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Nov 25, 201411:50 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

The Ferguson verdict reflects a split-screen America

(page 1 of 2)

The split screens on the all-news cable TV channels Monday night reflected the political divide in America today.

There was President Obama on the right half of the screen, the nation’s first black president, pleading for calm while seeming to indict the Ferguson legal system. The left side of the screen depicted a police car billowing fire in Ferguson, Mo.

“Season’s Greetings,” implored the banner across Florissant Street, now choked with the smoke of tear gas and burning buildings, punctuated by gunfire. Yes, it is the season of thanks and Christian charity.

Rioters looted a liquor store and smashed windows of neighborhood businesses in a protest supposedly informed by a yearning for justice. “No justice, no peace” — as long as we get what we want, no need to pay.

That divide pits those who support the cult of victimhood and its resultant curse of entitlement against others who demand personal responsibility.

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is up today with a critique that claims St. Louis prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s 45-minute presentation Monday night “was icy and divisive.”

No, McCulloch was pitch perfect: professional, patient, evenhanded, forthcoming. He even suffered the fool who asked why the laws “weren’t working.” McCulloch’s performance ranks with Rudy Giuliani’s after 9/11. The grand jurors, he said, saw evidence not released in order to provide a check on errant witnesses. They heard witnesses who did not make the rounds on the cable TV channels. The prosecutor is putting all that evidence out there for the world to see. Some cover-up.

But Toobin does ask why announce at 8 p.m.? That is a good question. Further, the Missouri governor would have been well within his rights to deploy the National Guard. He would have been criticized for doing so by our … acquaintances. So what?

But those officials did not cause the riots.

Madison had its own notorious police shooting two years ago. A young man named Paul Heenan was shot and killed on the morning of Nov. 9, 2012, next door to his house on Baldwin Street. His blood-alcohol level was a near-fatal 0.21. He barged into the wrong house, started fighting with the occupant of that house, then lunged at the responding police officer. Heenan and the officer were white.


Old to new | New to old
Nov 25, 2014 11:57 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

Anne of Althouse describes the flight from responsibility expressed via the passive voice:

"Soon came the smoke bombs, the random sounds of bullets, the chaos that was almost as predictable as the verdict everyone expected." Thus appeared the absence of human agency in a sentence in a NYT article headlined: "From Plains to Both Coasts, Fury Boils Over" (NYT).

Fury — as if disembodied from any person — did what fury does. Smoke bombs, random sounds, and chaos came. On their own? Did no person engage in the throwing of bombs? Bullet sounds were around, randomly, not connected to human fingers pulling triggers, and even the guns were not mentioned. Chaos simply arrived. How could it not? It was predictable.

Nov 25, 2014 01:58 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I'm sure the participants in this discussion, black families in our community attempting to come to terms with their own feelings of hopelessness over the message from the non-indictment (declared "incredibly rare" by 538 and frozen by the thought of explaining it to their kids, are encouraged to hear that Blaska, portaying himself as a put-upon minority in lily white Madison, finds the debate going on between entitled white people about personal responsibility is "worthy." But what about the cops who pull over black drivers at a far greater rate than white drivers for the crime of driving a new vehicle or in a predominantly white neighborhood?

Nov 25, 2014 03:33 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

It was real nice of CBS to cut away from the narrative of events just when it was getting to the actual confrontation with the officer. If they would have waited a minute longer, we all here would have understood how a young man's foolish actions resulted in his death. Instead we got to see the looters running to their targets from a news chopper. Way to go Scott Pelli and your producers. - Madcity Moderate

Nov 25, 2014 04:29 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Nothing expresses Progressive compassion, healing and understanding like looting businesses and burning them to the ground, many of them owned by minorities in your community. Such is life on the liberal plantation.

Nov 26, 2014 11:04 am
 Posted by  madisonexpat

Madison is a great experiment in race relations. I say this as a kid who grew up here and rarely saw a black person. Then I did a stint in Africa with the Peace Corps and almost never saw a white person.
When Cabrini Green and Robert Taylor(?) ghettos became free fire zones in Chicago, here came increasing numbers of blacks. The fat of the land and liberal generosity made this attractive. Over time this culture brought a group of thugs who apparently flourished. They get jailed disproportionately and that is enough to make Madison racist. But to whom? Who feels the sting of this alleged racism?
There is historical precedent here. There was an inter Sicilian (mostly) gang war in the Bush in 1924 over liquor sales. Seven assassinations, two bombings and a dead rookie cop. Many sociological similarities here.
Anyone remember Somerset Circle?

Nov 26, 2014 01:29 pm
 Posted by  patricko

Did anybody else find it curious that there was one thing that was not discussed or even mentioned about the grand jury? Despite letting no information out on the content of the grand jury testimony for the past 3 months, it seems nobody was interested in what that testimony was. The facts of the case, were never even talked about even though the DA went to great lengths to explain that the decision to not indict was a direct result of the evidence. But each time a protest "leader" was interviewed, they just kept whining about there having been "no justice." They NEVER challenged the facts at all. It was as if they were saying "We don't care what the evidence showed, we wanted an indictment."

Nov 26, 2014 02:16 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

You heard it here from Blaska's fanboys: Liberals are in favor of looting and burning. That's their argument and they're sticking to it. Sounds great when it comes out of Hannity's mouth, raspier out of McKenna's and even better when typed into a comment window. The conservative way!

Madisonexpat jabs out a particularly uncompelling and ridiculous portrait of a city he apparently no longer lives in. Where, exactly, is the similarity between a gang war with assassinations and a dead police officer and the routine round-up of black pot dealers by white cops (kids selling weed out of Tripp Hall might get sent back to Mequon, but rarely check in to the Graybar Hotel)?

Again, it probably sounded great in your head. But it's a load of hooey.

Nov 28, 2014 10:35 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

If one knew nothing about this situation and just read a newspaper account that a young adult stole items from a store and when confronted by the clerk refused to return them. The clerk called the police and when the police officer questioned the suspected thief, the thief hit the officer in the face and attempted to escape. One cannot imagine any outcome other than tragic in these circumstances. Unfortunately one party's mission was to steal and to avoid arrest. The other party's mission was to protect and serve. These two missions collided and can't co-exist without a significant consequence if one or the other is unwilling or unable[his job] to give up his mission! This scenario plays out countless times across America each day and it matters not the color of those involved. I'm old [72] but this is a simple question of right and wrong not justice!

Nov 30, 2014 07:32 am
 Posted by  madisonexpat

Anonymouse 2:16
I was speaking to the larger issue of racism in Madison in particular. And no, I no longer live there. I live in SC where a deeply conservative state is 1/3rd black and has a black US senator, a probably gay one and a governor born in India. All Republicans.
That's how racist we are.

Nov 30, 2014 11:45 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Dave, you summed it up great at the end. If a person doesn't take responsibility for their own life, government will, and they will control you. And in the end that usually doesn't work out for the person. Will liberals learn from Michael Brown's mistakes? Not likely.

Dave, not B

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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