Hope and change 2015

Remember back in 2008, when Barack Obama won the presidency because he ran on a platform of hope and change? And remember how pissed of his supporters were after a few years because change didn’t happen immediately.

But today:

The Supreme Court on Friday delivered a historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5 to 4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.

And yesterday:

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a key part of the Affordable Care Act that provides health insurance subsidies to all qualifying Americans, awarding a major victory to President Obama and validating his most prized domestic achievement.

And this week:

After decades of bitter debate over whether the Confederate battle flag is a proud symbol of regional heritage or a shameful emblem of this nation’s most grievous sins, the argument may finally be moving toward an end.

South Carolina is leading the way for other states, as it considers removing the flag from its capitol grounds in the wake of a horrific racial hate crime.

Since Obama has taken office, we’ve extricated ourselves from two wars promoted by the previous president. The legalization of marijuana is taking place throughout the country and people are really getting pissed off that law enforcement tends to be more severe with certain races and ethnic groups than others.

This is fundamental change, and for some people, this is the most significant change they’ve seen in their lifetimes. But we see that change isn’t immediate. It takes a lot of hard work, and it faces virulent opposition. But it does happen. And once it does, it’s our responsibility as citizens to realize that just because we win one round, we then don’t just pack up our posters and say, “Well, I’m done. I got mine.”

We are making advances every day. This week, the liberals win. Don’t think the conservatives won’t counter with even more rabid condemnations of the Black-Marxist-Nazi-Kenyan usurper.

We are approaching a presidential election year. The battle lines are drawn. How far to the right will the Republicans go? Because the Democrats don’t have to move an inch.

Across a crowded room (in South Carolina)

nwordGee. I wonder what that last panel is about?

Turns out according to the story reported on Live HD 5 News (WCSC), Michael Brown, a frequent patron of Wild Wings Café, visited the establishment with 24 family members to bid farewell to a cousin leaving Charleston. The party of 25 waited 2 hours to be seated. Upon being seated, they were told by the shift manager that there was a problem. What was the problem? One white patron felt threatened by the presence of the party of 25 blacks.

The shift manager asked the party to move. While doing so one of the 25 patrons decided to videotape the wrongdoing that was in progress. That upset the shift manager who asked them to leave the establishment. When asked for clarification, the shift manager told them she had the right to deny them service.

South Carolina Republicans embrace an adulterer

The people who live in South Carolina’s First Congressional District have no honor:

Mark Sanford won the South Carolina special election comfortably Tuesday, emerging victorious in a competitive race for what in normal circumstances is a safe Republican seat.

The former governor beat Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert Busch, for the state’s 1st congressional district.

In the end, Sanford won by nine points, 54 percent to 45 percent, according to the Associated Press’s tally.

The man who gave new meaning to hiking on the Appalachian trail, who ignored court orders to stay away from his wife’s house, who introduced his mistress to his young son during his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination … and topped it all of by saying Jesus forgave him … is now a congressman. Again.

A person of integrity would have voted for his opponent, regardless of party, and ended the political career of this miscreant, because certain behavior has to be condemned, and sociopaths like Sanford have to be put in exile. But the “God fearing” Republicans in South Carolina have proved they have no morality. They are enablers of adultery. Now the rest of us have to listen to the adulterer lecture America on morality.

Republicans in South Carolina should be ashamed of themselves. But you know they aren’t.


Another GOP adulterer running for election

Mark Sanford, a Republican, was South Carolina’s governor from 2003 to 2011. For six days in 2009, he disappeared. No one knew where he was. Not his security detail. Not his family. When he reappeared, he told the state that he had gone on a hike on the Appalachian Trail. It was a lie. He was with his mistress in South America. On state expense. He’s an adulterer, and he said this wasn’t the only time he had cheated on his wife.

This year, he decided to run for Congress. On the night he won the Republican nomination, he introduced his young son to his mistress. On stage. In front of supporters.

article-2310734-190DE21F000005DC-604_634x479 That’s his son, not looking at his father or his father’s mistress.

Mark Sanford is a douche bag.

Recently, the douche bag held a debate with a cardboard cutout of California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi:

1367027161263.cachedI hope the people of South Carolina realize that the cardboard cutout has more integrity than Mark Sanford.

Now, Sanford isn’t running against the cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi. Oddly, South Carolina doesn’t cardboard cutouts file papers to run in elections. Just empty suits.

His opponent is Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. She’s Stephen Colbert’s sister. She has more integrity than Mark Sanford. We’ll see if South Carolinians prefer integrity (with an occasional visiting infusion of comic genius) or a lying adulterous scumbag.

Comeuppance in fiction and in history

There’s an old Orson Wells movie called “The Magnificent Ambersons.” One theme that runs through the movie is how society changes, from “the good old days” to modernity, with the development of technology and industry. But another important lesson it tries to convey is that people who spend their lives being selfish and hurting others will pay for their sins in the end.

Here’s a scene near the end involving the character who has caused the most pain in the movie:

A quaint thought. When you wreck people’s lives, you will get your comeuppance. That old-fashioned idea persists even today. I don’t hold much stock in it though, because of things like this:

Essie Mae Washington Williams, the child Senator Strom Thurmond refused to publicly acknowledge his entire adult life, has passed away.

Williams died Monday morning (Feb. 4) in Columbia at the age of 87, News19 has confirmed.

In December of 2003, Williams shocked the political world when she revealed that she was the daughter of the late senator. Her announcement came six months after his death.

Now we’re three grafs into the story, and we don’t know why the political world was shocked or why Thurmond refused to acknowledge her. There’s an entire generation that doesn’t know who Strom Thurmond was or what he did. A little history is in order here.

James Strom Thurmond (December 5, 1902 – June 26, 2003) was an American politician who was the 103rd Governor of South Carolina from 1947 until 1951 and served for 48 years as a United States Senator. He also ran for the Presidency of the United States in 1948 as the segregationist States Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrat) candidate, receiving 2.4% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes. Thurmond represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from 1954 until 2003, at first as a Democrat and, after 1964, as a Republican. He switched because of his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, disaffection with the national party, and support for the conservatism of the Republican presidential candidate and Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.

And most important:

In opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957, he conducted the longest filibuster ever by a lone senator, at 24 hours and 18 minutes in length, nonstop. In the 1960s, he opposed the civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965 to end segregation and enforce the voting rights of African-American citizens. He always insisted he had never been a racist, but was opposed to excessive federal authority. He was quoted as saying that

“all the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, into our schools, our churches and our places of recreation and amusement.”

He attributed the movement for integration to Communist agitators.

First of all, he was a racist. One of the more virulent in the 20th century.

So, why does the recent death of Essie Mae Washington Williams matter?

… because her mother was black, he never acknowledged his child’s birth to his family, friends, or the public.

So he spent his career trying to deny rights to a huge segment of the population, a segment that included his own flesh and blood. How could he have been so … evil?

Williams’s mother worked as a maid for the senator’s family in Edgefield County during the 1920s, and the two had a relationship that led to him fathering the child. Her mother was just 16 at the time.

A quick calculation. Essie Mae died at age 87, which would put the year of her birth at 1925 or 1926, depending on the month of her birth. Thurmond was born in 1902, which means he was either 23 or 24 when Essie Mae was born. Her mother was 16.

So, her mother was 16 when Essie May was born, which means her mother could have been 15 when Essie Mae was conceived. Has a law been violated?

SC.j[egMaybe it’s not rape. Maybe the girl was 16 when Thurmond got her pregnant. We won’t know, because the people involved are all dead.

But Thurmond did not pay for his sins. Here’s an excerpt from his obituary in the New York Times in 2003.

Mr. Thurmond went to the Senate in 1954, the only senator ever elected by a write-in vote. His death was announced on the floor of the Senate last night by Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader. The Senate, at work on Medicare legislation, paused for a moment of silence. Mr. Frist said Mr. Thurmond had ”a life really unmatched in public service.”

Though his long career brought him national prominence, Mr. Thurmond was better known in the Senate for looking out for South Carolina and the United States Army than for any particular legislation he sponsored. As a lieutenant colonel in an Army civil affairs unit in 1944, he landed in France by glider on D-Day and captured German soldiers at pistol point. He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and the French Croix de Guerre.

Until his last years, Mr. Thurmond was a man of uncommon energy and legendary fitness. He neither smoked nor drank, did more pushups and sit-ups than many men decades younger and fathered children into his mid-70’s. He was also known for fondling women in Senate elevators, including a woman who turned out to be a fellow senator, much to his surprise.

He molested women in the elevators of the Senate, including another senator.

He impregnated a teenage girl who worked for his family.

He refused to publicly acknowledge his daughter, because of her race.

He worked to make sure the United States denied basic rights to a huge segment of the population.

And he was lauded on the floor of the U.S. Senate as a great public servant.

Strom Thurmond never received his comeuppance.

GOP campaign 2012, in the abstract

English: Former Congressman Newt Gingrich of G...

Image via Wikipedia

Newt Gingrich overwhelmingly won the South Carolina Republican presidential primary Saturday by 12 points over the now-no-longer-perceived frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Let that sink in.

In the heart of the Confederacy, in the state that was the first to secede from Union and launch the bloodiest war in American history, an anti-government, anti-Washington constituency of family-values, bible-toting, states-rights advocates chose as their standard bearer a former Speaker of the House turned Fannie Mae lobbyist, thrice-married serial adulterer who sought divorces when his first wife was being treated for cancer and his second (who was his mistress in his first marriage) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Now, you could be glib and say, “Well, you can’t spell ‘SUCKERS’ without ‘S.C.'”

But something else is happening here.

If South Carolinians, the epitome of the Republican base, are not only comfortable with, but overwhelmingly assured in their selection of Gingrich over a definitely flawed, but verifiable Washington outsider who hasn’t provided a whiff of marital infidelity, then we have to accept the following:

1) The frenzied Tea Bagger eruption of “Washington is the problem. Throw the bums out” was a sham. They either never believed what they were saying, or they didn’t know what they were talking about.

2) The constant focus on the “family values” and morals of the Republican base is misdirected because they really don’t care about family values and morality.

They have been wasting our time since January 2009, the minute President Obama took office.

Then what do they really want?

Look, Mitt Romney was up by 10 points over the serial adulterer a week ago. Romney lost yesterday by 12 points, a 22 point turnaround in a week. What happened? Did Romney stomp a puppy to death on national TV while reading from the Koran and burning an American flag as he French kissed a drag queen?

Something cosmic had to have happened to turn voters around so. Right?

The 12-point win represented a swift and extraordinary turnaround in Gingrich’s fortunes — thanks largely to strong performances in two debates. In those forums, he issued a stirring appeal to the state’s strident conservatism, convinced its voters he would be a formidable opponent against President Obama and threw Romney off his stride.

You’re kidding, right? He bloviated?

What happened in the debate?

That was the turning point. As I’ve written before, Juan Williams is an opportunistic hack who schemed his way into a $2 million contract as what Vanity Fair aptly tags Fox News’s “Senior Black Correspondent.” But Williams is the perfect set up for Gingrich’s resurrection. Because whether you heard it or not, Newt blew into the dog whistle, and the base responded as trained.

OK, that to obscure for you? Let’s go to the Angry Black Lady:

You got that?  Juan Williams asking Gingrich whether he could see that his comments were offensive to black people — asking, essentially, whether Gingrich has any empathy for those he derides — is “totally ludicrous.”  So much so that Gingrich’s dickish answer (and the howls of agreement that ensued) somehow put Juan Williams in his place.  Alrighty then. …

What I heard in that woman’s statement is “Thank you for putting that nigger Juan Williams in his place.”  Newt heard it, too; you can tell by the look on his face upon hearing the woman’s praise — a slight smirk and a tiny glimmer in his eye.  Newt knows what’s going on.

Of course Newt knows what’s going on. This primary was make or break. If Romney had won, it would have been clear sailing to the nomination for the Massachusetts Meanderthal (think I’ll copyright that tag). Newt pulled out all the stops. And he went to an old play book for a Southern strategy and threw a touchdown.

Dennis G. over at Balloon Juice recently resurrected the rotting corpse of Lee Atwater, the architect of the election strategies for Strom Thurmond, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (the Smarter, not the Dumber), to explain campaign code words.

Dennis then looks at recent GOP debates, before the Juan Williams throwdown, and concludes:

…the ugliness of the crowd and the code-talkers on the stage—is all firmly rooted in putrid soil of Atwater’s legacy. When Gingrich says Food Stamps he means “nigger”. When Perry says states’ rights he means “nigger”. And when Romney says President Obama doesn’t “shares our values” or that the race is about “saving the soul of America” he means “nigger”.

The Tea Party base doesn’t care about what happens in Washington. It doesn’t care what lobbyists do. It has no interest in getting rid of Beltway insiders. It doesn’t care about family values. Its views of morality are flexible. We learned that Saturday.

Those who voted for Gingrich have only one thing in mind. They want a candidate who’s going to put Barack Obama in his place. And Newt told them exactly what they wanted to hear.

But then, you can’t spell “racist” without “S.C.”

The lynch mob mentality

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had people cheering Texas executions at a political debate, and an execution of a possibly innocent man in Georgia.

Of course, actual murderers have been executed. But between 1970 and 2011, 139 people convicted of murder and placed on death row have been exonerated in the U.S. That number, however, doesn’t include people like Cameron Willingham in Texas and Troy Davis in Georgia who were executed even though there were significant questions as to whether they ever committed the crimes they were put to death for. The idea of “reasonable doubt” should override any execution. But it doesn’t.

But the execution of the innocent is nothing new. Here’s a southern execution from the 1940s:

He was 14 yrs. 6mos. and 5 days old — and the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th Century

George Junius Stinney, Jr.,

[b. 1929 – d. 1944]

In a South Carolina prison sixty-six years ago, guards walked a 14-year-old boy, bible tucked under his arm, to the electric chair. At 5′ 1″ and 95 pounds, the straps didn’t fit, and an electrode was too big for his leg.

The switch was pulled and the adult sized death mask fell from George Stinney’s face. Tears streamed from his eyes. Witnesses recoiled in horror as they watched the youngest person executed in the United States in the past century die.

Now, a community activist is fighting to clear Stinney’s name, saying the young boy couldn’t have killed two girls. George Frierson, a school board member and textile inspector, believes Stinney’s confession was coerced, and that his execution was just another injustice blacks suffered in Southern courtrooms in the first half of the 1900s. …

… Stinney was accused of killing two white girls, 11 year old Betty June Binnicker and 8 year old
Mary Emma Thames, by beating them with a railroad spike then dragging their bodies to a ditch near Acolu, about five miles from Manning in central South Carolina. The girls were found a day after they disappeared following a massive manhunt. Stinney was arrested a few hours later, white men in suits taking him away. Because of the risk of a lynching, Stinney was kept at a jail 50 miles away in Columbia.

Stinney’s father, who had helped look for the girls, was fired immediately and ordered to leave his home and the sawmill where he worked. His family was told to leave town prior to the trial to avoid further retribution. An atmosphere of lynch mob hysteria hung over the courthouse. Without family visits, the 14 year old had to endure the trial and death alone.

Frierson hasn’t been able to get the case out of his head since, carrying around a thick binder of old newspaper stories and documents, including an account from an execution witness.

The sheriff at the time said Stinney admitted to the killings, but there is only his word — no written record of the confession has been found. A lawyer helping Frierson with the case figures threats of mob violence and not being able to see his parents rattled the seventh-grader.

Attorney Steve McKenzie said he has even heard one account that says detectives offered the boy ice cream once they were done.

This wasn’t an isolated case of a questionable execution in the South in the 1940s. We haven’t even gotten into lynch mobs from the 1890s to the 1960s that didn’t even bother with the formality of a trial. For example:

On September 8, 1908, William Sullivan led a lynch mob which murdered a black man named Nelse Patton. Mr. Patton had been accused of killing a white woman. William Sullivan was quoted a day later as saying, “I led the mob which lynched Nelse Patton, and I’m proud of it. I directed every movement of the mob and I did everything I could to see that he was lynched.”

So, who was William Sullivan?

SULLIVAN, William Van Amberg, a Representative and a Senator from Mississippi; born near Winona, Montgomery County, Miss., December 18, 1857; attended the common schools in Panola County and the University of Mississippi at Oxford; graduated from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., in 1875; admitted to the bar in 1875 and commenced practice in Austin, Tunica County; moved to Oxford, Lafayette County, Miss., in 1877; member of the board of city aldermen; elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-fifth Congress and served from March 4, 1897, to May 31, 1898, when he resigned, having been appointed Senator; appointed and subsequently elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Edward C. Walthall and served from May 31, 1898, to March 3, 1901; not a candidate for reelection; retired from active business and resided in Washington, D.C.; died in Oxford, Miss., March 21, 1918; interment in St. Peter’s Cemetery.

Here’s a former U.S. senator who admits to murder on the front page of the New York Times in 1908. And gets away with it.

In America, 3,446 blacks and 1,297 whites were lynched between 1882 and 1968. A lot of those people weren’t murderers. They were murder victims. The days of the lynch mobs may be over, but when “respectable” people cheer for executions on national TV, we know that the attitude of the lynch mob is still with us.