Wednesday, June 16, 2010


As we have noted, Barack Obama is part of the first generation of black
ivies, black politicians who got elected thanks to passing white exams
rather than crossing white police lines. Others include Corey Booker,
Deval Patrick and DC mayor Adrian Fenty. The first two are doing well
politically, but Fenty, who won every precinct in his first mayoral
election and exudes, even more than Obama, an unappealing narcissism, is
suffering one of the great political come-downs of recent history, as this
story describes. Remember: a high percentage of the boos are coming from
black voters.

Nikita Stewart Washington Post - Adrian M. Fenty wasn't even at the
Academies at Anacostia graduation ceremony in the District on Friday, but
when the mayor's name was mentioned, an unmistakable chorus arose: "Boo!"
many in the crowd shouted. This Story

Almost simultaneously, across town, where Fenty was attending a funeral
for go-go great Anthony "Little Benny" Harley, his attempts to deliver
condolences were nearly drowned out by a similar din. The taunts were so
thunderous that Pastor Deron Cloud had to grab the microphone to calm the
crowd at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

"This is not the place," Cloud said, to no avail.

The chorus heard 'round some parts of the District is one of vocal
dissatisfaction for the 39-year-old Fenty. It's a far cry from the summer
of 2006, when drivers honked excitedly whenever they saw him campaigning
for mayor. Then, residents were as tickled to see the young candidate come
to their doors as if a celebrity had dropped by with a sweepstakes prize.

Now, Fenty is in a contentious battle with D.C. Council Chairman Vincent
C. Gray, his chief rival for mayor, in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary.
Supporters say that the criticism and boos are unfair, particularly
because city services get high marks, students' test scores are rising,
and new libraries, schools and recreation centers have opened citywide. . .

Outside the gathering at the law school, Ivan Lee Robinson, 66, sat in the
shade with a group of friends. But he was alone with his Fenty sticker and
Fenty sign.

"I'm the only one voting for him," the LeDroit Park resident said in jest
but in a serious tone. "The man is good. . . . He did a pretty good job
with the snow."

A friend asked: "Did you see him get out and shovel anything?"

In the citywide Democratic straw poll taken at the event, Gray garnered
703 votes to Fenty's 190 votes. Former television reporter Leo Alexander,
also a candidate for mayor, received 75 votes.

In the past year and a half, Fenty has developed a reputation for
arrogance, a lack of transparency, and a failure to work with council
members and constituencies. He delayed giving council members tickets to
suites at Verizon Center and Nationals Park. He would not disclose his
whereabouts when he went out of town, drawing criticism when he missed
several memorial services and funerals for victims of last year's Metro
Red Line crash.

There has also been unrest in some parts of the District about Schools
Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, whose blunt style has rubbed many the wrong

A week ago, some Dunbar High School graduates and their parents booed
Fenty, who was the main speaker at the school's graduation. They wanted
Gray, a Dunbar alumnus who offered remarks to the graduating class, to
deliver the keynote address.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

The People's Party?

Sam Smith - The present and former Democratic presidents of the United
States actively challenged the major labor union-backed candidate for US
Senator from Arkansas. And then they bragged about it when their own
candidate won. A senior White House official told Politico's Ben Smith,
"Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the
toilet on a pointless exercise,"

Not too long ago, this would have been - for a Democratic official - a
criminal offense. But the contemporary Democratic Party's list of periodic
targets includes not only labor unions but school teachers (Race to the
Top), seniors (the assault on Medicare and Social Security), the middle
class (saving banks but not soon-to be-foreclosed homes), the young
(jailed for minor drug offenses and sent, sometimes repeatedly, to fight
in useless wars) and civil liberties (wiretapping and other constitutional

In short, it is fair to say that the Democratic Party now treats as foes,
or with contempt, many of the very constituencies that led to its periods
of greatness.

What goes around comes around

Via Counterpunch

One of the greatest bailouts in history came in 1953, when the Eisenhower
administration authorized a CIA-backed coup in Iran. The Anglo-Iranian Oil
Company, owned by the British government, had been expropriated and
nationalized in 1951 by unanimous vote of Iran's parliament. The '53
coup evicted prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq and installed Shah Reza
Pahlevi, the creature of the West's oil companies , with full tyrannical
powers. The AIOC got back 40 per cent of its old concession and became an
internationally owned consortium, renamed… British Petroleum.

There are plenty of American ingredients in the company, with such BP
acquisitions and mergers down the years as Standard Oil of Ohio, Amoco and
Arco,. No matter, it's "British Petroleum" now in the minds of Americans
and the company is the designated fall guy – a role it richly deserves
since, as Jeanne Pascal, a former lawyer for the US Environmental
Protection Agency, recently put it, "They are a recurring environmental
criminal and they do not follow US health, safety and environmental

No mercy.

Footnote: A CounterPuncher writes to me: "BP is indeed a conscience-less
company, possibly even more so than the rest. My father who was an
eye-surgeon was appointed by the Shah government and A.I.O.C.
(Anglo-Iranian Oil Co, later renamed BP) to teach Persian doctors to
battle trachoma in South Persia (Abadan). I remember the many instances of
utterly callous behavior from A.I.O.C. officials towards heavy accidents
in the huge refinery there affecting Persian workers, the neglect of
normal safety procedures and even the disgust about A.O.I.C.'s working
methods expressed by the Dutch director of Shell at whose house we were
staying for some time on Mount Demawand near Teheran."

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Cop Busts into Hospital ICU Unit Pretending to be a Terrorist

This post originally appeared on Hullabaloo.

What is going on in this country? Do people think we are living in a
damned movie?

How's this for an ill-conceived emergency preparedness drill? An off-duty
cop pretending to be a terrorist stormed into a hospital intensive care
unit brandishing a handgun, which he pointed at nurses while herding them
down a corridor and into a room.

There, after harrowing moments, he explained that the whole caper was a
training exercise.

The staff at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals-Siena Campus, where the incident
took place Monday morning, found the exercise more traumatizing than

Hospital employees would have been justified in fearing for their lives.

Just last year, Henderson police shot and killed an armed, hostile man in
the emergency room. So it would make sense that security and emergency
preparedness have been a focus at the hospital.

But in Monday's incident, which occurred in a unit that houses the
hospital's sickest patients, nurses, patients and their families did not
know it was a drill, said Renee Ruiz, organizer of the California Nurses
Association, which represents staff at the hospital.

I guess it's a good thing Glenn Reynolds and the boyz haven't had their
way or all the armed nurses and critically ill patients would have opened
fire on this off duty cop. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

I just don't get this mentality. Yes, there are dangers in this world. And
we all need to be vigilant against crazy people armed with easy-to-obtain
guns. But somehow or another with this puerile Jack Bauer obsession,
common sense about violence has gone out the window and everybody's acting
like we're living in the wild west — except that even the wild west wasn't
this kind of stupid free-for-all. (Wyatt Earp was first made famous as a
lawman who confiscated cowboys' guns on their way into town.)

Sadly, I'm beginning to think all this craziness is the natural result of
emotionally stunted conservatives having a mid-life crisis. They pretended
to be adults their whole lives, but never actually grew up. So now we have
a whole bunch of frustrated, middle aged adolescents running things with
no sense of morality or limits.
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