When “Rights” Just Cover Prejudice and Cowardice

A Michigan assistant attorney general, a man who is charged with enforcing the laws of the State of Michigan, is waging a vicious, cyber-war against a gay college student.

Ok, let’s take a moment and feel sorry for this assistant AG who has unresolved issues about his own sexual orientation and a big dose of self-loathing.  Now, that moment is over.

Time to rant about him and his employer the Attorney General of the State of Michigan, defends his assistant AG even though he calls him a bully.

The AG hides behind the “free speech” argument.  Let’s assume it is applicable here.  There are limits to one’s right to free speech. The classic example is “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater” [unless there is, in fact, a fire].  The government can prosecute you if what you are saying is calculated to incite violence and does, in fact, incite violence.

Here are the rules of thumb for free speech:

Free speech is limited to reasonable time, reasonable place and reasonable manner. (That’s why there are limits to where you can hold rallies and when your neighbor can do heavy construction on his property.)

Free speech doesn’t protect you from the consequences of that speech.

Do you really think that if this Michigan assistant AG were harassing say, a co-worker, a female student or another civil servant, that the AG would feel the same way and hide behind “free speech”?  Really?

No, the AG doesn’t want to take the side of a gay college kid.

Because that would be unpopular and require that he take a stand against his conservative constituency.

So, the head legal officer of the State of Michigan in the United States of America in the year 2010 will call a subordinate a bully, but won’t stand up to him??

Don’t you think that bullying has caused too many young people to be emotionally scarred or so despondent as to be suicidal?  If the recent suicide of a Rutgers student doesn’t make law enforcement, law enforcement, stand up to bullying, what will become of our society?

Michigan attorney general defends employee’s right to blog


September 30, 2010|By the CNN Wire Staff *

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox defended an assistant’s constitutional right to wage an Internet campaign against an openly gay college student, even though he considers that employee a “bully.” “Here in America, we have this thing called the First Amendment, which allows people to express what they think and engage in political and social speech,” Cox told Anderson Cooper on CNN’s “AC 360” on Wednesday night. “He’s clearly a bully … but is that protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? Yes.”

What is France thinking?

Never known for its warm and welcoming manner, France has outdone itself.

First, it has deported Gypsies, an act condemned by the European Union.  But no sanctions were levied.

Now the legislature has banned burqas — the Muslim full-on veil.  Maybe people — me included — think that it is a little imprisoning to be totally covered at all times.  But the government of a politically democratic (and culturally snobby) country outlawing an outward sign of piety?  What if France wanted to outlaw the kipah (the beanie worn by religious Jewish men and cardinals and popes) or the sheitl (wig worn by religious Jewish women), would there be an outcry??  I think the answer is clearly yes.

Deportations . . . singling out customs of a religious minority . . . hmmm. . . . Is it Germany 1933?  Sad, but true, it is France 2010.

And don’t think this is an aberration.  Belgium and Spain are considering a burqa ban, too.

Lest we forget . . .

First, they came for the Jews.  But I was not a Jew, so I did not speak up.
Then they came for the communists.  But I was not a communist, so I did not speak up.
Then they came for the trade unionists.  But I was not a trade unionist, so I did not speak up.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

(Attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984))

Burning the Quran is bad for all of us

General Petraeus commented that burning the Quran is dangerous for US troops. (See below.)

It is dangerous for all of us.

The Nazis burned books. The Communists burned books. The McCarthy-ites burned books.

Is this really what America stands for?

And just a little side note:  and these Quran burners call themselve the DOVE WORLD OUTREACH CENTER?  Really?  Really?

P.S.:  ONLY C-SPAN and CNN carried live the interfaith press conference denouncing the burning of the Quran. Fox News Channel had no coverage and MSNBC did not carry live coverage.  WHAT DOES THAT SAY???

By KIMBERLY DOZIER, Associated Press Writer Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press Writer Sept. 7, 2010

[Truncated; excerpt only]

KABUL, Afghanistan – The top U.S. and NATO commander warned Tuesday an American church’s threat to burn copies of the Muslim holy book could endanger U.S. troops in the country and Americans worldwide.

Meanwhile, NATO reported the death of an American service member in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday.

The comments from Gen. David Petraeus followed a protest Monday by hundreds of Afghans over the plans by Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center — a small, evangelical Christian church that espouses anti-Islam philosophy — to burn copies of the Quran on church grounds to mark the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States that provoked the Afghan war.

When Jon Stewart gives up and just rants

Jon Stewart is my voice.  He says what is on my mind.

But more than that.  He is my litmus test for whether I am over-reacting.  If he slams a news story in a light-hearted and are-they-“f”ing-kidding-me way, then I think I am over-reacting; it is stupid but it will pass.  But recently, Jon Stewart has given up on satire and has gotten visceral and angry.  Especially with the mosque in lower Manhattan.  That scares me because I had hoped that I was over-reacting in my belief that this country is going down a bad road with the opposition to this mosque.  I am scared of mobs incited by power-seeking ideologues who will throw away the principles that make this nation great.

A measure of a nation and a people is whether they hold fast to their ideals in the face of those who would destroy them.  Hey, Sarah, Newt and Harry Reid, how do you think we are measuring up?

And, so, Jon Stewart speaks for me when his humor oozes hopelessness from the political stagnation and petty internecine warfare.

President Obama cannot solve all of our problems.  And he is an egotistical, self-satisfied politician.  But he is more thoughtful and careful than George Bush and his cronies.  He is not always be right, but he is trying.  And I don’t agree with President Obama on many things, but I can still support him as the President of the United States.  If anyone says he or she agrees or disagrees with the President 100% of the time, then there is more to it that a president or his policies. It is about something else.  President Obama is more polarizing than any other President.  Why?  Because he is an African-American.  It is both liberating and threatening to Americans.  Let’s talk about it.

The GOP can rally the base with veiled racist fears.

Yes, I am feeling hopelessness and despair and so, it seems, is the most trusted name in news.

(I remember Stephen Colbert from his days at Dartmouth and I cannot, will not, listen to him.  I remember too much of when he wasn’t a fake neo-con.)

Crazy is as crazy thinks

According to CNN, 1 in 4 polled STILL believe that President Obama was not born in this country and therefore not the legitimate head of state.  Here is the published birth certificate, certified by the Republican governor of Hawaii.

Even Lou Dobbs conceded the point. 


From CNN

“Washington (CNN) – It’s surely not what the leader of the free world wants for his birthday. But, for a stubborn group of Americans, conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birthplace are the gifts that keep on giving.

The president celebrates his 49th birthday Wednesday. On the same day, a new national poll indicates some Americans continue to doubt the president was born in the United States. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, more than a quarter of the public have doubts about Obama’s citizenship, with 11 percent saying Obama was definitely not born in the United States and another 16 percent saying the president was probably not born in the country.”


Mitch McConnell,

the most recent face of resident evil since Dick Cheney left office, wants to have hearings on the meaning of “born” in the 14th amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. 

(See article http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gqnOBf_QRibbHZe0ieJDDRnvWxRgD9HC9ESG2).

Ok, my head is spinning.  Here’s a guy who says he thinks that the Constitution is sacrosanct.  Now he thinks we ought to INTERPRET this document? Ahhh, it is sacrosanct . . . . until it’s not.

WAIT, I get it.  The Constitution is crystal clear about an individual’s right to bear arms (see the muddy Second Amendment)

“Amendment II —  A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Um, wait, doesn’t the Second Amendment mean that you can bear arms as part of a well regulated militia (i.e., sanctioned by a governmental entity)?

BUT Resident Evil finds it very confusing when it comes to the meaning of “born“:

“Amendment 14 Section 1: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.  No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Hmmm.  What is the plain meaning of this?  If you are born here, you are a citizen whose rights of citizenship may not be infringed upon.

Ok, this Amendment was not written by our Founding Fathers.  It was written in the aftermath of Civil War as a nation needed to heal and learn to be citizens of one nation for the common good and to protect the children of newly emancipated slaves.

So, we have to have hearings on what “born in the United States” means.  If McConnell and his ilk weren’t talking  about people’s lives and the very meaning of a free and open society, it would almost be a humorous riff on Bill Clinton’s “depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is”. 

But it is not funny at all.

Uproar over a mosque? Really?

Why not a mosque near Ground Zero?

If we cannot separate out bad actors from an entire religion, then we are the evil bigots in the propaganda.

AND, we have to look in our collective mirror and see that we are not the people or nation of freedom and “ill-will-toward-none” that we would like to believe (and have others believe) we are.

Ok, so no mosque at Ground Zero.  Then what logically flows from that statement are:

  • All Oklahomans should be barred from national monuments because Timothy McVeigh, our HOMEGROWN terrorist, was from Oklahoma.  In fact, Oklahoma is so close to those other states (help me out here) that they may harbor terrorists or may have recruitment camps.  So, let’s ban them (once I look at a map and figure out who they are).  Also, are they practicing Methodists, Baptists, Unitarians or some other Protestant sect?  If so, then none of those churches can be erected near national monuments.  No, sirreeee.   [It would be kind of funny if only ashrams, synagogues, Sikh temples, Hindu temples and Buddhist temples could be built on Ground Zero.]
  • The good ol’ USA is a rogue nation.  We are the only country that has used nuclear weapons.  We have not renounced them (like New Zealand — ok, not a newsmaker, but a start).  And bombing Nagasaki after we obliterated Hiroshima makes Kim Jong Il seem like just another weird guy with a bad haircut, wearing woman’s sunglasses.
  • Lady Liberty,  the welcoming beacon in our Harbor, has to be renovated so she can raise one hand with a sign or she can fling people back out to sea (see video, too crazy:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BE6GyHcASE&feature=related) because we forget that EXCEPT for the Native Americans, whom we decimated under the theory of “Manifest Destiny” (oh, yeah, add GENOCIDE to our nuclear bad acts), we all descend from immigrants.

I am glad my grandparents and my mother never lived to see this day.  Their America was the beacon of hope and the fulfillment of their dreams.  To them, this was a great country where whoever you are and from wherever you came, you could make a life for your family.  Maybe people didn’t like them because they were Jews but people left them alone.

That was America.  This, this, this is a place I don’t know or understand.

Nobody asks me

I don’t know how the pollsters pick the representative sample of Americans, voters, Mets fans, whatever, to poll on a particular issue.  No one asks me.  My demographic is highly educated, reliable voter.

I think President Obama is the leader we need.  He is the one pushing us to take the bad-tasting medicine that will make us healthier, making the financial industry face consequences of its ruinous reign and trying to end two wars with dignity.  (Contrary to Michael Steele, Afghanistan was not a war of President Obama’s choosing; it was a war started by President Bush even before he chose to go to war with Iraq.)

Everyone wants our problems to be fixed, just like in the movies, and preferably within two hours and with limited commercial interruption.

President Obama took over a country on the verge of collapse and the problems just keep coming.  He handles them in an understated, calm manner and people think that is a sign of weakness.  But then again, “we” thought that GWB’s strutting around and baling hay were signs of strength even as we knew our nation was going to hell (think Nero playing his fiddle while Rome burned). 

I believe in President Obama and in his leadership. 

Never has been so much asked of one man and so little been done to support him.

Mr. President, you have my vote in 2012.

President Obama’s Speech

Am I the only one in the country who thought that the speech showed a strong and resolute President? 

Don’t look for passion — that is not his character.  Look for determination and a view toward the future. 

I thought he did a fine job.  Did anyone think that he could speak away the problems?  Did you think the oil was going to go back into the hole in the earth whence it came?

Let’s be real.

Please, please, please, let’s all stop expecting miracles or easy answers.  Let’s be as easy on the President as we are on ourselves.  Because we are soooo good at blaming others and limiting our own culpability in anything and we are so good at complaining but so unwilling to do our part — either through tax dollars or consumption reduction.

We are in the fight of and for our lives and livelihoods. 


Anyone else willing to stand up and say that the speech was fine, that speeches won’t fix the Gulf problems and that we are lucky to have a clearheaded and intelligent leader? 

And, the $20 billion fund was a big coup since, under GOP leadership, liability was capped at $75 million. 

BP — Beyond Pathos

Today, there was a fire on the BP ship that is siphoning the oil from the half-capped gushing breach.  Just add this to the ever-growing list of bad and greedy decisions and botched and mismanaged corrective efforts.

Sometimes people are so recklessly stupid and ineffectual that they deserve to go to prison just for these reasons alone.   Criminal stupidity and inefficacy in the first degree should be punishable by life imprisonment.  And the entire management of BP should be shackled right about now.  And the people who didn’t fire them when their stupidity and inefficacies were evident also deserve orange jumpsuits.

And now we have to rely on the government workers led by different party machines in the various gulf states.  These are the individuals who, according to popular wisdom, didn’t qualify for the private sector jobs at companies like BP.   Give up all hope.

If President Obama could plug this hole, he would.  If they try another top kill, I am sure he will insist on jettisoning BP’s CEO, the director of the MMS (and other government officials who allowed the oil companies to write their own rules) and maybe even Rand Paul, as part of the junk blast into the hole.