Saturday, October 29, 2005



Um, to me!

It's good to be alive.

Thanks, Mom -- single, nurse, just crazy enough to make the right risky choices -- for everything.

Especially the Trinidad-UK-US bounce over the course of my first nine years.

Seems to have worked out OK. Folks can respectfully disagree.

Much love to the visitors to this site -- each and every one of you who've bothered to look around since this thing went live back in April. Those of you who've dropped in over the really nutty past week -- whether crazy-right, crazy-left or crazy-in-between -- hope you've been somewhat amused and appalled and will remember to pop back in occasionally.

Everyone have a grand day!

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Friday, October 28, 2005


Steve Gilliard: "Challenge" Yourself

After the crazy to and fro of the last three days on the now-infamous Michael Steele post, I would have thought the issue closed after the Baltimore and Washington papers weighed in.

Apparently, that's too much to ask for.

Steve Gilliard questions my manhood for somehow recruiting Andrew Sullivan to go after him (as usual, the ever-creative Mr. Gilliard illustrates the post with a nice picture of a "Lapdog and master"):

You know, even though we disagree, I thought you were a man.

I was wrong.

I mean, if you didn't like my illustration of Michael Steele, you could have e-mailed me ( or posted up. I wouldn't have agreed with you, but I would have respected you.

But you didn't. You ran to Andy "Bell Curve" Sullivan. My God man, have you no pride, no dignity. Not only did you need a white man to fight your battles, but a racist one at that.
One who thinks blacks are intellectually inferior. People like you.

You didn't like when I said Deroy Murdock acted like a slave, but Robert, that was a move straight off the plantation: "massa, massa, that negro is getting uppity." When I didn't like what you said, I didn't go to Atrios to post up on it. You should have been man enough to confront me directly.
Steve, I don't know what you are talking about -- and I'm not sure you do either.

I did "confront you directly." I did post on my blog. Where the hell does this "running" to Sullivan come from? Why would I do anything other than post something myself? Check here for a fairly accurate timeline.

Better yet, read my first post (did you even bother? Clearly, you don't read my blog because you would know that, I don't "monitor your site" as I explicitly said here). I specifically said that a Maryland woman (Valerie) tipped me off about the "Sambo" post, the same morning you put it up. I wrote about it on my blog. And, you know what? It may be shocking, but I have a distribution list letting people know when my blog is updated. And, yes, Andrew Sullivan is on it. (As are a couple dozen other people, of varied political stripes. If it will make you feel better, I'll add your e-mail, so you won't be surprised about what I'm writing everyday.)

Sometimes people then read my latest updates and bloggers occasionally link to it. Go check: This is hardly the first time Andrew has noticed this blog. (I'm sure Tom DeLay must have thrown the same tantrum you did when Andrew noted my criticism of the GOP Congress' betrayal of the Contract With America.)

Why you feel the need to personalize everything is beyond me. It's a personal insult that Tim Kaine didn't let you know beforehand that he was pulling his ad. And now I'm somehow at fault because I didn't e-mail you about my disgust with the "Sambo" post? Boo-frickin'-hoo. Why the hell am I obligated to e-mail you when I have my own blog? You don't e-mail me every time you go off on some racially insulting rant of black Republicans (Heck, if you did, I wouldn't have had to find out about this latest disgrace late Friday afternoon. But, don't bother: the high number and frequency of the rants would undoubtedly crash my mailbox). E-mail you? When did you become the only blogger whose public pronouncements are only to be criticized privately?

You conclude with, "Instead of hiding behind a white man, face me directly and defend your politics." Go back to every time I've discussed something you've written: With the notable embarrassing exception of mispelling your name once, I've always treated you respectfully, though vociferously disagreeing with you. You've never done the same. It always begins and ends with snide name-calling: Characteristically, you even praised and promoted your commenter Lower Manhattanite for his even-more-over-the-top rhetoric towards me. But you expect me to "privately" e-mail you when I find something offensive on your site? I think the phrase is, um, "'N-word', please."

This isn't about me. I've demonstrated way too many times that I don't blindly follow either Republican or conservative "talking points." I don't need Sullivan to "stick up" for me. Given our previous exchanges, why would I somehow now need to recruit a third party? Yes, I am a "man" -- which is why I *did* respond directly to what you said.

What your post reveals though -- sadly -- is that you need an "Andrew Sullivan" in the middle of this more than I do. It is much easier for you to believe that I would just send Andrew something "on the Q.T." and he would initiate some "e-mail campaign" against you. You can't be bothered to find out what actually happened -- I denounced your over-the-line statement publicly ON MY OWN blog. Nah, you need to believe that I -- a black Republican who can't possibly think or act on his own-- needs an all-powerful white blogger to do his work for him.

Give me a break.

You have a very good following. But you were given an initial boost as one of Kos' guest bloggers. That exposure helped give you a pretty good jumping-off audience when you started up THE NEWS BLOG. Not begrudging that: Kos is a smart entrepreneur and has created something special. No shame that you can share in that success.

I've built my little space up by myself without piggy-backing on anyone else's creation. Yes, I have a media day-job, but I don't advertise this site there. Yes, its great when a larger blogger links to me and boosts my traffic (happening more frequently of late on Left and Right blogs, given my posts on Katrina, Judith Miller and now this). But that is temporary. I have to continue writing what I believe and hope that my viewpoint is unique enough that people keep coming back.

"Hiding behind the white man?" Not me. If anything, that's what you're doing -- imagining a white bogey man, even if he's not there. Blaming this whole controversy on Andrew Sullivan fits your world-view: "White racists are responsible for every African American misfortune. A white racist must be responsible for the criticism I'm getting -- and a sneaky black GOPer ratted me out to him." Sorry, Steve, this black man isn't letting "the credit" be given to a white guy for calling you on this. It was me. Deal with it.

Once again for the record: Valerie -- a black Maryland woman, self-described independent and not a Michael Steele supporter -- saw your "Sambo" entry within moments of its posting. She e-mailed me and I blogged it (Valerie subsequently even weighed in on the original post's comment thread). Andrew read it and linked to it. Happens everyday in the blog world.

Steve, we are both black men; we both live in New York. We disagree politically and philosophically. If you want to call me a sell-out, race-traitor and Uncle Tom or whatever, go ahead. Disagree with me if you want, but at least respect me enough to actually read what I write (where the hell did this tattling-to-Sullivan crap come from anyway? Being linked by another blog is somehow dirty pool now?). Furthermore, recognize that I neither need someone -- black, white or other -- to tell me my opinions nor broadcast them for me.

Two side points:

1) Are you psychologically incapable of recognizing that some black people just don't accept the liberal Democratic political view? Are you constitutionally unable to engage those people on the issues -- without resorting to racially-charged insult?

2) Take this for what it's worth, but do you realize how destructive your my-way-or-the-highway attitude is to your own political goals? Go look at Kos' site and the nearly 800 divisive comments sparked by your and Kos' denouncing of Kaine. You injected a random element into an extremely tight governor's race. (Don't blame this one on me -- I didn't even know Kaine advertised on your site!) You decided to put the Steele picture and slur up.You then call a rather strong Democratic candidate in a Southern state a "coward" -- are you even aware of how Bush's troubles are hurting Kaine's GOP opponent and do you care? -- just for asking you to remove his ad (which, I believe, he paid for a month in advance)! Kos piles on. The whole affair becomes an embarassing regional issue putting Democrats -- supposedly the party you believe is best for black people -- on the defensive.

A simple exchange between bloggers rippled into a real campaign. Will it have an effect? Who knows? I will candidly admit that various goings-on in Washington may have a greater impact on the Kaine-Kilgore race than this controversy. But in a close race, you never can tell.

So tell me, Steve -- by your own criteria -- if the Gilliard-Kos fit of pique helps contribute to Tim Kaine losing, will you feel responsible for denying the black people of Virginia another four years of a Democrtic administration?

Anyway, that's for your side to work out on your own.

Finally, you want to offer me "a chance for redemption" with a debate challenge? Let's put everything in perspective: Steve Gilliard doesn't read what I post; then misinterprets the sequence of events and spreads false information to his readers; then questions my manhood and integrity (while whining that his very public pronouncements should be responded to privately); and finally accuses me of "hiding behind the white man." But I need redemption? My redemption is in Steve's hands by agreeing to share the stage with him? Putting aside just once my general policy of taking the high road: Have you lost your frickin' mind?

You've told me -- in more ways than one -- that you have no respect for me. Why on earth would I waste my time in a public setting with someone who "holds me in contempt"? How about challenging yourself to take the time to get the facts right before sliming someone and accusing them of dishonorable behavior.?

Enough. Respond on your blog if you want, e-mail me privately or just let the matter drop, whatever. Given the developments of this afternoon, the blogosphere has more important things with which to concern itself.

For that matter, so do I.

Have a good weekend.

UPDATE (10/29/05, 7:00 a.m.): When this post was written Friday evening/night, I was under the impression that Mr. Gilliard was simply confused about the chronology of the various blog postings on the "Sambo" post. Since writing, however, I have read some of his comment threads. This exchange attached to his "challenge" post is quite revealing:

Steve, didn't George post up on this before Sullivan did? Let's be realistic,
Sullivan reading George's blog is not the same as George running to
Sullivan.Steve 10.28.05 - 11:34 am

Please, who reads his blog. He ran to him like a
whipped cur.steve_gilliard
Homepage 10.28.05 - 11:35 am #
So, Steve wrote a post at 9:00 a.m. Friday morning, saying of my criticism two days before, "you could have e-mailed me...or posted up...But you didn't. You ran to Andy "Bell Curve" Sullivan." This statement echoes previous statements on his blog as the controversy spread -- continually blaming Sullivan.

Two and a half hours after Steve's morning post, "reader Steve" correctly notes that I had indeed "posted up" on Gilliard's "Sambo" entry; Sullivan read it and responded.

Suddenly, Gilliard changes tactics. Now, "who reads his blog" is the reaction -- somehow completely ignoring his accusation that I had not posted in the first place.

Mistakes can happen in any circumstances, particularly in the blog world, when it is difficult to keep track of who is posting what and when. However, when a factual error is made, the honorable thing to do is correct it and make note of the mistake.

Leaving an obvious error in place --especially when the fact is known --makes it no longer a "mistake." It is not an oversight; it is a falsehood -- a lie. Steve Gilliard has chosen to perpetuate the lie to more easily portray me as Andrew's "lapdog"(oops -- apparently, "whipped cur" is now the preferred canine reference).

Steve Gilliard's readers don't have to give a rat's ass about me or any other black Republican. They should be concerned that Steve has blatantly misrepresented my behavior -- and knows it. He knows the truth and obviously doesn't care given that he refuses to correct the record.

His readers may continue to agree with him ideologically, but they have absolutely no reason to assume in the future that he is being honest with them.

UPDATE II: A hearty welcome to Instapundit visitors! Thanks for stopping by!

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Steve G's Kaine-Kos Kontroversy...

Local papers pick up -- in brief -- the "Sambo"/MD Senate/VA governor story: Here's The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.

The Sun quotes a MD Democratic Party spokesman: "This rogue attack on Lt. Gov. Steele is distasteful, despicable and degrading.Democrats are ready to engage Michael Steele in a spirited discussion about the issues that matter to Maryland and to our nation. ... Hatred and bigotry are enemies of the Democratic principles of fairness and opportunity for all people." Tim Kaine's spokeswoman said, "It's a racist image, and we did not want our campaign ad appearing next to a racist image."

Those statements demonstrate two things: 1) The real-life political world is very different from the blogosphere; 2) the across-the-line offensiveness of Steve's words and imagery were objectively apparent -- and politically self-destructive. Explaining to most people that they were created by a black person criticizing another black person just doesn't cut it. Certain things are, ahem, "beyond the pale".

Meanwhile Kos' comment in The Post is problematic in a different way. "I don't want bloggers to be afraid to say things because they don't want to offend an advertisers." Well, this site hasn't gotten around to doing a full-on ad solicitation -- it's still basically a labor of love. However, a balance has to be recognized among bloggers of all political stripes.

Once one accepts advertising, blogs become part of the business world. But, the advertisers have business -- and other -- interests. At certain points, it suits the advertiser's purposes to appear in a certain medium. At other times, they may decide they don't want to be there. Given the politically-charged nature of many blogs, candidates, parties and others will always consider what is said and appears next to the space in which their name, campaign or product appears. Bloggers are incredibly naive if they don't realize that. I would also add -- if Kos continues to take the position that candidates who pull ads deemed offensive or problematic are somehow "cowards" -- the "'Net" result will be campaigns shying away from edgy sites -- or supporting thin-skinned bloggers. Why risk a "double-hit" -- embarrassed by a bit of content and then rebuked because you choose to remove your own ad? How many newspapers would get new advertisers if they went out and ran attack stories or columns on a previous customer who yanked an ad?

Something to think about.

Finally, I'm glad that the story has entered Professor Reynolds'
radar, but how come he links to the Scripps Howard story, while the controversy has raged across various points of the blogosphere for the last two days? I'm not just tooting my own horn here, but a cursory look at our two previous posts notes the broad range of the discussion; Steve's slam against Tim Kaine identifies Andrew Sullivan's role; Michelle Malkin took note and the issue triggered one of the lengthiest comment threads ever among the Kossacks (with some objectively interesting debate about balancing blog freedom vs. campaign pragmatism).

But Glenn only points out a wire service story? What's up with that?

NOTE: Originally an early-morning update on the "Kaine Mutiny" post, this was subsequently edited and expanded.

UPDATE: The guys at Real Clear Politics provide a handy chronology of the Gilliard-George-Sullivan-Kaine contretemps.

UPDATE II: DC tipsheet The Hotline's Blogometer hits all the bases on the story (scroll down after Fitzgerald stuff).

UPDATE III: The mother-lovin' saga continues.

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OK, so if Lewis Libby is indicted today, but Karl Rove manages to dodge the bullet -- (temporarily? permanently?) -- is it still considered "Fitz-mas" for our friends on the Left?

Just checking.

Meanwhile, given the happiness among conservatives with the withdrawal of the president's Supreme Court nominee, should folks on the Right be greeting each other with, "Merry Christ-Miers"?

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Thursday, October 27, 2005


Gilliard's Kaine Mutiny

Apparently, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine has pulled his ads from Steve Gilliard's site, in response to the "Sambo" stuff. Steve is understandably upset and has a few choice words for yours truly.

Okay, here we go.

Steve, grow up. I have a "yellow streak down [my] back a mile wide" because I called you out on your minstrel show? Take my word for it, Andrew Sullivan, or whoever, isn't my "patron." You've done the minstrel paint gimmick before? Fine. I hadn't noticed. Your site is not "must-see" viewing for me. I've engaged you and your site exactly twice: Once, in addressing your response to my "Why Am I Still A Republican" post and now -- when someone (a black Maryland resident) brought the "Sambo" stuff to my attention. I'm sorry about the Kaine ads, but that's life. There are always some risks when we put our opinions out in the public forum.

I can't stand on my own two feet? Right. I've publicly criticized the former GOP Senate majority leader (over a racial issue) and the president of the United States (of my own party) -- right before the election (I've given the links before; you can find them yourself). Let me know when you decide to actually demonstrate some "bravery" that goes beyond racist symbolism that would have you marching in the streets if a white Republican pulled it. You're passionate, prolific and have a way with words. Good, that's a gift. But, for the life of me, I can't understand why you choose to waste it by unloading juvenile racist schtick on black Republicans. You don't like Michael Steele's politics? Fine. Go after him and every other Republican or politician whose policies and ideas you don't like. But, try engaging them as individuals and people rather than passing off racist trope as intellectual "argument."

UPDATE: Kos is upset with Tim Kaine for yanking Steve's ads, but the Kossacks take more nuanced views, discussing blog freedom-of-speech vs. campaign pragmatism.

Dave Wissing commends Kaine for doing the right thing.

Spencer on the Left Coast brings a unique perspective.

John Cole keeps everybody apprised of the various blog battles.

It's all rather interesting: Two guys in New York, fighting over a Maryland Senate candidate, create a reaction from a Virginia gubernatorial campaign! As Mickey Kaus might say.. "Advantage: Blogosphere!"

UPDATE II: The MSM takes notice!

UPDATE III: Tacitus reposts his interview with Michael Steele from last year's convention (hat tip to Josh).

UPDATE IV: The latest, as the story is picked up by Baltimore and Washington papers, can now be found here.

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Harriet, we hardly knew ye.

Well, actually, we knew too much -- and it wasn't good. The request for internal documents (Bush's "red line") was the backbreaker -- or the most convenient fig-leaf.

Well, Ms. Miers did the right thing and saved her president much more grief in what was already shaping up to be a bad week.

Time to move on.

CNN's Candy Crowley speculates (9:45 a.m.) that Miers' withdrawal now -- given possible indictments tomorrow -- allows the White House to "pivot" and announce a new Court pick early next week.

We shall see.

Last question: When did Charles Krauthammer become the smartest man in Washington?

Last Friday, he wrote:

We need an exit strategy from this debacle. I have it.
Sen. Lindsey Graham has been a staunch and public supporter of this nominee. Yet on Wednesday he joined Brownback in demanding privileged documents from Miers's White House tenure.
Finally, a way out: irreconcilable differences over documents.

Good call, Charles!

UPDATE: Considering how much the White House pushed Miers as a trailblazer, would it be a cheap shot to note that she has accomplished yet another "first" -- the first female Supreme Court nominee to withdraw? Well, as they say, one could say that -- but it would be wrong.

UPDATE II: My colleague Ryan Sager has breaking news on a shocking, but not surprising, consequence of the Miers withdrawal.

UPDATE III: The lady herself thanks her supporters and has a follow-up question.

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Taking One For The Home Team...

...except the "home team" in this case isn't the Florida governor's own state -- it's his family:

Jeb Bush
throws himself on a political grenade to cover for an inadequate disbursing of supplies in the Sunshine State following Hurricane Wilma.
Gov. Jeb Bush took the blame Wednesday for frustrating delays at centers distributing supplies to victims of Hurricane Wilma, saying criticism of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was misdirected.
"Don't blame FEMA. This is our responsibility," Bush said at a news conference in Tallahassee with federal Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who oversees the agency.
Many Floridians were still struggling to find food, water, ice and gas on the third day of recovery from Wilma, waiting in line for hours — sometimes in vain. Miami-Dade's mayor called the distribution system flawed and said at least one relief site of 11 in his county ran out of supplies.
Well, this must make Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco a bit more relieved! Apparently, she's not the only governor who can screw up a post-hurricane relief effort! Even the president's brother -- and the various local authorities he works with -- can't get supplies to everyone!
"This is like the Third World," said Claudia Shaw, who spent several hours in a gas line. "We live in a state where we suffer from these storms every year. Where is the planning?"
Now, that's a good question! So, Jeb Bush, after seven years in office suddenly gets real stupid when it comes to hurricane preparation? Well, it is possible that, given all the storms, he and his people were somehow surprised -- or overwhelmed -- by Wilma.

Or, it could also be that, FEMA -- even with a new guy at the top -- still hasn't been able to get its act together. It could also be that the governor -- realizing that his brother in the White House couldn't afford any more bad news -- decides to take it on the chin this time. Hey, his term's up next year. He doesn't have to worry about figuring out how to govern for another 38 months. He may not like having to suck this one up, but who knows, perhaps the Bush Boys had an understanding as often happens in "families."

Perhaps Jeb was able to say to George with a knowing wink: "If I do this favor for you, someday I will come to you and ask you to return the favor and you will do so and not ask why."

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Why I Am Not A Democrat (Part 2)

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Once again, Mr. Gilliard "represents" wonderful, reasoned, intellectual discourse from the Left.
(WARNING: Be careful clicking on this if you are at work.)

File under category of: "Racist Imagery -- It's OK If You Are A Liberal"

Thanks to an African-American woman named Valerie who gave me the heads-up on this.

She writes: "I live in Maryland and I am an independent. I don’t support Michael Steele but this is appalling to me.

He wouldn’t do this to anyone else but a black candidate. He sure as hell wouldn’t do it to a candidate who is Jewish or Hispanic...And they wonder why younger blacks are leaving the Democratic Party."

UPDATE: Welcome, Michelle Malkin readers! Enjoy your stay around these parts!

UPDATE II (10/27/05, 1:15 a.m): To respond to some themes that came up in the comments:

1) Yes, I know that Steve Gilliard is black (this isn't the first time that we have sparred over racial language; this post has links to some of our previous exchanges). That doesn't change the fact that, in my view, he was happily trading in racist imagery as an attack against Michael Steele. Rather than try to even consider Steele on issues, it is far easier to mock and denounce his very existence as a black man who chooses to be Republican.

2) A few people raise the question as to whether it is truly "racist" for a black man to call another "Sambo." Well, if we want to "go there," as they say, then that means an entirely new discussion of whether certain words are only "OK" if they are uttered by a member of the ethnic/racial group that would be most likely offended if certain words were uttered. So, that would suggest that "Sambo" is now supposed to be in the same category as "nigger" or its hip-hop inspired variations ("OK" if uttered by a black person -- regardless of the circumstance; sometimes OK when used by a non-black person to another non-black; most usually inappropriate when uttered by a non-black to a black person, but assessed on a case-by-case basis). Hmm...if that is the case then, the black community had better get, uh, crackin' on figuring out how all those previously-insulting words can be adopted. Interestingly, of course, in this case of "Sambo," the word doesn't really have the dual or ambiguous sense that the "N-word" does.

3) I know full well that Jewish comics can get away with making jokes that might otherwise be considered anti-Semitic. Black folks can crack jokes -- often crudely -- about one another, without being considered racist. But those comments invariably come out in a setting where their ultimate benign nature is understood. There is nothing benign about Mr. Gilliard's image -- or view -- of Steele.

4) The title of this post should probably have been, “Why Am I (Still) Not a Democrat, Part 2.” Gilliard is not the reason why I became a Republican. However, his approach to political debate helps make it far easier to stay in the GOP, regardless of whatever doubts or concerns I might have. On the most basic level, seeing this brutal manner of engaging blacks who choose a different sort of politics than the traditional liberal Democrat way, just gets my stubborn streak going. The “Sambo” is from a bygone era where the white racist ruling culture had no problem depicting Negroes – who were said to “all look alike” – in demeaning perversely stereotypical caricature. How ironic that the image is now being wielded by a black man to punish in the public sphere another black man who seemingly “doesn’t know his place” and clearly just “doesn’t think alike.”

5) I mentioned Valerie's race and gender, because it was appropriate to the discussion. She had already identified herself as a Maryland resident -- and not a supporter of Michael Steele. Given the subject, I thought it important to be as comprehensive as possible in identifying the person who sent the e-mail. It is not meant to give either her or myself some extra "pass" to push a particular view. It was there to demonstrate that some of the very people Mr. Gilliard should most want to attract politically are turned off by this despicable over-the-top sort of rhetoric.

UPDATE III (10/27/05, 12:15 PM): The latest developments involving Steve, Tim Kaine and the RAGGED guy.

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Swooping Out...

WNBA MVP is G-A-Y and O-U-T.

Now, some may say that this won't make much of a ripple because the WNBA doesn't have a huge audience and, well, women's team sports are "different." Both of those facts are true. However, this is still a rather remarkable moment.

I will be interested to hear what my friend Eric McErlain has to say about this from the various marketing perspectives: The WNBA has always tried to balance its marketing between its recognized lesbian audience and the "traditional" American-pie family; will the news make league executives nervous?

UPDATE: Mr. McErlain responds.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Houston Do You Have A Problem?

Honestly, I don't know.

In fact, I feel bad that I watched most of the first two games and the fact that the Astros don't have any black players didn't register with me.

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan is worried about it. Should he be -- assuming that African Americans are choosing to go into different sports?

This is the first time that a World Series team has no black players (which is not to say that it is all-white) since the 1953 Yankees, who finally integrated in 1955.

1955, the same year that Rosa Parks chose to stay in her seat on the bus.

There's an ironic sort of symmetry for you.

UPDATE (10/26/05, 10:00 a.m.): An e-mailer makes a point that came to mind after I posted: "Well, at the risk of sounding like a bigot, when did"black" only mean African-American? I have the MLB channel and have been watching Willie Taveras be the Astros MVP table-setter all season. The guy should be Rookie of the Year. Is Taveras not "black" because he is from the Domincan Republic? I don't get it."

Excellent point. Everyone has been looking at the increased visibility and role of Hispanics in American culture and politics. Yet, as the census tells us, "Hispanics can be of any race." If anything, this Astros "story" (to the extent it is one) must force a realization among both traditional black leadership and the commentariat that "black" and "African American" are no longer synonyms.

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October 25, 2005: 2,000

Given that "the number" is actually reached upon an historically significant day, the most appropriate words to honor the sacrifices of the fallen and their families come from the Bard (as noted, one year ago, by Stephen Bainbridge):

Today is St. Crispin's Day

Ken Wheaton also provides some perspective.

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No Free Perjury Count...

The left damaged its moral standing almost irreparably in its defense of Bill Clinton during the impeachment process -- not so much on the specifics of the perjury and obstruction of justice charges. The damage came from one-time feminists and supporters of the feminist cause that stated explicitly or at least implied that the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship was, somehow, "okay."

Gloria Steinem was rightly mocked for a
"one free grope" rule that parsed what had previously been seen as rather clear rules on sexual harassment. And so, long-standing principle was sacrificed at the altar of expedience and partisanship.

The right is now in danger of going even further as it seeks to defend potential targets of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said it Sunday:

I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury.

....But I also think that we are seeing in the judicial process--and look at Martha Stewart, for instance, where they couldn't find a crime and they indict on something that she said about something that wasn't a crime. I think that it is important, of course, that we have a perjury and an obstruction of justice crime, but I also think we are seeing grand juries and U.S. attorneys and district attorneys that go for technicalities, sort of a gotcha mentality in this country.
So, the "rule of law" that so many Republicans staked their political lives on seven years ago is now just a "technicality." Conservatives who historically complained about suspects avoiding the law because of "technicalities" are now deriding grand juries and prosecutors for maximizing the law? Martha Stewart is, somehow, now the poster child for prosecutorial overkill?

The Clinton defenders decried a Kenneth Starr "perjury trap."

The Bush defenders bemoan a Patrick Fitzgerald "perjury technicality."

Oh, please.

If Fitzgerald brings charges and the subjects are not found guilty, great. Then, the indicted can claim vindication. But, do conservatives really want to undermine the entire justice system for political expediency?

Be most careful where you tread and what you wish for.

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Rosa Parks, R.I.P.

Martin Luther King had the soaring rhetoric. Thurgood Marshall had the canny legal strategy. But the true turning point of the civil rights movement was neither legal nor rhetorical, but the simplest. It was an action -- one 42 year-old black woman refusing to give up her seat on a bus to someone else just because they were another color. That simplest of actions -- or "non-actions," as one might say -- sparked a revolution that changed the world.

And, fifty years later, that revolution continues.

Rosa Parks, thank you for everything.

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Monday, October 24, 2005


The Italian Job


If this is true, the level of Excedrin headache that Patrick Fitzgerald may inflict
just leaped by a factor of 12.

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GOP Frontrunner...

For all his faults -- and goodness knows, there are many -- John McCain should be considered the current frontrunner for the '08 presidential nomination. This speech he delivered at the Al Smith dinner last Thursday shows why. Yes, he has a great speechwriter in Mark Salter, but the best speeches are a marriage of the wordsmith's talent with the biography and conviction of the person delivering them:

WE are free here to pursue our own interests with out regard to any cause more important than our own comfort, pleasure or self-promotion. We are a free people, and among our freedoms is the right not to sacrifice for our birthright. Yet those who claim their liberty — but not the duty to the civilization that ensures it — live a half-life, having indulged their self-interest at the cost of their self-respect.

Should we claim our rights and leave to others the duty that protects them, whatever we gain for ourselves will be of little lasting value. It will build no monuments to virtue, claim no honored place in the memory of posterity, offer no worthy summons to other nations.

Success, wealth, celebrity, gained and kept for private interest, is a small thing. It makes us comfortable, eases the hardships our children will bear, purchases a fleeting regard for our lives, yet not the self-respect that in the end matters most. But sacrifice for a cause greater than yourself, and you invest your life with the eminence of that cause, your self-respect assured.

Riayen Tejada was not a celebrated or wealthy man. He wasn't even — technically — a U.S. citizen. He was, however, a New Yorker. Born in the Dominican Republic, he emigrated here as a boy. He had two dreams, he said: to become a citizen and to serve in the United States Marine Corps. He accepted his duties to his new country before he possessed all the rights of an American citizen.

Staff Sgt. Tejada, the father of two young daughters, a proud New Yorker from Washington Heights who loved the Yankees almost as much as he loved his adopted country, died in an ambush in Baghdad on May 14, 2004. His grieving father hoped that "the United States will remember that my son died for this country." We do, Mr. Tejada. And shame on us if we ever forget.
McCain will forever confound a great number of Republicans who assess him on ideological grounds. However, he may be the only Republican candidate who can present his platform in the context of visionary ideals -- not ideological lists. McCain will have a broad message that could unite both the pro-Iraq War and war-skeptic parts of the Republican coalition. He has led the fight to demand congressional oversight and accountability in addressing the excess of that war -- Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, detainees, etc.

As the above passage shows, McCain can rhetorically connect the war to the historical ideals of shared American sacrifice in a way that the administration hasn't.

Domestically, his long-standing opposition to pork and deficits makes him the perfect person to be the voice of sound fiscal performance. And, of course, the cronyism of the Bush team makes McCain's good-government view perfectly apt for the times.

UPDATE: To disabuse me of the notion that McCain is the likely frontrunner, a DC Republican sends along an excerpt from the Beltway political tipsheet, The Hotline:
Green Tea Leaves
They can say whatever they want about '08. But new FEC numbers let us do what Mark Felt (fictitiously) told Bob Woodward to do during Watergate: Follow the money.-- The Q3 reports, out this week, strip away months of spin and give us a clear read on who's up, down, in and out of the early '08 money chase.--
Some quick notes:-- Kerry and HRC hold huge $$ leads, in money raised and [cash on hand]. But both spent lots as well (Kerry actually spent more than he raised this quarter).-- Bayh is raising like crazy (through his Senate [committee] and PAC). Biden and Feingold, not up in '06, are doing pretty well too.-- NONE of the GOPers are raising much, except Allen, who's in cycle. Next to him, Giuliani has the most CoH, but that's been true for awhile. Frist closed his Senate [committee] with zilch on hand. But his PAC has more than $1M, the largest sum of any would-be '08er.-- Dodd has $2M in the bank, but he did no fundraising this quarter.-- Also, notice how Tancredo ($104K) outraised Brownback ($41K), McCain ($38K), and Hagel ($13K) -- COMBINED for the quarter?

The Tancredo figure is interesting because he is the GOPer most to the right on the increasing hot-button issue of immigration. Money isn't the only electoral bellwhether, but it is an interesting sign on certain sentiments among the Republican grassroots. Make of it what you will.

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