Five Friday Songs: 23 June 2017!

The sun is out, the weather is getting better and better, and there’s a New Moon today – so, let’s have some music to get the weekend started off right!

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Full Frontal Thursday: 21 June 2017 Edition

In these clips, Sam talks about the recent special elections in Georgia and North Carolina, asks why New York refuses to protect victims of abuse, and how vocabulary has been swirling ’round the bowl as it goes the way of respect, decency, and common sense.

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Summer Solstice Blessings…2017

Blessed Summer solstice…’tis the longest day of the year. Blessed be!

Tuesday Tributes: Victims of Hate

Charleena Lyles, a pregnant, 30-year-old mother of four, is the most recent person to be gunned down in cold blood by killer cops. She was murdered by the very police officers she contacted for help, when she called them to report an attempted burglary. From the Seattle Times:

Dozens of people attended a vigil Sunday night for a 30-year-old woman fatally shot by Seattle police as department use-of-force investigators probed how officers wound up killing a woman who had called police for help. Just after 10 a.m. Sunday, Seattle police responded after the woman had called to report an attempted burglary at her Magnuson Park apartment. At some point, police said, she displayed a knife and two officers shot and killed her.

Relatives identified the woman as Charleena Lyles. Family members said she was several months pregnant and had been struggling with mental-health issues for the past year. They said she was concerned authorities would take her children, one of whom they said has Down syndrome. Family members arriving about two hours later were distraught and questioned why police shot her. She was “tiny,” they said, and believe her race — she is African American — was a factor.

Yes, she had a knife. She probably wasn’t allowed to own a gun, or maybe she didn’t want guns around her children. She had armed herself to defend herself against the person who was breaking into her house. She called the police to report it – and they shot HER instead. Executed for having the temerity to, you know, do the right thing instead of taking matters into her own hands. But wait, there’s more…

Remember Philando Castile? He was fatally shot by a cop last year, in front of his girlfriend and their 4-year-old daughter. The aftermath of the brutal murder was live-streamed by Diamond Reynolds, as Philando had been cooperating with the cop’s instructions – but was still shot multiple times. From Reuters:

A Minnesota police officer was acquitted on Friday in the slaying of a black motorist he shot five times during a traffic stop last year, an incident that drew national attention after the victim’s girlfriend live-streamed the bloody aftermath on social media. St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez, who testified that he feared for his life when he fatally shot Philando Castile last July, was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.

The jury of seven men and five women, 10 of whom were white and two of whom were black, sided with the officer after deliberating for more than 25 hours spanning five days, acquitting Yanez on all charges. The shooting death of Castile, 32, in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights triggered local protests and fueled debate across the country over the appropriate use of force by law enforcement against minorities.

Friday’s verdict drew an angry reaction from Castile’s mother. “I’m mad as hell right now,” Valerie Castile told reporters after the verdict. “My first-born son died. … Just because he was a police officer, that makes it OK.”

She said the verdict shows “the system continues to fail black people.”

This latest travesty of justice isn’t surprising to myself or other people. I would have been shocked if the officer had been found guilty, because cops get away with murder – especially the murders of non-white people. And, the rampant hate just keeps growing…

17-year-old Nabra Hassanen was beaten to death after she and friends left a mosque in Sterling, Virginia and had breakfast at a nearby IHOP. From the Washington Post:

The death of a Virginia teenager who police say was assaulted and then disappeared after leaving a mosque in the Sterling area isn’t being investigated as a hate crime, authorities said Monday. On Sunday, police found the girl’s remains and a 22-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with the case.

The mosque, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) in Sterling, and relatives identified the girl as 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen of Reston. Fairfax County police identified the man charged with murder in her death as Darwin Martinez Torres of Sterling. On Monday, they did not release any explanation as to why they weren’t investigating the murder as a hate crime.

According to accounts from police and a mosque official, a group of four or five teens were walking back from breakfast at IHOP early Sunday when they were confronted by a motorist. All but one of the teens ran to the mosque, where the group reported that the girl had been left behind, according to Deputy Aleksandra Kowalski, a spokeswoman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

“Immediately thereafter, the ADAMS’ personnel notified both Loudoun County and Fairfax County authorities who immediately began an extensive search to locate the missing girl,” the mosque said in a statement. Loudoun and Fairfax police jointly conducted an hours-long search around Dranesville Road and Woodson Drive in Herndon, which is in Fairfax. Remains thought to be the girl’s were found about 3 p.m. Sunday in a pond in the 21500 block of Ridgetop Circle in Sterling. During the search, an officer spotted a motorist driving suspiciously in the area and arrested Torres, police said.

So…she was attacked and killed, but it isn’t a hate crime? Sorry, but it doesn’t qualify as “road rage” to me. “Road rage” implies that all people involved were in vehicles; in this case, the teens were on foot and were “confronted by a motorist.” How in the hell is this NOT a hate crime?

I’m just so weary of all the hate, the mindless rhetoric, and the general shit being spewed by the fearful and the xenophobic. There’s no sense or reason to it. Nobody is interested in talking about the problems, and they certainly can’t be bothered to attempt to think about solutions. “It’s not my problem,” they say, “so it’s not my job to find a solution.” I suppose that’s all well and good – but, I wonder what those same people would say if a tragedy like the ones listed here hit them close to home? Would they still say that it isn’t their problem, or would they be galvanized into action?

I wonder…

Juneteenth – 2017!

Today marks the 152nd celebration of Juneteenth. What is Juneteenth, you might be asking? Well, it is the day in 1865 that slavery officially ended in the state of Texas: a full two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which became official nationwide on 1 January 1863. From the Juneteenth website:

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former ‘masters’ – attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove the some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.

Of course, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t keep free Black men and women from being illegally rounded up and sent back to plantations. The ending of slavery did not end the brutal treatment from whites. It didn’t stop families from being separated and torn from each other. It didn’t immediately make Black people equal, nor did it instantly “level the playing field.” We’ve come a long way…but there is still a long way to go. I’ll elaborate on this more in a post scheduled for tomorrow.

Last Week Tonight: 18 June 2017 Edition

In this episode, John talks about the decline of the coal industry here in the USA, and how the Drumpf’s empty campaign promise to bring back coal mining and domestic steel production was a colossal whopper of a lie.

Happy Father’s Day…2017!

For all of the real men out there who know what being a father entails, today is your day…so relax and enjoy it! Special shout-outs to the two best fathers I know: my own dad, and my awesome husband – you guys rock!

Here are a few funnies celebrating dads on their special day, along with a song.

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Five For Friday: Gaming Conventions!!!

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m ready to do some intense gaming today and over the weekend, which made me think back to September of last year. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, you’ll know by now that I’m an absolute geek for video and computer games, but had never attended a gaming convention. That changed when the hubster and I attended PAX West in Seattle, Washington! I had so much fun; far more than I expected, and am looking forward to the next time we can go. Conventions offer the opportunity to mix and mingle with programmers, designers, representatives, and gamers galore: pick up some collectibles, t-shirts, or other sweet swag, or sit and game side-by-side with that noob who regularly pwns you in AvA! Conventions are also great places for people to meet others, face-to-face, who have similar interests and are hardcore geeks about those interests. I’m one of those gamers who’s into role-play, cosplay, and LARP (live-action role-play), so I’ve found that conventions are the best places to meet others who are into it as well. I’d rather talk with someone in person, not worry about some strange head-trip being played, or engage in an unnecessary guessing-game online. Far too many people do that already!

Our travels for this year are done for the most part, as budgeting and financing roof repairs has taken top priority, but we’re frugal and will have the money saved again before we know it. So, today’s “Five for Friday” post lists the five gaming conventions, not including PAX West, that I would like to go to in the near future. I listed them in alphabetical order because some days, it’s just the best and easiest way to do it. With that – on with the show!

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1. Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3): The Electronic Entertainment Expo, referred to by most as “E3,” is one of the premier events for gaming fans around the globe. When the gaming industry began to explode in the mid-90s, the necessity for a trade show for retails became glaringly apparent. The first E3 was held in 1995 and drew more than 40,000 attendees. By 1999, that number had nearly doubled. The most recent E3 was held in Los Angeles and closed its doors yesterday; attendance was over 60,000 people.

2. Emerald City Comicon (ECCC): The Emerald City Comicon, held in my home city of Seattle, just had its 15th event back in March of this year. The legendary Stan Lee was present to mark the occasion, according to the Seattle Times. From the article:

“United in their love of “nerdy things,” nearly 90,000 people are expected to swarm into the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle for the 15th annual Emerald City Comicon, from Thursday through Sunday. They will be coming to breathe the same air as comic-book legend Stan Lee, look at rare, collectibles comics (and perhaps buy some), meet celebrities, hear panelist discussions, cosplay and celebrate among like-minded individuals.

“It’s something I look forward to all year,” said 19-year-old Seattle University student Leah Dooley, who will be wearing three costumes during her fourth consecutive convention. “There’s so many things to look forward to: the costumes, the shopping, the panels, the community of people. Everyone is kind of united over a common love of nerdy things, and it’s a good time.” It’ll be the seventh year in a row for Colleen Mold, of Renton, who first attended in 2010 with her best friend, her best friend’s husband and their newborn son. While not a huge geek herself, attending with her friend’s family has become a tradition she wouldn’t miss.”

I’d say that the attendance of ECCC rivaled that of PAX West 2016!

3. San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC): The San Diego Comic-Con is possibly the oldest of the conventions. It started out as the Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970, then later became the San Diego Comic Book Convention. Originally it primarily showcased comic books and science fiction/fantasy related film and television, but has since expanded to include a larger range of pop culture and entertainment elements from virtually all genres, including horror, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, and video games, to name a few. It has been listed by Forbes magazine as the largest convention of its kind in the world, drawing crowds of 100,000+ over a four-day period. In 2015, the attendance was listed at approximately 167,000.

4. Sakura-Con: This convention is another that isn’t solely about video games, but is centered around another one of my passions – the world of anime and manga. I’ve been into these for about as long as I’ve been into gaming, but am pretty selective about the anime and manga that I consume. It typically offers, amongst other things, anime game shows, anime music video contests, art shows, dances/raves, collectible card gaming, cosplay contests, and Japanese cultural arts presentations including aikido demonstrations, kabuki performances, kendo swordsmanship, and taiko drumming. Sakura-Con also hosts charity events, raising monies for programs like the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Bloodworks Northwest. Definitely an event worth supporting!

5. Twitchcon: I know very little about this convention, other than the fact that you get an awesome, personalized hoodie if you attend! I have my own humble little Twitch channel, which is mostly active on the weekends when I’ve gotten tired of the leveling grind and want to take my frustrations out on others in some nice, competitive AvA action. I’m slowly getting more viewers; each time I get involved in the salty chat on the bi-weekly Bethesda / Zenimax Online TESO broadcasts, I gain at least one new ‘friend’ and one new follower. Progress is slow and steady, which is fine with me! Taking the time to learn about and getting to know people is always best.

Full Frontal Thursday: Session’s Snooze-Fest, Child Brides, & The Rikers Debaters

In this edition, Sam talks about the evasive non-testimony of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, child brides, and a Rikers debate. Enjoy!

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Midweek Music: 14 June 2017

Just a few tunes to get you all “over the hump” and sliding into the weekend…enjoy!

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