Gregg Reese


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Panic in the streets: Black cops weigh in on Ferguson

African American law enforcement professionals converge in the midst of Midwest civil unrest

It is perhaps just one of the oxymorons of modern society that Black men, among the most marginalized within the American justice/legal system, find gainful employment within the law enforcement entity that is so often at odds with the African American presence here in the United States.

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Legendary drummer Idris Muhammad dead at 74

New Orleans native contributed to generations of musicians

Although he did not boast the marquee status of contemporaries such as Art Blakey and Elvin Jones, none of them eclipsed the influence of Idris Muhammad’s “bottom-up style” of drumming, and his ability to adapt across a variety of musical styles that spanned some five decades. The legendary bandleader, composer, and percussionist died July 29 at the age of 74 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The cause of death was not immediately revealed, but family members acknowledged he had previously been undergoing dialysis. He was buried immediately according to the dictates of his Islamic faith.

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The Dorner fallout: Policing the cops

The aftermath of a grotesque tragedy can often give an inkling of a bigger problem

As further investigations are revealing, that very well may be the case in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Christopher Dorner affair.

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Rock and Soul legend Bobby Womack dead at 70

Controversy and scandal marked life of talented entertainer

While he never enjoyed the accolades or chart-topping success of some of his peers, arguably none of them could match the artistic versatility of Bobby Womack. The consummate singer, songwriter, and guitarist died Friday at age 70. The cause of death was not immediately revealed.

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Jazz innovator Horace Silver dies at 85

Horace Silver, the innovative bandleader, composer and pianist who brought a grounded earthiness to the “hard bop” genre of Jazz in the 1950s, has died of natural causes at his New Rochelle, N.Y. home. He was 85.

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Los Angeles Film Festival celebrates the city as a mecca for inspiration, variety

Marks its 20th anniversary

At this point in its history, the film industry is becoming increasingly decentralized as productions move to more (economically) hospitable locales. The Los Angeles Film Festival, now in its 20th year, seeks to celebrate the charms of this, the birthplace of moving pictures. Towards this goal, they have initiated a special section within the festival to highlight 11 movies inspired by the “City of Angeles.” Under the banner L.A. Muse, this “festival within a festival” is meant to promote the idea of L.A. as a continuing source of inspiration for filmmakers on an international level, and is curated by Los Angeles Film Festival Director Stephanie Allain (now in her third year shepherding the fest), and internationally renowned critic Elvis Mitchell.

Three dissimilar candidates in the race for California Insurance Commissioner

The California Insurance Commissioner and the agency he/she is charged with overseeing, the California Department of Insurance, are comparatively less glamorous than other components within the state’s bureaucracy, but none-the-less cast a formidable shadow as it ministers over the hundreds of insurance companies, and scores of consumers they serve.

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Tanaka points to experience as key to revamping Sheriff’s Department

The most visible of all the candidates running for the office of Los Angeles County Sheriff is, of course, the former undersheriff, Paul K. Tanaka. A 30 plus year veteran in the law enforcement community, his steady rise within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department culminated in his appointment as undersheriff, or second-in-command, to Sheriff Lee Baca in 2011. A certified public accountant, Tanaka’s connection with Baca was so close that he reportedly did his boss’ taxes for a number of years. During his two year stint as undersheriff, Tanaka endured a barrage of controversies stemming from abuse and corruption within the county jail system, and allegations that he solicited political contributions from employees within the Sheriff’s Department in association with his position as Mayor of Gardena, a post he has held since 2005.

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Radical novelist Sam Greenlee dies at 83

Novelist, poet, and activist Sam Greenlee died in his native Chicago this past May 19, at the age of 83. The cause of death was not immediately revealed, but unofficial sources said that he had been in ill health over the past few years. He is best known for his political satire “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” (1969), in which a Black CIA agent uses his clandestine training to organize a guerrilla insurgency of gang members in Chicago’s South Side.

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‘Hip Hop Family Tree’ intertwines two uniquely American art forms

By Ed Piskor

The fact that this writer is not a habitual listener of Rap is, simultaneously, a negative and positive in reviewing the subject. Obviously not being a fan means not being intimately familiar with all that contributed to the development of the music. Conversely, this unfamiliarity might well bring an impartial, (hopefully) unbiased view to the genre.

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