Category Archives: Legal Issues

Your Monday Random-Ass Roundup: Nuts about ACORN

Today in my office, a pimp and his prostitute came looking for advice on where to score some blow and advice on how to fill out their W-2s. When I told them what they could do, they accused me of encouraging them to engage in public masturbation. I hope Beck and Co. don’t get hold of the video:

pimp

It’s hard out here for a pimp. No, really. James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles (not pictured above) risked their lives, limbs and a camcorder to infiltrate the den of “thug criminality” that is the largest organization of poor and working families in America.

This is a time for us to appreciate their deep commitment to maligning ACORN, which clearly is an issue of utmost importance in these most troubled and divisive of times. I am sure their hearts and motives are pure.

Now if we can, let us move forward and consider some of the news of the weekend:

1. As always, if you want to learn something new or interesting or possibly infuriating about health care reform, reading Ezra Klein is essential. (Blackink)

2. Are pregnancy, bunions, acne, or receiving therapy or counseling pre-existing conditions that might allow health insurers a reason to deny people coverage? Of course. Best health care system in the world, eh? (Blackink)

3. Officially, according to a U.S. Census report, the Bush years were full of fail. h/t John Cole. (Blackink)

4. Go with your first instincts, Roxanne Wilson. (Quadmoniker)

5. Massachusetts might appoint an interim replacement for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the late Ted Kennedy by the end of the week. (Blackink)

6. In an e-mail sent to friends and supporters last week, Van Jones made his first public comments since resigning from the White House. Said Jones: “Of course, some supporters actually think I will be more effective on the ‘outside.’ Maybe so. But those ideas always remind me of that old canard about Winston Churchill. After he lost a hard-fought election, a friend told him: ‘Winston, this really is just a blessing in disguise.’ Churchill quipped: ‘Damned good disguise.’ I can certainly relate to that sentiment right now. :)” (Blackink)

7. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty is cutting federally funded child care in the poorest wards of the District. Making it more difficult for single mothers to bring in money (or inviting child neglect cases) seems like a counter intuitive way of addressing city budget issues, at best. (Shani-o)

8. Something we probably won’t see in any campaign brochures from Texas Gov. Rick Perry next year: Texas remains first in the nation in rates of uninsured residents and uninsured children. Upholding family values and rebuffing creeping socialism … I love my home state. (Blackink)

9. Also related: Perry is not a very smart or honest man. (Blackink)

10. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) backed off prior claims that President Obama is a socialist because, uh … he’s not one. (Blackink)

11. Among those at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was the clear choice for 2012 Republican presidential nominee. The 600 voters said abortion was the most important issue in determining their choice. What else is there to say about that? (Blackink)

12. Also at the Values Voter Summit, the chief of staff for Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma made the case that: 1. we should trust the sexual instincts of prepubescent boys; 2. bigotry against homosexuals is fine by him; and 3. “all pornography is homosexual pornography.” Video here. Sigh … Michael Schwartz and his ilk are almost completely beyond ridicule. (Blackink)

13. So rather than resort to ridicule, Amanda Marcotte moves the conversation forward to talk about some of the very real problems with porn. Which don’t include making boys turn gay. (Blackink).

14. Don’t you love links about porn? Yes. Well, here’s another: “The awkward truth, according to one study, is that 90 percent of 8-to-16-year-olds have viewed pornography online. Considering the standard climax to even the most vanilla hard-core scene today, that means there is an entire generation of young people who think sex ends with a money shot to the face.” Whoa. (Blackink)

15. Feminist Finance speculates on where she’d be if she hadn’t rejected all the “dudely money advice” she’s received over the years. (Shani-o)

16. BitchPh.D puts out a call for volunteers for the 40 days for CHOICE campaign. (Blackink)

17. For John and Elizabeth Edwards’ sake, I hope his former aide is lying about this: “Mr. Edwards once calmed an anxious Ms. Hunter by promising her that after his wife died, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York with an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band.” Please let that be a lie. (Blackink)

18. Let us mourn the death of American civility with Jude at First Draft. (Blackink)

19. Bruce Bartlett remembers Irving Kristol, father of neoconservatism. (Jamelle)

20. According to Marcus Buckingham at the Huff Post, women have grown increasingly unhappy as they made professional and social progress over the past 40 years. There’s a lot to digest in the provocative piece, and I get the feeling something is missing from this analysis. I need someone smarter than me to fill in the gaps. (Blackink)

21. After six years, Leslie Bennetts says The New York Times is finally attempting to set the record straight about the “Opt-Out Revolution” – well-off women who quit their careers to become full-time mothers. (Blackink)

22. Crooked Timber highlights a recent op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education that points out the problem of poor, black and Hispanic students choosing to go to less-demanding college institutions and an overreliance on standardized tests. (Blackink)

23. Colorism isn’t just the purview of black folk — it exists in the South Asian community as well. Sepia Mutiny notes a campaign that’s attempting to address the fear of darker skin. (Shani-o)

24. After charges were dropped last week against five men accused of raping a Hofstra University freshman, Amanda Hess parses some of the many problems of living in a rape culture. That includes false rape accusations. (Blackink)

25. In case there was ever any doubt, Andrew Sullivan has major pull. (Blackink)

26. While I was watching the Giants thump the Cowboys and the season premiere of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” apparently Neil Patrick Harris and the Emmy Awards were putting on quite the show. (Blackink)

27. I’m finding myself agreeing with Alyssa again: you should definitely get down to your nearest newstand or bookstore, pick up a copy of the latest New Yorker and read Ta-Nehisi’s piece about MF Doom and hip-hop. And, like her, I might quibble a bit with a few parts of the feature. Then again, we’re both from the South. (Blackink)

28. Harry Allen asks if Kanye is doomed to become “the next O.J.”? At the least, Kanye’s “victimization” of Taylor Swift has drawn out some of the bigots among us. (Blackink)

29. Nearly four-fifths of NFL players are bankrupt or struggling financially within two years of retirement. The Business Insider looks at some of the reasons why. (Blackink)

30. And because I’m from Houston and hate the Dallas Cowboys, I really enjoyed this:

Feel free to drop some links that would be of interest or chat among yourselves. Let’s hope we’re all in for a great week.

Deuces.

More Justice in Texas.

From Texas Monthly

I think, as dispassionate observers of the legal system, we can all agree that Charles Hood probably got a fair trial despite the newly established fact that the prosecutor and judge were having an affair. Besides, if that was an issue, Hood’s lawyers should have just raised it at trial. What, don’t think so? Communist.

This is the highest court in Texas, but he might be able to appeal still in federal court. I can’t find any mention of it in the news stories.

Your Monday Random-Ass Roundup: The joke’s on who?

So where do we go from here? President Obama has been portrayed as a monkey, witch doctor, various types of pimps and now The Joker. Certainly, there’s more variations on this general theme.

But I really want to know, what’s the endgame? Is this supposed to advance some principled political opposition? Or merely “to get their country back”?:

As always (and a little earlier than usual), here’s your PostBourgie-approved weekend reading material:

To separate fact from fiction in the health care debate, let Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact help you wade through the misinformation. (Blackink)

Also, you think you have health insurance? You got another thing coming, homie. (G.D.)

Nate Silver crunched some numbers to see if the Hispanicness of a state made its Republican senator more or less likely to vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. The results were inconclusive. But he did find a correlation between their votes and the way they were rated by the NRA. (G.D.)

Former Bush Administration official – and super hawk – John Bolton in a nutshell: “You know, you mentioned somebody who heavens, if President Obama walked on water, he would say he couldn’t swim.” Spot on, Hillary Clinton. (Blackink)

Well gosh. This piece on RaceWire on crowding in California prisons seems almost prescient, in light of the rioting that took place over the weekend in Chino. (Shani-o)

Let’s hope this piece on the spike in heroin arrests is a fake trend story. (quadmoniker)

Black-on-black violence: Someone named Dr. James Manning for Louisiana repeatedly refers to President Obama as “Mack Daddy,” claims that he’s “destroying the fabric of the nation” and predicts that there will be bloody riots in the streets. By comparison, Manning almost makes Glenn Beck seem reasonable. (Blackink)

Twitter had a rough week. Mashable recaps. (Shani-o)

On Broadsheet, a great article about the myth of girls not liking nice guys. (Belleisa)

Houston has nearly 2 million outstanding criminal warrants (worth $340 million), although most are for minor traffic infractions. Still, it’s overwhelming the courts and law enforcement agencies. (G.D.)

A gaggle of statistics to assuage parents’ fears that the world is too dangerous a place for their children. (Blackink)

Jezebel’s Megan posts a photo essay about Congolese women and girls who have survived rape (including brutal gang rapes that leave many dead) and the efforts made to help them; there’s a photo of a psychologist at a clinic that treats 300 rape victims every month. (Shani-o)

Once again, teenage girls and young women are vanishing from the dangerous streets of Ciudad Juarez. Authorities count at least two dozen in the last year and a half. The disappearances recall the killings of hundreds of women that made this industrial Mexican border town of 1.5 million infamous a decade ago. (Blackink)

In a fascinating guest post at Feministe, Plain(s)Feminist writes about “Feminist Mothering,” a broader take on the ‘othermothering’ that goes on in black communities. (Shani-o)

With the NFL season set to kickoff again, Jay Adler gives us another reason to root against the Redskins. And I’m not talking about Daniel Snyder. Adler: “Team names, statistical records, stadium rituals are all part of the mythic regalia of an athletic Valhalla. You want to disrupt all that for – the Indians?” (Blackink)

A 13-year-old girl arrested for shoplifting in Dallas spent two weeks in an adult jail before anyone noticed. (G.D.)

Slate offers a rather puzzling essay about the rise of “no homo” and “the changing face of hip-hop homophobia.” Can’t it just be that “no homo” is hip hop’s version of “not that there’s anything wrong with that”? Apparently not. Also, Jonah Weiner briefly touches on that old boogeyman (no homo), the down-low brother. Weiner: “Saying ‘no homo’ might have started as a way for rappers to acknowledge and distance themselves from the down-low phenomenon.” Sigh. (Blackink)

Florida led the nation in attacks on the homeless for the fourth-straight year. (G.D.)

A cautionary tale about unregulated growth: Florida’s Lehigh Acres. “When the real estate bubble burst nationwide, Lehigh was decimated. Property values dropped nearly 50 percent this year, on top of a 25 percent decline a year ago. About one in three homes are in some stage of foreclosure. Town boosters put the population at 70,000 permanent residents, but a recent University of Florida study estimated 55,000. That’s less than 1 person per acre, in a space the size of Orlando.” (Blackink)

The extremely awesome Muslimah Media Watch posts a piece on Princess Moroccan Barbie, and various independent spin-offs, and whether the Muslim dolls are sign of rejecting Western norms or embracing them. (The author also hints at the fact that while these Muslim dolls come in slightly different “colors,” they all have similar features, and presumably, don’t represent Muslim women of African descent). (Shani-o)

Doubling down on its previous criticism of so-called reparative therapy, the American Psychological Association announced last week that therapists should refrain from telling gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments. (Blackink)

Given his platform and willingness to tackle substantive issues, Bob Herbert of the New York Times should probably wield more influence. Why do so many people ignore him? T.A. Frank offers this suggestion: “Poor people plus statistics equals boring—we’ve got the science to prove it.” But is he really boring? (Blackink)

Speaking of Herbert, his latest column claiming that our society is saturated with misogyny was discussed with a pro slant on Jezebel and definitive con on DoubleX (reasoning I think is shallow and poorly done). (Belleisa)

In case you hadn’t noticed, Forbes really likes lists. This one is about the best colleges in the U.S., and places West Point in the top spot. Rounding out the top five are Princeton, Cal Tech, Williams College and Harvard. (Blackink)

Fans of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger have been leaving threatening phone calls to the woman who accused him of rape. (G.D.)

More on Roethlisberger: His accuser allegedly bragged about having sex with him and also claimed that she hoped to have a “little Roethlisberger.” (Blackink)

This was sad but sorta predictable: Texas Rangers All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton, who almost miraculously overcame a drug and alcohol addiction to reclaim his career, suffered a relapse several months ago. Hopefully, Hamilton can overcome what he says was a brief setback. (Blackink)

And finally, the most reviled of all NFL quarterbacks: Michael Vick. There’s apparently some building faux outrage about him hanging out with Young Jeezy and using the word “nigger.” I fail to see the problem, other than him possibly deepening the concerns some might have about his judgment. But those some are the sort whom would not be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt anyway. (Blackink)

Until the next time, rock on.

Your Monday Random-Ass Roundup: A drinkable moment

If this post from Thomas Lifton passes for true American Thought, then we’re all doomed: “I think this photo constitutes another major Obama blunder. As some AT commentators point out, this picture becomes a metaphor for ObamaCare.” A former colleague once told me, “Blackink, don’t argue with logic. Because logic will argue with you.” Truer words …

On a slightly more positive – and logical – note, here’s your PostBourgie-approved reading material from the weekend:

Have you all seen President Obama’s official Kenyan birth certificate? The document that finally proves – once and for all – that Obama is the Antichrist sent back to Earth to turn the U.S. into a third-world mudhole and bleed hard-working real Amurikins of their tax dollars in the form of reparations? No. Of course not. Because one doesn’t exist. (Blackink)

According to a bunch of economic indicators, the recession may be slowing down. Good news, but any potential recovery probably won’t be quick enough for the 1.5 million people who will probably run out of unemployment benefits in the next few months. (G.D.)

This is your new Republican party: Writes Like She Talks posts 13 candidates in the GOP “Young Guns” program — an initiative to challenge sitting House Dems (unsurprisingly, very few of them are actually “young”). Guess what? Out of the 13 GOP challengers, one is a woman, and two are Asian men. Meanwhile, five of the races are challenging Democratic women. (Shani-o)

Our very own Jamelle, Matt Y, Steve B and Ezra offer thoughtful rebuttals – some might call them smackdowns – of Ross Douthat’s column today praising Texas as a “model” economy. As a sort of aside, I had quite a chuckle when Jamelle referred to Ross “an affirmative action hire.” Good one. (blackink)

Adam at TAPPED notes the state of leadership in Black America. It ain’t pretty. (Shani-o)

Lou Dobbs has become a “publicity nightmare” for CNN. (G.D.)

In case you missed it, here’s the text of the e-mail Boston police officer Justin Barrett sent to Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham. What’s funny is that he criticizes Abraham for her “ridiculous” and “substandard” writing. What’s scary is that he thinks suspects don’t have rights. Here’s hoping no one ever again sees this guy trailing them in their rearview mirror. (Blackink)

In the early 1800s, firefighting was a private, for-profit industry in most urbanized U.S. cities. And it might surprise you – or not – to know that the industry was “corrupt, bloated and expensive.” Sound familiar? (Blackink)

Hortense at Jez takes to task another one of the “stupidly named sociological gangs” women frequently find themselves placed in by the world. Like Cougars, MILFS, and PUMAs, the latest term is “TWITS” and it stands for “Teenage Women in their Thirties.” Ugh. (Shani-o)

Michael Pollan, self-appointed champion of food and foodies everywhere, pens a piece in the Times Magazine on television’s role in the death of real home cooking. mute sees his latest pronouncement as snobby and ineffective; Amanda Marcotte calls him antifeminist. (I wonder what our resident kitchen maestros universeexpanding and Jamelle think about his conclusions) (G.D.)

There’s absolutely no reason that a cop should tase a 72-year-old woman on a dare. (Blackink)

Business woman and blogger Penelope Trunk muses about when to work on romance, and when to work on … work. (Shani-o)

A luxury condo in downtown Fort Myers, Fla., has 32 stories and only one tenant. (Blackink)

College Humor offers a solution to MySpace’s problem: dead accounts. (I think I might need that MySpace Hospice option.) (Shani-o)

Baatin, one-third of the original Slum Village lineup, was found dead in his home. He was 35. (Jay Dilla, the hugely influential producer who was the group’s most famous member, died in 2003 from complications due to lupus.) (G.D.)

New York, Boston and Chicago round out the top 3 on Forbeslist of best cities for singles. But Milwaukee at No. 9 and Miami at No. 29? Really? (Blackink)

The best take on Michael Vick, The Commish and the sanctity of The Shield that I’ve read so far: “Since he was first covered by the media, prosecuted by the government, and admonished by the NFL with such brio, Vick has served as a vessel for the country’s anger toward black men. There was little effort made to understand what he did and why he did it, as though stopping to do so would necessarily excuse it. Beyond this lack of general curiosity and empathy, there was an ugly racial element. To be blunt, Vick’s crime was a black one.” (Blackink)

Rob Neyer, Scott Lemieux, Allen Barra and Will Weiss take issue with Toure’s somewhat poorly reasoned review of three books largely centered on steroids in baseball. (Blackink)

Joe Jackson explains to us the difference between spanking and beating. (Shani-o)

And at this point, Mariah has pretty much proved her point about Eminem being obsessed with her. Who keeps the voicemails of someone they slept with once, several years ago? More on this later in the week. (Blackink)

Oh. And could someone tell Stephon Marbury to turn off the camera? Please?

Commenting on the News.

PA_PDN

Have you seen this story? It’s an lengthy piece by Gloria Campisi for the Philadelphia Daily News about a group of black workers at a city trash facility who are suing over racially segregated bathroom and water facilities. And apparently, these workers have been filing complaints about racism since 1999, with no investigations or follow-ups from the city.

Lawrence “Lonnie” Powell, 58, a semiskilled laborer at the city’s Northwest Transfer Station, in Roxborough, said that since he began working at the trash-handling plant in 2003 he has had to seek the superintendent’s permission to go to the bathroom — then descend five flights of stairs to use it.

Powell, who is black, said that white employees have been permitted to use a bathroom just 25 feet from his work station.

“On several occasions I’ve actually defecated on myself, trying to get down to the bathroom,” said Powell, who operates a machine that packs trash into tractor-trailers to be taken to landfills.

More…

A Fair Point.

sotomayorII-395

I tried my best to avoid the hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. It’s honestly hard to tell what the Senators really think because they’re so busy show-boating, and the only thing you’ll learn about Sotomayor is that she, like others before her, has the innate or practiced ability to be as bland as possible in the face of inanity.

These hearings had added annoyances, of course. But I will say this, Jim Geraghty, a contributing editor for the National Review, made a pretty fair point on The Brian Lehrer Show yesterday. I had assumed Republicans were harping on the so-called “wise Latina” speech and the policy-making statements because they had nothing else: her record shows a mainstream jurist who is smarter than most of the senators interviewing her. But Geraghty’s point was that you can’t really look at her case history, because judges on lower federal courts are enormously bound by precedent. The only court that can set a new precedent is the Supreme Court. So you can’t really know what a judge will do until they’re a justice. And you kind of can’t blame them for being careful. They’ve been screwed before.

Geraghty also made the point that Sotomayor’s rhetorical flourish defense is a little hard to swallow. Also fair. We all know she meant what she said. Most would, I hope, see her statement as a simple, untroubling fact when taken in context. Others, well…I think we know what side of history they tend to fall on.

Enough So You Won’t Illegally Search My Shit.

Or not:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of an Alabama man on drug and weapons charges, emphasizing that the exclusionary rule, which generally bars prosecutors from using evidence obtained by the police through improper searches, is far from absolute.

In a 5-to-4 opinion, the court upheld the federal conviction of Bennie Dean Herring, who from the court records appears to have been very unlucky as well as felonious in his conduct. In upholding the conviction, the court’s majority came to a conclusion that will most likely please those who complain about criminals going free on “technicalities” and alarm those who fear that the high court is looking for ways to narrow the reach of the exclusionary rule.

Thomas, Alito, Scalia and Swing Vote joined Roberts in the majority.