Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's Really Stupid: America's Racist Justice System


As the controversy over the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. continues to grab headlines, a debate rages over President Obama's description of the police acting "stupidly."

But as long as we're on the subject, it seems to me that we're ignoring a larger issue: the stupidity of America's racist justice system.

Don't believe the U.S. justice system is racist? Well, let's take a look at the numbers.

Since 2000, the U.S. prison population has risen from 1.7 million to 2.1 million. 40 percent of the inmates are African-Americans (who make up only 14 percent of the overall U.S. population).

So why are blacks more likely to be incarcerated in America? It's really no mystery.

As Britain's Financial Times noted on Tuesday, Department of Justice figures show that African-Americans and whites use and sell drugs at similar ratios to their share of the population. Yet an African-American offender is 10 times more likely to be sentenced to prison than a white offender, for the same offense.

The Financial Times (hardly a radical leftist publication) noted Tuesday that, Obama's presidential victory notwithstanding, "racial disparities in the U.S. are in some respects worse than they were 10 or 20 years ago."

Just as most white Americans never really came to terms to the horrible legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, many whites today have refused to confront the fact that America remains a racist nation in many ways, something that is confirmed by the astonishing Justice Department figures.

And the odds are remote that anything will be done about this for many years to come. After all, most white American remain blissfully unaware that our nation's justice system is blatantly racist.

And the vast majority of Republicans continue to maintain that there is no disparity at all. Indeed, an ongoing theme that is often repeated on right-wing talk radio is that the notion that our nation is in any way racist is a figment of Liberals' imagination.

Republicans deny that America's justice system is racist with the same fervor that they deny the existence of global warming.

Don't believe me? Next time you have a talk about politics with a right-wing friend, raise this issue. There's no better way to make a wingnut go ballistic than to dare suggest that America's justice system is racist.

In artistic depictions, Lady Justice is often shown carrying a set of scales and wearing a blindfold. The latter is meant to depict the idea that justice should be meted out objectively. But in today's America, the blindfold is worn by the millions of Americans who continue to believe that our nation's justice system isn't racist.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

With Misleading Obama Photo, Drudge Again Shows He's A Lying Sack of Sh*t


Yesterday, I was browsing a message board when I noticed that a lot of the wingnut participants were abuzz about a photo of President Obama at the G8 summit. At first glance, the photo appears to show Obama leering at the backside of a passing woman.

Immediately, I suspected there was more to the story. And one thing was definitely clear: I knew this photo must be the featured item at the Drudge Report. Any time the wingnuts are abuzz about the latest supposed Democratic "outrage" you can be sure where the story is generating buzz: Drudge, the online sewer pit that spews GOP lies and propaganda 24/7.

And, (as is the case with so much of what Drudge peddles as "news") it turns out this "story" is complete and utter bullsh*t. If you look at the video of the incident, as opposed to the misleading single photo Drudge peddled, it's clear that Obama wasn't leering at the woman at all. Instead, he's briefly glancing down at the steps, watching his footing, at he assists another woman who is descending the steps. To view the video, go here.

Although this "Obama-Leering-At-A-Woman's-Butt" photo has been debunked by ABC News, among others, Drudge continues to peddle this bullsh*t. As of 2:20 a.m. July 11, the misleading photo was still prominently featured as the lead "news item" at the top of the Drudge Report site, with accompanying news stories that offered sensational angles like "She's young enough to be his daughter." True, eventually, a small text link appeared with the headline: "ABCNEWS: No he didn't ..."

No doubt, all of Drudge's millions of visitors saw the prominent photo. It's unclear how many bothered to click the ABC story, which eventually appeared and which debunked this news "story."

And once again, Drudge has revealed himself to be a right-wing-propaganda-peddling, sack-of-shit liar.

Day after day (like right-wing talk radio), Drudge spews out the latest GOP talking points and propaganda. He is truly a sick, detestable, and evil man. If there is a God, then someday, people like him will roast in the flames of the deepest depths of hell.

Incidentally, the reason I despise people like Drudge has nothing to do with his wingnut, Bush-supporting, GOP politics. Instead, it everything to do with the fact that Drudge, like Limbaugh, is a fucking liar.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Months After 'Pelosi Would Get Shot' Remark, David Feherty's Career Is Doing Just Fine


Remember back in March, when CBS Golf Analyst David Feherty, in a column in D Magazine, spewed this crazy, violent comment:

"From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this, though: despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."

At the time, Keith Olbermann predicted that Feherty's highly paid career as a CBS golf analyst would soon be history. Unfortunately, Olbermann was wrong.

Incredibly, Feherty has faced no real repercussions for his remarks since he made them back in March (and I would suspect he never will). He continues to happily work on the public airwaves in his highly paid gig as a golf commentator at CBS.

As Stu Kreisman noted in Huffington Post:

"David Feherty insulted every person who puts on a uniform to fight for the United States. He cast them all as hate mongers willing to assassinate members of the government that Feherty and his pals don't care for."

By contrast, when someone on the Left makes a comment that is even remotely controversial, there's always hell to pay. Remember the Dixie Chicks?

Kreisman notes: "At a concert in London, lead singer Natalie Maines mentioned she was ashamed that George Bush came from her home state of Texas. For that comment, the Dixie Chicks were banned from most of the public airwaves, radio stations sponsored rallies where CDs were crushed and burned."

But Feherty has faced no repercussions and continues to collect a paycheck at his highly-paid position at CBS.

If you'd like to contact CBS about this, go here.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Gannett Co. Lays Off Thousands As CEO Pockets Millions


Gannett Co., the biggest U.S. newspaper publisher by daily circulation, has been taking a hatchet to its work force in recent years, even as its CEO pockets millions in compensation.

In the latest round of cuts, announced Wednesday, Gannett announced another 1,400 layoffs in the next few weeks. That amounts to 3 percent of the workforce.

One person at Gannett who isn't suffering these days is CEO Craig A. Dubow. In 2008, Dubow pocketed $3.7 million in compensation. That includes a base salary of $1,166,667, as well as stocks, options and other compensation. The year before, Dubow got $7.9 million in compensation.

In 2008, Gannett cut 4,600 jobs. It also required "most of its remaining employees to take unpaid leave in the first and second quarters."

In 2008, Gannett was ranked as "one of America's worst places to work," according to employee survey site Glassdoor. Dubow's approval rating stood at 19 percent, according to the survey.

Last year, Gannett stock fell in value 75 percent. Gannett lost $6.6 billion in 2008.