April 07, 2012

National Review fires John Derbyshire

National Review editor Rich Lowry late this evening made a post announcing that the organization had parted with John Derbyshire. 20061219200723!JohnDerbyshire1

At issue is an article he wrote for a webzine, Taki’s Magazine, in which he made some seriously racist comments and allegations. The article suggests that whites and asians have a version of “the talk” with their children to explain black people to them. Rife with stereotypical assertions and generalizations, this point is particularly nasty:

A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.

Pretty nasty stuff huh? He ends the article thusly:

You don’t have to follow my version of the talk point for point; but if you are white or Asian and have kids, you owe it to them to give them some version of the talk. It will save them a lot of time and trouble spent figuring things out for themselves. It may save their lives.

Lowry, whilst espousing the various virtues of Derbyshire, acknowledged that he could not allow a columnist so identified with National Review to continue at NRO while having articles published that would clearly never pass muster to appear in NRO itself.

His (Derbyshire’s) latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways.

Derbyshire is an interesting individual who has some views I sympathize with and many, many more that I do not. He opinions are always provocative but he has gone far beyond the pale here. Lowry was right to take action.

What type of response will be forthcoming from Derbyshire will be interesting to see. Clearly he will land somewhere, but it will not be somewhere with the gravitas of NRO.

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March 30, 2012

Keith Olbermann out at Current, Spitzer In

Keith Olbermann has worn out his welcome at Current after only roughly a year. Keith_Olbermann

Brian Stelter of The New York Times was first to break the news.

Current founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt released a statement that included the following:

To the Viewers of Current:

We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet.  We are more committed to those goals today than ever before.

Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.

Olbermann himself has released a statement that promises legal action, in part:

It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current's statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain.

Meanwhile former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer will be taking over Olbermann’s time slot on Current effective immediately.

Talking Points Memo has some insights into why and for how long this has been building.

Olbermann is clearly a strong progressive voice and has no qualms about trumpeting that fact. He is also clearly someone who has a hard time playing nicely with others. Exactly what he plans to do from here, other than suing Current is up in the air.

He’s now had two separate high-profile bully pulpits from which to dispense his opinion. Where he expects to do the same thing in the future is a compelling question.

There is no question that Mr. Olbermann’s intellect and charisma are needed by the left. His burning of bridges with the very outlets that might most expose his views to the public is worrying.

The only equivalent place he might flee to at this point is CNN. CNN’s embrace of the Tea Party has clearly been a disaster both ratings and content-wise but whether they would change course this much is doubtful. All the power he would demand as a “primary pundit” and “anchor” also seems a bit beyond reality. (He would demand a level of involvement with the news division that would likely make Wolf Blitzer’s head explode.) Simply put, his only real potential outlet seems completely out of reality.

I hope Keith lands on his feet. I like him, pomposity and all. I think he needs to realize that he isn’t as important as he thinks he is to whatever network he attaches himself to, his importance is limited by his net worth to the overall owners. This isn’t FOXnews. Even if it were, their devotion to there most extreme anchors/frontmen has undergone a bit of a revamp as well. Keith needs to be less of a prima donna and more of a voice for progressivism, even if he is at time restricted.

Current needed to make this move. Keith has done what he could for them and demanded more than they can reasonably give him. Keith needs to make this move. But he needs to realize that “The Keith Olbermann Network” is still some way off. You “push” more than enough when “discussing”, amplifying it can be counterproductive at some point. Just ask Glen Beck.
I wish Keith and Current the best. I think they’ll be best off without each other. Clearly, I have not demonstrated that, but that is my hope, not necessarily my expectation.

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March 29, 2012

Zimmerman Story Continues to Unravel

The story George Zimmerman posited to police continues to unravel. Jonathon Capehart has an interesting series going at his WaPo blog detailing exactly how this is happening as well as why.

Part 1: the video

Part 2: the mortician

Part 3: the detective

All are well worth reading. Following is the video:

George Zimmerman on Police Surveillance Video.

 

Perhaps justice will be forthcoming after all?

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October 07, 2010

She didn’t go to Yale but what is she made of?

imyou1a It’s low hanging fruit, I know it is, but I just can’t resist commenting on Christine O’Donnell’s latest campaign commercial.

When last we saw Ms. O’Donnell, she was, of course, telling us that she was not a witch while wearing a black dress in front of a dark background with and eerie mist/smoke-like effect going on behind here. There are all sorts of nuance to that commercial that made her seem ‘witch-like’ to many people. Not a great start to her ad campaign.

Despite the fact that this ad was widely panned not only for the “I am not a witch….” start to it, but also for the visuals that I just described, it is odd that the campaign has decided to stay with the theme. Obviously, this is the “I’m you.” ad campaign internally. The problem is that it is now the “I am not a witch.” ad campaign to everyone else.

I understand the social conservative aversion to education, but many of us would like our kids to attend an institution like Yale, so I’m not sure that it is a great idea to treat a Yale education as a disease. It’s also interesting that she name drops schools she allegedly attended, like Oxford University earlier in her campaign, but now that is a liability. Finally, given her generally dismal and embarrassing record on her education C.V. in the last few months, why would you want to bring up your opponents education at all?

She looks a bit uncomfortable and awkward early, I think the director should have worked with her on this. Of course, she’s out of character. She’s trying to act the somber, serious part and has to slow herself down to do that.

I am really not sure why, other than money, the campaign would have continued with this theme after the reaction to the first commercial. I really feel that just the whole look and feel of this series was compromised as soon as the candidate uttered “I am not a witch.”

Finally there is the title: “What I’m made of.” There is only one thing that comes to mind when you still have the first commercials’ “I am not a witch.” in your mind. It’s instinctive; indeed, reflexive for many of us, and cannot help Ms. O’Donnell one iota. When she says they “saw what you were made of” there can be only one answer: wood.

I'm sorry. I said I knew it was low hanging fruit but I simply could not resist sharing my impressions.

P.S. – I’m still not you.

Comments welcome,

Pat McGovern

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October 05, 2010

She is not a witch…..

First off, I’d like to say, I like ‘witches’. I’ve known and do know ‘witches’. ‘Witches’ have had occasion to attend and be members in my church (I’m a UU). So, personally, I don’t find it necessary for Christine O’Donnell to to refute the idea that she is now or ever was ‘a witch.’ (Although I seriously suspect our ideas of ‘witches’ are fundamentally different.)

Secondly, I don’t think starting a commercial by refuting the somewhat ridiculous idea that she are a witch is very smart. She’s letting her opposition define the narrative. I don’t hear the “I’m you” part over the “I am not a witch part.” Silly concept for a campaign ad unless she has nothing more substantial to say. (This is entirely possible.)

Finally, if she is going to do a commercial saying “I am not a witch” it might behoove her to not wear black with a dark background that has a smoky mist like effect behind her and have her hair as straight and flat as I’ve ever seen it. Who set this up? Bill Maher? Take a look:

Seriously, I’ve never seen Christine O’Donnell look more witch-like than she does in this commercial. Bright colors, trees, and upbeat background music would be the way to go here. Not this.

Perhaps they are trying to also get away from the cheerleader rah-rah image that haunts most of her 90’s and early 00’s appearances? Trying to make her look ‘serious’ and ‘senatorial’?

Well, they need to pick a theme. Combining  the two themes is an epic fail. Now she looks ‘witch-like’, not serious, while denying that she’s a witch. Not a good start for her first general election campaign commercial. Not that Chris Coons or I particularly mind.

 

Comments welcome,

Pat McGovern

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October 04, 2010

Why would you vote republican?

A nice, to the point video. Why would you vote republican?

 

 

Update: Since the previous video has been removed here is another source:

 

 

Comments welcome,

Pat McGovern

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October 01, 2010

Marvin

Here is Marvin. Marvin-the-Paranoid-Android

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September 30, 2010

Meg’s husband: It might be my writing but I don’t remember letter

whitmanillegal09302010 In the wonderful world of today’s Republican party, hours after California GOP Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman held a news conference at which she insisted neither she nor her husband had seen the letter from the Social Security Administration, and suggested that the housekeeper had intercepted it, her husband, present at the news conference, said that the handwriting on letter from the Social Security Administration may be his. His statement:

“While I honestly do not recall receiving this letter, as it was sent to me seven years ago, I can say it is possible that I would've scratched a follow up note on a letter like this, which is a request for information to make certain Nicky received her Social Security benefits and W-2 tax refund for withheld wages. Since we believed her to be legal, I would have had no reason to suspect that she would not have filled it in and done what was needed to secure her benefits.

“It is important to note what this letter actually says: 'this letter makes no statement about your employee's immigration status.'

“The essential fact remains the same, neither Meg nor I believed there was a problem with Nicky's legal status and I certainly don't recall ever discussing it with my wife, nor did I ever show her any letter about it. The facts of this matter are very clear: Ms. Diaz broke the law and lied to us and to the employment agency. When she confessed her deception to us last year, we ended her employment immediately. Meg and I played by the rules and followed the law. Ms. Diaz did not. If, as she claims, she received this letter and note of inquiry from me, she never answered my request to look into this. Instead, she choose to continue her deception. This entire matter is a sad one and it's timing is clearly the result of a calculated and cynical political smear by Meg's opponents."

Most people generally tend to not ignore a government agencies letters, especially when they request ‘prompt attention’. Maybe I just live in a world where we are to ‘in fear’ of the government. Or maybe I don’t believe I’m above the law. Either way, this is California, not Idaho; how do you expect us to believe you didn’t have any suspicions AT ALL that your housekeeper might be illegal?

All of this AND the fact that Meg Whitman claims that after she ‘found out from Nicky Diaz’ herself that she was illegal, she basically just cut her loose.

I would like to remind people that there are no civil or criminal penalties for giving a person, legal or illegal, money or help that can be quanitfied monetarily. You just cannot have them as an employee. Nevertheless, Meg and her husband did not, apparently, offer any monetary help, nor any help in resolving her immigration status. Yet despite this Meg Whitman claims that:

“…considered Nicky a friend and a part of our extended family.”

Yet she did not, and has not, attempted to look out for the welfare of Nicky or her family financially, or otherwise. Way to treat your friends, lady. There are plenty of former Ebay employees who know how you treat your non-friend employees already!

Not looking good for the Whitmans. She already had little chance of capturing the Latino vote. Now she risks losing the anti-Latino vote as well.

Well played, Meg.

Pat McGovern

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I blame John

08292008mccainpalin Perhaps that title is a bit much…..then again, perhaps not.  It refers to the role I felt that the senior Senator from Arizona has played in the legitimization of unqualified demagogues being considered appropriate candidates for higher office.  Arguably, this process did not come into full swing until then GOP Presidential nominee decided to nominate the now former half-term Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate in 2008.

I had a post on August 29, 2008 reviewing the likely picks on the eve of the pick itself. It detailed the three main remaining likely candidates; their plusses and minuses (there were plenty of those); and their likelihood to be picked. Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin were the finalists I was convinced would be most likely.

Though I had heard of Governor Palin, unlike most Americans, long before this, I admit I didn’t have a lot of information on her. I, like nearly everyone else in the world, assumed that someone with the allegedly superior judgment of Senator John McCain would certainly not offer the vice-presidency to someone who he hadn’t completely vetted and was not comfortable with having one heartbeat away from the presidency. Boy, was I (we) wrong.

While we did not wind up with the demagogic governor as our Vice-President something nearly as bad happened. Rather than reinforce that it was not a great idea for people with little grasp of actual facts and knowledge of current events to run for higher office, her candidacy, because of it’s stalwart defense by the right, legitimized the ability of people who would have previously been shamed out of making a run for public office to now run for public office.

It no longer mattered that you could only name one or two Supreme Court justices; could neither quote nor explain exactly what the second amendment meant despite your stalwart support of it; heck, you no longer had to be able to even present the School House Rock version of how a bill becomes law (not a bad basic explanation).

Rather, when questioned on their grasp of subject matter that would behoove a Vice-President, Senator, Congressman or Governor to know, they can now claim that the ‘liberal-elite media’ is out to get them with ‘gotcha’ questions. These ‘gotcha’ questions were how we winnowed the wheat from the chaff when I was growing up.

It has now become unacceptable to present the chaff as anything other than whole kernal grain. It can look like chaff, speak like chaff and act like chaff but if you accuse, or even imply it might be chaff, you’re a member of the liberal-elite media, even if your name is David Brooks or David Frum.

GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell (R-DE) Sarah Palin, Jan Brewer, Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell join the pantheon of demagogues that used to be restricted to the radio and FoxNews airwaves. Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and Glen Beck used to have the demagoguery field to themselves. Now the GOP put the demagogues up for election.

Mind you, this is not without pushback from the ‘mainstream’ GOP. But just what is an uncharismatic bunch of people led by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell going to do? Certainly RNC Chairman Michael Steele can’t lead the charge because although I’ve seen him present cogent arguments in the past, he seems to have lost it completely since he took the RNC helm.

But some of these candidates, like Joe Miller in Alaska got nothing but grief from the GOP before their primary win. Now Senator Lisa Murkowski is getting all sorts of grief running as a write-in candidate against the ‘party’s candidate’. The GOP, not knowing what to make of the forces it has unleashed has no choice but to ‘go with the flow’ until it can figure out what is going on.

I haven’t been publishing regularly for almost two years. The last presidential election burned me out. But these events cannot go unchallenged by the left. There has to be pushback from our side. There has to be a challenge to the insanity being spewed by more than a few on the right.

As before, I’m sure many on the left will accuse me of being too centrist and accomadating while those in the middle to the right will accuse me of being anything from liberal, to socialist, to (these people have little understanding of the term or it’s genesis) fascist. Such is the life of a blogger or anyone who speaks out. My skin isn’t the thickest (my downfall) but keep it fairly civil and maybe we can have a conversation.

I look forward to posting regularly again and I hope the next two years don’t burn me out as much as 2007 and 2008 did. Not posting is no longer an option as there is too much in the ‘narrative’ that needs to be disputed and repudiated. My voice may be a small one but I am determined to add to chorus arrayed against these demagogues.

Peace,

Pat McGovern

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September 09, 2009

Saxby Chambliss thinks the President should show “humility”

So, an old white male senator from the southern State of Georgia thinks the United States of America’s first black President should “express some humility” in his speech before a joint session of Congress tonight?

Where, exactly, do you begin with that?

The not so subtle racism?

What has to be either a total misunderstanding of his place in the political spectrum or the over the top hyperbole of the senior Senator from the State of Georgia saying that the man who was elected President of the United States of America needs to show humility?

Regardless of how I feel about the Republican Party, in general, and their views on healthcare, in general, the number of their members, particularly southern, who keep using ‘code words’ when discussing the President has to be appalling even to their own rank and file. You know the words: humble, swagger, uppity, cocky, etc….

The fact that the Republican rank and file are not calling these people on this is what is truly disgraceful. I grew up in deeply Republican Greenwich, Connecticut. I don’t believe anyone there would support this type of language, yet, I do not here any audible objections from quarters such as that.

Part of the problem is that Republican New England and even those in the Mid-Atlantic states have been marginalized and, to a large extent, ostracized. They are what used to be known as the ‘liberal’ wing of the Republican Party. A term that most national Republicans would deny ever applied to any Republican. They don’t even like to admit that they have ‘moderates’ within their party.

What then happens is that rather than fight for their party, they try to ‘fit in’. Thus, they do not object to the rhetoric. They have even come to believe that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are to lead them out of the darkness despite how objectionable they find some of their views.

Democrats learned long ago what following the demagogues can do to your party. Republicans seem to have failed to learn that lesson. In the meantime the rest of us have to listen to this tripe disguised as public debate and free speech.

My belief in America and Americans says that this type of talk will be marginalized, where it should be, soon enough.

Video courtesy of TPM:

Comments welcome,

Pat McGovern

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