Sunday Reads: Part A

Good Morning

Just a quick couple of links for you this morning, I will post a longer round-up a bit later.

Gabby Douglas wins the Gold Medal, and this is how NBC follows it up.

NBC Denies Any Racial Offense Was Meant By Olympic Monkey Promo | Mediaite

One of NBC’s new fall shows is Animal Practice, a show about doctors, animals, and the hilarious hijinks they will surely get into on a weekly basis. One of the stars of the show is a little monkey, and as a tie-in for its Olympics coverage, NBC is airing a promo for the show featuring the monkey as a gymnast. Last night, the promo aired right after Bob Costas remarked that gymnast Gabby Douglas winning the gold medal would inspire young African-American girls, and NBC is now apologizing and denying any offense was meant in airing the monkey ad.

Can you believe it!

NBC was planning on having the gymnastics-themed ad airing right after the gymnastics-heavy segment, according to the Associated Press. The AP deals how the situation unfolded.

“Much of America has fallen in love with Gabby Douglas,” Costas said. “Also safe to say that there are some young African-American girls out there who tonight are saying to themselves, ‘Hey, I’d like to try that, too.’”

Then NBC switched to the commercial with the small, widely grinning monkey on the rings. Blacks in the past have been disparagingly referred to as monkeys to the point where it is considered a common slur.

Video of the cut-away at the link up top.

NBC was then “forced” to apologize: Gabby Douglas: NBC forced to apologise after ad features a monkey doing gymnastics right AFTER victory | Mail Online

NBC has become the centre of a race storm after airing an ad featuring a monkey performing gymnastics, right after showing the performance of Gabby Douglas, the first African-American to win Olympic gold.

The network has since apologised for the advert’s poor timing, explaining: ‘No offense was intended.’

The controversy ignited as sportscaster Bob Costas wrapped his analysis of her incredible routine during the all-around competition last night.

Costas said: ‘There are some African American girls out there who tonight are saying to themselves: “Hey, I’d like to try that too.” More from London in a moment.’

Angry viewers lashed out at the network on social media platforms like Twitter, accusing them of racism.

‘Disgusted at NBC for showing Animal Practice with monkey right after Gabby wins her gold,’ one user posted.

Monkey business: The ad was for the upcoming NBC sitcom Animal Practice
Monkey business: The ad was for the upcoming NBC sitcom Animal Practice
Rage: Angry viewers lashed out at the network on social media platforms like Twitter, accusing them of racismRage: Angry viewers lashed out at the network on social media platforms like Twitter, accusing them of racism

Another called it ‘risky.’

In a statement to MailOnline, NBC Sports said: ‘Gabby Douglas’ gold medal performance last night was an historic and inspiring achievement.

‘This spot promoting ’Animal Practice,’ which has run three times previously, is one in a series with an Olympic theme which have been scheduled for maximum exposure. Certainly no offense was intended.’

The Daily Mail has those few tweets commenting on the commercial above, but I do not think they get at the heart of the matter. Buzzfeed had some with a little more bite.

Did NBC Just Air A Racist Commercial?

That post Gabby NBC monkey commercial is exactly why I don’t stand 4 the US national anthem. You didn’t have to be “conscious” to see that.

Gabby Douglas wins gold & then NBC puts on a commercial of monkey doing gymnastics. #unbelievable #racist #NBC #Olympics

RT @ka_Sh_mere: how #racist is #NBC … they show a monkey on the rings after Gabby wins the gold

RT @TheTimBritton: Anybody else notice that NBC just went racist? Showing a commercial of a monkey doing gymnastics right after the medal for Gabby? #NBCFAIL

@gabrielledoug– NBC what was that Monkey commercial after Gabby? we are not stupid

NBC follows interview w/ Gabby Douglas with an ad featuring a gymnast monkey. Well done, NBC.#Clap #Clap #Clap #Really

So Gabby wins gold and NBC’s first commercial has a monkey trying to do the rings, WTF.

RT @ka_Sh_mere: how #racist is #NBC … they show a monkey on the rings after Gabby wins the gold

RT @LlewelarkTGTY: Did anyone else notice that #NBC advertised the monkey doing the gymnastics right after Gabby took the Gold??? #petty #Olympics

NBC just showed an interview with Gabby Douglas and then cut right to an NBC promo commercial with a monkey doing gymnastics. WTF was that?

Gabby wins gold, Bob Costas gives a racially sensitive speech, then NBC airs an ad featuring a black skinned, gymnastics monkey #NBCfail

RT @LlewelarkTGTY: Did anyone else notice that #NBC advertised the monkey doing the gymnastics right after Gabby took the Gold??? #petty #Olympics

LMAO My bro & I just said that hahaha RT @ka_Sh_mere: how #racist is #NBC … they show a monkey on the rings after Gabby wins the gold

But this racist segue was not the only thing Gabby has to contend with. She got berated over and over by twits who posted tweets about her hair! Unfuckingbelievable!

African-American gymnast wins gold, but critics obsess over … her hair – Lean Forward

On Thursday, 16-year-old gymnastics phenomenon Gabby Douglas won Olympic gold for the U.S. But as Michael Eric Dyson noted on The Ed Show, all a small number of Twitter critics could focus on was the African-American athlete’s hair.

“Gabby Douglas, you made history w/your impeccable talent & hideous hair,” spewed @BReeMonroe.

Gabby, who is just 4-feet-11-inches tall and flipped and spun through the air in a way that’s less than conducive to keeping every hair perfectly in place, wore her hair in a slightly messy bun that was gelled back with hairclips.

“Congrats to Gabby Douglas on her gold metal (sic)! I wish I could say the same. about that hair! Omg horrible!” blared @shestaken.

“We, as a Black community gotta fix Gabby Douglas’s hair,” chimed in @sarocious.

Video at the link has a op-ed by Dyson, give it a looksee:

Dyson was appalled by the online disparagement of the pint-sized powerhouse, and chastised critics for their callous prioritization of aesthetics over athletic prowess.

“Gabby Douglas is an Olympic champion,” Dyson said.

“She’s being recognized on the world stage for her ability to outperform her completion in a sport,” he added. “And to get there, she had to break a sweat just like everyone else. That should be the focus.”

Fortunately, Gabby is taking it all in stride as a true champion:

She took to Twitter after she won gold, tweeting, “WOW such an AMAZING experience! Thank you all for your support, love and prayers love you all!!! #oncloud9 <3”

So for Gabby, this song is for you…

Ring your own bells, and keep doing it for yourself!

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Tuesday Reads: Romney’s Gaffe-tastic European Tour, #NBCfail, the War on Women, and More

Good Morning!!

Mitt Romney is going to wrap up his gaffe-tastic European vacation today, but the gaffes may not be over yet. I read in JJ’s late night post last night that he’s going to make a speech in which he attacks Russia and Putin and criticize Obama for making efforts to cooperate with Russia on some issues like controlling nukes. Whatever happened to Romney’s promise that he wasn’t going to criticize current U.S. policies while overseas?

After all of Romney’s pandering during his visit to Israel, Ehud Barak spoke highly of President Obama in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer yesterday.

Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak said the Obama White House has been the most supportive administration throughout the two countries’ diplomatic relations on matters of Israeli security, in an interview to air Monday on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

Barak -also a former prime minister of Israel – said that though historically administrations from both political parties have supported the Jewish state President Obama’s support, security-wise, is unparalleled.

“I think that from my point of view as defense minister they are extremely good, extremely deep and profound. I can see long years, um, administrations of both sides of political aisle deeply supporting the state of Israeli and I believe that reflects a profound feeling among the American people,” said Barak. “But I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past.”

I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Romney finds out about that.

As JJ also noted last night, NBC is not getting rave reviews on its delayed and edited coverage of the Olympic games. In just one of their #NBCfail updates the Independent reports that Bob Costas, whom I usually like, “made a series of jingoistic remarks, including a joke about Idi Amin when Uganda’s team appeared.” Of course the loudest complaints have been about NBC’s refusal to show any of the events live.

There was feverish anticipation for the debut of the USA men’s basketball “dream team”, who began their hugely hyped Olympic campaign yesterday afternoon. But you wouldn’t have known it by turning on a television in their home country.

While Kobe Bryant and other big names in US sport were completing a 98 to 71-point victory, viewers of American network NBC were forced to watch edited highlights of a women’s cycling race that had been completed several hours earlier.

It was the latest in a string of mistakes by the broadcaster, whose coverage is sparking ridicule from TV critics and outrage from the US public. For most of the weekend, the phrase “NBC Fail” was trending on Twitter.

Why would I bother to watch when the winners and losers have already been announce earlier in the day? I wouldn’t bother watching a delayed broadcast of a Red Sox game either, but sometimes I stay up till all hours watching them when they’re out on the West Coast.

In another update, The Independent reports that one of their reporters, Guy Adams, was suspended from Twitter after NBC complained of his many negative tweets about their coverage.

The NYT Media Decoder reports that another yuppie journalist has bitten the dust.

A publishing industry that is notoriously ill-equipped to root out fraud. A magazine whose famed fact-checking department is geared toward print, not the Web. And a lucrative lecture circuit that rewards snappy, semi-scientific pronouncements, smoothly delivered to a corporate audience.

All contributed to the rise of Jonah Lehrer, the 31-year-old author, speaker and staff writer for The New Yorker, who then executed one of the most bewildering recent journalistic frauds, one that on Monday cost him his prestigious post at the magazine and his status as one of the most promising, visible and well-paid writers in the business.

An article in Tablet magazine revealed that in his best-selling book, “Imagine: How Creativity Works,” Mr. Lehrer had fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan, one of the most closely studied musicians alive. Only last month, Mr. Lehrer had publicly apologized for taking some of his previous work from The Wall Street Journal, Wired and other publications and recycling it in blog posts for The New Yorker, acts of recycling that his editor called “a mistake.”

By Monday, when the Tablet article was published online, both The New Yorker and Mr. Lehrer’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, made it clear that they had lost patience with him.

Fabricating quotes from Bob Dylan? How stupid can you get? This guy must have a fear of success.

The War on Women continues apace. In Arizona a judge (a Clinton appointee yet) has ruled that the state’s restrictive abortion law can take effect.

U.S. District Judge James Teilborg said the statute may prompt a few pregnant women who are considering abortion to make the decision earlier. But he said the law is constitutional because it doesn’t prohibit any women from making the decision to end their pregnancies.
The judge also wrote that the state provided “substantial and well-documented” evidence that an unborn child has the capacity to feel pain during an abortion by at least 20 weeks.
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law in April, making Arizona one of 10 states to enact types of 20-week bans.

Arizona’s ban, set to take effect Thursday, prohibits abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy except in medical emergencies. That is a change from the state’s current ban at viability, which is the ability to survive outside the womb and which generally is considered to be about 24 weeks. A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.
The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights and another group filed a notice that they would be appealing Teilborg’s decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The law will result in more babies being born even though they have no chance of survival.

Under a new Arizona abortion law that takes effect Thursday, more babies with fatal fetal defects are expected to be carried to term, even though they will die within minutes, hours or days. But more will also be done to help their families get through the trauma of losing a child.

House Bill 2036 forbids doctors from aborting most fetuses with a gestational age of 20 weeks or older, even in situations where the doctor discovers the fetus has a fatal defect. The law also defines gestational age as beginning on the first day of the woman’s last period, meaning abortions are actually banned starting at 18 weeks of pregnancy — typically about the same time a doctor would perform ultrasounds where most abnormalities are detected.

Eight other states also ban abortions after 20 weeks, but Arizona is the only one with a law that actually pushes the ban back to 18 weeks into the pregnancy.

At Salon Irin Carmon spells out the “insanity” that “prevails in Arizona.

The Clinton-appointed district court judge in Arizona just did something, well, unprecedented. He upheld Arizona’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks, claiming it didn’t actually “ban” abortions before viability, it just “regulates” them down to the most grueling emergencies.

Worse, Teilborg even regurgitated the suspect science of “fetal pain,” a first in the federal courts, though his decision was based on the contorted “regulation” versus “ban” finding. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the state can only ban abortions after viability, regardless of the rationale, but Teilborg found that Arizona’s H.B. 2036 “does not impose a substantial obstacle to previability abortions,” because a woman can still get an abortion after 20 weeks if she’s about to die or suffer major physical impairment.

“It’s such a game of semantics, to the point of Alice in Wonderland,” ACLU staff attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas told Salon. “When the Supreme Court said you cannot ban any abortions prior to viability, regardless of whether there are any exceptions to that ban, that’s exactly what they meant.”

And Virginia’s abortion clinics are still struggling to meet the ridiculous requirements they have been given by the state’s General Assembly.

Rosemary Codding has tried for months to scrape together enough to pay for a costly renovation to her Falls Church clinic, where women get checkups, Pap smears and abortions.

Codding is still short of the up to $1 million it would take to update the 50-year-old building — it needs wider hallways, new ventilation systems and additional patient rooms — after Virginia enacted some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on abortion clinics.

The General Assembly voted last year to require the guidelines, which were quickly adopted by the state’s Board of Health. In a surprise move, the panel later exempted the state’s existing clinics, including Codding’s on busy Lee Highway.

But Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) refused to sign off on the board’s decision, arguing that it lacked the legal authority to exclude the operating clinics.

Bill Clinton will play a “key role” at the Democratic Convention.

Former President Bill Clinton will have a marquee role in this summer’s Democratic National Convention, where he will make a forceful case for President Barack Obama’s re-election and his economic vision for the country, several Obama campaign and Democratic party officials said Sunday.

The move gives the Obama campaign an opportunity to take advantage of the former president’s immense popularity and remind voters that a Democrat was in the White House the last time the American economy was thriving.

Obama personally asked Clinton to speak at the convention and place Obama’s name in nomination, and Clinton enthusiastically accepted, officials said. Clinton speaks regularly to Obama and to campaign officials about strategy.

In contrast, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will not attend the Republican Convention. We still don’t know if Mitt the Twit will invite Sarah Palin.

Elizabeth Warren will also speak in prime time, but will not deliver the keynote speech.

Elizabeth Warren will not deliver the keynote speech at this year’s Democratic National Convention, but instead will speak immediately before former President Bill Clinton on what party officials hope will be an energetic penultimate night.

Warren and Clinton will speak in primetime on Wednesday, Sept. 5, and form a one-two punch aimed at crystallizing the choice between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney in the general election, the Obama campaign said.

The Massachusetts Senate candidate will contrast the president’s economic plan with Romney’s, and outline the impact it will have on middle-class families across the country.

“At the president’s side, Elizabeth Warren helped level the playing field for all Americans and put in place safeguards to ensure that everyone, from Wall Street to Main Street, play by the same set of rules,” said Stephanie Cutter, a deputy Obama campaign manager.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?