Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And the District Attorney has re-filed charges in the original case

An update to this post--the head of the Philadelphia Bar Association has harshly criticized Deni for her ruling that a prostitute being forced to have sex with four men at gunpoint didn't constitute rape.
Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni's handling of the case was an "unforgivable miscarriage of justice," said Jane Leslie Dalton, the bar association's chancellor. "The victim has been brutalized twice in this case: first by the assailants, and now by the court."

Dalton's criticism came just 28 days after the association recommended that voters Tuesday retain Deni for a third six-year term.

That recommendation, however, came before Deni's ruling in the preliminary hearing for Dominique Gindraw, 19. Dalton's remarks yesterday were clearly aimed at voters who may not have been aware of the case.


Dalton said Deni's ruling and comments showed that she misunderstood "what constitutes rape in Pennsylvania."

Dalton said the law permitted any woman to change her mind after consenting to sex "regardless of the circumstances. We cannot imagine any circumstances more violent or coercive than being forced to have sex with four men at gunpoint."

"In the final analysis, it is up to each individual voter, in the privacy of the voting booth, to make his or her own decision as to whether Judge Deni should continue in her present position," Dalton said.

Due to the rules of the association, the previous recommendation for Deni could not be revoked. But hopefully she won't be voted in again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Are all Vermont politicians this smart?

Vermont has a commission set up to study whether they should graduate from civil unions to full marriage equality for same-sex couples. Some people may think that the commission is stacked against opponent of gay marriage--I think they just have some common sense. Of course, common sense is the enemy of the homophobe:
Nearly all of Monday's meeting was thick in legal arguments and relatively low-key. But sparks flew as commissioners had some tough questions for Monte Stewart, a Utah attorney and president of the Marriage Law Foundation, a group that opposes same-sex marriage.

Stewart told the commission that if what he called "genderless marriage" was legalized, it would undermine the benefits of traditional marriages between one man and one woman. He said traditional marriage is a vital social institution that keeps societies together and ensures that children grow up in a safe environment.

"You have the power to dissolve man-woman marriage by suppressing that meaning," he told the commission. "By suppressing that meaning, you lose the social goods that flow from that meaning."

Sen. John Campbell, D-Chittenden, said he had a difficult time following the logic behind Stewart's belief that same-sex marriages will undermine the healthy care of children. When he worked as a police officer, he said he saw many heterosexual married couples that "treated their kids in ways that no kid should be treated."

"I wouldn't even call them families," Campbell said. "But I can assure you that the gay and lesbian couples that I know who are raising children, are far better situations than any of those heterosexual families."

Stewart admitted that the institution of marriage has been wounded over the years due to divorce and bad parenting. But he added that a recent study linked population declines, or as he called it "childlessness," to communities that have strong political support for gay marriage and he cited San Francisco and Vermont as examples.

Commissioner Johanna Leddy Donovan, a Democratic state representative from Burlington, joked that she was always told it was the "lack of jobs, high taxes and cold winters" that have resulted in the state's youth leaving Vermont for other prospects.

Meanwhile, [former Vermont Governor Phil] Hoff told Stewart that he just doesn't understand how he can see expanding marriage rights as "exclusionary to man-woman marriage."

"Why is that so?" he asked. "Why can't they live side-by-side?"

Apparently it got so bad that the commission chair had to tell the two sides to break it up. But I'm glad that the Vermont commissioners recognize that the anti-gay marriage arguments don't make any sense. "If we let gays marry, that will destroy the marriage of male/female couples!" Uh, yeah--how will it do that, exactly?

Was he mayor when the Soviet Union attacked America?

I don't know whether Fred Thompson's trying to get more coverage by repeating his gaffe, or whether he's just insane. Earlier this month, Thompson embarrassed himself by referring to the "Soviet Union and China", instead of Russia. And yesterday, when asked about his position on civil unions... well, just read:
Edward Paul, an employee of the Delta Dental Plans Association, asked the question Monday, but had trouble being understood.

"I'm proud to say that in January 2008 New Hampshire has passed a law facilitating civil unions here. ... What is your belief for federal civil unions to be passed?" Paul asked.

"Soviet Union?" Thompson responded.

"No, civil unions," Paul said.

"Oh. No, I would not be in support of that," Thompson said.

Ignoring, for now, that Thompson isn't even in support of civil unions--dismissing the entire issue as a "judge-made controversy"--what is up with that? Is this going to be his version of Giuliani's 9/11 Tourette's? Will he find a way to misidentify any word or phrase into "Soviet Union"?

Or is he just a senile old duffer?

Anyways, returning to Thompson's ignorance on gay marriage:
"Basically so far, it is a judge-made controversy," Thompson said. "No state or governor has signed off on such legislation on the state level that has endorsed marriage between the same sexes. There may have been a couple of courts that said the Constitution of their states has required that, so it's a judicially made situation as far as I am concerned."

Well, California's legislature has twice passed bills that would have legalized gay marriage in that state, only to have them vetoed by their governor (who, it should be noted again, said that this issue should be left to the courts). And if you recall that the original question was about civil unions, and not gay marriage specifically, then both Connecticut and New Hampshire--the state that Thompson was in at the time--passed laws recognizing civil unions without any prodding by their courts.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Next time let's redact any references to that pesky constitution, too

First there was that part of a court opinion that was redacted because it revealed the way we threaten to torture people in order to drag false confessions from them. And now the Justice Department is redacting not only court opinions, but ACLU court filings, for no apparent reason except that it finds the arguments therein politically inconvenient:
Ostensibly, they would use their powers of censorship only to remove material that truly could jeopardize US operations. But in reality, what did they do? They blacked out a quotation from a Supreme Court decision:
"The danger to political dissent is acute where the Government attempts to act under so vague a concept as the power to protect 'domestic security.' Given the difficulty of defining the domestic security interest, the danger of abuse in acting to protect that interest becomes apparent."

The mind reels at such a blatant abuse of power (and at the sheer chutzpah of using national security as an excuse to censor a quotation about using national security as an excuse to stifle dissent).

Read the rest of that post; it's short, but I don't think I can add much to it. This is abhorrent.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

When god speaks to people

...why can't he ever tell them this?


Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Bogeyman Edition

The emotionally freighted images of black men are often crafted in white minds in childhood. Many are gained in family settings. In the past and in the present, some white parents have threatened disobedient children with fearful images of black bogeymen coming to get them. In an interview conducted by one of my graduate students, a retired clerical worker described her mother's method of discipline: "'The niggers would come in the night and steal us away and use us for their pleasure,' that's what my mother told us. What an awful thing to do, don't you think, frightening little children like that. . . . I think she must have done that to make us behave. It worked; she scared us to death. The first time I ever saw a colored person I just about had hysterics."

--Joe Feagin, Racist America, p. 159

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Obama's not looking quite as appealing to me any more

Here's why. When it came to light that he had homophobe McLurkin on his tour, I didn't mind it so much--but that he has continually refused to refute the things he stands for, or to distance himself from McLurkin, and now seems to say that we have to embrace the homophobia of the black community? Yeah. Not a real crowd-pleaser, there.
If we are to end homophobia and secure full civil rights for gay Americans, then we need an advocate within the Black community like Barack Obama.

Yeah, an advocate like Barack Obama who admits that McLurkin believes things "that are deeply hurtful ... especially to gay Americans" and then says that he wants to build his constituency out of people who believe exactly the same thing? I'm sure that's exactly what we need to end homophobia.

Some facts that I became apprised of today

There are many people out there who insist that the United States of America is a Christian country and was created as such by its founding fathers. Some of the lengths they go to make this claim are simply ridiculous. Others are aspects of our culture that they can point to and say, "Look! That proves we were founded as a Christian country!" For instance, the phrase "one nation, under God" in the pledge of allegiance--this, despite the fact that this phrase was only inserted in 1954.

Others can point to the phrase "In God We Trust" that's printed on our coins and is the national motto. Except, as I found today, the phrase never appeared on coins until 1864, and it wasn't mandated until 1908. Really interesting, here's an 1861 letter from a concerned Christian bemoaning the lack of the word God on our coinage, sent to the Secretary of the Treasury:
Dear Sir: You are about to submit your annual report to the Congress respecting the affairs of the national finances.

One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins.

You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were not shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation? What I propose is that instead of the goddess of liberty we shall have next inside the 13 stars a ring inscribed with the words PERPETUAL UNION; within the ring the allseeing eye, crowned with a halo; beneath this eye the American flag, bearing in its field stars equal to the number of the States united; in the folds of the bars the words GOD, LIBERTY, LAW.

This would make a beautiful coin, to which no possible citizen could object. This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my hearth I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters.

To you first I address a subject that must be agitated.

Yep, we were a heathen nation up until 1864, since until that point we hadn't turned these little metal disks into fetishes. It's really amazing that our country lasted even that long without adding the magic word "God" to our pocket change, since we weren't under "Divine protection" without that.

Even more interesting, the phrase "In God We Trust" wasn't declared the national motto until 1956.

Yeah. Real strong evidence that we were created a Christian country... in the middle of the Cold War.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It was inevitable

...that someone would blame the California wildfires on gays:
They shook their fists at God and said, "We don't care what God says, we will issue our legal brief to support gay marriage in San Diego!" Then Mayor Jerry Sanders mocked the Christian vote and signed off on this rebellious legal document to support same-sex marriage.

And then the streets of La Jolla under the Mt. Soledad Cross began to cave in.

They shook their fists at God and said, "We don't care what the Bible says, We want the California school children indoctrinated into homosexuality!" And then Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law the heinous SB777 which bans the use of "mom" and "dad" in the text books and promotes homosexuality to all school children in California.

And then the wildfires of Southern California engulfed the land like a raging judgment against the radicalized anti-christian California rebels.

Of course, SB777 does no such thing. It looks like God has terrible reading comprehension.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Republican debates: bringing home the crazy

Desperate to prove himself more ignorant of American history than John McCain, presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee went a step further than claiming that America is a Christian nation founded on "Judeo-Christian" principles. He claimed that most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were clergymen.
During the Republican debate, Mike Huckabee said he believes one of the defining issues facing the country is the sanctity of human life. Arguing that the issue is of historical importance, he invoked the Declaration of Independence's rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and said that most of the signers of the declaration were clergymen.

Not even close.

Only one of the 56 was an active clergyman, and that was John Witherspoon. Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister and president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).

[Edit] And in case you were wondering whether he really said something that dumb, here's the transcript:
HUCKABEE: There are some real issues out there in this country we need to be fighting for on behalf of the people. Now, one of them, quite frankly, I do believe, is the sanctity of human life...


... because I do believe that it is one of the defining issues of our culture and civilization in that it expresses our understanding that every single human being in this society has intrinsic value and worth.

When our founding fathers put their signatures on the Declaration of Independence, those 56 brave people, most of whom, by the way, were clergymen, they said that we have certain inalienable rights given to us by our creator, and among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, life being one of them. I still believe that.

And in fact, he's said some other stupid things recently:
Oh, I believe in science. I certainly do. In fact, what I believe in is, I believe in God. I don't think there's a conflict between the two. But if there's going to be a conflict, science changes with every generation and with new discoveries and God doesn't. So I'll stick with God if the two are in conflict.

Yeah. Changing theories in light of new evidence to come closer to a perfect understanding of the universe is worse than blindly believing what a pack of barbarians wrote down thousands of years ago. That's just the quality we need in a leader!

Fox makes me cry once again

This headline is criminally misleading: "Paralyzed Vegas man suing Pacman"

It turns out that it's just some football player with the nickname Pacman.

Monday, October 22, 2007

America doesn't torture people, we just toss them to other countries that do

[A]n Egpytian national, Abdallah Higazy, was staying in a hotel in New York City on September 11 and the hotel emptied out when the planes hit the towers. The hotel later found in the closet of his room a device that allows you to communicate with airline pilots. Investigators thought this guy had something to do with 9/11 so they questioned him. According to Higazi, the investigators coerced him into confessing to a role in 9/11. Higazi first adamantly denied any involvement with 9/11 and could not believe what was happening to him. Then, he says, the investigator said his family would go through hell in Egypt, where they torture people like Saddam Hussein. Higazy then realized he had a choice: he could continue denying the radio was his and his family suffers ungodly torture in Egypt or he confesses and his family is spared. Of course, by confessing, Higazy's life is worth garbage at that point, but ... well, that's why coerced confessions are outlawed in the United States.

So Higazy "confesses" and he's processed by the criminal justice system. His future is quite bleak. Meanwhile, an airline pilot later shows up at the hotel and asks for his radio back. This is like something out of the movies. The radio belonged to the pilot, not Higazy, and Higazy was free to go, the victim of horrible timing. Higazi was innocent! He next sued the hotel and the FBI agent for coercing his confession. The bottom line in the Court of Appeals: Higazy has a case and may recover damages for this injustice.

As if this weren't despicable enough, the decision that this blogger was reading suddenly disappeared from the Court of Appeals' website after his lunch. Later, a redacted version was put up as a replacement, cutting out the parts of the decision wherein Higazy describes how his confession was coerced and why he agreed in the first place. The original, non-redacted decision is still available, having been put up on a legal blog.

H/T to Jonathan Schwarz.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

If the entire scientific community and you come to opposite conclusions, that's not proof that you're right

A little bit ago Greta Christina wrote a post discussing what she called the Galileo Fallacy:
There's a form of very bad thinking that I see a lot in some very smart, thoughtful people.

The thinking goes like this:

"Great thinkers throughout history have had unpopular ideas that everyone disagreed with.

"I have an unpopular idea that everyone disagrees with.

"Therefore, I must be a great thinker."

I call it the Galileo Fallacy, in honor of something my old roommate Adele used to say: "The fact that everyone disagrees with you does not make you Galileo."

This "argument" is very common among cranks, people who believe: homeopathy; reiki; the moon landing was faked; 9/11 conspiracies; HIV doesn't cause AIDS; etc. I felt that Ms. Christina's post would be better served if a concrete example was offered:
This subject is attended by the same difficulty which has impeded the advancement of other departments of Natural History, as well as the Sciences of Astronomy and Geology. In their infancy, discoveries in these sciences, were regarded as inconsistent with the Mosaic account of the creation, and they have encountered determined opposition from well meaning and other religious persons. The scientific men who have been bold enough to speak truth, and to uphold the works of God, have been persecuted by those who mistake their own intellects for a measure of wisdom, and their own passions and prejudices for the will of heaven.

When Gallileo [sic] promulgated the great truth that the sun stands still, and the earth moves round it, he was attacked and persecuted by the whole priesthood--he was twice brought before the Inquisition and forced to renounce his doctrines.--Time, however, has served to show that Gallileo was right, and the Bible still stands "the rock of ages."

What was "this subject" that could be so favorably compared to Galileo's theory of heliocentrism, under attack as it was by an overwhelming conspiratorial organization dedicated to oppressing new ideas? The idea that blacks and whites weren't the same species. The quote was taken from Josiah Nott's "Two Lectures on the Natural History of the Caucasian and Negro Races". Some of Nott's ideas that he thought made him the 1844-era Galileo:
1st. That the mulattoes are intermediate in intelligence between the blacks and whites.

2d. That they are less capable of undergoing fatigue and hardships, than the blacks or whites.

3d. That the mulatto women are particularly delicate, and subject to a variety of chronic diseases.

4th. That the women are bad breeders and bad nursers--many do not conceive--most are subject to abortions, and a large portion of the children die young in the southern States.

5th. That the two sexes when they intermarry, are less prolific than when crossed on one of the parent stocks.

6th. That Negroes and mulattoes are exempt in a surprising degree from yellow fever.

Yeah. Time isn't going to prove that you were a brave martyr fighting for truth against the dogmatic establishment if you're simply wrong.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

"Yes, if by 'allow' you mean 'force'."

They've finally done it! They've built a vest that allows gamers to feel their characters getting hit:
A US surgeon working on a "tele-health" breakthrough has devised a way for video game warriors to feel shots, stabs, slams, and hits dealt to their on-screen characters.

A vest designed by doctor Mark Ombrellaro uses air pressure and feedback from computer games to deliver pneumatic thumps to the spots on players' torsos where they would have been struck were they actually on the battlefields.

The "3rd Space" vest will make its US debut in November at a price of 189 dollars. It will be launched with the first-person shooter game "Call of Duty" and a custom-made title.

Excellent. Now nerds can get beat up without ever having to leave their homes.

C.H. Dalton knows the score

Amen, Professor Dalton:
This week, I'd like to address what I see as a disturbing trend: same-sex miscegenation. Miscegenation has been a legally recognized fact of life in this country for tens of years (and God bless Alabama for holding out as long as it did), but it's come to my attention that more and more young men and women are coupling with other members of the same sex who are members of different races.


They may call it "love," but nothing is more abominable in the eyes of God than when a dreadlocked white lesbian scissors with her dreadlocked black lesbian life-partner on their coarse, hemp blankets. These sick, unnatural couples must be stopped before they pollute our children and our gene pool with their unholy union. Don't ask how--they'll find a way.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: A Dinner is Worth a Thousand Niggers Edition

Soon after he had been inaugurated, Teddy Roosevelt had Booker T. Washington come to the White House to advise him on racial issues. While he was up there, Washington had dinner with President Roosevelt--an action which inflamed the country. Senator Ben "Pitchfork" Tillman of South Carolina railed, "The action of President Roosevelt in entertaining that nigger will necessitate our killing a thousand niggers in the South before they will learn their place again."

--"The Night President Teddy Roosevelt Invited Booker T. Washington to Dinner", Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 35, Spring 2002, p. 25

Words fail me

From the book I'm currently reading:
In [Deuteronomy 4:2] Moses warns against adding or taking away from the commandments of the Lord. We read of a similar commandment given in the New Testament in Revelation 22:18-19. Moses was, as many in our churches are today, concerned about the letdown of traditional Christian values from the Word of God by the succeeding generation.

Uh, yeah. That Moses, he was up half the night worrying about traditional Christian values.

"He acknowledged that gay people exist, therefore he's trying to turn everyone gay!"

Well, Fletcher must be desperate:
Last week Fletcher's campaign sent reporters a copy of Beshear's campaign contribution list showing the names of two men who identified themselves in donation as a couple.

The list is required by Kentucky law and was submitted to the state.

"Beshear signed his name to the document under the penalty of perjury, swearing that he believed the contents of the report were accurate," the Fletcher campaign charged in a press release.


"Stating on his report that one male is the spouse of another runs contrary to the law of Kentucky," Fletcher spokesperson Jason Keller told the paper.

"Without question he violated the constitution. The document is his responsibility."

Kentucky has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Oh no! Beshear accepted money from a gay couple! This means he, uh... violated the consti... no, I can't even finish a statement that stupid, even if I'm being sarcastic.

Except maybe the French

Watson has given an apology for his remarks about blacks:
Nobel laureate biologist Jim Watson apologized "unreservedly" Thursday for stating that black people were not as intelligent as whites, saying he was "mortified" by the comments attributed to him.

"I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said," Watson said during an appearance at the Royal Society in London.

"I can certainly understand why people, reading those words, have reacted in the ways that they have."

"To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief," he said.

Well, actually, that sounds like a non-pology more than an apology. Consider that earlier he said that we assume "that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really." So first he says that "all the testing" tells us that blacks are intellectually inferior to whites; and now he's "apologizing" by saying that there's no scientific basis to believe that they're genetically inferior. But there's no scientific basis for quantifying one's genes, so of course there's no scientific basis for saying that one person, or group of people, are "genetically inferior" to another.

Although "Franken/Stein" is a stitch

Well, good for Franken:
Liberal Al Franken is good enough and smart enough to win some of conservative Ben Stein's money — and doggone it, Stein likes him.

Stein, an actor, writer and economist, has contributed $2,000 to Franken's Minnesota Senate campaign. The two men have known each other for about 30 years.

"I'm struck by what an incredibly capable, hard-working guy he is," Stein told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday. "He's a very smart liberal, he's a thoroughgoing patriot, and I would feel better with him in the Senate."

While I'm glad that he's helping out Al Franken, Stein is still an idiot.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Today's zombie racist

John Derbyshire:
Incidentally, while hobnobbing with those Midwesterners at Storm Lake, Iowa -- their surnames mostly taken from the Stockholm, Oslo, and Berlin phone books -- I heard a couple of times the remark that in this little corner of rural Iowa, the student body in the schools is half Hispanic.


Say what you like, that is truly an invasion. Why on earth are we letting this happen?

And later, in response to someone saying that this demographic may be the result of legal immigration, he wrote "Legal or illegal, this is asking for trouble."

But hey, at least Derbyshire is in good company.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Elementary Watson

One thing that I have learned over time is that smart people can believe very dumb things, and it does not make them any less smart.

Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and Father of American Psychiatry, believed that blackness was a form of leprosy.

Louis Agassiz, a Harvard scientist and well-renowned biologist, believed that interracial relationships were completely loveless.

Our American presidents... well, let's just say they had some interesting beliefs themselves.

And otherwise intelligent people the world over can convince themselves that the existence an invisible wish-granting fairy in the sky is an eminently reasonable position.

Thus I'm going to have to disagree with Greg Laden; I do not think that James Watson, one of the co-discoverers of the shape of DNA, is a moron. Flat wrong, almost certainly, but not necessarily a moron.

"What brought that up?" some of you may be wondering. Well, some racist sentiments of Watson's were published in the Independent the other day:
The 79-year-old geneticist reopened the explosive debate about race and science in a newspaper interview in which he said Western policies towards African countries were wrongly based on an assumption that black people were as clever as their white counterparts when "testing" suggested the contrary. He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade.

...Dr Watson told The Sunday Times that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really". He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

His views are also reflected in a book published next week, in which he writes: "There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so."

What "tests" he means are unknown, especially since tests for the past several decades have shown exactly the opposite--once you eliminate other factors such as diet, socioeconomic status, and other things, the "intelligence gap" between the races shrinks. Furthermore, the existence of racism and discrimination against one group at all tends to worsen a person's performance, as Jane Elliott has demonstrated. And the idea that blacks are less intelligent itself has been shown to hinder their performance on intelligence tests. Joe Feagin writes in Racist America (pp. 192-93):
Recent sociopsychological research has examined the impact of racist stereotypes on the performance of students. In pioneering studies by Claude Steele and his associates, black and white students were given skill tests similar to the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). When this examination was presented to black students as a test of their "intellectual ability," they did less well on the tests than white students of comparative ability. However, when the test was presented to the black students without the suggestion that it was a type of intelligence testing, they performed at a level similar to that of the white students.

And really, what are we to think when the only concrete piece of "evidence" Watson provides (at least so far) is the anecdotal evidence of people who work with black employees? Sure, those people may not think that blacks are very smart; that doesn't make it true. There are any number of reasons why the people questioned might say that--not least of which is the racist belief that blacks are dumb, and evidence be damned.

And of course Watson tries to make his position (as do trolls Caledonian and Francis Crunk in the comments at Pharyngula) sound plausible by suggesting that different races could have taken different evolutionary paths and there's no reason to believe that they all evolved the same way. Which in itself might be reasonable; there are differences between the races. But why should their brains have varied? Unless Watson believes like Edward Eggleston, that Africa was so verdant that one didn't need to think to survive? After all, it's not like there's any hardship in Africa, no sir.

And besides, it's hard to take Watson seriously when his supposedly scientific, neutral hypotheses line match up so exactly with the racist sentiments spewed by Americans for hundreds of years:
He has also suggested a link between skin colour and sex drive, positing the theory that black people have higher libidos... .

As Azkyroth at Pharyngula commented,
...we argue against the claim that human variation takes the form of nice neat little bundles of traits that are distributed in a fashion more or less corresponding to societal definitions of race, and whose contents more or less correspond to Western racial prejudices particularly as regards intelligence and temperament... .

Thanks to PZ for alerting me to this.

[Edit] And Greg Laden now has a bit more, shredding some of the "science" by others that also purportedly "proves" blacks have a lower I.Q.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We're so great at winning hearts and minds

What have we been saying for years? Invading their countries and blowing the shit out of them just makes them hate us:
At a Baghdad jail for prisoners who have attacked U.S. forces, everyone — to a man — says it was the U.S. occupation of Iraq that drove them to violence. And they are not alone. Across the Middle East and South Asia, the same story can be heard in Internet cafes, mosques, safe houses and prisons.

"The U.S. says this war is part of the global war on terrorism," Saedi Farhan, an Iraqi engineer who took part in an attack on U.S. forces, said in a weekend interview with NBC News. "But people here say that the war has increased fanaticism and brought terrorism to Iraq."

Interviews with Farhan and other radicals reveal that many young men were torn when it came time to choose sides. Even though they fight alongside al-Qaida, they insist that — contrary to what U.S. officials say — they do not support al-Qaida. Many, in fact, say they hate al-Qaida.

But they hate the United States more.

"An aggressor occupied my country, destroyed it and made millions [of] refugees. It is an honor to fight this," said Hamid Ali, the owner of a construction company who also admitted attacking U.S. troops.

At a government rehabilitation center in Saudi Arabia, many radicals say they now reject the al-Qaida philosophy. But at the same time, they admit that the U.S. occupation of Iraq drove many of them to join the movement and that it still drives their hatred of America. Some, in fact, were arrested for trafficking in Internet videos about Iraq designed specifically to motivate and recruit for al-Qaida.

Which is simply common sense to anyone who has the ability to realize that not everyone sees Americans as heaven-sent paragons of virtue. In fact, it's pretty much the right-wing whackos of our own country who think that, and they can't fathom that anyone else doesn't. It's truly mind-boggling.

And speaking of mind-boggling, let's check out the administration's response:
President Bush's homeland security adviser, Frances Townsend, remains unconvinced. The picture is a distortion, she suggests, maintaining that the war is simply a convenient rallying cry for jihadists sworn to destroying the West.

If it were not al-Qaida, it would be "something else," Townsend said, citing a steady stream of terrorist attacks against U.S. interests before the invasion of Iraq.

Which, of course, completely sidesteps the established fact that all of the people who have attacked U.S. forces in Iraq by their own admission aren't "jihadists sworn to destroying the West", and attacked our forces because we invaded their country. It is true that there are people out there who even before the Iraq war wanted to hurt us, but does Townsend think that we only started pissing off the rest of the world in March 2003? The Iraq war is only the latest addition to a long list of grievances they have against the United States.

Prostitutes aren't people, after all.

Well, this is despicable:
[Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni] dropped all the sexual assault and assault charges against Dominique Gindraw, even though he stood accused of forcing a prostitute to have sex with him and three other men.

At gunpoint.

But Deni didn't let Gindraw entirely off the hook. Because he didn't pay her what he'd agreed to pay her for sex, and since she was in the business of providing sex for money, Deni let stand a charge of theft of services.
Deni told me she based her decision on the fact that the prostitute consented to have sex with the defendant.

"She consented and she didn't get paid . . . I thought it was a robbery."

The prostitute, a 20-year-old single mother, agreed to $150 for an hour of oral and vaginal sex on Sept. 20, according to assistant district attorney Rich DeSipio. The arrangements were made through her posting on Craigslist.

She met the defendant, Dominique Gindraw, 19, at what she thought was his house, but which turned out to be an abandoned property in North Philadelphia.

He asked if she'd have sex with his friend, too, and she agreed for another $100.

The friend showed up without money, the gun was pulled and more men arrived.

Got that? Because she agreed to have sex with Gindraw and his friend for a set price, and because that price wasn't paid and Gindraw drew a gun and forced the complainant to have sex with not only him and his friend, but also with two other guys, that's not rape, that's robbery. Because it's the same as stealing your neighbor's cable.

This alone isn't enough to get a sense of the enormity of this judge's scorn for the victim--Deni also declared that this case "minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped." Truly horrific.

[Edit] A small update here.

Although it's understandable that you can't understand atheists, what with all the foam frothing out of our mouths

Sometimes, anger is the only rational response.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Soon as it's done once, suddenly it's everywhere

I wasn't aware of this:
Remember how white students at Jena High placed nooses in a tree last year to communicate antipathy toward their African-American classmates? Now it's happening all over.

A noose is left for a black workman at a construction site in the Chicago area. In Queens, a woman brandishes a noose to threaten her black neighbors. A noose is left on the door of a black professor at Columbia University. And that's just last week. Go back a little further and you have similar incidents at the University of Maryland in College Park, at a police department on Long Island, on a Coast Guard cutter, in a bus maintenance garage in Pittsburgh.

Mark Potok, the director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center told USA Today, "For a dozen incidents to come to the public's attention is a lot. I don't generally see noose incidents in a typical month. We might hear about a handful in a year."

Huh. That's pretty horrible.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Yes, it's the Apocalypse all right. I always thought I'd have a hand in it."

Or so says Glenn Beck.
BECK: Let me ask you one of the most -- you were on, I don't know, four or five days ago on the show for a quick segment, and you had mentioned that America's not in the Bible in the End Days.


BECK: It doesn't play a significant role. E-mail went crazy on this. Why is America not in the Bible? Then it can't be the End Times. How could we possibly not play a role in the End Days?

A fair question, really. I certainly can't foresee the world coming to an end without America doing its share.

Via Atrios via LG&M.

"This issue should be left to the branch of government least likely to let it go through!"

After all the right-wing talking points about how gay marriage should be left to the legislature and not decided by "judicial activists" (read: judges whose rulings we don't like), I'm amused by Schwarzenegger's take. Well, amused and infuriated. California's legislature passed a bill that would legalize gay marriage, so naturally he'd be all over that, wouldn't he?

Well, yeah. But not in the right way:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed another gay marriage bill Friday, saying voters and the state Supreme Court, not lawmakers, should decide the issue.

'Cause Republicans have always placed their trust in the impartial courts to decide on gay marriage, right?
Schwarzenegger said in his veto message that Californians "should not be discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation." He said he supports state laws that give domestic partners many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, a gay rights group, said the veto was "hypocrisy at its worst."

"We find it shocking for the governor to say he opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation and then veto a bill that would have ended discrimination based on sexual orientation," Kors said.

What he said.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Suffer the children

Nothing says you're "pro-family" like keeping children in an orphanage rather than letting them get adopted by fit parents:
Socially conservative groups behind Tennessee's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage are looking at launching a new push to bar gays and lesbians from adopting children.

The move follows a legal opinion issued Thursday by Attorney General Bob Cooper that there is nothing in the Tennessee constitution or in state law to prevent same-sex couples from becoming adoptive parents.


Cooper in his legal opinion said that under current state law anyone 18 years of age or older may adopt, assuming the adoption is found to be in the best interest of the child."

"There is no prohibition in Tennessee statutes against adoption by a same sex couple,"he said.

He also noted that before a judge grants an adoption there must be a finding that the adoptive parents "are fit persons to have the care and custody of the child."

Yeah, it may be in the best interests of the child, and the people may be fit and all, but discriminating against gay people takes precedence over the interests of children. That's the family way!

A similar measure failed in 2005, and "Supporters of the measure said the children would be better off remaining in orphanages than being with a gay parent." Of course.

Special Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Presidential Edition

My thesis is this: virtually every American President, including those we glorify most, has been a racist.

—Melvin Steinfield, Our Racist Presidents, p. vii

This is the 1-year anniversary of my Friday Dead Racist Blogging series, started 52 posts ago on Friday, October 13. Therefore today's is a special post, four months in the making.

Modern racists (and even less-modern racists) like to point to the racist attitudes of men who are held in high esteem—partly to provide justification for their views; partly as an appeal to authority; and partly to make them feel better about their own racism. For example, a troll over at David Neiwert's Orcinus with the original handle "Whiteman" recently posted a comment on a post:

Most White men in history have been White nationalists -- Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, even Abe Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson.


If you want to say that White people throughout history have been "pathological" well then I guess I'm in good company... .

Simply bolstering his own ego by comparing himself to Lindbergh, Edison, Jefferson, and Lincoln—because, I suppose, their racism is what made them great. It's not as though they're remembered for anything else.

Whiteman's stupidity aside, he ably demonstrates that pointing out that former U.S. presidents were racist is common, as though it somehow makes racism legitimate. For instance, in the '50s and '60s groups dedicated to segregation such as the Citizens' Councils of America took out ads in numerous newspapers (see for one the New York Times, 11 February 1964, p. 32) with the title "Lincoln's Hope for the Negro in His Own Words"; this ad was nothing but racist quotes from Abraham Lincoln. I also have a small pamphlet from a Christian Identity group with the title "God and Lincoln on Negro-White Marriages", which is basically the same as the Lincoln ad except that it also includes a quote from Thomas Jefferson, and has a horrible sermon by Sheldon Emry wrapped around it. That they put Lincoln and God side-by-side as if the two were equal authorities always amuses me.

Aside from the blatant appeal to authority, some people take a slightly different tack. After quoting numerous widely-respected Americans, Jared Taylor in "The Racial Revolution" wrote that "views that are considered unacceptable by today's standards were so widespread that virtually anyone who said anything about race reflected those views" and concludes that such views were simply "common sense." Hence, it is those who decry such views who aren't using their common sense. Of course, he doesn't stray too far from the appeal to authority, as a few paragraphs later he writes "Whatever Abraham Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt thought about other races, they would have been insulted to be told it was prejudice, that is to say, unreasonable preconceived judgment." The implication is clear: Roosevelt and Lincoln are heralded as thoughtful men, therefore they couldn't have "unreasonable preconceived judgment[s]." Surely they came to their conclusions after long deliberations, and hey, who are you to disagree with Abraham Lincoln's conclusions?

As thoughtful as they may have been, though, they couldn't escape the culture in which they lived. Melvin Steinfield writes "virtually every American President has been infected by racism." Simply living in a country that since before its founding has set up white supremacist institutions to subjugate black slaves, and to kill Native Americans and rob them of their land, is enough to be "infected by racism"; it doesn't matter whether the people so infected would later grow up to be heralded as near demi-gods, as with our founding fathers. And so I have gathered as many racist quotes as I could from all the presidents of the United States: to show that even great men were still products of their environments, and these men's environments were invariably racist; to show exactly how racist our country has been since its founding, if we accept the presidents as representatives of the countries they led; and just to show that no-one will one-up me on dead racists. And who knows, maybe I'll get some sort of award for "longest blog post ever—no, really, what the hell is wrong with you?"


Thursday, October 11, 2007

If you own anything more than the clothes on your back, you're not poor

Following up on my previous post on the subject, Amanda at Pandagon and Digby at Hullabaloo have some more to say on the difference between conservative and liberal views towards the poor.

Just when I think my estimation of them couldn't get any lower

Um... shit:
The National Security Agency and other government agencies retaliated against Qwest because the Denver telco refused to go along with a phone spying program, documents released Wednesday suggest.

The documents indicate that likely would have been at the heart of former CEO Joe Nacchio's so-called "classified information" defense at his insider trading trial, had he been allowed to present it.


Prosecutors have said they were prepared to poke holes in Nacchio's classified defense.

Nacchio was convicted last spring on 19 counts of insider trading for $52 million of stock sales in April and May 2001, and sentenced to six years in prison. He's free pending appeal.

The partially redacted documents were filed under seal before, during and after Nacchio's trial. They were released Wednesday.

Nacchio planned to demonstrate at trial that he had a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., to discuss a $100 million project. According to the documents, another topic also was discussed at that meeting, one with which Nacchio refused to comply.

The topic itself is redacted each time it appears in the hundreds of pages of documents, but there is mention of Nacchio believing the request was both inappropriate and illegal, and repeatedly refusing to go along with it.

The NSA contract was awarded in July 2001 to companies other than Qwest.

USA Today reported in May 2006 that Qwest, unlike AT&T and Verizon, balked at helping the NSA track phone calling patterns that may have indicated terrorist organizational activities. Nacchio's attorney, Herbert Stern, confirmed that Nacchio refused to turn over customer telephone records because he didn't think the NSA program had legal standing.

So... was the NSA gearing up to spy on people months before 9/11?

Via Atrios.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm not an economist. Does it show?

There was a GOP debate the other day, and the Boston Globe has a piece about it. I found this interesting: Romney apparently believes that the line-item veto is constitutional. I don't know whether he meant that he thought the Supreme Court was wrong, or if he really doesn't consider their opinion to the contrary to be meaningful. Giuliani at least stuck up for them:
They swapped their strongest words over the may or's successful lawsuit challenging the Clinton administration's use of the line-item veto. Romney said he believed that presidential power was not only constitutional, but also necessary to control government spending.

"You have to be honest with people," Giuliani responded to his rival. "And you can't fool all of the people all of the time. The line-item veto is unconstitutional. You don't get to 'believe' about it; the Supreme Court has ruled on it."

The debate was mostly over economic matters, so of course the candidates had to masturbate using Bigby's Invisible Hand of the Free Market:
The debate, hosted by CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, and the Michigan Republican Party, was designed to focus on economic issues, and the top contenders appeared to find consensus on major policy matters. They alternated in delivering largely undifferentiated paeans to low taxes, free trade, restrained government spending, and the power of the free market.

Uh-huh. And yet, despite their calls for "restrained government spending", they all seemed pretty willing to suck up to Bush's economic genius:
Dissent from Bush economic policy came almost exclusively from the candidates lagging in the polls, who took issue with most favored nation status for China (Representative Duncan Hunter of California), presidential "fast-track" authority for trade negotiations (Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado), and the country's historical departure from the gold standard (Representative Ron Paul of Texas).

That kinda surprised me. I thought they'd all be trying to show just how much un-like Bush they were. Oh, well; no, they still think that Bush's economy is doing great. And if mere peasants are struggling... well, that's the state's fault.

The debate was held in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb that has stood at the intersection of the major currents in Bush-era foreign and domestic policy. It was in the streets of the country's largest Arab-American enclave that Iraqi refugees celebrated the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in the spring of 2003, and at the headquarters of Ford Motor Co. that the effects of global trade on American manufacturing have been most acutely felt.

In an interview before the debate, Saul Azunis, Michigan Republican Party chairman, was pessimistic about his state's future, citing a six-year job-loss streak and foreclosure rates among the country's highest. "Michigan is all about the economy," he said. "The jobs issue is really affecting us."

Yet, the candidates remained largely cheerful about the nature of the American economy, as they attempted to divorce local fortunes from national ones. The leading candidates stood by the Bush administration's policies on taxes and trade, blaming state government for the area's troubles. Romney quipped that he feared that Michigan's Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, "was going to put a tax on this debate."

Ahahahahaha! Democrats want taxes so that the government can pay for things, therefore they're fiscally irresponsible! And so are all the states whose economies are in the toilets. But America as a whole--as opposed to any individual part--is doing great! Why, we're even up to 0.98% of the Canadian dollar! Can't beat that.

And this quip from McCain was just bizarre:
"By the way, a dollar-a-pack increase for cigarettes?" said McCain, a leader on efforts in the mid-1990s to regulate the tobacco industry. "So we want to take care of children's health and we want everybody to smoke? I don't get it."

Uh, no, you flaming imbecile. People are going to smoke, despite our efforts to stop them. We can use this fact to our advantage by increasing the prices on cigarettes and using the profits to fund health insurance for children in a pique of delicious irony. People are going to smoke--so we might as well make some good come of it.

Or we could just blame their parents for making poor choices, a la Michelle Malkin.

At least the NYT gets it

Following up on the emetic attacks on 12-year old children with medical problems, the New York Times apparently picked up the story, and actually didn't take the right-wing assholes' arguments at face-value. But what really struck me was Michelle "Japanese internment was a good idea" Malkin's argument:
Michelle Malkin, one of the bloggers who have strongly criticized the Frosts, insisted Republicans should hold their ground and not pull punches.

"The bottom line here is that this family has considerable assets," Ms. Malkin wrote in an e-mail message. "Maryland's S-chip program does not means-test. The refusal to do assets tests on federal health insurance programs is why federal entitlements are exploding and government keeps expanding. If Republicans don't have the guts to hold the line, they deserve to lose their seats."

These assets include the Graemes' home and another property that they rent.

So, yeah. Malkin wants them to have to choose between keeping their home or paying their children's medical bills. Classy!

Her arguments are also nothing more than catfights. Can't forget that.

Does this strike anyone else as more sexist tripe aimed at Clinton?
Five Democratic candidates have withdrawn from Michigan's Jan. 15 presidential primary, leaving what amounts to a beauty contest for front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and a handful of lesser-knowns.

The article never returns to that phrase, so it's not clear what makes it a "beauty contest." Perhaps because it's all for show, as the DNC won't recognize any primary before February 5 except for a handful of states. Or perhaps because Clinton is an ickle girl and therefore her political actions are only a "beauty contest." Would the media, despite their raging erections for such virile exemplars of manliness as the GOP candidates, describe a Republican primary as a "beauty contest"? I somehow doubt it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Conservative: person who has had their sense of empathy surgically removed

TBogg found a fairly vile screed trying to explain why right-wingers don't care about kids not getting health care but are up in arms over gay rights and global warming. Or, uh, something. Basically, her argument boils down to "poor people don't exist."

No, seriously.
That's why I don't care about the poor. They're no more real than Bigfoot.

These mythical poor exist only in foggy glades, or out-of-focus films, and are only rumored to exist:
No one I know uses food banks. No one THEY know uses food banks.

Well damn, that settles it! This one snot-nosed brat hasn't seen a poor person, therefore they don't exist. Just like how I've never seen Europe, therefore it doesn't exist.

But what about all these poor people that you hear about? Well, they're not really poor. They're just stupid. And lazy. And they chose to be poor by not being Kathy Shaidle, apparently.
If they're "poor" it's because they were too lazy and stupid to a) finish high school and/or b) keep their pants on. Jesus had something to say about folks who didn't properly manage their money or other people's, and who squandered free gifts and good will. He told the adulteress to sin no more, not to find herself another baby daddy.

He also told his followers to sell all their worldly possessions; to give to the poor; to help the needy, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick; and said that it was impossible for a rich man to get into heaven.

But hey, who's counting? It's like Al Franken says: "I've noticed that the only Biblical parable supply-siders ever mention is [the Parable of the] Talents."

Why do "right wing Christians" seem to "care" more about abortion, or terrorism, or gay marriage/adoption or even the hoax known as global warming, more than they "care" about the poor? I plead guilty -- because there are more radical gays and feminists and global warming hoaxers than there are poor people in North America. These activists want to brainwash our kids, or worse. And terrorists want to blow them up. In the face of such threats, forgive me if the fact that Lakeesha can't afford a new weave this week cuz she spent all her money on a new cell phone fails to get me humming "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night."

Yeah. There are a lot more terrorist attacks than poor people out there. (It's also interesting that right-wingers are "care" about abortion while mocking poor people as promiscuous, baby-making losers. But then, they "chose" this.)

And besides, with names like "Lakeesha", poor people are obviously black. And lazy. So, well, fuck 'em. It's what Jesus would do.

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity."

George W. Bush: We are not at war with Islam.

Tim Walberg: The fuck we're not.
To offer respect for a major religion is one thing, but to offer respect for a major religion that has been behind the Islamic jihad, the radical jihad, that has sworn war upon the United States, its free allies and freedom in Iraq, is another thing.


Monday, October 8, 2007

No title I give for this would beat Digby's

Recall that 12-year old kid that the Democrats used to gain support for SCHIP? And how right-wingers went berserk over the idea that Democrats would dare use a kid who needs health insurance to illustrate the fact that there are kids out there who need health insurance?

Well, it wasn't enough for the nuts to attack the Democrats for this stunt. No, they had to go after the kid and his family, too. Whiskey Fire has a couple of posts on this, while ThinkProgress highlights the information that these bastards omit in their disgusting attacks.

And of course, Digby has some choice words for this sordid spectacle.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Not just Romney

But also could you imagine, say, John "the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation" McCain delivering a speech like this?

Or, say, Tancredo, Brownback, and Huckabee? Or how about Alan "our allegiance to God and His authority that has been the foundation stone of our nation's life" Keyes?

Now if they'd just do their own research instead of appropriating the research of real scientists

Any bets as to how long until intelligent design propagandists proclaim this as "proof" of intelligent design?
The function of the appendix seems related to the massive amount of bacteria populating the human digestive system, according to an online report in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. There are more bacteria than human cells in the typical body. Most bacteria are good and help digest food.

But the flora in the intestines sometimes die or are purged. Diseases such as cholera or amoebic dysentery would clear the gut of useful bacteria. The appendix's job is to reboot the digestive system in that case.

The appendix "acts as a good safe house for bacteria," said Duke surgery professor Bill Parker, a co-author of the study. Its location — just below the normal one-way flow of food and germs in the large intestine in a sort of gut cul-de-sac — helps support the theory, he said.

Also, the worm-shaped organ outgrowth acts like a bacteria factory, cultivating good germs, Parker said.

That use is not needed in a modern industrialized society, Parker said. If a person's gut flora die, they usually can repopulate it easily with germs they pick up from other people, he said.

But before dense populations in modern times and during epidemics of cholera that affected a whole region, it wasn't as easy to grow back that bacteria and the appendix came in handy.


Who's more progressive than the U.S. this week?

Gay couples in Colombia won the same social security rights as their straight counterparts in a court ruling called a major advance for homosexuals in this conservative Roman Catholic country.

In a decision embraced by rights groups but opposed by the church, the Constitutional Court said on Friday it extended health benefits long enjoyed by heterosexuals in common law marriages to same-sex couples.

The first nationwide law of its kind in Latin America, the measure allows homosexuals to include their partners in their health insurance plans.


Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: You're Too Good For Them Edition

During World War I the French government received a formal complaint from the U.S. military command that the French people were treating black American soldiers too well, and U.S. military authorities gave the French government instructions on how to treat black soldiers in discriminatory fashion.

--Joe Feagin, Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, and Future Reparations, p. 64

These instructions, written by either John Pershing or Colonel Linard of the AEF, were titled "Secret information concerning the Black American Troops" and were issued on August 7, 1918. Here's the text, translated into English:
It is important for French officers who have been called upon to exercise command over black American troops, or to live in close contact with them, to have an exact idea of the position occupied by Negroes in the United States. The information set forth in the following communication ought to be given to these officers and it is to their interest to have these matters known and widely. disseminated. It will devolve likewise on the French Military Authorities, through the medium of the Civil Authorities, to give information on this subject to the French population residing in the cantonments occupied by American colored troops.

1. The American attitude upon the Negro question may seem a matter for discussion to many French minds. But we French are not in our province if we undertake to discuss what some call "prejudice." American opinion is unanimous on the "color question," and does not admit of any discussion.

The increasing number of Negroes in the United States (about 15,000,000) would create for the white race in the Republic a menace of degeneracy were it not that an impassable gulf has been made between them.

As this danger does not exist for the French race, the French public has become accustomed to treating the Negro with familiarity and indulgence.

This indulgence and this familiarity are matters of grievous concern to the Americans. They consider them an affront to their national policy. They are afraid that contact with the French will inspire in black Americans aspirations which to them appear intolerable. It is of the utmost importance that every effort be made to avoid profoundly estranging American opinion.

Although a citizen of the United States, the black man is regarded by the white American as an inferior being with whom relations of business or service only are possible. The black is constantly being censured for his want of intelligence and discretion, his lack of civic and professional conscience, and for his tendency toward undue familiarity.

The vices of the Negro are a constant menace to the American who has to repress them sternly. For instance, the black American troops in France have, by themselves, given rise to as many complaints for attempted rape as all the rest of the army. And yet the soldiers sent us have been the choicest with respect to physique and morals, for the number disqualified at the time of mobilization was enormous.


1. We must prevent the rise of any pronounced degree of intimacy between French officers and black officers. We may be courteous and amiable with these last, but we cannot deal with them on the same plane as with the white American officers without deeply wounding the latter. We must not eat with them, must not shake hands or seek to talk or meet with them outside of the requirements of military service.

2. We must not commend too highly the black American troops, particularly in the presence of Americans. It is all right to recognize their good qualities and their services, but only in moderate terms strictly in keeping with the truth.

3. Make a point of keeping the native cantonment population from "spoiling" the Negroes. Americans become greatly incensed at any public expression of intimacy between white women with black men. They have recently uttered violent protests against a picture in the "Vie Parisienne" entitled "The Child of the Desert" which shows a woman in a "cabinet particulier" with a Negro. Familiarity on the part of white women with black men is furthermore a source of profound regret to our experienced colonials who see in it an overweening menace to the prestige of the white race.

Military authority cannot intervene directly in this question, but it can through the civil authorities exercise some influence on the population.

Taken from here.

Rich white kids come out ahead? Whoda thunk it?

"Affirmative action means that well-qualified (white) kids won't get to go to the school of their choice because of some ill-qualified (colored) kid!"

Oh, wait. No it doesn't.
Researchers with access to closely guarded college admissions data have found that, on the whole, about 15 percent of freshmen enrolled at America's highly selective colleges are white teens who failed to meet their institutions' minimum admissions standards.

Five years ago, two researchers working for the Educational Testing Service, Anthony Carnevale and Stephen Rose, took the academic profiles of students admitted into 146 colleges in the top two tiers of Barron's college guide and matched them up against the institutions' advertised requirements in terms of high school grade point average, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and records of involvement in extracurricular activities. White students who failed to make the grade on all counts were nearly twice as prevalent on such campuses as black and Hispanic students who received an admissions break based on their ethnicity or race.

Who are these mediocre white students getting into institutions such as Harvard, Wellesley, Notre Dame, Duke, and the University of Virginia? A sizable number are recruited athletes who, research has shown, will perform worse on average than other students with similar academic profiles, mainly as a result of the demands their coaches will place on them.

A larger share, however, are students who gained admission through their ties to people the institution wanted to keep happy, with alumni, donors, faculty members, administrators, and politicians topping the list.


Everyone's after our wimmin

The first difference which strikes us is that of colour. Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin and scarfskin, or in the scarfskin itself; whether it proceeds from the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as if its seat and cause were better known to us. And is this difference of no importance? Is it not the foundation of a greater or less share of beauty in the two races? Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of colour in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony, which reigns in the countenances, that immovable veil of black which covers all the emotions of the other race? Add to these, flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their own judgment in favour of the whites, declared by their preference of them as uniformly as is the preference of the Oran-ootan for the black woman over those of his own species.

Uh, yeah. Actually, as it turns out, the "Oran-ootan" prefers blondes, too:
Sibu the orang-utan has miffed his Dutch keepers by refusing to mate with females and showing sexual interest only in tattooed human blondes.

Apenheul Primate Park hoped Sibu would become its breeding male when he arrived two years ago, but orang-utans aren't his type.

"He chases them, or ignores them, but he doesn't do what he should do," said a spokeswoman for the park.

Instead, Sibu fancies his female keepers, especially blondes. That, the spokeswoman said, was common for orang-utans but Sibu has a fetish for tattoos, harking back to a heavily tattooed keeper who reared him.

"Orang-utans have special interests in special subjects. Sibu happens to like tattoos," she said.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

This just in

"MINNEAPOLIS (AP) A Minnesota judge has denied Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's bid to withdraw his guilty plea in an airport men's room sex sting."


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Compassionate conservatism at its finest

Bush has vetoed SCHIP, though Congress may be able to override it. It passed with enough votes in the Senate, but they were short some in the House. John Kerry had some unkind words to say about this action:
"The President's twisted rationale that he opposes 'federalizing' health care is a hollow excuse for undermining a successful effort to give Governors the control and the tools to deliver health care for kids who desperately need it. President Bush conveniently forgot that he ran for reelection with a promise to give health care to millions more children and now as a lame duck president he is working to take it away. It seems George Bush was for kids' health care before he was against it."

And Atrios dug up a post from a few months ago that highlights Bush's sheer malignant indifference to the lower class:
"The immediate goal is to make sure there are more people on private insurance plans. I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room."


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

McCain -- still not getting it

In his efforts to quell criticism over his boneheaded remarks, McCain has tried reassuring people that he would, in fact, vote for a Muslim--if said Muslim were the best candidate:
Later, McCain said, "I would vote for a Muslim if he or she was the candidate best able to lead the country and defend our political values."

But since our political values are Judeo-Christian, it stands to reason that a Muslim would never be the best candidate to defend said values, right? Right.

But even with such a non-apology, McCain still hasn't backed down from his other idiotic statements:
While campaigning in New Hampshire on Sunday, he said that the most qualified person could be president, no matter his or her religion.

"It's almost Talmudic. We are a nation that was based on Judeo-Christian values. That means respect for all of human rights and dignity. That's my principle values and ideas, and that's what I think motivated our founding fathers," McCain said.

"Based on Judeo-Christian values", are we?

It's official. Either McCain is a damned liar, which tells us what his "principle values" are, or he's completely ignorant of the history of the country he wants to lead.

And since when do "Judeo-Christian values" mean "respect for all of human rights and dignity"? Certainly our founding fathers weren't motivated by that--the only people whose rights and dignity they gave a damn about were white, male landowners like themselves.

...wait. Only concerned with rich, white males? Maybe McCain does know what he's talking about.

Monday, October 1, 2007


The Federal Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have protected LGBT people from job discrimination, no longer does that. Now it's just LGB people:
The bill was introduced in Congress in April and, in its original form would have made it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on the person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Late last week all references to transsexuals and gender identity was removed in a backroom deal orchestrated by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

Frank, one of only two out members of Congress, is the lead sponsor of ENDA in the House. His decision to split off transgender rights infuriated LGBT activists.

On Sunday he tried to quell the dissent, saying removing trans rights was the only way to get the rest of the measure passed.

"It is never possible for us at any given time to get everything that we would like, and so we have to make difficult choices," said Frank.


"Detracting from the sense of celebration many of us feel about that is regret that under the current political situation, we do not have sufficient support in the House to include in that bill explicit protection for people who are transgender."

Frank went on to say that it boils down to "whether we should pass up the chance to adopt a very good bill because it has one major gap."

The move also lost the bill co-sponsor Tammy Baldwin, the only other openly gay member of Congress.