aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, April 12, 2007
It’s not just Imus
On April 11, NBC News announced that it was dropping MSNBC's simulcast of Imus in the Morning in the wake of the controversy that erupted over host Don Imus' reference to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.” The following day, CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves announced that CBS—which owns both the radio station that broadcast Imus' program and Westwood One, which syndicated the program—has fired Imus and would cease broadcasting his radio show. But as Media Matters for America has extensively documented, bigotry and hate speech targeting, among other characteristics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ethnicity continue to permeate the airwaves through personalities such as Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Michael Smerconish, and John Gibson.
Click-through for a detailed bullet point linked list of verbal atrocities.
Finding hope for Genarlow in dropped Duke charges
The attorney for Genarlow Wilson, who is serving 10 years in prison for having consensual sex as a teenager, said Thursday she will serve Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker with a legal motion to get Wilson another day in court.
Attorney B.J. Bernstein said she hoped Baker would follow the lead of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper who, on Wednesday, dropped charges against three Duke University Lacrosse players who had been accused of sexually assaulting a stripper at a party.
That case had drawn national headlines, like the case of Wilson, who was convicted in April 2005 of having consensual sex with another teenager and given a 10-year prison sentence. He was 17 at the time, the girl was 15. He has served 27 months as Bernstein has sought to get a new trial.
She said Thursday, “We’re asking the attorney general to look at what we’re filing ... and do the same thing that happened in North Carolina.”
Ken Burns on the Southern Cross (reprise)
I don’t know enough about the rebel flag. Today I learned more. Ken Burns speaking with Campus Progress last spring:
I’m always astounded by the prevalence of confederate flags and confederate memorabilia in the South and the frequent controversy that surrounds the issue. As a someone who is tremendously knowledgeable about the Civil War and as a Northerner, what do you make of that? Do you consider it a symbol of racism?
A lot of my relatives fought for the confederacy, but some fought for the north as well. First of all, the Civil War was, in addition to the biggest thing that has ever happened within this country by far, a deeply psychological event. There is an ultimate paradox at its heart, that in order to become one we kind of tore ourselves in two. Before the Civil War, when we referred to our country we said the United States “are,” and now we say ungrammatically the United States “is.” So the war in a funny way made us a one thing. We used to speak of a union and then we became a nation. A union is a collection of things and a nation is one thing. So there are deeply important psychological issues that continue to reverberate about the Civil War.
But the point you bring up about the confederate flag is a hugely disturbing thing. The confederate flag was adopted by many of the states as their flag, not before the Civil War, not during the Civil War, or not even in the immediate period afterwards, that much misunderstood period called Reconstruction. Those flags were instituted in the 1950’s and there’s only one thing that happened in the 1950’s that would have caused the southern states to add the confederate flag. They took one of the battle flags, and it wasn’t even the most popular confederate battle flag, and made it the symbol of segregation and resistance to civil rights and codified it in their flags. In that regard I find that the enthusiasm for the confederate flag today is both misplaced, misunderstood, and absolutely a symbol of racism.
[T]he ”Southern Cross” was the naval jack of the Confederacy, not the official flag. Georgia went through a controversy some years back when it removed the Confederate flag from the state flag, but the flag they have now is actually closer to the original Confederate flag
Confederate pandering & a Romney Giuliani dream ticket
The other day Rudy Giuliani said that he would leave it to the people of Alabama to decide whether to fly the Confederate Flag over their state capitol. Today the Times editorialized against him for it:
Mr. Giuliani cannot truly believe the issues surrounding the Confederate flag are just a matter of local taste. The Civil War, the civil rights movement and the Supreme Court answered that question. Even the Southern states have largely moved on.
I’ve been meaning for some time to comment on Rudy’s “mythical figure” status; this week’s pathetic pandering has pushed me into it…
Last week on Slate’s MiniGabfest John Dickerson said, as he has any number of times, that Giuliani “turned around New York, and I lived there during this turn around and it was a real turn around.” He goes on to say that Giuliani did it the way conservatives like: by cutting taxes and getting tough on crime and cutting spending. I’d like to see each of these dissected some because I was there too and I don’t think it’s true.
I was there through Beame and Koch and Dinkins too. Now even if you want to bash Dinkins - and I decidedly do not - you have to credit him for bringing in William J. Bratton as Chief of the Transit Police and beginning the crime turn around that Giuliani gets credit for. Bratton, now Chief of Police in LA, left to become Superintendent of the Boston Police Department, then was brought back by Giuliani to become Police Commissioner. The story goes that Giuliani couldn’t countenance the credit Bratton was getting so Bratton left.
I might even imagine a steeper upward trajectory for the city had we had some other mayor, but measuring the city’s recovery from the October day in 1975 that I stood on the corner and read The New York Daily News headline, Ford to City: Drop Dead, to the day I voted against Giuliani for mayor in 1989 and again in 1993, to the day I left with Bloomberg as mayor, I don’t think Giuliani changed that trajectory all that significantly.
Rather, he benefited from the recovery of the nation as a whole, from the return of people to cities, from a confluence of trends that he got to take credit for. We can only hope he’ll be on the ticket - Romney Giuliani has a nice ring to it - so we can get more stories like this. The press will have a field day and we’ll all learn the truth behind the myth of America’s Mayor.
A kinder gentler Georgia?
Well, not exactly. AP:
A measure that would allow prosecutors to pursue a sentence of life without parole from the outset of a murder case was cleared Thursday by a House panel.
Under current law, a prosecutor must start out seeking the death penalty before a jury can opt to hand down life without parole as an alternative. [...]
Defense attorneys have been split over the measure, said Jack Martin, director of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. But he said the organization has opted to oppose the bill because ‘’it would be used as a hammer to force people to plead to a life without parole.’’
Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.”
Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I’ll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!
Via Kevin Drum, “Get this man a blog!”