Lazy Saturday Reads: “Impeach the Motherf***er!”

Cartoon by Mike Thompson

Good Afternoon!!

Republicans and some journalists have taken to their fainting couches over a profanity used by a newly sworn-in Congresswoman, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). In case you missed it somehow, Tlaib said in a speech that she was going to Congress to “impeach the motherfucker.”

Although she only used one swear word, the NYT headline writer characterized her speech as “profanity laden.” Even Trump weighed in during his rambling word salad in the rose garden yesterday, claiming that Tlaib “dishonored” herself, her family, and disrespected the U.S. by using the same word that Trump allowed Kanye West to use in the oval office.

Here’s The New York Times’ Nicholas Fandos’ take:

Impeachment was always going to hang heavily over a divided Washington. But it took little more than 24 hours this week for a freshman House Democrat’s exuberant, expletive-laden impeachment promise to upend the bonhomie of a new Congress and prompt President Trump, by his own telling, to ask the newly elected speaker if Democrats planned to impeach him.

The episode began Thursday night, just hours after the 116th Congress was sworn in, when a camera captured Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan promising profanely to impeach Mr. Trump as she drew cheers from liberal activists at a celebration at a bar near the Capitol. By the time Mr. Trump discussed the matter directly in a news conference in the Rose Garden on Friday afternoon, weeks of speculation about his potential peril had burst into the open.

Republicans, eager to portray Democrats as out to destroy Mr. Trump’s presidency, piled on criticism of Ms. Tlaib — some of it racially tinged. (Ms. Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, is one of the first Muslims in Congress. The Christian Broadcasting Network referred to her as a “foul-mouthed Islamic congresswoman.”) Democratic leaders, who view discussion of impeachment as politically dangerous and premature, offered worried words meant to tamp down speculation about their intentions.

Fandos’ concern is duly noted. Now he can fuck off.

Rep. Tlaib responded to the uproar in an op-ed at The Detroit Free Press: Now is the time to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

President Donald Trump is a direct and serious threat to our country. On an almost daily basis, he attacks our Constitution, our democracy, the rule of law and the people who are in this country. His conduct has created a constitutional crisis that we must confront now.

Rashida tlaib

The Framers of the Constitution designed a remedy to address such a constitutional crisis: impeachment. Through the impeachment clause, they sought to ensure that we would have the power, through our elected representatives in Congress, to protect the country by removing a lawless president from the Oval Office.

We already have overwhelming evidence that the president has committed impeachable offenses, including, just to name a few: obstructing justice; violating the emoluments clause; abusing the pardon power; directing or seeking to direct law enforcement to prosecute political adversaries for improper purposes; advocating illegal violence and undermining equal protection of the laws; ordering the cruel and unconstitutional imprisonment of children and their families at the southern border; and conspiring to illegally influence the 2016 election through a series of hush money payments.

Whether the president was directly involved in a conspiracy with the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 election remains the subject of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. But we do not need to wait on the outcome of that criminal investigation before moving forward now with an inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives on whether the president has committed impeachable “high crimes and misdemeanors” against the state: abuse of power and abuse of the public trust.

Click on the link the read the rest.

Meanwhile, Trump used the F-word liberally during his meeting with Democratic leaders yesterday. The Daily Beast: Trump Referred to Shutdown as ‘Strike’ in Profanity-Laced Meeting With Democratic Leaders.

During Friday’s meeting at the White House over the ongoing shutdown standoff, President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made little substantive progress as Pelosi and Schumer urged Trump to reopen the government by Tuesday, according to three people familiar with the meeting.

One of these knowledgeable sources told The Daily Beast President Trump kicked off the meeting with a rant lasting roughly 15 minutes that included his $5.6 billion demand for a border wall, and threatened that he was willing to keep the government closed for “years” if that’s what it took to get his wall. He also, unprompted, brought up the Democrats who want him impeached, and even blamed Pelosi for new Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib saying at a party earlier this week that Democrats would impeach the “motherfucker” Trump. (It is unclear why Trump would think Pelosi was responsible for this.)

Trump proceeded to tell the room he was too popular to impeach.

Along with saying the word “fuck” at least three times throughout the meeting, the president bizarrely stated that he did not want to call the partial government shutdown a “shutdown,” according to the source. Instead, he referred to it as a “strike.” (Many of the federal employees affected by the weeks-long shutdown have been working without pay. That is essentially the opposite of a strike.)

During the course of this meeting, the Democrats in the room were visibly shaking their heads in exasperation.

Back in the real world, Americans are suffering from Trump’s latest temper tantrum.

The Washington Post: Millions face delayed tax refunds, cuts to food stamps as White House scrambles to deal with shutdown’s consequences.

Food stamps for 38 million low-income Americans would face severe reductions and more than $140 billion in tax refunds are at risk of being frozen or delayed if the government shutdown stretches into February, widespread disruptions that threaten to hurt the economy.

The Trump administration, which had not anticipated a long-term shutdown, recognized only this week the breadth of the potential impact, several senior administration officials said. The officials said they were focused now on understanding the scope of the consequences and determining whether there is anything they can do to intervene.

trash piles up in dc as the trump shutdown continues.

Thousands of federal programs are affected by the shutdown, but few intersect with the public as much as the tax system and the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the current version of food stamps.

The partial shutdown has cut off new funding to the Treasury Department and the USDA, leaving them largely unstaffed and crippling both departments’ ability to fulfill core functions.

The potential cuts to food stamps and suspension of tax refunds illustrate the compounding consequences of leaving large parts of the federal govern­ment unfunded indefinitely — a ­scenario that became more likely Friday when President Trump said he would leave the government shut down for months or even years unless Democrats gave him money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read more at the WaPo.

The Washington Post: Three dead in national parks as shutdown wears on.

Three days after most of the federal workforce was furloughed on Dec. 21, a 14-year-old girl fell 700 feet to her death at the Horseshoe Bend Overlook, part of the Glen Canyon Recreation Area in Arizona. The following day, Christmas, a man died at Yosemite National Park in California after suffering a head injury in a fall. On Dec. 27, a woman was killed by a falling tree at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the borders of North Carolina and Tennessee.

The deaths follow a decision by Trump administration officials to leave the scenic — but sometimes deadly — parks open even as the Interior Department has halted most of its operations. During previous extended shutdowns, the National Park Service barred public access to many of its sites across the nation to substantially decrease the risk of park damage and visitor injury.

The National Parks have a poop crisis on their hands.

National Park Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum said in an email that an average of six people die each week in the park system, a figure that includes “accidents like drownings, falls, and motor vehicle crashes and medical related incidents such as heart attacks.” Drowning, automobile accidents and falls are among the top causes of death at national parks….

In 1995 and 2013, respectively, the Clinton and Obama administrations made the decision to close the parks altogether. Officials concluded that keeping the parks open would jeopardize public safety and the parks’ integrity, but the closures also became a political cudgel for Democrats because they exemplified one of the most popular aspects of federal operations that had ground to a halt.

CNN: Hundreds of TSA screeners, working without pay, calling out sick at major airports.

Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without paychecks through the partial government shutdown, have called out from work this week from at least four major airports, according to two senior agency officials and three TSA employee union officials.

The mass call outs could inevitably mean air travel is less secure, especially as the shutdown enters its second week with no clear end to the political stalemate in sight.
“This will definitely affect the flying public who we (are) sworn to protect,” Hydrick Thomas, president of the national TSA employee union, told CNN.

TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said the agency is “closely monitoring the situation” and that “screening wait times remain well within TSA standards,” although that could change if the number of call outs increases.

At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, as many as 170 TSA employees have called out each day this week, Thomas tells CNN. Officers from a morning shift were required to work extra hours to cover the gaps.

Call outs have increased by 200%-300% at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where typically 25 to 30 TSA employees call out from an average shift according to a local TSA official familiar with the situation.

Union officials stress that the absences are not part of an organized action, but believe the number of people calling out will likely increase.

One more from The New York Times: Shutdown Leaves Food, Medicine and Pay in Doubt in Indian Country.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — For one tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the government shutdown comes with a price tag: about $100,000, every day, of federal money that does not arrive to keep health clinics staffed, food pantry shelves full and employees paid.

Chippawa Indian food bank in Michigan

The tribe is using its own funds to cover the shortfalls for now. But if the standoff in Washington continues much longer, that stopgap money will be depleted. Later this month, workers could be furloughed and health services could be pared back. “Everything,” said Aaron Payment, the chairman of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe, “is on the table.”

For many Americans who are not federal workers or contractors, a shutdown is a minor inconvenience. A trip to a national park may be canceled. A call to a government office may go unanswered. But for Native American tribes, which rely heavily on federal money to operate, a shutdown can cripple their most basic functions.

All across Indian Country, the federal shutdown slices deep. Generations ago, tribes negotiated treaties with the United States government guaranteeing funds for services like health care and education in exchange for huge swaths of territory.

Read the rest at the NYT.

So . . . what else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread below.

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Friday Reads

Good Morning!

b45c61b8d9b03b61212dc3786b170d81I really have never quite figured out why a lot of people can’t figure out the basic rule of being nice to other people. You learn the lesson of mean almost immediately in this country.  My dad would always come home from his business, cook dinner to relax, and watch the news.  He was particularly fond of Huntley and Brinkley. One of my earliest images of the evening news is of southern police turning hoses on black children and adults.  I can’t imagine that image ever leaving me.  You would think that this far after the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, Stonewall, and all the other movements we’ve had to just bring basic respect to each other’s lives that this country would be less hostile to others.  But no, we continue to see out and out bigotry and hatred of others daily.  This occurs on many levels.

So, it was a bit of a surprise to me to find Adam Sandler making a movie.  I thought we’d moved beyond his unfunny brand of humor.  He seems to have made a decent living making fun of others.  His new script included every trope and stereotype about Native Americans possible.  The Native American actors on the set walked off.  Good for them.

About a dozen Native American actors have walked off the set of an Adam Sandlerspoof western in protest at its depiction of Apache culture, including characters with names like Beaver’s Breath and No Bra.

The group quit on Wednesday after taking offence at jokes in the The Ridiculous Six, reportedly a satire of The Magnificient Seven which is to be Sandler’s first film for Netflix.

In addition to certain characters’ names, they complained about a female character squatting and urinating while smoking a peace pipe and the inappropriate positioning of feathers on a teepee, according to the Indian Country Today Media Network.

The film stars Sandler, Nick Nolte, Steve Buscemi, Dan Aykroyd, Jon Lovitz and Vanilla Ice. Sandler co-wrote it with his veteran collaborator, Tim Herlihy.

It is to be released via Netflix, the first of a four-movie deal with the streaming service, which has scored high repeat viewing figures with Sandler hits such as The Wedding Singer.

The mostly Navajo Native American actors were told The Ridiculous Six, which is being filmed in New Mexico, would be humorous but not racist, actor Loren Anthony told the Indian Country Today Media Network.

“So I agreed to it, but on Monday things started getting weird on the set. One thing that really offended a lot of people was that there was a female character called Beaver’s Breath. One character says: ‘Hey, Beaver’s Breath.’ And the Native woman says: ‘How did you know my name?’”

When the actors complained, the director said the disrespect was not intentional and the film is a comedy, said Anthony.

He also complained about alleged inaccuracies. “We were supposed to be Apache, but it was really stereotypical and we did not look Apache at all. We looked more like Comanche.”

Another Navajo actor, Allison Young, said producers rebuffed her protests. “They just told us: ‘If you guys are so sensitive, you should leave.’”

Young said she cried. “This is supposed to be a comedy that makes you laugh. A film like this should not make someone feel this way. Nothing has changed. We are still just Hollywood Indians.”

It also seems these days that many people are confusing giving all people access to benefits henceforth reserved for a privileged few as something to go all martyr about. The blacklash to this has moved beyondold-tv-set appalling to me.  At least in this case the protesters are identified with a white supremacy group and are being honest about the outrage of having to share their special little snowflake status with others.  Of course, Fox and Friends have taken up the cause of the “War on White People”.

The white freakout over college students grappling with “the problem of whiteness” has just found a new target.

The National Youth Front’s leader, Angelo John Gage, told TPM in a phone interview Thursday that he believes the bulletin board amounted to discrimination. He repeatedly took issue with the portrayal of white people and Christians as having “privilege.”

“State and federal law says you must keep the school discrimination-free. They’re not doing that,” Gage said. “The Civil Rights Act says you can’t have discrimination based on race, sex, gender — all that stuff. Here comes a board that discriminates against people for their race, sex, gender, religion. It’s the complete opposite.”

He defined privilege instead as something “handed to you.”

“‘Oh you’re black, here you go, here’s a scholarship.’ That’s a privilege,” Gage explained. “Or here’s a racial quota. ‘You’re not qualified but you’re black, so here’s the job’ — otherwise it’s racism.”

Gage said he first learned of the bulletin board when he came across an article on Campus Reform, a student news website backed by the Leadership Institute, which organizes conservative groups on campus. Fox News ran with Campus Reform’s story in a “Fox & Friends” segment, which Gage said he watched.

“Fox and Friends” host Elizabeth Hasselbeck spoke with an Appalachian State student earlier this month who said she was cyberbullied after she posted a photo of the bulletin board on Facebook. The photo was picked up by Campus Reform. The student, Laurel Litter, who is white, told Hasselbeck that the felt the bulletin board intimidated her and made her feel shameful about her heritage:

White people!  There are things in our heritage of which we should feel very ashamed!  Slavery?  Lynchings? Jim Crow Laws? I’m sure you can add to the list. I’ve gotten to the point where my rule of not dealing downloadwith mean people implies I mostly avoid white christians unless I know they’re not “that kind” of christian.  You know, the freaking mean, judgmental, hating on others kids demonstrated so illustriously by many of our elected officials. Here’s some more examples of our uncivilized and inhumane behavior. A very dear friend of mine was brutalized at university for being gay 40 years ago.  We’re not beyond that either.

CBS46 obtained exclusive video of what Carver School of Technology students described as a five-round fight with punches being thrown by about 20 students at one point, all because classmates hurled racial and homophobic slurs at two students.

Tim Jefferson, 16, said it all started as he and a friend left their last class to go home.

During the fight, Jefferson said one student even pulled out a screwdriver and jammed it in his face, right next to his eye. Jefferson said he has several injuries.

“My face, my eye, my lip, on my back, my spine right in the middle, the back of my neck and I got hit in the back of my head,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson’s mom, Sabrina Giles, said this is about the eighth time this year that her son and his friend were attacked because of their sexuality so she’s transferring him to another school.

Jefferson hoped to teach the bullies a lesson of their own.

“I’m going to press charges. I want some justice. If God willing, I’m going to get justice and I want the boys who did this to go to jail,” Jefferson said.

Atlanta police charged four students in the fight. Three juveniles will face state charges of affray. The other student, Jefferson’s friend, who said he was bullied, will face a charge of disorderly conduct.

The continued invention of christian persecution in this country reached a fervored pitch yesterday when my governor announced he’d fight big sodomy and big business for his right to humiliate the GLBT community with laws that allow bigots to exclude them and any one else they don’t like from a seat at the lunch counter if they scream “You’re persecuting me because of my religion”!  Oh, SCOTUS and the Hobby Lobby Decision!  Look wtf you’ve done!

Jindal’s op-ed is actually a follow-up of his previous support for Johnson’s bill. Asked for the governor’s stance on the bill by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a Jindal spokesman said the governor definitely supports it.

“This is a common sense bill that provides necessary protections for individuals to prevent adverse treatment from the state based on religious beliefs regarding marriage,” the spokesman told the newspaper.

Pence, at first, seemed adamant in not giving in to any criticism or pressure, be it byDemocrats or national or local businesses, in changing the the religious freedom law he signed. Eventually though the pressure was too much and Pence called on lawmakers to clarify the law. Hutchinson seemed to see the writing on the wall and also sent the religious freedom bill back to his state legislature. Jindal’s op-ed is a move that the other governors didn’t take and a clear line in the sand that he wants things to go differently in his state.

images (4)This nonsense and grandstanding on the Op Ed page of the NYT came on the same day that national support for marriage equality has reached a big plurality. Fully sixty one percent of Americans believe it should be legal in every state in our country.

A week before a closely watched U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the issue, public support for gay marriage reached a new high in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, with 61 percent of Americans – more than six in 10 for the first time – saying gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry legally.

Identical or similar majorities favor gay marriage on two key issues before the court: Sixty-one percent oppose allowing individual states to prohibit same-sex marriages. And 62 percent support requiring states to recognize gay marriages performed legally in other states.

This puts the majority of the Republican party at odds with the majority of the country.  It also indicates that little Bobby Jindal will do anything to the state of Louisiana, its economy, its people, and its environment to attract a few whackado Iowa Republican caucus goers.   Poor Bobby!  Point to the place on the doll where the mean married gay people hurt you!  What?  You can’t point to your imagination?  How about pointing to your blatant political strategy based on hating on people.

When it comes to defending big business over the rights of the average citizen, Bobby Jindal is your guy. After the BP oil spill – which began five years ago this week, dumping hundreds of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf – Bobby Jindal was frontandcenter, defending BP.

But now that he’s running for President – unannounced as of now – Jindal is working to shape his image as the defender of religious liberty and freedom, for Christians.

Literally, for Christians.

The New York Times this morning published what appears to be an un-fact checked op-ed by the Louisiana Governor, in which he specifically states his plan to fight “discrimination against Christian individuals and businesses.”

Not, say, “people of faith,” or, “those with deeply held religious beliefs,” but “Christian individuals and businesses.”

Hopefully Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the ACLU, the American Humanist Association, and other like-minded organizations are at their keyboards reminding the 43-year old Roman Catholic Republican about the First Amendment.

So why exactly is Jindal preparing to defend these Christians (and not Muslims, Jews, or people of unaffiliated faith – or of no faith at all)?

“I’m Holding Firm Against Gay Marriage” is the title of his Times op-ed.

“I plan in this legislative session to fight for passage of the Marriage and Conscience Act,” Jindal writes. When he made the same statement in front of the Louisiana legislature last week, it received not a single moment of applause. Even the bill’s author wasn’t clapping.

That bill is so anti-gay, so sweeping, it states that no one and no business or organization in Louisiana has to recognize the legal marriage of a same-sex couple.

Your employer doesn’t have to extend medical coverage to your spouse. The DMV could state your legal name, had you changed it after marrying a person of the same gender, is invalid (as happened in Florida), and hospitals might be able to deny visitation and medical decision rights from you or your husband or wife.

Louisiana already has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but Gov. Jindal is planning a run for president, and he needs to distinguish himself from the rest of the pack.

maxresdefaultSo, when is removing rights from people so other’s won’t feel put out and can do whatever they want to others based on their bigotry any where near to religious discrimination?  All you have to do is read the justification for slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and  Laws that once prevented people of different colors from marrying and you’ll read the same old tired bigoted arguments.    Notice that I haven’t even got to any conversation on immigration today and I’ve already filled the page up with examples of mean, bigoted hate-filled assholes.

Love one another.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Native American Kansas State Rep. Smacks Down Anti-Immigrant Secretary of State Kris Kobach

Kansas State Rep. Ponka-We Victors

This is such a great story, via Think Progress:

A Native American state representative in Kansas rebuked Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a leader in the anti-immigrant movement, at a hearing yesterday.

“I think it’s funny Mr. Kobach, because when you mention illegal immigrant, I think of all of you,” said State Rep. Ponka-We Victors (D), a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona, during a hearing on Wednesday about a state statute that allows children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public universities. Her comments drew loud applause from the audience.

From The Topeka Capital-Journal:

Students who have lived in the United States most of their lives got choked up as they described the academic lifeline in-state tuition has provided to improve their lives. A counselor who works with such students in Wichita high schools shed tears as she showed legislators a scrapbook of success stories. Murmurs of unrest were heard in the gallery as one House member asked about the prevalence of illegal immigrants from gangs and drug cartels in American prisons.

But nothing drew a bigger reaction than when Rep. Ponka-We Victors, D-Wichita, wrapped up a series of questions to the bill’s chief proponent, Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

….

Wednesday’s hearing on House Bill 2192 would have repealed a nearly 10-year-old statute that allows students who graduate from Kansas high schools and have lived in Kansas for at least three years to pay in-state tuition at state universities and community colleges, regardless of residency status.

Kobach, a lightning-rod for controversy on immigration issues, told the committee federal law conflicts with that statute.

“U.S. citizens should always come first when it comes to handing out government subsidies,” Kobach said.

kris-kobach-sunflower-cropped-proto-custom_28

Kris Kobach is the architect of the Arizona “papers please” immigration law as well as other anti-immigrant laws around the country. He is also a strong supporter of the extremist Arizona voter registration law that is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Read more about him at the Mother Jones Link (2012)–and if you have time, check out this 2011 piece at the Southern Poverty Law Center: When Mr. Kobach Comes to Town: Nativist Laws and the Communities They Damage.

Kris Kobach is the architect of the Arizona “papers please” immigration law as well as other anti-immigrant laws around the country. He is also a strong supporter of the extremist Arizona voter registration law that is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Read more about him at the Mother Jones Link (2012)–and if you have time, check out this 2011 piece at the Southern Poverty Law Center: When Mr. Kobach Comes to Town: Nativist Laws and the Communities They Damage.

Rep. Ponka-We Victors was elected in 2010, and the Indian Country Today Media Network characterizes her as a “political warrior.”

As a young, first-term legislator, Victors, the first American Indian woman elected to the Kansas legislature, garnered state headlines in 2012 when she urged colleagues to reject proposals for strict immigration-enforcement laws during a hearing of the House Federal and State Affairs committee. “Personally,” said Victors, “my people have been fighting immigration since 1492. It doesn’t get any better.”

Read an interview with her at the Indian Country link.

So…. What else is happening out there? Got any feel good stories to share? This is a wide-open thread!


Wednesday Reads II

Good morning, Sky Dancers!

Minkoff Minx is under the weather and needs to rest up, so I’m filling in for her on today’s roundup. Here’s hoping things ease up for her soon!

I’ll start us off with some historical trivia for today.

Tillie Brackenridge on the porch of Mrs. William Vance's residence at Navarro and Travis Streets in San Antonio, where she was employed, c. 1900—Tillie formerly was a slave in James Vance's elegant home on East Nueva Street and told of seeing Robert E. Lee, a frequent visitor to the house. (from texancultures.com)

On December 29th, 1845, Texas enters the Union and becomes the 28th state (link goes to the History Channel site):

The citizens of the independent Republic of Texas elected Sam Houston president but also endorsed the entrance of Texas into the Union. The likelihood of Texas joining the Union as a slave state delayed any formal action by the U.S. Congress for more than a decade. In 1844, Congress finally agreed to annex the territory of Texas. On December 29, 1845, Texas entered the United States as a slave state, broadening the irrepressible differences in the United States over the issue of slavery and setting off the Mexican-American War.

Reminds me of this indelible photo of Juneteenth (Emancipation Day), taken in the year 1900, at what I believe used to be called Wheeler’s Grove in Austin (today it is known as Eastwoods Park). Here’s another poignant photo of the first official Juneteenth Committee, from the same place and same day as the first photo.

While I was digging around for decent links to these two iconic images, I stumbled across this post back in June 2009 about the holiday, from the Smithsonian’s “Around the Mall” blog — it’s fairly brief and there’s a neat and concise Q&A at the end if you have the time.

Just a little Juneteenth in December from your Texan on the frontpage.

Also a reminder of the countless unsung and ordinary heroes and heroines throughout the course of human history who have played a role in that most painstaking and arduous of endeavors–fighting the good fight to secure, maintain, protect, and strengthen all human and civil rights.

Texas became a state on December 29, 1845, but it did not become a free state until two decades later on June 18/19, 1865.

I’m just waiting for us to turn into a blue state again…I like picturing my mayor Annise Parker leading the way to defeat Guv Goodhair one of these days. Hey, a lefty wonk-gal in Texas can dream!

Speaking of human rights, I recommend checking out Clifford Levy’s piece yesterday from the NYT‘s Above the Lawseries. It’s calledAn Accuser Becomes the Accused.” That’s the video version, but there’s also a text article in case that’s more convenient — “In Russia, an Advocate Is Killed, and an Accuser Tried.”

From the text:

MOSCOW — In a small courtroom in Moscow, friends of Natalya K. Estemirova crowded onto wooden benches, clasping photographs of her. It was 16 months after the murder of Ms. Estemirova, a renowned human rights advocate in the tumultuous region of Chechnya, and now the legal system was taking action.

A defendant was on trial, and his interrogators were demanding answers about special operations and assassination plots.

But the defendant was not Ms. Estemirova’s suspected killer. It was her colleague Oleg P. Orlov, chairman of Memorial, one of Russia’s foremost human rights organizations.

The authorities had charged Mr. Orlov with defamation because he had publicly pointed the finger at the man he believed was responsible for the murder: the Kremlin-installed leader of Chechnya. If convicted, Mr. Orlov could face as many as three years in prison.

The shooting of Ms. Estemirova, 51, in July 2009 has so far produced only an incomplete investigation, and no charges have been filed against anyone involved. Her case has instead turned into an example of what often happens in Russia when high-ranking officials fall under scrutiny. Retaliation follows, and the accuser becomes the accused.

Be it Wikileaks or the shooting of Estemirova, distracting far away from the original story under investigation seems to be the name of the game.

Now I’m not saying the Wikileaks circumstance is equal in nature or degree to the situation surrounding Estemirova’s murder. Justice is clearly being denied in the latter, whereas the former is far more complex. But either way, the detours from the initial topic of investigation do nothing but breed more suspicion and doubt at a time when trust in public and private institutions is on the decline.

Speaking of distractions, file this next one under Obama Derangement. From TPM — Latest Right-Wing Freak-Out: Obama Wants To Give Manhattan Back To Native Americans“:
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