What’s the liberal spin on the New Black Panthers Voter Intimidation Case?

I”ve been trying to figure that out most of the day, since I noted that former Dept. of Justice employee J. Christian Adams would be testifying before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights today.  That is, I noted it on Fox News’ website.  I regularly check CNN, then Fox (hate their site, plus I want to get as much as I can), during the workday.  CNN had no mention of the case, and a check in their archives indicated that it had not been mentioned at all this year. 

Is what Adams had to say important?  What do you think? 

J. Christian Adams, testifying Tuesday before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, said that “over and over and over again,” the department showed “hostility” toward those cases. He described the Black Panther case as one example of that — he defended the legitimacy of the suit and said his “blood boiled” when he heard a Justice official claim the case wasn’t solid. 

“It is false,” Adams said of the claim. 

“We abetted wrongdoing and abandoned law-abiding citizens,” he later testified. 

The department abandoned the New Black Panther case last year. It stemmed from an incident on Election Day in 2008 in Philadelphia, where members of the party were videotaped in front of a polling place, dressed in military-style uniforms and allegedly hurling racial slurs while one brandished a night stick. 

The Bush Justice Department brought the first case against three members of the group, accusing them in a civil complaint of violating the Voter Rights Act. The Obama administration initially pursued the case, winning a default judgment in federal court in April 2009 when the Black Panther members did not appear in court. But then the administration moved to dismiss the charges the following month after getting one of the New Black Panther members to agree to not carry a “deadly weapon” near a polling place until 2012. 

In a statement Tuesday, a Justice spokesman said the civil rights division determined “the facts and the law did not support pursuing claims” against the two other defendants and denied Adams’ allegations. 

“The department makes enforcement decisions based on the merits, not the race, gender or ethnicity of any party involved. We are committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of both the civil and criminal provisions of the federal laws that prohibit voter intimidation,” the spokesman said. 

The Civil Rights Commission, which subpoenaed Adams, has been probing the incident since last year. Adams said he ignored department directives not to testify and eventually quit after he heard Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez testify that there were concerns the Black Panther case was not supported by the facts.  

Adams has described the case as open-and-shut and said Tuesday that it was a “very low moment” to hear Perez make that claim. 

But he described the department’s hostility toward that and other cases involving black defendants as “pervasive.” Adams cited hostility in the department toward a 2007 voting rights case against a black official in Mississippi who was accused of trying to intimidate voters. Adams said that when the Black Panther case came up, he heard officials in the department say it was “no big deal” and “media-generated” and point to “Fox News ” as the source.  

But as the investigation unfolded, he said he discovered “indications” that the Black Panther Party was doing the “same thing” to supporters of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary season in early 2008. He urged the commission to pursue testimony from other Justice officials to corroborate his story. 

It’s unclear how far the commission will get. The commissioners want to hear from Christopher Coates, the former chief of the Justice Department’s voting section, but the commission claims the Justice Department is blocking Coates from testifying about why the case was dropped. 

The Bush Justice Department brought the first case against three members of the group, accusing them in a civil complaint of violating the Voter Rights Act. The Obama administration initially pursued the case, winning a default judgment in federal court in April 2009 when the Black Panther members did not appear in court. But then the administration moved to dismiss the charges the following month after getting one of the New Black Panther members to agree to not carry a “deadly weapon” near a polling place until 2012. 

In a statement Tuesday, a Justice spokesman said the civil rights division determined “the facts and the law did not support pursuing claims” against the two other defendants and denied Adams’ allegations. 

“The department makes enforcement decisions based on the merits, not the race, gender or ethnicity of any party involved. We are committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of both the civil and criminal provisions of the federal laws that prohibit voter intimidation,” the spokesman said. 

The Civil Rights Commission, which subpoenaed Adams, has been probing the incident since last year. Adams said he ignored department directives not to testify and eventually quit after he heard Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez testify that there were concerns the Black Panther case was not supported by the facts. 

 

Adams has described the case as open-and-shut and said Tuesday that it was a “very low moment” to hear Perez make that claim. 

But he described the department’s hostility toward that and other cases involving black defendants as “pervasive.” Adams cited hostility in the department toward a 2007 voting rights case against a black official in Mississippi who was accused of trying to intimidate voters. Adams said that when the Black Panther case came up, he heard officials in the department say it was “no big deal” and “media-generated” and point to “Fox News ” as the source. 

 

But as the investigation unfolded, he said he discovered “indications” that the Black Panther Party was doing the “same thing” to supporters of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary season in early 2008. He urged the commission to pursue testimony from other Justice officials to corroborate his story. 

It’s unclear how far the commission will get. The commissioners want to hear from Christopher Coates, the former chief of the Justice Department’s voting section, but the commission claims the Justice Department is blocking Coates from testifying about why the case was dropped.

I’ve got a few problems with this: First, I make a it a rule to be extremely sceptical when people speak out against former employers.  They almost always have a bias and unresolved issues against the employer.  That doesn’t mean they’re wrong, necessarily; they’re likely to be the only ones who can show problems where they exist, but it means that I’m looking for other support.  Second, I don’t trust Fox News.  Or rather, I’m not any more willing to put my full trust in Fox News any more than I would any other news network.  “Trust, but verify” as Reagan would say.  I know what some people think when they hear “Fox News,” so I want to be sure that I’ve gotten independent support.  I’ve never had a problem before.  Third, I simply don’t think I believe that the Justice Department in my own country could be so blatantly, unabashedly, corrupt and racist.  I realize that Holder hasn’t exactly been politically correct about race in the past, but I still can’t believe that things are this bad.  The voter intimidation case was air tight; the man was video-taped brandishing a weapon.  Why does the Justice Department think that this is OK? 

And yet, I have not heard any explanation from the DOJ.  Adams’ accusations, if there is even a chance they are true, are surely more important than whatever the hell Lindsay Lohan is doing these days (which got three stories today, as well as a breaking news alert) or a basketball player’s Twitter account.  I’d say it’s a lot more important than the World Cup, which has been front paged most of the day.  And yet, nothing, no explanation, no cover up, no counter-story.  I could not find anything about this story on any other non-conservative media sites as well.  I’m willing to consider an explanation, if only one is offered. 

Wait . . . What?

That was my reaction upon reading that NASA’s primary goal is to improve relations with Muslims. 

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a recent interview that his “foremost” mission as the head of America’s space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world. 

Though international diplomacy would seem well outside NASA’s orbit, Bolden said in an interview with Al Jazeera that strengthening those ties was among the top tasks President Obama assigned him. He said better interaction with the Muslim world would ultimately advance space travel. 

“When I became the NASA administrator — or before I became the NASA administrator — he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering,” Bolden said in the interview. 

I always understood NASA to be about space exploration.  Maybe science and math inspiration came along with it.  Expanding international relationships?  Maybe for things like the space station, but that seems like a side goal, or a means to an end more so than an actual goal.  But to help the Muslim nations feel good about their historic contribution to science?  What the hell does that even mean?  How is it in our interest to give self esteem points to a religious or cultural group?  Particularly a group that tends to have a problem with trying to kill us?  And, even if it were in our interest, or anyone’s interest, why would it be up to NASA to do it?  I don’t even have an outrage about it; it’s just bizarre. 

Bush’s guy makes a bit more sense:

“NASA … represents the best of America. Its purpose is not to inspire Muslims or any other cultural entity,” Michael Griffin, who served as NASA administrator during the latter half of the Bush administration, told FoxNews.com. . . .

“If by doing great things, people are inspired, well then that’s wonderful,” Griffin said. “If you get it in the wrong order … it becomes an empty shell.” 

Griffin added: “That is exactly what is in danger of happening.” 

He also said that while welcome, Muslim-nation cooperation is not vital for U.S. advancements in space exploration. 

“There is no technology they have that we need,” Griffin said. 

The former administrator stressed that any criticism should be directed at Obama, not Bolden, since NASA merely carries out policy. 

So, what’s the White House have to say about all of this? 

The White House stood by Bolden on Tuesday. Spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a written statement to FoxNews.com that Obama “wants NASA to engage with the world’s best scientists and engineers as we work together to push the boundaries of exploration. 

“Meeting that mandate requires NASA to partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries. The space race began as a global competition, but, today, it is a global collaboration,” he said. 

Bob Jacobs, NASA’s assistant administrator for public affairs, echoed that point. However, he said that Bolden was speaking of priorities when it came to “outreach” and not about NASA’s primary missions of “science, aeronautics and space exploration.” He said the “core mission” is exploration and that it was unfortunate Bolden’s comments are now being viewed through a “partisan prism.” 

First, I love how actual quotes are now a “partisan prism.”  Second, it seems like we’ve got one of two things going on, and I’m not sure which one is more troubling.  Either 1) We’ve got the head of a major federal agency going off half-cocked on an unfriendly television network and pandering to other countries by misstating his agency’s goals, or 2) the administration really is making a point of telling agencies to improve Muslim self-esteem, for reasons we can only guess.  Whether it’s the “primary goal” or not is unimportant; if Bolden is telling the truth here, the administration is obviously giving it a position of importance.  At best, this means that the adminstration has no concept of what the government’s, or it’s agencies’, proper role is and no sense of priority in a time of economic stress. 

Related: Ann Althouse says: “Oh, admit it! The point of science is to feel good about how we can do science.”

Congratulations to my fellow NewsBlaze writer

India contributor Nava Thakuria, who has been honored with ERDF Award of Excellence 2010 for his contribution to the field of journalism

How much did you spend in lottery tickets last year?

I turned 18 in 1998; lottery wasn’t legal in my state then, but I went to college close to the border, and sometimes friends and I would hop over the line and get a ticket and some cheap gas (Georgia stations were selling it at $0.75/gallon for a while back then!) and a (1 dollar) lottery ticket.  We probably did this six or seven times during my freshman year.  When they legalized the lottery in my state a few years later, I probably played a couple times, just for the novelty.  My husband put in a few dollars a week with some co-workers for a while several years back.  I don’t think either of us has bought a single ticket, or even really thought about it, in years, despite the fact that we certainly visit places that sell tickets several times a week, pass billboards for it on a daily basis, and are subject to some of the most irritating radio and TV commercials for it ever written. 

Of course, we’re middle class.  But if we were “less fortunate“. . . (via Nealz Nuze)

The devious slogan for the New York State lottery is “All you need is a dollar and a dream.” Such state lotteries are a regressive form of taxation, since the vast majority of lottery consumers are low-income. The statistics are bleak: Twenty percent of Americans are frequent players, spending about $60 billion a year. The spending is also starkly regressive, with lower income households being much more likely to play. A household with income under $13,000 spends, on average, $645 a year on lottery tickets, or about 9 percent of all income.

How many times have you heard some variation on “the rich are different from you and me”?  I think, instead, that the poor are the ones that are different.  The more I see in life, the more I see that, by and large (but of course, not without exceptions), the poor stay poor because they do things that make them poor.  Things that seem not only stupid but outright bizarre to me.  It’s not just throwing away significant amounts of all too scarce money on a “dream” (more like a fantasy) of a lottery, it’s a whole slew of things that demonstrate similar poor planning and lack of forethought, and an overall failure to accept that success almost always takes work and patience.

Why did we go to war in Iraq?

A few days ago, I wrote a post thanking Former President George W. Bush for his unwavering support for doing what was right in our fight against terror.  Commenter hdhouse objected on the grounds that he believed that we were misled into the war:

No one disagrees that Saddam was one of the worst of the lot and justice caught up with him. That we trumped up all the other hoopla to invade Iraq when if Mr. Bush had just said, “hey..I wanna get that guy so we are going in” then it would have been something for an up and down vote.

But what Mr. Bush did was borrow the family car to go to the library and instead went out drinking.

I responded that I believed that removing Saddam and his regime was not only a valid reason for the war, but that it was a valid reason given for the war at the time as well. 

 I guess we all have different memories of our impressions at any given time, but I distinctly remember having discussions w/ my husband about getting rid of Saddam and his regime being the main, and clearly justifying, reason that we should go in during the time leading up to the invasion. WMD was still being debated at that time, but we agreed that, even if there were no WMD, it was still the right thing to do (I recall comparing it to a bodybuilder witnessing an old lady being beaten- although not perhaps required, it would be morally correct to intervene, and a moral failing not to).So, in other words, I don’t feel that I was misled that that was the plan and the goal, in the way you seem to. But memories are faulty things, and we all read them in our own ways.

I also commented that it would be an interesting project to do a media survey of the time before the war in an effort to understand what the public was told were the reasons for going.  Well, I can’t do that, exactly, but I can link to the Congressional Resolution on Iraq, which authorized the use of force.  It’s too long and legislative to really excerpt, but it clearly shows a number of reasons that the U.S. decided to go to war, only a few of which involve weapons of mass destruction. 

Of course, that was the law.  What the media actually said about it may be another story all together.

I think that the whole “Obama’s not getting emotional enough about the oil leak” meme is just about the dumbest criticism of a president I’ve ever heard

Yet it seems to be everywhere, mostly from liberals (go figure). 

But don’t worry, he’s fighting back against it anyway. 

“I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar, we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.”

The fact that the president takes these critics seriously, and has decided that he can posture and showboat his way back into their good graces (as opposed to actually managing the situation), is just one more of many reminders that we sent a child to do an adult’s job.

Related: Instapundit has a round-up.

Do Conservatives Ever Do This?

Ann Althouse points to a request from Organizing for America (which is basically Barack Obama, Inc.) requesting that supporters phone radio stations and give some (humorously shallow) talking points about why they like Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court.  

Althouse and her commenters do a pretty great job at picking out why this is a stupid idea, but it’s hardly new.  They even have a name, likely coined by Rush Limbaugh: “Seminar Callers.”  What I’m honestly wondering is: does anyone know if conservatives have tried to do the same thing?  Maybe not radio (since calling liberal radio shows tends to be pretty impossible), but even concentrated, talking points laden letters to the editor and such?  I tried several bing searches, and, while I found the calls to action for liberals pretty quickly, I couldn’t find any results for similar calls for conservatives, and I can’t recall ever having seen any in my daily perusals.  I’m pretty curious, though.