Blogging While Brown, Part III

It’s probably not great form to follow one blogging meta post with another but, like Kos (probably one of the few things we have in common), I love meta. I can get lost in it sometimes, and forget that not everyone else finds it as interesting as I do. But in this case, I think some people might be interested. Plus it makes a good follow up to the previous post, in terms of contact.

But it does mean dipping a toe back into the waters of the debate around blogs and diversity. And even though I’ve written about blogging while brown before, I was a little reluctant to do so again. The last time I “went there,” the water turned out to be hotter than I expected. It only got hotter, and several people ended up getting a little scalded. In the end I wanted nothing more than to get out of the debate. But some debates you can’t escape, particularly when the have their roots in a larger one. Turns out, I didn’t so much dip a toe into that water as I was born into it, and just wandered into the middle of a “hot spot.”

A few posts I’ve noticed recently, though, enticed me to wander back into those waters. Either I don’t know any better or I just can’t help it.

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New Mexico’s DP bill is dead, as far as we know

New Mexico’s domestic partnership bill is dead. Like the zombies of late-night horror that we recall from childhoods before cable was invented–remember the VHF channel that ran ‘It Came From the Deep’ at 11pm, inviting you to scare the bejesus out of yourself?–it had to be killed three times and the process was gory. Like the horror films, killing this bill brought out the monster inside the characters, which allows for some reflection on where our movement is stuck and where we’re heading. (more…)

Oversight: The Coming Attractions

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I'm a big proponent of timelines. They're a really useful tool, retrospectively, to connect the dots, to understand how, say, Carol Lam's firing might relate to her investigation of Jerry Lewis or Dusty Foggo. 

But now that we're in the majority, we're making the timelines. Which means we need to look forward as much as backwards to get our bearings.

So, as a public service (you might want to schedule some "sick" days, after all), I thought I'd do a timeline of what's coming. Note that most of these links go to PDFs, so click through accordingly.

March 23 Deadline for Condi to turn over (Condi apparently ignored this deadline–see her upcoming date with Waxman below)

March 30 (today!) House and Senate [correction–DOJ wanted joint interviews, but it appears only the House Judiciary is involved at this point] Judiciary Committees begin to interview [in private interviews –so don't look for it on CSPAN] 7 current and former DOJ employees on the USA purge; interviewees include:

  • Paul McNulty
  • William Moschella
  • Michael Elston
  • William Mercer
  • David Margolis
  • Monica "Five for Freedom" Goodling
  • Michael Battle

March 30 (today!) Deadline for State Department to turn over information on (more…)

Former NBA star unleashes anti-Semitic remarks, hurls 'faggot' bomb

As Rod says, “another former NBA star is channeling Tim Hardaway…”

Outrageous stupidity…ignorance…bigotry…you will not believe what Micheal “Sugar” Ray Richardson, coach of the Albany Patroons (the Continental Basketball Association) said to two reporters as he discussed a coaching contract:

“I’ve got big-time lawyers,” Richardson said, according to the Times Union. “I’ve got big-time Jew lawyers.”

The reporters tried to give him an out by letting him know that his on-the-record comments were going south fast.

When told by the reporters that the comment could be offensive to people because it plays to the stereotype that Jews are crafty and shrewd, he responded with, “Are you kidding me? They are. They’ve got the best security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport in Tel Aviv? They’re real crafty. Listen, they are hated all over the world, so they’ve got to be crafty.”

And he continued, “They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean?” he said. “Which I think is great. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they’re run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they’re run by Jewish. It’s not a knock, but they are some crafty people.”

But wait, there’s more!  Richardson placed homos on the front burner during a game on Tuesday. It’s below the fold. (more…)

The Spin I’m In: History Lessons

youtube_sm.png Dschinghis Khan
"Rocking Son of Dschinghis Khan"

Hu-Ha: Dschinghis Khan Greatest Hits

When a lyricist decides to tackle an historical event or figure it's not an easy task. Sometimes it turns out to be a moving (or at least informational) experience and other times it's a wha? huh? 

Now some people like to hear these stories told in somber Folk, others like them told in feisty Country songs. My personal preference is learning History from German Disco bands, preferably with costumes and historical inaccuracies: I had no idea that Genghis Khan had a rocking son. Boney M's Ma Baker (no that's not a typo) was from Chicago???
(Bush Administration take note: put your bull-jive to a beat! Sorry MC Rove, you need one hell of a gay choreographer and a very talented producer on coke to make that jive fly in my book.)

Look, I know that there is a lot of serious stuff going on in the world, but "Daddy let me have some fun"! If you don't like this over the top, out of control video, I really don't want to hear about it….well, unless you use a German accent and put it to a disco beat.

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Why is the Congressional Black Caucus Institute hopping in the sack with Faux News?

Fox News, Black Caucus join forces for presidential debates. This is simply sad. The CBC should not legitimize Fox in any way shape or form, given its treatment of blacks over the years. Hell, why partner with a network that ran a bogus “Madrassa/terrorist” story about Barack Obama? The network where  Mary Matalin called black civil rights leaders attending Coretta Scott King’s funeral racist? The channel where Faux News host John Gibson called for the birth of more white babies because he’s afraid of the country being overrun with minorities?

Don’t take my word for it — it’s all right here, from foxattacks.com.

I love the clip of one of the winger brothers Faux put on to say that he had no problem with Michael Richards and his insane  “nigger rant” onstage. They can always dig up some person of color to promote their bigotry.  (AP):

Fox News, rejected by Democrats as host of a Nevada presidential debate, has a new debate partner.

The cable news network will co-sponsor primary debates for each party’s presidential field this fall in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute.

…The CBC Institute, a nonprofit group whose directors include members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Fox News announced their agreement Thursday.

Black Caucus officials made it clear that the size of the Fox News audience was more important than disputes over ideology.

The CBC Institute is committed to presenting the presidential candidates to the broadest audience possible,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the institute, said in a statement. “Collaborating with Fox News provides an opportunity to take this presidential election to millions of households.”

Color of Change has launched a campaign to let the CBC Institute know that this partnership is not only unacceptable, but embarrassing.

The Congressional Black Caucus is letting us down at a time when Black Americans need strong and strategic leaders more than ever. We are beginning a campaign to make it clear to key CBC leaders, and the voters in their districts, that the majority of us are not with them. We must keep raising our voices, making it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that Black America is speaking out against this kind of irresponsible and disrespectful representation.

While we work to shame the CBC Institute into dropping out of this embarrassing partnership with a network that consistently denigrates our people, we will also focus on the presidential candidates. The candidates should take the stand that CBC members have been afraid to take-refusing to participate in debates sponsored by a network that is hostile to the interests of Black America.

More links below the fold. (more…)

Arrests at ACT UP demonstration in NYC

A large turnout marched in ACT UP’s march in NYC yesterday (marking the 20th anniversary of the group’s founding), where 27 people were arrested during a demonstration for universal health care and drug price controls. Participants included ACT UP/New York, ACT UP/Philadelphia, the African Services Committee, Housing Works, the Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign, Physicians for a National Health Plan, Healthcare NOW, and the New York City AIDS Housing Network.

Rex Wockner has photos and coverage. Michael Petrelis reports on the “sidewalk die-in” held in San Francisco.

Joe.My.God reports that photographer/blogger Andres Duque was on the scene and filed a post with photos, as well as this video:

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Hilarious

The political heat is ramping up all over the nation's…preschools?  This satirical take on political commercials really brings home the juvenile idiocy of so many political campaigns these days, and I could not resist showing it to you guys. 

The above "commercial" is actually a response to this initial "attack ad," which also cracked me up.  "Give your gold star to Jimmy Jones.  He colors inside the lines."  Mwahahahahahahahahaha.  Hilarious.

I thought we could all use a giggle this morning — and a bit of a discussion on what we would rather see in terms of political discussion in this nation of ours.  And what we can all do to make that happen.

NOTE:  I will be on Air America talking with Thom Hartmann today around 1:40-ish 2:00-ish pm ET. (For Jacqrat's sake, I'm repeating this. Now go get your cuppa coffee, hon, and turn on the radio…we'll wait for you.)

Michigan anti-bullying legislation faces tough road in state Senate

“Homosexual activists are using legitimate concern for student safety as a Trojan Horse to sneak their special rights agenda into law.”
– Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan

With the fundies tossing out this kind of irrational hate and fear in the Great Lake State, it’s no wonder a bill that simply gives LGBT kids the ability to attend and learn without being subject to punishing harassment is going to have a tough slog in the GOP-led state Senate.

Matt’s Safe School Law (HB 4162 and 4091), the proposed anti-bullying measure named after an East Lansing youth who committed suicide after a hazing incident, passed the Dem-controlled state House (59-50 with Republicans in opposition). It would require school districts to adopt anti-bullying and harassment policies. (WOOD-TV):

“This is not kids being kids. This is causing psychological impact, psychological scars _ if not leading children to commit suicide,” said Rep. Pam Byrnes, a Democrat from Washtenaw County’s Lyndon Township, who spoke at a rally inside the Capitol before the House vote. She was joined by Granholm, along with students, parents and gay rights activists who spent the day lobbying legislators.

Conservatives opposed the legislation because it would specifically protect students who are being bullied because of their sexual orientation _ in addition to race, height, weight, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex and other characteristics.

The bible-beating homophobe Gary Glenn, of the state’s AFA, wrote this in a letter to the chair of the state’s House Education Committee, Tim Melton. Remember, this is a bill about bullying, and he’s goes off about health and homosexuality. Read the insanity after the flip. (more…)

Politics, The Rule Of Law, And You

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(Yes, I am aware that the WVU Mountaineer statue has nothing whatsoever to do with this post.  But I'm still a little giddy over our NIT tourney win from last night, and I couldn't help posting a little celebratory photo.  Go, 'Eers!  Apologies in advance to any of our readers who are Clemson grads…)

NOTE:  I will be on Air America talking with Thom Hartmann today around 1:40-ish pm ET.

Via Digby, I found this op-ed in the LATimes from yesterday that clamors for reading and discussion.  It was written by the former head of the civil rights division at the DoJ, and it is a refrain that I have heard over and over again from current and former civil servants who continuously bump up against the Bush Administration's demands for fealty over any adherence to the rule of law.  From the LATimes:

This pattern also extended to hiring. In March 2006, Bradley Schlozman was appointed interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Mo. Two weeks earlier, the administration was granted the authority to make such indefinite appointments without Senate confirmation. That was too bad: A Senate hearing might have uncovered Schlozman's central role in politicizing the civil rights division during his three-year tenure.

Schlozman, for instance, was part of the team of political appointees that approved then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's plan to redraw congressional districts in Texas, which in 2004 increased the number of Republicans elected to the House. Similarly, Schlozman was acting assistant attorney general in charge of the division when the Justice Department OKd a Georgia law requiring voters to show photo IDs at the polls. These decisions went against the recommendations of career staff, who asserted that such rulings discriminated against minority voters. The warnings were prescient: Both proposals were struck down by federal courts.

Schlozman continued to influence elections as an interim U.S. attorney. Missouri had one of the closest Senate races in the country last November, and a week before the election, Schlozman brought four voter fraud indictments against members of an organization representing poor and minority people. This blatantly contradicted the department's long-standing policy to wait until after an election to bring such indictments because a federal criminal investigation might affect the outcome of the vote. The timing of the Missouri indictments could not have made the administration's aims more transparent.

This administration is also politicizing the career staff of the Justice Department. Outright hostility to career employees who disagreed with the political appointees was evident early on. Seven career managers were removed in the civil rights division. I personally was ordered to change performance evaluations of several attorneys under my supervision. I was told to include critical comments about those whose recommendations ran counter to the political will of the administration and to improve evaluations of those who were politically favored.

Morale plummeted, resulting in an alarming exodus of career attorneys. In the last two years, 55% to 60% of attorneys in the voting section have transferred to other departments or left the Justice Department entirely.

The laws of this nation are not meant to be enforced for political expediency and to win elections. The courts do not exist to serve "Rove's shop" and "the math," and yet that is exactly how the Bush Administration has seen them from the time they entered office. A commitment to the "Rule of Bush, And Bush Alone" is not the same as advancing the interests of justice and honoring the rule of law, it simply is not. 

I keep thinking back to the GOP opposition to the renewal of the Voting Rights Act, the voter ID law shenanigans, and so many other instances over the last few years that I have lost count.  These were designed, in so many ways, to game the system for political advantage, regardless of the fact that it was an unethical perversion of the laws, their intent, and an overall attempt to thwart the sacred right of citizens in this nation to cast their own votes for their own political representation.

And I keep going back to "A Republic, if you can keep it," and wondering what else I should be doing to ensure that we do just that. (more…)