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September 21, 2007


I dunno. You might be giving him to much credit.

Well, seeing as how it's a challenge for him to even speak, I think this probably does count as "most positive contribution." In fact, I challenge you to think of any other positive contribution period...

You got me on that one. I suppose he performed the traditional plebe Justice duties of getting coffee and donuts, as even Roberts did as Chief Justice; but I have never heard confirmation of that......

my god,

the man has a heart and a soul.

who would have guessed?

i like carroll county, va., one of my son played football against kids there. it's quiet and rural and the kkk there would almost certainly have been the lowest of the low in income and (lack of) education in the county - the attention seeking skinheads of the south.


with respect to both past and contemporary american history


the sophistical arguments virgina put before scotus which lithwick reported,

does anyone who knows american southern history doubt that the kkk is, and has always been,

a terrorist organization?

besides the multitude of terrorized blacks,

those "others" thomas was talking about?

they were the whites in any community who were raised with, worked with, and trusted blacks,

but who would have been shunned, beaten, or had their homes, barns, or stores burned down if they had challenged the rural thugs of the KKK,

the south's anticipation of the south african state security police that dogged, tortured, and killed the anc.

there's a lesson here for this country about terrorism and how to deal with it.

unfortunately for our society,

the national republican party has learned and taken what it wants from that history -

intimidation, sly legal exclusions, systematic abuse of state power, histrionic patriotism, empty respect for home and marriage, and exuberant militarism.

a government for middle-class skinheads.

we can't fight these home-grown terrorists -

the american right wing/republican party -

until we confront them openly and confront them en masse,

with the support of the government.

that's what happened in the mid- to late-1960's

and that's what needs to happen when the next president takes office in january, 2009.

but no reconciliation commission.

just charges, trials, and jail terms for the guilty.

i'd start with hans von spekovsky, brad schlossman, and k-k-karl rove.

OT JoePa has a real football team this year: Lions maul the Brontos.

And now pubic hairs on Coke Cans may be intended to cause fear, and terrorize women...thanks to dear Clarence. Perhaps its better he keep his mouth shut. I'm not feeling his sincerity...let's ask Anita

That headline gave me the best spontaneous laugh I've had all week. (Things are pretty crummy around here of late.)

That said, Thomas's statement really was a contribution at the time, and one that should have been dealt with properly in Jena before the kids had a chance to go to the next level on their own.

I know that what is going on here is worse than what we now think of as discrimination. I'm not sure that even racism is enough to capture the horror of the symbolism.

It is one thing to be attacked, verbally or physically, by a bully. It is something much worse for the attack to be public and to go unpunished, even to be accepted.

What happened here was that one group of students used an historically acknowledged symbol violence to intimidate another group of students which understood the symbolism. The law of the land in LA accepts this symbolism as okay, the DA could not find any violation of law. To me, this magnifies the violence. Who wouldn't take matters into their own hands at this point? Hey, maybe that ex-Virginia Senator can move down there and win a vote.

"single most positive contribution"

Perhaps "single positive contribution" might be more fitting?

OTOH his outrage came right through the page at me. So he's black after all!

radiofreewill, it's been EIGHT LONG YEARS!

Speaking of lynchings;

I had another "duh" epiphany watching Jeremy Scahill's flicks from Iraq, (which I embedded on my own blog, thanks to The Nation, for the loan) and some of the news coverage about it...

Here's the $64,000 question..

Are all the Blackwater goons white? Or most of them...

Just think "Erik Prince, North Carolina, KKK," and the implications are startling, if not frightening.

IS this band of mercenaries an expression of the old south racist agenda? If so, their return, AS A UNIT, to this country represents a very dangerous and disconcerting potential.

Considering that the Republican candidates won't even talk to minority groups, and the evidence of a very deliberate move to the right down in Jena, one might assume they have written-off the ethnic vote.

So how much of a leap is it to the conclusions I've drawn here?

I don't even need a tin-foil hat for this one...

And I think it would behoove all the blogs to converge on the Republican candidate's obvious racist direction in this long season of lies.

Black water, this war, the laws of this land, and pretty much everything you and I might have (and I am part american indian, but my Irish shows over and above my american indian) are the result of years of "white privilege". I hate the fact that I, as a white woman have benefited from the likes of years of repression, but I know that I have.

It's why affirmative action, a validation of the harm, and social programs must be part of the solution to equalize the disparity. We will pay for the sins of our fathers, because we benefit from the sins of the fathers.

Almost without exception, People Adopt their ‘Worldview’ - their Beliefs – and then ‘hang-on’ to that Worldview with varying degrees of intensity. At the extreme end of ‘hanging-on’ to Worldviews are People who are ‘hanging-on’ so hard that they can’t even tolerate thoughts or words, let alone ‘appearances,’ that run counter to their professed beliefs – these People are called Ideologues.

The motto of the Ideologue could be: “Our Way or the Highway – you’re either With Us, or you’re Against Us,” except it’s worse than that. Ideologues don’t even want to ‘see’ or ‘hear’ contrary appearances or thoughts – they Insist their World to ‘look’ and ‘act’ the way “it’s supposed to,” as well.

The Extreme End of ‘hanging-on’ involves the confluence of three, made raging, ‘Our Way or the Highway’ tributaries – Control of Wealth, Control of Governmental Power (tax and military) and Control of Religion.

Ideologies manifest writ large in many different forms – Tyranny, Kingship, Despot, Religious Nation States, Bubble Inside a Democracy, etc – but the mature movement always features collusion on Control of Wealth, Power and Religion within a Given Societal Structure.

This Cancer of Ideology is an ‘illness’ to which all groups [See ‘Lord of the Flies’], but especially Societies, are susceptible as they age. Over time, the natural human tendency to compete permeates the Wealth/Power/Position structures of the Society. People have a tendency to Grab Power, not let it go, and Grab for More Power – and over the decades and centuries, the effect is like the spread of a ‘deadening’ virus that wants to Control the ‘World.’

Processes meant to Serve petrify into Self-interest, and the Society begins to Die - as the Haves and the Have Mores deprive the Have Nots of even the basics of civil living – all justified by their Ideology, their Worldview of ‘how things are supposed to be’ for Them – they don’t even want to see or hear from Us.

The BushCo Ideology isn’t broadcast to the masses – It’s a Private Narrative. You have to be a member of the Kingdom to hear it; and before you do, you’ll probably give a Loyalty Oath to Bush, and probably ‘blood-in’ making yourself dirty with a crime or perverse pleasure that makes you ‘controllable,’ i.e. - as an ‘offer’ of your ‘usefulness’ and ‘dedication’ to The Agenda.

The BushCo Ideology is almost certainly on display in the RNC/Kingdom e-mail system. The Loyalists would consider it a Private means to conduct their Private Narrative (Sara said Cummins was ‘lazy’ – a Private Narrative judgment.) If that were to come to light, America would likely be stunned at the cravenness and depravity of our Elite Leaders.

Just taking a guess here, but Bush’s Ideology, and the Sycophants Who Enable Him, seems to be:

Totalitarian – Do as I say, Not as I Do – Bush is Never Wrong
Race-Based Greed – ‘look’ and ‘think’ like Bush? – Immunity from the Rule of Law
Theocratic – God told me to Attack – Bush is the Chosen One

It’s an extreme description, but Ideology is an extreme condition.

A Madman is at the wheel of the Bus and he thinks he’s saving ‘his’ people from Apocalyptic Evil – and the Bus is full of unclear, but intense, True Believers of the Republican Party.

If We can’t Impeach and Convict - We can only watch the Train Wreck - and then ‘be there’ for the survivors.

Such is the pathology of the creeping deafness and blindness of Ideology.

IMVHO, an excellent statement, Katie. I would simply add that European American women, Elinor Roosevelt, being one very important example, were crucial in the fight against legalized white supremacy. European American women also did not benefit nearly as much from legalized white supremacy as European American men.

OT, I think repaying the debt that is still owed to the descendants of the slaves makes the most sense. Cash payments, may not be necessary. Increased access to health care and Social Security Disability packages (which includes a TICKET TO WORK component), would really help. While I share your appreciation for affirmative action, I think it works best when restricted to skills and positions where competency is unquestioned. Too often African Americans are shoe-horned into positions for which they have no skills, relative to the people they manage. That's imvho the etymology of the word, "token."

I'm sorry for my flippant remarks here last night, but Clarence is one of my least favorite Supreme Court judges and there are a few that should be thrown out.

Racism and civil rights abuses should never be tolerated in our country. Yet we see every day how this corrupt, greedy, war-mongering administration has perpetuated this morally-bankrupt political climate that looks the other way and even condones such behavior. Power, money & oil is all that BushCo cares about. And Thomas has bought into this lifestyle himself and he is as guilty of these sins as the rest...it's a little late for him to speak up now!

Quzi - "I'm sorry for my flippant remarks here last night, but Clarence is one of my least favorite Supreme Court judges". Jeebus, ya think? I can't speak for others, but I was certainly not offended (not to mention that I might be responsible for frequent obtuse humor myself). There is an acquaintance of mine that I first met in 1985 when we were both involved in a legal project. She later became one of the lead people in Anita Hill's legal team. She would like your comment and agree with your sentiments completely. Oh yeah, and she is now the Governor of Arizona.....

Boo Radly (a name that would surely appreciate the concept of white priviledge). I agree. It's the black and white thinking that has hurt the social movement most of all. It's not all or nothing. Shoe horn without regard to true skills or training that denies the skills lacking in world view of suppression only reinforces the lie.

It contributes to an invalidating environment. I work in a welfare to work program. We teach mental health skills of emotion regulation, nonjugmental stance, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness for this reason. Dress for success and job interview training does not undo years of invalidation. But skills that build mastery and mastery when validated is to the benefit of all society.

But because our society seems unable to tolerate discourse beyond all or nothing it is so difficult to have the discussion about what truly works and what doesn't. I am not "for" or "against" affirmative action as it stands. Doing nothing invalidates the true wounds that slavery, violence, trauma and resulting drug addiction have caused. Requiring skills that are not possessed as as result of these wounds is the other end of invalidation.

We are so intolerant to the investment at the beginning. The savings account. The idea that investing in children pays off in the end. It works. I help lots of folks get off welfare who have personality disorders as a result of years of victimization. It takes years of counseling. It often requires counseling as they get a job and learn that when 'Jack looked at me sideways he wasn't going to kill me, and infact I have no idea what he was thinking'. These barriers are HUGE, and are invalidated.

But we will again see the result of this as our wounded come home from Iraq. It will take more than skills, medicine and a couple sessions to put these folks lives back in order. But it can be done. Just not fast enough for today's "take a chill pill or ignore it" society. It is our denial of the consequences of violence that may in fact destroy us.

Thanks Katie.

"I work in a welfare to work program."

You are doing great work.

FWIW, terrific op-ed from the NYTimes' Gail Collins about the historical tension between those who fought legalized white supremacy and those who fought legalized male supremacy.The Women Behind the Men

Just a tiny side note on Thomas. On the telecast of the USC-Nebraska game they interviewed him, fairly early in the game I think. For some reason, through a child or some other family connection, he's a Nebraska football fan. He was up in one of the suites. So he's wearing a big red sweatshirt and seems to be having a great time, doing a good job analyzing the game and Nebraska's chances, chatting and laughing and, well, showing that he has a personality.

It was just plain weird. It was virtually impossible to make the connection that he is a supreme court justice. There's the odd disconnect you would normally have when a very important public figure normally seen in uniform is bumping around in a sweatshirt. But most of these public figures have some sort of persona attached their very serious day job. With Thomas, his public persona is a silent blank, a big nada. So when he's talking about Husker football with acumen and genuine enthusiasm, it's almost as shocking as it would be for him to go on a reality show, living out in the wild on Survivor or Dancing with the Stars. It was that strange.

With Thomas, his public persona is a silent blank, a big nada.

Makes me think he knows he's out of his depth in his day job. I'd be trying to be invisible too, if I were in that spot.

PJ - "out of his depth in his day job". Yep, sure is. And shock of all shocks, there is a very certain and well known 25% of the populous that considers Thomas to be one of the two best Supreme Court Justices.

I am reminded daily by colleagues that there is tremendous pressure in being "the minority" representative. I can't imagine what the likes of Collin Powell, or Condaleeza Rice, or Justice Thomas face. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this.

Clarence Thomas is married to a Nebraska native. She is from Omaha. They occasionally visit the town and come home to see her parents. I believe they were interviewed when he was being given the position. That's why he is a Husker fan, likely.

When I was in college, my poor husband from IA had to live with my near obsession with the team. Today I don't often even know the score on a saturday. But it's definetly the only game in town. So, the fever spreads to spouses if they want to stay married. I am a fair weather fan these days, but was indoctrinated as all nebraskans are.

In fact my 8 year old has a football game tomorrow. My husband and I sit in the stands watching him miss his tackles and occasionally run the wrong way. Of course I'd be lying if I didn't admit the dream. The joys of parenting.

What, and he didn't ramble on about Hayden Fry and the Hawkeyes? everybody from Iowa that I knew (a lot) sure did.

My now ex husband rambled on about Hayden Fry and the Hawkeyes, but I think back then, when I was 20 something, that would make me cry. Honestly. It wasn't pretty. I felt he should be on my side.

He and I also had a HUGE fight about capital punishment. I called him a murderer. Thankfully, I have had lots of therapy and there was good reason that marriage didn't last. I HAVE mentioned my Irish temper.

KJ - Don't want to raise that temper, but I was in SunDevil Stadium exactly 11 years ago tonight when ASU beat then Number 1 rated Nebraska 19-0. A very Rosey year for the Devils.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt." He at least has the self-awareness to stay quiet.

Folks...I said I had lots of therapy. It's cool. Today I am much more able to imagine that this was quite a night to watch them beat number one Nebraska. Too much fun!!

Plus we in nebraska have all survived the changing of the guard, and the loss of our number one status. We are a little more humble these days. Although my neighbor pulled up coming home from the game yesterday around 6pm all dressed in red and honking like a crazy man.

Thanks for sharing your memory, Bmaz. I focused on the fact that winning wouldn't have been much of a memory if Nebraska hadn't been ranked number one!! Quality of life depends on what you focus on!!

EW -- i agree:

". . .This was a reign of terror, and the
cross was a sign of that. . . It
is unlike any symbol in our society.
It was intended to cause fear, terrorize. . .

perhaps the most-[only?]-cogent thing
he will ever utter from the bench. . .

even as i applaud his momentary
clarity, i cannot help but be
immensely discouraged -- for
our nation -- this sunday morning,
as i compare the 87-year-old justice
stevens' [profiled in today's
nytimes.com magazine
] record with
that of thomas. . . depressing,
actually. . .

but, god willing, i too would like
to swim in the ocean every other
day at age 87, and shake sand from
(from reading them by the ocean)
as i enter the office on monday. . .

wow -- what a cool life!

p e a c e

KJ - Absolutely. Who it was (Nebraska) and where they stood (Number1) meant everything in the world. To shut them out on our field was stunning. I cannot begin to tell you how magical it was. I wish you could have been there, and I don't mean that in a bad way. As a Nebraska fan, you would have been bummed. As a football fan, you would have witnessed something truly remarkable. It was in the air, it was in the stands, it was in the players, it was in the fans. the night was already going to be special because that was the night the field was renamed "Frank Kush field in honor of the man who built sun Devil Football. I will have to say that there were, as there always are wherever they go, a lot of Big Red fans there. They could not have been better, nor more classy fans. They knew the moment and appreciated it. A group of them actually bought my friends and me a round of drinks on Mill Avenue afterwards, and told us, in spite of the loss, what a special scene they had witnessed and told us how special they thought that Devil team and it's quarterback (Jake Plummer) were. My point earlier was not to rub it in (I save that type of stuff for the dreaded Big 10 schools) but more to relate something I had been remembering all day because of your mention of the Huskers. I have been to other ASU games that have been as big, maybe bigger if you consider some games against U of A and, of course, the Rose Bowls; but never that were literally dripping of transcendental magic like the night eleven years ago. Believe it or not, you would have enjoyed it I think. Kind of anyway....

Our culture, by design, has abundant, meaningless visual stimuli that makes it too easy for people to refuse the visceral meaning of truly potent symbols like the lynching noose. The visual noise also gives cover allowing us to forgive as flippant or ignorant people who deliberately use such symbols.
No American should be able to look at a noose and not viscerally feel sick at heart. Or walk into a sports arena without thinking of the Katrina image of a grandmother, dead weight in a wheelchair... Or think of war without the image of a young girl, clothes burned off of her body, running down a dirt road, screaming.

If the noose is a noose is a noose to you: Go to the book WITHOUT SANCTUARY: look carefully through the postcard images. Not at the sacred dead but look into the bystanders at familiar faces of white Americans standing, watching.

The fact that Americans did not see a video on U-Tube of nooses dangling in the tree outside the high school is also telling. No reporter put the image on TV for the world to see (little incident/little southern town/no African American-owned media with network affiliation.)
Did the school photo-document it for disciplinary reasons? Of course not, (once so public it couldn't be ignored) the hypocrisy of our American embarrassment (rather than the collective shame it ought to be) compelled school authorities to remove the nooses as inconvenient public evidence. Voila! problem solved. "Come-on, boys, go back to football."


I think that college football is special the way the college world series is special. There is something about those kids playing with all their guts, for the game sake, not a salary, that brings the magic. Plus the fans are parents and family and true friends and neighbors to these kids.

I have many husker memories. Although I never got to be in the stands for a big championship game. Truthfully, I still remember watching the game dubbed "The Game of the Century" between Nebraska and Oklahoma back in 1971 on t.v. (was it 71?)

My brother was at that game at Az. He is one of those stereotypical Husker fans. He paints his face, with flair, because he is an advertising exec and artist. And my brother, also with that midwestern sense of community, would have bought a round of drinks for the opposing team. Plus, any good excuse for another round. (I've mentioned that I am Irish)

I have one of those magic memories of a highschool football championship game my senior year. Crazy. I still remember every nuance of that game. We had some special athletes that year and went to state in football and basket ball. I went to a very small highschool and so those boys on the field were our dates for everything. It was magic. Back when "We Will Rock You" by Queen, was NEW!! We were stomping in the stands to stay warm and we thought we were so cool/hot?

It's those memories that send me to each and every one of my son's games.

"The Game of the Century" between Nebraska and Oklahoma back in 1971 on t.v. (was it 71?)

Two words. Johnny Rodgers. I remember that game too; it was huge even out here.

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