Saturday, October 30, 2010

Arizona's pre-Election Day rainbow shades

At the risk of skewing Google Analytics yet again, here is a 3-dish selection of late-breaking news from the Grand Canyon State as November 2nd approaches...

1. Remember Ward Connerly? Yep, while we have been focused on immigration & SB 1070 he's been laughing all the way to the bank. I apologize to all for missing this:

by Dianna M. Náñez - Oct. 30, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Arizona's effort to ban state-sponsored affirmative action has intensified in the weeks leading up to Tuesday's election. But people on both sides agree on at least one thing: If the measure passes, it will trigger similar proposals nationwide and reignite debate over whether America has moved past the racial and sexual discrimination that spurred the 1960s civil-rights movement.

Proposition 107 is a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw affirmative action in state, county and municipal government, higher education, contracting and hiring, unless prohibiting it would result in the loss of federal funds or violate a court order. If voters approve the measure, Arizona would become the fifth state to pass an affirmative-action ban.

Although such laws have spread slowly, starting with California in 1996, supporters and opponents of Prop. 107 say affirmative-action bans will gain greater publicity if the measure passes because the nation is focused on Arizona's politics and immigration laws. Opponents say they expect several of the states that plan to mimic Senate Bill 1070 to also try to pass affirmative-action bans.

Passing Prop. 107 in Arizona is part of a broader strategy to target states by region, said Ward Connerly, who heads a California-based non-profit focused on dismantling affirmative action in all 50 states...

2. SB 1070 lawsuits in progress-- as summarized by the Arizona Republic. Here's an example of each, more at the link:

Appeals court

- The U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit goes before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Monday. Gov. Jan Brewer is appealing U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton's ruling to halt the enforcement of four parts of SB 1070...

District court

- Bolton dismissed a couple of the legal arguments in the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and several other legal groups but is moving forward with several others...

3. Are the parts of SB 1070 in force actually changing anything? A longish (for newspapers) analysis of law enforcement, policy changes, and community impact at the link:

by Alia Beard Rau - Oct. 29, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The nation's toughest immigration law has been in effect for three months. But after the federal courts prevented key portions from going into effect, it has failed to live up to both opponents' worst fears and supporters' greatest hopes.

Immigrant-rights groups and major Arizona law-enforcement agencies say they've heard of no arrests made or citations issued using the statutes created under Senate Bill 1070, and no Arizona resident has taken advantage of the portion of the law that allows them to sue an official or agency that is not enforcing federal immigration law to the fullest extent...

But several state statutes created under SB 1070 went into effect on July 29. Individuals on both sides of the issue said after Bolton's ruling that the law still had teeth.

New statutes

The statutes allowed to go into effect do several things:

- Require government officials and agencies to enforce federal immigration laws to the fullest extent permitted by federal law and allow Arizona residents to sue if the official or agency adopts a policy that violates this requirement.

- Allow law enforcement to pull anybody over for any traffic violation if the driver is suspected of engaging in the "smuggling" of human beings for profit or commercial purposes. This could include stopping a driver for a secondary offense such as not wearing a seat belt, which in every other circumstance can be cited only if the driver is stopped for a separate primary violation such as speeding.

- Make it a crime to pick up or be picked up as a day laborer if the vehicle is stopped on a road and impeding traffic.

- Make it a crime to encourage an illegal immigrant to come to Arizona or transport, conceal, harbor or shield an immigrant if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact the immigrant is in the country illegally. This offense has to be during the commission of another criminal offense...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Voting early in CA? Watch this

Or at least watch/read some equivalent, as there are local/regional options if you dig around the news & TV outlets. Embedded below is the always-convivial This Week in Northern California, this episode from October 22. Briefly covers some of the state propositions and races, also Bay Area measures.

State propositions are summarized with the official brief explanations here:

Hard copy voter information guides are sitting in all public libraries waiting for people who prefer paper.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NPR Women on Williams (Juan, not Armstrong)

The Williams men (who are probably 23rd cousins or something, aren't we all) continue to put themselves out there. One more drive-by from me here, this time on Juan. Then, unless they do something else to raise their profiles, I'll move on. Today's Juan Williams revue (sic) is from two women with strong NPR connections and reason to have inside knowledge, Farai Chideya and Michel Martin.

Farai Chideya, formerly of NPR, now of Pop and Politics, has this, which I cross-posted at JJP if it looks familiar at all:

Posted: October 23, 2010 01:44 PM
What Everyone Is Missing About NPR's WilliamsGate

"juan, gettin ugly. wonder if it will result in him severing ties, or mutual"

That was my note at the top of an email I sent back in September of 2007 to a colleague at NPR. In full disclosure, I am a former employee of NPR, let go in 2008 as part of the cancellation of three shows, including one I hosted. In the email, I'd forwarded a Washington Post column by Howard Kurtz dissecting a Fox/NPR/Juan Williams triad of recrimination. The headline: "NPR Rebuffs White House On Bush Talk -- Radio Network Wanted To Choose Its Interviewer." In Kurtz's words:

The White House reached out to National Public Radio over the weekend, offering analyst Juan Williams a presidential interview to mark yesterday's 50th anniversary of school desegregation in Little Rock. But NPR turned down the interview, and Williams's talk with Bush wound up in a very different media venue: Fox News. Williams said yesterday he was "stunned" by NPR's decision... Ellen Weiss, NPR's vice president for news, said she "felt strongly" that "the White House shouldn't be selecting the person."

This incident is more telling than the oft-dissected statement Williams made on Fox that Michelle Obama had "this Stokely Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress thing going." Juan Williams and NPR have been a mutual mismatch for years. In this volley, Williams -- with his reported new $2 million over 3 year contract with Fox -- is the clear winner; with Fox a close second; and NPR left holding the bag. It need not have been this way.

If NPR had such clear concerns over how Juan Williams fit into their organization, in the amorphous role of "news analyst," then they had an opportunity to let him go a long time ago. They could have decided he didn't fit their needs, and moved on in a less polarized time. But by firing him now, in this instance, after years of sitting uncomfortably with his dual roles on NPR and Fox, they made a few crucial errors. They chose to fire him for doing what he has done for years... be a hype man for Bill O'Reilly. Why now?...

More at:

In addition to the rest of her write-up, at the above Chideya linked out to Michel Martin's Tell Me More segment on Williams. Here is the intro:


I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

Today, we are going to talk about another controversy involving the media, ethnicity and ethics. Just recently on this program, we have talked about the firing of CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and former White House correspondent Helen Thomas over comments that each made in public forums that many people considered ignorant and even anti-Semitic. And the question was what kind of dialogue crosses the line between legitimate commentary and bigotry, especially inappropriate for journalists to engage in.

Today's story is along those lines, but it hits even closer to home. It's about the decision by this network, NPR, to fire its longtime employee Juan Williams. Juan has been a host here, a correspondent, and most recently, he has had the title of senior news analyst. And for long stretches of time, he's been one of the few consistent African-American males on the air here. And for a number of years, he's also been a regular contributor to FOX News Channel. And therein lies the issue.

He was fired Wednesday after comments he made about Muslims in an appearance on FOX News' "The O'Reilly Factor." Those comments and NPR's response to them has generated a controversy that has engulfed both networks and the blogosphere. For example, by midmorning today, some 15,000 messages have been blogged about this on NPR's home page.

Later in the program, we'll ask the Barbershop guys to weigh in because they are also a group of journalists of color who are often called upon to speak off the cuff about controversial topics. So we will hear what they have to say.

But first, we've called Asra Nomani, the author of "Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam," and a scholar in the practice of journalism at Georgetown School of Continuing Studies. Also with us, Richard Prince, he's an editor at The Washington Post, who writes an online publication called "Journal-isms," where he focuses on issues around diversity in the media. And John Watson, associate professor of communications law and journalism ethics at American University. And they're all here with me in the studio and I thank you all so much for joining us...

Listen at:

Lagniappe: h/t to a JJP commenter for this, since Williams is easily frightened:
This Wordle seems to suggest I reconsider which words I use a lot:
Wordle: Blog post - Juan Williams

Friday, October 22, 2010

Haiti cholera outbreak

It continues. I just got the annual United Way flyer from my employer today and I am going to choose sides. Contribution going directly to PIH. Sorry, employer.

Reuters video at:

LA Times story:
Aid workers scramble to contain Haiti cholera outbreak

At least 140 people have died from the water-borne disease in central Haiti, as aid agencies fear it could spread rapidly in the unsanitary conditions in camps for displaced quake victims.

By Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times
October 23, 2010

Doctors and aid workers scrambled Friday to rein in a cholera outbreak in central Haiti that has killed 140 people, while warning that the crisis probably would get worse in a country where tent camps are still teeming with people displaced by the January earthquake.

"There's no reason to anticipate that this wouldn't spread widely," said Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer for Partners In Health, a Boston-based relief organization that runs three hospitals in the area.

The acute bacterial illness, spread primarily through contaminated drinking water, has struck more than 2,000 people throughout the farming valley along the Artibonite River, with the highest number in the port city of St. Marc...


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yes, Virginia, there is an Anita Hill

Mrs. Thomas jumped the shark credibility-wise quite a ways back, so one can only conjecture why she thought it a good idea to contact Anita Hill and dig up memories of the Clarence Thomas nomination hearings of 19 years ago. And instead of apologizing on behalf of her husband, she had the unmitigated gall to ask for an apology for HIll's testimony? Is she daft, or is it a setup two weeks before an election? Oh, where is my ballot? I'm voting early.

I have commented briefly elsewhere on this inanity, so let me just give a hat tip to NewBlackMan, and link to a Huffington Post article that may be the only good thing to come out of this minor media frenzy-- a reminder that harassment is not a one-time, isolated thing that just happens to people you don't know.

I Was Anita Hill
by Duchess Harris

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yuckiness at Ebony/Jet: Armstrong Williams

I'm not a frequent visitor at many sites (there are just too many, and frankly, I do have an outside life). But I went to the Ebony/Jet site yesterday on a photo hunt and found a pretty cool video about their 65th anniversary issue's cover shoot. (Doesn't seem to be embeddable but it'll load in a new window if you click.)

I went back today to dig around for still photos, but their home page gave me a stomach flip-flop. Dang if they weren't leading with an article by known arch-enemy Armstrong Williams. I guess you can't keep him down.

OK, here is a link to his article "The Browning of the GOP" about how impressive the Republican Party has been over the decades. He's left out a little history, like the flocking of white supremacists to the GOP, preferring to emphasis the black reaction of moving to the Democratic Party.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Roland Martin calls out Tom Coburn re: black farmer settlement

I let an anonymous comment through on a post from a few days ago. Although the writer was a bit too busy venting to be 100% clear, I gathered there were two possible objections to my original.

Bottom line on one of the objections is, I don't know whether Roland Martin knows any black farmers or not. (For the record, one of the few black farmers in Iowa was a good friend of the family and I spent enough time on the farm to claim the experience. I didn't know Thomas Jefferson or Jack Kennedy, though.)

Roland, however, does defend black farmers and I should confirm that in this space. Here's his latest, posted on his blog on Oct. 7:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Steve Erickson, Arc d'X anyone?

Curse me for a novice, but is anyone out there familiar with Steve Erickson? I just picked up a copy of Arc d'X (1993) which is billed as being in the "avantpop" genre. I'm mentioning it here because Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings play significant parts in the novel.

Any info (comments, suggestions, criticisms) from anyone who's read Erickson would be appreciated!

P.S. I purchased this (on sale, mind you, for 50 cents) in clear violation of the "2 out for every in" book rule I established over the summer. Apologies to my shelves.

Monday, October 4, 2010

This political video is better than it should be

Hat tip rrp who no doubt needs to hat tip somebody else.