Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Ricci riddle and the law's limits - Kermit Roosevelt

"That means that the way people think about Ricci – and this includes the justices – is in large part shaped not by logic or law but by their attitudes about the world. In particular, it depends on whether they think it is more likely that minority candidates were simply not as good as the whites, or more likely that there was some unintended bias skewing the results. What drives these attitudes, as Holmes knew, is experience. The facts of Ricci are an inkblot in which we all see the pictures life has drawn for us."

Read the rest: Kermit Roosevelt - The Ricci riddle and the law's limits - csmonitor.com

Other posts on the subject worth reading (added as I find 'em):
The history behind Ricci v. DeStefano, the Supreme Court case that will decide who gets the good jobs in cities across America. (3) - By Nicole Allan and Emily Bazelon - Slate Magazine

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iran Elections: Quit Turning Your Twitter Avatars Green And Do Something

Iran Elections: Quit Turning Your Twitter Avatars Green And Do Something - Air America Media - Kase Wickman

(The whole article is damned good and well worth reading, but I'm only reposting the "here's what you can do" paragraphs (the meat) below. I'm also leaving my twitter avatar green because, while it's usefulness pales in comparison to the suggestions in the post, I do think that little green tag makes a psychological difference. YMMV...)
So instead of empty gestures and hashtags, why don't we actually engage in some activism and help, instead of whispering about this like some kind of neighborhood scandal that will never catch up to us because it's an ocean away?

There's always the option of an online donation to a relief agency like Red Crescent, for something immediate and helpful. The world runs on money and blood (as the events in Iran over the last week and a half have so morosely reminded us), and America is too far away to donate the blood that the wounded in Iran so desperately need.

You can also make donations to those covering the ongoing protests and violence, like Tehran Bureau, which is run by an Iranian-emigre out of a house in Newton, Massachusetts and is in need of financial support to keep the site live and bandwidth plentiful. Reliable information is harder and harder to come by, already 24 journalists have been arrested in Iran, and the majority of the rest have been forced out of the country by expired visas and government intimidation.

Don't have cash? There are ways you can help for free without ever leaving your computer. You can create a proxy or Twitter relay to help keep those ever-important Iranian Twitterers connected and informing the world about the situation in Iran. Or change your location and time zone to match Iran, in hopes of tripping up government censors looking for active sources.

If you're more diplomatically-inclined, and looking toward the long term, write a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council and urge them to take action on international election standards and protection for citizens.

Above all, the thing you must do before any difference can be made is to inform yourself. The term "knowledge is power" wouldn't be repeated so much if it wasn't true. So spend some time reading the news, know what the hell you're talking about, and go out and tell someone else about it, and how they can help.

If anyone has any further suggestions or links to sites & or other things worth doing, please add them in the comments. I'd prefer that this post stay as non-partisan as possible. We all know that "that" side sucks, but wingnuts, moonbats, partisans of all other stripes... ...this isn't about us here in the US.

h/t Twitter / @DivadNhoj1981

Wingnut Scum Blames America for Violence in Iran

Atlas Shrugs: IRAN: DAY 12 OF THE REVOLUTION - How could Obama do nothing? "Blood everywhere" "militia with axe chopping ppl like meat" "militia beating one woman with baton on ground - she had no defense nothing - sure that she is dead"

Pamela Gellar (and all your mindless, neocon cohorts who can't help but turn a tyrannical Iranian crackdown on their own people into a nakedly partisan referendum on a US administration for whom you did not vote),

Fuck you.


Sane America


"What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents." - Robert F. Kennedy

Maybe Something About Foreign Policy, Too...

"Whether you golf or not, go to a driving range and hit a bucket of golf balls. Begin by hitting everything as hard as you can; gradually decrease your power until near the end, you're barely swinging. Notice that as you decrease the power of your swing, your accuracy improves. There's a lesson about life, here." - The Check Book - Nicholaus & Lowrie


Friday, June 19, 2009

Olive Garden Says It Did Not Cancel Ads on Letterman Show

Olive Garden Says It Did Not Cancel Ads on Letterman Show - Media Decoder Blog - NYTimes.com
Olive Garden Says It Did Not Cancel Ads on Letterman Show

The Olive Garden restaurant chain may not have been happy with David Letterman’s jokes about Gov. Sarah Palin and her family, but no order was issued to pull commercials from Mr. Letterman’s show, a spokesman for the company said Thursday.

Whoops! Looks like Politico (the source of yesterday's post) screwed up, and I screwed up for believing them... (of course to hear them tell it: Olive Garden backtracks on David Letterman ads - Andy Barr - POLITICO.com

Yeah... Right...

Think I'll wait until I actually see an Olive Garden ad during a Letterman broadcast though, just to be sure... 8>)

I actually discovered all this via this post on Liberal Values: Revenge of the PUMAs, which goes into the whole PUMA (Party Unity, My Ass) angle of the Letterman/Palin story...

The PUMAs are group of mostly "women of a certain age" one time Hillary supporters, that for the life of me, I have never understood... If you read their sites, the vast majority is anti-Obama, anti-Democratic party screeds. The minute I saw that woman in yellow in the Fire Dave rally post below, the first thing I thought of was Harriet Christian, captured so eloquently below:

Ms. Christian was as good as her word, campaigning & voting for McCain/ Palin...

I can understand not being happy with one's party or nominee, of course, but I can't wrap my head around party activists and delegates--the people who're supposed to be the most loyal and dedicated of the party faithful--having ideas and ideals that allow them to go from supporting Hillary Clinton to voting for John McCain. Are there really such a thing as moderate party activists?

(So much for not doing any more Letterman/Palin posts... Sorry, Jennifer...)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Olive Garden pulls Letterman ads - They obviously don't want my business, anymore

UPDATE 6/19/09: Politico screwed up (or "The Olive Garden backtracked") Take your pick.

Either way: Olive Garden Says It Did Not Cancel Ads on Letterman Show

In an e-mail to a Letterman critic obtained by POLITICO, a spokeswoman for the Italian restaurant chain wrote that “there will be no more Olive Garden ads scheduled for ‘The Late Show’ with David Letterman in this year's broadcast schedule,” citing the talk show host’s “inappropriate comments.”

“We apologize that Mr. Letterman’s mistake, which was not consistent with our standards and values, left you with a bad impression of Olive Garden,” wrote Sherri Bruen, the company’s guest relations manager.


Conservative radio host John Ziegler, who previously interviewed Palin for his film “Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted,” organized a lightly attended protest Tuesday outside the “Late Show” studio.

Ziegler has listed contact information for 14 advertisers on Letterman’s show, including Olive Garden, on his website dedicated to the comedian’s firing. He called the news an “obvious victory” but vowed to continue “our quest for some sense of accountability for Letterman in this matter.”

Read more: Olive Garden pulls Letterman ads

As I said in a comment elsewhere, "Maybe it made sense once, but now that the aggrieved parties accepted [Letterman's] apology, it's just lookin' vindictive. I never did eat at an Olive Garden, before but I never had a reason not to. Allowing one's company to be bullied into submission to the point that they do something vindictive is reason enough for me..."

Guess I'll be makin' my own darn breadsticks...

Others talking about it: memeorandum

Remember when I was talking about chickenhawks?

THIS is an example of a potentially chickenhawk statement:

Fortunately, there's been a response:
Twitter Users Heckle Hoekstra En Masse | TPMDC:
Earlier today, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) put up [an] astonishing post on Twitter, likening the oppression of the Iranian people to the plight of House Republicans.

In the hours since, the Twitter community has responded -- with massive heckling.

Also, this:
Pete Hoekstra Is A Meme

Blog posts making fun of him. Pete must feel like Nancy Bellicec, at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

(To be fair however, it's also an example of an analogy, which I was just discussing --that is, getting on professor Douglas' case about-- here. So... Am I being a little bit of a hypocrite in celebrating these folks willful misunderstanding Hoekstra's analogy, after jumping on Donald when he willfully misunderstood one? Yes, I am. But at least I'm aware of it, and I'm willing to cop to it, too, (as soon as I realized it, anyway...) Besides... Some of these "hoekstraisms" are kinda funny, and that's reason enough to post about 'em.)

Previous "chickenhawk" discussions:
Sidebar, between the "Diggs I Dugg" list and the "Follow Me" gadget (as of this posting... I tend to rearrange the furniture, here.) - Donald Douglas, who serves and sacrifices for his country on the battlefields of Long Beach City College, CA
Wingnuts & Moonbats: La la lala, la la lala, Elmo's Song - Mitt Romney's sons, all serving their country on electoral battlefields throughout the country, like the 5 young men in Saving Private Ryan. (in comments... Up till then, I couldn't think of any other chickenhawks.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Video from the Fire Dave rally

I thought I was done with this story, but the woman in yellow so offended me with her ugly, vicious mind, I couldn't let it pass unchallenged... A person like that ought not to be seen or heard in public (& I really hope that wherever she works, she isn't.)...


Among the more alarming lines of attack -- particularly given that the rally was held because Letterman supposedly made a joke about Sarah Palin's teenage daughter Willow -- was that Letterman's son Harry was born out of wedlock (he recently wed Regina Lasko after dating for over a decade).

"Should we talk about his son?" one protester asked Green. "I believe his son was born out of wedlock. I believe there's a term for that."

"Is someone making jokes about his child?" asked another. "Especially, you know, when he had a daughter out of wedlock himself" (he didn't; 5-year-old Harry is his only child).

"How dare he?" asked yet a third, the most offensive of all. "When he has a bastard son, and a slut for a wife" (Letterman's wife Lasko has kept a notoriously low profile).

It should be noted that Sarah Palin's teenage daughter Bristol gave birth to baby Tripp (out-of-wedlock) in December and broke up with the baby's father, Levi Johnston, in March.
-- "Fire David Letterman" Protest Becomes Hatefest, Draws More Media Than Protesters

"I Hate Arabs More Than Anybody": Desperate Army Recruits Neo-Nazis

I believe the vast majority of American soldiers are fine upstanding patriotic citizens. But even so--even if only a tiny percentage of the military is made up of race extremists, white or otherwise--this article is chilling, because these people are getting training in how best to kill with precision, by our government.

"I Hate Arabs More Than Anybody": Desperate Army Recruits Neo-Nazis
By Matt Kennard, Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. Posted June 17, 2009.

Why the U.S. military is ignoring its own regulations and permitting white supremacists to join.

Since the launch of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military has struggled to recruit and reenlist troops. As the conflicts have dragged on, the military has loosened regulations, issuing "moral waivers" in many cases, allowing even those with criminal records to join up. Veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder have been ordered back to the Middle East for second and third tours of duty.

The lax regulations have also opened the military's doors to neo-Nazis, white supremacists and gang members -- with drastic consequences. Some neo-Nazis have been charged with crimes inside the military, and others have been linked to recruitment efforts for the white right. A recent Department of Homeland Security report, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," stated: "The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today." Many white supremacists join the Army to secure training for, as they see it, a future domestic race war. Others claim to be shooting Iraqis not to pursue the military's strategic goals but because killing "hajjis" is their duty as white militants.

Soldiers' associations with extremist groups, and their racist actions, contravene a host of military statutes instituted in the past three decades. But during the "war on terror," U.S. armed forces have turned a blind eye on their own regulations. A 2005 Department of Defense report states, "Effectively, the military has a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy pertaining to extremism. If individuals can perform satisfactorily, without making their extremist opinions overt they are likely to be able to complete their contracts."

About the title: The article opens with a profile of an Iraq War veteran named Forrest Fogarty. There's seven paragraphs discussing his teen and early adult years in the white power movement and his experience with army recruitment, and then:

In 2003, Fogarty was sent to Iraq. For two years he served in the military police, escorting officers, including generals, around the hostile country. He says he was granted top-secret clearance and access to battle plans. Fogarty speaks with regret that he "never had any kill counts." But he says his time in Iraq increased his racist resolve.

"I hate Arabs more than anybody, for the simple fact I've served over there and seen how they live," he tells me. "They're just a backward people. Them and the Jews are just disgusting people as far as I'm concerned. Their customs, everything to do with the Middle East, is just repugnant to me."

Read the whole article here

(I'd've just done a "Digg" post, but I kept getting an invalid url message, no matter what I did. Maybe I'll Digg this post instead, just to get the story the wide attention it deserves... But if anyone from Digg happens to be reading this, or anyone at all knows how to work around whatever the issue was (I suspect it had something to do with the quote marks in the title--& thus in the url--myself), please let me know...)

UPDATE: Looks like it was a Salon News article first: Neo-Nazis are in the Army now. I "dugg" that one instead, but I'll stick with this post, anyway...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sarah Palin Accepts David Letterman's Apology for 'Coarse' Jokes - (Is it finally over?)

Sarah Palin has accepted comedian David Letterman’s apology made during Monday night’s broadcast of “The Late Show” for crude jokes made about her and her teen daughters last week.

Read the rest of the article HERE, and what others are saying about it at Memorandum

I'm as sympathetic as the next guy. The jokes were crude, rude, and unnecessary. But once he said he was sorry... the first time... that should've been the end of it.

No one was, say, tortured. It wasn't like anyone used a picture depicting the imminent death of a whole lot of innocent Americans to deliver a punchline.

Dave (& really, some writer, more'n'likely) was just foolishly insensitive. It happens, especially when someone is trying to be funny. It wasn't done maliciously, with the intent of hurting anyone or achieving some further political or social end. And, contrary to the rightwing spin, there is nothing to suggest that it was intentionally or knowingly aimed at a 14 year old. (Yep... along with telling a bad Joke, Dave got the facts wrong, and thought the person about whom he was telling the joke was of age. Is it better that the joke was aimed at an 18 year old? Well, only if it's worse that the joke aimed it at a 14 year old, I guess... These things swing both ways...)

The fact is, it was just a really bad, really insensitive, rude, crude, vaguely lewd joke. I hope everyone understands where I'm coming from, and that I'm in no way defending the joke, or the people responsible for it being told.


Is it finally over? Is our long national nightmare, with every reporter & right wing blogger following Sarah & Dave's every bloody word on the subject, finally ended? Is the campaign of intimidation, which caused one company, Embassy Suites, to buckle under and pull advertising from CBS.com--they never were Letterman Show sponsors in the first place, making their quick fall to their knees even stranger--(& I know where I'm never staying, anymore...) going to end--perhaps with Embassy Suites reversing their decision, after realizing how foolish they now look?

Or are we going to keep milking it for all it's worth, trying to squeeze every last drop of publicity for one's own side, and scorn for the other side out of this silly, stupid story? Palin's gonna need a new reason for people to keep talkin' about her, ya'know... Besides, Letterman still hasn't been fired, yet... ...and I bet he has one more big ol' apology in him, if he really strains for it...

Let us pray that if they must prey, they at least find new victims...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where was FoxNews?

"According to TVeyes.com, Fox News last night during primetime (8-11 p.m.) mentioned the words "Holocaust" and "van Brunn" a grand total of three times. For the entire night."

"Falafel" O'Reilly managed to find more to say about gay penguins and duck sex than this shooting...

While both CNN & MSNBC led with the story at 8:01 pm, FoxNews pretended it didn't happen. It was like their own little holocaust (museum) denial, right before the eyes of their numerous elderly viewers...

Either they just didn't care, or they intentionally downplayed the story for reasons that are unclear...

Pretty friggin' odd, though, especially given all that baseless whining about how CNN supposedly didn't cover the recruiter shooting (which they did, of course.)

Anyway... I'm just putting it out there. Speculate at will.

Others talking:
Fox News Boycott: Fox News Limits Reporting on Holocaust Museum Shooting
Fox News downplays the Holocaust Museum killing | Media Matters for America

Maybe we ought to read that Homeland Security report again...

Rightwing Extremism:
Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment

And just to be clear... This is what they said about veterans:

Disgruntled Military Veterans

DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

— After Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991, some returning military veterans—including Timothy McVeigh—joined or associated with rightwing extremist groups.

— A prominent civil rights organization reported in 2006 that “large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the [U.S.] armed forces.”

— The FBI noted in a 2008 report on the white supremacist movement that some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups.

It doesn't say that veterans are terrorists. It says that right wing extremist groups target returning vets, and that a small number of those vets do become extremists. It is the military training that makes the small number of extremist vets more of an issue to DHS than the small number of extremist accountants or extremist small business owners, not their service.

The wingnut paranoia about this report--and the spineless reaction to it by those career security people, and moreso their political counterparts--was nonsense the first time, but would be unforgivable now, given recent events. If the mainstream right cannot admit that there are extremists and nutjobs lingering at the edges of their ideology, so be it. But that does not mean that those political and career security personnel who take oaths and pay to keep we Americans safe should cover their eyes and ears to rightwing extremism because some of our friends on the right are sensitive to the implications of rightwing violence. Their issues of identity and place should not deter us from defending this country from domestic terrorists, right or left.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Right wing nut Kathy Shaidle tries to link holocaust museum shooter to left wing

See UPDATE, below

Holocaust Museum shooter von Brunn a 9/11 "truther" who hated "neo-cons", Bush, McCain

Of course, Kathy & those citing her conveniently ignore his "creepy freeper" posts on the conservative site Free Republic, espousing the same "Obama is not a US citizen" birther nonsense as more than a few Republican/conservative loudmouths, talking heads, bloggers, and other assorted nutballs.

Does being a Freeper (or a birther, or a truther, or a hater of Bush, & Obama, & neocons, &/or all folks "not like you") make one a domestic terrorist? of course not. Crazy, perhaps, but not a terrorist. Anyone, right or left, who tries to tell you that a whole political/social/ethnic/religious/??? group is responsible for the actions of one of their nuttiest members is a lying weasel with snake oil to sell. Don't buy into their crap.

Like it or not, James W. von Brunn considered himself a part of the right wing, which is why he posted to Free Republic. From what I can tell, he was far from the typical freeper, but Freeperland is one of the places he supported, whether or not they supported him. (& until I see otherwise, I believe that his fellow freepers did not support anything more than his "birtherisms," & probably knew nothing of the rest...) Kathy Shaidle and those on the far right selling her "von Brunn as left winger nonsense" are just trying to protect themselves from the same guilt by association they so readily offer others. As so often happens with these types, there is nothing behind their baseless accusations, wild speculation, and childish name calling but more of the same empty words...

UPDATE: 6/11/09

So, I was rereading Shaidle's piece just now, and actually followed some of her links.

At one point she says
"As even some "progressives" such as the influential Adbusters magazine publically admit, "neoconservative" is often used as a derogatory code word for "Jews"."
My question is WHERE?

Follow the link for yourself, and see if you can quote the line(s) where Adbuster admits that neoconservative" is often used as a derogatory code word for "Jews". Good luck.

Kathy Shaidle. Not just a rightwing nutjob, but a lying rightwing nutjob.