Thursday, July 29, 2010

If you can't say anything nice . . .

Bump & Update by The Sailor
Sherrod Announces She’ll Sue Breitbart

The ousted Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod said Thursday that she intended to sue Andrew Breitbart, the conservative Web site operator that publicized a misleading video about her last week.
INAL, but it seems she has a clear case for defamation:
Typically, the elements of a cause of action for defamation include:

1. A false and defamatory statement concerning another;
2. The unprivileged publication of the statement to a third party (that is, somebody other than the person defamed by the statement);
3. If the defamatory matter is of public concern, fault amounting at least to negligence on the part of the publisher; and
4. Damage to the plaintiff.

Since this is a civil suit the standards of proof are lower, so we'll see what happens. (BTW, pass the popcorn!)

To me the case is less about the trial than the discovery process. Breitbart & co can be compelled to answer a lot of questions. It's about time that somebody fought back against these bastards.

Original & most excellent post below:

I'm sure Andrew Breitbart is really just a lovable teddy bear of a guy. Thus, I'm sure the allegation that he maliciously edited a video to spread a story that a Dep't of Agriculture employee was making a racist speech was just more librul media criticizing a bold and brave conservative:
In July 2010, Breitbart posted two short sections of a taped speech delivered by Shirley Sherrod at the NAACP 20th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet on March 27, 2009. Sherrod, an official with the United States Department of Agriculture, held the position of Rural Development Director for the state of Georgia. In the snippets posted on Big (a Breitbart website) and, Sherrod (an African American) recounted an incident 24 years earlier when she worked for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. In the posted video, she described how she limited how much help she gave a white farmer in foreclosure. As a result of the posted video, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asked Sherrod to resign, which she did.[38] Breitbart states "this tape is about the NAACP. It’s raison d’etre is about non-discrimination. And when Shirley Sherrod is talking there, in which she expresses a discriminatory attitude towards white people, the audience responds with applause and the NAACP agrees with me. And it rebuked her and the audience."[39]

Soon afterwards, the NAACP posted the complete 40 minute video of the speech on their website showing that the point of her speech was to describe for the audience how her thinking had evolved over time to view people not as black or white but as poor. The NAACP audience is shown applauding Sherrod's change in attitude. John Spooner, the white farmer from Iron City, GA in question, praised Sherrod's efforts for him, called suggestions she was racist, "Hogwash," and suggested she get her job back. Breitbart later indicated that his purpose in posting the edited video snippet was not to get Sherrod fired but to show racism amongst the NAACP participants, claiming he was given the edited and misleading tapes by someone else.[40] In the meantime, the White House apologized to Sherrod and the Vilsack offered her a new position in the department.[41]
Clearly a misunderstanding. I mean, Andy (can I call you Andy, you fuck?) has never done anything like this before:
Authorities criticize selective editing of ACORN videos. According to the California attorney general's office the videotapes were "severely edited by O'Keefe." In a statement, Attorney General Brown said that "The evidence illustrates... that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor." Likewise, a March 1 New York Daily News article reported that "a law enforcement source" said of O'Keefe and Giles: "They edited the tape to meet their agenda." A March 2 New York Post article, headlined "ACORN set up by vidiots: DA," reported of O'Keefe and Giles' ACORN tapes: "Many of the seemingly crime-encouraging answers were taken out of context so as to appear more sinister, sources said."

Breitbart said his strategy for promoting ACORN videos was to "deprive" people of "information." The Washington Independent reported on September 24:

Within hours, Breitbart was doing interviews with reporters who wanted to know how, exactly, the story had come about, and why Big Government was releasing the videos and the identity of the muckrackers - 25-year-old James O'Keefe III and 20-year-old Hannah Giles - so slowly.

"It was strategized," Breitbart told TWI this week, so "that they would be deprived of the type of information that a defense attorney would try to gather in order to create a defense."

Who were "these people?" They were not just the leaders or members of ACORN itself. "They" were the Democratic Party, the White House, the progressive Center for American Progress and its president John Podesta. The "Democrat-media complex" is Breitbart's name for the whole apparatus. "We deprived them of information," Breitbart explained, "so that they couldn't come up with a vile, kill-the-messenger attack with the media doing the groundwork for them."

O'Keefe falsely claimed undercover video campaign was a "nationwide ACORN child prostitution investigation" implicating many ACORN employees. From a November 16, 2009, post by O'Keefe:

Although Mr. Felix D. Harris of Los Angeles ACORN told us he didn't care about our prostitution business in regards to a housing loan, he drew the line when we spoke about the underage girls.Although he did not kick us out, he was the only employee in our nationwide ACORN child prostitution investigation who would not assist us.

The videos, however, don't support the allegation that many ACORN offices were willing to aid child prostitution. Giles and O'Keefe released heavily edited videos of their encounters at eight ACORN or ACORN Housing offices. In at least six of those instances, either the activists did not clearly tell the ACORN employees that they were planning to engage in child prostitution; or the ACORN employees refused to help them or apparently deliberately misled them; or ACORN employees contacted the police following their visit.

Seriously, if you want to know the evil that is Breitbart, Media Matters has the whole ugly story.

This guy makes Jack The Ripper seem like a speed-dater, and Ted Bundy seem like the boy next door.

He doesn't even believe the ideology he's pimping out, he's just in it for sport. In other words, he's a Republican.


By the way, Breitbart, in the original German, translates to "wide beard".

I feel pretty and witty and gay

Georgia Grad Student Sues University Over Gay Sensitivity Training

Jennifer Keeton Says She Was Told to Change Her Christian Beliefs or Be Dropped From the Program
David French, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund and also director of its Center for Academic Freedom, told that the lawsuit on Keeton's behalf is one of about a half-dozen similiar cases involving counseling or social work students in the last few years.
Hmm, David French, where have I heard that name before? Oh wait, I remember:
Eastern Michigan U. student's lawsuit is dismissed
Julea Ward says she was removed from Eastern's counseling program because she refused to counsel gay clients, saying she believed homosexuality was morally wrong.
Alliance Defense Fund attorney David French says the group will appeal the decision.
Oh where to start ... I'll start here: Jennifer Keeton wasn't told to change her beliefs, she was just told she'd have to attend sensitivity classes. And if she didn't attend them she couldn't complete her studies.

That sounds reasonable to me. They didn't ask for her to change her beliefs, they just asked her to attend more classes.

Julea Ward also failed in her attempt to get a degree so she could impose her religious beliefs on the public.

That also sounds reasonable to me.

Look, if you're going for a geology degree, and you think the Earth is 6000 years old, you flunk. Because you can't do your job.

If you're a pharmacist and you refuse to sell condoms, or any other legal BC, you flunk. Because you can't do your job.

Frankly, if your religious views make it impossible to do your job? Find another job.

By bringing their doxastic errors into secular professions they are imposing their religion on others. The 1st Amendment doesn't work that way.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Take Five

My heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Al Jarreau. I'll never forget you and your wife having me over for Thanksgiving when I lived in LA. Take Five Al, and get well soon!

Update (SteveAudio): I second that emotion, Sailor. I've never worked with Al, but he's a national treasure, to be sure.

For reference, here's Take 5 performed by the original artist, some guy called Dave Brubeck:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Still I look to find a reason to believe

I regularly read the Orange County Register to see how stupidly Libertarianism is represented and explained. But this week it's especially easy to see how empty their positions are, when they publish letters that contain such as this:
He said he was not a socialist yet everything he has done in regard to domestic affairs has dramatically risen(sic) our level of debt, increased government control over every aspect of our lives and slammed the private sector. That is socialism.

He promised the "most transparent administration in history" yet everything is done in backroom deals, requests for documentation are dismissed or ignored and you can't get a straight answer out of anyone in his administration. Fog is more transparent than Obama.
He sold himself as the great uniter on matters of race yet he's proven to be nothing more than a race-baiting bigot himself. He calls a white police officer's actions stupid on national TV while admitting he knows nothing about the case yet he refuses to prosecute Black Panthers who are caught on film violating people's civil rights. He sends he wife to speak at the NAACP, an organization that's sole purpose is to promote one race and who calls the Tea party movement "racist" without any proof whatsoever. He is willing to falsely accuse Arizona of passing a racist immigration bill just to garner Hispanic votes in November when the bill specifically prohibits racial profiling and virtually mirrors federal law that he will not enforce. Obama is every bit the uniter as was George Wallace who, by way, was another Democrat.

Extra points for the Wallace reference: "I'm not racist, Wallace was. But I hate a black president as much as Wallace would have!"

I'm not going to bother to fisk the points the write presents. Anyone who reads here regularly will see through the idiocy & hypocrisy without my help.

My sole point is that the OCRegister has this at the top of their "Letters to the Editor" section with no comment, so they must feel this represents what their readers believe. I can't figure out who is more empty-headed, the Editors, or the letter writer. I'm surprised they're smart enough to breath regularly.

Faith is a great thing sometimes. In a relationship it's key. For religion it's pretty mandatory. But for a reality-based world view, it's really not appropriate. That's not faith, that's being a sucker. Believe in reality, not in dogma or ideology.

A nice cover of the great Tim Hardin song:

Friday, July 16, 2010

happy blogiversary skippy!

skippy & co. are some of the hardest working people in blogtopia, and yes, we know skippy coined that phrase!

the 'roo crew are fabulous, fantastic and funny, not necessarily in that order.

I read the news today, oh boy!

Crazy here, get your crazy here!
Angle: My campaign is part of God’s ‘plan’

GOP candidate: Obama taking away your chance to find God

La. Senator David (Diaper) Vitter Endorses Birthers

(MN Rep) Michele Bachmann sees a 'nation of slaves'
Is it just me or does anyone else think the above folks, elected or want to be elected, are ... hmmm, what's the DSM term ... fucking nuts!?

Steve Benen is much more civil than I am, so I'll quote him instead of my original four letter filled, fact filled, objective rant:
WHEN AN ENTIRE POLITICAL PARTY MOVES TO BIZARRO WORLD.... Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) probably didn't realize the impact his remarks would have. The right-wing Arizonan was asked on Fox News how his party would pay for $678 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy, which Republicans are currently demanding. Kyl said what he actually believed: Republicans wouldn't pay for them, and thinks it's a mistake to even try. Spending should be paid for, Kyl said, but tax cuts shouldn't.
Read the whole thing, I'll wait.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Owner of a lonely heart

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had a reality check today:

A nephew of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suffered a seizure after he was beaten and shocked during a scuffle with security guards at a New Orleans area hospital, relatives alleged Friday.

Derek Thomas, 25, was immobilized with a stun gun Thursday after he tried to leave the emergency room at West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, La., his sister told WDSU, a local television station. Security responded after Thomas refused a doctor's request to put on a hospital gown and started to leave, Kimberly Thomas said.

While this action by the security guards is deplorable, maybe this is a teachable moment for Justice Thomas, who once found such thuggish behavior less than awful:

Back in 1992, just after joining the court, Thomas dissented in the 7-2 decision that upheld a $800 award for damages for a Louisiana inmate who, from behind his locked cell, argued with a prison guard. Three guards took the inmate out of his cell, put him in handcuffs and shackles, and dragged him to a hallway where they beat him so badly that he suffered a cracked dental plate.

The lower court ruled that the beating had nothing to do with acceptable prison discipline. But Thomas all but laughed off the beating, saying the injuries were ''minor.'' Thomas said the ''use of force that causes only insignificant harm to a prisoner may be immoral, it may be tortious, it may be criminal, and it may even be remediable under other provisions of the Federal Constitution, but it is not `cruel and unusual punishment.'''

Perspective, dude.

Why do so many on the right lack the ability to intellectualize about awful treatment of other human beings? This shouldn't be that hard. But until it happens in their close circle of family & friends, it remains an abstraction uncomprehensible.

Of course, Thomas might still not understand what empathy is:
To the Editor:

Your July 7 article about Judge Clarence Thomas's intellectual journey on the path of self-help reports his oft-repeated quotation about his sister, then on welfare: "She gets mad when the mailman is late with her welfare check. That's how dependent she is." The rest of the quotation condemns her children: "What's worse is that now her kids feel entitled to the check, too. They have no motivation for doing better or getting out of that situation."

This is an appallingly callous statement and contrary to the facts. As reported in The Los Angeles Times on July 5, Judge Thomas's father deserted the family when the children were small. The mother supported the family by picking crabs at 5 cents a pound. When a fire destroyed their home and belongings, the mother, who could no longer support the children cleaning houses at $15 a week, sent the boys -- not the girls -- to live with their grandfather, an independent small-business man.

Judge Thomas's sister, Emma Mae, stayed home and graduated from high school. She got married and had children, and then her husband deserted her. While the judge was attending Yale Law School, she supported her family with two minimum-wage jobs. Her mother worked as a nurse's aide at the local hospital, and an aunt took care of the children.

Then the aunt suffered a stroke, and Emma Mae Martin had to quit work to take care of her. This was when she went on welfare. She was on welfare about four and a half years. Now she works as a cook at the local hospital, reporting to work at 3 A.M. She has three children. One works as a carpenter; one was just laid off, and the 15-year-old is in school.

This is hardly a story of welfare dependency. The women of this household worked hard at low-paying jobs, took care of one another and raised their children. It is a story not only of race and poverty, but also of sexism -- desertion by husbands, lack of child support, giving boys, not girls, the opportunities to get ahead.

And when the elderly aunt needed care, it was the adult female relative -- again, typical -- rather than the men who assumed the burdens. This was when Emma Mae Martin had to go on welfare. What was she to do? Can you imagine the long-term care that might have been available to an elderly African-American woman in rural Georgia?

Ms. Martin then left welfare, again works hard, and her three children are in the labor market or in school. In other words, in the face of great odds, she did exactly what Charles Murray and other conservatives have asked: she completed school, she worked, she got married. She has suffered because of irresponsible men, male preferences, lack of an effective child-support system, lousy jobs and a lousy health-care system.

What can we say about her brother? He had the advantages. Yet he cruelly distorted her situation and publicly humiliated her and her children. Is this the kind of person we want as a Justice of the Supreme Court? In contrast, Emma Mae Martin has retained her dignity, her tolerance and generosity -- qualities one would like to see in a Justice. It's too bad she was not nominated for the Court. JOEL F. HANDLER Prof. of Law, University of California Los Angeles, July 8, 1991

So for young Derek Thomas, best wishes for a good outcome. For Justice Thomas, fuck you.