Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Candidate For RNC Chair Was Member Of Whites-Only Country Club

Now here's a good way for the GOP to make the case that it hasn't been reduced to a southern regional rump party that's held hostage by intolerant crackpots: Elect as the new chairman of the Republican National Committee a southerner who just resigned a longtime membership in a whites-only country club.

Katon Dawson, the South Carolina GOP chairman, announced his candidacy for RNC chair yesterday.

And guess what: Back in September, when Dawson was first quietly laying the groundwork for his RNC run, The State newspaper reported that he resigned his membership in the nearly 80-year-old Forest Lake Club. Members told the newspaper at the time that the club's deed has a whites-only restriction and has no black members.

Dawson claimed to the paper that he'd actually been working since August to change the club's admission practices after reading about them in the press. Nonetheless, his membership could become an issue in the RNC chair race.

After all, the paper says he was a member for 12 years, so it seems like a pretty fair question to ask whether he started working to change the club's rules this summer, and then resigned, in preparation for his RNC chair candidacy.

That seems like a particularly relevant question when you recall that the case some GOPers made against Obama over his ties to Reverend Wright was that his supposed silence in the face of Wright's rantings should raise questions about Obama's patriotism.

What's more, The State said that Dawson resigned the club after it became known that the paper was getting ready to report his membership.

Either way, it's hard to see how it sends a winning message for the GOP to pick as its chief strategist and public face someone who was a member of a club where the first African American president in history apparently need not apply. Ah, those good old Repubs.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why Is the National Press Ignoring Small-Town Racism?

The big papers print it all, right?

Well, they’ve certainly published their share of pro-Obama op-eds, front-page stories about the war in Afghanistan, and maps that show how all the rural red counties turned blue last Tuesday. Subscribers love reading about how Obama’s win has ushered in a new era and helped erase the black stain of slavery.

But there are plenty of people out there who don’t like it one bit that a black man is about to become leader of the free world.

For whatever reason, the national papers and wire services are ignoring the steady stream of local reports concerning post-election acts of racism. The only place to find them is in small-town papers. VF Daily scoured small-town America for news of these incidents. What we found may shock you.

• In Pulaski Township, Pennsylvania, a flag was hung upside down. [Times Online]

• In Midland, Michigan a man paraded through an intersection in a KKK robe. [MLive]

• A noose was hung from a tree at Baylor University. [Baylor Lariat]

• In Loxahatchee, Florida, a family home was covered in racist graffiti. [WPTV.com]

• A gunstore employee in Traverse City, Michigan hung a flag upside down. [Traverse City Record-Eagle]

• In Stokes County, N.C., a man crossed his flag with a black X and hung it upside down. [Winston-Salem Journal]

• At the University of Arizona, a cartoon with an individual using a racial slur against black people caused an uproar. [DailyWildcat.com]

• In Apolacon Township, Pennsylvania an interracial couple who supported Obama found a burned cross in their yard. [Star-Gazette]

• In Mount Desert Island, Maine black effigies were hung from nooses. [Bangor Daily News]

Monday, November 10, 2008

Telegraph: Palin Blamed by Secret Service for Death Threats

According to the Daily Telegraph in London:

Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

There's more in the article, which appears to reference a Newsweek article. It's something we need to add to our Sara Palin Shit List®. Based on what we're seeing in the wingnutosphere, it seems like Sarah's going to be around for a while. Personally, I think we'll wipe the floor with her again next time around, but we need to be prepared.

I've saw other blogs that say 62% of Republicans want her as their leader. It makes sense that a party that celebrates ignorance, superstition and intolerance would love her since she has all of these traits in abundance. Let's keep our powder dry for the next round.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Beck: Conservatives voted for McCain hoping he’d die in office so Palin could take over

Today, radical right-wing blog Red State launched “Project Leper,” an attempt to professionally punish McCain staffers whom Red State’s Erick Erickson perceives to have wronged Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK). Erikson told Glenn Beck today, “Palin was the best thing that happened to” the McCain campaign. To which, Beck agreed, saying many conservatives told him they supported McCain in hopes he would die in office:

BECK: I mean, I have to tell you if I heard once, I heard 1,000 times from people, and I never said this, never said this on the air because you just don’t say these things, but I heard a million times from people, “I’m going to vote for John McCain and, you know, I mean, he’s old. Maybe we get Sarah Palin in the first term.” You know what I mean?

ERICKSON: Exactly.

If this is true, Beck has shown how truly stupid, ignorant, & partisan Repubs are. Palin is a bigoted, racist, vengeful, stupid, dumb, out-of-touch, vicious, unhinged, incompetent, illiterate, buffoon. But definitely a Repub icon, given all that. When will Repubs realize this sort of smearing liar is of no interest to the American People ?

For years, the right has cultivated and promoted more and more idiotic, anti-reality radio screamers and columnists - Beck, Coulter, Ingrahm, Mark Levin, Savage, Goldberg and on and on and on. Getting the conservative message out took precedence over building party infrastructure, to the point where orthodoxy is valued over all else. The problem now being that the party is organized around patently ridiculous ideas. Tax cuts for the rich raises revenues! Our healthcare system is the best in the world! Global warming is a massive conspiracy! And the craziest of all: The U.S. is a majority conservative nation!

The result is you now have persuadable, not very bright people like Joe the Plumber being held up by the party as emblematic of all that is right and good about conservatism. Look! Joe gets it! Taxes are socialism! Evil! Even though the man was national punchline for the rank hypocrisy of being a tax cheat and growing up on welfare. And they think this is good! You actually need to be incoherent to be a conservative now. Listen to what Erickson says at the very end of the clip: “the McCain campaign seemed to think their strategy was to win with moderates and independents - the mushy middle. You don’t win elections…” I assume he finishes by making the point that McCain wasn’t stridently rightwingish enough. As long as the GOP is lead by the likes of Beck and Erickson, they’re destined for minority status. Sucks for them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Florida school board keeps Klan leader's name at high school

A Florida school board voted late Monday night to keep the name of a Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader at a majority black high school, despite opposition from a black board member who said the school's namesake was a "terrorist and racist."

After hearing about three hours of public comments, Duval County School Board members voted 5-2 to the retain the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School. The board's two black members cast the only votes to change the name.

"(Forrest) was a terrorist and a racist," argued board member Brenda Priestly Jackson, who is black.

Betty Burney, the board chairman and the board's other black member, also voted against retaining the name.

"It is time to turn the page and get beyond where we are," she said.

Board member Tommy Hazouri voted to keep the name and said it is difficult to know "who the real Forrest is."

The board listened to passionate arguments from those on both sides. More than 140 people crowded into the meeting room, with another 20 watching the meeting on a television in the lobby.

Many urged a name change, saying the Forrest name was an insult.

"Nathan Bedford Forrest was part of the Ku Klux Klan, no matter how you put it. Nathan Bedford Forrest needs to be changed," said Stanley Scott, who is black.

But several spoke favorably of the general, saying the perceptions that Forrest was an evil man who ordered the massacre of Union troops were incorrect.

June Cooper, who graduated from Forrest in 1970, said some people wanted to wipe out Southern history.

"He was a good man," said Cooper, who is White. "He was a military genius."

Despite her opposition, the board's chairwoman noted that the intensely debated issue could distract from students' education and had even prompted one person to receive death threats for wanting the name changed.

"The naming of a school should not take precedence over someone's life," she said.

Some had suggested naming the school after the street it sits on, or honoring a graduate whose plane was shot down in 1991 over Iraq on the first night of Operation Desert Storm.

Forrest High School, which has received two consecutive "F" grades on state assessment tests, opened as an all-white school in the 1950s. Its name was suggested by the Daughters of the Confederacy, who saw it as a protest to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that eventually integrated the nation's public schools.

But now more than half Forrest High's students are black.

The issue has come up several times during the past half-century, but the School Board has never changed the name. Jacksonville has three other schools named after Confederate generals, but it also has schools named after civil rights icons.

Born poor in Chapel Hill, Tenn., in 1821, Forrest amassed a fortune as a plantation owner and slave trader, importing Africans long after the practice had been made illegal. At 40, he enlisted as a private in the Confederate army at the outset of the Civil War, rising to a cavalry general in a year.

Some accounts accused Forrest of ordering black prisoners to be massacred after a victory at Tennessee's Fort Pillow in 1864, though historians question the validity of the claims.

In 1867, the newly formed Klan elected Forrest its honorary Grand Wizard or national leader, but he publicly denied being involved. In 1869, he ordered the Klan to disband because of the members' increasing violence. Two years later, a congressional investigation concluded his involvement had been limited to his attempt to disband it.

After his death in 1877, memorials to him sprung up throughout the South, particularly in Tennessee. A mounted statue of Forrest and the graves of the general and his wife are in a Memphis park bearing his name.

Another interesting fact the movie character "Forest Gump" was also named after Nathan Bedford Forrest.