Nate Silver became the most trusted voice in statistics in the 2008 elections via his blog Five-Thirty-Eight which applied baseball stat numbers crunching to polls to craft a big picure of where the primaries and presidential election was going. And he was right. So much so, the New York Times adopted Nate and his blog Five-Thirty-Eight blog under their roof. Did he sell out? I don’t think. Unless we want to say “cashed in.” Nate is all about the numbers. Of course, he’s about the deadline now, but Five-Thirty-Eight is only as valuable as Nate’s numbers. This week Nate was promoting his new book on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. He missed his Wednesday deadline for this. If there’s any TV worth watching, this interview is in that column. What Nate has to say is so important, it can sell his book without mentioning the title.
Eclectique916 is in Charleston, SC y’all guest blogging this grand culinary tour led by Eatonville Restaurant’s new chef (it’s a company secret), and restauranteur Andy Shallal. You can read the updates of “Food Stories: In the Kitchen” at www.eatonvillerestaurant.com/blog. It’s like creating a game board — “Mystery Chef.”
And so far, it’s delicious.
Photo: Chocolate Pudding at Hominy Grill. Click on photo to go to the restaurant website.
Van Jones was one of my Community Organizer Hall of Famers. Still is. Van Jones spoke at Netroots Nation Friday morning in Las Vegas. Jones was another Obama administration casualty of “gotcha” right wing media. He resigned from his post as White House Special Adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation after his signature was found on a 9/11 “Truther” petition. In this speech, Jones admits he held his pity party and it’s been a year of “hope” and “heartbreak” for him; but Jones never forgets how to love. He never forgets to keep pushing for those green jobs. The work had just begun in November 2008.
I hope the transcript for this will be posted soon. This video is about an hour and a few minutes. Introduction by Howard Dean, former DNC chairman. Interview with Van Jones follows his speech.
Today, I read a post on TPM suggesting that the Pigford Settlement could’ve been a second target for right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart and his like in addition to the NAACP (for their criticism of the Tea Party leadership for tolerating racism within their ranks).
…Andrew Breitbart’s timing of the release of the grossly distorted video of Sherrod, which he admits having had for weeks, may not be entirely random. Congress will soon vote on whether to fund part of a settlement between the USDA and African-American farmers who faced acknowledged discrimination — farmers like Sherrod and her husband used to be…..
They say there are no coincidences in politics.
The Pigford Settlement awards $1.25 billion to African American farmers who were discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture for loans and subsidies for decades. The case was filed in 1999. The first time I heard about the plight of African American farmers was through a documentary by Charlene Gilbert titled “Homecoming …Sometimes I am Haunted by Memories of Red Dirt and Clay.” Charlene is professor and director of the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women at the University of Toledo. “Homecoming…” is the story of her family farm in Georgia and investigates the social and political backdrop of land lost among African Americans in the South.
The Shirley Sherrod firing/doh!/rehiring story is being spun back into the same race goop where media outlets, politicians, and pundits still haven’t found an articulate voice or credible vocabulary for any kind of forward discussion — What is “reverse racism????” The opposite of “forward”? (ref. Nikki Giovanni)
Shirley Sherrod was obviously the wrong lady to finger.
For me Shirley Sherrod’s firing/doh!/rehiring story has two parts:
PART I: An example of poor employee and crisis management on the part of USDA. Basic procedures were not followed:
– If there is an employee in question, call a meeting with the employee first and get his/her side of the story — and especially for an employee who has a good track record.
– Review everything in question in its entirety.
– Don’t make public statements until you’ve done all of the above.
– Never fire someone in the middle of the night or while he/she is driving a moving vehicle. That’s reckless management.
Giving oxygen to a big fat lie.
PART II: Andrew Breitbart’s post on BigGovernment.com of a 2 min. video selectively edited from a 43 minute speech by Sherrod at an NAACP banquet in March that got the ball rolling.
– The press didn’t do their fact checking and ran with it; even the intended target, the NAACP, tripped on it.
– Members of the press are now blaming the Obama administration more than Breitbart for potentially destroying Sherrod’s life. Breitbart’s either off the hook or welcomed to the club.
But even Glenn Beck called this one:
Now if she is relating a story from1986 to make a point about how her racial perceptions have changed, this woman deserves her job back.
Gotta give him credit for checking out the whole story when his pending broadcast was being factored into the decision to fire Sherrod.
Sherrod now has an impressive list of sincere public apologies going all the way up the chain that include regrets from the NAACP (who retracted their admonishment and posted Sherrod’s full speech), Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, to WH press secretary Robert Gibbs. A chat with the President of the United States by phone topped it. For the media, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and some of his colleagues have made on-air apologies. The only one who hasn’t is Andrew Breitbart.
Why? Because they’re reloading, and this time it is about Shirley Sherrod and the Pigford Settlement according to a post on Media Matters. According to MM, Ben Shapiro is suggesting that Sherrod “fraudulently” received compensation from the settlement. Just for the record, it was Republican Senator Chuck Grassley who introduced the legislation to reopen the Pigford case. Grassley wasn’t the only Republican who agreed that the USDA discriminated in this case.
My guess is Britbart’s someone’s “lawyered up.” Rather than admit blame/fault with an apology, it’s best to go rapid fire in the hope that something will stick or drive the rest of us to total insanity distraction.
Sherrilyn Ifill, professor of law at the University of Maryland, has a poignant reminder:
Every claim they make should be regarded with suspicion and fully verified before comment. Their motives are not irrelevant to how skeptically their charges should be reviewed. Their rhetoric is too often deliberately divisive and hateful. And sloppy. And the entire country suffers for the distractions created by these individuals who are committed to turning America backward on race. Lost in today’s news focus on the Sherrod affair, for example, is the fact that the Congress finally voted yesterday to extend unemployment benefits for millions of out-of-work Americans. Our country cannot move forward unless we stand down the racial manipulation that keeps our eyes off the prize.
There are two things that happen when a show goes off the air. One is you quit and the other is somebody from the network knocks on your door and says, ‘Stop doing this.’
— Carol Burnett, actress, comedian
For veteran journalist Helen Thomas, it was both. Yesterday, Thomas, the first woman to be admitted to the White House press corps, submitted her resignation to Hearst Newspapers — effective immediately. She is vacating her front-row seat in the White House press room where she has been a tireless fixture since the Kennedy administration. Thomas’s offensive remarks about Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go back home to Poland, Germany, America” etc., made the 89-year-old trailblazing journalist of the 20th century the most recent casualty of 21st century news reporting — her story broke on the internet and went viral thanks to a “citizen media” type produced video.
She was dropped by her speakers bureau, dis-invited from giving a high school graduation speech, and her apology landed on the floor:
“I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”
The Helen Thomas story is being treated like a celebrity death (at least among newsies), complete with obits, flickr albums of the good times, just no body to literally bury. “It was a sad end to a storied career,” said Dana Milbank of The Washington Post. Milbank doesn’t and won’t defend Thomas’ remarks but adds:
…The White House press corps will be diminished without Helen front and center, and not only because she was in that job before the current president was born. She brought a ferocity to her questioning that has eluded too many in subsequent generations. At a time when others were getting cozy with sources, her crabby, unrelenting hostility was refreshing.
Some argue that Pat Buchanan’s ferocity which comes through in consistent racially offensive remarks continues to earn him a prominent pundit spot on MSNBC, CNN and newspapers nationwide. Somehow old school Pat has survived and thrives in the 21st century news world, without the benefit of “teaching moments.”
Meanwhile, Helen Thomas’ front row seat is up for grabs, as well as the criteria for grabbing a prime spot in the press room. Should it be based on seniority? Should commentators or columnists get the front row privileges vs. straight ahead journalists, including on-line journalists? The question is being considered by the White House Correspondents Association:
The incident does revive the issue of whether it is appropriate for an opinion columnist to have a front row seat in the WH briefing room. That is an issue under the jurisdiction of this board. We are actively seeking input from our association members on this important matter, and we have scheduled a special meeting of the WHCA board on Thursday to decide on the seating issue.
Helen Thomas was a past president of the WHCA.
This is when I have to say, “Thank God for fake news.”