Review:  Just Mercy


The film “Just Mercy” is set for release Christmas day, December 25th.  It is a must see.

Last night we saw the preview screening at the Regal Theater at the L.A. Live complex.  As many times I have been to the “Regal” I never knew the complex had an 800-seat theater?  Anyway, thanks to the Californian Endowment, Liberty Hill and other organizations each seat was taken.

 

The film is about the storied career of activist attorney Bryan Stevenson and his work in helping those tied up in the legal and penal system with no or ineffective representation.  The numbers are unimaginable and makes you wonder who in their right mind would take up such a cause where the odds are weighted against you?

“I was able to see the premier at the Grand Lake theater here in Oakland.  It was riveting.  I’ve known Bryan and his work for decades.  He has been an inspiration to motivate me to keep my eye on the prize with the work we do.”  James R. Bell, Burns Institute – Oakland, CA

Murder and race

Acclaimed actor Michael Jordan plays Stevenson.  The film centers around Walter McMillan who is brilliantly played by Jamie Foxx.  McMillan was found guilty of murdering a young lady who is white and had relegated himself to meet his final fate in the electric chair.  You will also see O’Shea Jackson (Ice Cube’s son) bring life in playing Roy Hinton who was another person ensnarled in prison.  It’s one thing to be poor.  It’s another thing to be poor and black!!!  Yet, to be poor, black and in Alabama doesn’t take much creativity to conclude what your ultimate plight will be.



The Lynching Museum

Stevens legal brilliance is well known.  Several years ago, he took up the charge to give voice to the countless African-Americans who suffered death by lynching.  The museum is located in Montgomery and has received rave reviews.  Stevenson is from Alabama and headed north to Harvard Law School to obtain his law degree.  He took the state bar of Alabama and passed.  Upon receiving a grant, he headed back home to establish a legal defense organization to help those like McMillan.

 

As mentioned, Just Mercy is a must see.  It chronicles a stunning series of events.  There will be times when you will have a smile or a laugh and then there will be times where your eyes will be wet from tears as you are taken through a journey to see if McMillan can receive justice.


Official Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trailer

Impeachment:  Donald Trump sets another record


By mid-morning on Friday, December 13th, 2019, Donald J. Trump the nations 45th President of the United States set another record.  Surely, he likes to boast of all of his achievements and this one puts him on top of the list.  He became the first POTUS (President of the United States) in the history of the House of Representative’s Judiciary committee to vote for his impeachment – during his FIRST TERM.  The formal process has moved to the full House and in several days his official impeachment is imminent. Of course, impeachment is a political process.  The House has the sole purview to issue an indictment or charge.  The next step known as the formal hearing or trial is the sole purview of the Senate and as of this writing, despite strong evidence of guilt, it is likely he will be acquitted as the charges are very likely to be dropped.

Did he bring this on himself?

Donald Trump prides himself on being his own spokesperson.  He often brags of his media prowess and how he is a master of manipulating others in agreeing and supporting his ideology.  A quick analysis of the issues which have stymied his presidency is beyond political opposition or as he likes to state; those who hate him.  In fact, most of his problematic issues could be defined as self-inflicted or those he brought on himself.  His constant tweeting, badgering people, making ridiculous comments and other things unimaginable to be sprouted from the president of the United States bring direct radar on him.

He thought he received a reprieve from the Mueller report as even though it was strategically misconstrued by him and his supporters the only thing that saved him was the Office of Legal Counsel ruling.  In fact, the report clearly stated any remedy to deal with his behavior was the impeachment process.  Yet, he and his supporters have insisted the report was a flop and a big waste of taxpayer funds.

The threat

Many have concluded Trump’s actions are the sole reason why impeachment is even discussed. He and his team of mouth-piece acolytes have insisted those who attempt to reign in his behavior or try to impeach him will suffer greatly.  They try and compare his impeachment to Bill Clinton’s, who escaped being removed from office as those who pushed it were promptly voted out of office at the next election.  It is a dare worthy of consideration but surely one Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has assessed.  Her main benchmark is understanding the worse case scenario of being removed as the majority but weighing the alternative in doing nothing or accepting the intimation that is touted by Trump, which would be a terrible reaction in allowing his consistent disruptive behavior to go unchecked.

 

Conspiracy theories

“The more I can create alternative realities are better for me because people will be looking elsewhere which allows me to do what I want.”  Donald J. Trump

 

Perhaps the fuel or motivation for Donald Trump to operate is his insatiable appetite for conspiracy theories.  The more outlandish, the better.  The humiliation he suffered at the 2011 correspondent’s dinner when President Barack Obama put an end to his tirade over his birth certificate was not enough.  It seems each month or each week he belts out another conspiracy theory.  Sadly, precious time and millions of taxpayer resources are wasted tracking down to what only can be summed up as a “fool’s errand.”

“Donald Trump wants you to believe the Mueller report cleared him from any wrongdoing.  Further, he has no respect for the people of the United States (unless you absolutely agree with him) as well as the constitution.  We have a duty.”  Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Trump is a proud person and despite solid evidence from officials whose job is to determine fact from fiction, he will not accept that Russia interfered with the 2016 election.  Instead he adopted the premise that the real culprit was Ukraine.  Holding what he assumed was his literal “trump” card he waited and waited for the right time to use the power of his office to make clear his notion was more than a theory; it instead was a fact.

 

Fast forward, following the House of Representatives authorizing nearly 400 million dollars in military aid to Ukraine, Trump known for his savvy business behavior which some have defined as “gangster” crafted a plan to leverage the aid for a favor the Ukraine government must provide before its release.

Unfortunately for him, his actions were uncovered and as they say “he was caught in the act.”  Once it became clear how his plan was mapped out, he was doomed.  There was very little doubt, at least from those with a modicum of objectivity to conclude his actions were in violation of the Constitution.  Sadly, his actions were avoidable.

One could conclude it is very difficult to rehabilitate a person’s behavior, especially if they are in their 70’s.  What he defined as a “perfect call” is anything from being perfect.  It’s the call and subsequent knowledge of the overall scheme in handling the aid earmarked for Ukraine which has granted Trump the dubious honor of achieving the first person in U.S. history of being impeached during his first term.


There is a Coffee Craze Going on in the Hood: South L.A. Café


There is a coffee craze going on in the hood.  In the past year or so in Leimert Park and on the fringes independent coffee shops have been popping up.   In 2018, Hot & Cool Café opened its doors in the epicenter of Los Angeles’ African-American community; Leimert Park.  Approximately two miles to the east near MLK Blvd. & Western, South L.A. Café is the newest entry.  True to the spirit of community they get their coffee from Oakland based Red Bay Coffee Roasters, which recently announced opening their own spot in 2020 adjacent the famed Harold & Belles restaurant on 10th Avenue and Jefferson.

South L.A. Café is planning for their grand opening which is slated for Sunday, December 8th.  I popped in for a sampler and the business has much promise.  As mentioned, it is located on the southwest corner of Browning Avenue and Western Avenue, which is one block north of King & Western.

The business is well-appointed, staff is friendly and eager to serve you and best of all you are treated to a positive environment.  The area is going through a renaissance or as some may say, gentrification but locals as well as interlopers now have a spot to grab some good coffee and tasty pastries at an affordable price.  I understand as the business grows the menu will be expanded to include soups, sandwiches and other items which add to its diversity.

The spot is spacious, offers a meeting room adorned with noted community activist and artist Mohammed Mubarak’s iconic portrait of Nipsey Hussle.  Of course, there is complimentary Wi-Fi for those needing a reliable connection.