Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 12:25 am

Yes, we Cam

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 12:25 am
Tags: ,

Was curious about whether Cam Newton really got snubbed for the Pro Bowl, so I checked NFL.COM stats. I learned that through Week 16, his NFC ranking was:

- 9th in QB rating (which factors in a lot of affirmative stats as well as how well you avoid mistakes)
– 10th in completion percentage
– 7th in passing yards
– 7th in passing touchdowns

So, no, I don’t think you can say he was snubbed.

However, he did accomplish some remarkable things. In addition to the NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a QB and passing yards by a rookie QB, he also ranks 20th overall, and 2nd among QBs behind Vick, in rushing yards per game, and 2nd overall in rushing TDs with 14.

One other interesting fact: In Newton, Williams and Stewart, the Panthers had three backs who each carried the ball 100+ times and averaged more than 5 yards per carry. If any other NFC team did that this year, I missed it. In fact, I may be wrong, but that might be a first in NFL history. Anyone know? That speaks not only to the talent of those backs but also to the hard work of the offensive line, only one of whose members, Ryan Kalil, is going to the Pro Bowl.

Sunday, December 25, 2011 6:07 pm

Silent Night

Filed under: Fun,Love — Lex @ 6:07 pm
Tags:

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 23, 2011 7:54 pm

Why SteveM at Balloon Juice, whom you’ve probably never heard of, is a better political analyst than Tom Friedman

Because he says stuff like this:

In all likelihood, we’ve got 2000 all over again. Romney now, like Bush then, hasn’t always spoken like a flaming wingnut throughout his political career (and didn’t fully behave like one in the governor’s office)—which means that Romney now, like Bush then, is going to be called a “moderate” during the general election campaign no matter what he says in his speeches. Romney’s Massachusetts past, like Bush’s cooperation with Texas Democrats and prattle about “compassionate conservatism,” is going to give him carte blanche to say anything without the mainstream press grasping the fact that if he’s talking wingnut, it means he intends to govern as a wingnut.

Some beat reporter from 2000—I think it was Adam Clymer—said after Bush took office that his right-wing leanings were obvious all through the campaign if you just bothered to read his policy proposals and listen to him on the stump. This stuff was hiding in plain sight. Everyone just ignored it. And they’re probably going to ignore it again.

I cannot and will not predict at this point who will get the GOP nomination. But I’m confident that if Romney is the nominee, this is exactly how it will go down: The mainstream media will ignore what’s in plain sight.

UPDATE: Also at BJ, John Cole deftly eviscerates Rich Lowry and National Review Online, and by extension the entire GOP establishment, which apparently are freaking right the fark out at the prospect that racist anti-Semite Chomskyite goldbug Ron Paul might actually get somewhere in the Iowa GOP caucus:

Basically, Rich Lowry wants you to believe that Ron Paul is too racist to be President, but just racist enough to be a Republican in the House for several decades.

Reason No. 4,263 why I lurvs the Internet, Kill SOPA Edition

The Stop Online Piracy Act has been stopped before it was even enacted:

… the bill would create an Internet “blacklist” that forces ISPs, search engines, financial firms and advertisers to de-list websites accused of copyright infringement, all without any actual court hearing or oversight. The legislation takes aim at the Internet’s domain naming system (DNS), which translates domain names like http://www.google.com to numerical Internet protocol (IP) addresses.

But an add-on for the popular Internet browser FireFox, called DeSopa, would circumvent DNS blockades with the click of a button.

W00t!

Now, I’m willing to concede that there probably are some legitimate issues behind this. But the U.S. copyright cartel, particularly post-1994, has a history of bribing congresscritters to kill flies with sledgehammers and then bill the American people for B-52s and nukes.

House Judiciary (including my congresscritter, Howard Coble) will mark up the bill next month. Guys and gals, do everyone a favor and just kill this puppy. It hits the Legislative Trifecta: It’s ill-conceived, unworkable and unconstitutional.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 6:06 am

Gloat? Moi?

Filed under: Wildcats — Lex @ 6:06 am
Tags: , ,

A number of my friends are Kansas Jayhawks fans, and I love them all dearly.

Still: In your face, guys.

Thursday, December 15, 2011 6:30 am

He’s back

Filed under: Salute!,Y'all go read this — Lex @ 6:30 am
Tags: ,

John Robinson — my longtime boss, editor, co-conspirator and friend — left the News & Record recently after 27 years, almost 13 of them as the paper’s top editor. He was among the nation’s first and most prolific blogging newspaper editors, and although the project ultimately fell victim to a resource crunch tied to the Crash of ’08, his leadership on the N&R’s Town Square project got national attention not just in the industry, but also in such general-interest publications as the The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.

JR believes in sharing credit, and he backs his people to the hilt. Any good reporter from time to time will have to write unflattering things about powerful people with thin egos, thinner tempers and the resources to make life difficult if they choose. Any good newsroom employee, regardless of discipline, also, in this day and age, must spend time looking around corners for what the next important thing in the news business might be. I did a lot of both, and slaying those dragons was much easier knowing that no matter the stakes, as long as I was prudent and ethical, JR had my back. He took a lot of crap over me, and he never once complained to me about it. And during my dad’s final illness, when I spent the better part of a month bedside in an ICU 100 miles away, the only thing he said was, “Do what you need to do. The office will still be here when you get back.” That’s not just the mark of a great boss. That’s also the mark of a great friend.

I mention all this because, now that he’s shed of the News & Record, JR has started a new, personal blog, called “Media, Disrupted.” (I’ve added a link to it in the blogroll on the lower right side of this page, to0.) Go check it out. And keep an eye on him. Even if he wanted to retire, which he doesn’t, I’m pretty sure Susan wouldn’t let him. So I’m betting that shortly after the new year, he’ll be into something new, different and very much worth watching. And he’ll still be tweeting (@johnrobinson).

 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 8:53 pm

A season in hell

Seventy years ago this month …

The cruelty of the winter, its savagery towards German and Russian alike, was gruesomely illustrated for a rearguard of 3rd Rifle Regiment on the fourth Sunday in Advent of 1941. It happened at Ozarovo. Through his binoculars the second lieutenant spotted a group of horses and troops standing on a gentle slope in the deep snow. Cautiously the German troops approached. There was a strange silence. The Soviet group seemed terrifyingly motionless in the flickering light of the snowy waste. And suddenly the lieutenant grasped the incredible-horses and men, pressed closely together and standing waist-deep in the snow, were dead. They were standing there, just as they had been ordered to halt for a rest, frozen to death and stiff, a shocking monument to the war.

Over on one side was a soldier, leaning against the flank of his horse. Next to him a wounded man in the saddle, one leg in a splint, his eyes wide open under iced-up eyebrows, his right hand still gripping the dishevelled mane of his mount. The second lieutenant and the sergeant slumped forward in their saddles, their clenched fists still gripping their reins. Wedged in between two horses were three soldiers: evidently they had tried to keep warm against the animals’ bodies. The horses themselves were like the horses on the plinths of equestrian statues-heads held high, eyes closed, their skin covered with ice, their tails whipped by the wind, but frozen into immobility. The frozen breath of eternity.

When Lance-corporal Tietz tried to photograph the shocking monument the view-finder froze over with his tears, and the shutter refused to work. The shutter release was frozen up. The god of war was holding his hand over the infernal picture: it was not to become a memento for others. …

On 20th December 1941 a very worried Guderian flew to East Prussia to see Hitler at his headquarters. He wanted to persuade him to take the German front line back to more favourable positions, if necessary over a considerable distance.

The five-hour interview was of historic importance. It showed the Fuehrer irritable, tormented by anxiety, but resolved to fight fanatically; it revealed a powerless and obsequious High Command, resembling courtiers in uniforms; and it showed Guderian, alone but courageous, passionately arguing his case and fearlessly giving Hitler his frank opinion on the situation at the front.

The first time the word retreat was mentioned Hitler exploded. The word seemed to sting him like the bite of an adder. It conjured up for him the spectre of the Napoleonic disaster of 1812. Anything but retreat!

Passionately Hitler tried to convince Guderian: “Once I’ve authorized a retreat there won’t be any holding them. The troops will just run. And with the frost and the deep snow and the icy roads that means that the heavy weapons will be the first to be abandoned, and the light ones next, and then the rifles will be thrown away, and in the end there’ll be nothing left. No. The defensive positions must be held. Transport junctions and supply centres must be defended like fortresses. The troops must dig their nails into the ground; they must dig in, and not yield an inch.”

Guderian rejoined: “My Fuehrer, the ground in Russia at present is frozen solid to a depth of four feet. No one can dig in there.”

“Then you must get the mortars to fire at the ground to make shell-craters,” Hitler retorted. “That’s what we did in Flanders in the first war.”

Guderian again had to put Hitler right on his facts. “In Flanders the ground was soft. But in Russia the shells now produce holes no more than four inches deep and the size of a wash-basin-the soil is as hard as iron. Besides, the divisions have neither enough mortars nor, what’s more important, any shells to spare for that kind of experiment. I myself have only four heavy howitzers left to each division, and none of them has more than 50 rounds. And that is for a front sector of 20 miles.”

Before Hitler could interrupt him Guderian continued: “Positional warfare in this unsuitable terrain will lead to battles of material as in the First World War. We shall lose the flower of our Officers Corps and NCOs Corps; we shall suffer gigantic losses without gaining any advantage. And these losses will be irreplaceable.”

There was deathly silence in the Fuehrer’s bunker at the Wolfsschanze. Hitler too was silent. Then he stepped up close to Guderian and in an imploring voice said, “Do you believe Frederick the Great’s grenadiers died gladly? And yet the King was justified in demanding of them the sacrifice of their lives. I too consider myself justified in demanding of each German soldier that he should sacrifice his life.”

Guderian realized at once that with this bombastic comparison Hitler was merely trying to evade the issue. What Guderian was talking about was not sacrifice as such, but useless sacrifice. He therefore said calmly, “Our soldiers have proved that they are prepared to sacrifice their lives. But this sacrifice ought only to be demanded when the end justifies it. And I see no such justification, my Fuehrer!”

From the horrified expressions on the faces of the officers present it was clear that they expected Hitler to explode. But he did not. He said almost softly, “I know all about your personal effort, and how you lead your troops from in front. But for this reason you are in danger of seeing things too much at close quarters. You are hamstrung by too much compassion for your men. Things look clearer from a greater distance. In order to hold the front no sacrifice can be too great. For if we do not hold it the Armies of Army Group Centre are lost.”

The argument continued for several hours. When Guderian left the situation room in the Fuehrer’s bunker late at night he overheard Hitler saying to Keitel, “There goes a man whom I have not been able to convince.”

For-profit education: The “bugs” are features

Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 8:51 pm
Tags:

I’m not saying for-profit education can’t benefit students. It probably can, if investors are willing to bake that feature into their business model. But I’m pretty sure that that feature is not baked into any existing model:

By almost every educational measure, the Agora Cyber Charter School is failing.

Nearly 60 percent of its students are behind grade level in math. Nearly 50 percent trail in reading. A third do not graduate on time. And hundreds of children, from kindergartners to seniors, withdraw within months after they enroll.

By Wall Street standards, though, Agora is a remarkable success that has helped enrich K12 Inc., the publicly traded company that manages the school. And the entire enterprise is paid for by taxpayers.

Agora is one of the largest in a portfolio of similar public schools across the country run by K12. Eight other for-profit companies also run online public elementary and high schools, enrolling a large chunk of the more than 200,000 full-time cyberpupils in the United States. …

The New York Times has spent several months examining this idea, focusing on K12 Inc. A look at the company’s operations, based on interviews and a review of school finances and performance records, raises serious questions about whether K12 schools — and full-time online schools in general — benefit children or taxpayers, particularly as state education budgets are being slashed.

Instead, a portrait emerges of a company that tries to squeeze profits from public school dollars by raising enrollment, increasing teacher workload and lowering standards.

Current and former staff members of K12 Inc. schools say problems begin with intense recruitment efforts that fail to filter out students who are not suited for the program, which requires strong parental commitment and self-motivated students. Online schools typically are characterized by high rates of withdrawal.

Teachers have had to take on more and more students, relaxing rigor and achievement along the way, according to interviews. While teachers do not have the burden of a full day of classes, they field questions from families, monitor students’ progress and review and grade schoolwork. Complaints about low pay and high class loads — with some high school teachers managing more than 250 students — have prompted a unionization battle at Agora, which has offices in Wayne, Pa.

A look at a forthcoming study by researchers at Western Michigan University and the National Education Policy Center shows that only a third of K12’s schools achieved adequate yearly progress, the measurement mandated by federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

No one could have predicted, right? It was absolutely inconceivable that private, for-profit companies would take tax money and not act in the public interest. It would have been impossible to see that coming. But we want to drug-test people getting unemployment benefits.

“What we’re talking about here is the financialization of public education,” said Alex Molnar, a research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education who is affiliated with the education policy center. “These folks are fundamentally trying to do to public education what the banks did with home mortgages.”

Because that worked out so well and all.

Look, folks, this might be the most important, overarching issue of our time in this country: The IGMFY folks want to steal everything. Everything. And they’re using the power of government to do it. They stole our retirement, they stole our home equity, they’re doing their damnedest to steal our Social Security and now they’re going after the money we spend to educate our children. Enough is never enough with these people, and this crap will keep on until they have taken everything we have or until we bust them in the chops hard enough to make them stop and send them whimpering back into their corners.

And even if we can do that once, we’ll have to watch out forever. Because they will be back. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and that vigilance needs a 360-degree field of fire.

In which I get fan mail*

Filed under: Fun,Weird — Lex @ 8:48 pm
Tags:

Got this today:

Dear MoveOn member**,
You should run for office.
No, really. You, Lex Alexander, should run for elective office: maybe city council or school board in Greensboro, or the state legislature in Raleigh.
Oh, dear.
I mean, really.
*Yes, I am aware this was spam.
**Just for the record, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of MoveOn.

Yes, I am a geek. Your point?

Filed under: Cool! — Lex @ 9:51 am
Tags:

Some 4,000 pages’ worth of Sir Isaac Newton’s papers have been posted online, including an annotated first edition of his Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica.

This, kids, is the kind of thing that made me get all squeeee!!! about the Web when it was new.

Monday, December 12, 2011 11:05 pm

Quote of the day, “All-American Muslim” edition

Commenter “justcorbly” at Ed’s place:

What religion you practice, if any, has nothing to do with being an American. It takes courage and thought to put away our natural wariness and fear of people who seem different than us. But, defining Americans by faith or genetics or anything other than adherence to the Constitution is a very dangerous game. People who can’t agree to that might want to re-examine their commitment to democracy.*

Sometime after I left the newspaper but before I landed where I am now, I applied for an online PR job at Lowes HQ in Mooresville. It would have been interesting to be involved in the discussion that led to this decision, because anyone with half a brain could have seen this disaster coming a mile away. I’d like to think I could have prevented a bad decision. I’d also like to think that if I couldn’t head it off, I would have resigned, but the truth is that I don’t know whether I would have or not. At any rate, here’s a lesson for PR n00bs: Anytime you get petitions from a group with “Family Association” in its name asking you to do something, it’s almost invariably a good idea to do exactly the opposite.

*Cue the trolls saying, “But America isn’t a democracy, it’s a republic.” And it is. A democratic republic. Morons.

Quote of the day, American Psycho edition

Filed under: Evil,Journalism — Lex @ 8:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Atrios:

There are people who have the job of being political hacks. Of being [jerks].  I get that. I don’t have a problem with these people. It’s their jobs to argue for things based on what the politics is. I don’t think they should be obeyed, but their existence doesn’t bother me.

The problem isn’t that people listen to political hacks, the problem is that they assume they’re right. You know, “the politics of mortgage relief is bad” trumped “the politics of people being thrown out of their homes and the economy being horrible is bad” based on this kind of advice.

The point is, I get that the sociopaths are in the room. But don’t necessarily obey them, and more than that … don’t necessarily assume they really know what they’re doing. They’re sociopaths, after all.

I’m not sure whether Atrios intended his remark to cover American “journalism” or just the political sphere, but, believe me, it covers a lot of the D.C. media establishment at least as much as it covers politicians and their minions.

Best. Troll. Repellent. EVAR.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:35 pm
Tags: ,

Ken at Popehat responds to groundless legal threats by “Marc Stephens,” who apparently is posing as a lawyer. Just for the record, making legal threats against someone who has spent five years as a federal prosecutor and another dozen as a federal criminal defense attorney is an even stupider gambit than threatening a libel suit against someone who has been committing investigative journalism for a quarter-century. Which is saying something:

Marc, kindly take this post — the link to which I will email to you — as a formal, legally binding, 100% certified style invitation to snort my taint.

Commenter “bill quoted” speaks for all of us, I think, when he repurposes this snippet from “Bull Durham”:

Stephens: I want to bring the heater. Announce my presence with authority.

everyone: To announce your what?

Stephens: My presence with authority.

everyone: To announce your presence with authority?! This guy’s a first ball fastball hitter, he’s looking for the heat.

Stephens: So what? He ain’t seen my heat.

everyone: All right, Meat. Give him your heat.

[Stephens throws it and Ken hits a home run.]

everyone: Well, Ken really hit the [expletive] out of that one, didn’t he?

 

 

Saturday, December 10, 2011 12:44 am

WordPress, I like my current theme just fine …

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 12:44 am
Tags: ,

… and I’m ready for the silly-ass message on my new-post screen suggesting that I try a new one to GO AWAY.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 8:33 pm

My kind of boss

Filed under: Cool! — Lex @ 8:33 pm
Tags:

Meet my brother Frank.

Frank bet employees at one of his plants that if they met a 100% efficency goal, he’d shave his head.

So they did.

So he did.

Gimmick? Well, yeah.

On the other hand, 100% efficiency.  And a boss who visibly keeps his promises.

I’m just sayin’.

 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 8:11 pm

Worth remembering

Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 8:11 pm

Both major political parties suck, but only one is illegally trying to keep large numbers of people from voting:

A Baltimore jury Tuesday found Paul Schurick, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.‘s campaign manager, guilty of election fraud and related charges for his role in an Election Day 2010 robocall.

The jury found Schurick guilty on all four counts, including election fraud and failing to include an Ehrlich campaign authorization line on the calls. After the verdict was read, Schurick clutched his wife, who burst into tears.

Prosecutors said the call, which was made as Democratic Gov.Martin O’Malley swept to a re-election victory, was designed to suppress black votes. …

Outside Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse in Baltimore, State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt said he hopes the jury’s decision “sends a message” to political campaigns to clean up their acts.

“This type of behavior has always existed, but it seems like it’s … becoming more of a problem,” Davitt said. “We certainly respect the First Amendment, but the courts have made clear … that the First Amendment does not protect fraudulent speech. Clearly that was the case here. It wasn’t just political speech. It was fraudulent speech.”

Yup, but fraud is just how they roll.

How to end Occupy Wall Street

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 8:01 pm
Tags: , , ,

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airways, has an idea, but the IGMFY crowd won’t like it:

There is a fundamental problem with capitalism. And that is that it’s the only system that works, but it does bring extreme wealth to a few individuals. Therefore, if you’re lucky enough to be one of those few individuals, you have to make sure you use that responsibility extremely well, and that you use that wealth to create more jobs and to try to sort out some of the intractable problems of the world. As a business leader, I’m no more successful than a doctor or a nurse or a journalist, but I have that wealth, and with wealth—as they say—comes responsibility.

In short, you need to know when enough is enough, and you need to stop screwing less fortunate people just because you can — two things sociopaths are fundamentally incapable of doing.

Oh, well.

Monday, December 5, 2011 8:20 pm

In which we return to Civics 101 for the benefit of the Milwaukee police chief and everyone else who was out back smoking dope when they should have been in class

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 8:20 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Racism is over. Really:

A black Milwaukee driver is seven times as likely to be stopped by city police as a white resident driver, a Journal Sentinel analysis of nearly 46,000 traffic stops has found.

Similarly, Milwaukee police pulled over Hispanic city motorists nearly five times as often as white drivers, according to the review, which took into account the number of licensed drivers by race.

Police also searched black drivers at twice the rate of whites, but those searches didn’t lead to higher rates of seized weapons, drugs or stolen property.

The review found that the disparities spanned all seven police districts. The two with the greatest racial discrepancies – Districts 1 and 6 – have the lowest crime rates, and both have predominantly white populations.

The disparities found in Milwaukee are greater than other large metro police departments where traffic stop data is collected, including Charlotte, Kansas City, Raleigh and St. Louis.

The explanation for this ought to be good.

Milwaukee police officials did not dispute the newspaper’s findings, but said traffic stop rates track more closely with suspect and victim demographics than with driving population estimates.

What the hell does that even mean?

In an interview at police headquarters, Police Chief Edward Flynn acknowledged the department’s targeted crime-fighting approach can result in disparities because high-crime neighborhoods tend to have larger minority populations.

“I would say it’s not an unexpected consequence,” Flynn said. “If we are going to heavily engage with those communities that are both victimized and from whence a significant majority of our offenders come, we are going to generate disparities because of where we’re physically located.”

If he were talking about burglary arrests, this would make sense. But traffic stops? Uh, no.

Police stopped black and Hispanic drivers about five times as often as white drivers solely for equipment violations. Police have wide discretion when enforcing equipment violations such as a broken taillight or overly tinted windows.

Because there’s a well-known correlation between tinted car windows and high-crime areas.

The Journal Sentinel shared its findings with researchers who have studied racial profiling data in Wisconsin and other states. All confirmed the methodology and results of the newspaper’s analysis.

Good to know, but I’m not exactly shocked.

Wisconsin’s data collection law, which was passed when Democrats controlled the state Legislature and governor’s office, was created to determine if minorities were disproportionately stopped or searched. The data include information on the race, age and gender of drivers; reasons for stops and searches; and whether a driver was arrested, cited or given a warning during a traffic stop.

The statute went into effect in January but was repealed in June after Republicans had gained control of state government and responded to complaints from some law enforcement agencies that the form used to record traffic stops created unnecessary paperwork and took too much time to complete.

Funny how much Republicans like to claim that we live in a post-racial society and then destroy the evidence to the contrary.

Flynn credited his department’s proactive patrolling approach as a key factor in driving down the city’s crime rate. Since he took over in 2008, the Police Department has reported double-digit declines in violent and property crimes.

Flynn said he is willing to admit that his more aggressive strategy can lead to drivers being stopped more often in high-crime areas. He likened the situation to being frisked at an airport security checkpoint – a necessary safeguard.

Actually, growing numbers of Americans are coming around to the absolutely correct conclusion that a lot of airport security is a bullshit hassle, not a necessary safeguard, and that the two things most likely to prevent or stymie a hijacking are locking cockpit doors and passengers being prepared to fight back, neither of which has a thing to do with airport security (but then, where would our justification for an $80 billion corporate welfare program be?). But, hey, chief, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

“Yes, of course we are going to stop lots of innocent people. The point is, do folks understand what their role is as a cooperative citizen in having a safe environment?” Flynn said.

In fact, chief, I don’t have any role to play in being a “cooperative citizen in having a safe environment” besides refraining from crime myself and reporting those who do not. Other than that, the Constitution actually suggests another role entirely for citizens, and I’ll let Esquire’s Charlie Pierce take it from here:

Actually, chief, my role as a citizen is to protect my rights against the arbitrary intrusion of state power. It is to resist (peacefully) searches without warrants, and arrests without cause, and trials without effective counsel. That is the role spelled out for me in the first 10 amendments of the Constitution. I do not have a “role” as “a cooperative citizen” in any of these matters. I am an American with the rights thereof. You serve that reality or you do not serve anyone at all.

So, tell me, chief, what part of “to protect and to serve” do you not understand? Because from where I sit, it looks like all of it.

Quote of the Day, democracy edition

From Digby at Hullabaloo, a better political analyst than anyone now working for The New York Times or Washington Post:

Both parties are woefully corrupt and inept, but only one of them is engaged in systematic vote suppression. It doesn’t make the other side heroes, but it does show one important distinction between the two.

When the Republican Party is running around trying to keep legally entitled people from voting, I think it’s fair to ask why they hate freedom and why they hate America.

Thursday, December 1, 2011 11:20 pm

Yeah, I’ll go there: If the jackboot fits, supporters of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker can damned well wear it.

Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 11:20 pm
Tags: , , ,

The New Brownshirts:

This was posted before I knew about the case of Andy Stephenson, a voting rights activist who died in 2005. His access to medical care was likely impeded by a Free Republic campaign that claimed Stephenson was faking his illness. It went on right up to the day pancreatic cancer killed him. Even with the Stephenson case in mind, however, those freepers seem downright tame compared to the unprincipled slobberers running those pro-Walker Facebook pages and threatening, harassing, and intimidating with apparent impunity.

It’s well past the time to discard the blasé, eye-rolling dismissal, “Oh, it’s just the Internet,” when people like Mary find themselves targeted in this manner. It’s time to stop giving the trolls that run pages like “Operation Burn Notice” carte blanche to wreck lives and frighten others into silence. If this campaign of harassment results in someone actually getting hurt or even killed, the people behind it won’t back down. I doubt they’ll even express regret.

Because sadly, there are people in this world who only grasp the concept of right and wrong on the basis of whether or not their friends and associates approve. Their actions are not grounded in empathy or a sense of ethics, but on whether or not they can get away with something. A person they dislike, someone like “Mary” being physically injured in the offline world as a result of their posts won’t faze them one bit.

Quite the contrary. Safe behind their wall of anonymity, where they can count on approval rather than rejection for their conduct, they’ll cheer and give each other high-fives.

The only language that bullies understand is violence. Perhaps the violence of hard time in prison will get a message through to them: America is no place for thugs.

 

Theme: Rubric. Get a free blog at WordPress.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,420 other followers

%d bloggers like this: