Monthly archives: July, 2009

Stupid White Men Attack Wise Latina Supreme Court Nominee

Honestly, have you had enough of the stupid old white men repeatedly attacking Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor over her “wise latina” remark?  How can Republicans possibly waste the entire confirmation hearings focusing on speeches, and ignoring all of the nominee’s decisions?

Any Republicans reading this?  I’d love to know your “approval rating” of the stupid white men you sent to the United States Senate.  How can they dance for days without asking one substantive question?


By the sixth hour of the hearing, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham had dispensed with the formalities altogether. “If I may interject, Judge, [lawyers] find you difficult and challenging more than your colleagues,” Graham blurted, without irony. “Do you think you have a temperament problem?” A minute later, he had turned, weirdly, to personal advice: “Maybe these hearings are a time for self-reflection.” Graham also cautioned Sotomayor to “appreciate the world we live in,” in which she could say something about a “wise Latina” and still expect to win a seat on the Supreme Court — since white men wouldn’t be able to get away with similar remarks. And he led her through a ritualized denunciation of al-Qaida, asking how women would be treated if the jihadists had their way.

What made his performance even stranger, though, was that Graham is likely to vote for Sotomayor’s confirmation. “Now, let’s talk about you,” he told her, just before haranguing her about her temperament. “I like you, by the way, for whatever that matters. Since I may vote for you that ought to matter to you.”

Honestly, Lindsey Graham showed his idiotic side this week.  At times, he appeared juvenile in his attempts to bait the judge into an inappropriate remark.  Too bad for him.

I found one media report amusing this week: before television, there were no lengthy Supreme Court hearings.  Without a pulpit, these things just happened, and took little time.

Imagine that.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed and sworn in as a Supreme Court justice.  She seems firm but fair.  And she really knows the law.

That’s all we can ask.

Act NOW: Urge Your Senator to Support Hate Crimes Legislation.

The Matthew Shepard Act is before the United States Senate.  The wrong-right wing, for some insane reason, is pulling an all-out campaign to bury this bill.

We need your support now.  NOW.

Matthew Shepard, that beautiful boy from Wayoming, was murdered only because he was gay.

That’s it.

We need FEDERAL legislation to let everyone know hate crimes are wrong, no matter the reason.  For some reason, some people in the United States believe it’s okay ok to murder someone because he or she is gay.


Call your senator NOW.

From the Matthew Shepard Foundation:

After 10 years of continued effort, a federal act to prevent and prosecute hate crimes committed against persons due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is closer than ever to becoming law, with a key Senate roll-call about to take place.

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which passed the U.S. House earlier this year by a sizeable margin, has been offered as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (S. 1391). Officially known as the Leahy/Collins/Kennedy/Snowe Amendment, it will be debated intermittently ahead of a crucial procedural vote as soon as Thursday afternoon, or as late as Monday, July 20.

The cloture motion (to end debate and force a vote on the amendment) will require 60 votes to pass. Support for the Matthew Shepard Act appears to be close to that threshold, though opponents of this common-sense legislation are reportedly deluging the Senate with calls and correspondence urging its defeat.

Yesterday, Matthew Shepard Foundation Governing Board President Judy Shepard joined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a Capitol press conference to urge passage of the legislation.  Sen. Reid reiterated his commitment to get the Matthew Shepard Act into law this year. The Defense Department spending bill, with or without the Shepard Act attached, will need to go to a conference committee of the House and Senate that will be charged with producing a final version in September.  House and Senate leaders and the White House have again restated their commitments to get this done—this year.

But lawmakers need to hear where you stand. Call THE SENATE SWITCHBOARD at 202-224-3121, or visit and make your voice heard today!

Jason Marsden
Executive Director

Call NOW.  Democratic, Republican, no matter.  Gay, straight, no matter.   For the love of God, call to show your support for your fellow human beings.  Some of whom, are gay.

What the Hell is Wrong with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Owners?

I was originally going to title this piece, “What the Hell is wrong with the Pittsburgh Pirates?”  However, I thought better of that.

It’s not the Pirates.  It’s the owners.

It’s the owners who are hell-bent on screwing this team into the ground.  And then killing them some more.

Why do these idiot owners trade away their brightest and strongest athletes?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the sad news:

If nothing else, these Pirates careened into the All-Star break with a clear course: Barring a huge reversal, they will break the major professional sports record with a 17th consecutive losing season.

Easily, at that.

With their no-suspense 5-2 loss to Philadelphia yesterday at Citizens Bank Park, one in which Virgil Vasquez was knocked out after 1 1/3 innings and the offense again mustered precious little, the Pirates:

  • Were swept in three by the Phillies.
  • Completed a 2-7 road trip, part of a broader 3-11 slide.
  • Dropped to a season-low 12 games under .500 at 38-50 overall.

That record projects to 69-93 over the full season, which, of course, projects to history.

It’s not the kids’ fault.  This is a calculated decision on the part of the ownership to maximize their revenue, and screw the team and the fans.  These owners are ONLY about money.  They’ve decided there’s no chance they can win, so they do everything possible to kill this team’s chances of success, including trading away every good and great player who has played for the team over the past 17 years.

Are these owners idiots, or just stupid?   Or are they just plain greedy?   Is it really that profitable to run a lousy baseball team?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a long, noble tradition.

Not too long ago, there were people of honor working with and for the Pirates.  I believe most of the men on the roster today are men of honor.

Robert Nutting, who the hell are you anyway?  What is your interest in baseball, and why to you treat the Pirates as the National League’s favorite farm team?

Why is Nutting taking this noble team and systematically running it into the ground?  Who is he on the take for?

And what would our Roberto say about all of this?

Simeon Sanders Served US in Iraq; Shot Dead in Harvey


His mother didn’t want him to join the Army.  She was worried about him fighting overseas.  But it was one of us in this country who shot Simeon Sanders dead in Harvey.

One of us. An American.

From the Sun-Times:

Sanders, 21, of Harvey, was shot and killed Thursday evening at 154th and Center Avenue in the south suburb while walking with his cousin. Sanders had been home on furlough to visit his family.

The cousins had just gotten french fries at a restaurant and heard men arguing — some on the sidewalk and some in a car, family members said. Wanting to avoid trouble, the cousins tried to cross the street, and got caught in the crossfire.

“They happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Simeon’s mother, Shannon Sanders, said Saturday while sitting in a room filled with pictures of their large, close-knit family.

Charges are pending against one man.  Police are seeking a second suspect.

I don’t want to talk about gun control.  Instead, I want to know why we can’t control ourselves.  Why do we use guns so freely?

In my classroom, I often tell my students that the United States is the most dangerous country on the face of the earth outside of a war zone.

Look at that young man staring back at you from eternity and ask yourself, “Why?”  Let’s just have a conversation about why this happened.  Twenty-one years old.  Shot in the back.

Roland Burris Sees the Writing on the Wall

I’m not going to bash Sen. Roland Burris over his decision to not seek election to the United States Senate. I actually have come to believe that he just wanted to be a senator, but arrived in office entirely the wrong way. Did he permit ambition to blind his judgement? You bet.  We know he has an ego.  Many pols do.  However, having an ego is not a crime.

From Michael Sneed at the Sun-Times:

Sneed has learned that U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has decided not to seek election to a seat he fought the government to keep.

•      •      To wit: Burris, whose decision to vie for Barack Obama’s seat landed him in the midst of a federal pay-to-play corruption probe of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, decided to end his 20-year political career at the end of his term — “because he was primarily concerned about his legacy,” a source close to Burris told Sneed.

•      •      Translation: “After 20 years in government service, Burris didn’t want the last four months in office to be that legacy,” the source said.

Finances also contributed to Burris’ decision, according to Sneed.  No doubt.  I would wager there were a few behind-closed-doors conversations with Democratic congressional leaders.  Like it or not, Burris is tainted because of Blagojevich.  Illinois needs a fresh start.

Who will claim the powerful seat?

My money is on Alexi Giannoulias.  Time will tell.

Lisa Madigan: It’s All About the Family

Lisa Madigan ruled out runs for both the United States Senate and Illinois governor yesterday, boiling it all down to one word: family.

From the Sun-Times:

In rejecting a bid for higher office in 2010, Madigan forged her own course, despite being pulled to challenge Gov. Quinn by her father, House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, and wooed by the White House, Sen. Dick Durbin and the Senate Democratic political operation to run for the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

"There was plenty of agonizing over this decision," Madigan, 42, said at an afternoon press conference after she spent the morning phoning supporters and fund-raisers. My Chicago Sun-Times colleague Dan Rozek reports that Madigan emphasized her young children — Rebecca, 4, and Lucy, 1 — as factors in her decision.

"At the end of the day, it was a decision that I made with my husband [Pat Byrnes] about what was best for us and our family and what is best for the state. I have a job I am deeply committed to and extraordinarily satisfied by. Not everybody can say they have a job they love and have a working family situation as well," said Madigan. She did not rule out a future run for higher office.

Yeah, and if you believe her, I have a bridge to …

Well, in fact, I do believe her.

Every time I’ve seen Lisa Madigan or heard her speak, I just don’t have the sense that she’s part of the woeful Illinois Democratic Machine. I think she’s a wonderful Attorney General.

Watch the interview above with Chicago Tonight’s Carol Marin. Attorney General Madigan appears quite genuine. Marin is not one to toss softballs. She’s perhaps the best journalist in Chicago. I believe Madigan when she says this was an “agonized” decision.

I just think the story here is that clear: Lisa Madigan loves her family and enjoys her job.

Look, it’s easy to become suspicious of every pol out there. But Lisa sounds like she’s just being Lisa, and this time, it’s all about the family.

Digging Up Bodies, Selling Graves, 4 Stand Accused

The disgusting news from the Chicago Tribune:

Four people have been charged after authorities discovered that dozens of bodies had been dug up at the historic Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip and the grave sites illegally resold.

They will appear in Central Bond Court at 11:45 a.m.

Each was charged with one count of dismembering a human body, a Class X felony.

Detectives discovered a pile of bones — from more than 100 bodies — decomposed, above ground and uncovered in an overgrown, fenced-off portion of the cemetery, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.

"What we found was beyond startling and revolting," the sheriff said.

As the Sheriff’s police continued working, distraught family members began showing up, looking for loved ones’ graves.

This is not just any cemetary:

One of the first predominantly African-American cemeteries in the area, Burr Oak is home to many historic figures, including Emmett Till, blues legend Dinah Washington and heavyweight boxing champion Ezzard Charles.

Dart said he was certain Till’s remains were not disturbed, but he could not ensure the preservation of the others.

"We cannot give people definitive answers at this point," he said, adding they were working with forensic medical examiners to try to identify the remains.

None of the remains had been removed from the site, said Steve Patterson, a sheriff’s spokesman. The state’s attorney’s office and  FBI are also investigating, Dart said.

According to police, the accused probably took in around $300,000. The alleged scam has been going on for about about four years, according to police. According to Dart, other employees reported the alleged scam to the owners. Possible felony charges involve unearthing the dead, conspiracy and financial crimes, according to Dart.

I don’t even have a category for this one.

John Harris Pleads Guilty; Circle Closes in on Blagojevich

From the Chicago Tribune:

John Harris, the last chief of staff to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, pleaded guilty today to a single count of wire fraud in federal court. He agreed to cooperate in the federal probe against his former boss in return for a recommended prison term of just under 3 years.

Harris was accused of aiding some of the former governor’s efforts to leverage the powers of his office in exchange for favors and campaign contributions. Among the accusations against Blagojevich is that he attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

From the plea agreement:

From approximately October 2008 to on or about December 9, 2008, in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Defendant, together with co-defendant Rod Blagojevich and others, participated in a scheme to deprive the people of the State of Illinois of their intangible right to the honest services of Defendant Rod Blagojevich, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 1346.

So the circle closes in on the former governor.

So It Turns Out Geeks Can Find Our Social Security Numbers

Who knew?  All you need to do is check out your friends on Facebook, and you have their Social Security numbers.

Y0u know, the one number you are supposed to guard for life.

From the Chicago Tribune:

For all the concern about identity theft, researchers say there’s a surprisingly easy way for the technology-savvy to figure out the precious nine digits of Americans’ Social Security numbers.

“It’s good that we found it before the bad guys,” Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh said of the method for predicting the numbers.

Well, yeah.  Let’s hope you’re the first one on the planet to discover the algorithm.

The Social Security administration is trying to downplay this:

Social Security spokesman Mark Lassiter said the public should not be alarmed by the report “because there is no foolproof method for predicting a person’s Social Security number.”

“The suggestion that Mr. Acquisti has cracked a code for predicting an SSN is a dramatic exaggeration,” Lassiter said via e-mail.

However, he added: “For reasons unrelated to this report, the agency has been developing a system to randomly assign SSNs. This system will be in place next year.”

So, for some reason, the SSI is going to start randomizing the way social security numbers are generated.

What does that do for the rest of us?  And let’s hope that everyone at CMU who has this information is honest.

Got Facebook?

Be careful.

D.C. Law Recognizing Out-of-Jurisdiction Marriages By Same-Sex Couples Takes Effect

From our friends at the Human Rights Campaign:

D.C. joins other jurisdictions across the nation on the historic road to marriage equality.

Washington, D.C.– The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, issued the following statement after a new D.C. law recognizing marriages by same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions became effective today.

“Today, same-sex couples in D.C. who have married elsewhere, or who choose to marry in one of the growing number of jurisdictions that provide marriage equality, will have their relationships fully recognized,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “This law is an important and historic step towards equal dignity, equal respect and equal rights under D.C. law for same-sex couples. Congratulations to the D.C. Council, Mayor Fenty and the many advocates of equality in our community who have worked hard for, and continue to pursue, marriage equality in D.C.”

On May 5, 2009, the D.C. Council overwhelmingly passed legislation that expressly recognizes marriages by same-sex couples from other jurisdictions, including foreign countries. The bill was signed by Mayor Adrian Fenty the next day and transmitted to Congress for review. Opponents of marriage equality attempted to stop the legislation from taking effect by proposing a referendum. However, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled last month that the proposed referendum would violate the D.C. Human Rights Act and therefore was not a proper subject matter for the referendum process. A D.C. Superior Court judge upheld this ruling and denied opponents’ request for a preliminary injunction to stay the legislation. The law took effect today, at the conclusion of the 30 day Congressional review period.

Under the new law, a same-sex couple living in D.C. who is legally married elsewhere – for example, in Massachusetts, Connecticut or Canada – will be recognized as married in D.C. and will receive the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage under D.C. law. D.C. law continues to provide for domestic partnerships for same-sex and different-sex couples. Same-sex couples cannot legally marry in D.C. itself, although their marriages from other jurisdictions are now recognized.

Six states recognize marriage for same-sex couples: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont (effective September 1, 2009), Maine (scheduled to become effective September 2009, pending possible referendum) and New Hampshire (effective January 1, 2010). Outside the United States, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden recognize marriage for same-sex couples.

New York recognizes marriages by same-sex couples legally entered into in another jurisdiction, and the legislature is considering legislation that would permit same-sex couples to marry in New York. California recognized marriage by same-sex couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality for same-sex couples. The 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples performed in California before the passage of Proposition 8 remain valid.

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and responsibilities anywhere in the United States. To learn more about state by state legislation, visit:

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.