one or more of those targeted could agree to cooperate with authorities and avoid charges.

A person familiar with the matter said that other parts of state and Flint city government remain under investigation. The prosecution team is trying to uncover more about why the individuals expected to be charged Wednesday, as well as others still under investigation, may have acted the way they did and who may have instructed them to do so, according to one of the sources….More



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Bernie Wins Michigan

Big upset last night. Despite the MSM Polls showing Hillary with a huge lead, by the time the votes were counted, the Bern won by a small majority. Even 538 got it wrong, projecting that Hillary had a 90% chance of winning in Michigan. Bernie also chipped into Hillary’s lead in black voters with his best showing so far. The math behind that is fairly simple. Economic issues in an area devastated by loss of jobs mean more to black voters than in the South where some companies have relocated due to cheap labor. As such, folks in the industrial heartland are more likely to resonate with Bernie’s economic platform, than folks living in the Republican red zone South where race is the predominant issue.

Bernie’s speech last night –

The next group of states favor Bernie – so the number of delegates is going to be a lot closer. If Bernie wins in Ohio, then things may well turn on their head. He has at least an outside chance of winning more delegates to the Democrat Convention. The downside for Bernie is Hillary owns the super-delegates, who are made up of party insiders and luminaries. So Hillary still has the inside track.

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Posted by on March 9, 2016 in Democrat Primary


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Judge Unloads on Dirty Cop…Calling him racist.

Judge Vonda Evans unloaded on the Michigan Police Officer found guilty in court of Police Brutality…

Judge Vonda also spoke before the sentencing, saying Melendez and his officer were playing a “game” when they decided to pull over Dent.

“You forgot the eye of justice was watching. The dash cam designed to protect you – caught you. You knew better,” she said.

Melendez was found guilty of misconduct in office and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.

The first charge carried up to a 5 year prison penalty and the second charge had a maximum of 10 years.

He was sentenced to no less than 13 months and no more than 10 years in prison on the first count, and was given 90 days credit for the second charge.

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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter


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Poisoning Babies in Flint

Another case where the Republican “cutting taxes” meme has destroyed a generation of black children…

The beleaguered city’s water problems can be traced back to a controversial move by Michigan governor Rick Snyder.

Children in Flint, Michigan, have such high levels of lead in their blood that Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency on Monday, calling the situation a “manmade disaster.” The origins of the escalating situation in Flint go back to 2011, when Republican Gov. Rick Snyder appointed an emergency financial manager to balance Flint’s budget—largely by cutting costs on basic public services. Here’s what you need to know:

What’s going on?

In April of 2014, Flint switched its water source from Detroit to the Flint River in an effort to save money. The decision, made by emergency manager Darnell Earley, was met with skepticism: Residents complained that the water was smelly and cloudy. Water tests have since shown high levels of lead, copper, and other bacteria, including E. coli. (GM started hauling in water to its remaining Flint plant last year after noticing that the Flint water was corroding engines.)

According to the Hurley Medical Center study below, the proportion of kids under five with elevated levels of lead in their blood has doubled since the switch to Flint River water, to roughly four percent. In some areas, that number has leapt up to more than six percent. “This damage to children is irreversible and can cause effects to a child’s IQ, which will result in learning disabilities and the need for special education and mental health services and an increase in the juvenile justice system,” wrote Weaver in the state of emergency declaration. In October, the city transitioned back to the Detroit water system, though lead levels still remain higher than the federal action level.

Why are the lead levels so high in Flint?

Flint, the birthplace of General Motors and once a prosperous city, has been in a state of decline for decades. The population has halved since its peak in the 1960’s and 70’s; by 2013, the city had lost roughly three quarters of its property tax base and suffered from a 16 percent unemployment rate. The problem has been met with austerity: Under a controversial law passed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who has been criticized for close ties with the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the state can now appoint emergency managers with the ability to override local policies and make sweeping decisions in the name of “fiscal responsibility”—a policy that stripped half of the state’s black residents of their voting rights.

Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley implemented steep budget cuts, including last year’s decision to save money by changing the city’s water source. In March, Earley nixed a city council vote to “do all things necessary” to switch back to the Detroit system in March, calling the decision “incomprehensible.” He stepped down the next month. The series of events has led to litigation: In November, Flint residents filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the contaminated water caused them to experience myriad health conditions, including skin lesions, hair loss, depression, vision loss, and memory loss. The same month, the ACLU and Natural Resources Defense Council sued the city, governor, and public officials, claiming that public officials have known for years that drinking Flint River water could result in contamination problems. Michael Steinberg, legal director for the ACLU of Michigan, said, “In their short-sighted effort to save a buck, the leaders who were supposed to be protecting Flints’s citizens instead left them exposed to dangerously high levels of lead contamination.”

How are residents getting by?

Those who can afford it are buying bottled water, but Flint is one of the poorest cities in the nation—41 percent of residents live in poverty. Many still use city water for bathing and cooking.

What are the effects of lead poisoning?

It’s easy to diagnose someone with high lead levels—it simply takes the prick of a finger and a blood test. The symptoms manifest slowly, often years later. According to the World Health Organization, “Lead affects children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioural changes such as shortening of attention span and increased antisocial behaviour, and reduced educational attainment. Lead exposure also causes anaemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioural effects of lead are believed to be irreversible.”

What are state officials doing?

A pipeline connecting Flint and other central Michigan counties with Lake Huron is in the works and scheduled to be completed by late 2016. In the meantime, according to a recent Washington Post article, the state has offered more than $10 million to pay for the temporary switch back to the Detroit water system, in addition to covering the costs of water testing and water filters.


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Posted by on December 26, 2015 in American Genocide


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The Tea Party “gun toting Bible thumping … freak, bi-sexual porn addicted sex deviant” and the “Tramp”

Things are really getting Kinky in the Tea Party Delegation to Michigan’s Congress. When an anti Gay Marriage, male Tea Party Congressman gets caught having an affair with a female, bible thumping Tea Party “harlot” what to do?

Come out with a memo apologizing for getting caught with a gay male escort!


Michigan Expels Republican Lawmaker Cindy Gamrat Over Sex Scandal, Cover-Up

One socially conservative Michigan lawmaker was expelled from office and another resigned early Friday after they were embroiled in scandal over their extramarital affair and an attempt to hide it with a strange fictional email.

Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat became just the fourth legislator to be kicked out in state history shortly after 4 a.m. An hour earlier, GOP Rep. Todd Courser resigned, effective immediately, when it became clear majority Republicans had secured votes from enough Democrats for his expulsion in exchange for the House asking the attorney general and state police to investigate the lawmakers.

Both were immediately escorted out of the chamber.

The self described deviants

“I put everybody through a whole bunch — across the state, my own family, the constituents, the people in this room,” Courser told reporters. “Whether it was the third vote or the fourth vote or the fifth vote, they were going to eventually get me.”

Gamrat, who was tossed on a 91-12 vote, declined comment while leaving the Capitol.

“I have done everything I can to redeem the situation,” she said shortly before in her speech asking for a censure, which would have let her stay on the job with restrictions. “I am sincerely sorry for what it’s caused.”

Courser, 43, of Lapeer in Michigan’s Thumb region, admitted sending an “outlandish” phony email to GOP activists and others in May claiming he was caught with a male prostitute. The email was intended to make his affair with the 42-year-old Gamrat appear less believable if it were exposed by an anonymous blackmailer who Courser said was demanding his resignation.

The self-smear email called Courser a “bi-sexual porn addicted sex deviant” and “gun toting Bible thumping … freak” and Gamrat a “tramp.”

Gamrat, from Plainwell in the southwestern part of the state, said she discussed the plot with Courser but did not know the email’s sexually explicit content before it was sent.

On Thursday, a special House committee recommended the expulsion of both legislators. But the full chamber then deadlocked for hours, as more than two dozen Democrats refused to vote.

They attacked the “sham” investigation as rushed and self-serving. They questioned why two “whistleblower” aides to Courser and Gamrat were allowed to be fired by GOP leadership, since the speaker’s office had known of problems in the lawmakers’ combined office.

The House was six votes short of the two-thirds supermajority needed under the state constitution. More than two dozen minority Democrats initially abstained from voting and criticized the process.

In calling for both legislators’ expulsion, Rep. Ed McBroom, a Republican from Vulcan in the Upper Peninsula who chaired the disciplinary panel, said: “These two members have obliterated the public trust. They’ve obliterated the trust of their colleagues. And each day that they continue here they reduce the public trust in this institution.”

The scandal unfolded last month after a staffer the couple shared was fired in July. Ben Graham gave The Detroit News a secret audio recording of Courser demanding that he send the email to “inoculate the herd,” an apparent reference to Courser’s supporters. While Graham refused and the email was likely legal, the plot was unethical, according to a House Business Office probe that alleged dishonesty, misconduct and misuse of public resources extending beyond the affair and fictional email.

State police are investigating the alleged blackmail and this week obtained a warrant for records from a phone company related to a prepaid, or “burner,” phone from which Courser said he received threatening text messages.


Geez, whatever happened to just ‘fessing up and copping a plea?

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Posted by on September 11, 2015 in Stupid Tea Bagger Tricks


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