Saturday, October 15, 2005

If the shoe fits ...

Civil rights groups — including the National Urban League, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton — that associate themselves with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan should all be held accountable for alleged racism, according to several notable African Americans.

'"Farrakhan has said some radical things, and yet the media continues to give him a pass,' Shelby Steele, a conservative African American from the Hoover Institute, told Cybercast News Service. Steele believes that liberal civil rights groups and individuals such as , all of whom are expected to participate in Farrakhan's march on Saturday, should be held accountable for Farrakhan's controversial and allegedly racist statements of the past. Steele said those black representatives should also be asked about Farrakhan's remarks implying that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were the result of a U.S. government conspiracy and that New Orleans levees were intentionally blown up after Hurricane Katrina in order to flood the section of the city housing poor blacks."

Coverage of Farrakhan's 9/11 and New Orleans levee remarks can be found here:

Levee Breaks, 9-11 Part of Govt. Plot, Farrakhan Implies

Take one, scene one

Things aren't going well for Pres. Bush. The war in Iraq is an abyss, the GOP is attacking his Supremt Court nominee, polls have his approval rating hovering around 40% and his latest teleconference with soldiers in Iraq appears to have been choreographed.

Allison Barber, the president's deputy assistant defense secretary, was caught doing some pre-show prep with the soldiers.

LINK

Follow the rules you were hired by, or be fired

Stephen Kobasa was a teacher at Kolbe Cathedral High School for 25 years before being fired for not displaying an American flag in his classroom. It seems that the teacher didn't like working under the rules of his employer.

LINK

'What a fuss about an omelette!'

A North Carolina high school student is wanted by the Secret Service thanks to the some nitwit at a local Wal-Mart. It seems that the fugitive student, who was taking photographs for a class assignment to illustrate the rights afforded Americans by the Bill of Rights, "had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb's-down sign with his own hand next to the President's picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster." The Wal-Mart(ian) employee who developed the film was spurious in calling the local police who then called in the Secret Service.

The Secret Service agents told the civics teacher that a decision to indict the student would be made, but none was and the Secret Service has not pursued the case further.

LINK

Thursday, October 13, 2005

"limos, motorcycles and Hell's Angels riding around and celebrating colonialism"

"Protests of the Columbus Day celebration in Denver have never been violent and this Saturday was no different, said Glenn Morris, a member of the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado. 'They always attribute the threat of violence to us, but we have never been violent,' he said of media outlets and celebration supporters. 'It's because we're Indians. I think it's racist.' The protest this year included briefly blocking the parade route, Morris said, but no arrests were made. Police estimated more than 200 protestors. Morris put the number at about 1,500. Morris said the celebration wasn't really even a parade, but rather consists of 'limos, motorcycles and Hell's Angels riding around and celebrating colonialism.' 'We call it 'the convoy of conquest,'' he said. 'That's what it is, a convoy of motor vehicles to support genocide.'"

Illegal, but not criminal

Kudos to the Marin, California, U-Haul dealership for hanging a sign that reads:

'Please do not hire illegal laborers. We have had numerous reports of injuries, thefts and damages to personal belongings. It is a federal crime to employ or pick up illegal day laborers, punishable by a $5,000 fine.'

However, the Marin Independent Journal reports that the sign "has angered and frustrated local workers, who say it's making it harder for them to find a job."

The best quote of the article comes from Tom Wilson, co-executive director of a local assistance group for laborers. "They're painting illegal day workers as criminals, making generalizations about a group of people."

That's right, he called them "illegal day workers" yet blames the sign for labeling them "criminals."

Amazing. Simple amazing.

It's not segregation, it's 'separateness'

A political faction of African-Canadians [?] is calling for 'separateness' in the form of separate "rules and institutions for blacks — from a government department to a diversion program for minor crimes." Yes, it's not segregation, but an 'ambitious' plan proposed by "a Toronto coalition of 22 black community groups disgusted by gun murders in the city."

"We're not calling it segregation," said Sandra Carnegie-Douglas, president of the Jamaican Canadian Association and a coalition spokeswoman.

Bloggers seen as real threat?

"Bloggers likely will not be deemed legitimate journalists who will be able to receive the coveted protections of a federal shield law, a key senator said Monday. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., told a journalism conference that Web loggers may not qualify for that privilege, according to a report on Editor & Publisher's Web site. 'As to who is a reporter, this will be a subject of debate as this bill goes farther along,' Lugar said, according to the report. 'Are bloggers journalists or some of the commercial businesses that you here would probably not consider real journalists? Probably not, but how do you determine who will be included in this bill?' Lugar is the primary sponsor of the proposed Free Flow of Information Act, which currently is worded in a way that protects anyone who 'publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical in print or electronic form.' Even that definition may help bloggers protect the confidentiality of sources -- but as Lugar suggested, it could be revised. This isn't a new debate. Politicians are considering a federal shield law (most states already have them) in response to the now-ended imprisonment of New York Times reporter Judith Miller. But it's not clear how the final version will be worded."

One down, how many more to go?

"A former [Louisiana State University] public-relations employee facing jail time for child pornography apparently committed suicide in the West Baton Rouge Parish Prison by putting a plastic bag over his head — one day before he was to be sentenced by a federal judge. Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Wayne Plylar confirmed it 'appeared' Ron Brown — a former University Relations employee — killed himself 'sometime early' Wednesday morning ..."

This 60-year-old son-of-a-bitch pled guilty last year to "sexual exploitation, enticing for illegal sexual activity, and receiving and possessing child pornography ... Brown admitted taking pornographic pictures of one child and bragging in an online chat room that he had 'almost convinced one little virgin in Illinois to come live with him.'"

Other details:
  • "... taking pornographic pictures of one child and bragging in an online chat room that he had 'almost convinced one little virgin in Illinois to come live with him.'"
  • "... Brown took pictures of a child engaged in sexual conduct in June 2001."
  • "Brown became the subject of an investigation in 2003 after his boss grew suspicious of his after-hours computer usage. Investigators uncovered deleted sexually explicit images of pre-pubescent girls and other video files."
  • "Brown fled to Washington state for several weeks, staying with someone he had met online in discussions on how to abuse minors and avoid detection from authorities ..."
  • "Brown also faced charges of indecent behavior with a juvenile in Livingston Parish. Authorities have said that count stemmed from several incidents starting around October 2001 involving a victim with whom Brown was acquainted."
LINK

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

This makes you feel safe

No one can figure it out. Not the FBI. Not the FAA. They can say that nothing "diabolical" is going on though.

"A 10-passenger charter jet reported stolen from St. Augustine, Fla., was found at an airport near Atlanta, and authorities were attempting to figure out who had flown it there. The $7 million Cessna Citation 7 was found at the Gwinnett County Airport-Briscoe Field on Monday and remained there Tuesday morning, said Darren Moloney, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department. The jet is owned by Pinnacle Air of Springdale, Ark., which had no comment on the incident Tuesday ... 'We've ruled out anything diabolical or sinister,' [Moloney] said. 'We didn't find anything threatening on the plane.'"

Good thing it was a small jet and not four 747s aimed at New York, Washington and points in between. We'd be in a real mess then.

Presidency on Life Support

"The George W. Bush presidency is on life support. At first, these words seem harsh and overstated. For starters, Bush has more than a thousand days left in office. He can nominate Supreme Court justices and get them confirmed, as the 78 to 22 Senate vote for John Roberts so easily demonstrates. He also wields other important constitutional powers, including the veto which he can use to impose his will on a recalcitrant Congress. Finally, he retains considerable diplomatic and war powers at his disposal. But for the remainder of his presidency, George W. Bush will govern without the consent of the governed. That last fact has been underscored by a flurry of recent public polls. In nearly all of them, Bush’s job approval is hovering at 40%. Behind the job approval numbers are many other signs of a presidency in trouble. A Democracy Corps survey finds 58% want to go in a significantly different direction away from Bush; 56% believe he is 'in over his head;' and 44% say they are 'finished' with him."

Blanco, Nagin still bear brunt of responsibility

Urban Legends Reference Pages

Claim: Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco refused President Bush's pleas to declare an emergency before Hurricane Katrina struck.

Status: False

Visit Florida, get shot

The next time you're at Disney World with little Johhny and little Suzie, that pervert in the Mickey Mouse costume cozing up for a nice picture with the kiddos might also be packing a pistol.

HB 0249, passed by the Florida legislature earlier this year, permits the use of deadly force in just about any situation. In essence, "the law immunizes citizens who use deadly force in self-defense against criminal prosecution and civil liability. A series of alarming advertisements were scheduled to start appearing in Sunday's travel sections in the Boston Globe , Detroit Free Press , Chicago Tribune and the Guardian in London, among others. The ads are the work of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ... The ads will also appear next Sunday and again warn readers: 'In Florida, avoid disputes. Use special caution in arguing with motorists on Florida roads.'"

Why does this matter?

How does it make Harriet Miers less of a worthy nominee if she wrote that then Texas Gov. George Bush was the "the best governor ever?" It seems to me that there are other areas of contention, including Democrat and Republican accusations of cronyism and Miers' legal views.

60 Minutes with Freeh, Willie

"On the October 9 broadcast of CBS' 60 Minutes, former FBI director Louis Freeh claimed that former president Bill Clinton did not pressure Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah during a 1998 meeting to allow the FBI to question suspects detained by the Saudis in connection with the 1996 terrorist bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, in which 19 Americans were killed. But 60 Minutes and host Mike Wallace refused to allow any on-air rebuttal from Clinton administration officials who actually attended the meeting in question. Nor did Wallace question Freeh about his anonymous source or point out that Freeh himself was not at the meeting."

Police ... abuse of responsibilities

In Baton Rouge, La., the city police department is investigating complaints by the New Mexico State Police and Michigan State Police of "witnessing local officers commit acts they considered 'misconduct.'"

Simultaneously, Mermentau Police Chief Jeremy Joseph Leblanc and one of his officers have been "charged with looting in connection with thefts from stores in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina ... They allegedly stole a box of Ray-Ban sunglasses and two suede sport coats from Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as 23 T-shirts from the Jean Lafitte Gift Shop on Bourbon Street. They were acting in the capacity of police officers in New Orleans on Sept. 3."

If that weren't enough, the beating of a citizen at the hands of New Orleans police hit the national news. In that incident, a retired elementary teacher "was repeatedly punched in the head by police in an incident caught on videotape." Additional post-Katrina investigations include accussations that nearly 250 officers left their posts and 12 either looted or condoned looting, car theft and homicide.

However, corruption is nothing new to the New Orleans police force. "Former Police Superintendent Richard Pennington, now Atlanta's chief, is widely credited with cleaning up the department, purging it of scores of bad cops during the 1990s, a decade when police were arrested for crimes ranging from shoplifting and bribery to bank robbery, drug dealing and rape. Perhaps the worst came in the mid-1990s, when two cops were convicted of murder in separate cases. Both are on death row."

Pennington lost the 2002 New Orleans mayoral race to Ray Nagin, the former Cox Cable executive and current inept leader of a city fighting for survival in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It was during Pennington's watch as superintendent that the police department "was perceived in a more positive way in the community, the number of officers increased and the public felt safer."

"A mere three years later, New Orleans is on life support. Of course, Katrina was a major reason, but problems in the NOPD are a contributing cause as well. Pennington lost the Mayor’s race to glib Cox Cable executive Ray Nagin who spoke of bold ideas on how to revitalize New Orleans. Nagin claimed he would sell the airport to raise money, revitalize public education and build a new city hall. He had many other ideas, and while he accomplished none of them in office, they sounded good to the people and Nagin easily defeated the good cop, but bad politician, Richard Pennington. Pennington had a hard time conveying to voters the success he created at the NOPD. He was not a good public speaker, just a good public servant. Eventually, he moved to Atlanta and is now their Police Chief, dealing with another volatile urban situation. Back in New Orleans, one of Ray Nagin’s first actions was to appoint his lifelong friend Eddie Compass as Police Chief. Compass was a good beat cop, but no leader. He was inarticulate and obviously in over his head as Police Chief. The murder rate started to rise and by 2004 it stood at 10 times the national average, as 265 people were killed on the streets of New Orleans."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Katrina's Flights of Fancy

"The instant Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters raged down Canal Street, New Orleans' main drag, the tongues of the assorted doomsayers, fringe bloggers, fire-and-brimstone fundamentalists, unreconstructed Nazis and Klan members, leftists, black activists, loonies and even some in the mainstream media wagged furiously. All claimed that Katrina was the work of sinister forces. In one of the first e-mails I received after Katrina hit, an unnamed informant (they usually are), swore that, take your pick -- FEMA operatives, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Klan or the CIA -- dynamited the levees to, again, take your pick -- kill blacks, steal their land, save the French Quarter and the tourist traps from destruction. That, or this was a Karl Rove-engineered plot to turn Louisiana into a solid GOP red state ... If blacks could spin paranoid tales of genocide and dark plots against them, a slew of avowed white supremacist groups could do the same. Their Web sites pulsed with their own millennium race-bash warnings. One called for a 'cartridges for Katrina' program to ship ammo to whites in New Orleans and other areas to ward off the supposed hordes of black looters and criminals blazing a path of mayhem. Others called for 'whites only' tent cities for white evacuees. The more bloodthirsty supremacists, though, were content to gloat over the deaths of blacks and regret that more hadn't been killed."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A real winner: Man Indicted On Charges Of Firing At Helicopter

"NEW ORLEANS -- A man who allegedly fired a weapon at a rescue helicopter in the days following Hurricane Katrina's hit on New Orleans has been indicted by a federal grand jury. Wendell Bailey, 20, of New Orleans, was charged with firearms possession by a felon and firing upon a military aircraft. The grand jury accused Bailey of shooting through the window of his apartment as a helicopter flew over his neighborhood. Authorities said they found two revolvers and a box of ammunition under a mattress in his apartment. The charges carry up to 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. Authorities said Bailey had been previously convicted of cocaine distribution."

O'Reilly's Sneak Attack on Bloggers

"Last night I (David Kline) appeared on the conservative TV talk show The O'Reilly Factor, ostensibly to talk about political blogs and the impact they are having on the American political process. Or so I was told by the two producers for the show who spent over an hour pre-interviewing me. Unbeknownst to me, however, the show turned out to be a total set-up job in which host Bill O'Reilly and guest Jed Babbin spent the entire time attacking the web site Media Matters for having posted commentary in the past critical of them both."
O'Reilly calls Media Matters "assassins" and "the worst" among "most vicious" political websites: "O'Reilly claimed that he experienced difficulty booking guests for the segment because 'they were afraid that Media Matters would go after them.' He also described the state of fear he claims to live under because of Media Matters: 'I've got to have bodyguards. I've got to have security wherever I go. And it's because of them.' He then declared, 'I don't fear them; I loathe them.'"

Race, Lies and New Orleans

"A week after Katrina hit, a reporter for the British Guardian newspaper was curious whether there was any truth to the wild, gossipy and hysterical reports of murder, rape, incest, and stacked corpses at the New Orleans Superdome. He closely examined police reports, records, statements of city officials, and eyewitness accounts. He didn't find anything to substantiate the press reports, or official claims of the bedlam. His story was ignored in the mainstream press and lightly mentioned on a few obscure websites. A number of web respondents sneered at the story as a lie, or an apology for black crime by a left-leaning tabloid. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin quickly jumped into the fray, slandered his own city, and reinforced the worst racial stereotypes with his violence-is-everywhere rant on Oprah and national talk shows ... A month after these lonely press voices took the time to check facts, rather than run with gossip, a few newspapers did a tepid mea culpa and admitted that the apoplectic frothing tirades by a legion of talking-head commentators and their bloodthirsty headlines about 'Baghdad on the Bayou,' rape, murder, incest, stockpiled bloated corpses, mass looting, the breakdown of civilization and the dark side of America were exaggerated, or more bluntly a pack of lies."

Pat Tillman, Our Hero

"'I don't believe it,' seethed Ann Coulter. Her contempt was directed at a September 25 San Francisco Chronicle story reporting that former NFL star and Army Ranger war hero Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan last year, believed the US war on Iraq was 'f***ing illegal' and counted Noam Chomsky among his favorite authors. It must have been quite a moment for Coulter, who upon Tillman's death described him in her inimitably creepy fashion as 'an American original--virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.' She tried to discredit the story as San Francisco agitprop, but this approach ran into a slight problem: The article's source was Pat Tillman's mother, Mary. Mary and the Tillman family are relentlessly pushing for answers to the questions surrounding Pat's death in Afghanistan. They want to know why it took the Pentagon five weeks to tell them he died in a tragic case of friendly fire. They want to know why they were unwitting props at Pat's funeral, weeping while lies were told by eulogizing politicians. Mary is now hoping that a new Pentagon inquiry will bring closure. 'There have been so many discrepancies so far that it's hard to know what to believe,' she said to the Chronicle. 'There are too many murky details.'"

O'Reilly's spin

"On his October 4 broadcast, Fox host Bill O'Reilly presented a segment about 'political smear' websites that 'will do and say pretty much anything to harm people with whom they disagree politically.' Ironically, O'Reilly used that very segment to launch his own smear. Guest David Kline said to O'Reilly: 'I think there are a lot of nut cases out there. You have web sites and political bloggers that believe that President Bush orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.' O'Reilly responded by saying, 'You mean he didn't? That's what I've been hearing from Phil Donahue and Jeremy Glick and Michael Moore, that he orchestrated it. You mean he didn't? That's not true?' Former talkshow host Donahue and filmmaker Moore do not subscribe to the theory that Bush masterminded the September 11, 2001 attacks. And, despite O'Reilly repeated accusations (see Media Matters, 9/22/05), neither does Jeremy Glick, a one-time guest on O'Reilly's show (2/4/03) whose father was killed in the September 11 attacks. When Glick appeared on the show, he referred to the 'political legacy' of the United States 'training militarily, economically and situating geopolitically' the mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan, some of whom (including Osama bin Laden) would later form Al-Qaeda. Following Glick's appearance, O'Reilly attempted to twist his remarks to suggest that Glick believed George W. Bush was involved in the September 11 attacks (9/18/03, 9/19/03. 7/20/04). Oddly enough, O'Reilly had recently explained (9/22/05) the 'rules' for his program as follows: 'No slander and no personal accusations without facts to back them up. If the guest violates those rules, they are scolded by me and will not be invited back.' Do those rules apply to the host?"

Clinton scandals

"When President Bill Clinton appointed Louis Freeh director of the FBI, he called Freeh 'a law enforcement legend.' And Freeh spent a controversial eight years as director before he left in June, 2001. But the 9/11 plot was hatched on his watch and he has been criticized by the 9/11 commission for not having his agents more focused on counterterrorism. But it also turns out that no FBI director had a more strained relationship with the president who had appointed him, than did Louis Freeh with Clinton. As FBI Director, Freeh rarely sat down one-on-one with reporters. But now he’s written a book, My FBI, and speaks out for the first time about his years as director, and his toxic relationship with Bill Clinton. Here’s how he wrote about the former president: 'The problem was with Bill Clinton, the scandals and rumored scandals, the incubating ones and the dying ones never ended. Whatever moral compass the president was consulting was leading him in the wrong direction. His closets were full of skeletons just waiting to burst out.' Freeh says he was preoccupied for eight years with multiple investigations, including Whitewater, Jennifer Flowers and the Monica Lewinsky affair."

More of the same for NOPD

"Two New Orleans police officers repeatedly punched a 64-year-old man accused of public intoxication, and another city officer assaulted an Associated Press Television News producer as a cameraman taped the confrontations. There will be a criminal investigation, and the three officers were to be suspended, arrested and charged with simple battery Sunday, Capt. Marlon Defillo said. 'We have great concern with what we saw this morning,' Defillo said after he and about a dozen other high-ranking police department officials watched the APTN footage Sunday. 'It's a troubling tape, no doubt about it. ... This department will take immediate action.' The assaults come as the department, long plagued by allegations of brutality and corruption, struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass. The APTN tape shows an officer hitting the man at least four times in the head Saturday night as he stood outside a bar near Bourbon Street. The suspect, Robert Davis, appeared to resist, twisting and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four officers. One of the four then kneed Davis and punched him twice. Davis was face-down on the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter. Meanwhile, a fifth officer ordered APTN producer Rich Matthews and the cameraman to stop recording. When Matthews held up his credentials and explained he was working, the officer grabbed the producer, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade."