While opinion-based news proliferates, solid journalism is suffering.

Right wing voices are attempting to take down NPR for Juan Williams firing.
Emboldened by the successful hit job against ACORN, the far right is now trying to take down National Public Radio. Last week, NPR finally dropped Juan Williams. Williams, of course, has been hawking his pseudo-liberal political analyst stature over at Fox News for years. He’s been the Fox News token and finally NPR, after repeated warnings, got fed up. Fox News has offered Williams a multi-million dollar contract to work for them full-time. But all that has already been reported. What I want to discuss here is the sleazy attempt of folks like Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and the rest to use this personnel decision to take down NPR. Jim DeMint has, in fact, has already introduced legislation to defund NPR subsequent to its firing of Williams.

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"This is evidence of one-party rule and one-sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing," Williams wrote on FoxNews.com. "It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought." NPR only indirectly receives federal funding. In 2010, it got $430 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In addition to attacking NPR's funding source, DeMint has been on an earmark tear recently and will force a vote during the lame duck session of Congress to ban all earmarks for the next year. Real journalism has been hit severely by the Internet and new media. In addition, it’s been hit by the financial downturn. Most major newsrooms have been forced to offer buyouts, layoff huge percentages of their reporting staff. Some newspapers have even gone entirely under. The cable outlets have changed their business models, where they feature opinions as opposed to facts. Each day, there are but a handful of news stories that all of these opinionated folks chew on all day. In this climate, there are few mainstays for actual reporting. There is The Associated Press and there is National Public Radio. The electorate in this country is already woefully ignorant due in part to lackluster efforts by journalists. Without NPR, we might as well just forget about it. And that is the real intent of folks like DeMint, Gingrich and Palin. They couldn't care less about Williams. They simply do not want real journalist to do their job informing the public. They want a climate where Fox News' distortions are the only perspective most Americans receive. Why didn’t they go after CNN when it fired Rick Sanchez? Or better yet, why didn’t they go after CNN during all those years that Lou Dobbs railed on ridiculously against Hispanic immigrants? This is not about freedom of the speech, this is just another attempt by the far right to vilify dissent. Remember the attack against ACORN? James O’Keefe, who has since been entirely discredited, allegedly went into ACORN offices dressed as a pimp and received advice on how to defraud the government. As soon as that doctored video tape was released the far right went on a tear against ACORN, effectively destroying that nonprofit. It wasn’t until afterwards that we were told it was all based on a lie. It wasn’t until after ACORN was defunded and vilified, primarily by FOX News, that we were informed O’Keefe was full of crap. But it was too late by then. How about Shirley Sherrod? It was the same M.O. Once again, conservative activist  used doctored video and audio to painting her as a racist. The administration, scared to death by Fox News, asked her to resign. Then a day later, we realized once again we were duped by misleading audio. Once again, it was too late. Sherrod was offended by how easily the White House threw her under the bus and didn’t want her job back. Once again, the conservatives and faux journalism won out over the facts. Well here we are again. Fox News and conservatives are coming after National Public Radio. They are spinning this story into being about free speech. The truth is NPR has repeatedly warned Williams to stop his frequent and inappropriate pontificating on Fox News. The truth is, he appears of Fox News as a representative of NPR and when he says idiotic things it affects how people view NPR. Last year, NPR told Williams he could no longer identify himself as being a representative of NPR during his Fox News appearances. But Williams ignored his employers and continued to allow Fox News to use him as the token liberal while they distort the news. In the end, they canned his butt. But once again the mainstream media is falling blindly for the bait and switch. The narrative is not about Fox News and why it is so offensive to be associated with its distortions. The narrative instead is about NPR and did it overreact? Will it be defunded? Does NPR face legal issues because it fired Williams? etc. The fact is, as a media outlet, NPR has a brand to protect. It was absolutely right when it feared that Williams frequent appearances on Fox News as an NPR representative, negatively affected its brand. And it had every right to demand that he either stop appearing on Fox News or find another job. Read the story.

Anita Hill spurred two decades of progress on sexual harassment, while Clarence Thomas takes us backward on race

Thank you Anita Hill for courageously laying the groundwork for women to stand up to sexual harassment
Like some of you, I remember the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. It was one of the first examples of politics in the 24-hour news channel age. I remember the discomfort I felt as a panel of angry old white guys grilled this poor woman who dared to speak against their chosen token conservative “negro” who would ultimately replace the legendary Thurgood Marshall on the U.S. Supreme Court. I remember the panel’s anger when she in fact passed a lie detector test.  I remember Clarence Thomas, who has all but built his career as being the non-black black Judge play the race card when all else failed. “As a black man, I feel this is a high-tech lynching,” Thomas said infamously.
What I remember most was how conservatives had flipped the switch. It was the first time I remember where the Republican party played the hand of identity politics against minorities, while using a minority in order to get it done. It’s been nearly 20 years since those congressional hearings and not much has changed in terms of tactics for conservatives. Only now, they have started to expand this tactic to women. What happened? Virginia Thomas, who has become the face of a tea-party-backed nonprofit, apparently called Anita Hill asking her to apologize to Clarence Thomas for accusing him of sexual harassment 19 years ago. In response, Hill informed security at Brandeis University where she works. The university informed the FBI and Ginny Thomas confirmed that she had in fact made the call. Hill has said she though it was inappropriate and that there would be no apology because everything she testified to was the truth. Some folks are speculating about Ginny Thomas’s motives. Is this some fundraising publicity ploy? Why would she contact Hill, a woman she has never met, after all these years. Why is she trying to re-litigate the past, especially considering her husband actually got away with it back then. And ultimately has there been so little progress in women’s rights in the last 20 years that this kind of thing is still acceptable? What Anita Hill means to professional women The Anita Hill case was a turning point for American women, who have endured sexual harassment and gender bias on the job. Even though they dragged her name through the mud, she was unflappable on the stand and gave women everywhere in the U.S. courage to stand up and say "enough is enough." Subsequent to her testimony the U.S. Supreme Court made employers more liable for sexual harassment in 1998.  The Society for Human Resource Management has reported that 62 percent of companies now offer sexual harassment prevention training programs, and 97 percent have a written sexual harassment policy. For those of us who knew Anita Hill told the truth, the appointment of Clarence Thomas was a defeat, a slap in the face. But because she had the courage to speak out there were long-term consequences. There soon was national awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace. Between 1991 and 1996, awards to victims of sexual harassment under federal laws nearly quadrupled, from $7.7 million to $27.8 million. Another repercussion was that women started getting involved in politics. The following year, in fact, the media heralded the 1992 election as the “Year of the Woman.” A record number of women ran for public office and won. In the U.S. Senate, eleven women ran and five won seats. In the House of Representatives, twenty-four women won new seats. Why? Because women across the country realized that the only reason her grievances were not taken seriously is because she was being judged by a Congress, not an electorate, who was 98 percent male at the time. Token women and minorities But what is even more important is that Ginny’s 20-year-old (get over it already) dig should speak more broadly to how conservatives continue to use “tokens” to push their often sexist and racist agendas. The appointment of her husband was the first example. There, we learned that in some cases it is irrelevant what race someone is, if they in fact choose to align themselves with those in power. We learned that Clarence Thomas, despite having benefited from policies such as affirmative action, would never stand up for black people. With Ginny’s actions, we are reminded of the host of anti-woman female candidates being hoisted up the ladders of power by the tea party and the GOP.  Carly Fiorina, Sharron Angle, Nikki Haley, Meg Whitman, Christine O’Donnell and of course Sarah Palin. Out of all these women political hopefuls, there is not one among them who would defend a woman’s right to choose. There is not one among them who would stand up for equal protection in the workplace. There is not one among them who has not aligned themselves with the old white guys in the conservative movement who stand as obstacles to social and political progress for women and minorities. Read the story.

In this straight up nutty political climate, elected officials and candidates sometimes say the darndest things.

Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has called for investigating Democrats for being un-American
Remember that old show, "Children say the darndest things?" In this political climate, largely fueled by the tea party movement and a host of "not-ready-for-prime-time" hopefuls for elected office, that show could easily be revamped. There are obviously quite a few people out in America who are angry, afraid and "want their country back." I don't know exactly why they think it's been taken from them, but what is clear is that they believe somehow that intellectualism and minorities are to blame. As a result, their chosen candidates are about as dumb and white as they come. Here's a list of some of the craziest things the tea party candidates have come up with. They range from such deep thinkers as Delaware Senatorial candidate Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell to New York Gubernatorial candidate Carl "imprison welfare recipients" Paladino. Read, enjoy. But most importantly vote! Things may be bad now, but can you imagine how much worse they will be if these idiots get elected, or in some cases re-elected. 1.) "It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can't masturbate without lust," Christine O'Donnell, R- candidate for Senate. O'Donnell is the tea party-backed candidate seeking to replace Vice President Joe Biden in Delaware. She made the above statements on one of many appearances on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect. She also stated on that show that she had dabbled in witchcraft before turning to Christianity. Since then, O'Donnell has basically gone radio silent refusing all media appearances other than Fox News.
2.) "Gay marriage is probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in the last, at least, thirty years. I am not understating that,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Bachmann said that back in 2004 while on the stump to deny gay marriage in her home state of Minnesota. Back then, she was a State Senator. Bachmann was elected by the good people of Minnesota to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006. Since then, she has continued on her narrow-minded tirade, claiming that "Democrats in Congress" needed to be investigated for being un-American and that all Congress should do -- once the Republicans reclaim the majority -- is send out subpoena after subpoena and investigate the Obama administration. 3.) "He has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity,” said Rep. Trent Franks about Obama. Franks is an Arizona Congressman and said that last week during a conservative "values" forum. He also shortly later demanded that President Obama provide his birth certificate. When he was grilled by the media for making such an outlandish statement, his spokespeople claimed Franks was referring to "unborn" humanity and was speaking about Obama's stance on abortion. Yeah, right. 4.) "The exact phrase 'separation of Church and State' came out of Adolph Hitler's mouth, that's where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State, ask them why they’re Nazis.” Glen Urquhart said. He's another tea party-backed candidate up in Delaware. He falsely claims "separation of church and state" was not in President Thomas Jefferson's 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association.  He said that last April. This guy also compared abortion to slavery. He's a real gem. 5.) "I have been in the situation of counseling young girls... who have had very at risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade,” said tea party-backed candidate Sharron Angle on abortion and why it should be illegal even in the case of rape or incest. This woman also believes we should get rid of the Veteran's Administration and said essentially that big government equates Godlessness, because Americans then look to the government to provide from them as opposed to God. Sad thing is, she's tied with Sen. Harry Reid down in Nevada. 6.) “These are beautiful properties with basketball courts, bathroom facilities, toilet facilities. Many young people would love to get the hell out of the cities,” said Carl Paladino, New York State tea party-backed candidate for Governor. He was describing his idea to transform prisons into dorms for welfare recipients. Paladino has a knack for making headlines for being, well unhinged. He threatened the life of a reporter while on camera. He also sent out a bunch of racist and pornographic emails to hundreds of political and media contacts. He's running against New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. 7.) "You'd have to strike any laws against beastiality, if you’re oriented toward corpses, toward children, there are kinds of perversions,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert on why there should not be hate crime legislation. This Texas Republican said that back in May. He's also the same guy who claims that immigrant infants pose a risk to national security as they will one day create terrorist cells. 8.) "The greatest threat to America is not necessarily a recession or even another terrorist attack,"  said Rep. Lamar Smith, another Texas Republican. He said that back in June to Fox News. But if the media is so liberal, then what is Fox News? What is NewsCorp? 9.) "I hope that's not where we're going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out." — Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle. That is the second entry by Angle, because she's just that crazy. She said that back in June. She also told Fox News the media should only report the news political candidates want them to report. 10.) “We took the Bible and prayer out of public schools, and now we're having weekly shootings practically. We had the 60s sexual revolution, and now people are dying of AIDS." — Christine O'Donnell, during a 1998 appearance on Bill Maher's 'Politically Incorrect. That is a second entry for O'Donnell because she too is just that crazy. And here's a third because in fact she's crazier. "Well, I don't think that the Obama administration knows what's Jesus, what belongs to Jesus and what belongs to them. That's my big gripe. Apparently, he doesn't know. But then, that's because he's not a Christian. He's Muslim," O'Donnell said last November. "It's a proven fact he's Muslim. He wasn't born in this country. He was born in Kenya. There are people who know it, people who know where the birth certificate is. It's locked up and our government can't get a hold of it. He's a illegitimate president, in my estimation." Nice, huh? How much do you have to really despise this country to elect this class of idiots into office? Read the story and check out additional video

This is the story of a man, who has for years, lined his pockets off of division and racial resentment

Lou Dobbs became very wealthy by bashing immigrants
Former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs has amassed a fortune over the years,  drilling home to his viewers that “illegals” are sneaking into this country, breaking our laws, spreading disease, taking American jobs and ruining our country. As it turns out,  those same “illegals” also worked for him at his multi-million dollar estate. A yearlong investigation conducted by The Nation found five undocumented workers, all of whom worked for Dobbs for years. In his defense, Dobbs said this last night on MSNBC’s "The Last Word": "The only person who would have been an illegal in any context would have been a landscaper who was working for the contractor working on my house in Florida. That may have happened," Dobbs said. "But that isn't my employee nor is it the reason I would have contracted with that landscaper. And to suggest I hired the person who is illegal if, indeed she can document there was someone illegal, is an absurdity. I have hired no illegal immigrants, no company of mine has hired illegal immigrants and that is the essential fact."
At the height of his career at CNN, Dobbs brought home $6 million a year, He daily ranted angry against “illegals” in this country and he also railed against the business owners who employed them. But during an investigation by The Nation magazine, one reporter tracked down five undocumented immigrants who worked for Dobbs. Actually,  according to Dobbs the workers in question worked for a contractor with whom he did business. Dobbs has also tried to defend this hypocisy by saying he did not “personally” or “intentionally” employ illegal immigrant workers. “The Nation and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute have found that Dobbs has relied for years on undocumented labor for the upkeep of his multimillion-dollar estates and the horses he keeps for his 22-year-old daughter, Hillary, a champion show jumper," according to The Nation investigation. Dobbs lives in a massive white mansion on a 300-acre estate in New Jersey.  The workers who labored on his house and helped care for his daughter’s horses, of course, worked near minimum wage. Just like California Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who rallied against the Dream Act while employing an undocumented nanny and housekeeper at her home, then turned around and denied it, until it was proven on national television and, in a way, it’s just like Bishop Eddie Long, who allegedly coerced several young men into having sex with him while he was railing against homosexuality. Once again, it’s a story about American hypocrisy and entitlement. This is the story of a man, who has for years, lined his pockets off division and racial resentment. Even after stepping down from CNN, he has continued to rail against the “illegal problem” in this country. There were even rumors as late as last week before this story broke that he was contemplating a political run. Next week, he plans to speak at a tea party event, once again about the evils of illegal immigration. Back in 1963, shortly after the assassination of President John Kennedy, Malcom X famously said this was an example of America’s “chickens coming home to roost,” meaning the President was killed by the same kind of violence that this country had been subjecting African Americans too for generations. It was an offhanded remark, and perhaps led many members of white America to hate and fear him even more. But the truth is, he was spot on. And in this case, as well as the two others sited, it could not be more clear cut. Dobbs is no victim here. The only way he did not know that five immigrants who worked on his property for several years were not American citizens is because he didn’t want to know. He didn’t consider them employees. I would suggest that he rarely considered them at all, where they went when they left his home, what their lives were like, etc. In all of the above cases, these high profile wealthy predators have also felt as if they could get away with it. Can you imagine the kind of arrogance you would have to have to run for Governor, railing against illegal immigration, after having employed two illegal immigrants -- one of whom worked for you for nine years? Can you imagine the level of arrogance you would have to have built your entire career and fame off of railing against illegal immigrants while employing them in your home? In this case, the chickens do not represent American violence, but American entitlement and hypocrisy. Read the story, and see the video.

Complaints of race and sexual workplace discrimination are on the rise. Is it just about economics or has politics spilled over?

The numbers tell us that workplace diversity is largely a luxury in the U.S. A wealth of women and minorities are “good things” to have in a growing economy, but as the recession tightens its grips around the labor market, they are among the first to be shown the door.
Skilled and educated women and minorities are finding it harder to land a job than their white male counterparts. Once employed, they are are enduring near record high levels of gender and race discrimination in the workplace. African-American workers have lost jobs at a rate 50 percent higher than white employees over the last two years, according to the study prepared by Howard Wall, a St. Louis Fed economist and vice president. That gap was even more pronounced when you looked at unemployment based on gender. Then, according to the Pew Research Center, 26 percent of employed Hispanics feared they would laid off in the next 12 months, about double that of non-Hispanic whites. About 17 percent of blacks reported they were concerned about layoffs.
Some of these losses may be explained away by business economics. As the push for workplace diversity has been a relatively new phenomena, many strides that women and minorities have made have too been recent. These workers, when it comes to downsizing, may be among the least experienced or who have the least amount of tenure on that particular job. However with the loss of roughly 15.1 million jobs, dozens and sometimes hundreds vying for a single job and a growing sense in this country that Obama and the Democrats somehow are to blame, it makes me wonder if there is something more than mere survival of the fittest worker in the labor market. Is there the same resentment and isolationism parallel to what we see in the political landscape? Think about all those tea party folks, when they leave the picket lines with their accusations about health care and socialism and go back to their offices, factories, etc., are they really prepared to give women and minorities a fair shake? “We Colored People have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop,” wrote former Tea Party leader Mark Williams in a satarical letter written to Abraham Lincoln, in direct reference to the NAACP. “The tea party position to 'end the bailouts' for example is just silly. Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn’t that what we want all Coloreds to strive for? What kind of racist would want to end big money welfare? What they need to do is start handing the bail outs directly to us coloreds! Of course, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the only responsible party that should be granted the right to disperse the funds.” Williams, a California radio host, was kicked out of the tea party following that racist post. But the tea parties and the host of political candidates they support may be emboldening some employers who already harbor racist resentment. Think about candidates like Rand Paul, who believes the parts of the U.S. Civil Rights Act should be repealed. Other tea party-backed candidates have suggested there shouldn't be a federal minimum wage, that the wage floor is in fact not constitutional and anti-business. Their positions run counter to fairness in the workplace and could be directly contributing to the cavalier manner in which employers are now treating their employees and could be directly feeding hostility in the workplace. "When times are good, people can replace what they had right away. Let's say, if they had a bad workplace situation where they were facing discrimination, they could easily get away and get another job," said Paula Brantner, executive director of Workplace Fairness. "When times are hard, they are not working, they are sitting around and reflecting about what went on. So people who may have not considered litigation, are now thinking about it." The flp side of that coin, Brantner says, is that also during harder economic times, some employers treat their employees differently. "Employers also have a much more cavalier attitude when the economy is like this. It's like, 'Hey if you don't like it, I can find someone else that does,' even though they are just as liable during a bad economy. They are more cavalier about how they treat their workers," she said, adding that employees feeling discrimination have a tendency to hang on longer and endure that treatment, working the additional hours, afraid they will be without a job, or worse that they may get blacklisted from an industry as a troublemaker. And these workplace trends definitely correspond to the political climate. For instance in Arizona, discrimination claims are up 60 percent this year. The largest increase has been in nation of origin discrimination claims. Arizona just passed the toughest immigration enforcement measure in the country. "Having that law passed in Arizona may have emboldened people who have some of that discriminatory animus," Brantner said. "It may cause the bigots to think they can get away with some things they really can't get away with in Arizona." A regional attorney in Arizona says it's common during tough economic times.

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“We often see this when economic times are tough. They get rid of people of color, they get rid of people with disabilities, they get rid of people who are pregnant,” said Mary O'Neill, an attorney with the EEOC in Arizona.  “We've seen a big jump in national origin claims which probably shouldn't surprise us given what's going on in this state and in this county in particular. We're seeing a big increase in pregnancy discrimination also.” New research by Eden King, an assistant professor of psychology at George Mason University, suggests that workplace discrimination increases when people feel threatened by economic downturns. “In good economic times, people know they are supposed to support diversity and will tend to hire a minority candidate to get affirmative action points. But when times are tough, people tend to look out for their own group and isolate outsiders, and that's when discrimination can begin to rear its ugly head," King said in BusinessWeek. In Texas alone, workers were awarded $28.9 million in compensation for workplace sexual harassment, religious intolerance and age and race discrimination in 2009. That’s about $2.7 million more than the previous year. Nationwide, discrimination complaints are near all-time highs last year as well. Diverse roster of offending companies Companies embroiled in the growing number of complaints are quite diverse. In Cleveland, the local EEOC just settled a $400,000 race discrimination and retaliation class settlement case against Mineral Met, Inc, a division of the Chemalloy Company. There, black employees were disciplined for such trivial things as having facial hair while employees were not. The EEOC also found that one white supervisor at that company placed a hangman’s noose on a piece of machinery. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued DHL Express (USA) Inc., alleging it discriminated against black Chicago-area employees by giving them worse assignments than their white counterparts. “DHL assigned more difficult and dangerous work to black employees than white employees,” violating federal civil rights laws, EEOC regional attorney John Hendrickson said in the statement. In January 2010 Outback was forced to pay out $19 million in a sex discrimination case. There, a woman employee claimed she was denied opportunity for advancement, promotion and favorable work assignments. Fox News, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, all titans of industry, have been sued for sexual discrimination during this recession. Just this month, the U.S. filed a gender bias complaint against Tyson Foods for allegedly systematically rejecting female applicants. The rancid political envirionment may not directly result in a woman or a minority being discriminated against at work. But this divisive political climate and the tough economic times have definitely spiled over into the workplace, making it tougher for women and minorities to find a job, keep a job and stay on the job without having to endure workplace discrimination. Read the story

Glenn Beck's extracurricular activities and continued advertiser boycott of his show is reportedly causing tension at Fox News.

There are reportedly tensions brewing over at Fox News between Glenn Beck and his boss Roger Ailes
According to a story in the New York Times magazine, Glenn Beck may be getting a little too big for his britches for his boss Roger Ailes over at Fox News. Last year, Beck drew a considerable amount of backlash from advertisers for saying he thought President Obama might be a racist with deep-seated hatred for white people. Let’s put aside the fact that President Obama is, after all, half white and was raised largely by his white grandmother, grandfather and single mother. But the point is, shortly afterwards, Beck’s advertisers started dropping his show like flies. Though few people still write about that boycott, advertisers have not come back. As of Sept. 21, 296 advertisers have asked that their commercials not be, shown on Beck’s show (up from 26 in August 2009). His ratings, once explosive, too, have fallen. According to Nielson, he’s down to about two million viewers down from 2.8 million back in 2009. Beck’s show, according to the New York Times piece, are considered empty calories in the new network industry, meaning even though he continues to bring in the ratings his show is toxic for ad sales. According to the profile, Ailes “has complained about Beck’s hawking his non-Fox ventures too much on his Fox show” and that Ailes believes Beck “does not fully appreciate the degree to which Fox News has made him the sensation he has become in recent months.”
The anomaly of Beck A month ago, Beck organized the “Restoring Honor Rally” at the National Mall and was able to get, according to his own estimates, about 500,000 people to attend. Over the weekend, a progressive rally was held called the “One Nation Working Together Rally” which was organized by 400 different organizations including the NAACP, the Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for La Raza, original reporting indicate less than 200,000 attended. The thing that really gets progressives, at least it really gets this progressive, is the size and loyalty of his followers. Yet, despite his innate ability to connect with a disaffected contingent of the population, Beck remains an anomaly. He is a man who is both self-deprecating and enormously presumptuous, a man who picked up the mantle dropped by groups like the Promise Keepers dropped more than a decade ago. He’s also far more divisive. The Promise Keepers basically lectured men about reclaiming their place within the context of their family, even though making the assumption that men are the heads of that family and not necessarily partners. Beck’s script is decidedly more acidic. He continuously makes the claim that he, and other white men like him are under attack, that the America they grew up in and believed in, is on the brink of destruction. And Beck doesn’t mind making wild accusations about who he believes is doing the taking. He has in a way reinvented the “grievance dynamic” -- the thing conservatives have for years accused minorities of clinging to -- for white men. In Beck’s worldview, white men are oppressed. White men are the downtroddened. It’s upon their backs that his country was built, and they have been categorically left behind. “What are the odds we have a Communist revolutionary in the White House?” Beck said to a loud applause at a recent event.  At that event, he and his colleague Bill O’Reilly spoke at length about “critics” who are bent on silencing them. “They want to destroy you, get you off the air,” O’Reilly told Beck. “And I want to know if that bothers you?” “It bothers me when I walk down the street with my children,” Beck said, “and my college-age daughter is holding my hand, and someone says something horribly vicious. And my daughter hears them, cries and says to me, ‘Dad, all I wish is that people will remember that you are a dad occasionally as well.’ ” He said this, even though just a few few months ago, he went on a relentless attack of Malia Obama, calling her idiotic.  “Daddy,” Beck said, mimicking the president’s daughter, “why do you hate black people so much?” “He is a modern-day prophet doing God’s work,” on man named man Lee Hein said. Where as Rush Limbaugh is a pompous windbag, Beck, to his followers, is part political critic, part historian, part spiritual leader and part 12-step sponsor. He appeals to those angry guys on the fringe, and he is either the back up they need to go on a shooting rampage -- as several have already done -- or perhaps he’s the guy that talks them off the edge and back to the voting booth come November. Either way, he is directly partly responsible, as much as the tea parties, for the apparent “enthusiasm gap” that the GOP is pinning their hopes on in November. But what he’s not, despite his millions and penchant for marketing himself above all, is simply a capitalist. That will continue to be a major bone of contention between Beck and his bosses at Fox News. He’s more of a televangelist and a self-help guru, who is, by definition, incapable of remaining loyal to the medium or company that helps him aggrandize himself. After all “he’s on a mission from God,” so Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch and Fox News be damned. Before his Washington rally, he promoted it every day and every hour on his T.V. and radio show, but it did not replenish News Corps. coffers, which have been depleted due to his divisive rhetoric. The photograph books he hawked at this event go straight into his pockets via Mercury Radio Arts, not Fox News. Beck has recently even started a “university, and a website called The Blaze, all of the above he consistently pimps on Fox News. None of the above benefit Fox News. While Ailes, a former Republican strategist runs his cable network with one thing in mind, benefitting Fox News’ bottom line. Beck doesn’t even operate out of Fox News headquarters but Mercury Radio Arts, a few blocks down the road. He has his own publicists, his own communications consultant. He  receives a $2.5 million salary from Fox News, but it’s a fraction of what he brings home -- the bulk of Beck’s bucks come from his radio and print deals. The fact is Beck no longer needs Fox and both he and Fox realize that. And if he did go freelance, much like his female counterpart Sarah Palin did when resigning from her position as Gov. of Alaska, he would likely earn for doing a lot less work. “When I mentioned Beck’s name to several Fox reporters, personalities and staff members, it reliably elicited either a sigh or an eye roll. Several Fox News journalists have complained that Beck’s antics are embarrassing Fox, that his inflammatory rhetoric makes it difficult for the network to present itself as a legitimate news outlet,” Mark Leibovich wrote. “Fearful that Beck was becoming the perceived face of Fox News, some network insiders leaked their dissatisfaction in March to The Washington Post’s media critic, Howard Kurtz, a highly unusual breach at a place where complaints of internal strains rarely go public.” Read the story.
The body count of children and young adults committing suicide over homosexuality is shockingly high
Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge
It’s been more than a decade since Matthew Shepard was beaten to death in Laramie, Wyo. Yet, the homophobia that took his life continues to claim the lives of others. But the victims are getting younger. This month alone three boys, ages 13, 13 and 15, took their own lives because they were bullied at school by kids who “thought they were gay.” One kid, Seth Walsh, 13. who lived in Tehachapi, outside of Bakersfield, Ca., hanged himself from a tree in his back yard after years of being bullied. He died Tuesday afternoon after nine days on life support. Another boy, Asher Brown of Houston, Tx., 13, shot himself in the head last Thursday, also directly due to the incessant bullying he suffered at school.
His parents told the Houston Chronicle the bullying came specifically from four students. They say they complained several times during the last 18 months but the school did nothing about it. The school did not even bother returning his parents' phone calls. He was "bullied to death," said Amy and David Truong, Asher’s mother and stepfather. “Picked on for his small size, his religion and because he did not wear designer clothes and shoes. Kids also accused him of being gay, some of them performing mock gay acts on him in his physical education class.” Then, yet another boy, Billy Lucas, 15, of Greensburg, In. took his life in early Sept. Once again, he killed himself after incessant bullying. Why did they bully him? They thought he was gay. “He was threatened to get beat up every day,” friend and classmate Nick Hughes told the local television station. “Sometimes in classes, kids would act like they were going to punch him and stuff and push him.” “Some people at school called him names,” Hughes said. Those names questioned Lucas’ sexual orientation. Lucas, for the most part, and that Lucas, did little to defend himself. “He would try to but people would just try to break him down with words and stuff and just pick on him,” Hughes added. Another boy, 11, was beaten up, his arm broken by bullies because he joined the cheerleading team at his school. That kid Tyler Wilson of Ohio refuses to quit the squad due to the bullying. His mother, once again, complained to the school about the bullying but received no assistance. Then, in New Jersey, a Rutgers University student jumped off the George Washington bridge on Sept. 23, after two students secretly videotaped him having sex with another male student in his dorm room then posted it on the Internet. Dharun Ravi and Molly W. Wei, both 18-years-old, were each charged with two counts of invasion of privacy Tuesday for allegedly placing the camera in the boy’s room. Then, in Michigan an Asst Attorney General has gone on a six month campaign of harassment against a University of Michigan student. This youth's name is Chris Armstrong. He is the first openly gay student assembly president at the University. The city official launched a website entitled “Chris Armstrong Watch." This public official’s name is Andrew Shirvell. He has allegedly stalked the poor kid outside of his house. He posted doctored photos on the website with rainbow flags and swastikas printed on the sleeve of the kid’s shirt. He calls Armstrong Satan's representative on the Student Council. He calls Armstrong a radical homosexual activist. Shirvell has published blog posts accusing Armstrong of engaging in "flagrant sexual promiscuity," sexually seducing and influencing "a previously conservative [male] student," and trying to recruit incoming first year students "to join the homosexual 'lifestyle.' " Believe or not, Shirvell still has his job. "I'm a Christian citizen exercising my First Amendment rights," Shirvell told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I have no problem with the fact that Chris is a homosexual. I have a problem with the fact that he's advancing a radical homosexual agenda." Car Joseph Walker-Hoover's mother speaks out about bullying The above video relates to a case dating back to April 2009. In this case, the 11-year-old pushed into taking his own life because he was bullied because his classmates thought “he was gay,” “too effeminate” etc. was black. The only reason I bring it up is to show that bigotry and cruelty is truly colorblind. Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover hung himself with an extension cord after yet another day of bullying at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Ma. where he was a student. He was only in the sixth grade. "I just want to help some other child. I know there are other kids being picked on, and it's day in and day out," said Sirdeaner L. Walker, his mother. During the same month, 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera woke up one morning and told his mother he didn't want to go to school in DeKalb County, Ga. He came home happy that day showing his mother a report card full of As and Bs. Then, he went upstairs to his room. But when his sister called him down to dinner, he didn't answer. His mother and daughter climbed the stairs to Jaheem's room and found him hanging by his belt in the closet. "I always used to see these things on TV, dead people on the news," said Masika Bermudez, Jaheem's mother. "I saw somebody die and to see this dead person is your son, hanging there, a young boy. ... To hang yourself like that, you've got to really be tired of something." Bermudez says bullies at school pushed Jaheem over the edge. He complained about being called gay, ugly and "the virgin" because he was from the Virgin Islands, she said. "He used to say Mom they keep telling me this ... this gay word, this gay, gay, gay. I'm tired of hearing it, they're telling me the same thing over and over," she said. Two years prior, 17-year-old Eric Mohat shot himself in his bedroom after enduring similar taunting and bullying. "He was called fag," his mother Jan Mohat said. "He was called gay." Then one day after his math class, she recalls the final taunts that pushed him over the edge. "Eric was told by the bully," his mothers says. “ ‘Eric, why don’t you go home and shoot yourself. It’s not like anybody would care.’ There is one common thread in the above cases: The system failed them all. Whether it was school officials, other parents, or in the case of the city official, institutionalized homophobia, there was a failure on the behalf of people entrusted with looking out for the common good. In all of the above cases, except for two, that failure directly resulted in loss of life. Tragic. Yet still, some school officials refuse to take bullying seriously. As a reporter in Oklahoma, I personally recall right-wing attacks against a seminar on bullying. Just educating the teachers about anti-gay bullying sent Christian Conservatives over the edge. They raged on that what some teacher might assume was bullying infringed upon other students rights to express their values. They actually campaigned against an anti-bullying initiative. They claimed that protecting gay students or students perceived of as being gay was a form of recruitment by the extremist homosexual activists.

When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty,

this beautiful and terrible thing, needful to man as air,

usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all, when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole, reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians: this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world where none is lonely, none hunted, alien, this man, superb in love and logic, this man shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues' rhetoric, not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone, but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing. That’s by the great Frederick Douglass. This is from the great Emma Lazarus:

Until we are all free, we are none of us free.

read the story.
What if Christine O'Donnell were black? Would she still be running for office or would she be running from the law?
Right wing commentators are going to bat for this batty candidate
You ever wonder what if? What if a guy named Glenn Beck were black? Would he be on national television allowed to fill the air with insanity on a constant basis. What if Rush Limbaugh was black? He would certainly be Public Enemy No. 1 and categorized as a terrorist. What if Christine O’Donnell, the recently anointed tea party candidate in Delaware, who has confessed to dabbling in witch craft, who allegedly didn’t pay campaign staff, who allegedly embezzled money from her campaign fund, and who is a certifiable lunatic? What if she were black would she still be running for office?  Please consider the clip below before answering that question. Christine O'Donnell on Bill Maher In my opinion, this is white privilege at its worst. It really does not seem to matter any more who you are, what you have done, what experience or qualifications you have. They are all just entitled to the reigns of power just by virtue of being a white conservative who clings to issues important to an angry subpopulation of the electorate at the right time. If Christine O'Donnell were black, she would not be running for office, she would be running from a criminal indictment. If she were black, she would not have a friend in the world. But since she is not and properly articulates the tea party message she is the beneficiary of millions in campaign donations, she is the new darling of Fox News. Let’s just reflect on her experiences. She now has a Bacherlo's but lied for years about her education. She has no provable source of income, and is allegedly living off of campaign donations. Her only real claim to fame is being the mouthpiece for an abstinence-only faith-based nonprofit. And there is literally hours of video tape of her saying literally the dumbest things I have ever heard, and that includes both George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. The best comparison I can come up with as it relates to Christine O’Donnell is Alvin Greene. Alvin Greene, much like O’Donnell came out of nowhere to win the Democratic Primary in South Carolina.  He has a questionable path, no verifiable income, no experience, no qualifications. Though he seems a bit brain dead to his credit, he doesn’t go off on biblical tirades about masturbation. But the similarities end there. Alvin Greene is a complete joke. It was Democrats who begged him not to run. It was Democrats who questioned his qualifications. Yet on the far right, the minions are rallying around O’Donnell as if she is the second coming of Sarah Palin.
“While the mainstream media have been in a frenzy to denounce Christine O'Donnell as a kook for her socially conservative statements on abstinence from the 1990s, the cable news networks had a perfect opportunity this afternoon to let her speak for herself,” wrote Ken Shepherd at Newsbusters.org. “Collectively they gave her less than five minutes.” Karl Rove was forced to walk back criticism of O’Donnell the day after she sealed the nomination. “One thing she is going to have to answer in the general election that she didn’t have to address during the primary is her own checkered background,” Rove said. “I met her and I got to tell you I wasn’t frankly impressed by her qualifications as a candidate...  How does she make her living? Why did she mislead voters about her college education. Why did it take her nearly two decades to pay for her college education?” “There’s just a lot of nutty things she’s been saying,” he added. And here’s one thing for sure no truer words have left Rove’s mouth. But the backlash from the right wing was severe and immediate. “I never heard Karl Rove as mad at a Democrat as he was at Christine O’Donnell last night,” said Rush Limbaugh.  “If 51 seats is so important, let’s go balls to the wall” for O’Donnell. This assault was repeated by Michelle Malkin then Sean Hannity, then just about every right-wing commentator you can think of. And the answer is simple. The far right couldn't care less about qualifications as long as they reclaim power. Limbaugh said it best. In fact, the dumber the better because they won't object when the far right wing of the party starts to pull their strings. Read the story.

What the White House needs to learn from his mistakes.

Can Fenty's missteps be a learning opportunity for the Obama White House?
There’s a story in the Washington Post that examines why former Washington D.C. Mayor Adrien Fenty lost his primary battle. It paints a scene of a group of nervous advisors trying to present Fenty with criticism he’s received from various focus groups. It paints a picture of a nonwavering if not arrogant leadership style. It paints a picture of a man who is considered by many of his consitutuents as aloof, overconfident, unwilling to listen to their concerns and ulimately it paints a picture of a man who is unable to connect with voters. Does that sound familiar? These are the same criticism facing President Barack Obama. He has been both praised and criticized for being the kind of politician who remains cool under pressure as well as being the kind of politician who does not govern by looking at polling numbers. But he, much like Fenty, is struggling with public opinion. He like Fenty has loss the support of his base.


The Washington Post piece paints the picture of Fenty, as a man who is not afraid to go up against teachers for the sake of improving the education of children, a man who is willing to take on the very difficult task of trying to reform D.C.’s historically flailing schools. To compare this with the President, one only has to look at his controversial reform of the health care industry. It did not poll well. It thoroughly divided the electorate, and even though he won, it was a net loss as it relates to his approval rating. Independents didn’t like the idea of government controling their health care. They didn’t like the idea of offering another entitlement during a recession. And ultimately, they didn’t trust that government could do it effectively. Progressives were not wooed because it lacked key provisions dear to them and that were actually promised during the campaign trail such as a public option. In the end, it was a compromise that even though it included some good benefits for the currently uninsured, it did not do much to alieve the primary concerns of rising health care cost. Another similarity: Fenty loss the confidence of the Black Community in Washington D.C., who represented a broad majority of primary voters in the District. Though President Obama still has the support of the vast majority of African American voters, roughly 81 percent, that number is down from where it was when he was elected. The greatest decline in approval has come from white voters, barely more than 30 percent now support the President. The demographics where he has slid the most, among progressive and independent voters, especially men. In Fenty’s administration, he betted on his accomplishments. He thought that would far outweigh complaints that he seemed aloof and uncaring. He thought, overhauling the school system would mean something. He thought building swimming pools and soccer fields have a direct affect on people's lives and that will outweigh perceptions. When it was time to vote, he thought the substance of his work, not his personality would win him another term. In Obama’s administration as the criticism from progressives mount, his closest advisor, Rahm Emanuel calls them “f-ing retarded publicly. His Press Secretary then says they need to be drug tested when they compared Obama with former President George W. Bush. As frustration over the sluggish economy mounts, President Obama keeps trying to remind the electorate that he inherited this situation from former President George W. Bush. He keeps trying to place the blame on the Republican party for opposing him at every turn. He keeps trying to make the intangible argument that even though things are bad they would have been a lot worse if it were not for his policies. Then, as news emerge that health insurance rates are on the rise and that the Democrats will likely lose their majority in the House if not the Senate as well, Obama continues to focus on what he’s accomplished in two years as opposed to offering a roadmap in which the country might clear the path to the future. Back in 2006 when Fenty as well as other younger black politicians emerged onto the national stage, it was impossible not to strike the comparison between them and President Obama. There was former Congressman Harold Ford Jr., Anthony Brown, the lieutenant governor of Maryland, and the mayor of Newark, Cory Booker. All of the above represented a new face of black political leadership. It was leadership that was not, for the first time in U.S. history, born from the Black church or civil rights movement. They were mostly Ivy-school-educated and younger and they all ran “race-neutral political campaigns, much like Obama. Along with Obama’s ascension to the White House, it was also the rise of these candidates that seemed to fuel the “post-racial” frenzy that gripped the country just two years ago. But those calls of “post-racial” have so quickly fallen by the waste-side, and now the country appears as tensely divided as it has been in more than 40 years. Fenty’s out. Ford, who tried to pull a little carpet-bagging ambush in New York state, is out. Booker, though re-elected last May, now faces the most massive crisis of his year. Despite the fact that during his tenure Newark, NJ, has witnessed one of the most massive declines in violent crime in its history, just last month Booker faced an irate crowd of citizens who all had one thing in common, they believed Booker was blowing it. The trouble all began with water. But In Newark taxes are about to jump at least 20 percent, massive layoffs are inevitable, the police and fire departments will see cuts of at least 20 percent. "He’s not a Rhodes scholar, he’s a Rogue scholar," one man said to giant applause. Are the similarities here just coincidence, the anti-incumbent fervor fueling politics right now? Is it simply that a slate of young black politicians happen to be in power at a time when the country is struggling financially, and their difficulties are expected? Perhaps. But also consider that the infamously embattled Charlie Rangel, up in New York, facing 13 corruption charges, sailed to victory on Tuesday night. "Fenty is a textbook case for the risks not only of using brash tactics, but having an insular staff, lacking a sense of urgency and thumbing your nose at traditional practice,” wrote Washington Post columnist Jena McGregor. “But there's no bigger takeaway from Fenty's loss than the danger of going with your gut. While there's always a time and place for instinct, if it gets in the way of listening to the people you lead, it becomes a very real and all too perilous problem.” Obama faces a different predicament on the national stage. He did inherit a recession from his predecessor, one that unfortunately was built on a faltering financial system that needed to be reformed in order to safe guard against future collapses. But while Fenty went with his gut to his own peril, Obama appears to be trying to relive former President Clinton’s second term, which touted the power of compromise, as opposed to addressing the needs and concerns of his base. Obama’s downfall is that he appears to be trying to please Republicans as opposed to his base. When it comes to social issues that many Democrats care deeply about, he's entirely ignoring them. So though the circumstances are different the criticism and risks are the same: too aloof, perhaps it’s arrogance or overconfidence? But it certainly means the President, much like Fenty, is simply not listening. If he is listening, he’s not fully calculating the risk for the Democrats in the fall, the difficulties he will then face in governing, and the risk for his administration more specifically in 2012. Read the story.
Once considered the 'brains' behind the GOP, Newt has lowered himself to Fox News' extremist standards
There was a time in George Wallace’s career, before he discovered that it was politically advantageous to stoke racial resentment, that he was just another Southern politician. But then, he found his place in history, standing at the front doors of an Alabama elementary school blocking the entry of four black students. Wallace became the face and voice of a segregated south. He went on to win four Gubernatorial elections. He even took several runs at the White House. Each time, his platform was simple: rage, fear and racial resentment.

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Over the weekend, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, had his George Wallace moment. “Obama may follow a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview,” Gingrich said. “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.” “This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president,” said Gingrich. “I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating — none of which was true. In the Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve . . . He was authentically dishonest.” We have heard similarly ridiculous assertions in the past. We have seen the President called a Kenyan witch doctor by angry citizens protesting health care reform. We have watched mentally detached folks like Orly Taitz claim the President is not a U.S. citizen, despite all evidence to the contrary, and continue to burden our court system with her frivolous lawsuits. We have seen flamboyant entertainers like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck call the President a racist and a socialist. But this is the first time a former Speaker of the House, a former leader and intellectual lightning rod of the conservative movement has sunk so low. For years, Gingrich has held the title of being the Republican party’s brain and ideas. He helped the GOP retake majorities back in both Houses during the Clinton Administration. His “contract with America” revived conservatism and was built upon solid ideas like family values, balancing the budget and limited spending. But now, like Wallace, his political ambitions run the risk of re-shaping his legacy and driving a wedge further into an already divided electorate. As he faces the reality that the only Republican in the world who thinks he is capable of winning the White House is him, he’s laying all his cards on the table and is returning, shamelessly, once again to rage, fear and racial resentment. In doing so, Gingrich offends Republicans who disagree with the President on policy issues. He offends every American who voted for the President. And he definitely offends every Black American in this country. In deciding to pander to the fringe as opposed to present new ideas, Gingrich is letting us know that he’s got nothing left. Perhaps that is the only positive thing in all of this. The entire Republican party is going tribal because they’ve got nothing left to offer. In the last decade, we have watched the wealth disparity grow in this country due entirely to bad Republican tax policies. We have watched the debt grow. We have watched the unequivocal failure of supply-side economics. We have watched the free market system run its self into a ditch without regulation. We have watched military spread thin and young men and women return home in caskets due to GOPcowboy diplomacy. And we are still living with the repercussions of that, the possibility that because of Dick Cheney, we may have to get accustomed to the idea of being a country that is forever at war.

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It’s been clear for quite some time that a very vocal faction within the Republican party was tacking this way, re-litigating the civil rights movement at every turn, taking every opportunity to attempt at painting blacks as racists, immigrants as drug mules and anyone who dared question their agenda as anti-American. But until now, I always assumed that was the fringe and not the party itself. With Gingrich taking up their arms, it really proves there is no longer any delineation between the GOP and the fringe. What is really scary, however, is that these tactics appear to be working. How can this be? How can a country who less than two years ago elected a black man to be President, now abide this type of blatant race-baiting? How does the electorate really stand for this divisive political climate? Have they somehow won the battle of convincing white folks that the world, the minorities, the president and their government is really out to get them? Read the story.