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:


Jul 202010

As I followed the story of Shirley Sherrod yesterday and today, I kept going back to a column recently penned by Joe Keohane of The Boston Globe

Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

If you haven’t already done so, you probably should read the entire column.

Fortunately, nothing like that ever happens to you or me. We’re always right the first time. Right?

P.S. If there is any justice in the world or courage within the Obama administration, Ms. Sherrod will be reinstated immediately. In addition, she will be offered a full and unconditional apology. (Did we honestly learn nothing from the ACORN incident? (i.e. Fox News and conservative activists like this Breitbart character are not, under any circumstances, to be trusted. Never, ever.))

UPDATE: In the event that you are interested (and have 43 minutes to spare), the NAACP has posted the full video of Ms. Sherrod’s speech. Judge for yourself.

Restore jobless benefits

 Posted by at 11:34  economy, Politics
Jul 192010

Remarks by the President on Unemployment Insurance

Over the past few weeks, a majority of senators have tried -– not once, not twice, but three times –- to extend emergency relief on a temporary basis. Each time, a partisan minority in the Senate has used parliamentary maneuvers to block a vote, denying millions of people who are out of work much-needed relief. These leaders in the Senate who are advancing a misguided notion that emergency relief somehow discourages people from looking for a job should talk to these folks.

That attitude I think reflects a lack of faith in the American people, because the Americans I hear from in letters and meet in town hall meetings –- Americans like Leslie and Jim and Denise — they’re not looking for a handout. They desperately want to work. Just right now they can’t find a job. These are honest, decent, hardworking folks who’ve fallen on hard times through no fault of their own, and who have nowhere else to turn except unemployment benefits and who need emergency relief to help them weather this economic storm.

Complete transcript following the break.

Continue reading »

Meet my Congressman

 Posted by at 19:17  Politics, Republicans
Jul 182010

Meet Congressman Pete Sessions…

I live in the district represented by this imbecile. I have met (and met with him) several times. Believe me, it doesn’t get much better than what you are seeing in this video. Sometimes, believe it or not, it is actually worse.

I hope people are paying attention. This is what you get when you elect Republicans.

P.S. Who put the hot sauce in David Gregory’s oatmeal this morning?

P.P.S. Here’s one of my senators. We grows ’em smart in Texas.


Weekly Address 07-17-10

 Posted by at 08:51  Politics
Jul 172010

“Filibustering Recovery & Obstructing Progress”

From the White House weblog:

The President blasts Republicans in the Senate who are blocking unemployment insurance and small business tax breaks to create jobs — even as they push for permanent, massive tax cuts for the richest Americans.

Click below to listen to the audio only:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The transcript of the president’s weekly address, as prepared for delivery, is available after the break.

Continue reading »

Oil cap

 Posted by at 11:52  Politics
Jul 162010

If you’ve been following the news from the Gulf, you know that a cap has been placed on the broken well that appears to have stopped the oil gusher. President Obama spoke with reporters at the White House this morning about the situation. He cautioned against excessive optimism. This cap was not meant to be and most probably will not be a long term fix. He also reminded everyone that we still have several years of cleanup ahead of us due to the amount of oil that has already spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

Transcript follows break.

Continue reading »

Financial reform passes

 Posted by at 15:29  economy, Politics
Jul 152010

It only took two years and only three Republicans (Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Scott Brown) voted for it, but…

Senate passes sweeping Wall Street reform

Congress on Thursday passed the stiffest restrictions on banks and Wall Street since the Great Depression, clamping down on lending practices and expanding consumer protections to prevent a repeat of the 2008 meltdown that knocked the economy to its knees.

A year in the making and 22 months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a worldwide panic in credit and other markets, the bill cleared its final hurdle with a 60-39 Senate vote. It now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature, expected as early as Wednesday.

The law will give the government new powers to break up companies that threaten the economy, create a new agency to guard consumers in their financial transactions and shine a light into shadow financial markets that escaped the oversight of regulators.

UPDATE: Remarks by the President…

Transcript follows break.

Continue reading »

Cheney’s heart

 Posted by at 18:48  Politics, Republicans
Jul 142010

We wish him well…

Former Vice President Dick Cheney gets new heart device

Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a long history of heart problems, said on Wednesday he has had a new heart pump implanted.

“A few weeks ago, it became clear that I was entering a new phase of the disease when I began to experience increasing congestive heart failure,” Cheney, 69, said in a statement.

“After a series of recent tests and discussions with my doctors, I decided to take advantage of one of the new technologies available and have a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implanted,” he said.

“The LVAD is a small implantable pump that improves heart function and will enable me to resume an active life.”

Cheney, who has had five heart attacks, the latest in February, said the surgery went well and he was recuperating.

LVADs helps maintain the pumping ability of a heart that cannot work effectively on its own. They are usually implanted only in patients with severe heart failure and are nicknamed a “bridge to transplant”, according to the American Heart Association.

Congestive heart failure is a chronic condition that develops as the heart loses its ability to pump properly and gradually enlarges.

I was going to insert some snarky remark here about health insurance — bet he’s glad he has good health insurance — but decided it probably wouldn’t be appropriate.