Ordinarily I wouldn't give this kind of a story attention, but the radio host who said that disgusting thing has somehow gotten enough traction in radio-land to attract the likes of Larry Pratt and Ted Nugent. Plus, I've had my own personal encounter with him.
Back in 2008 I did a daily online radio show called NewsGang Live with some techies, some political types, and others. At the time, there was no BlogTalkRadio but Steve and Tina Gillmor managed to figure out how to do it with uStream and a call-in conference number . Peter Santilli would call into the show often, presenting himself as an independent voter who wasn't sure how he would vote in 2008. He was disruptive and annoying but he wasn't crazy and he wasn't especially much of an independent either, but more of a straight-up conservative and conspiracy nut.
A financial watchdog for the city of San Diego and the California state comptroller are warning that if the city's proposed ban on project labor agreements passes, it will be a financial disaster, as the city will lose, at a minimum, more than $158 million in state grants. The ban seems to be pointless, anyway, since San Diego has never required a PLA for any project.
For background, California passed a set of laws that ensure taxpayer protections in a PLA — a construction agreement for large-scale public works projects that outlines wage, safety, and diversity standards as well as local and veteran hiring goals — and prohibit cities from adopting blanket PLA bans. Charter cities lose state funds if they limit PLAs. Since the passing of the state law, public agencies have started backtracking on PLA bans. Escondido removed its proposed ban on PLAs by revising its draft charter proposal citing the potential loss of state funds. El Cajon followed, also removing the language banning PLAs from a proposed charter, and the Palmdale Water District Board voted unanimously to repeal its ban on PLAs. Other cities that have adopted PLA bans are also considering repealing them.
PLA bans at a local level started a few years ago in Southern California. With fiscal repercussions looming, they will likely end here as well.
Despite right-wing and corporate claims about PLAs, the evidence is quite clear that they are a benefit to workers, governments and taxpayers:
Saying PLAs are “only used in the public sector at the behest of union-allied politicians” is a blatant falsehood, and one this paper should immediately correct. PLAs have been used by public- and private-sector entities across the United States since the 1940s and are the method of choice for complex private-sector projects, where cost and quality are the overriding issues. The former head of construction for Toyota North America, Jeff Caldwell, wrote, “I have had numerous real-world experiences with PLAs, and I can say without any equivocation that they are a valuable tool for any entity seeking an economical and efficient construction process.”
That loud PLOP you just heard was Andrew Breitbart crapping a brick at this news:
Ousted Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod says she will sue a conservative blogger who posted an edited video of her making racially tinged remarks last week.
Sherrod made the announcement Thursday in San Diego at the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention.
This is long overdue; frankly, I always felt that both Van Jones and ACORN officials should have sued Fox and/or Breitbart after they were smeared, just so that they will think twice before smearing other people in the future. So Sherrod will be carrying the burden forward for many of us on the progressive left who have been victimized by these crooks and liars.
Defamation law clearly puts Breitbart in a tough position. He deliberately aired a video that was edited in a way to put Sherrod in a very bad light. Breitbart even said on Fox News that the purpose of the tape was to show that racism existed in the NAACP, even though the speech Sherrod gave was precisely the opposite -- it was about overcoming prejudice and stereotypes. Before the tape, Sherrod was not a public figure for whom a higher legal threshold of "actual malice" would be required, though in this case it would be hard to say that malice or a reckless disregard to the truth wasn't present.
Fox, by way of offering Breitbart a forum, may be similarly at risk. Under the "republication" doctrine, Fox may be as liable as Breitbart for recklessly running (and rerunning) the doctored footage.
There is no excuse for those liberals who so quickly threw Sherrod under the bus without the benefit of hearing her side of the story. But while inexcusable, the fact remains that but for Andrew Breitbart, who deliberately manufactured this story and dressed it up with racist overtones, people today would have no idea who Shirley Sherrod is or what she does. And she'd still be at her old job.
Sometimes in the law you get the perfect test case. Shirley Sherrod's high tech railroading by Breitbart offers an unprecedented opportunity to make an example of the right wing's repeated distortion and discoloration of the facts. At the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights I've watched my right-wing colleagues and their media friends misrepresent and inflame the paltry facts that constitute the New Black Panther Party investigation. But while my conservative colleagues flail around like psychotic berserkers in the Panther proceedings, they have yet to cause collateral damage to anything but the truth. That is not the case with Ms. Sherrod, who suffered public vilification, private harassment and humiliation, and who was pressured to leave her job.
“Baseball,” said Padres closer Heath Bell, “is part of the culture of Arizona.”
Hispanics are a huge part of baseball’s culture, a solid percentage of players in the big leagues, and it’s clear that Arizona’s controversial new ruling aimed at stemming illegal immigration has outraged ballplayers as well as people across the country who’ve been raining down condemnation since Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill into law on April 23.
“For Arizona to do something like this?” Bell said. “Mind-boggling.”
Adrian Gonzalez, a star in the National League said this a few days ago:
It’s immoral,” Gonzalez said. “They’re violating human rights. In a way, it goes against what this country was built on. This is discrimination. Are they going to pass out a picture saying “You should look like this and you’re fine, but if you don’t, do people have the right to question you?’ That’s profiling.”
Governor Brewer says that “we have to trust our law enforcement,” but who can define "reasonable suspicion" clearly? I respect the police immensely, but this just adds to their arduous burden. And it only takes a few bad apples to tarnish them all.
Catcher Yorvit Torrealba wonders if he's in another crazy country.
Said catcher Yorvit Torrealba: “This is racist stuff. It’s not fair for a young guy who comes here from South America, and just because he has a strong accent, he has to prove on the spot if he’s illegal or not. I mean, I understand the need for security and the safety to people here, the question of legal and illegal. I get that. But I don’t see this being right.
“Why do I want to go play in a place where every time I go to a restaurant and they don’t understand what I’m trying to order, they’re going to ask me for ID first? That’s bull.
“I come from a crazy country (Venezuela). Now Arizona seems a little bit more crazy.”
And KC's Jose Guillen weighs in with this:
“I’ve never seen anything like that in the United States, and Arizona is part of the United States,” Kansas City Royals designated hitter Jose Guillen(notes) said. “I hope police aren’t going to stop every dark-skinned person. It’s kind of like, wow, what’s going on.
New York Mets catcher Rod Barajas, who was born in the United States after his parents emigrated from Mexico, told The New York Times, “If they happen to pull someone over who looks like they are of Latin descent, even if they are a U.S. citizen, that is the first question that is going to be asked. But if a blond-haired, blue-eyed Canadian gets pulled over, do you think they are going to ask for their papers? No.”
In June, one month before the law goes into effect, about 140 young Hispanic baseball players will arrive in the state for the Arizona Rookie League. Some MLB officials are worried how these young men will be treated by local authorities.
I've been working with various Latino and immigrant-rights groups on baseball and SB 1070. I may have some interesting news very soon.
Brilliant at Breakfast: You can serve your country if you're mentally ill or a convicted felon, but gay...? No way!
NPR: Excellent interview with journalist Marcus Stern. Stern and his colleagues at the San Diego Union-Tribune won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for uncovering the bribery scandal involving former U.S. Congressman Duke Cunningham. Cunningham funneled tens of millions of dollars in post-9/11 contracts in exchange for millions in bribes.
I spend a lot of time chastising the traditional media for not really practicing journalism anymore, but Ilona at Political Cortex wants to give them credit where credit is due. And it's a valid point: would we know about the conditions at Walter Reed without the press?
This time, Newsweek reported that between 500 and 1,000 OEF/OIF veterans are homeless and that "[military] families [are] sliding into debtas VA case managers study disability claims over many months, and the seriously wounded [require] help from outside experts just to understand the VA's arcane system..."
Last week it was the Washington Post. In December it was NPR. And at various times last year it was the Hartford Courant, the San Diego Union Tribune, The Oregonian or the Colorado Springs Independent.
Each delivered exceptional news coverage. Here's some of their best, along with an invitation to be the first to read the opening installment of a new series on combat PTSD appearing this morning on General Wesley Clark's Clark Community Network blog, Society and the Soldier.
As many of you know, I've been covering the story of troop reintegration and combat PTSD for a while now. I've noticed (as I'm sure many of you have) that some stories rise above the others, taking the issue to the next level. Some reporting, like that done by Dana Priest and Anne Hull for the Washington Post last week, is literally life-changing for troops who have been neglected at Walter Reed.
That number of homeless vets (which is just a small fraction of the total number of homeless vets, I know) is just inexcusable. I hope that Congress gets wind of this and pressures the DoD to make assistance available to them.
During a floor speech on the topic moments ago, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said the White House has told her it was replacing from five to 10 Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys with its own interim appointees.
(h/t Flint for video)
We know of seven who have left during the last couple of months, many under unusual circumstances. Read the list here.
The rumors that (U.S. Attorney Carol Lam) has been asked to resign were met disbelief and dropped jaws by legal community members with ties to federal court.
"I was in a state of shock," said Peter Nunez, who served as the U.S. attorney in charge of the San Diego offices from 1982 to 1988. "It's just like nothing I've ever seen before in 35-plus years. To be asked to resign and to be publicly humiliated by leaking this to the press is beyond any bounds of decency and behavior. It shocks me. It really is outrageous."
It was an obscure provision in the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act, and it didn't take them very long to use it. The president signed it into law in March of last year -- by June, they were already moving to replace unwanted prosecutors.
Former Arkansas USA Bud Cummins told the Wall Street Journal that "a top Justice official asked for his resignation in June, saying the White House wanted to give another person the opportunity to serve." Cummins was finally forced out in December, replaced with Timothy Griffin, formerly the research director of the Republican National Committee.
Now that we have a Democratic majority in the Senate, I hope that this doesn't get swept under the carpet. The Republicans have been gunning for the judicial branch for years and on the face of it, this really doesn't look good.
Joe Klein started off today on "THIS WEEK," sounding fairly reasonable in the discussion about Iran and then veered off into neocon, kool-aid drinking lunacy. George Stephanopoulos was even caught off guard by Klein's statements. Does he seriously believe that including nukes whether we attack, discuss or threaten is not seen as a doomsday scenario? We are talking about nukes Joe, freaking nukes. Download | play -WMP Download | play -QT
Klein: We should not take any option including the use of nuclear, tactical nuclear weapons off the table...
Stephanopoulos: Keep that on the table?-That's insane...
One of the main points of Sy Hersh's article is that the inclusion of nukes in an attack plan against Iran has the military leaders freaked out and they are demanding it be pulled or they will quit. It seems that Klein doesn't share those views.
To add more right wing spin into his arguments today, Klein proclaimed that if Francine Busby wins the San Diego election-it'll be "over reported" in the media. Even George Will suggested that it was a win-win situation for the Democrats-and if she won it would be like an earthquake. So who is the liberal and who is the right winger?