Archive for the 'mainstream media' Category Page 2 of 3

Remind me never to even glance at

For some clearly ridiculous reason, I decided to follow a Google News link to an article on the Faux News website. On their sidebars, there’s a video section. Three videos in a row had to do with immigration. I didn’t bother too look at any of them – I’m not that stupid, nor am I masochistic (well, at least not for that kind of pain.) But the titles and captions say plenty:

  • Border Disorder: A look at issues that drive many Mexicans to enter the U.S. illegally (sounds good in theory, but somehow I think there’ll be a whole lot missing about america’s culpability in creating those issues that drive immigration)
  • Get in Line!: Millions wait for a chance to legally come to the U.S. to work (Boy, how I wish the Native Americans could have issued that command to the white bastards who stole their land. Get in line, and then we’ll turn you away anyhow! Yeah, that’s how it should’ve been.)
  • and, the best of all: Border Garbage: Illegal immigrants blamed for trashing the border (WTF? They’re really digging for even more bullshit that they can blame on undocumented immigrants, aren’t they? I can just see the orders issued in the Faux News Pressroom – “OK, now go out and find everything that an illegal immigrant ever did wrong, and let’s make a video about it!”)


Today’s post title comes to you from this funny and smart animation by Mark Fiore, which I discovered by reading a great post of the same name by Junichi over at Poplicks. Check that blog out for good reasons why we should be thankful that the immigration reform “compromise” bill wasn’t passed (and hopeful that something that actual resembles justice does get passed in the end.)

Yesterday’s rally was actually one of the best, most fun, and most inspiring I’ve ever been to. When my girlfriend and I arrived at Canal and Broadway, the end of the protest was right there on that block – very impressive, though possibly also a partial result of the weird spacing that the police caused with their stupid penning tactics, now familiar to any New Yorker who has seen or attended protests in recent years. The going was slow but eventually we made it down to City Hall, lots more people still flowing in behind us even though we’d gotten to the protest pretty late.

Part of the effectiveness of the protest was that it was felt very focused – it really did feel like we were all raising a unified cry for justice and immigrants rights. The mood was optimistic and almost festive – yes, there was the gravity of the matters at hand and the anger and frustration at how immigrants are abused in this country, but there was also the high energy and high spirits of many peoples gathering together to fight for something that they really think they might get – that hope is really important and I think is often less evident at many protests.

Also, Latinos know how to make just about everything more fun than anyone else (hehe, sorry other folks, gotta have the Latino pride here.) Other than the Still We Rise march back during the RNC (which probably ties this one for Jack’s Best Protest thusfar), this was probably the most people-of-color-dominated protests I’ve ever been to. Even though me and my girlfriend (who is white) were lost in a crowd of strangers for most of the protest, I felt really happy and all warm and fuzzy inside, surrounded by so many proud Latinos, yelling “¡Sí se puede!” and “El pubelo unido jamás será vencido!” at the top of our lungs.

Speaking of that, though, the overwhelming number of Latinos at the protest made me pissed off at NPR’s local NYC coverage this morning, in which three people with white-sounding last names and american accents were interviewed. Like, come on, they must have worked really hard to find those few white folks swimming in a veritable sea of brown. (Yes, I know, it might’ve been a fluke, and I can’t really say for sure that those people were white or non-Latino, but still.)

One thing that was weird for me was the amount of american flag-waving going on at the rally. Maybe it was in response to the kind of bullshit criticism of the presence of other countries’ flags that I wrote about yesterday, or maybe it was all really genuine sentiment, but either way, there were tons of ’em, everywhere. I’m not much of a fan of the american flag, since to me it can’t be anything but a symbol of the centuries of genocide, land theft, slavery, imperialism, and other assorted oppression that has been wreaked in the name of the good ol’ u.s. of a. And most of the protests that I attend are critical of the u.s. in ways that don’t seem to prompt a lot of flag flying. I know that immigration protests are a different story – the whole point is about people wanting and deserving to live in this country, so it makes sense that they should carry the flag as a symbol that they, too, are americans. But american patriotism, in any form and for any reason, still kind of icks me out.

On that topic, here’s a good look from the folks at Media Matters at the inanity, the bigotry, and the hypocricy being spewed by some conservatives over protestors carrying the flags of Mexico and other countries. One particularly obnoxious comment from Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review:

Well, aren’t there plenty of Irish flags at St. Patrick’s Day parades, and Italian flags at Columbus Day celebrations? What makes the Mexican displays more ominous is their hint of a large, unassimilated population existing outside America’s laws and exhibiting absolutely no sheepishness about it.

Hmm… now, come on, Richie, is that what really scares you about those Mexican flags? Let’s see… Irish and Italians… ethnic groups who used to be persecuted in this country but have now been well assimilated into the white ruling class. Mexicans… SCARY BROWN PEOPLE AUUUUUUGH! And look – they’re not just serving your food or cleaning your house – they’re all together! And proud! Empowered, even! Yes, for much of white america, I bet that’s a very frightening spectacle, indeed.

All right, back to the protest. About an hour or so of slow as molasses marching (thanks, NYPD!) we reached the point where speakers and screens were set up so that we could take in the speeches going on down by City Hall. We’d missed many of the speakers by that point, but two of the ones I heard – Roger Toussaint of the Transit Worker’s Union (who, in yet another travesty of “justice,” was sentenced to ten days in prison and $1000 for defending his workers’ rights) and a Filipina woman whose name I didn’t catch but who spoke before him (if someone knows who she was, please tell me!) – reminded us of something that I think many americans, especially those who are anti-immigration, tend to forget: america’s role in creating the conditions that force people to leave their home countries in search of a better life in this one. Democracy Now! provides this quote from Toussaint:

Everyone here should think long and hard about what is happening in America today. We have a government that creates immigrants by the millions and then mistreats them. I say the U.S. creates immigrants the old-fashioned way. If you have tyranny and oppression and famine and poverty around the world, you are going to have immigrants coming to the U.S. No wall is going to stop them. No fence with barbed wire on the Mexican border or no frozen moat on the Canadian border is going to stop them. It will just make it easier to arrest and brutalize them. We don’t need a wall. We need a new foreign policy, so people can make a decent living and live in peace in their home countries.

That’s crucial to remember: the u.s., along with other western powers (though I think that no one does it quite like the u.s. does), is directly culpable for the decimation of Third World economies and social structures. In turn, the u.s. is directly responsible for the tide of immigration, legal or not, to this country. Should we, as a nation, wring these countries dry for the profit of u.s. interests, then give a big ol’ fuck you to their people when, out of sheer desperation, they come to the u.s. for the only shot they think they’ve got? Apparently, there are lots of people out there who think that’s precisely what we should do. But anyone with a whit of decency and sense should, when presented with the facts, realize that such actions are irresponsible and morally inexcusable.

“Deserving” the death penalty

When I was sitting in the airport on Tuesday, waiting for my delayed flight to Atlanta to board, there was a piece on CNN about the delayed execution of Michael Morales, a man in California convicted of the murder of high school student Terri Winchell in 1981. The execution was delayed because of questions over the ethicality of the method of execution, legal injection. Because of concerns about the possibility that the combination of the three drugs administered in the execution could cause undue pain and suffering, a federal district judge in San Jose ruled that medical professionals must be present to ensure a painless death. The two anesthesiologists hired to do so refused to participate because participating in the non-consensual death of another person is in violation of the core ethics of the medical profession. The execution is now delayed indefinitely.

The CNN piece that I watched consisted of the CNN anchor (I forget her name) interviewing a legal expert on the specifics of the situation. The anchor kept talking about how horrible it must be for the victim’s family, to see such consideration being given to the man convicted of their loved one’s murder when no such consideration was given to her when she was so horribly killed. The anchor also kept saying, over and over, that no one was disputing that he did it, that he in fact deserved to die.

However, at the bottom of the screen, the little news ticker kept reading that the judge who originally sentenced Morales to death was requesting clemency due to doubts about the validity of the evidence used in the case. This continued to run across the screen as the anchor continued to assert that no one questioned that Morales deserved to die. Had she not heard about this apparently crucial doubt shed on whether he deserved to die by the very man who had sentenced him to death in the first place? Or was it just deemed unimportant to highlight that piece of information?

Apparently, most of the mainstream media shares that anchor’s attitude, since the vast majority of the media coverage of this case has neglected to mention Ventura County Superior Court Judge Charles R. McGrath’s request for clemency for Morales, since he believes that the sentence was based on false testimony provided by an informant. From the L.A. Times article (emphasis added):

Bruce Samuelson testified that Morales had callously boasted during a jailhouse conversation that he had planned to rape and kill the teenager. The confession supposedly took place in a crowded cellblock that Morales knew was full of informants.

Samuelson explained away Morales’ willingness to talk by saying the two men spoke in Spanish. A later investigation by the state attorney general, however, showed that Morales, a fourth-generation Californian, doesn’t speak Spanish, McGrath said.

The false testimony not only persuaded judge and jury that the killing was egregious, but effectively canceled out Morales’ claim that he felt deep remorse for the crime, McGrath said.

… Samuelson’s claim of Morales’ “confession was the only evidence to support the single special circumstance — lying in wait — that made Mr. Morales eligible for the death penalty,” the judge added.

It’s true that no one – neither Morales, his lawyers, or other supporters – is arguing that Morales didn’t commit a horrible crime. However, it seems like many people, especially in the media, are losing sight of the fact that, even though a crime may be horrible, that doesn’t mean that the law proscribes the death penalty for that crime. I, personally, don’t believe in the death penalty at all in any case. But the law itself, even when it allows for the death penalty, has a very strict and specific set of criteria that must be met before the death penalty is even an option. And in this case, that criteria was only met because of false testimony, proven false by the state attorney general and obtained in yet another dubious deal between the prosecution and a jailhouse informant.

So, in fact, in the eyes of the state, Michael Morales does not deserve to die. Yet Governor Schwarzenegger has decided to ignore that fact and deny clemency. It seems that this man has been condemned in the eyes of the governor, the mainstream media, and much of society, and it doesn’t matter that, no, according to those very laws that allow the death penalty in the first place, he should not be condemned.

To me, this points to one of the major problems in the public discourse about the death penalty – it’s an emotional conversation, filled with the desire for revenge and retribution instead of the desire for justice and restitution. What this man did was a horrific thing, and therefore, people want him to die. Some people even want him to die a painful, horrible death, himself. Screw the law, screw the false circumstances under which he was convicted and sentenced, screw remorse, screw the seemingly careful consideration that went into establishing guidelines for when to apply this most absolute and terrible of punishments – just kill him.

In writing this entry, I found an editorial by Joan Ryan in the San Francisco Chronicle – “It’s about the killing, not the pain.” In it, she points out the strange contradiction of worrying so much about whether the method of death is ethical while not looking about the serious ethical implications of the act of killing itself. She focuses specifically on the fact that doctors refuse to be involved in executions because they deem them to be against medical ethics, and asks the questions: “What’s so different about the rest of society? Why is killing a fellow human being not beyond the bounds of our own ethical behavior?” Important questions to ask, especially in this newest context for the ongoing death penalty debate.

Fuerza Bruta Imperialista: FBI abuse and intimidation in Puerto Rico

FBI agent sprays Puerto Rican reporter in the face with pepper spray

This is slightly old news, but still probably news that far too few have heard. On last Friday, February 10, FBI agents raided six private homes and one business in Puerto Rico in an attack of intimidation and repression against the Ejercito Popular Boricua (Boricua Popular Army). The raids were conducted under the pretense of a “terrorist threat,” though no arrests have been made. People’s homes were ransacked, and files, computers, and other belongings were seized from the homes and office.

When the press attempted to observe and record the raids, the FBI clashed violently with them, spraying many in the face with pepper spray, as in the picture above. The use of excessive force by the FBI has been widely decried, by media and journalism outlets and organizations, Puerto Rican Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila, and US congresspeople, who are demanding a federal investigation into the FBI’s actions.

Of course, the mainstream media is primarily spitting out the spin they’ve been fed by the FBI, saying that the FBI thwarted a terrorist attack. How, exactly, did they do that? By making no arrests and producing absolutely no evidence of any sort of planned attack? But see, the FBI knows that it doesn’t have to answer those questions. In our current political climate, one only need conjure up the specter of Terrorism to justify any excessive force, any civil rights violations, any complete and utter trampling of that worthless stack of papers called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

It seems to me like all the FBI has done is to continue their campaign of terror, violence and intimidation against those people and organizations who are trying to rid Puerto Rico of their imperialist, oppressive colonizers. These most recent actions are completely in line with the September assasination of nationalist leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios, comandante of the Ejercito Popular Boricua. The FBI (or Fuerza Bruta Imperialista, as I read on the Indymedia PR website) continues to crack down on the independence and nationalist movements in Puerto Rico with absolutely no regard for the civil rights of the Puerto Rican people, further driving home the US’s attitude towards the Puerto Rican people as second class citizens. Also reflecting that attitude, the FBI neglected to inform any Puerto Rican authorities, such as the governor or the island’s chief of police, of the impending invasions. As reported in the NY Sun article on the call for an investigation from US congresspeople,

“In our democracy, the most fundamental obligation of law enforcement agencies is to uphold the constitutional rights of citizens as well as to protect the freedom of the press,” the congressmen wrote to the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller. “Even in Puerto Rico, where the Bureau and its agents have a reputation for behaving as if they are above the law, the FBI is not exempt from these duties.”

If the US government is going to continue its colonization of Puerto Rico, shouldn’t it at least treat the Puerto Rican people as true US citizens, enjoying all civil rights and liberties therein? Oh, but wait, that respect isn’t even present on the mainland, at least not for people who have ideas or identities that the government doesn’t like, so I suppose I shouldn’t expect it to be present on the island, either.

All of this is frightening, infuriating and disgusting. It makes me really fucking angry. It also makes me reflect more on my own activism, the places where I devote my energy. Right now, I mostly do my work around issues facing queer and trans people of color. Issues that are obviously very important, both in the grand scheme of things and personally in my own life. But, more and more, I think that my struggle – or at least, a larger part of my struggle, my energy, my work – should be for the liberation of my people. Incidents like this only make that feeling stronger.

More info:

One of the most thorough accounts of the FBI invasions that I’ve found so far, from the Monthly Review Zine

Pictures from the FBI raids, from Indymedia Puerto Rico

An article from Prensa Latina about Puerto Rican Association of Journalists President Oscar Serrano’s challenge to the FBI to prove that journalists were breaking the law and that any force against them was justified.

more info from the UrbanGuerrilla blog

An account from Infoshop News

I was happy to see this article in the Swarthmore Phoenix (my alma mater’s newspaper), about the long history of political repression in Puerto Rico, right up to the FBI’s most recent acts.

Puerto Rico’s fate, decided by Puerto Ricans?

taken from

The above flags fly from El Morro, one of the oldest Spanish forts in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I see them as a visual representation of Puerto Rico’s long history of colonization: the white flag with the red cross is an old Spanish military flag, the US flag represents the current colonization of PR, and even the Puerto Rican flag in the center was altered from its original state: the original sky blue color was changed to a darker navy blue, to match the blue of the US flag.

News on Puerto Rico is quite sparse in the mainstream media. I have my Google News page (my home page) set up to display all articles with “Puerto Rico” in them so that I catch as much as possible, yet really informative, interesting articles are still few and far between.

But today, two articles from the Miami Herald (here and here). They tell of the December 22 release of the Interagency Report by the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, an effort initiated by President Clinton in 2000 and renewed by Bush in 2003. The report recommends that Congress approve a federally-mandated plebecite, to be held this year, allowing Puerto Ricans to vote on the issue of the island’s status.

Currently, Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, which is something of a political limbo. Puerto Ricans born on the island are US citizens by birth and thereby possess certain Constitutional rights; however, they cannot vote in national elections (like the presidential one), nor do they have voting representatives in the national legislature. They are exempt from certain taxes (income tax among them, I believe.) They can be drafted and otherwise recruited into the armed forces, and are subject to all federal laws despite not being able to have a say on their passage.

A plebecite is held on a somewhat regular basis in Puerto Rico, in which voters are asked to choose among three status options: independence, statehood, and the status quo of the commonwealth. In the past, the status quo has always won out, followed by statehood. Independence always garners a very small percentage of the vote, never surpassing 5%.

The new federal plebecite, if approved by Congress, would be conducted in two steps. The first vote would only ask voters to choose between two options: to maintain the status quo, or to choose a non-commonwealth status. If Puerto Ricans voted for the latter, a second poll would be conducted, again with only two choices: either independence or statehood.

I have very mixed feelings about all of this. At face value, it seems like a good move, because it is absolutely essential that Puerto Ricans be given the right to determine their own national status in a meaningful way. As Maurice Ferre writes in a commentary in the Miami Herald:

Until now, the political debate has been based on the rhetoric of the colony and of the territory, ignoring the principal philosophical argument: Democracy. How can there be a capital D, Democracy, for 4 million people on the island if they do not elect their chief executive and legislators, who determine the vast majority of matters that rule over all their lives? When in 2006, after Congress authorizes the plebiscite, Yes or No, the people of Puerto Rico, by voting nonacceptance of the current territory, will then move on to the main event: deciding how they want to elect their national leadership, be it in Washington or in Puerto Rico.

Now, that last bit is the tricky part, the part that makes me wary. If the combined vote of pro-statehood and pro-independence Puerto Ricans surpasses that of the status quo supporters in the first round of voting, then polls indicate that statehood will win over independence two to one in the second round. And that is a scary proposition to me. The thought of Puerto Rican – a nation of people that has been colonized, first by Spain and now by the United States, for centuries – becoming just another state – well, it disgusts and angers me. I strongly believe that Puerto Rico should be a sovereign, independent nation, but I would far prefer the current commonwealth status to statehood, despite the glaring inequities and injustices therein. At least, with the status quo, there’s still some hope that at some point Puerto Rico could attain full independence from the US. If it became a state, all hope for independence would be lost.

Of course, I’m a mainland Puerto Rican. I was neither born nor have ever lived on the island. I do not experience Puerto Rico’s imperialized status like residents of the island do, and I do not understand how it feels to be a second-class citizen (at least, not in that particular respect.) So I feel like my opinion is of somewhat limited importance; clearly, it’s up to Puerto Ricans who live in Puerto Rico to decide their own fate, right?

Only thing is, I worry about how they’ll make that choice. I worry about the reasons behind choosing statehood, or even preferring the status quo.

My mother, who was born in Puerto Rico and lived there until she was seven, thinks that Puerto Rico should remain a commonwealth. She wouldn’t want to see it become a state, either, but feels that, without the United States, Puerto Rico would be crippled as a nation, and that its people would suffer tremendously. She doesn’t think that Puerto Rico could survive without being part of the US.

I think that many on the island share that opinion, and that it drives them to either choose to stay a commonwealth despite feeling in their hearts that Puerto Rico should be an independent nation, or that they fall hook, line and sinker for the whole American Dream bullshit and want to become a state. And that last part saddens me most – that my people have been so demoralized, have been made so dependent, have been so brainwashed by the United States that they have lost their sense of national and cultural identity to such a degree that they’d rather become just another state than find a way to succeed as an independent nation.

Additionally, I can’t help but be suspicious of a plan that’s coming from the Bush administration and that seems well-designed to make a state out of Puerto Rico. Yes, I want the people of Puerto Rico to have self-determination, but I don’t want it to be orchestrated in such a way that forces what I see as an ultimately undesirable outcome.

So, I guess we’ll have to just wait and see what Congress decides to do. Who knows – they might decide to ignore the proposal entirely. And while, in some ways, that wouldn’t be in the best interests of true democracy and self-determination for Puerto Rico, I still wonder if it might be better to just leave well enough alone – at least, until the slim possibility for Puerto Rican independence becomes more of a probability.

Leaving on a jet plane

Well, my girlfriend and I are about to escape NYC for sunny Florida, to spend Christmas and the first couple days of Chanukah with my family. While I am in complete and utter support of the strike and the TWU, I’m also relieved to leave the madness for a little while.

I hadn’t heard until today that Bloomberg had called the transit workers “thuggish.” How disgusting can you get? This kind of inflammatory, racist and classist rhetoric, along with this obsession with the word “illegal” when talking about the strike, is just infuriating. And the mainstream media is, of course, playing along very well. From so many of the reports I’ve heard or read, you’d really think that most of the city hates the union and is against the strike, when really, it seems like the papers and the news shows are working really hard to find the most outrageous, virulent opinions and put them in the spotlight.

Roger Toussaint wrote an open letter to Bloomberg in response to the “thuggish” comment and other issues. It’s an excellent response. I especially loved this part which speaks to the whole issue of the “illegal” strike:

But what about our conducting an “illegal” strike? What about the law? You are all over the media with high-minded talk about “illegal” behavior, castigating criminals and screaming that no one is above the law. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. You must hope everyone has forgotten your biography: “Bloomberg on Bloomberg.” You boast on Page 59 on how you started your rise to great wealth, great enough to enable you to buy the Mayor’s office twice. You set up your office “…all without permission, violating every fire law, building code and union regulation on the books.”

I guess illegality is in the eye of the beholder. A confessed lawbreaker has the gall to lecture 34,000 hard working people whose only crime is standing up for their families and for dignity and respect on one of the toughest, most dangerous jobs in New York.

Right on, Toussaint.

La Mala over at Mamita Mala makes similar points about how the media (FOX News, specifically) has bought into the whole “illegal strike” hysteria:

… don’t ya think it’s a little incendiary for the logo regarding the strike to read ILLEGAL TRANSIT STRIKE.

I mean when is the last time they put up a logo saying ILLEGAL POLICE BRUTALITY or um ILLEGAL SPYING BY U.S. GOVERNMENT? Hmmm?

Uh, we win?

(Oops! I just realized that I’d forgotten to actually post this after saving it as a draft for two days.)

Hey all,

I’m Dexter, and I’m an angry, if somewhat tired, brown queer living in Vancouver, BC, fresh from 5 years in New York City and Washington, DC. I am honoured to rant alongside Jack.

As I was telling a friend of mine, it’s been hard for me to write coherently and push past the blockage that is built-up frustration and anger at many instances of uninterrogated white supremacy and just plain fool white people I’ve encountered in the past month. I suppose, then, that I am grateful that a very special white guy, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, is back in the news to provide me with some kind of focus.

Tomlinson is the former (as in, he got the boot two weeks ago, after his dealings were officially presented) chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and remains the current head of head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which apparently supervises all American government-broadcasting programs overseas (there was a great segment on him on “Democracy Now!” this morning). He’s also a big-time Republican who made it his business to eradicate so-called “liberal bias” at PBS, a plan of action consisting of, among other things, dishing out thousands and thousands of public broadcasting money to monitor shows (alas, not even Tavis Smiley was safe) suspected of “liberal bias.” And, according to the New York Times,

The report said he violated federal law by being heavily involved in getting more than $4 million for a program featuring the conservative editorial writers of the Wall Street Journal. And it said his decision to hire Republican consultants to defeat legislation violated contracting rules.

He’s also suspected of playing an inappropriately large role in installing the corporation’s new president, also a big-time Republican. Again from the New York Times:

The investigators found evidence that “political tests” were a major criteria used by Mr. Tomlinson in recruiting the corporation’s new president, Patricia Harrison, a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and former senior State Department official.

There’s a happy ending to this story though, right? He got fired and publicly shamed, right?

Then why am I not feeling anything? I’ve been rooting against this guy for months, but frankly, I don’t see that this report is going to make much difference. Tomlinson’s still pushing the spectre of big, bad liberal bias all the way out the door, except, wait, he’s not all the way out the door and the Republicans still have control of PBS. For some time now he’s been a textbook example, a blatant and laughable example, of conservative-dominated media’s blustering (and rather meaningless, considering the distribution of power in mainstream media) tirades against so-called liberal media, but no one takes notice until some official dude rubberstamps our disapproval.

Or, better yet, some Republican does it.

I should be happy that the Senate’s increasing pressure on the White House to be more forthcoming with Iraq information right? Delaware Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., “senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee” is:

“For the first time…our Republican colleagues have joined Democrats in listing and insisting on a clear Iraqi strategy from this administration, a schedule to achieve it and real accountability.”

Gee, that’s not how Bill Frist sees it. He called approval of the Republican plan an “absolute repudiation” of Democrats’ efforts to pin down actual withdrawal dates.

Um, um, um. Senator Biden, if this is so great, then why does it feel again like the Republicans are taking lefty points, filing them down to little nubs, and then throwing them back at Democrats?

Oh well. Even if they have lost some of their sharpness, federal Dems could use those little nubs to replace some of the teeth that they’ve lost.

The NY dailies: never flagging in their ability to annoy

During my morning commute, I regularly get assaulted by images and headlines from NY’s astoundingly obnoxious dailies, the Post and the Daily News. I generally do my best to avoid those papers, but with so many people holding them up in front of my face on the F train on my way into work, I just can’t help but see what garbage they’re spewing this time.

This morning was no exception.

First off – the cover of yesterday’s Post. I saw this yesterday and was troubled by it, but, luckily for me, some readers were a little behind, so I got to see it again this morning.

cover of the NY post

(click for a larger version)

The article itself begins:

The female half of a husband-and-wife suicide team yesterday calmly detailed her chilling role in the al Qaeda bombing at a Jordanian hotel wedding reception — even posing in her explosives vest on TV like a fashion model.

Note that the picture the Post selected for the cover was not a photo of the woman “posing in her explosives vest.” Rather, it’s a photograph of the woman in a headscarf. Maybe the Post didn’t intend to equate being “dressed to kill” with “wearing traditional Muslim garb,” but the connection is there on the cover, and a (possible) lack of intent doesn’t do away with that connection, especially when it’s an equation that’s so prevelant in our society.

Case in point: on yesterday’s edition of Democracy Now, Amy Goodman interviewed Aman Mehrzai, a journalism student who witnessed last week’s protests and subsequent arrests outside of Colin Powell’s speech at De Anza College in Cupertino, California. In the preface to the interview, Goodman states that “confrontations occurred with the police and arrests were made. While the majority of those who engaged in confrontation were white, most of the people arrested were people of color.” Speaking about what he witnessed, Mehrzai says:

But there were many Middle Eastern people amongst the protesters, and they were dressed in Middle Eastern garb, and a lot of observers noticed that the confrontation between the Middle Easterners and the police were mainly verbal, and apparently what they are claiming – the police are claiming – that there were spotters who saw the Middle Easterners throwing things. But most of what everybody that I know saw, the actual confrontation was verbal, and out of all of the people who were apparently spotted, seven out of the — six out of the seven who were arrested on the outside were Muslim. And many of them were part of the MSA, and many of them were dressed in their Middle Eastern garb.

Again, traditional Muslim clothing is deemed a sign of propensity to violence, whether those wearing the clothing are actually violent or not.

Now, back to the Post.

This morningI also caught a glance of this headline:


I couldn’t see the rest, but what little I could see made me say uh-oh right away. When I got to work I looked up the article (for which the NY Post website required me to register, grrr), and, surprise surprise, it was yet another article about “reverse discrimination.”

Three white female detectives were subjected to discrimination by a black commanding officer who stripped them of plum assignments and overtime pay in favor of their minority counterparts, a lawyer for the women told jurors yesterday.

“The evidence will show that the three women were discriminated against because of their race,” attorney Louis LaPietra said in opening statements as a trial began in Manhattan federal court.

Now, I don’t condone unfair treatment. If these women were truly treated unfairly, then there’s a problem there. And that’s a big if – because frankly, I wonder if these women were used to being on the “right” end of racial discrimination, and when suddenly things got a little more balanced out, they cried foul. Just sayin’.

But, regardless of whether or not these women were treated unfairly, I am immensely tired of hearing about “racial discrimination” against white folks. It seems like every time I turn around, there’s another story about white folks being treated oh-so-badly because they’re white.

People of color are treated badly because they’re not white a gazillion times a day. Why aren’t there a gazillion articles a day documenting every instance of true racism? Where’s the “NYPD Bias Squad” report about the people of color who are most certainly discriminated against both by and within the NYPD on the daily? Oh, that’s right, that’s just business as usual, no big deal, no surprise. But when the tables are turned and the white folks don’t get all of the perks and privileges they’re used to getting – well, that’s headline news.

Slightly disturbing; also, the required post-election snippet

Today, while reading this ABC news article about al Qaeda’s attempted justification of the bombings in Jordan, I glanced down at the bottom of the screen and noticed the “Most Sent Headlines” section:

  • Can Your Cat Make You Crazy?
  • Cat Show Plans Memorial Service for Dog
  • Warm, Fuzzy Winter Bra Unveiled in Japan

Apparently, ABC News readers have some strange priorities when it comes to the news that matters most.

So, Ferrer and Mattera lost. Sigh. Not that it either result was terribly surprising – I had very little hope for Mattera’s campaign, and things weren’t looking so good for Ferrer for quite a while. Well, at least this year’s results aren’t heartbreaking like last year’s were. Republicans lost many key elections, and we even had a state (Maine) vote in favor of the rights of queer folks for a change. (Texas, of course, came through strong for the homophobic, rabid right.)

Shut up already, Mike.

If I hear one more commercial for Mike Bloomberg tonight on 96.3 FM (the classical station), I’m going to throw my stereo out the window. OK, not really – I like my stereo far too much to do such a thing. But I’m so sick of the Bloomberg ads, mostly because they outnumber Ferrer’s ads, oh, maybe 1,000,000,000 to 1. Which is probably because Bloomberg’s dollars outnumbered Ferrer’s dollars by around the same rate.

I know that there are nations where there’s campaign finance laws that reduce this kind of ridiculous and completely unfair edge that personal wealth (and the wealth of one’s political base) gives to some American politicians (Canada, perhaps? Perhaps. I’m too lazy/otherwise busy to do the research right now.) Oh, if we only had such sane, fair campaign finance laws in this country. (Not that much of anything is very fair about US elections these days.)

In related news, I greatly appreciated this post in today’s Wonkster about the way the New York press has basically declared Ferrer’s campaign dead in the water and Bloomberg the premature winner. As Jonathan points out, polls can be wrong, and the one that really matters is the one that will occur on Tuesday. I only hope that the grim outlook given by the media won’t discourage potential Ferrer voters from casting their votes on Tuesday for lack of any hope. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.