Tag: Race

I Do Not Approve

The 7 year interval between leaving the service and being able to become Secretary of Defense is there for a reason, to ensure that the Department of Defense is under civilian controls.

It has only been waived twice before, for George Marshall in 1950, and James Mathis in 2017, and now Lloyd Austin has been confirmed as SecDef less than 5 years after leaving the service.

I do not approve.

This limit was put in place for a good reason, that you do not want the inmates running the asylum, but not it appears that this is likely to become a common state of affairs:

The Senate on Friday confirmed Lloyd J. Austin III as defense secretary, filling a critical national security position in President Biden’s cabinet and elevating him as the first Black Pentagon chief.

The 93-2 vote came a day after Congress granted Mr. Austin, a retired four-star Army general, a special waiver to hold the post, which is required for any defense secretary who has been out of active-duty military service for less than seven years. It reflected a bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill that it was urgent for Mr. Biden to have his defense pick rapidly installed, a step normally taken on a new president’s first day.

That Mr. Austin is not the first black SecDef not matter.

This is corrosive of civilian control of the military.

Tweet of the Day

We need union busters who look like America. https://t.co/wqcefA7vd1

— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) December 7, 2020

This is a feature, not a bug.

It’s performative diversity, where all manner of parasitic and evil enterprises can be excused if it is staffed such that Non-Hispanic white are 60.1% of the staff, Hispanic and Latino (of any race) are 18.5% of the staff, African Americans are 13.4%, Asians are 5.9% of the staff, and the CEO is a non-binary BIPOC who grow up on welfare.

I am increasingly convinced that this is a deliberate attempt to prevent real change from happening.

The Tuskegee Vaccine

Over at Stat, a medical news web site, they are calling for giving priority to giving any new vaccines to peoples of color

Taken at face value this seems like a good idea, but when one considers the fact that all of the vaccine candidates have been developed on an accelerated schedule, with Pfizer’s recently hyped entry using a technique never used in human beings before, one can’t help but wonder if the real push for this is to use the minority community as guinea pigs, because even if some of the will be effective and without significant side effects, it is likely that some of them will not be successes:

As the U.S. edges closer to approving a vaccine for Covid-19, a difficult decision is emerging as a central issue: Should people in hard-hit communities of color receive priority access to it, and if so, how should that be done?

Frontline health workers, elderly people, and those with chronic conditions that make them especially vulnerable to Covid-19 are likely to be at the head of the line, but there is also support among public health experts for making special efforts to deliver the vaccine early on to Black, Latino, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and Native American people — who have experienced higher rates of serious illness and death from the coronavirus.

“Having a racial preference for a Covid-19 vaccine is not only ethically permissible, but I think it’s an ethical imperative,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University. “The reason is both because of historic structural racism that’s resulted in grossly unequal health outcomes for all kinds of diseases, and because Covid-19 has so disproportionately impacted the lives of people of color.”


There is also concern that some groups, especially Black people, might be hesitant to be among the first to get a vaccine, given the history of mistreatment of Black patients in medical research.

“The other challenge you have with saying, ‘We want African Americans to step up first,’  is that we don’t want people to feel that they’re being guinea pigs,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “We need to be very careful. We don’t want to give people the perception that they’re being experimented upon.”

Gee, you think? 

The criteria for distribution should be fairly straight-forward:  Where you have large outbreaks, the vaccine goes first.

Tweet of the Day

I really appreciate this very, very generous profile from @petercoy but I do want to disagree with the headline, which is reinforced by the article. I do have a credential- the intersection of my whiteness, maleness and cisness. 1/N https://t.co/h9YcdjFDkK

— Nathan "Donate to @survivepunishNY" Tankus (@NathanTankus) July 2, 2020

It’s good to see someone acknowledge their own privilege in such a straightforward and honest way.

Bill Russell is a Stand Up Guy

The great Boston Celtics center Bill Russell has refused to acknowledge his induction into the basketball Hall of Fame for decades.

He’s always kept his reasons private, until now.

He has now has finally accepted a HoF ring because the Hall of Fame has finally inducted the player who broke the color barrier in the NBA:

Ask anyone who is the greatest basketball player of all time, and you’ll surely get a diversity of opinions—including Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Magic Johnson and that dude who played for your cousin’s high school in 1987 whose jump shot was wet but he got shot in his layup leg running from the police his senior year in high school after he stole a black-and-white television from Radio Shack, so he never made it to the NBA. But if you ask who was the greatest man who played in the NBA, you’ll only get one name:

William Felton Russell.

The eleven-time NBA champion (no, that’s not a typo) is known as much for his willingness to stand up for what is right as he is for his five NBA MVP awards (no, that’s not a typo). Bill Russell counseled Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown; fought for civil rights his entire career, and financially supported the movement as one of the NBA’s biggest stars. He held Boston Celtic fans accountable for their racism and once convinced his entire organization to forfeit a game because a restaurant wouldn’t serve black customers. Only one other human being (Buddy Jeanette) has won an NBA title as a player while he was the team’s head coach.

Bill Russell did it twice.

But, despite being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975, Russell never acknowledged the honor or accepted his Hall of Fame ring. When asked why he essentially boycotted the ceremony, Russell would only reply that he had his “own personal reasons.” Throughout his post-NBA career, he refrained from referring to himself as a “Hall-of-Famer” and never explained why.

On Thursday, Bill Russell finally accepted his Hall of Fame ring in a private ceremony at his home, but only after he confirmed that Chuck Cooper had been inducted into the Hall of Fame:

In a private ceremony w/my wife & close friends A.Mourning @AnnMeyers @billwalton & others I accepted my #HOF ring. In ‘75 I refused being the 1st black player to go into the @Hoophall I felt others before me should have that honor. Good to see progress; ChuckCooperHOF19 @NBA pic.twitter.com/2FI5U7ThTg

— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) November 15, 2019

So who the hell is Chuck Cooper?

No one would ever argue that Chuck Cooper was one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He only averaged 6.7 points per game throughout his career. So, why would Bill Russell boycott the most prestigious honor in his sport because of this unknown guy?

Because Charles “Chuck” Cooper was the first black man drafted into the NBA.

A mensch.

The Devil is in the Details

I’m cynical enough about the Democratic Party establishment to wonder what sort of trap is in the small print.

The Democratic National Committee voted Saturday to neutralize the votes of unpledged convention delegates, part of a package of hard-fought reforms designed to prevent a repeat of the bitter 2016 presidential primary as the party looks toward the 2020 election.

“We listened and we acted, and I’m proud that our party is doing everything we can to bring people in and make it easier to vote,” said DNC Chairman Tom Perez after the reforms were unanimously approved.

The new party rules undo decades-old reforms that empowered hundreds of party activists and elected officials, often referred to as “superdelegates,” whose presidential convention votes were not bound to the results of primaries or caucuses. They also affirm the decision of six states to move from caucuses, which have favored insurgent candidates, to primaries, which tend to have higher turnout.

The Democrats’ journey to that decision lasted more than two years, and divided party leaders even as activists who had supported both Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) organized behind them. Anger at the results of that primary campaign, and at Clinton’s defeat, has dogged the DNC under Perez’s leadership; despite a run of election wins, it has raised $116.5 million since the start of the cycle, compared with $227.2 million for the RNC.


“This is a way for us to heal the wounds of the 2016 election,” Martin said in an interview before the vote. “Minnesota was a 62 percent Bernie state. People cared about this. We were dealing with a perception problem more than a reality problem, but that perception problem mattered. People believed so passionately that this issue cost their candidate the nomination, that we had to fix it.”


Perez and other delegate reform supporters succeeded in weakening the establishment opposition by giving it more time to protest. But the opposition made one final push, picking up on a theme that the Congressional Black Caucus had aired last month — that to take away the votes of black superdelegates was to effectively suppress them. The unofficial leaders of that faction, former party chair Don Fowler and California DNC member Bob Mulholland, are white. But Mulholland, a gruff Vietnam veteran, invoked the legacy of the civil rights movement to argue that his party risked alienating its most loyal voters to appease a faction of elite Sanders fans.


Perez and other delegate reform supporters succeeded in weakening the establishment opposition by giving it more time to protest. But the opposition made one final push, picking up on a theme that the Congressional Black Caucus had aired last month — that to take away the votes of black superdelegates was to effectively suppress them. The unofficial leaders of that faction, former party chair Don Fowler and California DNC member Bob Mulholland, are white. But Mulholland, a gruff Vietnam veteran, invoked the legacy of the civil rights movement to argue that his party risked alienating its most loyal voters to appease a faction of elite Sanders fans.


But that message did not unify the DNC’s black members, some of whom pointed out that the 2016 pool of superdelegates skewed whiter than the delegates elected through primaries. While former party chair Donna Brazile gave a 10-minute speech decrying the reform, Nina Turner, president of the Sanders-founded group Our Revolution, whipped votes in favor of it.

“Real voter disenfranchisement is living in a state where you forfeit your rights if you’re a felon,” Turner said. “Real disenfranchisement is officials closing down polling places that disproportionately affect black voters. This is a false equivalency, to talk about something that happens in the DNC and compare it to the hard, bloody fight to secure the franchise in the real world.”

The entire colloquy with representatives of CBC is depressing:  Even though the elimination of superdelegates makes the votes less white, “Superdelegates skewed whiter than the delegates elected through primaries,” they are unwilling to look beyond their own personal prerogatives.

It’s on par with James Clyburn’s attacks on Bernie Sanders’ proposal to eliminate tuition at public schools because it would be bad for the HBCUs.

There is way too much pulling up the ladder after themselves here.

More of This

Black leaders in Missouri have refused to sign a letter condemning one of their colleagues criticism of Senator Claire McCaskill:

African American leaders in Missouri are frustrated with what they see as Sen. Claire McCaskill’s lackluster engagement with minority voters.

Frustrated enough that they refused to sign a letter pushing back against comments made last month by Bruce Franks, a prominent black activist and state legislator from St. Louis, who called on McCaskill to “show up” and earn the support of minority voters in her state.

“I’m going to vote for Claire, but Claire is going to have to bring her ass to St. Louis,” Franks said to applause at a town hall he hosted Feb. 17.

In response to Franks comments, McCaskill had asked African American elected officials in Kansas City and St. Louis to sign the letter.

Among those who were approached by McCaskill are U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City and Lacy Clay of St. Louis, and state Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, the minority leader in the Missouri House.

Each declined to sign.

“I’m 100 percent certain that nobody signed it,” Cleaver said in an interview Wednesday with The Kansas City Star. “We talked about it very seriously and strongly and every one of us said, ‘We’re going to support her, but signing this letter isn’t going to achieve what she wants. It’s just going to make people angry.’ ”

Cleaver said he’s sympathetic to McCaskill’s plight. She’s a Democrat running for re-election in a state Republican President Donald Trump won by nearly 19 points in 2016. He understands she must win over some right-leaning voters to survive.

But as McCaskill works to burnish her reputation as a centrist, Cleaver and other African American leaders said they worry she’ll leave minority voters on the left with the impression that she’s taking them for granted — and it could cost her turnout in the urban centers that are crucial to her base.

I think that they are sick of being characterized as “super-predators” by people who want their votes.

Running against you base to appeal to people who will never vote for you is stupid, and it does not get you any votes, and people who do it do not deserved to be elected.

Nice to see this blow up in Claire’s face.

Sad I Missed This

It appears that Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates explored their differences of opinions over Twitter, with West asserting that Coates that the latter’s, “narrow racial tribalism and myopic political neoliberalism has no place for keeping track of Wall Street greed, US imperial crimes or black elite indifference to poverty”.

I have not personally seen this exchange, but Coates deleted his Twitter account after their exchange:

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates has deleted his Twitter account after a dispute with philosopher and social critic Cornel West.

“Peace, y’all. I’m out,” Coates wrote Tuesday on his now-defunct account, according to the AP. “I didn’t get in it for this.”

West recently criticized Coates in an essay published in The Guardian, slamming him for not being critical enough of former President Obama and writing that he “fetishizes white supremacy.”

In the piece, West accuses Coates, who has emerged as one of the country’s leading black intellectuals, of having a “preoccupation with white acceptance” and an “allegiance to Obama.”

I don’t know what happened, but I am sad to have missed this.

I also have no clue as to who “won”, though like most Twitter fights, my guess is that they they both “lost”.

That is just the nature of Twitter.

Still, these are two talented writers, and neither of them are slouches intellectually, so it was probably epic truly epic.

You Cannot Blame the Deplorables or the Russians for This

The Pew Research Center just did a study, and it showed that black voter’s turnout fell in 2016.

A record 137.5 million Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Overall voter turnout – defined as the share of adult U.S. citizens who cast ballots – was 61.4% in 2016, a share similar to 2012 but below the 63.6% who say they voted in 2008.

This wasn’t Russian hacking. This wasn’t, as Lamberth Strether sarcastically noted, “Black voters are racist, sexist bros,” this was an incompetent, arrogant, and, uninspiring candidate with a history of winking and nodding to racism. (“They are often the kinds of kids that are called superpredators — no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first, we have to bring them to heel.”)

This was a candidate who promulgated a Lord of the Flies management style in her campaign which created an incompetent, arrogant, and uninspiring campaign.

And the Democratic party establishment, the incompetent, arrogant, and, uninspiring Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the incompetent, arrogant, and, uninspiring DNC, and the legions of incompetent, arrogant, and, uninspiring consultants pulled out all the stops to fix the primary process for her.

Running against the most racist major Presidential candidate since Woodrow Wilson, somehow, she, and the entire Democratic Party establishment, could not get black voters to turn out.

These are not the people who should be running the Democratic Party. 

These are not consultants who candidates should pay to run their campaigns. 

These are not people who should hold elective office.

They need to go away.

Well, Here is Some Good News to Start the Month

The Supreme Court just remanded the Virginia redistricting case back to a lower court with instructions to apply a more rigorous standard regarding racial bias.

It wasn’t a complete victory, but it was a definite win for the good guys:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave Virginia Democrats a fresh chance to challenge parts of the legislative map for the state’s House of Delegates.


“The upshot of all of this is that not much has changed with these cases,” Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, wrote in a blog post. “The fight will be over the details and application to particular cases.”

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer for the challengers in the case, disagreed, calling the decision a “major victory” that will help Democrats.


In 2015, a divided three-judge panel of Federal District Court in Richmond, Va., upheld 11 of the challenged districts because, it said, race had not been the primary factor in drawing them. Since the districts could be justified under traditional redistricting criteria like compactness, contiguity, incumbency protection and political considerations, the court said, race could not have been the predominant reason for drawing them.

That was the wrong approach, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. “The racial predominance inquiry concerns the actual considerations that provided the essential basis for the lines drawn,” he wrote, “not post hoc justifications the legislature in theory could have used but in reality did not.”


In assessing those challenges, Justice Kennedy wrote, the trial court identified “no fewer than 11 race neutral redistricting factors.” He called that kind of analysis too malleable.

“By deploying those factors in various combinations and permutations, a state could construct a plethora of potential maps that look consistent with traditional, race-neutral principles,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “But if race for its own sake is the overriding reason for choosing one map over others, race still may predominate.”

Justice Kennedy did not say the challengers would win under his less rigid standard. “The district court,” he wrote, “is best positioned to determine in the first instance the extent to which, under the proper standard, race directed the shape of these 11 districts.”

The Supreme Court affirmed one part of the trial court’s ruling, concerning a single district, which the trial court had upheld even after finding that race played the dominant role in drawing it. The trial court said the district was justified by an attempt to comply with the Voting Rights Act, which forbade the reduction of minority voters’ ability to elect candidates of their choice.

Redistricting is still a mess, but it is a bit less of a mess, and it appears that racial Gerrymanders have become more difficult.

Tweet of the Day

Like IM tired of hearing these pundits and washed up Clinton era folks STILL trying to pimp race for their gain… Thats whats happening.

— officialERICA GARNER (@es_snipes) November 22, 2016

As an reminder, Erica Garner is the daughter of Eric Garner, who was murdered as a result of an illegal police choke hold.

Oh, yeah, this tweet too:

An intersectional, Black “progressive” CEO outsourced your job & now you’re homeless. Do you think:

— Benjamin Dixon (@TheBpDShow) November 22, 2016

H/t naked capitalism