No race baiting. Nothing to see here. Move along, now.

I can’t say Republicans overall are race baiting.  In fact, I refuse to.

I won’t say the Tea Party overall is race baiting.  In fact, I refuse to.

But, I will say this … there is CLEARLY a pattern somewhere, which is what the NAACP was asking for when it asked for a denouncement of racism from the Tea Party itself (which factions of the group have manned up and done).

However, I’d like to make a couple of notes, and I begin with this (I’d also like to note how it’s come FULL CIRCLE):

The ‘outliers’ have come full circle and want no finger pointing when it comes to race baiting.

So, here are my questions:

  • The conservatives and Tea Party hate the bank bail outs: Why not the hysteria when it comes to Tim Geithner (last mentioned by Beck in June) and Ben Bernanke (no mention at all)?
  • The conservatives and Tea Party despise oversight of corporations:  Where’s the hunt to find Elizabeth Warren’s scandalous tapes? You’d be hard pressed to find them on Google.
  • The conservatives and Tea Party are OUTRAGED, I say, OUTRAGED with regard to the stimulus:  Where’s the attack on George W. Bush?
  • The conservatives and Tea Party are FUMING about Net Neutrality:  Where’s the Franken scandal? Well, I guess there’s that one site where the person probably also hates Michael Moore.

The conservatives and Tea Party are ENRAGED a lot and are politically driven, and as Reihan Salam said and Rachel Maddow said, NOT policy driven.

So, what do they have? If you Google all of these people, what sites are you driven to first?

Well, in the first half it’s easy to define and easy to tell … it’s called race baiting.  And, it’s unacceptable.


Target CEO Responds to MN Forward Donation Concerns

As a supplement to my Mediaite piece on the subject, here is Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel’s letter to his employees regarding the company’s donation to MN Forward:

Dear Target Team,

In the past week I’ve heard from some of you, including our GLBT team members, regarding your concerns with Target’s recent contributions to MN Forward, an independent expenditure committee that is supported by a broad coalition of large and small businesses throughout the state, including the Minnesota Business Partnership and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

As you know, Target has a history of supporting organizations and candidates, on both sides of the aisle, who seek to advance policies aligned with our business objectives, such as job creation and economic growth.  MN Forward is focused specifically on those issues and is committed to supporting candidates from any party who will work to improve the state’s job climate. However, it is also important to note that we rarely endorse all advocated positions of the organizations or candidates we support, and we do not have a political or social agenda.

In the context of this contribution, some of you have raised questions regarding our commitment to diversity, and more specifically, the GLBT community.  Let me be very clear, Target’s support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company. Some current examples of that support include:

•                    Domestic Partner Benefits

•                    Sponsorship of Twin Cities Pride

•                    Sponsorship of Out & Equal Workplace Summit

In addition, Target’s rating of 100% on the 2009 and 2010 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index further demonstrates the reputation our company has earned.

As CEO, I consider it my responsibility to create conditions in which Target can thrive, and I promise to do so with the best interests of our guests, team, shareholders and communities in mind.  I appreciate your input and understanding.


Gregg Steinhafel

Chairman, President and CEO

¤ Target

UPDATE: Remember when I had questions about vessel size and Coast Guard containment efforts?

Update 2:  It appears NPR corrected the record. It was a barge, not a tugboat. Not sure who else has corrected themselves.

Well, there was a reason for my questions, and while at the time it seemed to have been less important with relation to media than I thought, it WAS important with regard to the containment effort.

I realize there is an investigation going on with regard to the newest well leak, but should that boat have been in the water? Has anyone asked that question? Have journalists asked that question?

In my post on the subject there was this:

” … may require vessels to install and use specified navigation equipment, communications equipment, electronic relative motion analyzer equipment, or any electronic or other device necessary to comply with a vessel traffic service or which is necessary in the interests of vessel safety: Provided, That the Secretary shall not require fishing vessels under 300 gross tons as measured under section 14502 of title 46, United States Code, or an alternate tonnage measured under section 14302 of that title as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104 of that title or recreational vessels 65 feet or less to possess or use the equipment or devices required by this subsection solely under the authority of this Act …”

Associated Press reports:  “The Coast Guard says a towboat was pushing the barge on Mud Lake when it hit the wellhead. The Coast Guard says the towboat captain told investigators the well was not lit as required.”

Questions (new questions added):

  • What size was the vessel?
  • Were there cleanup efforts in the area?
  • Will there be charges brought?
  • What are the requirements for sealing ‘abandoned’ oil wells? If there aren’t any, why aren’t there any?

Questions up there.

Why did Wikileaks ‘leak’ data to press first?

So asked and answered Jay Rosen.

“Ask yourself: Why didn’t Wikileaks just publish the Afghanistan war logs and let journalists ‘round the world have at them? Why hand them over to The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel first? Because as Julien Assange, founder of Wikileaks, explained last October, if a big story is available to everyone equally, journalists will pass on it.”

I can’t agree with that.

I truly believe that Wikileaks needed their help.  The news organizations that the organization leaked the data dump to have inside knowledge on terminology, and history, and ranks, and locations … all of which I think Wikileaks had no clue about – or a marginal understanding of it.

In the end, while many thought there were a few interesting details to be found, and even the Rachel Maddow Show said it thought that the statement that all the information was found during the Bush Administration’s time in office was a cop out, still failed to answer key questions that Wikileaks’ skills could have brought us. I think their skills could be put to better use.

We still have unanswered questions that Glenn Greenwald over at brings up on a daily basis.

I’m waiting for the Wikileaks intel on these questions:

  • What was the intel at the time of the Bush Administration and how was it manipulated?
    By whom was it manipulated and how?
  • Where is the proof that I can see in my hands?
  • Where are the emails and why can’t those be brought to light in their entirety rather than focusing on mundane details of war speak at a time of war?
  • The Obama Administration may be taking on some previous administration policies, but in what way and what context?  What strategies have changed and why? Has the COIN agenda changed? If, ultimately, Petraeus rewrote the book, and we don’t want to follow the same strategies, why is Petraeus in charge again?
  • At the time of Tillman’s death and subsequent award why was it not reported in the news media that McChrystal was accused of doing everything RIGHT according to the Department of Defense, and those who actually didn’t were let off with no questioning by the media?
  • Why has not ONE media outlet read Petraeus’ COIN strategy and asked questions directly relating to it?
  • Why does the news media continue to assume that a COIN strategy crafted directly by Petraeus belongs to McChrystal?
  • Why has inquiry shifted from the man that the left called ‘Betray us’ to someone else?
  • Why was no one reading the NYTs when it was reporting on all of the Wikileaks ‘new’ scandals?
  • Why was no one doing this research as we headed off to war in both Afghanistan and Iraq?
  • Why?

Maybe Wikileaks can answer my questions.

Whitebart: Why is the Media Giving Andrew Breitbart a Pass?

I’ve watched the Shirley Sherrod story unfold from pretty early on, and the thing that strikes me now, after watching the umpteenth talking head panel about how the USDA, NAACP, and the White House rushed to judgment (on ABC’s This Week) is how the man who pulled the pin on this hand grenade, Andrew Breitbart, is being given a near-total pass. The lion’s share of this shit sandwich, meanwhile, is being eaten by the Obama administration and the NAACP. Even Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, despite all evidence to the contrary, has seen his share fed to the administration by virtue of his underling’s bullying name-drop when ordering Shirley to resign. What the fuck is going on?
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The Best of Bessa

My very closest human friend took his life on Monday.

Here is what I remember:

● Embrace who you are and write it on your soul … or your body.
● Be kind, and be childlike in your approach to new things in life.
● Don’t yell.
● If you want to keep it, take care of it.
● Lace up boots must be meticulously laced and wrapped around the top so one can walk through the snow or rain — this takes about 10 minutes.
● Nature is beautiful, sacred, and too important to ignore.
● Your friends and family are the most important people in your life. forgive them their flaws and don’t give up on them.
● If you must have a cell phone, it must be small enough to carry in your front pocket, and must not be able to be felt thru your pants.
● Girls like it when you smell good.
● It’s not the tiny details themselves that matter, it’s what you learn from them.
● Don’t be shallow.
● The word ‘compass’ also must be spoken as ‘comp ASS.’
● ”This band, have you heard of them? ‘Cold Play’ (it must be said like that, just as if two separate words) They’re really good.”
● The Blues are incredible!
● Harmonica is awesome!
● Rock ‘n roll is awesome!
● ”i’ve never peed on the toilet seat.”
● Don’t judge people right away, and don’t give up immediately if you’re disappointed.
● Be adventurous: you never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll learn, or what you’ll see.
● It’s the little things that matter. A turkey feather given as a gift of abundance is more priceless than anything paid for.
● Travel light.
● If you don’t know what something means … ask without fear of seeming stupid.
● Everyone is interesting, everyone has something to say, and everyone is worth taking care of.
● Safety pins are probably not the best things to use to hold a duvet cover onto a duvet.
● If you put everything in the same spot every time, you’ll be sure to find it — even if you’re a messy person.
● Everything is worth investigating and there’s always something cool in there.
● Don’t ask ‘what’ if you didn’t understand something said. Instead, repeat back the jibberish you heard: ‘Frozen peas on the roof?’
● Girls like clean fingernails.

All of these things, I learned from my sweetest friend, Larry, who took his life on Monday… and these things are not sad.  These things are what makes him one of the best people who ever lived and who ever touched our lives.

You may have heard that the Library of Congress is now recording all public ‘tweets’ from twitter.  Larry Wayne Bessa didn’t grasp the concept of technology, but Larry and his memory (as I saw him) is now immortalized and saved for all time in United States History.  And, it has its own special tag, #bestofbessa.  Every time I think of something awesome he said, I will tweet it and it will be recorded for all time.

I hope you are at rest, my dearest friend.  I will miss you forever.


July 23, 2010

Breitbart has a tell. A BIG tell

The proof is in not in the pseudo body language analysis that Bill O’ Reilly brings, but instead in ACTUAL body language. Also, who wants to talk about race when it’s hot outside and summertime?

Andrew Breitbart revealed himself in the second half of a segment that Think Progress caught.

At about the three minute mark in this video, Breitbart reveals himself for the fraud he is:

And I know this because I tweeted about it extensively last night.
You see, Google, amongst other things, are WONDERFUL tools for research for any journalist or reporter worth their salt.

So here is the very first post that I could find online about Ms. Sherrod and NAACP and USDA.

(Update for clarity) You see, if Sherrod gave the talk to NAACP members in March, and there’s no YouTube record of it until the weekend prior to the hullaballoo, and not only that there’s not a substantial web presence for her AT ALL, then:  in both parts one and two of of John King’s interview with Breitbart he’s pretty clear about receiving the video of Ms. Sherrod in MARCH – MARCH I tell you!

Then, committing an unprecedented act of journalism King follows up that line of questioning to confirm … that’s when Breitbart gives himself away.  While it’s POSSIBLE that Breitbart received a ‘tape’ he QUICKLY changes his story and all of a sudden he got it at a way later date.

That post – edited of course – was from two edited videos the weekend prior and was  from a guy who, specifically wrote in the text intro that this was filmed in March 2010 … works for Andrew Breitbart.  Breitbart said he GOT the video in ‘March of this year,’ but that video was uploaded by the freelancer, I guess, to appear on a Sunday, obviously edited, patently ridiculous, unchecked by the MSM, and unchallenged in any way.

‘Fair and balanced.’ ‘You be the judge.’ ‘No bias, no bull.’

Lying in action right in the video.


NYT, WAPO and Politico all quote CNN, none use the telephone

Three MAJOR news media outlets declined to pick up a phone, Monday, to ask Shirley Sherrod about what she spoke about at a NAACP meeting.

Still, bloggers, newsies, and Twitter alike continue to BLAME NAACP for not doing a fact check of more than 450,000 members of the organization to find out who owned the video (late addition: usually meetings of this kind are free and open to the public).

Nevermind that the media ITSELF is responsible for reporting such things.  NEVERMIND that even the WHITE HOUSE relies on accurate reporting.  I’m sorry, but there is no blaming Fox News for this as there are multiple news outlets reporting out there.  I’m sorry, but there is no need to blame NAACP for this as the group relies on CNN, MSNBC, and the others to report, investigate, make phone calls and do what they need to to figure out what the truth is.

Instead, the subjects of Sherrod’s speech to NAACP members were debunked by the citizens whose farm she helped save.

Here’s what the publications  reported:

Politico: “On Tuesday, the family of the Georgia farmer Sherrod was speaking of in the video came forward to defend her. Sherrod also went on CNN to defend herself and attack the NAACP for criticizing her without first calling her to confirm details. She also charged on CNN that the White House wanted her to resign – a claim the White House denies.”

New York Times: “Ms. Sherrod took to the airwaves, especially those of CNN, on Tuesday. She told the network that the N.A.A.C.P. was ‘“the reason why this happened.”‘  ‘They got into a fight with the Tea Party, and all of this came out as a result of that,'” she said.”

Washington Post: “But before all the facts were in, Sherrod lost her job. She told CNN that an undersecretary at agriculture told her that the White House wanted her out. The White House denies this. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the decision was his. Meanwhile, the wife of the now-deceased farmer told CNN that Sherrod saved their family farm.”

NOT A SINGLE ONE of these reports have AN ORIGINAL quote for their publication from Sherrod herself or the farmers she could have directed them to.

NAACP is NOT to blame … all of you are.  Shame on you.

Do better please.

‘Mercy for Animals’ activist said to have participated in abuse

The animal rights activist who filmed the horrific abuse of dairy cows on the Conklin farm purportedly admitted he participated in abuse of the cows to remain undercover.

Farm and Dairy online reports:

“Smith reportedly told law enforcement that he did not witness any abuse by Conklin, and that Conklin did not know of the abuse by Gregg.  It was the intent of Mercy for Animals — the pro-vegan organization that produced the film — to prove that the farm owner knew what was happening and allowed it to continue.”

It goes on to say:

“Union County Prosecuting Attorney David Phillips said the grand jury also considered charges against MFA and Smith, whose videotaping of the abuse spanned about a four-week period. Smith told deputies he also had kicked animals and poked them with a pitchfork.  ‘He (Smith) claimed he did so to maintain his cover, and said he didn’t use his full strength,’ Phillips said in a released statement. ‘The investigator told me that MFA was aware of the abuse, since he reported to them on a daily (basis). MFA allowed the abuse to continue, unreported, and the animals to suffer at the hands of Billy Joe Gregg.'”

Farmers, ranchers, and dairy operators have been outspoken about the matter and have expressed outrage that the abuse continued – caught on camera – with no attempt to report the abuse either to the farm owner or the authorities.

I’m afraid I won’t post pictures or video of the abuse as it is easily found all over the internet.

Maddow, Thursday, echoes Gen. McChrystal’s warnings

Rachel Maddow – Thursday – on her ever brilliant show on MSNBC, was spot on with regard to Afghanistan … but so was Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Rachel, in summation, was not really speaking of ‘humanitarian intervention’ but her ideas about what is really going on in this war were astoundingly correct, and had more to do with what is going on than any Rolling Stone profile ever could.

It’s something that hasn’t been covered as thoroughly or as astutely as Maddow did, and she and the General were on the same track.

To the President at the time, Bill Clinton, and the Council on Foreign relations, McChrystal wrote:

“Few situations offer such recognizable extremes and undeniable rationale for employing military force as vital as national interest or genocide.  Information is often incomplete or suspect, and in the absence of unequivocal imperatives, the decision becomes more difficult – a complex calculus of practical and moral considerations.  This is where our policy must be crafted with utmost care.”

It’s worth reading the entire thing … REALLY it is.