Jul 212010

May be too little too late, but it’s something…

White House issues public apology to ousted USDA staffer

The White House offered a full-throated apology to former Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod, calling her ouster as the result of an out-of-context video an “injustice,” and said the agriculture secretary is attempting to contact her to discuss “next steps.”

Press secretary Robert Gibbs conceded Wednesday afternoon that the government had acted rashly and without all the facts when it sought Sherrod’s resignation for racially themed comments she made during a recent speech to the NAACP. But Gibbs would not say whether Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will offer her job back.

“The secretary is trying to reach her. The secretary will apologize for the actions that have taken place in the past 24 to 36 hours,” he told reporters. “On behalf of the administration, I offer our apologies.”

Perhaps next time they will not simply ask “How high?” when Fox News or other right wing activists (like now totally disgraced and discredited Andrew Breitbart) yell “Jump!”

P.S. Go read Krugman.

UPDATE: Secretary Vilsack has spoken with Ms. Sherrod. He apologized to her for falling for the right wing lies and deception without first taking time to check the facts. He offered her a newly created position within the USDA dealing with race issues. Ms. Sherrod is currently considering the job offer.


USDA reconsidering

 Posted by at 09:42  Politics, Republicans
Jul 212010

Amazing stuff here…

Ousted USDA official: I’m not sure I’d take job back

Shirley Sherrod
Shirley Sherrod

The woman ousted from the Agriculture Department over racially tinged remarks that sparked a firestorm in the media said she was uncertain if she would return to her job if invited back.

On Monday, Shirley Sherrod resigned from a senior position with the USDA in Georgia after edited video clips surfaced appearing to show her admitting to racial bias toward a white farmer.

However, when the full video of her speech at an NAACP event was made public, the civil rights group retracted a previous statement condemning her for acting in a racist manner, and said she had been treated unfairly. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack then said in the early hours of Wednesday that he would reconsider the USDA’s decision to ask for her resignation.

“I am of course willing and will conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the American people we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner,” Vilsack said.

But Sherrod, who said on Tuesday that she was pressured to resign, said on NBC’s TODAY show that she might not want her job back.

“I am just not sure how I would be treated there,” she said.

Wrong, Secretary Vilsack. The time for a thorough review was Monday before you panicked and fired this dedicated public servant. You allowed yourself to be frightened and intimidated by right wing racist bigots, and for that you should be completely shamed.

My advice to Ms. Sherrod: lawyer up. Get yourself the best legal representation you can find. Sue the bastards. Sue Brietbart, Fox News, the USDA, Tom Vilsack, et. al. Sue them for defamation of character, libel, loss of livelihood, pain and suffering and whatever else the lawyers can come up with. Sue the hell out of them. This country cannot be ruled by a bunch of skinhead racist bigots who are sitting on the back bench. (Or any bench, for that matter.) Take them for all they have, Shirley. Seriously.

UPDATE: The following videos are from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast July 20, 2010: