Steve and Jen bring you this daily review of the news
Premium Advertiser

News Blog Sponsors

News Links

BBC World Service
The Guardian
Washington Post
Iraq Order of Battle
NY Times
LA Times
ABC News

Blogs We Like

Daily Kos
Digby's Blog
Operation Yellow Elephant
Iraq Casualty Count
Media Matters
Talking Points
Defense Tech
Intel Dump
Soldiers for the Truth
Margaret Cho
Juan Cole
Just a Bump in the Beltway
Baghdad Burning
Howard Stern
Michael Moore
James Wolcott
Cooking for Engineers
There is No Crisis
Whiskey Bar
Rude Pundit
Crooks and Liars
Amazin' Avenue
DC Media Girl
The Server Logs

Blogger Credits

Powered by Blogger

Archives by
Publication Date
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Friday, September 30, 2005

Bloomberg to snub Apollo

The legendary Apollo Theater

Bloomberg Refuses To Appear At First Mayoral Debate
September 30, 2005

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is refusing to appear at the first official mayoral debate that is being held at the Apollo Theater next Thursday


Instead of participating in the first debate, the Bloomberg campaign will join two other debates scheduled in the final days before the November election.

Ferrer blasted the mayor for the move, releasing a statement which reads in part: “Bloomberg's refuse to attend next week's Campaign Finance Board debate should give New York City voters reason to pause and ask the fundamental question, ‘Why is Mike Bloomberg unwilling to defend his record?’"

The Times has an article on Freddie Ferrer's "self-inflicted" wounds.

This tops all of them to a degree which is simply unimaginable.

It is widely understood that he needs black voters to win reelection. Yet, he thinks he can avoid a debate at the Apollo?

Who the hell is advising him? Didn't he hire some blacks to work with him, to network with him on getting votes and influencing people?

So who the fuck said avoiding a debate at the Apollo would be anything but mind-numbingly stupid?

Let me explain: the Apollo is the heart of Black New York. It is where our legends were made. The control of the Apollo was and is a major issue in New York politics. To snub it, is to snub black New York. If the debate had been anywhere else, the strategy of late debates might be smart. But, considering the first debate was at the Apollo, not showing up says something very simple to black New Yorkers: disrespect.

I simply cannot believe that Bloomberg would not realize how black New York would take this.

To not appear at the Apollo is a gross insult to black New York and one which will not be forgotten. Why? Because it harks back to how Giuliani refused to meet black New Yorkers in his town hall meetings, for one thing. It also reflects poorly of his understanding of how black New Yorkers feel about the Apollo and about respect. And Sunday radio will be all over this. If he thinks a Friday news dump will hide this, he couldn't be more wrong.

To let Tom Ognibene and Freddie Ferrer take the stage of the Apollo without him would be amazing. And very stupid. Bloomberg cannot win without black votes. Refusing to debate in Harlem, especially the Apollo of all places, will not help him with black voters.

I would be surprised if he didn't change his mind.

posted by Steve @ 7:38:00 PM

7:38:00 PM

The News Blog home page

My reply to Robert George

The Black Republican turtle


Your reply was sad, really.

No one is asking why you aren't a Democrat. No one cares.

What I am asking is why you refuse to stand up for black people. You don't need a party card for that.

You know, when black Democrats didn't like how Mark Green treated their leaders, they voted Republican. They didn't need his insults and they didn't have to vote Democratic. Why? Because they could and Mark Green was sent into electoral oblivion.

But time and again, you remain a Republican, you swallow their insults and then, amazingly, worry about my language? I'm a 40 year old black man. I remember reading Dick Gregory's Nigger as a kid. I still own the book, battered and taped, but it's still around. Do you want to know why the word comes to mind, because you people act like niggers. No pride, no dignity, no self-respect.

You know, my mother would ascribe your conservatism to being West Indian, and thinking you're better than American blacks and slavishly seeking white approval. I disagree with her. I think you're an idealist. I think you believe you can be a conservative, and black and treated fairly. Reality, however, means you must constantly prove your loyality and fidelity to your mentors. The problem is that to do, you must constantly belittle and deny the plight of blacks in America, or attack the Democratic Party and the black support they get.

Why is it a mystery that blacks don't support the GOP? Why do you think none of you people could run in a black electoral district and win? You would be lucky to get 20 percent of the vote and we both know it.

You see how the New York GOP has treated Randy Daniels like a red-headed stepchild? He's been shoved out the Senate race and is begging for support to lose to Eliot Spitzer for governor. They treat him as if he's unwanted. And we see this and know the GOP has no home for us.

No, Bob, it's not racism, but contempt. If you don't like being called a house negro or a slave stop acting like one. Stop chasing after white people who show their contempt for your people openly. Who discuss race as if you're not in the room. Clearly Bill Bennett has dealt with blacks in his career, even as staffers, and then, despite that, tosses off genocide as if it it's just a bad idea. Your friends at the WSJ editorial page ran a racist screed Southern Partisan would be embarassed to run. The folks at Stormfront are more subtle.

See, Bob, here's the problem, you say you disagree with them, but you still work for them, still explain away their positions. Sure, you complain a little, but you never stand up. A sharply worded essay is no challenge. How Deroy Murdock looks himself in the face is amazing to me. His coworkers wrote about black people like barely domesticated animals. A man, a real man, would have challenged that, quit his job. The insult would have been to shameful to live with. To explain that his coworkers thought black people, people like himself, should die, must take the kind of seperation of self which would amaze a VA shrink.

What does he think? They don't mean me. They mean those low-class niggers in Anacostia.

No, they mean him, you and the rest of their house pets, Bob. That is who they mean. Despite knowing you, they can write that and laugh.

Speaking of treacherous black conservatives, well Bob, it's nice to know that you folks admit that your agenda is to betray black people. I mean, you people push vouchers, knowing that they will ultimately go to fund seg academies in the South, you people parrot lines about blacks being dumb and voting Democratic, you people support tax cuts which harm working class people, especially the black working class. You support the end of public housing, so that black people are at the mercy of slumlords.

We can talk about your treachery, your placing of self above all, all day.

But I want to also talk about words. Not words like nigger and porch monkey, but other words:

Social Justice


Health Care

Fair Housing

Diverse Media

Affirmative Action

You know, Bob, the words that matter.

While words like nigger may unnerve you, upset you, I suspect that it really your conduct which bothers you. The fact that, close to the surface, you know my words are true, like a dagger into your conscience. You know the people you have supported have shown their real face, their hateful contempt for black life. Your pathetic challenges are flicked away like gnats. They don't have to respond to you, much less apologize, because they own you. All you do is serve as window dressing. Makes the soccer moms feel better.

But ask them for something real, like those ministers did on prison reform and see what happens. Nothing. Because when it comes down to it, they will not sacrifice one white vote for you. Not one.

Let's talk about Rev. Flake for a minute. Remember why he left Congress? Something about sexual harassment? Then he went back to his church and then sucked up to the most racist mayor in New York's modern history, Rudy Giuliani. How many times did you defend him, Mr. George. How many times?

Now, I don't have a problem dealing with the GOP, I've worked for them. But what I do have a problem with is this: not standing up. When the NYPD was murdering black people, where was Flake? Nowhere to be found. Was he meeting with the mayor? Leading his congregation in protest? No. He was out for him and his. As long as he got the money, he kept his mouth shut and built his empire. What he did not do is shepard his flock in the way of the black church. He stood for material gain, and this is a man you laud?

I don't have to tell people the GOP is evil. my 10 year old nephew knows that. And we don't have say something as simplistic as the GOP is racist. Howard Stern said that today on the radio. That's assumed. Last year, they had a mock election in my niece's class, and she mistakenly voted for Bush. When she got on the phone, she apologized, "I'm sorry Uncle Steve, I voted for Bush by accident". She was all of seven. Even then, she knew that wasn't the right thing, and given how busy my sister is, she isn't giving lectures on politics to her tweener kids.

The question you need to ask is this, Mr. George: why do you still associate with a party who embraces racists? Do you think you can change them?

I mean, that's right out of the battered spouse playbook. "If I love them enough, I can change them".

Well, no. Because they don't want to change. What was that? Project 21? What happened to that? And all the other iniatives of the GOP to gain black voters? Didn't people quit because the party wouldn't listen to them?

You know, Republicans are great at talking up capitalism, but better at keeping the door closed to blacks. I don't see any move to end housing discrimination or redlining, acts which wouldn't cost a dime to impliment. If you want more entrepreneurs, something which you can see in Harlem today, it might be nice if you could get loans and insurance without jumping through hoops. Not just a payoff to their allies and their "minority-owned" firms with the figurehead black "owner" and white backers.

You mentioned Michael Steele being different than Alan Keyes, and lo and behold, here's an article about Bob Erlich holding a fundraiser at an all-white country club.

Maryland’s Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele back-pedaled Saturday on previous comments that downplayed Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s decision to hold a fundraiser in a restricted country club that allows blacks to enter but prohibits them from becoming members.

When Steele, who analysts suspect will run for a U.S. Senate seat against former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume in 2006, was first asked to comment on the location of the fundraiser, he referred to the flap as “all a bunch of nothing.”

During an interview with a Washington, D.C.-area radio station, Steele said his opinion has changed a bit. “I admit that my initial reaction to this was a little more flippant than it should have been. When I was posed with this question, my response was in the context of all the things I am fighting for and thinking about,” said Steele, stating that minority access to a better education is more important to the community than access to the restricted Elkridge Club in Baltimore.

See, Bob, that's why we don't trust or like Black Republicans. Because there is no position that will force them on their hind legs. It's outrageous that a major country club in Maryland doesn't accept blacks as is. It's more outrageous that the governor of the state would hold ANY event there. But you know what's worst of all? What really sucks? That Michael Steele, when confronted with this, acts like it's no big deal. Shit, if it was no big deal, they'd let blacks in as members. He's acting as if this is not a problem. He's the lieutenant governor and the racists in this club would not have him as a member. A man would at least note that minor fact. But not a black Republican.

Why did he backtrack? Because black citizens were outraged and whites were stunned. But he acted like he didn't even understand why it would be a problem. That is why black voters hold Black Republicans in contempt.

You think that inspires confidence in voters, black or white? How can you trust someone who won't stand up for himself. Black Republcians don't get that their craven behavior repels white voters as well. If he can't recognize an insult, how can he actually stand up for what he says he believes in?

Bob, you keep missing the point, sadly, broadly, and completely.

Even today, yet another Black Republican seems eager to sell his people down the river for little reason.

HUD chief foresees a 'whiter' Big Easy

By Brian DeBose
September 30, 2005

A Bush Cabinet officer predicted this week that New Orleans likely will never again be a majority black city, and several black officials are outraged.

Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development, during a visit with hurricane victims in Houston, said New Orleans would not reach its pre-Katrina population of "500,000 people for a long time," and "it's not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again."

Rep. Danny K. Davis, Illinois Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, quickly took issue.

"Anybody who can make that kind of projection with some degree of certainty or accuracy must have a crystal ball that I can't see or maybe they are more prophetic than any of us can imagine," he said.

Other members of the caucus said the comments by Mr. Jackson, who is black, could be misconstrued as a goal, particularly considering his position of responsibility in the administration.

"I would beg and hope that the secretary, if that is what he is saying, would re-evaluate the situation," said Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat.

Mr. Jackson, whose remarks were reported by the Houston Chronicle, said New Orleans might reach a population of 375,000 people sometime late next year with a black population of about 40 percent at the highest, down from 67 percent before Hurricane Katrina sent a storm surge that overwhelmed New Orleans levees and flooded 80 percent of the city.

I mean, why would he say that? And then act that if the people of New Orleans have no right to reclaim their homes?

He acts like land theft would be no big deal. Now, it's clear that at present, many do not plan to return, but this makes it seem as if they would not have the right to.

Once again, a black Republican seems to advocate policies which would harm black people.

When it isn't ignoring insults. it's actively seeking to harm black people, their own people.

So exactly why should any black person be a Republican if they aren't ambitious to the point of willing to harm other people?

Update: I think Bob has lost his fucking mind. Seriously.

This transcript is from today's Good Morning America

REP. JESSE JACKSON JR. (D-IL): He should be removed from the airwaves as soon as possible. Bill Bennett owes America an apology. He certainly owes African-Americans an apology.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): I'm not even going to comment on something that disgusting. I'm really not, and I'm thinking of my black grandchild, and I'm just going to hold.

TAPPER: On Hannity & Colmes, Bennett said he was just making a hypothetical argument.

BENNETT (video clip): This is like Swift's "Modest Proposal," for people who remember their literature. You put things up in order to examine them. I put it up, examined it and said that is ridiculous and impossible, no matter who advances it.

TAPPER: But why immediately link blacks and crime? Bennett told me on the phone that race was on his mind because of recent stories in the media about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

BENNETT (audio clip): Stories about looting and shooting and gangs and roving gangs and so on. ... I'm sorry if people are hurt, I really am. But we can't say this is an area of American public policy that we're not allowed to talk about race and crime.

TAPPER: Robert George, a Republican editorial writer for the New York Post, agrees that Bennett's comments were not meant as racist but he worries they feed into stereotypes of Republicans as insensitive.

GEORGE: He should know better the impact of his words and sort of thinking these things through before he speaks.

TAPPER: In light of accusations that the Bush administration was not as sensitive to victims of Hurricane Katrina because many of them were black, one Republican official tells ABC News that Bennett's comments were probably as poorly timed as they were politically incorrect.

SAWYER: Well, Jake, I saw that you talked to him. What adjective did he use for what he said?

TAPPER: He didn't -- he said he was being provocative. He has a background in philosophy, and the idea was merely to put out a construct to discuss and shoot down. He did not seem particularly apologetic. He said he was sorry if anybody was hurt, but he saw this as a way that his enemies, his opponents were out to get him.
Are you fucking kidding me? Here we go again, explaining away racist words. Oh, he didn't mean to call for genocide, it just came out of his mouth. Bob, why didn't you just denounce this fucking statement for being racist, like everyone else. But no, you have to explain away the comment, minimize it.

What the fuck is wrong with you? Are you ill? Does Bennett have pictures of you blowing him? Why in God's name would you defend this? What possible motivation would you have to do something so fucking sad. Like I said, if you don't want to be called an Uncle Tom, stop acting like one.

posted by Steve @ 2:13:00 PM

2:13:00 PM

The News Blog home page

See Florida and die

WARNING: You may get shot in Florida

Attention: testy visitors risk being shot in Florida

Thu Sep 29, 3:14 PM ET

MIAMI (AFP) - Welcome to Florida, but avoid arguments or thanks to a new law you run the risk of getting shot, according to an ad campaign launched by a gun-control group.

The campaign coincides with a state law that enters into effect authorizing gun owners to shoot anyone in a public area who they believe threaten their safety.

The law, supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA), was approved by the state legislature in April. Governor
Jeb Bush described it as a "good, common sense, anti-crime issue" when he signed it into law. His is a brother of US
President George W. Bush.

Supporters call it the "Stand Your Ground" law, while opponents call it the "Shoot First" law.

Under the previous law gun owners had first to attempt to withdraw and avoid a confrontation, and were authorized to shoot the threatening individual inside their home or property.

Critics say the current law allows gun owners to shoot if they engage in a simple argument. Supporters say that criminals will think twice when they try to attack someone in public.

Before the law was "on the side of the criminal," said Marion Hammer, head of Unified Sportsmen of Florida and a former NRA president. "The new law is on the side of the law-abiding victim," Hammer said.

Enter the Washington DC-based Brady Campaign to Control Gun Violence. The group will run ads in US and British newspapers warning tourists planning to visit Florida that a "nervous and frightened" Florida resident could shoot to kill. "Warning: Florida residents can use deadly force," the ad states.

"If you are involved in a traffic accident or near-miss, remain in your car and keep your hands in plain sight. If someone appears to be angry with you, maintain to the best of your ability a positive attitude, and do not shout or make threatening gestures," the ad reads.

The Brady Campaign promises to also run ads in French, German and Japanese newspapers if they can stretch their budget. They also plan to hand out fliers and post signs on the Florida highways with the warnings.

"It is reasonable to make people know that while they're visiting Florida they should take the right precautions to avoid potentially being victims of violence," Brady Campaign spokesman Peter Hamm told AFP.

Ooops. What? No Christmas at Walt Disney World?

Well, not unless you like dodging bullets from maniacs.

Couldn't just shoot someone and say they threatened you?

posted by Steve @ 2:03:00 PM

2:03:00 PM

The News Blog home page

Happy Yom Kippur

Put down the horn and pick up the pig feet. Unless you
want to be left behind and go to hell, Jew.

Jews condemn Southern Baptist effort
Anti-Defamation League: Use of converted Jews is offensive

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- A leading Jewish organization is condemning the Southern Baptist Convention for using a group of "messianic" Jews -- those who have converted to Christianity -- in its evangelism.

Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman said the effort is offensive because the Southern Baptists are using Jews who have converted to Christianity "to go after other Jews."

"If people convert, that's their individual business," Foxman said. "But don't use them as a tool to convert other people."

At the heart of the ADL's complaint is a decision by the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee to ask its missionary boards to study the idea of recognizing the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship as "an evangelistic mission to Jewish people."

The fellowship is made up of about a dozen congregations in the United States. Its Web site says its mission is "to encourage Jewish believers that their ethnic and historical heritage need NOT be lost upon their commitment to Yeshua [Jesus]."

The idea to use the fellowship was proposed at the national convention in Nashville in June. The SBC executive committee recommended last week that its International Mission Board and North American Mission Board study the possibility.

Jim Sibley, coordinator of Jewish Ministries for the SBC's North American Mission Board, said the ADL was overreacting. The committee was simply forwarding the proposal, he said.

"Personally, I don't really see this (recommendation) going anywhere," Sibley said Thursday.

There's a history of conflict between Jews and Southern Baptists over this issue.

The Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution in 1996 calling on its members to "direct our energies and resources toward the proclamation of the gospel to the Jewish people."

A 1999 prayer guide by the International Mission Board recommended conversion of Jews to Christianity during their High Holy Days, an effort labeled "offensive and disrespectful" by Jewish leaders.



I'm glad to see that this issue is getting some press. These guys are little more than thinly-disguised "Jews for Jesus" freaks. When I was in college they went out of their way to disrupt High Holy Day services. If these guys had one-half of one testicle, they'd go set up their shop outside of Mosque #7 up in Harlem or a Fruits of Islam center. Seriously, I'd love to sell the rights to the footage of that. Then again, I have a grain of a feeling that they "converted" just so they could call their fellow congregationists "heebs" and "kikes" to their faces. Next project: They try to convert to being Black.

Happy Yom Kippur is what Stephen Colbert said to Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, as a stunned Stewart tried to explain how wildly inappropriate it was.

Kinda like this.

posted by Steve @ 12:24:00 PM

12:24:00 PM

The News Blog home page

The $100 laptop

My brother likes death squads

Sub-$100 laptop design unveiled

Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Labs, has been outlining designs for a sub-$100 PC.

The laptop will be tough and foldable in different ways, with a hand crank for when there is no power supply.

Professor Negroponte came up with the idea for a cheap computer for all after visiting a Cambodian village.

His non-profit One Laptop Per Child group plans to have up to 15 million machines in production within a year.

A prototype of the machine should be ready in November at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunisia.

Children in Brazil, China, Egypt, Thailand, and South Africa will be among the first to get the under-$100 (£57) computer, said Professor Negroponte at the Emerging Technologies conference at MIT.

The following year, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney plans to start buying them for all 500,000 middle and high school pupils in the state.

Professor Negroponte predicts there could be 100 million to 150 million shipped every year by 2007.

Virtually indestructible

The laptops will be encased in rubber to make them more durable, and their AC adaptors will also act as carrying straps.

The Linux-based machines are expected to have a 500MHz processor, with flash memory instead of a hard drive which has more delicate moving parts.


If these things came with full immunizations and a personal water-purification tube, this would be perfect.

So, who writes the software?

It's not like you can use Office, can you?

I think the next governor of Massachusetts might well pass on this when parents and school districts start bitching about support issues. Someone has to develop software to run on the code, educational software, which now comes in Mac and Windows. They have to train people to support these machines.

Wi-fi. Interesting. If you can set it up, that is.

This isn't a bad idea, but it seems to be less thought out than you would think.

posted by Steve @ 5:35:00 AM

5:35:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Installing Sadr

So, this can get worse?

Officials Fear Chaos if Iraqis Vote Down the Constitution

Published: September 30, 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 - Senior American officials say they are confident that Iraq's draft constitution will be approved in the referendum to be held Oct. 15, even though Sunni Arabs in Iraq are mobilizing in large numbers to defeat it.

In testimony before Congress on Thursday, the senior American military commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. of the Army, said the most recent analysis of intelligence from across the country supported the Bush administration's optimistic predictions that the referendum would pass.

But if the constitution is defeated, several officials said they feared that Iraq would descend into anarchy.

Approval "is critically important," a senior administration official said, "to maintain political momentum. That is the critical thing for holding this whole thing together."

Private organizations in Iraq, many working with government financing, say their own analyses, based on discussions with hundreds of Iraqis, polling data and other information, have also led many of them to believe that the constitution would be approved.

Their calculations are complicated, because by law the constitution will fail if it is rejected by two-thirds of the voters in any three of Iraq's 18 provinces, even if a majority of voters nationwide approve it.

In regions dominated by Sunni Arabs, opinion polls have shown sentiment running just about two to one against it. It is unclear, in those provinces, how get-out-the-vote campaigns by the opposing factions may tilt the balance, or how much the turnout on either side may be suppressed by the continuing violence.

But no matter how the vote goes, several officials said in interviews, the violence in Iraq is likely to increase significantly.

Tom Friedman suggested that if the Sunnis didn't play ball, we arm the Kurds and Shia.

He is an especially stupid man.

The Sunnis are only a minority in Iraq and Iran. They are the majority of Muslims in the world. You turn them into vicitms, you'll have Lebanon 2.

The fact is that there is no good solution for the US in Iraq. At the end of the day, Moqtada Sadr is looking better and better as Saddam's real successor. This is amazing. Just amazing.

posted by Steve @ 5:23:00 AM

5:23:00 AM

The News Blog home page

The shorter Judy Miller

Judy Miller's contortions to explain her snitching

Miller Agrees to Testify in CIA Leak Probe

- - - - - - - - - - - -

By JOHN SOLOMON Associated Press Writer

September 29,2005 | WASHINGTON -- After nearly three months in jail, New York Times reporter Judith Miller was released Thursday after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the disclosure of the identity of a covert CIA officer, two people familiar with the case said.

Miller left the federal detention center in Alexandria, Va., after reaching an agreement with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Legal sources said she would appear before a grand jury investigation the case Friday morning. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings.

Goddamn it, if I have to listen to Tony Yayo's Thoughts of a Predicate Felon one more time, I wil shank someone. All day in the cell block, all night. And it's not that, then it's fucking Pussycat Girls. Jesus. I can't take any more, get me Scooter Libby

Judy: Scooter release me from my agreement or I'll tell your wife I fucked you

Scooter: But, that didn't happen.

Judy: So I've fucked enough people that she'll believe me.

Scooter: Please

Judy: Sign the fucking paper. NOW!!!.

Scooter: Ok.

I think she had enough of the cornrows and tats set to make a point. Fitzgerald was tougher than her in the end and jail sucked, especially when you're 30 years older and far better educated than your cellmates. Machisma has it's limited

posted by Steve @ 12:01:00 AM

12:01:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The three piece suited Klan

Charles Murray and friends discuss how black
people are animals.

This ran in theProspect

OP-ED PAGE TRENDS. Over at Duncan Black's place yesterday, historian Rick Perlstein, now at work on a book on Richard Nixon's southern strategy and the political dimensions of recent racial tensions, finally gave up circulating his post-Katrina op-ed to newspapers and put it to pasture on the blogs. That Rick, who'd never before failed to place an op-ed, couldn't seem to find this one a home was odd. It was timely, counterintuitive, sober, considered, and even important. It argued that reports of marauding bands of blacks were way overstated, that horror stories from the Superdome and tails of post-deluge drivebys were largely myth, as were similar fables that circulated after similar disasters in the past. That struck me as an important topic, the sort of thing we keep historians around for, but clearly the nation's op-ed page editors thought hysteria and reawakened racism were better for circulation.

Which brings us to today's Wall Street Journal atrocity. Penned by Charles Murray, he of The Bell Curve fame, it argues that what we're seeing post-Katrina isn't poverty but a once-again visible "underclass," a sort of shadow society of unsocialized black men with no appetite for work, no capacity to hold jobs, and no ability to be helped through conventional methods. They are, quite literally, savages, unable to function in the world the rest of us inhabit. They are, as he puts it, the "looters and the thugs," not to mention the "inert women doing nothing to help themselves or their children." And government attempts to craft helpful policy will fail because, after all, it doesn't matter if you give a gorilla a college loan, it's still a gorilla.

I've no idea where Murray got the idea that the New Orleans evacuees lacked jobs rather than cars and social skills rather than transportation -- from deep within his own prejudices, I'd guess. And where he got the concept that these men and women are somehow incapable of holding jobs and unwilling to send their children to school -- that's all similarly obscure. The absence of autos affects the social and the unsocialized alike; the folks you see on buses are often en route to jobs they hold, contra Murray, perfectly well.

But if his argument is flawed, its aim is clear. All those stories of urban anarchy were, to Murray, accurate, everyday manifestations of the Black people we'd hidden from sight. The normal explanation, that their assumed bad behavior was a reaction to extraordinary circumstance -- that was the wrong part. This had nothing to do with Katrina; it was part and parcel of an inferior race, an incorrigible culture.

The difference between he and Perlstein couldn't be starker. Where Perlstein set out to debunk the racialized hysteria, Murray embarked on a campaign to rationalize it. Where Perlstein brought historical insight to the issue, Murray simply asserted policy failures without offering a way forward. And where Perlstein found his op-ed universally rejected, Murray got published in one of the nation's largest papers. As has happened so often in the past, racial fable proved far more attractive than fact.

--Ezra Klein

You know, it's like a sewer opened up and all the racists are floating to the top like shit. I mean, this is just disgusting, and shows what a lack of minority managers in the news media leads to.

Murray doesn't want a way forward. He's a racist who wants blacks to disappear. I mean, I want to know what the hell the editors of the WSJ editorial page are thinking.

Murray knows nothing of black life, nothing about black people. Most of those people were low wage workers, not animals. Yet, this racist tripe ran on the pages of the nation's leading financial paper.

You know, if I was Bob George, I'd worry about these words. This isn't secret, or muttered in a chat room. You would get hammered for that in Free Republic. Even they don't tolerate racists like this.

I wonder how many Black Republicans will denounce these words? Or will they make yet more excuses for this.

Bill Bennett yesterday, Charles Murray today.

posted by Steve @ 8:13:00 PM

8:13:00 PM

The News Blog home page

Welcome to East Texas. Get off and we'll shoot you

East Texas hospitality: get off the
bus and we'll shoot you

The Beaumont Enterprise

EVACUATION "like a horror movie"

By: Robert Lopez, The Enterprise 09/28/2005

DALLAS - Alex LeBlanc left Beaumont on Thursday to begin a 50-hour bus trip across East Texas. What he experienced, he said, was "like a horror movie."

He couldn't get off the bus to buy food. The drivers were exhausted. And he couldn't go to the bathroom.

"Just had to wait," he said. "I tried to drink as little as I could, but I'm a diabetic. I need a lot of fluids."

LeBlanc was one of about 3,000 evacuees who fled Hurricane Rita aboard a convoy of about 50 Beaumont Independent School District school buses. The drivers originally were scheduled to pull into Lufkin, but were prevented from stopping there. That pattern continued until they reached Canton, about 250 miles from Beaumont, at about daybreak Saturday.

In Lufkin, 81-year-old Charlotte Ranger of Beaumont was struck by a vehicle and killed Friday afternoon after exiting a bus. Lufkin police were unsure whether the bus was part of the convoy. Several bus drivers from the convoy on Tuesday were staying in Reunion Arena, one of the three main Dallas shelters now housing about 1,700 people from Jefferson County.

As they sat outside on folding chairs, having a smoke, they described seeing people on their front lawns glaring at them with shotguns in hand, and pickup trucks with nooses hanging in back (most of the bus passengers were black).The drivers said whenever they tried to stop to rest or let their passengers use the restroom, town officials had court orders waiting for them to get out of town, an assertion those town officials later denied.

Driver Toni Soularie, 49, said she nearly had a violent confrontation when she pulled into a rest area.

"This officer said he was going to shoot me if I didn't get back on the bus," she said. "At that point I was prepared to let him shoot me. I had this invalid on the bus who was already embarrassed because she urinated all over herself. And I was not going to let her embarrass herself again. We just got off.

"But the officer stayed right there with me - made sure we were going to get back on."

Tela Mange, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety said she was unaware of anybody drawing guns.

"I have not heard about that," she said. "At one point several people got off. One refused to get back on, but we helped her get back on."

Drivers said they carried some food and water with them, but it was quickly exhausted, and for two days, they had almost no other way of getting provisions to their fellow evacuees. What help they did receive was meager.

"In Lufkin they actually gave us hot water," said Cori Williams, Soularie's son, who also is a driver for BISD. "And this is our home state. We shouldn't have to drive all over creation to find some place to sleep."

With nowhere to stay the night, desperate drivers were letting passengers (most of whom had no commercial driver's license) take a turn behind the wheel while they rested. Soularie said some were singing gospel music and praying over the radio to help each other stay awake. Eventually, BISD Transportation Director Clifton Guillory said, DPS drivers came on to offer some relief.

Guillory said he knew there were problems, but not to what extent.

"It was very hard to get communications out of East Texas," he said.


Soularie said that in Kilgore, they thought about stopping in an empty Wal-Mart parking lot, but again were turned away. The town, drivers said, was one of the roughest portions of their journey.

"When we tried to exit there, cars would actually back up on the ramps and force us to get back on the freeway," Cassandra Francis, a 46-year-old BISD driver, said.

Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said he didn't know much about the convoy, but echoed DPS's concerns about the need to press on.

"There were 10,000 people moving north at the same time," he said. "If they stopped, everybody might want to get off, and that would create even more delays."

By the time the vehicles got to Tyler, winds and rain were lashing them. The convoy arrived in Canton, the only place Mange said could take them in, about 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The buses themselves remain there and Soularie, Francis and Williams, as well as most of the other drivers who accompanied them on the trip, are stranded. They say they don't know when they're going back and haven't heard much news from home, other than the fact that Beaumont is a mess. When they do return, it'll probably be by a different route.

"I don't ever want to go back to some of those towns," Francis' 70-year-old father, Billy Bossette, said.

"Not ever."

posted by Steve @ 8:12:00 PM

8:12:00 PM

The News Blog home page

A reponse from Lower Manhattanite

Baby Aardvark

Lower Manhattanite responds to Mr. George's comments.

I'll have more to say later, but let me put it like this: if you don't want to be called a nigger, don't act like one. I'm a New Yorker, I say exactly what I mean.

Wow. Who knew it would get to this point?

A reading of my actual comment notes several times that I actually give George a bit of distance from a lot of his damaged Black brethren on the right. I also call attention to his seeming conflict with his place among his White brethren on the right as well. I did...I did use some pretty blunt and yeah, I'll say it...downright venomous language to describe his runnin' buddies.


Because these folks...these few, for the most part unquestioning, self-centered folks do damage far in excess of their number to African Americans by giving the wide, evil vein of bigotry in the GOP cover for its destructive policies against Black folks on the whole. I'm thinking beyond myself and of African Americans as a whole...the people Bush and his FEMA jockey Mike Brown left to die in fetid water and pestillence. The people who GOP anointed "morals" exemplar William Bennett oh-so-easily imagined having all their babies aborted as some draconian crime-lowering measure. The people who in virtually every election since reconstruction have seen racists in power champion, exult in and actively foster suppressing their votes while their ancestors built so much of this land via their uncompensated slave labor.

If I come off as harsh and hostile, well then allow me to quote from an old school joint by Public Enemy.

"Hostile? I got a right to be hostile! My people's bein' persecuted!"

His tortured and wan spinning for the GOP and by extension, these policies spurs a wellspring of white-hot anger in me and evidently the vast majority of Black folk as well when one considers their bitter response to these sparse colored chips in the right's powdery sugar cookie.

My comment on the two middle-aged noir-cons from D.C. stands. Trotting out a "fantasy" (and a fantasy is exactly what it is) about some multitude of Black conservatives swanning about D.C. is well...kind of nutty when one looks at teh facts. Is D.C. or is it not a staggeringly majority Black, Democratic city? It is almost legendary for that status. (And has seen it's voting power and representation diminshed for thaat very reason) Considering the repeated, and well-chronicled attempts for Black conservatives to marshall their feeble numbers and band together, the idea that these two men havdn't crossed paths still seems kind of strange.

And my calling George "kid" was based on his youthful on-air appearance--flatteringly, he scans as about fifteen years younger than his stated age. (Which is still a touch younger than mine)

I do compliment him on his Dorian Gray-ish presentation.

But I will continue to savage his race-damaging coziness with those who hate us and mean us literal harm. My tossing out fightin' words like "Boy", "Tom", "Lawn Jockey" and "Buck Dancin'" are meant to shock and stun--to be a sledgehammer between the eyes to get the attention of glaze-visioned deniers of his ilk and to set off warning klaxons for those of us who may sleep on the sneakiness of the selfishly seductive Black GOP message.

As to Floyd Flake, let us not go there with him...please? I lived in his district for much of my life. That pork he got from the GOP enriched virtually nothing but his little local fiefdom. His church's housing, his church's senior citizen center, his church's voucher-funded school. Parks, streets and the Addisleigh Park VA hospital in his district all went wanting while projects he benefited from drowned in largesse. He was a dirty politician even before his "sleeping GOP" got out. Financial impropriety and personal sleaziness sticks to him like a polyester choir robe in August.

And what is so terribly telling...what drives the point Steve and I made home all the more is Robert's sad equivocating. In his world, Black people loudly decrying injustice and its enablers are somehow equal to, if not worse than a racism-striated GOP that actively enacts impactfully negative policy that actually damages the lives of African Americans.

Mean Black words and opinion tops tangible, destructive, anti-Black GOP actions.

Ain't that a b*tch?

Believe it or not though, I don't dislike George. At least he apparently has moments where he looks to his left and right and occasionally senses the suit and flag-pin concealed evil standing about him. That's more than a Thomas Sowell, Ken Hamblin, Larry Elder and most certainly a Clarence Thomas ever think to do. And even within his rather pissant comeback-ing, I can see an actual sincerity there in him. Someone trying to figure it out. Whatever it may be.

I can respect that.

Oh. One last thang?

"However, none of the words uttered by these GOpers are laced with the overt historically demeaning and racist venom that seeps throughout Steve Gilliard's post. One response is that, "Black people can use these words; we can take them back, just like rappers have taken the N-to-the-I-to-the-Double-G-A slur." Well, on the latter one, there is much debate: Hip-hop has managed re-introduce into everyday language a hateful word that all but the most blatant racist refrained from ever using in public."

"Re-introduce into everyday language"?

Are you serious?

I'm reminded of a joke a member of a prominent Black Broadcasting family told me years ago.

He said, "Do you know what the word n*gger means? It's shorthand for Black person who just left the room""


Gravatar One last thing on Floyd Flake and his willingness to compromise to enrich himself and his interests...

What makes his act al the more disgusting is that 40 years ago, another prominent pastor from New York who was also a congressman used his access to the levers of power to help downtrodden people in general...not his own collection plate-filling flock. This congressman rammed through HeadStart, college grants, food stamps, minimum wage increases, financed education and training for the deaf and funded vocational training.

Millions...millions of disenfranchised Americans were fed, schooled and found jobs thanks to this congressman's actions.

Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

Who while a flawed, overly gregarious man of huge, bacchanalian tendencies, actually looked out for the little guy.

Unlike the pocket-lining, opportunistic coward Flake.

posted by Steve @ 12:02:00 PM

12:02:00 PM

The News Blog home page

A reply

Japanese art

Ok, Mr. George has decided to reply to my comments, which I mailed to him directly. After all, I don't talk behind people's back. If I'm man enough to say it, I'm man enough to let his reply go unedited on my site.

Needless to say, my reply will be coming.

Why Am I (Still) Not A Democrat?

Last week, I asked, "Why Am I (Still) A Republican?"

I shared the frustrations that I, as a black GOPer, felt over various Republican statements during the Katrina aftermath. That turned out to be the most widely-read post in the brief history of RAGGED THOTS and elicited over a 100 comments spread between that and a follow-up post that constituted an extended response to a number of comments (especially from the always-prolific Steven J. Kelso of Ohio).

Well, a few readers noted that I never fully answered the original question. The simple reason for that -- it is a complex query, mixing intellectual views, upbringing and temperament.

However, what is easier to answer is: Why don't I just pack it in and cross the aisle (metaphorically speaking) and join the Democrats (understanding that they won't exactly reflect my generally libertarian beliefs)?

The reason for that? Well, it is because it has been made only too clear what Democrats have to offer me -- or anyone who might share some of my rather idiosyncratic views. After listing the comments of Dennis Hastert, Barbara Bush and Rep. Richard Baker (R-La.) in the earlier entry and the obstacles that they presented to those interested in trying to reach out to just about any non-traditional Republican audience, I thought it appropriate to now turn the tables and see how the rank-and-file black Democrat feels about their GOP counterparts.

Consider then the testimony of Mr. Steve Gilliard in his response,

At the outset, let me apologize to Mr. Gilliard for misspelling his name in my original item. Considering I chastised him for doing the same with my friend Deroy Murdock, I should have been more careful.

That said, here is Steve's almost exhaustive descriptive catalogue for those black folks that dare line up under the Republican banner: "s-l-a-v-e", "slave", "pathetic clowns," "token...negro," "house negro." How many real, live, actual white racists feel so comfortable in their racism to use these words in public? Steve is obviously not so shy.

Note, too, the use of the diminutive familiar of my name, "Bob." That, too, has a history in the American drama of race. In Jim Crow, the white man didn't show any respect to the "negro," so he never had to call him by any name that would connote any equality.

And, forget, of course, the need to actually know anything about one's supposed inferior.

Steve charges, "You never confront your racist party members, you never challenge their racist words and plans, and you wonder why most black people hold you in contempt?" Oh right, I never confront my party or critique it on race matters -- or anything else. It must have been someone else -- maybe that guy from Princeton -- who wrote this. And this. And this. And this . And, for that matter, this .

In fact, just looking at the comments from last week , and it can be seen that more than a few people read it in the spirit that it was meant -- a direct challenge to my fellow Republicans, reminding them of the impact of their words. Those words, though, were not explicitly racial. At worst, they betrayed a class blindness that has no place in politics. Does their class-ism betray an inner racism? I don't know. They certainly don't go so far as "nigger," which Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) used in a televised interview not too long ago. The one-time Klansman says that his use of the word doesn't mean that he still harbors racist thoughts. If we take him at his word, perhaps the same should be done with the GOP trio. Perhaps they should be given a pass.

I chose not to, because I thought that keeping these viewpoints hidden serves no purpose.

However, none of the words uttered by these GOpers are laced with the overt historically demeaning and racist venom that seeps throughout Steve Gilliard's post. One response is that, "Black people can use these words; we can take them back, just like rappers have taken the N-to-the-I-to-the-Double-G-A slur." Well, on the latter one, there is much debate: Hip-hop has managed re-introduce into everyday language a hateful word that all but the most blatant racist refrained from everr using in public.

Too early to say whether Steve will be successful in sparking some revival in massa-slave linguistics. Perhaps they will only be used in this most narrow of circumstances -- as rhetorical bullwhips to be used on the treacherous black conservatives who need to be made into examples. Responding to a commenter, Steve adds, "[Ohio Secretary of State] Ken Blackwell, [Maryland Lt. Gov.] Michael Steele and the rest of the Uncle Toms will wind up like Alan Keyes, despised by blacks and unelected by whites."

Wow. It takes a pretty drastic "they-all-look-alike" sensibility to lump Blackwell and Steele into the same basket as Alan Keyes. But there you have it.

Anyway, since this rhetorical whipping in the fields wasn't enough, Steve elevates a commenter, Lower Manhattanite
to get in additional licks. LM introduces a high-minded critique of my televised "froggy, little visage," goes after us newbies who must be "racism and self-hate damaged Black folks" eager to replace "dinosaur Toms." To the Lower Manhattanite, I am "'Boy' George" (now, there's an original one) and my colleagues are a "buck-dancing band."

Lower Manhattanite, of course, demonstrates a certain tortured logic in this attack:
(How small is the Black Republican wave? Let Bobby say it himself: Two lifelong African American Republicans the same age in D.C. who've never met? As sparse as Black GOP'ers are in D.C. and these guys have never crossed paths? Case rested, baby.)
One could actually infer exactly the opposite -- there are actually so many black Republicans that it isn't completely out of the ordinary that we actually all haven't met one another -- have all you black Democrats met? Oh, and I never said that both men have lived in D.C. all their lives. Just that they both happen to be there now. Please pay attention.

Following Steve's lead, LM dubs me, "Bobby" and continues with the racial barrage: "shifty", "lawn jockeys" and concludes by referring to me as "the kid" (ah, calling a 40-year old man a "kid" -- Jim Crow white overseers couldn't have done any better).

Former Rep. Floyd Flake, a minister and president of an historically black college, is an "Uncle Tom." Why? Because he dared actually work with Republicans to bring resources to his district and his church -- oh, yeah, and believed that creating options to the disastrous public school status quo might actually be in the best interests of black people.

And so, the answer on why I'm still a Republican lingers, but Steve Gilliard and his friend help clarify why I'm not a Democrat: A party with members that seem to feel the need to brandish racist imagery as a disciplinary bullwhip, without even attempting to engage an opponent intellectually, has a great deal of problems. Indeed, Gilliard and Company are good representatives of a party that appears to do little to woo supporters beyond "Republicans are Evil/Racist" platitudes.

As for me, I'm Robert -- not "Bob", "Bobby", or some "poor kid." I am a black man living in America in the 21st century. At various times, I may be frustrated, reflective, angry, disappointed -- and more -- over my political choices and allies. However, if the alternative is the world view that Steve Gilliard and Lower Manhattanite offer, well, I'll stay over on this side of the fence for the time being, thank you very much.

(For an example of a black man who seems actually interested in opening give-and-take space on issues of party and identity, check the blog of one of the newer visitors to these parts, Alton Darwin
. Welcome, Mr. Darwin.)
- Show quoted text -

posted by Steve @ 12:00:00 PM

12:00:00 PM

The News Blog home page

Screwing our soldiers

"You know the President body armor's fucked as well?" "Yeah, but his mother didn't have to take out a loan to pay for it."

This is from Main and Central, a brand new spanking blog


Seems that soldiers over in Iraq are still without either body armor, or if they've gone out and bought their own body armor, without reimbursement for the money they've spent.

Nearly a year after Congress demanded action, the Pentagon has still failed to figure out a way to reimburse soldiers for body armor and equipment they purchased to better protect themselves while serving in Iraq.
Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke said the department “is in the final stages of putting a reimbursement program together and it is expected to be operating soon.” But defense officials would not discuss the reason for the delay.

Krenke said the Pentagon’s first priority is to ensure that soldiers “have all they need to fight and win this nation’s wars.”
Soldiers and their families have reported buying everything from higher-quality protective gear to armor for their Humvees, medical supplies and even global positioning devices.

“The bottom line is that Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department are failing soldiers again,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Operation Truth, an advocacy group for Iraq veterans.

“It just became an accepted part of the culture. If you were National Guard or Reserve, or NCOs, noncommissioned officers, you were going to spend a lot of money out of your pocket,” said Rieckhoff, who was a platoon leader with the 3rd Infantry Division and served in Iraq from the invasion in March 2003 to spring 2004.

On the other hand, if you're a huuuge contributor to the Bush Administration, like some companies that won't be named halliburton, you not only get paid, you don't even have to bid for contracts to get piles of taxpayer-supplied cash.

It's another sign that the civilians running the Pentagon know nothing about the wars they have been complicit in starting, or how to wage them. The dumbest second lieutenant or ensign knows that taking care of your troops is their NUMBER ONE priority. Pentagon civilians and others in charge of this administration's alleged "policy" apparatus never learned that little, incontrovertable fact. They were too busy reading the "One Minute Manager" and getting their mail-order MBAs while doing their part as party functionaries to learn that simple ground truth.

So many people have said "you don't have to be a Veteran to know how to fight a war". True. But looking at BS like this, it's certainly clear that any competant vet would not leave these troops over-exposed and not reimbursed.

posted by Steve @ 11:30:00 AM

11:30:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Curtis Sliwa: How I sprung Jr. Gotti from jail

Thanks, Curtis



September 29, 2005 -- John "Junior" Gotti was freed on $7 million bail yesterday — leaving the grim confines of the federal prison where he'd been locked up since 1999 for his luxurious digs on Long Island's Gold Coast.

The jubilant former mob boss greeted reporters from the deck of his Oyster Bay Cove mansion, where the son of the late John "Teflon Don" Gotti is under house arrest after a judge declared a mistrial in his sensational racketeering case.

"How are you, my friends?" Gotti, 41, called out, giving a thumbs-up sign.

Asked how it felt being home for the first time since 1999, Gotti said, "I feel great. It feels magnificent."

A sign saying, "Welcome Home Dad" and a 25-foot arch of bright-yellow balloons greeted Gotti upon his arrival at the estate, where his wife, Kim, and five kids have lived since 1999

Of course, they didn't report on the "Thank You Curtis Sliwa" sign.

If he hadn't been such a shitty, lying withness, Gotti would still be in jail. But he was, and Gotti gets a nice, big Italian meal tonight.

Maybe if Sliwa was a credible witness and not a fantasist, the jury might have believed him.

posted by Steve @ 11:18:00 AM

11:18:00 AM

The News Blog home page

We plan to make sure this doesn't happen on inaguration day:
Rupert Murdoch and Mort Zuckerman

Did Ferrer break election rules?


September 29, 2005

Democratic mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer emerged from Flushing High School yesterday after speaking with members of the class of 2006, likely hoping that three days of unpleasant media attention were behind him.

But once again, there was a problem: The press was asking about a Giuliani-era rule, which bars candidates from visiting public schools within 60 days of an election.

That followed the flap over a church speech, the inaccurate statement on his Web site that he attended public school when he did not, and the fact that his name won't appear on the Working Families Party line, even though the party endorsed him.

Faced with these controversies, and being outspent and 14 points down according to one poll, Ferrer has repeatedly tried to turn the conversation back to the larger issues -- citing, for example, a "50 percent dropout rate" in the public schools.

"It's a really desperate attempt [by the Bloomberg campaign] to try to change the subject from the fact that we're standing in front of a school with an on-time graduation rate of barely 46 percent," Ferrer said yesterday.

The NY media has a habit of playing this game with minority candidates. They did it in 2002 with Carl McCall, filling up days of newspaper copy with how his daughter got a job, while ignoring the ramapnt corruption in Albany.

Lucky for Ferrer, this shit is so minor, and getting such little play, that it doesn't matter. These are the kinds of issues white voters hide behind to deny minority candidates votes.

But because the demographics place the election in the hands of black voters, this cat and mouse game won't mean nearly as much.

Ferrer is smart to make the high schools the issues. Because Bloomberg doesn't talk about them. All his changes have affected the lower grades, not the high schools, which seem to be in real crisis.

The papers say they understand that black voters are the key, but they aren't really responsing to it, you know, by doing detailed polling of black voters and the like and asking one simple question: would you lie to a white pollster to hide your true intentions? Because that's the most important number.

posted by Steve @ 7:55:00 AM

7:55:00 AM

The News Blog home page

We go to the movies

Jen and I shared nachos

A week or so ago, Jen made a challenge to me.

She said she would watch football with me if I went to Sephora and Lush, and expressed an opinion on what she bought.

Well, of course I have opinions, I do own a penis and do like women. But I can't dress my niece, how am I going to dress a grown woman? Much less advise her on makeup?

But being game, I said "Ok, meet me in front of Sephora on 34th Street at 1:30 on Sunday. The Giants come on at 8"

She e-mailed me saying "Oh it was a joke, I'd never make you do that."

Hell, she's already made me do that, but without opinions. She even took my niece to Sephora. My eight year niece. Who loved the place. And who I wouldn't buy anything for because my sister would have killed me.

But it amused me to call her bluff.

So, tonight, Josh Marshall had gotten tickets to a screening of Serenity, the movie version of the shortlived Fox series Firefox Firefly. My only question what do Fox execs regret more, cancelling Family Guy, or this show?

It's a good, exciting movie, more fantasy than sci-fi.

I won't spoil it, so all I'll say is that we had a good time and shared nachos. Which with a soda cost $10.25.

And let me thank Josh for the tickets.

On the way out, Jen was bitching about not having cable. In that way, she's like my mom, frugal. She won't pony up for Time Warner and is hoping RCN will cover her building.

I suggested that she, of course, get a Direct TV Dish. Which she could do, would be cheaper than cable, and get pretty good reception. She has a 27" Sony Wega. I have a 24".

"And, no, I'm not going to get a Dish TV and Sunday ticket, so you can sit on your ass all day and I make pea soup, that is the plan, isn't it."

"Well," I said "something like that." I mean, I wouldn't make her fix pea soup, she lives near enough restaurants for me to bring food. But yeah, that was the idea.

Not really, but it made us laugh.

I like stopping in the bar and yelling for a couple of hours. I don't think Jen would appreciate that.

posted by Steve @ 2:42:00 AM

2:42:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Nano: helo Beta testers

Seems the screen cracks

Problems surfacing with iPod Nano screen
Published: September 24, 2005, 12:38 PM PDT
By Michelle Meyers
CNET Staff

Some owners of Apple Computer's new "impossibly small" iPod Nano are starting to wonder if the device is also impossibly delicate.

The most widespread complaint about the otherwise highly praised device seems to be that the color display screen gets scratched extremely easily.

Nano owner Brian Cason posted one of 250-some threads in response to a recent post on Apple's discussion board about screen scratching.

"I don't really care if the case on my Nano gets scratched but my screen has scratched up so badly that all the images are starting to become distorted," Cason wrote, echoing the sentiment of many others in the discussion. "I have only carried it in my small pocket in my shorts and nothing is in there to scratch it. I still can't figure how the screen looks like it has been rubbed with sandpaper when the entire time it has been safe in my pocket (with absolutely no items)."

But this week, several users also started complaining about screens cracking, or failing, inexplicably. Nano owner Matthew Peterson set up the site (formerly to tell the story about how his Nano screen shattered after just four days, to see if others have had the same problem, and to suggest that Apple recall the Nano and use a stronger screen product.

"It is way too fragile. Apple markets it in a pocket. Hell, Steve Jobs himself pulls it out of his when he announces it," wrote Peterson, who himself was smitten with the Nano upon its release. "It was in my pocket as I was walking and I sat down. No, I didn't sit on it."

An Apple official was not immediately available for comment on the alleged problems with Nano screens

Of course, Peterson backed down and closed the site, but here's the deal: users are not Beta testers. I cannot believe, yet again, Apple sent out a product to the market place with an obvious flaw. I cannot believe no one caught this in testing.

Looking cool is not a substitute for working well. And if it was just one product, ok. But the Powerbook fires, the Ipod battery issues, come on. how many times do we have to have this discussion? All people want is their product to work without a hassle. Not another saga with a messed up product. Even if the numbers are small, they aren't that small at $250.

But of course, with their compliant cult fan base, any criticism is bashing. After all, Apple is immune to the laws of customer satisfaction and selling working products. Maybe if their fans acted like consumers, they could get cool products which worked out of the box for a few months.

posted by Steve @ 2:10:00 AM

2:10:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Yet another delay at WTC

Pataki's Folly

Pataki Bars Museum From World Trade Center Memorial Site

Published: September 28, 2005

After a summer of furious and steadily rising criticism, Gov. George E. Pataki announced today that he was evicting the proposed International Freedom Center museum from its place next to the World Trade Center memorial site. With that, the center declared itself to be out of business.

"The I.F.C. cannot be located on the memorial quadrant," Mr. Pataki said in a statement issued shortly before 5 p.m. That quadrant, at the southwest corner of the trade center site, contains the footprints of the twin towers. It is regarded by many as sacred ground, too hallowed for a museum dealing with 9/11 in the context of greater geopolitics and social history.

"There remains too much opposition, too much controversy over the programming of the I.F.C.," the governor said, "and we must move forward with our first priority, the creation of an inspiring memorial." Mr. Pataki said he had instructed the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to "work with the I.F.C. to explore other locations."

But 42 minutes later, the center said in its own statement that there was no other location to explore, since the memorial quadrant was "the site for which the I.F.C. was created, at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's request, and as an integral part of Daniel Libeskind's master site plan."

"We do not believe there is a viable alternative place for the I.F.C. at the World Trade Center site," the center's executives, Tom A. Bernstein, Peter W. Kunhardt and Richard J. Tofel, said in the statement. "We consider our work, therefore, to have been brought to an end." The Freedom Center was designated for the site in June 2004.

The surprising tumble of events raises new questions around the redevelopment of ground zero: What will go into the cultural building, designed by the firm Snohetta, on the memorial quadrant? (The Drawing Center, its other designated tenant, is already looking for other space.) Will the cultural building be constructed at all? How will that affect plans for an underground 9/11 museum?

Why did they want a museum there anyway?

This is just another indication of the mangling of the WTC development and another case where Mike Bloomberg simply has nothing to say. He should be pissed at this crap. But remains silent.

The fisaco of development here is sad, but is because of weak leadership at both City Hall and Albany.

posted by Steve @ 1:31:00 AM

1:31:00 AM

The News Blog home page

On with the victory tour

This did not go well

Turks Challenge Hughes On Iraq
Female Activists Decry U.S. Policy

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 29, 2005; A16

ISTANBUL, Sept. 28 -- A group of Turkish women's rights activists confronted Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes on Wednesday with emotional and heated complaints about the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, turning a session designed to highlight the empowering of women into a raw display of the anger at U.S. policy in the region.

"This war is really, really bringing your positive efforts to the level of zero," said Hidayet Sefkatli Tuksal, an activist with the Capital City Women's Forum. She said it was difficult to talk about cooperation between women in the United States and Turkey as long as Iraq was under occupation.


In this case, the U.S. Embassy asked an umbrella group known as Ka-Der, which supports women running for office, to assemble the guest list. None of the activists currently receives U.S. funds or had any apparent desire to mince words. Six of the eight women who spoke at the session, held in Ankara, Turkey's capital, focused on the Iraq war.

"War makes the rights of women completely erased, and poverty comes after war -- and women pay the price," said Fatma Nevin Vargun, a Kurdish women's rights activist. Vargun denounced the arrest of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq, in front of the White House this week.

Hughes, who became increasingly subdued during the session, defended the decision to invade Iraq as a difficult and wrenching moment for Bush, but necessary to protect the United States.

"You're concerned about war, and no one likes war," Hughes said. But "to preserve the peace, sometimes my country believes war is necessary," she said. She also asserted that women are faring much better in Iraq than they had under the rule of deposed president Saddam Hussein.

"War is not necessary for peace," shot back Feray Salman, a human rights activist. She said countries should not try to impose democracy through war, adding that "we can never, ever export democracy and freedom from one country to another."

Tuksal said she was "feeling myself wounded, feeling myself insulted here" by Hughes's response. "In every photograph that comes from Iraq, there is that look of fear in the eyes of women and children. . . . This needs to be resolved as soon as possible."

What? Do they think these women are idiots?

This was the only audience which didn't have links to the US and well, they gave her what she deserved.

Wow, no wonder they're afraid of Cindy Sheehan. Even I could have told you a Turkish audience would have reacted this way.

America is not the greatest place on earth to every human, and Hughes' offesnively simplistic answer would have insulted high school students, much less adults.

posted by Steve @ 1:16:00 AM

1:16:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Black Wednesday

A rainy day for the GOP

September 28, 2005 will be seen as the day, Black Wednesday, the first day of the death of the conservative movement.

Tom DeLay's fall from grace is no small thing. In some ways, it's more important than Karl Rove facing trial. DeLay ran a network of influence peddling which ran from K Street to the Texas Lege. To get him under oath, and he's shitting his pants now, could mean the end of GOP rule. Naked corruption is a bad thing in American politics, especially when it reaches into the White House. And this does.

People may want to pretend that DeLay is a victim here, but the thing about courtrooms and jails, they make people squeal like pigs. Does anyone think DeLay will go to jail alone?

The problem is when Earle gets the small fry, the messengers and secretaries who will confirm the details. the corporate execs who will do the same. A "great man" like DeLay doesn't notice them, but Earle does.

But this is just the latest disaster to befall the GOP.

It's a culture of corruption which spreads from Baghdad to Washington to Texas. It's cronyism and incompetence for all to see. It's cowardice on display.

Take a hard look at George Bush. He looks more beaten and hollow with each appearance. That swagger is replaced by a nervous smirk. He fumbles his words with hesitancy. Whether he's drinking or not, he's under a lot of visible stress. He's failing and he knows it. It's the past come back with a vengence.

And now, Bush is facing the loss of the Hammer, just not for now, but permenantly. Why? Because the trial won't happen until next year, and by then, Jack Abramhoff may be facing charges a lot more serious than bribery. Seems they found some bodies attached to a scandal he was involved in. DeLay would need a serious miracle to recover from this and a serious race in Texas 22.

What I don't think people see is this: once you start having scandal after scandal, you start to bleed political power. DeLay's indictment and Frist's SEC problems (the kind you NEVER want) mean that an independent Katrina commision will be formed. Also, Social Security theft is now dead. Bush lost his main Congressional allies, after all Hastert does nothing but say stupid things on camera. And Roy Blunt has his own ethical problems.

People have been jumping on the Dems for being slow to act, except they haven't. They've just picked their shots. And they can pick a lot more with First and DeLay jumping through legal hoops. The Congressional GOP is basically leaderless. Just wait until Blunt stands on his hind legs and makes sure that DeLay's vacation is permanent, which he will, if he has the smarts of a Missuori mule. The GOP Civil War is coming. It's taken a few months, but the GOP, in two weeks, have been placed on the defensive.

And the best part is that it doesn't matter if DeLay is convicted. By the time that all plays out, his seat will be in danger.

posted by Steve @ 1:13:00 AM

1:13:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The magic of the DOE

The best lawyer to ever run a school system

This is from Wake Up Call, a new education blog

The Emperor's New Clothes Re-Dressed

Chancellor Klein has given himself superb grades for his package of school "reforms." Shock and awe meets autumn high jinks!

Teachers and principals share an almost universal outrage at the mean-spiritedness and climate of loathing that Klein and his wrecking crew have visited from top down upon the school system. To him, the dignity of professional educators is a collective bargaining perk that he begrudges. Educational researchers and historians have nearly to an individual protested the deceit and ignorance of his once welcomed reforms.

Klein insists that it is managerial prerogative to lock out educators from their own profession. It is a profession that he is not embarrassed not to share as he commands it. He would rather break chops than break bread with educators who must now look down to see their bosses above them. Their counsel is neither sought nor tolerated. They are given no knowledge of what they must do until they are condemned for not doing it. Virtually every talented veteran teacher and principal alike, eligible to retire, is bailing out with a deep cleansing breath as soon as possible. They are united in suffering a horrid spiritual fatigue.

Klein's work is all about sound bites and sound stage. It is about performance art, not the art of performance. All his appeals to the public trust are plays on words: accountability, empowerment, standards, professional development, standards, parental engagement.

This is not the result of a turf war between management and "special interests" like children and unions. In the past, labor ( such as teachers with 200 college credits) and management could be adversaries without being antagonists, From conflict came wholesome collusion. The dynamic tension was healthy. All that has been replaced by an absolutism and repression that practically every school employee, including principals, will admit to off the record.

When Klein came on board, teachers, administrators and parents were optimistic. It hardly mattered that the band of attorneys setting educational policy had not themselves ever been imbedded in the classroom. We all shared the thrilling vision of a rehabilitated Department of Education. Change was desperately overdue. The old order had to be disarticulated.

But no sooner had Klein taken over and his policies taken off they should have been taken away.

His promised model of answerable corporate efficiency delivered nothing more in the way of renaissance than a retrograde hostile takeover. Under previous chancellors, scandal took cat- naps. Under Klein, scandal is an insomniac. But it is not a scandal that can be indicted. The racketeering is in the attitude.

Klein isn't driven by sentimental hangups about education being anything more than another numbers operation, like managing a collection agency or ambulance chasing. His dollar divas have so risen to the bottom-line that they have found a way to streamline management by bloating it more. Hundreds of new supervisors, and a dozen new job titles, have been pulled out of a six-figured hat. They were hired to count paper clips so that principals could be freed to push papers. No-bid contracts, costing but hardly worth many dozens of millions, have been awarded to foreign staff developers whose programs have been discredited by experts and experience.
Lies told loud, incessantly, and boldly can echo like truth. It is not surprising that Klein's self-congratulation has the ring of veracity.

He claims to have "replaced the politically controlled...system with a streamlined regional structure." Actually he has destroyed the final vestiges of meritocracy and returned the schools to the pre-civil service era of raw patronage. Supervisors are appointed with no competition and no oversight. Klein's "regional offices" are incommunicado with the community. There is no phone service. All business is transacted by e-mail. All the historical lines of communication have been shut down. There is mass and pervasive alienation among all constituencies: administrators, teachers, parents, and others .The majority of principals in the middle-schools of the best-performing district in the city recently retired en masse in declared disgust.

Klein commends himself for having restructured "special education." In fact he has gutted it. He has abolished all "educational evaluators" , who delivered vital testing and placement services. He then released children with special needs into a population where they will be deprived of support..He has provoked litigation.
His mandated curriculum, uniform and delivered lockstep with no flexibility for learning needs or teaching styles, has been condemned from all quarters except his cabinet. By following it religiously, schools are covering more butt than curriculum.

Klein touts his dissolution of "large, unproductive schools." All the evidence shows is that he has thereby created several smaller unproductive schools. His proud achievements on issues of "school choice", leadership training, professional development, and summer school, are considered bogus by most educators.

Klein's signature tune is the standardized test. Here too most experts are skeptical of their soundness in both conception and interpretation. These tests may have been cooked up by publishers awarded no-bid contracts to devise exams that lend themselves to favorable statistical spin-doctoring.

The chancellor celebrates the inroads he has made in school safety. Many serious incidents are unreported by victims who fear administrative reprisal for calling attention to endemic problems. It is common for assaults to be demoted into the category of "harassment." There are more safety agents at their duty stations in our schools than soldiers in many nations.

Special effects are the new mark of the educational bureaucracy. They have long been widespread in the movie and embalming industries. Cars can jump across canyons. Corpses can emerge from wood chippers with facial expressions suggestive of lottery winners. And thanks to the special effects of language, the public school system can rise from the dead and the public will think Klein is a reformer. It's all perception. He can dive into an empty pool and make a splash. Perception takes on a life all its own. Tragically for our children, Klein's defining moments will never add up to a finest hour.

posted by Steve @ 4:58:00 PM

4:58:00 PM

The News Blog home page


Editorial Staff

Add to My AOL

Support The News Blog

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
News Blog Food Blog
Visit the News Blog Food Blog
The News Blog Shops
Operation Yellow Elephant
Enlist, Young Republicans