Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why Do Hoodie-Wearing Pols and Celebs Continue to Trivialize a Horrific Incident?....

NY State Sens. Kevin Parker, Bill Perkins and Eric Adams wear hoodies in Albany yesterday in tribute to Trayvon Martin.

Rep Bobby Rush (D-Ill)

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting scores of politicians and celebs have expressed their sympathy and solidarity with Trayvon martin by donning hoodies.

They may think they’re rebuking Geraldo Rivera’s ill-conceived comments that, “The hoodie as just as responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as is George Zimmerman.”

Sanford, Florida police have said they arrived on-scene to find a bloodied and battered George Zimmerman, bleeding from the face (nose) and the back of the head near 17 y/o Trayvon Martin dead of a single gunshot to the chest.

Both State and federal authorities are now investigating that shooting...and rightfully so.

George Zimmerman apparently called police over Trayvon Martin’s presence in that community, believing him “up to no good.”

The 9-1-1 dispatcher asked if he was still following Trayvon Martin and when he answered in the affirmative, he was told to stand down – “We don’t need you to do that.”

According to Zimmerman, he went back to his car and had lost sight of Martin and just before he reached his vehicle was grabbed by Martin from behind.

Witnesses claim words were exchanged (“Why are you following me?...What are you doing here?”) and then he claims that the younger, 6’1” Martin punched him in the face, breaking his nose and sending him to the ground. He then claims he received the wounds to the back of his head when Trayvon Martin began slamming his head against the concrete.

IF Zimmerman trailed, then shot an unarmed Trayvon Martin “on suspicion,” then that’s a murder, but IF Martin actually confronted him and was shot while assaulting Zimmerman, then that is clearly self-defense.

All the existing accounts leave far more questions than answers. How, exactly, did a man who claims to have been in the process of being severely beaten find the wherewithal to draw and shoot his assailant?

But at this point, the facts aren’t all in so, as the investigations are still very much in progress. At this point, no one knows (except Mr. Zimmerman and the deceased Mr. Martin). The investigations will have to run their course.

Certainly NO ONE outside that small circle (the Martin and Zimmerman families) has ANY vested interest in any specific outcome, regardless of what some of the fringe people within our society might think.

Seeing politicians, celebrities and others donning hoodies as though that somehow expresses any real solidarity without any actual personal sacrifice is just pathetic.

It does NOTHING to bring more clarity to this case.

It does NOTHING to advance ANY cause.

It does NOTHING to bring Trayvon Martin back.

So WHY do some people so proudly embrace such meaningless, fruitless gestures? WHY?

Here’s an idea, let’s let the investigations go forward and see where they lead, rather than making assumptions either way.


Friday, March 23, 2012

What’s Behind All the Misinformation Surrounding the Trayvon Martin Killing?

UPDATED/EDITED: Monday, March 26th, 2012

From the initial 9-1-1 tapes there seemed little doubt that George Zimmerman should be charged and tried in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Sanford, Fl. police dispatch asked Mr. Zimmerman if he was following Mr. Martin. When he responded in the affirmative he was warned NOT to do that.

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” laws DO NOT protect a shooter if he is “the aggressor.”

It also appeared as though the Sanford Police Dept had not properly investigated this killing and seemed to give George Zimmerman, of the neighborhood watch, a free pass.

All of that supposition (seems & appears) was because only one side had been heard, but given those 9-1-1 tapes, WHAT could possibly exonerate George Zimmerman other than some evidence that he was attacked and forced to defend himself?

Recently, some eye-witness accounts do seem to corroborate both Mr. Zimmerman's and the Sanford Polices accounts, SEE:


Certainly everything else surrounding this case has been mired in gross misinformation. Trayvon Martin (an unarmed black teen) was NOT “shot and killed by a white cop.”

Today (Friday, March 23rd, 2012) President Obama noted, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon martin.”

Yes, that’s very true, BUT if we were going to assign race based on the way it’s been assigned to George Zimmerman, then Barack Obama would be considered white.

George Zimmerman’s mother is Hispanic. His father is white.

The federal government treats Hispanics as a separate racial designation, as in “non-Hispanic black” and “non-Hispanic white.” Given that Mr. Obama is considered black, though his mother was white, it stands to reason that George Zimmerman is also Hispanic, though his father was white.

Why has that NOT been the case?

Certainly George Zimmerman looks Hispanic, just as Barack Obama looks black.

The media is largely liberal and therefore hopelessly paternalistic when it comes to race. The government, however has had very good reasons to traditionally add violent crimes committed by “light-skinned Hispanics” to “whites,” largely to avoid having the disproportionate black violent crime rates look even more appalling than they actually are. The FBI actually dishonestly, as a matter of policy, counts violent crimes committed by many Hispanics to whites.

In fact, Trayvon Martin, a racial minority (black) was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, another racial minority (Hispanic).

Moreover, George Zimmerman was not only NOT a police officer, he was not even a peace officer. He was merely a member of the community watch.

Nor is this kind of killing any LESS rare than the reverse – a black homeowner killing a white.

In a case that is ironically just coming to trial in Florida, then 69 y/o Trevor Dooley took it upon himself to go to a park across the street from his home, berate a young child for skateboarding on a basketball court no one was using, then shot and killed U.S. serviceman David James (41 y/0) in front of Mr. James 8 y/o daughter.

(David James)

(Trevor Dooley)

The available witness accounts of the David James killing go;
According to witness Michael Whitt, everyone on the playground at the time - the Whitts, James and his daughter and the skateboarder - was having a good time, Michael Whitt said.

That was until a man across the street stood in his garage and yelled that the young man was not allowed to skateboard in the park, Michael Whitt said.

"He did not come out of the house," Michael Whitt said. "He was standing at the door of his garage, and yelled over here. The kid kept riding."

Dooley, the man in the garage, yelled again, Michael Whitt said.

" 'Did you hear me?' " Michael Whitt recalled him saying.

James then yelled back, according to Michael Whitt.

"There are no signs posted to not ride," Michael Whitt recalled James saying.

The two men continued to yell at each other, but Michael Whitt said he was trying to play tennis with his wife and not really paying attention.

But "two or three minutes later," Michael Whitt said he saw Dooley "walking across the street. It struck me as odd. He had one pant leg pulled up to his knee."

Dooley had "both hands in his pockets" as he walked across the street toward James, Michael Whitt said.

Before he could get there, James took a few steps toward Dooley, according to Michael Whitt.
The two men exchanged more words, Michael Whitt said.

When he was about 10 feet from James, Dooley lifted up his shirt and cursed at James, according to Michael Whitt.

Dooley turned and started to walk back toward his house, Michael Whitt said. Then James started walking toward Dooley.

" 'What did you say?' " Michael Whitt said he heard James say. "What did you just say to me?' "

Dooley then turned back around toward James.

He had a gun, Michael Whitt said.

The two men were now about 8 feet apart and James lunged at Dooley, according to Michael Whitt.

"I am assuming he was thinking he was about to get shot," Michael Whitt said.

The two men struggled, said Michael Whitt. As they wrestled to the ground, the gun went off.

At first, James was holding Dooley down, according to Michael Whitt.

"He looked up and said, 'Call 911, I've been shot.' "

About 10 seconds later, James rolled off Dooley, then Dooley rolled over on his side, Michael Whitt said.

"He stood up, hobbled around a bit then went back down to his knees," Michael Whitt said.

By now, Whitt had called 911 and the operator was giving him instructions on how to check to see whether James was still alive.

Whitt said he checked his pulse in both the wrist and neck and tried to see whether James was breathing but there were no signs of life and his face was blue.

"I pressed down a little on his chest and blood came out of the bullet hole," Michael Whitt told deputies. "He made no movement."

Then the operator instructed Whitt what to say to Dooley.

Whitt said he instructed Dooley to empty his weapon and put it on the ground. Dooley, he said, stayed there until deputies arrived.

Dooley told Whitt, "'You saw him come at me, right?' or something like that. I didn't answer him."

Michael Whitt told deputies one more thing.
He saw a folding knife on the ground. He was not sure who owned it.

Michelle Whitt told investigators that the young man was skateboarding for about five minutes when Dooley yelled at him and said he was not allowed to skateboard.

James told the young man "'It was fine, don't worry. There are no signs posted. My kids skateboard here all the time,' " Michelle Whitt said.

Like her husband, Michelle Whitt said Dooley crossed the street in an aggressive manner.
He "lifted up his shirt and showed a gun," she said.

Dooley cursed at James, then walked back to his house, Michelle Whitt said.

James then started yelling at Dooley.

" 'Don't show your gun to me,' " she recalled James saying. "'Don't point a gun at me.' "

Then Dooley turned around and pointed the gun at James, Michelle Whitt said. James lunged. The two men struggled.

"They went to the ground and were wrestling on the ground," she said.

James was "sitting up on his knees" holding Dooley with one arm.

"The gun went off," Michelle Whitt said. "There was a loud pop. Blood sprayed everywhere."

Michelle Whitt said she "screamed to my husband."

Michael Whitt was running for his phone when James, still sitting on his knees, screamed "Call 911, I've been shot," she said.

"Then he rolled over on the ground and did not move again," she said.

These two cases are among the very few shootings that have occurred outside the commission of another crime (ie. a gunman shooting a store clerk, or a homeowner shooting an intruder), so it would appear that unarmed black teens are about as likely to be shot and killed (“profiled”) are as are unarmed U.S. servicemen peacefully playing with their daughters in a community park.

Nor is EITHER a case of “the Stand Your Ground Law run amok.”  Neither Mr. Zimmerman, nor Mr. Dooley appears to covered under the “Stand Your Ground” statutes. BOTH cases are best defended as basic self-defense scenarios, but witnesses have made that more difficult in both cases.

Mr. Dooley is being tried for manslaughter, which is another grave miscarriage of justice!

He deliberately took a gun across the street to confront a man who’d simply challenged his right to chase a child skateboarding in a park. BOTH Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Dooley should be charged with 2nd degree murder!

While one of these two victims was black and another white, NEITHER of the shooters was “white.” Mr. Dooley is black and Mr. Zimmerman is as Hispanic as President Obama is black.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

If You Think the FDNY is Ethnically Imbalanced, Take a Look at These New York City Agencies.....

TODAY, the ONLY ethnic group that is over-represented in the New York City Municipal workforce by MORE than 10% of their numbers in the city’s population is non-Latino blacks, who are 23% of NYC’s population and 36% of the city’s Municipal workforce! That’s an over-representation on the order of appx. 57% ABOVE their numbers in New York City’s population.

Merit Matters believes that people gravitate to the jobs they have an interest and aptitude for. The fact that until 2007 and over $20 MILLION spent on targeted recruitment non-Latino blacks accounted for LESS than 10% of all FDNY applicants seems to attest to that fact.

BUT IF proportionalism (“NYC’s workforce should mirror/look like NYC’s population”) is going to be the standard, than it MUST BE the standard for ALL...for ALL ethnic groups and for ALL city agencies!

By that measure the Garaufis-CCR-Vulcan Society view INSISTS on reducing the non-Latino black portion of the NYC workforce FROM its current 36% down to appx. 25%! That is what “Making NYC’s workforce look like NYC” would actually mean. While we'd rather see people gravitate to the jobs they have an interest and aptitude for, we also insist that proportionalism can't just be targeted to one agency, when the city's entire workforce is so ethnically imbalanced!

Consider that the FDNY’s uniformed firefighting force (excluding EMS and clerical/administrative staff) is 89% white, which is about  2.5X more whites than there are in NYC’s population. Overall (including EMS and clerical/administrative staff) it’s 77% white or about 2.25X as many whites as in NYC’s population.

BUT if you think that demographic is blatantly ethnically imbalanced, wait until you get a look at some of these other New York City agencies!

There are at least 7 city agencies in which a given ethnic group is over-represented by MORE than 2.5X times their numbers in NYC’s population.

The Corrections Department is 65% non-Latino black, 2.9X the number of non-Latino blacks as in the population of NYC, making it even MORE ethnically imbalanced than the FDNY is right now.

Six other New York City agencies are over 60% non-Latino black, meaning OVER 2.5X as many non-Latino blacks as there are in New York City’s population!

These are;

(*) Human Resources Administration (61% non-Latino black)

(*) Equal Employment Practices Commission (63% non-Latino black)

(*) The Department of Probation (64% non-Latino black)

(*) The Department of Homeless Services (64% non-Latino black)

(*) Administration for Children Services (67% non-Latino black)

(*) The Department of Juvenile Justice (78% non-Latino black), which holds 3.4X as many non-Latino black workers as are in New York City’s population, taking the prize as the MOST ethnically imbalanced agency in New York City!

There are at least FOUR other new York City agencies in which non-Latino blacks are appx. 2X or TWICE their numbers in New York City’s population, including the the Dept of Health and Hygiene (45%), Dept of Finance (46%), the Dept of Housing, Preservation and Development (47%) and the Parks Dept (49%).

It would certainly be much more neat and orderly IF every group were proportionally represented within each and every New York City agency, but lowering standards and barring the hiring of some groups until the numbers of others can be brought up, smacks of a kind of “Stalinist authoritarianism” that only the likes of Nicholas Garaufis could embrace.

STILL, that is the charge that the Garaufis-Vulcan Society decision makes clear – within the “zero-sum game” that is municipal Employment, the primary reason for the dirth of Asians and Hispanic workers relative to their numbers in New York City’s population, is the singular and significant OVER-representation of non-Latino blacks within the New York City workforce.

Again, there are ONLY two ethnic groups that are over-represented in the NYC Municipal workforce, non-Latino blacks and non-Latino whites. ONLY non-Latino blacks are over-represented by more than 10% of their numbers within New York City’s population!

Non-Latino whites are 35% of New York City’s population and 38% of its workforce (about 9% ABOVE their numbers in the city’s population), while non-Latino blacks are 23% of city’s the population and 36% (appx. 56% ABOVE their numbers in NYC’s population) of its Municipal workforce!

Both Asians and Hispanics are UNDER-represented in New York City’s Municipal workforce. The sizable over-representation of one ethnic group (non-Latino blacks) is the primary reason for that. Without diminishing the existing number of non-Latino blacks in New York City's Municipal workforce, there is simply no way to balance out that workforce and allow it to closely mirror New York City's population.

It certainly appears that there are a lot of New York City agencies that need monitoring, targeted recruitment and demographic scrutiny...BUT only IF “proportionalism” (“New York City’s workforce should mirror/look like New York City”) is to be the standard we adopt.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Call for Lawlessness?

Capt. Paul Washington recently commented on the NYPD’s “Stop & Frisk” operations saying, "When the mayor is so happy to give felony convictions through these stop-and-frisks, your chances of getting this job (FDNY firefighter) are even slimmer."

Is Capt Washington actually making the argument that a black person walking down the street with an illegal gun is any less a threat, any less deserving of a felony rap than, say, Marc Ringel, whom police arrested with a veritable arsenal of weapons and marijuana in his parent’s Long Island home? (SEE:

Is THAT the argument that Capt Washington would make? THAT neither Marc Ringel, nor a black teen walking down a South Bronx street with an illegal weapon deserve felony charges?


None of that should be surprising considering that Capt. Washington and the FDNY Vulcan Society’s lawsuit against the FDNY’s entrance exam process is based entirely on the very flawed legal construct of “disparate impact.” The very SAME construct that triggered and exacerbated the mortgage meltdown of 2008...a crisis that we're STILL dealing with.

A tremendous amount of harm has been done with “disparate impact.” Through the 1990s many U.S. banks were sued using that construct, by those claiming that, “traditional lending criteria had a disparate and negative impact on low income Americans.” As a result banks were forced to engage in risky “creative financing” and to abandon traditional lending criteria. This helped generate the mortgage meltdown and the subsequent credit crisis we are still dealing with today. “Disparate impact” is NOT new. It’s been around a long time and it’s been used in a lot of cases.

The issue with the FDNY testing lawsuit isn’t the Vulcan Society’s challenging the entry process (it has every legal right to do that), but with the interpretations of a very liberal judge (Nicholas Garaufis) that has looked at a job (FDNY firefighter) that requires a minimum 12th grade reading level (a H.S. diploma) giving exams set to a 7th and 8th grade reading level and finding that even that very LOW standard can be seen as “discriminatory.”

It also fails to look at the city workforce as a whole. The City of NY not only doesn’t have a history of discriminating against black applicants, black applicants are the most OVER-represented group in the city’s workforce and the primary reason why both Asians and Hispanics are so under-represented.

There are just 2 groups over-represented in the NYC public workforce, they are non-Latino blacks and non-Latino-whites. It turns out that non-Latino blacks are the ONLY ethnic group OVER-represented by more than 10% their numbers in NYC’s population.

According to a recent City Lights article, titled “The Whitest City Agencies,” non-Latino whites (35% of the city’s population) comprise 38% of the NYC workforce appx. 8.8% over-represented according to their proportion of the city’s population, while non-Latino blacks (23% of the city’s population) comprise 36% of the NYC workforce, appx. 57% over-represented according to their proportion of the city’s population! (SEE:

Captain Washington’s own mantra that “The (FDNY) entire NYC workforce should mirror the population of New York City,” amounts to a call against the sizable OVER-representation of non-Latino blacks within New York City’s Municipal workforce.

His charge that the Bloomberg administration’s “Stop and Frisk” operations are racist” appears to amount to nothing less than a call for lawlessness and a call that would render the actions of folks like Marx Ringel non-prosecutable!
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