Archive for April 11th, 2007

Oopsie!

Okay, now I’m officially done with the Imus story.

Raise your hand if you’re surprised (AP, via TPM and *xyz at FDL):

The White House said Wednesday it had mishandled Republican Party-sponsored e-mail accounts used by nearly two dozen presidential aides, resulting in the loss of an undetermined number of e-mails concerning official White House business.

Congressional investigators looking into the administration’s firing of eight federal prosecutors already had the nongovernmental e-mail accounts in their sights because some White House aides used them to help plan the U.S. attorneys’ ouster. Democrats were questioning whether the use of the GOP-provided e-mail accounts was proof that the firings were political.

…The announcement of the lost e-mails – a rare admission of error from the Bush White House at a delicate time for the administration’s relations with Democratically controlled Capitol Hill – gave new fodder for inquiry on this front.”This sounds like the administration’s version of the dog ate my homework,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. “I am deeply disturbed that just when this administration is finally subjected to meaningful oversight, it cannot produce the necessary information.”

(…)

[RNC spokesman Scott] Stanzel said some e-mails have been lost because the White House lacked clear policies on complying with Presidential Records Act requirements.

Before 2004, for instance, e-mails to and from the accounts were typically automatically deleted every 30 days along with all other RNC e-mails. Even though that was changed in 2004, so that the White House staffers with those accounts were excluded from the RNC’s automatic deletion policy, some of their e-mails were lost anyway when individual aides deleted their own files, Stanzel said.

He could not say what had been lost, and said the White House is working to recover as many as they can. The White House has now shut off employees’ ability to delete e-mails on the separate accounts, and is briefing staffers on how to better make determinations about when – and when not – to use them, Stanzel said.

So… deleting your e-mail from your RNC mailbox removes it from the server completely, with no backup archival copy anywhere? Fascinating.

Some other thoughts:

Most e-mail exchanges are threadlike, with all previous e-mails and responses included on them. So as long as any e-mails from a thread survive, everything leading up to it should be on that e-mail as well. If there are no partial e-mail chains, then that suggests that entire threads were systematically deleted, which makes the “oopsie” excuse a lot less plausible.

Will there be any visible “holes” where it is apparent that there should have been e-mails about a certain topic, but none are visible? Such omissions would at least provide a general contour of what was being covered up by deliberate deletions.

2 comments April 11th, 2007 at 09:30pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Rove,Wankers

Woohoo!!!

Good news from Tucker(!), via Jane:

Tucker Carlson just announced that MSNBC will no longer simulcast the Imus show. The FCC will be opening up an investigation into the incident.

Awesome. Still not quite as good as firing, but it sends the message that MSNBC has standards that must be met, and they do not want their brand associated with anyone who calls women “nappy-headed hos” or “jigaboos.” It’s a start.

4 comments April 11th, 2007 at 07:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Racism,Wankers

Take THAT, Imus!

NY Newsday’s Johnette Howard has the definitive rebuttal from ESPN’s terribly sensitive and enlightened Max Kellerman:

[Kellerman announced] that his personal ratings of the Rutgers women versus the University of Tennessee’s women’s team on an attractiveness scale of “negative, positive or neutral” ended with Tennessee having more unattractive players, 9-6.

There you have it. Imus clearly didn’t know what he was talking about.

More piercing insight from Kellerman:

Kellerman suggested that what everyone really reacted to when Imus called the Rutgers women “nappy-headed hos” and “jigaboos” is really just a lemming-like response to “trigger words that are socially unpopular.” In other words, political correctness run amok.

Howard is not having it:

This debate is not about Imus’ constitutional right to free speech. He has the right to say whatever he wants. The more salient issue here is what qualifies as appropriate speech on public airwaves. And what CBS and NBC, which both finally suspended Imus on Monday from radio and TV for two weeks, have to ask themselves is whether Imus reflects the values their organizations want to project. If he doesn’t, he should go.

What this debate is also not about are many of the points Imus has argued in self-defense. His assertion that his charity work proves he is a “good guy” means nothing. Human beings are not absolutes. It is possible to be a racist, misogynist, homophobe and a good fundraiser, too.

Nor should the measuring stick here be intent, as Imus keeps asserting. Imus’ behavior is the problem. This is hardly the first offense for him or his crew. He’s a serial abuser who has been in this spin cycle of offend-apologize-fall off the wagon again before. (If you want a more comprehensive list, go visit www.mediamatters.org .)

(…)

Imus and his sidekicks weren’t talking about sports, per se. Denigrating people is sport to them. What put this over the top is they also were treating the Rutgers women (i.e, those “hard-core hos”) as sport – things they could use for pleasure, do anything to, then toss away without repercussions.

Or so they thought.

What we’ve learned in the past six days is – surprise – there actually is a limited tolerance for what Imus and his crew are pimping. The bar on coarseness may be set far too high. But there is a limit.

Every once in awhile, and this is one of those cases, the fact that such ugly statements have precedent doesn’t mean you have to take it. As Imus has found out, some people are nobody’s ho.

I think Howard hits some very good salient points here: The fact that the right to free speech is not the same as an absolute right to employment, much less a right to access to the public airwaves, and the hollowness of Imus’s I’m-a-good-man-who-screwed-up-by-accident defense.

I think she may be a little optimistic about the lasting repercussions – my gut is still telling me that this will all blow over and Imus will keep his job because he’s just too valuable to his employers, and too connected with the elites who appear on his show and don’t appear inclined to abandon him now, whether out of loyalty or fear.

But if Imus does go down, it would be a hugely important step towards reclaiming our discourse from the hatemongers who pollute it. The idea of firing or shunning a powerful media celebrity who spews racism, misogyny, homophobia, and anti-liberal eliminationism would no longer be unthinkable. And once it becomes thinkable, the next step is that it becomes expected, i.e.,”They fired Imus for calling female basketball players nappy-headed hos, but you can’t fire Michael Savage for telling a gay caller that he hopes he gets AIDS and dies???”

But that first domino has to fall. Until then, the shock jocks and hate talkers will just keep pushing and pushing until nothing is out of bounds. Hell, we’re almost there already.

4 comments April 11th, 2007 at 11:15am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Racism,Wankers

More Fallout

The “hos” strike back:

“It’s more than about the Rutgers women’s basketball team,” the team’s captain, Essence Carson, said during a news conference in Piscataway, N.J., adding, “As a society, we’re trying to grow and get to the point where we don’t classify women as hos and we don’t classify African-American women as nappy-headed hos.”

(…)

With everyone’s attention, would Rutgers scream for justice? Instead the players eloquently described their tales of personal pain and their disillusionment with the networks. As the sophomore forward Heather Zurich said, “Our moment was taken away, our moment to celebrate our success, our moment to realize how far we’d come on and off the court as young women; we were stripped of this moment by a degrading comment made by Mr. Imus.” [Note: This is Heather Zurich.]

With the stage, would they demand Imus be fired? They would not play shock jock, but calmly asked for time to meet with him, time to reflect.

(…)

Ajavon and her teammates could have cracked Imus over his cowboy hat with the microphone in their hands. They had the outlet to mock him if they had chosen to attack him just as personally as he had them.

Rutgers wasn’t out for revenge, though. Carson said the team did not want to be looked at “as if we’re attacking a major broadcasting figure.

“We’re attacking an issue we know isn’t right,” she said.

Somewhere, Imus was listening. He, like everyone, had to hear the women out. This wasn’t his studio or his sidekicks. The Rutgers women ran the show without abusing the privilege. Very ladylike of them.

And more (great photos in this one):

They were hurt. They were angry. But they were dignified.

The Rutgers women Don Imus disparaged as “nappy-headed ho’s” held their heads high yesterday and slam-dunked their detractor with an inspiring display of class.

Carefully coiffed and looking sharp in Rutgers red, the female basketball players whose moment in the national spotlight was ruined by Imus’ vicious words said they were ready to meet with him – and expected more than apology.

“I want to ask him, ‘Now that you’ve met me, am I ho?'” said Rutgers center Kia Vaughn of the Bronx. “Unless they’ve given ‘ho’ a whole new definition, that’s not what I am.”

Declaring that Imus has “stolen a moment of pure grace for us,” the wounded women spoke out for the first time about Imus’ racist radio remarks.

“This has scarred me for life,” said guard Matee Ajavon of Newark. “I’ve dealt with racism before. For it to be in the public eye like this, it will be something I will tell my granddaughter.”

The 10 players thanked the Rev. Al Sharpton and other black leaders for defending their honor – but did not echo their calls for Imus to be fired.

“We hope to come to some kind of understanding,” said team leader Essence Carson. “We would just like to express our great hurt.”

The time, date and place of their faceoff with Imus have not been set, but it will be moderated by the Rev. DeForest Soaries. Ajavon said it will be private. “Right now I can’t really say if we have come to a conclusion about whether we will accept the apology,” she said.

(…)

Towering over her teammates, Vaughn gave a cheery “Good morning, everyone.” But her broad smile faded as she opened up about the hurt she feels – as an African-American and a woman. “I’m not a ho, I’m a woman. I’m someone’s child,” she said.

Carson said most of the team didn’t even know who Imus was and their first impulse was to “let it slide.”

“But reading the transcript … it hit too close to home,” she said. “His message was conveyed to so many people. Can you imagine how many people think there is some truth behind the joke?”

Oh, and you will be happy to know that your beloved preznit has taken a stand:

Yesterday, President Bush weighed in on the controversy.

“The President believes that the apology was the right thing to do,” Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

What a relief.

2 comments April 11th, 2007 at 07:43am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Racism,Wankers

Fallout

Some good news:

Staples Inc. stamped cancel on its Don Imus ads yesterday and so did Procter & Gamble.

Bigelow Tea suspended its Imus advertising and said it might cancel the ads altogether.

It was the first defections from the toxic talker’s show since the Rev. Al Sharpton and others said they would boycott the show’s advertisers.

Good for them.

Not so good for GM and AmEx:

General Motors, one of Imus’ biggest sponsors on MSNBC and which also advertises on his radio show, is sticking with him.

So is American Express, although it warns it will “monitor” the show, said AmEx spokeswoman Judy Tenzer.

Harrumph. If you’re contacting advertisers, make sure GM and AmEx are at the top of your list.

April 11th, 2007 at 07:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Racism,Wankers

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Finally, genetic engineering is put to good use:

BETHESDA, Md. — The National Naval Medical Center has announced the birth of the first child featuring a ‘care and handling’ tag.

“It’s a triumph for biotechnology and for child protection policy in this country,” said Dr. Peter Canale, who engineered the label into the newborn’s DNA using modified skin-tag genes and melanin ink.

Dr. Canale admits that the idea of engineering labels into children isn’t a new one. “Gregor Mendel had the idea centuries ago, in order to discourage the replacement of human kids with changelings. But he only got as far as breeding pea plants that included their own cooking instructions.

“The new tags aren’t much different from the familiar ones developed by the mattress industry,” Dr. Canale went on. “These baby labels discourage tampering with the child and his or her contents.”

The tags also feature vaccination reminders written, dot-matrix style, using actual measles, pink rubella and other ailments. Each reminder vanishes as soon as the child receives the associated shots.

“Naturally, the label forbids its own removal, by parents or anyone else,” said Dr. Canale. “But thanks to some ‘time-release’ genes borrowed from umbilical cord DNA, the label will dry up and fall off by the child’s eighteenth birthday.”

Why did no-one think of this sooner?

April 11th, 2007 at 07:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News


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