aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Iran So Far Away
LATER: The clip’s been pulled from the official NBC channel because it did not clear a music sample from the group Aphex Twin. More here. I replaced it with a live embed. Meanwhile, it’s become another internet hit for Andy.
Thomas on Georgia and DC
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in a forcefully rendered new autobiography, says he was pilloried during his 1991 confirmation hearings because liberal advocacy groups who feared he would vote to overturn abortion rights were willing to stoop to “the age-old blunt instrument of accusing a black man of sexual misconduct.”
They did so by, he writes, by using untrue sexual harassment claims by Anita F. Hill, a law professor and former subordinate, whom he described as a mediocre but ambitious lawyer and labels as “my most traitorous adversary.” [...]
In large measure, the Thomas book is a lengthier version of his staunch denials at the time. It is notable, however, for his overarching analysis that the abortion issue was the moving force behind the drama. And Justice Thomas’s language is exceptionally vivid, especially when he expands on the phrase he used in his last appearance before the committee, asserting he was the victim of a “high-tech lynching.”
He writes that he had grown up fearing the Ku Klux Klan’s lynch mobs but “my worst fears had come to pass not in Georgia, but in Washington, D.C., where I was being pursued not by bigots in white robes but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony.”
Eyeing a Chambliss challenger
MyDD recaps stories affecting the Senate races this week:
Georgia: Lieutenant General David Poythress, Georgia’s retiring adjutant general and a former Georgia Secretary of State and Labor Commissioner, is being eyed as a possible Senate challenger to Spineless Saxby Chambliss in 2008. If it can’t be Max Cleland, it would be great to have another military man lay out for Saxby what a coward Chambliss really is. Also, the Athens Banner-Herald’s political blogger called Chambliss out for his hypocrisy on voting against more rest time for soldiers when Chambliss himself took four deferments to get out of service in Vietnam.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
From Obama’s Howard University speech Friday:
I commend those of you at Howard that have spoken out on Jena Six or traveled to the rally in Louisiana. I commend those of you who have spoken out on the Genarlow Wilson case. I know it can be lonely protesting this kind of injustice. I know there’s not a lot of glamour in it. Because when I was a state senator in Illinois we have a death penalty system that had sent 13 innocent people to their death--13 innocent men that we know. I wanted to reform the system, and I was told by almost everyone that it was not possible, that I wouldn’t be able to get police officers and civil rights activists to work together, Democrats and Republicans to agree that we should videotape confessions to make sure they weren’t coerced. Folks told me that there was too much political risk involved, and it would come to haunt me later, when I ran for higher office. But I believed that it was too risky not to act. And after a while people with opposing views came together and started listening. And we ended up reforming that death penalty system, and we did the same when I passed the law to expose racial profiling.
So don’t let anyone tell you that change is not possible. Don’t let them tell you that standing out and speaking up about injustice is too risky. What’s too risky is keeping quiet. What’s too risky is looking the other way. I don’t want to be here standing and talking about another Jena four years from now because we didn’t have the courage to act today. I don’t want this to be another issue that ends up being ignored when the cameras are turned off and the headlines disappear. It’s time to seek a new dawn of justice in America.
From the day I take office as President of the United States--has a ring to it, doesn’t it? From the day I take office as President America will have a Justice Department that is truly dedicated to justice, the work it began in the days after Little Rock. I will rid the department of idealogues and political cronies, and for the first time in eight years the civil rights division will actually be staffed with civil rights lawyers who prosecute civil rights violations, and employment discrimination and hate crimes.
Andrew Sullivan has the text of the full text. Says he:
A strikingly expansive speech, a reminder of what Obama can deliver when he wants to. My sense is that he is holding back, or rather has been holding back. He is very, very careful not to get too angry as a black candidate. Perhaps too careful for his core message: real change. What he needs to do is find a way to explain how serious he is about change while explaining that he alone can overcome the boomer polarization that has prevented it. And that’s true on the race issue as well. Yesterday, the message got sharper.
RELATED: Newsweek has polling on the Iowa caucuses, Obama 28, Clinton 24, Edwards 22.
Newt’s decided: he won’t run
Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich on Saturday decided against running for president in 2008, less than a day after the Republican indicated publicly that he would spend the next month exploring the viability of a White House bid.
Gingrich said the last-minute change of heart, which came as aides readied the NewtNow.org Web site and prepared to file campaign papers, was the result of legal advice that running for president would require stepping down as chairman of his nonprofit organization, American Solutions. [...]
Gingrich has spent the better part of a year teasing the media and his supporters with the idea that he might run for president. He has condemned the political process that requires candidates to start campaigning years ahead of the election and to raise tens of millions of dollars.
Doug digs “Timeframe” at Telfair. Again.
We thoroughly enjoyed the three interactive video works by Daniel Shiffman at Savannah’s Jepson Center for the Arts. Shiffman describes Timeframe:
In the late 19th century, Englishman Eadweard Muybridge photographed progressions of animal and human movements, capturing the beauty of motion imperceptible to the human eye. Timeframe takes inspiration from Muybridge’s work, unlocking the frozen frames of his motion studies with live video. The viewer is invited to witness him or herself inside a grid of one thousand and twenty four frames of video, his or her movements rippling across and around the screen.
It’s time to abandon the myth of the “age of consent”
In Georgia, 21-year-old Genarlow Wilson is serving a mandatory 10-year jail sentence for aggravated child molestation. His crime: When he was 17, he had oral sex with a 15-year-old girl. In Utah, polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has been convicted as an accomplice to rape for orchestrating a sexually coercive marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin. In Michigan, a 53-year-old prosecutor is in custody on charges of entering the state to have sex with a 5-year-old girl.
This is the reality of sex with minors: The ages of the parties vary widely from case to case. For more than a century, states and countries have been raising and standardizing the legal age of consent. Horny teenagers are being thrown in with pedophiles. The point of this crackdown was to lock up perverts and protect incompetent minors. But the rationales and the numbers don’t match up. The age of majority and the age of competence are coming apart. The age of competence is fracturing, and the age of female puberty is declining. It’s time to abandon the myth of the “age of consent” and lower the threshold for legal sex. [READ ON]
A self portrait of me by Daniel Shiffman. Again
Kos: we work with pols who fit the people in their districts
Still ticked at the strategy of Bush Dog attacks - I argue we should work to develop those of us who live within Marshall and Barrow’s districts to let them know there are liberals inside and to clear the way so that they actually could vote the way we want and still get re-elected - I point again to Kos who was most articulate on Meet the Press when he said:
“We started pushing Democrats to be proud to be Democrats. This had nothing to do with being centrist or liberal or conservative. It had to do with standing tall for core progressive principles. In fact, one of the first people we, we supported was Stephanie Herseth in South Dakota, who is now a Blue Dog. Ben Chandler in, in, in Kentucky. So we, and in their districts, and help them sort of get over this hump. [...] So it doesn’t matter who I think is liberal enough or conservative enough. I don’t make those value judgments. I don’t--I’m not there--arrogant to think that I should be making those decisions.”
Analogously, I would prefer presidential candidates who support marriage equality. None of the leading candidates do; I don’t expect the nominee will. I will still work for a Democrat; I won’t sit out.
In the state of Georgia today, my take is that Jim Marshall and John Barrow are as good as we’re going to get. Point me to anyone arguing that a more liberal candidate will win here.
Schaller and his crowd may like the notion of a “soft partition” of these United States that in effect writes off the South. I, emphatically, do not.
Recruiting Republican challengers in GA
One of them is our own John Barrow. The NRCC is saying now that it expects a wave of recruits:
The committee is expecting recruits to emerge soon against Reps. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Baron Hill (D-Ind.), David Loebsack (D-Iowa) and Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), who are all without major committee-recruited GOP challengers. All but Barrow are freshmen.
The NRCC is meeting with potential candidates against Murphy and Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.), another freshman without a major opponent.
Meanwhile, Indiana Republicans have been anxiously awaiting word from former Rep. Mike Sodrel (R), who is rumored to be in for a fourth straight match-up with Hill. And Iraq veteran Wayne Mosley, an orthopedic surgeon, has been mentioned as a potential challenger to Barrow.
Comments Singer, “it’s not terribly likely that just by talking about such a surge they’re going to create one.”
SEE ALSO: John Barrow’s challenge.
Off to the Jepson Arts Cent
I’m an architecture fan. This building is fan-tastic:
Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, whose Salt Lake City Public Library and Peabody Essex Museum commissions opened to much acclaim in 2003, the Jepson Center for the Arts features two large galleries for major traveling exhibitions; galleries for African American art, Southern art, photography and works-on-paper; a community gallery; a 3,500-sq. ft. hands-on gallery for young people; two outdoor sculpture terraces, education studios, a 200-seat auditorium, cafÃƒÂ©, and store.
Some of my photos:
Friday, September 28, 2007
We’re in Savannah. Again.
And having dinner at Bistro Savannah again. Blogging will be light.
The results of anger and racial tension gone awry
I remember in my high school that there were occasionally fights in which one person was jumped by many people..and I lived in a pretty calm town. The issues were settled with suspension or expulsion from school. That is appropriate punishment for 16 year old kids. In an extreme case of battery, it may be appropriate to charge the kids with battery...in JUVENILE court.
Where were the school officials when all of this racial tension was evolving? How did they attempt to solve the problem before it turned into violence?
I don’t believe that these children should have been charged as adults. The crime they allegedly committed is the result of anger and racial tension gone awry and unchecked by authority figures. The reason we have a juvenile court system is because many Americans believe that kids have time to reform and deserve a second chance. Shouldn’t seven boys involved in a horrible school fight be given a chance to reform also?
I understand that certain forms of racist speech are protected under the 1st amendment (which is why we are even allowed to have this discussion forum). BUT, keep in mind that any school that receives federal funds is REQUIRED to protect students from racial harassment and discrimination. Nooses hanging from a tree....racial harassment. A “white only” tree....racial discrimination.
It’s pretty clear that when school officials went to the DA for help, what they got instead was inflammatory rhetoric that made matters worse:
District Attorney Reed Walters warned the students he could be their friend or their worst enemy. He lifted his fountain pen and said, “With one stroke of my pen, I can make your life disappear.”
Unfortunately, Walters is still at it.
Read all about it here and here. Wonderful collection of other Last Suppers here.
Jena 6: Bell out on bail
Mychal Bell’s release on $45,000 bail came hours after a prosecutor confirmed he would no longer seek an adult trial for the 17-year-old. Bell, one of the teenagers known as the Jena Six, still faces trial as a juvenile in the December beating in this small central Louisiana town.
But the problem continues:
An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 protesters marched in Jena last week in a scene that evoked the early years of the civil rights movement.
[District Attorney Reed] Walters said the demonstration had no influence on his decision not to press the adult charges, and ended his news conference by saying that only God kept the protest peaceful.
“The only way _ let me stress that _ the only way that I believe that me or this community has been able to endure the trauma that has been thrust upon us is through the prayers of the Christian people who have sent them up in this community,” Walters said.
“I firmly believe and am confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened. You can quote me on that.”
The Rev. Donald Sibley, a black Jena pastor, called it a “shame” that Walters credited divine intervention for the protesters acting responsibly.
If you don’t see the problem with the DA’s inflammatory statement _ let me stress that _ then you are part of the problem too.
Why Jim Marshall Ain’t So Vulnerable
LATER: Flakattack at Tondee’s Tavern voices the more traditional liberal reaction. My take remains that one man’s “political expediency” is another’s “electability.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon) appears to have learned the Max Cleland lesson: Go to Washington, vote as a central-casting national Democrat and Georgians will bring you home. Marshall was the only Georgia Democrat to vote against the big-dollar expansion of the campaign-fodder health insurance entitlement. He’s in a competitive district.
While I disagree with Wooten on
everything the merits of the program, I agree that’s what Marshall’s about.
So does Peach Pundit, “It may piss off the base of the party, but it neutralizes a lot of Republican opposition against him.”
SEE ALSO Jim Marshall (D-GA): still not liberal, “I’m [a liberal] steamed by the stupid liberal targeting of Marshall.”
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Why Facebook needs the money
Earlier in the week I posted about a WSJ report that Microsoft is in talks to buy up to a 5% stake in Facebook for $300-500 million. Why would a company anticipating revenues of $150 million and profits need capital?
The New York attorney general has started investigating the safety measures Facebook has put in place, and based on his preliminary investigations, he is not happy. His staff has found sexual predators and a wide variety of pornographic material, including images and videos, prompting him to issue a subpoena.
“My office is concerned that Facebook’s promise of a safe website is not consistent with its performance in policing its site and responding to complaints,” Cuomo said in a press release.
“Parents have a right to know what their children will encounter on a website that is aggressively marketed as safe.” Cuomo is angered by the fact that Facebook has “ignored several — and repeated — complaints from our undercover investigators concerning persons who made inappropriate sexual advances to underage users.”
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but the way it looks to me, Facebook needs money for what is clearly a big crisis facing the company. MySpace, the company the FB-crew used to mock, has already had to deal with a similar mess, both legal and image-wise, which not only proved to be a major disruption to their business but cost a ton of money. And that was without a subpoena.
I was kind of hoping Facebook might defend itself with facts about online youth victimization. I realize that’s crazy in this atmosphere and that it will not happen, but if it were going to happen it would certainly be pricey.
Around here, cursing is frowned upon. In New York I cussed with the best of them. Even there I wondered why and thought that, for my own personal aesthetic, I’d rather not. Here I hardly do.
Pupils are being allowed to swear at one Northamptonshire secondary school - as long as they limit their use of bad language to five times a lesson.
“Within each lesson the teacher will initially tolerate (although not condone) the use of the f-word (or derivatives) five times and these will be tallied on the board so all students can see the running score,” [assistant headmaster Richard White] wrote in the letter.
“Over this number the class will be spoken to by the teacher at the end of the lesson.”
All is not lost. Parents of children who do not swear in class will receive “praise postcards.”
Student doesn’t apologize for “F--- Bush” editorial
Collegian editor J. David McSwane declined to apologize for the profane “F --- Bush” editorial printed in the Colorado State University student newspaper last week, but acknowledged recent days have been “hell.”
McSwane was called before the university’s Board of Student Communications, or BSC, on Wednesday night to hear complaints that the editorial was offensive to the university community. The BSC is considering whether to fire McSwane over the editorial and its financial implications for the newspaper. Advertisers have pulled thousands of dollars in ads from the paper.
Student Cody Bartlett said he understood McSwane has the right to publish what he wants, but urged greater respect for the president.
He added: “Since when has this word been acceptable? This is not OK. Have you ever heard news reporters say the weather is going to F us over this weekend?”
Audience members laughed aloud at Bartlett’s joke, but vehemently shouted down another speaker who used the N-word in connection to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.
That speaker, who prefaced his remark by saying he was trying to make the point that some words are unacceptable, called for “common decency” in the widely distributed free newspaper.
Other speakers said the F-word is a common utterance on a college campus and said newspapers should be free to publish what they want.
At least the lions, buffalo, and crocodiles in that African watering hole had a happy ending.
ISBN NOT IP
The apparent new policy could be a response to efforts by Crimsonreading.org-an online database that allows students to find the books they need for each course at discounted prices from several online booksellers-from writing down the ISBN identification numbers for books at the Coop and then using that information for their Web site.
Murphy said the Coop considers that information the Coop’s intellectual property.
Yesterday a friend pointed me to the coop’s claim - “more hawkish than I” - and to the lambasting of the Intellectual Property claim by copyright lawyers from Harvard’s Berkman Center:
We’re not sure what “intellectual propertyÃ¢â‚¬Â� right the Coop has in mind, but it’s none that we recognize. Nor is it one that promotes the progress of science and useful arts, as copyright is intended to do. While intellectual property may have become the fashionable threat of late, even in the wake of the Recording Industry Association of America’s mass litigation campaign the catch-phrase-and the law-has its limits.
Since the Coop’s managers don’t seem to have read the law books on their shelves, we’d like to offer them a little Copyright 101.
Copyright law protects original works of authorship-the texts and images in those books on the shelves-but not facts or ideas. So while copyright law might prohibit students from dropping by with scanners, it doesn’t stop them from noting what books are on the shelf and how much they cost.
The Supreme Court tells us that “[t]he sine qua non of copyright is originality.” That’s why the compilers of a white-pages telephone directory lost their claims against a competitor who copied listings… What about the prices that the Coop set and affixed to books? Copyright doesn’t protect the “sweat of the brow” involved in compiling facts, either…
We recognize that the Coop can kick anyone they want out of its store-although even the Cambridge police seemed to think the Coop was taking things a bit too far. If they call again, the Coop’s managers might want to come up with a better reason than “intellectual property” or risk marring the intellectual face of Harvard. And Harvard might want to re-think its relationship with an institution that seems to put its own profit margin ahead of its students’ access to information.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
If you are a racist, go ahead and vote for the Republicans
How is it I can so agree with Mudcat Saunders:
Although we are not at the “top of the mountain” that Dr. King talked about, we are moving. I know few Southern white people who don’t have a great black friend and visa versus. There is little, if any, tolerance for racist groups anymore. In the South, where most of us have a huge affection for the Almighty, we’re beginning to see racial wedges as what they areÃ¢â‚¬Â¦dividing God’s children. Believe it or not, the overwhelming majority of actual voters (and I didn’t say all) deplore racism. To many of us in the South, the racially-benign portions of our heritage are still sacred, but that’s not to say that we believe the right side didn’t win the war. There are also many Southerners, like myself, who embrace their culture but not at the expense of dividing God’s children. A great example is the flag out on Columbia’s Gervais Street in front of the Capitol. That flag has dragged our heritage into further controversy. We need no further tarnishing of our culture.
On race, I say it’s time to hit the Republicans straight on. When they use race-baiting to divide God’s children, let’s call them on it. It’s now been 27 years since Lee Atwater introduced one of the most effective great lies in political history-the “Welfare Queen”. Yet we have not even hit that one in the mouth. I say let’s shout out with the fury of hell, “If you are a racist, go ahead and vote for the Republicans.” That kind of strong message will hit home to more than just a few good Southerners.
To unify a Republican Party composed of both Wall Street bankers and heartland preachers - the profits-plus-pulpits coalition - the GOP has created the perfect foil: a ubiquitous and nefarious “liberal elite” that is somehow blamed for orchestrating America’s cultural and spiritual demise. The Democrats need their own “them,” and the social conservatives who are the bedrock of southern politics provide the most obvious and burdensome stone to hang around the Republicans’ necks.
As simply as I can put it, the former is telling it like it is. Outing racists. The latter is a strategic use of racism as a means to a political end. A political end that, in its full 300 page majesty (supplemented by Southern bashing blog posts, articles and television appearances), proposes writing off the South and choosing instead to win over the Mountain red states while relying on the dependable East and West.
Just as some Democrats are smitten with the idea of a “soft partition” of Iraq, there has been a solid core of Democrats smitten with Schaller’s suggestion for what looks to me like a soft partition of these United States.
To address Schaller’s analogy more directly, the GOP didn’t abandon the home regions of the demonized liberal elites. Rather, a good number of the Republicans’ brightest lights came from and grew to prominence in those regions. They’ve also had more than their fair share of Republican governors, mayors and local pols. Last I checked, two of the top three leading Republican presidential candidates were from the Northeast.
Even if aping the Republicans is the best we can do, that all sounds more Mudcat than Schaller to me.
RELATED: It won’t surprise you to read that I am no fan of the Bush Dog attacks on our own.
West Side Story 50 today
SEE ALSO: Guy love, “When I say I love you...it’s not what it implies… there’s nothing gay about it:”
On the O’Reilly/Media Matters contretemps
I’m glad I missed it. While, generally speaking, I shy away from calling people racist, had I seen it I may have been swept up in it.
I am no fan of Bill O’Reilly; I am a fan of Media Matters.
I only caught up and tuned in when I happened on to this morning’s Matt Lauer Today Show interview of Media Matters’ Paul Waldman. I was wholly unimpressed with Waldman. When asked by Lauer about the possibility that O’Reilly’s comments could be understood in a more benign light, Waldman said:
WALDMAN: Well that’s fine for [O’Reilly] to give that message but what I think is really instructive was the reaction that he had when people started to raise some objections or raise their eyebrows at this… he lashed out… he criticized Media Matters. He said we smeared him just because we put up his words on a website…
LAUER: Well wait a second are you criticizing now for his reaction to the controversy? Shouldn’t we stick to the controversy in the first place?
WALDMAN:..and he attacked CNN and he attacked MSNBC and NBC. This is what Fox News does. They reacted as though they were partisan political actors and not somebody, people who are trying to be a legitimate news organization. They said it was all liberal news outlets who were trying to drum up ratings.
Forgive me, but don’t we have here a pot calling a kettle black? I’m all for liberals calling out Conservatives for any racist proclivities, but I am not looking to manufacture faux controversies by taking advantage of or purposefully misconstruing someone’s words.
Waldman never claimed there was anything demonstrably racist in what O’Reilly said - in fact, he specifically said, “it’s not about whether he’s making racist statements” - he kept the focus on O’Reilly’s incendiary reaction. That is a tried and true Right Wing media strategy; and not one I admire or respect. It’s not legitimate and not something I like seeing my liberal fellows mimic.
We claim we want a dialog on race but then pounce on anyone who dares to try. That is not a recipe for successfully addressing the race problem in America.
LATER: Crooks and Liars disagrees. And has the video.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Suicidal campus closets
A new study of college kids found that gay, lesbian and bisexual students were twice as likely as heterosexuals to have planned and attempted suicide in the previous year.
Being victimized because of sexual orientation is a chief risk factor. But the most susceptible:
In the course of the study, University of Washington researcher Heather Murphy also uncovered a group of students who previously had not been studied and are at increased risk for suicidal behavior. These students identified themselves as heterosexual, but also reported being attracted to people of the same sex or engaging in same-sex behavior.
This group was three times as likely as heterosexuals to have made a plan to commit suicide in the past year and six times more likely to have actually attempted suicide in the same period.
Via Andrew Sullivan, “The closet is one of the most destructive forces around. Marriage equality is its most potent solvent.”