Thursday, August 1, 2013

Last Call For Tinfoil Louie

As pathetically funny as Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert is, we are reminded from time to time that people of TX-1 (East Texas, specifically Lufkin and points north along the border with northwestern Louisiana) have elected this clown show five times now, and he's never gotten less than 61% of the vote.  He will continue to be elected, he will continue to be a national embarrassment, and the people of TX-1 will continue not to give a damn and do it anyway.

And he will continue to spout idiocy like this as he compares the battle to civil rights for minorities to the rights for endangered species.  Because apparently, both annoy him.  Referring to Democrats Steve Cohen and John Conyers:

GOHMERT: There is nobody in this chamber who is more appreciative than I am for the gentleman from Tennessee and my friend from Michigan standing up for the rights of race, religion, national religion of the Delta Smelt, the snail darter, various lizards, the lesser prairie chicken, the greater sage grouts and so many other insects who would want someone standing for their religion, their race, their national origin and I think that’s wonderful.

And yes, thanks to the magic of gerrymandering, he'll be able to say stuff like this for at least the rest of this decade and most likely the next.  Awesome prospect, right?

Because Of His Sagging Pants, Right?

Hey folks, can we finally admit that NYPD’s ridiculously awful and patently unconstitutional “Stop & Frisk” program is not just racial profiling, but racist profiling when an off-duty black police chief gets harassed by a couple of white cops?
Chief Douglas Zeigler, 60, head of the Community Affairs Bureau, was in his NYPD-issued vehicle near a fire hydrant when two plainclothes cops approached on May 2, sources said.
One officer walked up on each side of the SUV at 57th Ave. and Xenia St. in Corona about 7 p.m. and told the driver to roll down the heavily tinted windows, sources said.
What happened next is in dispute.
In his briefing to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Zeigler said the two cops, who are white, had no legitimate reason to approach his SUV, ranking sources said.
After they ordered him to get out, one officer did not believe the NYPD identification Zeigler gave him.

To recap, Zeigler is a three-star police chief, one of the highest ranking officers in the NYPD. His mistake was that he was off-duty and black. When he showed his identification badge, the cops who ordered him out of his SUV didn’t believe who he was. The defense of the two white plainclothes officers who approached Zeigler was that they saw a gun in the SUV and only then ordered Zeigler out of his vehicle at gunpoint.  Apparently one of the cops then got into an argument over Zeigler’s ID badge.

The cop in question has currently been suspended, but the larger issue of course is “If a three-star NYPD chief is subject to stop and frisk, any person of color is pretty much screwed.” If the two plainclothes cops really did draw on Zeigler, he’s lucky he’s not dead, extremely lucky. What about Zeigler’s demeanor made him a suspect? The two plainclothes cops swear it was a gun in the SUV, ostensibly Zeigler’s sidearm, but nothing in my experience as a black male makes me think that’s the truth.

Because to me, this looks like two white cops harassing a black man in an SUV. Was it his sagging pants? Was he wearing a hoodie? Maybe it was his assumed lack of parentage. Surely a black man in an SUV has to be suspicious of some illegal activity, it’s not like we end up three-star police chiefs in the NYPD or anything completely bonkers like that. And of course when he produced the ID, the cop didn’t believe him. This guy’s an off-duty three-star chief? But he’s black.

Now maybe I’m just being totally optimistic here, but maybe this incident will be the final catalyst necessary to get Bloomberg and his clown show of a police department to drop this nonsense before somebody gets the idea that Chief Zeigler might have a federal civil rights complaint on his hands. Maybe the ridiculousness of having one of their own bagged by the program (and this happened in early May 2008, we’re just now hearing about it some five years later) will embarrass the NYPD enough that they start to reconsider this odious practice.

Or maybe I’m just an optimist. I sure as hell don’t feel like visiting the Big Apple anytime soon, even though my parents grew up there and I’ve been there several times. It just isn’t worth the risk. If anyone short of President Obama is going to find a pair of NYPD’s Finest all up in their faces in 2013 NYC, fahgeddaboutit.

President Obama Has Finally Had Enough

It appears this time (unlike the other 14,817 times he's mentioned doing this) that President Obama will finally take bold executive action to go around Republicans in Congress, and apparently this time the difference is that Democrats on Capitol Hill are scared enough about midterm elections to actually back the President instead of running away.  WIN THE MORNING:

“I have to figure out what I can do outside of Congress through executive actions,” Obama told the Congressional Black Caucus earlier this month, according to Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.).

“He’s very ready to use his executive powers whenever possible,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) who heard Obama discuss the new approach at a meeting of the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus to the White House last week.

With the clock running on Obama’s time in office — he’s even started marking the number of days left in public speeches — the president is done caring about congressional Republicans calling him a dictator. Or calling him at all.

Obama can’t ignore Republicans forever. There’s no way for the president to avoid negotiations to get continuing resolutions to avoid a government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling — and depending how things go, rebuff GOP efforts to defund Obamacare and possibly a compromise on immigration reform. Chief of staff Denis McDonough’s functioning as an almost one-man legislative affairs office can’t do it all.

And he’s used the executive authority tactic before, including last summer’s controversial move to cut deportations for younger illegal immigrants and the mental health focus he announced as part of his gun control agenda after the Newtown massacre.

But administration officials and advisers say what’s ahead will be more extensive and frequent than previous efforts, and the White House is on the hunt for anything that can move without congressional approval, including encouraging efforts like Attorney General Eric Holder’s lawsuits to find new avenues of enforcement in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act last month.

So yes, screaming, spittle-flecked invective on watering the Tree of Liberty with the blood of tyrants for the next forever, which differs from the last five years, well, not at all.  But hey, at least Democrats have finally figured out Republicans are going to say this crap anyway, so press on.

More of this, please.  The difference too is that the Village is figuring this out as well, and maybe they don't like what they're seeing, either.  Kinda hard to blame Democrats for immigration reform with 68 Senate votes, including 100% of Democrats in the Senate, ya know?

Things should get interesting.


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