Martin Luther King Jr

Confederate group will fly 32 battle flags over MLK Drive at Civil War memorial in Texas town

Confederate memorial (Shutterstock)

Confederate memorial (Shutterstock)

The Raw Story

A confederate monument featuring 32 flags representing Civil War regiments is nearing completion in an east Texas town, alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, which is building the $50,000 memorial on private property, has ordered flagpoles to stand alongside 13 columns representing the states that seceded from the United States and fought to preserve slavery.

The circular monument stands just north of Interstate 10, off a city street named for the slain civil rights leader, near the Louisiana border.

“I think it’s a bad idea, but they own the property and the First Amendment warrants them that right,” said John Smith, city attorney for Orange, where the group is building the monument with private funding.

The nearly three dozen flags will be added in groups of eight, as funds allow, to honor Texas regiments in the Confederate army.

Smith said the city could have faced a lawsuit if officials had tried to block the memorial, which a poll showed was supported by 77 percent of Orange residents.

Granvel Block, an Orange resident who leads the statewide Sons of Confederate Veterans group, said southern states did not fight the Civil War to defend slavery – but instead were simply defending their sovereignty after “our states were invaded by northern troops.”

He said the memorial is intended to correct the “poor skew” of historical teachings about the Civil War and the Confederacy.

Block is a plaintiff in a recent case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which will decide whether Texas was wrong to reject a specialty license plate displaying the Confederate flag.

He insists the location of the memorial along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive was not chosen to “stir the pot,” but was simply the cheapest land the group could find in Orange.

Meet the Press thought Romney had something worthwhile to say about ’63

 

From Kos’ Open Thread For Night Owls

Daily Kos – Meteor Blades

Ain’t it great? The idiots at “Meet the Press” were hard-pressed to come up with a “balanced” approach to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  So what did they do? They asked viewers to complete the sentence “I have a dream,” as if Martin Luther King Jr. had failed us on that score. Let Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars explain why NBC chose to exhibit Mitt Romney giving us his take on the subject:

So MTP viewers are treated to the odd and jarring juxtaposition of rapper Snoop Lion asking for safe communities with no guns to failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney asking for kids to be “great.”Not to put too fine a point on it, but WTF??? The figures that Meet the Press think can best speak to the civil rights fight are Snoop Lion and Mitt Romney?

The Mitt Romney who lied about seeing his dad march with MLK?

The Mitt Romney who claimed that Obama support was high because black people wanted more free stuff?

The Mitt Romney whose campaign was filled with racist dog-whistles?

The Mitt Romney who pandered to the racist birther movement?

The Mitt Romney who was a prominent member of a church that for the first 31 years of his life taught that black people were “cursed”and barred from the priesthood?

The mind reels, NBC.


 

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006VA-Sen: Frameshop: Allen At It Again, Winks At White Folks:

Adding insult to injury in the “macaca” affair, video cameras trained on George Allen’s latest apologies have captured yet another disturbing scene: Senator Allen winking at a room full of white folks before apologizing for his racism.The video in question was published in a Washington Post article by Michael D. Shear and Tim Craig (“Allen Calls Webb Aide, Apologizes For Remark” 24AUG06).

Just after the 1 minute mark in the video, Senator Allen responds to a question from the audience by saying “I want to be very careful about the words I use,” then winks and smiles at the all white, elderly crowd in Springfield, VA. In response to Allen’s wink and smile, the crowd erupted into laughter. In the next scene of the video, Allen apologies for the “macaca” incident saying, “From the deepest part of my heart, I am sorry and I will do better.”

 

Brilliant Speech by Obama, Ugly Reaction by Drudge

One last Obama post for the evening…

The Daily Beast – Peter Beinart

Obama’s Morehouse speech was a beautiful paean to the values of Martin Luther King Jr. So how did Drudge respond? Disgustingly,says Peter Beinart.

“I’m a black man…” “Obama Uses Commencement Address to Recall Jim Crow, Racism of 40s, 50s…” “As an African American you have to work twice as hard…” Those were the three headlines on the Drudge Report this morning about President Obama’s commencement speech yesterday at historically black Morehouse College. (Hat tip to my Beast colleague David Frum whose tweet alerted me to them.)

Obama

President Barack Obama receives an honorary degree during Morehouse College’s 129th Commencement ceremony in Atlanta on Sunday. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

 

The implication was clear: far from the gaze of white America, Obama had exposed himself as the militant, separatist, blame-whitey black nationalist conservatives have long thought him to be. Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle made the point explicit, tweeting: “Sorry to break it to you Mr. President, but your race is IRRELEVANT to all the problems and scandals facing the country right now.”

 

It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry. In fact, Obama never used the phrase “I’m a black man.” What he did say was that “there are some things, as black men, we can only do for ourselves.” He went on to declare that “we know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. And I have to say, growing up, I made quite a few myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. I had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing. But one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years is that there’s no longer any room for excuses … Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you’ve suffered some discrimination.”

Obama

Graduates listen under heavy rain as President Obama delivers his speech at Morehouse College on Sunday. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Continue reading here…

Jackie Robinson, Trayvon Martin and the Sad History of Sanford, Florida

When I recall that the parents of Trayvon Martin said that their son laid in a morgue as unidentifiable for three days, basically tossed aside until someone came for him, I wondered, why didn’t the police make an effort to find the kid’s family?

Why did they throw Trayvon Martin away for three days?  However, learning more about the city of Sanford’s history, (unfortunately, similar to the history of far too many cities in the South) through the fog of my questions comes an image of generations of discrimination and negative impressions of Blacks in general.

The Nation

Sanford, Florida is a city that will now be known for all times as the place where Trayvon Martin was killed for the crime of Living While Black. It’s in addition the place whose institutions—the police department, the local press, and even the city morgue—treated Trayvon and his body in ways that should disturb anyone with a shred of conscience.

The city of Sanford also has a past that speaks to the racism many believe to be at the heart of why Trayvon was killed and why the man who pulled the trigger was not arrested. I’m not arguing that Sanford, Florida, is somehow more or less twisted than anywhere else. Last month, unarmed, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was killed in his bathroom by police in New York City. Last week Dane Scott Jr. in Del City, Oklahoma, was killed by police after a “scuffle.” The state medical examiner’s office, however, declared Scott’s death a homicide. The murder of Trayvon Martin is a “local issue” only if we understand “local” to mean local communities across the country.

But Sanford, Florida, does have its own history and it includes a collective moment of intolerance and bigotry that almost derailed the man Martin Luther King Jr. called “a freedom rider before freedom rides,” Jackie Robinson.

Before Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, he spent a season desegregating the minor leagues, playing for the Dodgers AAA team, the Montreal Royals. The Royals held Spring Training in Sanford.

Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, after so many years, thought he knew Florida. He believed that Robinson’s presence could go over if efforts were taken to ruffle as few feathers as possible. Robinson, on Rickey’s instructions, didn’t try to stay at any Sanford hotels. He and his wife didn’t eat out at any restaurants not deemed “Negro restaurants.” He didn’t even dress in the same locker room as his teammates.

Rickey thought that would be enough. He thought he knew Florida. But he didn’t know Sanford.

Continue reading here…

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: The GOP’s ‘Utterly Surreal’ Contraception Hearing

English: Congressman Darrell Issa's Official 1...

Think Progress

The House Committee On Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing yesterday on the Obama administration’s now-revised ruling that all employers must cover contraception in their employee health insurance policies, including some religiously-affiliated ones.

The hearing succeeding in becoming one of the more bizarre and obtuse displays in recent political theater. Highlights included:

– Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) use of self-aggrandizing posters of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Mahatma Gandhi.

– The committee’s failure to include even one woman as a witness in their first panel.

– The ominous insistence that an honest disagreement over a health policy that’s already followed without complaint in multiple states and enjoys wide-spread support is a threat to fundamental American principles and liberties.

– A long and rambling speech comparing a fictional “national pork mandate” to important women’s health drugs.

ThinkProgress has the video round-up:

Maine’s Madman Governor Paul LePage Strikes Again

The Daily Beast

Just 100 days into Gov. Paul LePage’s Tea Party-fueled administration, his fellow Republicans are fighting back, defeating his push to bring back toxic baby bottles. Now Maine faces a choice between the Republicanism of moderate Olympia Snowe or the more bellicose LePage, reports Colin Woodard.

After November’s election, Maine Republicans had reason to feel heady. Their candidate, Tea Party-backed conservative Paul LePage, was headed to the governor’s mansion in Augusta, where the GOP had won a majority in both legislative chambers for the first time in nearly half a century.

But a hundred days into his administration, Gov. LePage has managed to alienate legislators, invigorate his opponents, and generate more negative national press attention than any Maine politician since James G. Blaine, who retired from the U.S. Senate in 1881. On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, he told the NAACP to “kiss my butt.”   He defended a campaign to lift a ban on the endocrine disruptor bisphenol-A in baby bottles by joking that the worst thing that could happen is “some women may have little beards.” Then he had a mural illustrating the history of Maine’s labor movement taken out of a Department of Labor waiting room after an anonymous letter compared it to murals in North Korea aimed at “brainwashing the masses.” The removal triggered large protests by artists and union members, and a possible federal Department of Labor fine in excess of $60,000, for breaching the terms of a grant that helped cover the mural’s purchase, and widespread editorial condemnation, with the Bangor Daily News describing the act as “straight out of Orwell’s world.”

“Gov. LePage has spent the early days of his administration seeking out third-rail issues,” says Ron Schmidt Jr., chairman of the University of Southern Maine’s political science department. “In traditional political math, he should be trying to grow his base”—LePage won by 1 point, with 38 percent of the vote—“but things like the mural could even erode his base.”

The central question in Maine politics has been whether Republican lawmakers would stand by LePage’s more contentious proposals, such as rolling back all environmental laws to match laxer federal standards. Recently it has become clear that many of them are frustrated with the governor, and that the feeling is mutual. On Monday, eight of 20 Republican state senators criticized the governor’s often bellicose behavior in an op-ed published by the state’s largest newspaper chain. The next day, LePage’s bisphenol-A initiative was rejected 35-0 in the state senate, after a 145-3 defeat in the House.

Continue here…

Martin Luther King, Jr. – January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

 

Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958

Keith Olbermann Critic Calls Him “A Target,” And Asks “Won’t Somebody Stop Him?”

WTF? 

Mediaite

A woman whose online bio describes her as a “humor writer” (as well as “fine artist, excellent cook, devoted wife”) has called MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann “a target,” and asked for someone to “stop him.”

The post written by Andrea Rouda carries the headline “Speaking of Target Practice,” and–after listing murdered leaders including JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Benazir Bhutto–suggests “there are so many good targets still out there. Take Keith Olbermann.”

Rouda, apparently responding to Olbermann’s Saturday night “Special Comment” on the Arizona shooting spree, calls Olbermann “the Devil himself:”

In the wake of yesterday’s horrific shooting of a young congresswoman, the Devil himself who walks among us in the form of a TV “journalist” has decided that Sarah Palin and the Tea Party are responsible and is spreading his usual vitriol.

Please, won’t somebody stop him?

Olbermann sent out a link to the page--which also features a picture of a puppy billed as the “Daily Puppy”–to his Twitter followers Sunday afternoon, resulting in well over 100 comments, most of them attacking Rouda, or suggesting that she should be sent to prison. Olbermann later used his Twitter account to urge his followers not to “act on” or even leave comments on the page, saying “it’s already being addressed.”

Screen shot from now defunct web page:

Barbour: Segregationist Citizens Councils That I Praised Were ‘Totally Indefensible’

Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi plans on running for President of the United States next year.  It appears he had no choice but to backtrack his endearing assessment of the “White Citizens’ Council”…

TPMDC

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), the potential presidential candidate who has come under fire for comments praising the segregationist Citizen Councils that operated during his youth in the South, has now released a statement fully condemning the organizations:

“When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns’ integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn’t tolerate it and helped prevent violence there. My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the ‘Citizens Council,’ is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time.”

In a profile in the Weekly Standard, Barbour recalled the group in positive terms:

“You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

More…

Better Angels and Killer Angels – (Re- Post)

A century and a half after Abraham Lincoln was elected, some truths go marching on. Take heed, Obama.

11-27-2010 As we approach the last two full weeks of 111th Congress, I felt this article should be re-posted.

Newsweek’s article on President Obama’s recognition and frequent use of Abe Lincoln’s term “better angels” brings to light, the unnerving fact that Obama also needs to realize what Lincoln understood: that there may be better angels in the nature of some people, but there are others who are willing to weaken, even destroy a nation to serve their own self-righteous self-interest, and they will do it in the name of the Constitution…

Newsweek

President Barack Obama loves to quote the lyrical closing lines of Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, calling on “the better angels of our nature” to overcome partisan hatreds and political divisions. Obama cited those words in his own inaugural proclamation and rested his hand on Lincoln’s Bible when he took the oath of office. He has come back to those angels again and again ever since. A search of Google and the White House Web site turns up half a dozen examples. He used the phrase to eulogize Ted Kennedy, to chide a would-be Quran burner in Florida, and to say goodbye to chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Obama, it seems, sees better angels just about everywhere. Even as he traveled in India this week he talked about his efforts to live up to the example of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and, yes, Abraham Lincoln.

But in light of today’s real-world politics, Obama should think a little harder about the context in which Lincoln summoned those better angels on March 4, 1861. Led by South Carolina (now home to Sen. Jim DeMint), seven of 33 states had already seceded from the Union to form the Confederacy at that point. Only days before Lincoln took office, he had to sneak into Washington in the lonely hours before dawn because of an assassination plot. The month after his inauguration, the South fired on the federal garrison at Fort Sumter to begin the Civil War in earnest.

If, in the end, Lincoln did manage to hold the Union together, it was not because of the better angels of human nature, but because he finally found the killer angels among his generals who could, and did, and at enormous cost, crush the secessionists.

These basic facts about a moment of history that Obama obviously holds dear are worth going over again right now because, in fact, the secessionists of 1860 are the ideological forebears of the Tea Party movement today. No, the United States is not on the verge of another violent breakup, not close at all, even if Tea Party icons like Gov. Rick Perry in Texas or some of Sarah Palin’s friends and relatives in Alaska may toy with the notion of secession. But there is in American politics today a discourse of such cupidity, bigotry, and self-delusion about the role of government that it would have been familiar to anyone following the rhetoric of the Southern “fire-eaters” pushing the country toward a conflagration 150 years ago.     Continue reading…