Racism, wierdness, sorrow and Rall goes after Coulter
I know that I don't know the whole story, but this sure sounds bad. This is a photo of Shani Davis's second medal of the 2006 Winter Games.
So, he would be treated well at home, right? Think again:
Gold medalist Davis suing Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) -- Olympic gold medal speedskater Shani Davis is one of four plaintiffs suing the city of Chicago and former police superintendent Terry Hillard, claiming they were stopped and searched for illegal weapons because of their skin color.
Davis, Quincy Joyner and Damien Joyner filed a lawsuit on March 24, 2003. A fourth plaintiff, Damane Grier, was added to the lawsuit a few months later. All four are from Chicago and are black.
Harvey Grossman, the director of American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said an inordinate number of blacks and Latinos are stopped on the street and searched for illegal weapons, and the organization wants police to document stops.
"We've been receiving complaints about this for years and years," he said. "Why did you stop this person? State the reasonable suspicion you had. ... And we also want that data to be stored, so you can see what an officer is doing over time."
Monique Bond, the Chicago police director of news affairs, would not comment on a pending case, but said, "As far as racial profiling, the Chicago Police Department has a zero tolerance for that."
Davis became the first black athlete to capture an individual gold medal in Winter Olympics history when he won the 1,000 meters at the Turin Games. But he has been embroiled in a war of words with fellow American skater Chad Hedrick over Davis' decision not to skate in the team pursuit event.
Davis took the silver medal in the 1,500 meters Tuesday, with Hedrick earning a bronze.
According to the lawsuit, Davis was searched in March 2001 while walking along West Howard Street near his home on Chicago's far north side. He stood spread eagle against a wall while an officer searched his pants and pockets with a flashlight, pulling Davis' underwear away from his body. Two years earlier, while on his way to a video arcade with friends, he was searched near the elevated train stop on West Belmont Avenue on the north side.
The Joyners also were stopped near the Belmont train station in January 2002. Grier was stopped in a public housing development while on his way to his mother's place in March 2003.
In each instance, there was no "warrant, probable cause, reasonable suspicion, consent, or any other lawful basis" for the search, and no illegal weapons were found, according to the lawsuit.
"Belmont and Howard street are places where a lot of kids get stopped," Grossman said. "Those are racially mixed neighborhoods, so you can actually find racial data that is significant. The stops in those neighborhoods is disproportionately black and brown."
Grossman expects the case to be tried this year.
"Generally, you've been stopped by a policeman if you're 16 years old and black in Chicago," Grossman said.
Back to something pleasant...
The Nation 2 hours, 39 minutes ago
The Nation -- A friend of mine from South Carolina sent me the most astonishing article on his home state from yesterday's USA Today. Reporter Ron Barnett examines the quixotic quest of Cory Burnell, founder of Christian Exodus, to have all of the nation's evangelical Christian conservatives move to South Carolina.
Hey, why not? Good for the left (we can pick up all those borderline red states) and good for the far right. Tired of all those liberals and activist judges protecting abortion, legalizing gay marriage and funding public schools that teach evolution. Round up the kids, call U-Haul and head to the heart of the Old Confederacy. It's got 750,000 Southern Baptists, Bob Jones University, nice golf courses and rosy real estate values. When the Exodus gets into full swing, Christians can take over state government and pass some real laws. On Burnell's docket: outlaw abortion, mandate life support, install Christian symbols in the statehouse, eliminate public schools, ban government 'taking' of private property. Oh yeah, and one curious item critical of "the perils of imperialist entanglements abroad." Gee, could he mean Iraq.
The sheer absurdity of Christian Exodus (and the mix of values behind it) is a testament to how much the religious right has changed under the Bush administration. Burnell's formula (isolationism + Christian social conservatism + anti-state rhetoric, with a dash of concealed white supremacy) was once boilerplate for the Republican Party. But now, as Esther Kaplan, Gary Younge and Salim Muwakkil all report, the strategists of the religious right have their sights firmly set on international turf and the black church -- with progress on the former and not so much on the latter.
Of course, that's one problem Burnell faces; South Carolina is 30% African American and although most are Baptist, they also poll and vote to the left. His more immediate problem, however, is recruitment. He's only got 20 or so families to move. Oh, and Christian Exodus is based in Texas. And Burnell himself still lives in California. So much for whistling Dixie.
And this is painful for me as I am a Naval Acadmey graduate (1981):
|Naval Academy charges football quarterback with rape|
February 22, 2006
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Navy quarterback Lamar Owens has been charged with raping a female midshipman in her dormitory room, the academy announced Wednesday.
"These charges are accusations, and Midshipman Owens is presumed innocent until proven otherwise," academy spokesman Cmdr. Rod Gibbons said.
The academy did not release the name of the woman. Gibbons said the academy was offering her support and counseling.
Owens, a 22-year-old senior from Savannah, Ga., would not be available to comment, Gibbons said.
"He remains assigned to the Naval Academy and will continue to attend class, performing other duties normally assigned to midshipmen pending results of the investigation," Gibbons said. He said the academy took steps to prevent contact between Owens and the woman.
An Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury inquiry, will be held to determine if there is sufficient evidence to go ahead with the case, Gibbons said.
The military academies have been under scrutiny since 2003, when women at the Air Force Academy in Colorado began coming forward with accusations that they had been sexually assaulted by fellow cadets over the previous decade and were ignored or ostracized by commanders when they spoke out.
A Pentagon task force found that hostile attitudes and inappropriate treatment of women also persisted at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and at the Naval Academy.
Earlier this month, a senior at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., was charged with sexually assaulting six female cadets in the campus barracks and other sites. Webster M. Smith, 22, a linebacker on the academy's football team, was charged under military law with rape, assault, indecent assault and sodomy, school officials said. Smith insists he is innocent, his lawyer has said.
Owens guided Navy's football team to an 8-4 season record that included victories over Air Force and Army and a victory in the Poinsettia Bowl over Colorado State.
Scott Strasemeier, head of the Navy's sports information office, said Owens' athletic eligibility is complete. He declined to comment on the allegations. The academy's 2006 starting quarterback will be chosen during spring practice, which starts March 27, he said.
Lastly, Tedd Rall goes after Ann Coulter. I love it.
By Ted Rall Thu Feb 23, 11:40 AM ET
How Ann Coulter Gets Away With Defaming Liberals
NEW YORK--My utterances occasionally spark controversy but I've got nothing on Ann Coulter. The star Republican pundit, who has spewed more racist, offensive and defamatory slurs in a week than Louis Farrakhan and Pat Robertson have in their whole lives combined, has turned slander and threats of violence into a cottage industry.
Coulter thinks the nation's top journalists deserve to die. "My only regret with
Timothy McVeigh," Coulter sneered in reference to the Oklahoma City bomber, "is he did not go to the New York Times building." After 9/11, she validated radical Islamists' fear and hatred: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
After he called for the assassination of the president of Venezuela, conservatives pressured Rev. Robertson to apologize. But when Coulter dropped the following three racist slurs and a fatwa on the Iranian president in a single paragraph of her syndicated column last week, no one blinked: "If you don't want to get shot by the police, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then don't point a toy gun at them. Or, as I believe our motto should be after 9/11: Jihad monkey talks tough; jihad monkey takes the consequences. Sorry, I realize that's offensive. How about 'camel jockey'? What? Now what'd I say? Boy, you tent merchants sure are touchy. Grow up, would you?"
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was asked about Coulter's use of the r-word--"ragheads"--to refer to Muslims. "I better not comment," he said.
Threatening the life of a top government official violates federal law but it's just another throwaway line for Coulter. "We need somebody to put rat poison in Justice [John Paul] Stevens' crème brulée," she said earlier this month. Imagine the outrage if a Democrat said the same thing about
Coulter is the Republican Id, giving voice to ugly sentiments that other conservatives don't dare express aloud for fear of public censure: Muslims are subhuman, torture is OK, all liberals are traitors. "Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers, they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam, post 9/11. Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do," she spat in 2002. For Coulter, there is never censure--only more royalties from her bestselling books.
Coulter is a nasty, foul-mouthed bigot--all of which, like my observation of same, is thankfully protected by the First Amendment. The same cannot be said, however, about her malicious lies about me.
In the same column as her aforementioned anti-Muslim slurs Coulter wrote: "Iran is led by a lunatic who makes a big point of denying the Holocaust. Indeed, in response to the Muhammad cartoons, one Iranian newspaper is soliciting cartoons about the Holocaust. (So far the only submissions have come from Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau and The New York Times.)"
This comment was apparently a rehash of a speech she delivered to the influential Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). "Iran is soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust," she told a thousand-plus audience that included
Dick Cheney. "So far, only Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau, and The New York Times have made submissions." Let's hope CPAC didn't pay her for original material.
Coulter is entitled to her opinions, not to lie about the facts. I have not entered, nor do I intend to enter,
Iran's anti-Holocaust cartoon contest. And I don't take kindly to being associated with the Iranian president's comments denying Nazi atrocities. Yo, Ann: criticizing Bush doesn't make me a neo-Nazi anti-Semitic Holocaust denier. In fact, I despise Bush precisely because his rise to power, love of violence and jingoism mirror those of the Third Reich.
Coulter's defenders say she was "just joking." Her enemies say they don't take her seriously. But the content of her column, which references the Egyptian ferry disaster and the Danish Mohammed cartoon hubbub, with a central thesis that advocates "bombing
Syria back to the stone age and then permanently disarming Iran," is deadly serious. Which is exactly the way her readers, who sent me e-mails calling me an anti-Semite and anti-American traitor, took her lie about me.
"Iran's cartoon contest is the sort of thing you'd expect Ted Rall to enter" would have qualified as (bad) satire. But she didn't say that.
Canny marketing of Coulter's sexuality has elevated her to alpha female status among a post-9/11 pack of right-wing attack dogs. These neo-McCarthyites (Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Andrew Sullivan) think they can get away with saying anything, no matter how factually inaccurate, about their political opponents. And they've been right--because wimpy liberals refuse to stand up for themselves.
During the 1950s, when a delusional alcoholic named Joe McCarthy ruined careers and reputations by smearing liberal Democrats as traitors, Army lawyer Joseph Welch marked the beginning of America's return to sanity by snapping at the thuggish senator on TV: "You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" (Coulter's book Treason claims that McCarthy was a swell guy who was right all along, and that the Eisenhower Administration was full of Commies.)
We need another Joseph Welch. We must hold the neo-McCarthyite Coulter smear machine that slimed Max Cleland ("He didn't give his limbs for his country,' or leave them 'on the battlefield,'" she said, "There was no bravery involved ...") accountable for its lies. It's a matter of decency, honor and setting the record straight.
As far as I can tell, no one has ever sued Coulter for slander or libel. That may change. My attorney tells me I have an actionable claim on two counts, for both the CPAC speech and the column. It wouldn't be an open-and-shut case, but there are precedents in my favor. Readers of my Rallblog have pledged nearly $9000 if I file such a lawsuit, but it would take several times that amount to keep fighting until I get my day in court. A deep-pocketed angel would make the difference, but there, alas, is the root of the trouble with the American left.
Right-wingers, unified and organized, always stand fast and dig deep to protect their ideas and their people. They even run interference for their dead; they bullied ABC into canceling a less than hagiographical film about
Ronald Reagan. They celebrate extremists like Ann Coulter, inviting her to speak at conventions attended by their brightest lights. Democrats, on the other hand, keep their most articulate advocates like
Howard Dean under wraps. Trivial differences of style and ideology become reasons for lefties not to help each other out when they're attacked. So it will likely go once more, as Coulter gets away with yet another outrageous smear.