This Never Gets Old

The usual suspects release a heavily edited video, the MSM rolls with it, a good person gets fired, and the administration and the left are silent. Yeehaw!

ACORN! NAACP ARE THE REAL RACISTS! What do you think, Dancin’ David Gregory? Would you like a martini with your filet, Mr. Broder?

*** Update ***

Here’s the farmer’s wife saying that the smears are bullshit, and that she helped them.






515 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    But if we appease them with another scalp, surely the lynch mob will go away.

  2. 2
    Kryptik says:

    I’m going to port over a slightly edited post of mine from the Open Thread, since it’s fairly relevant here too:

    Both the USDA official story, as well as a piece by Ezra earlier pretty much demonstrate why I find myself politically hopeless these days.

    The USDA official story demonstrates the absolute control over exposure and Conventional Wisdom the right has. How remarkable that the context was lost, AND the impression that the racism was completely utterly one way, from the USDA official against the farmer (despite the official explicitly saying she felt totally condescended to, because of her race). And the time frame…what a surprise.

    And Ezra’s piece demonstrates why, even in victory, I don’t have much to celebrate, because even when the Republicans lose, they win. They win because they’re able to cut down just about every major Dem resolution down into uselessness, and shift the goalposts continually so even the weakest of measures is ‘UNAMERICAN SOSHULISMS!’. Combined with their total utter control of media exposure and CW and…yeah. I’m just left waiting for that big ass boulder to roll down again today, so we can push it back up…and watch it roll down tomorrow.

  3. 3
    tim says:

    and the administration and the left are silent. Yeehaw!

    so we have today’s example of how Obama, his administration, and congressional dems are willfully spineless in the face of even the most milquetoast bullshit from the right. When does it at long last begin to dawn on people that the dems act this way ON PURPOSE; it’s not some accident, and it’s not because they are stupid or too innocent to understand the evil of the right wing.

    Rather, it’s that they are A PART of the evil.

    It’s only stubborness that prevents his supporters from admitting that things haven’t changed much if at all since January 2009. What a joke.

  4. 4
    DJShay says:

    @tim: Yeah. Obama and Bush are just 2 peas in a pod. Think I’ll just sit 2010 and 2012 out. I mean, really? What’s the point?

  5. 5
    mistermix says:

    The first I heard of this was about an hour ago, so I’m having a hard time blaming “the left” for their silence on this one.

  6. 6
    Svensker says:

    @mistermix:

    The first I heard of this was about an hour ago, so I’m having a hard time blaming “the left” for their silence on this one.

    The woman involved blames the administration claiming they would not back her.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Zandar says:

    At this point Drudge, Beck, and Breitbart have shown that if you slime somebody hard enough, you can get them fired.

    I would have a lot more support for Obama on this if it hadn’t happened time and time again before.

    These guys cry “reverse racism” and good people get canned or their nominations withdrawn.

  9. 9
    mnpundit says:

    You DARE blame the left? Really? REALLY? This broke today.

    @Svensker: They wouldn’t they didn’t. Vilsack threw her to the wolves which means next time I see his car I may kick a lot more than his tires (I like his car). What in all hells does the Administration have to do with the left?

  10. 10
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    Someone want to recap what is going on here? I don’t care to peruse several sites just to find out what all the manufactured rage is about, and nobody seems to take the story from the beginning.

  11. 11
    mistermix says:

    @Svensker: I took his reference to “the left” to mean “left-identified media, pundits and bloggers”, who I think are silent mainly because they haven’t heard about this, not because they think it merits silence.

    If he meant the left in the administration, he’s right, of course.

  12. 12
    NonyNony says:

    @Svensker:

    @mistermix: … The first I heard of this was about an hour ago, so I’m having a hard time blaming “the left” for their silence on this one.

    The woman involved blames the administration claiming they would not back her.

    Mistermix’s quote stands. John blamed “the left” for being silent when there hasn’t been enough time for the “left” to actually take any blame on this one.

    OTOH – the administration is guilty of more than standing silent, apparently. They pushed her out because of this. So John’s actually wrong on two counts here – she didn’t lose her job because the “left” was silent, and she didn’t lose her job because the administration was silent either.

  13. 13
    Zach says:

    Depending on what Breitbart, etc said publicly in their summaries of this tape, knowing that they’re misrepresenting what she actually said, she’s got a decent claim against them, right?

  14. 14
    wilfred says:

    Petard, meet hoist.

  15. 15
    GregB says:

    Can someone please fabricate a video Andrew Brietbart fucking a goat or Mickey Kaus?

  16. 16
    QuaintIrene says:

    Whaddya expect from the MSM. I tuned in to see if there was any new info on the Senate vote on unemployment. What was playing on MSNBC, CNN and FOX. LIve coverage of LIndsay Lohan!! Going into court!! Then a half hour of the cameras focused on the outside of the courthouse while the talking heads babbled about nothing.

  17. 17
    Jude says:

    Here’s a bigger question: Breitbart has been shown to be, in the most charitable light, a fucking lying scumbag piece of shit.

    Why does anybody jump when he runs some fuckwitted “exclusive” nonsense?

  18. 18
    Zifnab says:

    @tim:

    Rather, it’s that they are A PART of the evil.

    Oh, fuck off. You are so not helping.

    In 2006, we’d have seen Shirley Sherrod quietly fired just for doing her job. Then she’d be replaced with a former employee of Kraft Foods or Monsanto. In 2010, we’re watching an outside 3rd-party lynch mob launch loud slanderous attacks on her reputation to get her fired and replaced by yet another Obama-era government bureaucrat.

    The differences are huge. Just for starters, Obama isn’t trying to dismantle the USDA from the inside out.

    I feel like I’m watching a farm get razed by the KKK while some nutter proclaims from the sidelines, “The problem is all these Reconstruction Workers and Union Troops!” Or perhaps an activist getting lite on fire by opposition rioters, while your whiny ass complains the fire department isn’t doing its job.

    At least pretend to get a clue.

  19. 19
    JScott says:

    The Administration seems to have tried to get out ahead of Glenn Beck and ended up getting run down by the facts. It’s a win-win for the “usual suspects.”

  20. 20
    John Cole says:

    Off to the fainting couches! John Cole smeared the left! Hippy punching!

    My general point was that no one came to her defense, while “the right” piled on immediately, you self-absorbed twats.

  21. 21
    DougJ says:

    Cue the Andy Alexander piece criticizing the Post for not covering this sooner.

  22. 22
    Zach says:

    It’s OK, Breitbart’s moved on to claiming credit for Tucker Carlson’s sleaze in getting Spencer Ackerman fired before it happens. I’m going to put money on his job at Wired being safe if that’s the best the Daily Caller can come up with:

    AB says, “Whereby I formally rescind my $100k Journolist reward & wish Spencer Ackerman the very best in whatever profession he now chooses to enter.”

  23. 23
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @Jude:

    Here’s a bigger question: Breitbart has been shown to be, in the most charitable light, a fucking lying scumbag piece of shit.

    Why does anybody jump when he runs some fuckwitted “exclusive” nonsense?

    Oh, this one’s easy. Because if you don’t blindly parrot every single right-wing talking point ever, you’re guilty of liberal bias. Which, apparently, is the worst thing in the world to be accused of.

  24. 24
    dmsilev says:

    Does she have a claim of libel against Breitbart?

    dms

  25. 25
    cleek says:

    holy crap.

    i sure hope somebody learns the obvious lesson here: don’t trust anything Breitbart has touched.

  26. 26
    Keith G says:

    A few threads ago, my of my friends here at BJ were clucking at how wonderful a Palin nomination would be.

    While I have no skill at handicapping GOP nominations this far out, were she to win that prize, my blood would run cold and this post is the reason

    There are those on the side of Darkness who are daring and skilled at weaving deceptive narratives. Our Media laps this shit up ravenously. The false narrative becomes the starting point truth for the general public and elites often just go with the flow – for whatever fucking reason.

    This is Nixon’s ratfucking on steroids and it works.

  27. 27
    El Cid says:

    Yeah, but in the version of the video shown on Fox News, a kid in a pimp outfit clearly was asking Sherrod to use USDA funds to run a brothel.

  28. 28
    Corner Stone says:

    @DougJ: I put this in the Open Thread but since this is here I’ll just paste it:

    I was up a little early this morning and accidentally turned on Morning Joe.
    The panel was discussing the USDA “scandal” and Joe went on to list many other black v white “scandals” such as ACORN, NBPP and the Beer Summit, etc and said how news orgs had been late in covering them all until after they “blew up”.
    No one said a word to dispute any of this.
    He then turned to Norah O’Donnell and she did what all good media sheep do, she agreed with him and said something like, “Even the WaPo Ombudsman admitted they didn’t do a very good job covering the NBPP scandal.”
    __
    So there you have it friends. The WaPo has served their purpose and provided enough smoke for another “news” outlet to climb onto the “liberal” media canard.
    __
    I can’t find the transcript, if they even do that for MJ, so this is all summary, not verbatim.

  29. 29
    Mattminus says:

    It doesn’t matter what the wife says. Andrew Breitbart is the real victim here.

  30. 30
    dww44 says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac:

    I scanned the comments and didn’t see one that addressed your question. This article from today’s Atlanta Journal is what I read about an hour or so ago, before I knew the whole thing had gone viral. It pretty much covers the basics.

    By the way, I don’t know how to put links and label them with plain English.- at this site. Others do, so I wouldn’t mind if someone educated me or gave me a link to educate myself.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/farmer.....74027.html

  31. 31
    Violet says:

    @mistermix:

    The first I heard of this was about an hour ago, so I’m having a hard time blaming “the left” for their silence on this one.

    Not sure what part of “this” you are referring to, but I heard the speech by Sherrod on Hannity’s radio show yesterday afternoon while I was in the car. The part he played was unintelligible. All I heard was a bunch of feedback and someone speaking, but no idea what she said. Hannity “summarized” it at the end.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    R. Porrofatto says:

    Breitbart is a fucking slug. It’s more than appalling that our discourse, and beyond that, the actual operations of our government, should be under the fetid influence of such blatant propagandists, but even more so when it’s all such transparent bullshit. Selective editing? Are we in grammar school?

    Breitbart, 1864.
    President Lincoln refuses to dedicate, consecrate and hallow Gettysburg memorial! Says of brave troops that we should “forget what they did here”.

  34. 34
    Violet says:

    It’s really wrong that she got fired for this. I hope they reinstate her as a lesson to everyone involved.

    This kind of witch hunt shouldn’t work.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @John Cole: If it is true that the admin forced her out, or otherwise asked her to see herself to the door, what would you expect admin supporters in the blogosphere and other places to do?

  36. 36
    Zifnab says:

    @John Cole: Ura self-absorbed twat. :-p

  37. 37
    El Cid says:

    By the way, I guess it won’t be remembered during a discussion of the controversial alleged inner thoughts of Sherrod on this farmer, about a decade ago black farmers were fighting out, and winning, a lawsuit against the USDA for having historically and enormously discriminated against black farmers.

    The lawsuit was filed in 1997 by Timothy Pigford, who was joined by 400 additional African American farmer plaintiffs. Dan Glickman, the Secretary of Agriculture, was the nominal defendant.
    __
    The allegations were that the USDA treated black farmers unfairly when deciding to allocate price support loans, disaster payments, “farm ownership” loans, and operating loans, and that the USDA had completely failed to process subsequent complaints about racial discrimination.[1]
    __
    After the lawsuit was filed, Pigford requested blanket mediation to cover what was thought to be about 2,000 farmers who may have been discriminated against, but the U.S. Department of Justice opposed the mediation, saying that each case had to be investigated separately. As the case moved toward trial, the presiding judge certified as a class all black farmers who filed discrimination complaints against the USDA between 1983 and 1997.
    __
    The plaintiffs settled with the government in 1999. Under the consent decree, all African American farmers would be paid a “virtually automatic” US$50,000 plus granted certain loan forgiveness and tax offsets. This process was called “Track A”.[2]
    __
    Alternatively, affected farmers could follow the “Track B” process, seeking a larger payment by presenting a greater amount of evidence — the legal standard in this case was to have a preponderance of evidence along with evidence of greater damages.

    I have no idea how a black employee of the USDA could ever have had such things in mind confusing her sentiments about how to deal with white farmers requesting loans. She must be insane.

    Maybe BrightFart will air some video of the Louisiana cracker accused of hunting innocent blacks fleeing Katrina’s flood and levee busting for fun.

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    @mistermix:

    If he meant the left in the administration, he’s right, of course.

    Who would they be? And what would they say?

  39. 39
    freelancer says:

    @R. Porrofatto:

    Breitbart, 1964.
    President Lincoln refuses to dedicate, consecrate and hallow Gettysburg memorial! Says of brave troops that we should “forget what they did here”.

    Would this be Steampunk Lincoln, Vampire Hunter Lincoln…no wait, Mercury Astronaut Lincoln!

  40. 40
    GregB says:

    There are vile elements that are deliberately fanning the flames of race war.

    They are monsters and they are playing with fire.

    We’ve watched the anti-government loons pop-up and pop-off one by one these past few years.

    These lunatics like Breitbart, Drudge, Limbaugh, Beck etc. want to see blood in the streets.

    The rise of the reverse race hustlers is upon us.

  41. 41
    bago says:

    This is where twitter beats Politico. Politico has a journalistic pretense when they report “X said Y”, and they give it the authority of “verification”, because they are “journalists”.

    Twitter has no pretense of fact checking. It’s more like “I’m retweeting this dude, take it for what you will”.

    They both do the exact same informatic action, it’s just that one declares some kind of journalistic authority when they simply repeat what other people say.

    In other words, when you just mindlessly repeat what someone says, you are a twit (or retwit), tweeting. You are not a journalist.

    Let’s hammer that home people.

  42. 42
    SpotWeld says:

    My general point was that no one came to her defense, while “the right” piled on immediately, you self-absorbed twats.

    Okay, fair cop. But I have to ask.
    How quickly could have anyone jumped on this in a manner that would be effective.
    The quickest thing anyone could have done is “I know this person, she is not a racists, these accusations must be lies” The grand majority of people didn’t have the facts of the matter, only the edited “truth” that was already propigating around the blogospehre.

    The sad thing is that attempting to counter factless opinion with more opinion just gives credence to the original factless news in the first place. (The “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” deliemma.)

    It wasn’t until the solid information by the farmer’s wife came to light that there was information that could stop the whole thing cold. But by then, it was too late.

    Once you start fighting rumor, the Druge Reports can start asking “he reacted before the facts were known, he was acting on pure emotion. Ignore for now that this was false, and focus on this reaction.. emote emote emote etc.”

    The minute that people start reacting emotionally to jabs from the panic-mongers of media, is the minute that they admit they are being led by the nose.

  43. 43
    dww44 says:

    In the AJC article, the USDA employee recounted an incident that occurred 24 years ago in South Georgia in a speech she gave THIS PAST MARCH at an NAACP freedom banquet when she didn’t help a white farmer about to lose his land as much as she might have because he was condescending. The rest of the story needs to be told. The AJC says it is looking for the entire video.

  44. 44
    dww44 says:

    @SpotWeld:

    The minute that people start reacting emotionally to jabs from the panic-mongers of media, is the minute that they admit they are being led by the nose.

    Which appears to be exactly what Secretary Vilsack did. The timing is just so obvious (this speech was last March but went public yesterday) that someone went looking to damage the NAACP and this poor lady lost her job and her career.

  45. 45
    mistermix says:

    Let me rephrase my apparently twatty statement:

    What the fuck happened here? I mean, this thing was like shit through a goose. Whatever you think “the left” should have done, they didn’t know anything until she was gone.

    Breitbart craps this out yesterday morning, Fox et. al. pimp it yesterday afternoon (as @Violet notes) and she’s gone before sunset.

    Right now, Breitbart and Fox are combing through years of video recorded at dull conferences to find more Sherrods.

  46. 46
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    It works because no one has figured out how to say “hold on, let’s try to get more of the facts” when presented with what seems like a damning piece of videotaped evidence and asked for their opinion on it *now*, ASAP, right-this-minute.

    The NAACP saw the same heavily edited Breitbart video and hastily condemned Sherrod based on that viewing before learning more about the full context – that she stated that she’d had to move beyond seeing things solely through the lens of race, the fact that the events she was describing occurred 24 years ago, the fact that she wasn’t working for the USDA at the time, and the fact that she helped the farmer in question save his farm and became friendly with his family.

    I won’t be surprised if the farmer’s family get targeted next by the right for ruining a perfectly good “black racist victimizes poor farmer” story. Good on them for standing up for Sherrod and trying to clear the air. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how much good it will do her.

  47. 47
    KRK says:

    This makes me sick. I have known Shirley for almost 15 years. She has helped so many people. She and her husband Charles are heroes and they don’t deserve this.

  48. 48
    SpotWeld says:

    @dww44: Which, I think, the point I should have made.

    Right now we have a mainstream media that loves *loves* to pearl-clutch and poke people into reaction. And perhaps the toughest thing for people in a position of (actual) authority to do is sit down and wait until they have the facts… and then act.

    Dismissing Sherrod was an action to make everything go away. It doesn’t, it never will. There is no connection between reality and this media-panic.

  49. 49
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    @dww44:
    Thanks, that helps.

    That story at AJC a mess though, the editor sucks. While they are fairly good at what information they included, it’s a sloppyly arranged pile of paragraphs. For example, why are these two quotes broken up by a paragraph inbetween with information that should have been before the quote:

    “”I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farmland, and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough.” Sherrod noted that few news reports have mentioned that the story she told happened 24 years ago — before she got the USDA job — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund. “And I went on to work with many more white farmers,” she said. “The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it’s about the people who have and the people who don’t. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.”

    I’m more curious on why one story told about how someone felt about race relations in an event that happened 24 years ago is enough to get someone kicked out of a position.

  50. 50
    Observer says:

    I hesitate, only slightly, to make continue “discussions” but she directly blamed “Fox and the Tea Party” and said they were “scaring” the Obama adminstration. Her words not mine.

    Again, that’s the lesson of the Tea Party. It’s not just about congressional or Senate seat counts.

    I’d hazard to guess that many on the “progressive” left would love to be in a position that the White House was “scared” of them, in order to get something they wanted.

  51. 51
    El Cid says:

    @mistermix:

    Right now, Breitbart and Fox are combing through years of video recorded at dull conferences to find more Sherrods.

    Of course they are. Of course they should.

    From what I can see, it will work every fucking time.

    They throw up a bullshit scandal of an edited video or audio clip of some Democrat or liberal –> Fox –> WaPo etc –> resignation / firing / budget cut / etc.

    Why would they not? At what point will anyone in the non-Fox media or in government say, ‘Stop, wait — nobody’s going to panic here because of one website’s allegations, we’ll investigate it and if there is serious wrongdoing then it will be handled.’

    What right winger in their right mind would fail to respond to such a game tilted so strongly in their favor?

  52. 52
    Bulworth says:

    The first I heard of this was about an hour ago, so I’m having a hard time blaming “the left” for their silence on this one.

    The Administration acted incredibly fast on this it seems. When did the “story” first break? Usually I expect at least a little bit of time to pass before the media trumpets something from the reich and the Administration in turn caves.

  53. 53
    BruinKid says:

    @Zandar: Doesn’t seem to apply to them, though. I mean, there’s SO much filth Beck and Limbaugh are involved in, yet they still have their jobs.

  54. 54
    demo woman says:

    Vilsack needs to rehire her pronto. In the AJC article Sherrod blames the media.

    “For Fox to take a spin on this like they have done, and know it’s not the truth … it’s very upsetting,” said Sherrod, 62, who insisted her statements in the video were not racist. “I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farmland, and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough.”…..Sherrod noted that few news reports have mentioned that the story she told happened 24 years ago — before she got the USDA job — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund…………………………”And I went on to work with many more white farmers,” she said. “The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it’s about the people who have and the people who don’t. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.

  55. 55
    Jules says:

    For those who came to our story late.

    In the 80’s this gal was not working for the USDA, but an organization in GA that helped farmers.

    White farmer comes in for help, but seeing he drew a woman and a black one at that he begins to talk down to her and be a general asshole.
    The lady not in the mood to be fucked with by some asshole who is also white gets her buttons pushed and thinks “no, white dude asshole, I don’t think I’ll help you”. At some point she decides the send him to a lawyer who is “one of his kind..white” so he might get his problem taken care of because she’s just really pissed.

    Turns out white lawyer sucks and can’t help him and the gal realizing she needs to see past color and remember that the dude is poor and needs her help scrambles around to help him and his wife save their farm. The lady, the farmer and his all end up becoming friends.

    We go forward 20 odd years and now there is a black guy in the white house and a bunch of pissed off rightwing nutjobs like Andrew Breitbart who with his trusting editing software has already taken down ACORN and our gal is now working for the USDA.
    Who can Breitbart go after next?
    Maybe the NAACP?
    Awesome.
    So he gets a video of this gal discussing her experience in the 80’s and then saying how we have to learn to be unified and not judge people on their race (I guess we have to be nice to assholes too) even if you are black and have all the past racist bullshit in your mind…you need to put it aside and move on and be ‘we the people” and all that.
    EXCEPT, Breitbart makes a video of her speech with his special brand of creative editing and the next thing ya know the gal is the “WORST RACIST EVAH!” and example number one of why the NAACP sucks.
    USDA and WH (low level?) freak and force her to resign after less the 24 hours of the story being out there.
    Now she is pissed and telling her story.
    And to top it all off the NAACP has issued a statement condemning her.

    You can not make this shit up.

  56. 56
    Zach says:

    Checking out the Ackerman/Wright story at the daily caller now. Amazing that they can spin three pages out of a few quotes stretching from April to sometime in the Fall of ’08 without noting as much. There were plenty of Clinton supporters on the Journolist; Krugman, to name a prominent one. If anything untoward was going on the Spring as far as Obama collusion in pseudoprivacy goes, it would’ve come out.

  57. 57
    timb says:

    @mnpundit: This broke yesterday and there was total silence from good people about it until this morning…..after Breitbart had this woman’s scalp

  58. 58
    Joe Bauers says:

    If I still had any capacity for outrage, I’d be outraged. But I’m just tired.

    Everybody knows the script but it still works. The Democrats must therefore be playing to lose. I’m starting to think that the real reason for the Republican Party to exist is to advance the interests of the extremely wealthy by harnessing the forces of tribalism, racism and xenophobia, while the real reason for the Democratic Party to exist is to advance the interests of the extremely wealthy by giving those of us who want to effect change the illusion that we can do so by participating in the system instead of seeking to end it.

    I don’t like being a conspiracy theorist nutter. I wish the Democrats would stop giving me such great reasons to be one.

  59. 59
    Kryptik says:

    All this demonstrates is that Beck and his ilk have, for all intents and purposes, ‘won’ the media war. You don’t even have to wait a day for their newest ginned up scandal to be promoted and pushed to create real life consequences, because the pushback only comes so much later and is never given the time the initial smear is.

    This is precisely why I’m terrified about the elections, both this year and 2012.

  60. 60
    demo woman says:

    @Kryptik: Your comments in the open thread were great by the way.

    I’m just left waiting for that big ass boulder to roll down again today, so we can push it back up…and watch it roll down tomorrow.

    The party of Jack and Jill.

  61. 61
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    @Kryptik:

    Lies.. travel.. truth.. pants. etc.

  62. 62
    KRK says:

    @El Cid:

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Sherrod was not a career USDA employee. The position she was forced to resign from is a political appointment as head of the USDA Rural Development office for the state of Georgia, which she has only held since last fall. She knows very well the farmer’s side of the Pigford case. She spent her entire career fighting for farmers against USDA. I don’t doubt some career employees at USDA, particularly the Farm Service Agency, in DC and Georgia are very happy about this development.

  63. 63
    Jay B. says:

    @timb:

    OK, if we want to play this stupid game, we’re in the middle of endless wars and the Washington Post has just posted their second of three enormously important articles about how this vast, secretive semi-privatized army is running our entire spying and military apparatus — the most powerful in the world — while our civil liberties get eviscerated (from whistle blower protection to domestic spying to illegally held detainees) AND we are functionally no safer WHILE spending hundreds of billions (more than we even or will ever know about) to prop up this completely opaque system while our domestic safety net is vulnerable to massive cuts.

    And you’ve said exactly shit about it. The left hasn’t a fucking thing to say either, outside of the hated Glenn Greenwald and a few other assorted hippies. Good people have turtled. And…what?

    All anyone in the Administration had to do was say they’d wait until they had all the facts…And they didn’t.

    Stalin was right. One death is a tragedy. Millions are a statistic.

  64. 64
    cleek says:

    @timb:
    no way. there’s no way people can be blamed for “silence” when a story is less than 24 hours old.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac:

    I’m more curious on why one story told about how someone felt about race relations in an event that happened 24 years ago is enough to get someone kicked out of a position.

    Because a Tea Party official posted a really racist rant a few days ago that got him fired. Therefore, Breitbart had to go on a scalp hunt to “prove” that black people are racist even though the entire point of the woman’s story was that she realized she had reacted badly and that we all need to get over our racial biases.

    That’s really what pisses me off here. The woman was telling a story about getting beyond race and realizing her own racial biases and she gets punished like she was the one pretending to channel Lincoln to repeal the 14th Amendment.

  66. 66
    El Cid says:

    @KRK: What I was getting at was not that Sherrod had done anything wrong — but rather a bit of context for what she herself (apparently) expressed: a few conflicted feelings while carrying out her actual job.

    She was expressing humanity. She was working in a context in which everyone relevant knew that most federal and state agricultural programs had historically discriminated against African Americans.

    And yet the point of her story was that she had had some of these feelings of ambivalence about helping a white farmer (who in her view seemed to somehow be treating her with insufficient respect) but yet doing so any way.

    So, yes, in those conditions, a black employee of agencies assisting farmers would very well be justified in having internal feelings which were mixed.

    I apologize for not wording clearly, but in no way whatsoever was that intended as a critique of Sherrod. The review of the Pigford case wasn’t aimed at Sherrod but for the readers here on this blog most of who had either not heard of or had forgotten it.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    KRK says:

    Sherrod getting the appointment she did was a huge boon to the farmer-advocacy community, particularly advocates for African-American farmers because USDA career employees are SO butthurt about the Pigford settlement and the fact that the political heads of the department — under Clinton, Bush, and Obama — “gave in” on the discrimination issue. So the speed with which USDA reacted seems an awful lot like a power play by the entrenched powers of USDA who would have been just aching for a reason to get Sherrod out.

  69. 69
    demo woman says:

    Fox News forgets to add that she blamed Fox News.
    Blames administration for over reacting and the NAACP

    .
    “For Fox to take a spin on this like they have done, and know it’s not the truth … it’s very upsetting,” said Sherrod, 62, who insisted her statements in the video were not racist.

  70. 70
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    I am not feeling the fauxrage today.

    First of all, unfair firings happen all the time, in all walks of work life, for all kinds of reasons. Dismissals or resignation requests in public service can and do happen at the drop of a hat, at the slightest appearance of impropriety, warranted or not. Elected officials generally have somewhere between zero and low tolerance for anything in the staffing on their watch, which might raise a public eyebrow. Those who work in the public sector often know that they serve at the pleasure of some official who will cut them loose at the drop of a hat, whether the action is fair, or not. This is true at every level of public service, from the local water district, to the White House, and everything in between. It is also true in the private sector.

    Second, who imagined that this country would just glide from being still in the throes of recovering from slavery, from a civil war, from Jim Crow, to modern times, and Civil Rights, and the election of a black president …. without pain, without backsliding alongside progress, without people being caught in the gears of change … without pain? The notion is just stupid and ridiculous on its face.

    This is the real world. Things happen. This woman will land on her feet, in all liklihood, and life will go on. Paying any attention to this just riles up the jackals and the hyenas who hang around computers and tv sets and microphones just waiting to shriek over something that gives them license to run their mouths … and gives satisfaction to the shitty Breitbarts of the world who trade in gotcha maneuvers. Those people are here, they are near, and they aren’t going away. Like it or not, we live amongst them, and sometimes they win a skirmish. But they cannot win the war, which is why they operate in the alleys and sniff around the trash barrels looking for evidence of molehills that might be made to look like mountains.

  71. 71
    KRK says:

    @El Cid: That makes sense. Sorry if I overreacted.

  72. 72

    So we’re officially all neocons then?

  73. 73
    Tom Q says:

    First of all, I’m with most people, that I didn’t know thing one about this story till I woke up a while ago, and somehow it’s gone through three stages already. When I first saw the headline go by, I thought it must be something about Sherrod Brown.

    But one thing, for all the usual “Obama administration spineless” accusers: if the administration had said, Screw you, Breitbart, this good woman keeps her job…are you confident the farmer’s wife would ever have been put on the air? As Nick keeps telling us, the press can rig this game in whatever direction works best for the right.

  74. 74
    licensed to kill time says:

    @dww44:

    By the way, I don’t know how to put links and label them with plain English.- at this site. Others do, so I wouldn’t mind if someone educated me or gave me a link to educate myself.

    Highlight the text in your comment that you want the link in.
    Click the blue link tab above comment box, a link box appears.
    Backspace over the http already in the ‘enter url’ field.
    Copy/paste your link in the now empty field.
    Click ok and you are good to go.

    (Sounds more complicated than it is.)

  75. 75
    stuckinred says:

    It turns out she lives in Athens and the goobers are having a field day on the local paper’s comment section.

  76. 76
    gwangung says:

    But one thing, for all the usual “Obama administration spineless” accusers: if the administration had said, Screw you, Breitbart, this good woman keeps her job…are you confident the farmer’s wife would ever have been put on the air? As Nick keeps telling us, the press can rig this game in whatever direction works best for the right

    I think eventually the administration will prove to be spineless. However, I don’t blame them for reacting poorly right now–that’s a predictable response from a bureaucracy for a story less than 12 hours old (and I wonder how much of that is from Obama appointees and how much from holdovers from the previous administration).

  77. 77
    Zach says:

    Here are the top 4 stories on FoxNews.com:

    Network of ‘Big Mexican Women’ Aiding Afghan Deserters
    Brewer Posts Stimulus $$$ for Border Fight
    Ex-USDA Official: Video Omits Key Details @
    Mag: Journalist Plot to Protect Obama

    So, 75% of stories are race baiting and 50% of them are conspiracy theories. The irony of Brewer applying stimulus funds to border security while simultaneously blaming Obama for insufficient border security (and presumably bashing the stimulus) goes unnoticed.

    @ Why are the related stories about the Tea Party (both about Bachmann’s Tea Party caucus)?

  78. 78
    Steeplejack says:

    @dww44:

    By the way, I don’t know how to put links and label them with plain English (at this site).

    1. Capture the page link you want (i.e., copy to clipboard) from the external site.

    2. Write your comment in the Balloon Juice comment box, with some real text where you want the link to go.

    3. Highlight the linky-descriptive text (e.g., “some real text” above).

    4. Mash the “link” button above the comment box.

    5. In the pop-up box that appears, insert your hyperlink and press OK. You will end up with the HTML code in your comment.

    Note: WordPress requires that your link be of the full form http://www.whatever.com. You can’t just start with www., as you can in many browsers now.

    Hope this helps.

    ETA: The whatever.com link doesn’t go anywhere. Duh.

    Further ETA: Actually it does, but through no intention of mine. Just an example.

  79. 79
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    And since FUCK WORDPRESS cuts me off from editing after a few minutes, for no apparent good reason …..

    The executive branch of government, the last time I looked, minus defense, has on the order of a million employees.

    Does anyone imagine that the President or Congress need to be consulted any time one of them is to be fired?

    Get over it for crissakes.

  80. 80
    Little Dreamer says:

    I was focusing on the NAACP angle, not the loss of position angle. I don’t agree that this woman should have lost her position for something that she did 24 years ago when she did not even work for the USDA. That is wrong. At the same time, if she’s going to admit that she took a racist stance and recites that story, she’s going to have to take the criticism that comes from that. I’m glad she realizes what she did back then was wrong and has changed her opinion (and is teaching others not to do the same), but, if she admits she was once a racist, she’s going to get criticism for that. It would be in her best interests to just recite reasons why racism is wrong instead of telling everyone how she discriminated against a white farmer long ago. She’s asking for trouble. If she wants absolution, she should go see a spiritual counselor.

  81. 81
    demo woman says:

    Department of Agriculture tel. no (202) 720-7100
    Email… agsec@usda.gov

    Maybe Vilsack will admit error and rehire Shirley with a little pressure.

  82. 82
    Malron says:

    Just once, I’d like the see the person in Sherrod’s position say “fuck you, I’m not resigning until you spineless cowards investigate the incident and find out what actually happened.” Instead, we get another instance of an official dutifully falling on their sword and making the allegations appear credible before we even get the real story.

    Now, it might sound callous of me but I can really accept the trade-off if it costs us one lower level black official for every right wing organization that bites the big one like Mark Williams and the TeaTard Express. It still pisses me off that they’re buying Breitbart’s bullshit, though.

  83. 83
    Fallsroad says:

    @DougJ:

    Cue the Andy Alexander piece criticizing the Post for not covering this sooner.

    This story was prominently displayed on the WaPo site front page this morning. Inexplicably, it has disappeared. Can’t imagine why – Breitbart said it’s true, so it must be true, ’cause right wingers never lie.

  84. 84
    TJ says:

    Speaking for my own small part of the left, Vilsack and the NAACP had already boned her by the time I heard of it (never watched Hannity in my life).

  85. 85
    mistersnrub says:

    Breitbart and all these other ratfucking CREEPers and scoundrels need to get got. It is time to push back on their mendacious thuggery. They are a festering batch of condylomas and need to be publicly humiliated.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    At the same time, if she’s going to admit that she took a racist stance and recites that story, she’s going to have to take the criticism that comes from that. I’m glad she realizes what she did back then was wrong and has changed her opinion (and is teaching others not to do the same), but, if she admits she was once a racist, she’s going to get criticism for that.

    In other words, Robert Byrd and David Duke really were exactly alike because they once shared the same beliefs, even though Byrd renounced them and Duke built his political career on exploiting them.

    Gotcha.

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TJ:

    I’m more pissed at the NAACP in this instance. Let’s face it, if the government is told that one of their employees made racist remarks and the NAACP says, “Yeah, throw her under the bus,” she’s gonna get thrown under the bus.

    Apparently the teatard explosion freaked the NAACP out more than I thought it did since they were eager to find their own scapegoat.

  88. 88
    Kryptik says:

    @Tom Q:

    But one thing, for all the usual “Obama administration spineless” accusers: if the administration had said, Screw you, Breitbart, this good woman keeps her job…are you confident the farmer’s wife would ever have been put on the air? As Nick keeps telling us, the press can rig this game in whatever direction works best for the right.

    You ask that like it makes a difference. Even if the farmer’s wife came on to debunk the first impression of the story, the damage was done, way too early for any sort of debunking to make a damned inch’s worth of difference. And I assure you, 3 months from now, the only thing people will remember is that ‘Obama had to fire a black USDA official because she was racist’.

    @Mnemosyne:

    Nah, Byrd was MUCH worse, since he admitted he was racist, and Duke didn’t, at least not quite so explicitly. So obviously Byrd deserves much more criticism. And Sherrod deserves much more criticism for admitting racism after the fact, rather than waiting for someone else to bring it up and then try to deflect it with weasel words.

    …no, seriously, why is bringing up racism in one’s past in a remorseful manner and vowing to repudiate said past racism somehow worse than not admitting to racism at all?

  89. 89
    4tehlulz says:

    Lesson Learned: Make sure no one records any speech I give; someone will use it to fuck me no matter what I say.

  90. 90
    roshan says:

    Why can’t this shit be verified before someone gets fired?
    Next we will see many folks getting fired right after the Glenn Beck Hour. He might even impeach the president on his show!

  91. 91
    Breezeblock says:

    Wow, Breitbart is a the fuckingest douchebag to ever walk the planet.

    I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire.

  92. 92
    tim says:

    @DJShay: @DJShay:

    @tim: Yeah. Obama and Bush are just 2 peas in a pod. Think I’ll just sit 2010 and 2012 out. I mean, really? What’s the point?

    Well yeah, pretty much. I live a much calmer, less angsty daily life since I let go of the idea, around the time John Kerry managed to lose to George Bush (and I worked on his campaign in Fort Lauderdale) despite the fact that Bush was a retarded failure and there were massive voting irregularities-again!-in Florida, Ohio, and elsewhere that the Dems didn’t manage to give a shit about, that there is any way for me to influence the activities of the government/military/media/industrial elites that was proportionate to my emotional/mental investment. Not possible.

    Since transitioning to an American politics as spectator, instead of deluded participant, perspective, my sanity and blood pressure have been much more stable.

    You should give it a try! :D

  93. 93
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @cleek:

    no way. there’s no way people can be blamed for “silence” when a story is less than 24 hours old.

    This is true, but there is nonetheless something quite revealing and disturbing in Shirley Sherrod’s interview with John Roberts on CNN:

    ROBERTS: So, the question I have is, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture came to you and said you have to step down, why didn’t you just say, wait a minute, you don’t know the full story. Here’s the full story, why should I step down?
    __
    SHERROD: I did say that, but they, for some reason, the stuff that Fox and the Tea Party does is scaring the administration. I told them get the whole tape and look at the whole tape and look at how I tell people we have to get beyond race and start working together.
    __
    ROBERTS: Many people at home might be thinking if you’re recounting an old story, why did you succumb to pressure to step down, why didn’t you fight this?
    __
    SHERROD: If I tried to fight it and didn’t have any support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, what would I do?

    This is what she told the AJC:

    Sherrod told CNN that Cheryl Cook, deputy undersecretary for Rural Development, called her three times on Monday to eventually demand her resignation on behalf of the White House.
    __
    “They were just looking at what the Tea Party and what Fox said, and thought it was too (politically) dangerous for them,” Sherrod said of the agriculture department.

    That’s a problem that goes beyond the USDA.

    The hair-trigger reaction we’ve developed as a society is a major problem, especially with regards to the Fourth Estate. I will never understand how the media continues its inability to process events and information and then apply them to relevant situations in the future. Breitbart is a liar. He tells lies. All the time. Since forever. He got you with the ACORN shenanigans; I’ve even seen the articles printed and discussed in traditional media outlets talking about investigations that proved the tapes were bogus. But then he comes along with another one, and literally no one takes the time to say “Wait a minute. This is the guy who played us like chumps last time. Maybe we should do some digging and see if there is more to this tape, since this is exactly how he played us like fools last time.

    The one benefit of this blowing up so quickly in the Tea Party’s face is that their little UNI-TEA stunt gathering is going to look like even more of a joke, and will have an even greater skeptical and critical eye focused on it.

    The AJC is working to recover the full video footage of Sherrod’s speech to the Douglas NAACP. A production company, DCTV3 in Douglas, recorded the event at the local NAACP chapter’s request and is waiting for permission to release the full speech.
    __
    “We broadcast it on cable,” DCTV3 program director Johnny Wilkerson said. “Somebody probably picked it up and recorded it, then put it on YouTube. That’s probably why the video looks so shabby.”

    You choose poorly on this one, Breitbart. Very poorly.

  94. 94

    @mistersnrub:

    Who needs to push back?

  95. 95
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Why can’t this shit be verified before someone gets fired?

    Why can’t there really be a tooth fairy?

  96. 96
    demo woman says:

    @Kryptik: I called the department of agriculture and asked that she be rehired. The phone number is at my comment at 81. A public apology might be in order along with a statement that the department over reacted.

  97. 97
    Keith G says:

    @gwangung:

    I think eventually the administration will prove to be spineless. However, I don’t blame them for reacting poorly right now—that’s a predictable response from a bureaucracy for a story less than 12 hours old

    Didn’t our President say that he didn’t work on the news cycle’s time clock? Further, didn’t he say that he liked to get all the information before making a decision?

    Was he bull shitting us?

  98. 98

    @Mnemosyne:

    Look, this is basic politics: someone said something stupid at one point, the other side used it to put the administration in an untenable situation, and the flunky had to fall on their sword. Happens all the time.

  99. 99
    Malron says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    At the same time, if she’s going to admit that she took a racist stance and recites that story, she’s going to have to take the criticism that comes from that. I’m glad she realizes what she did back then was wrong and has changed her opinion (and is teaching others not to do the same), but, if she admits she was once a racist, she’s going to get criticism for that.

    And here is why liberals tend to lose more arguments like this than we win: it doesn’t help your position if you immediately concede the point without a fight. The woman admitted the confrontation bothered her but she still did enough to help them save their farm. It never occurred to me that not going the extra mile for someone because they pissed you off was racist.

  100. 100
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No, I’m not saying that. I don’t know much about Duke, but Byrd renounced what he did and when he did he took a chance. That he survived in the senate is a good thing, but if it came down to him being voted out, it would have been due to what he chose to do. Chances are taken, sometimes the outcomes are good, sometimes they’re not and if not, people learn from their mistakes. That this woman is going around citing that she broke a racial discrimination law years ago while assisting farmers means she’s marking herself for criticism. It bit her in the ass, that was her mistake. Nothing more.

  101. 101
    Pangloss says:

    If I were a casino owner, I would love to see a modern conservative sit down at the blackjack table because they don’t know how to add, they won’t quit when they’re ahead, and they double down on every hand.

  102. 102
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Malron: she admitted that she chose to not go as far as she could have ‘to help the white farmer’. That is a crime. It’s discrimination. Perhaps you don’t realize this?

    If she hadn’t said that, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about her now.

  103. 103
    tim says:

    @Zifnab:

    Oh, fuck off. You are so not helping.

    More succinct commentary from idiots.

    Listen, maroon, I TRIED to help for four solid years after Bush stole the office in 2000, only to watch Dems enable his bullshit every step of the way.

    You may enjoy devoting your time and efforts to incremental, shades of grey, change. Not me. I was interested in electing and aministration who wouldn’t have to be fucking monitored every hour of every day to make sure they dribbled some crumbs to the dem left by appointing some obscure bureaucrat they should have appointed as a matter or routine, because, you know, they actually believe in liberal, progressive values.

    I have a job to do to maintain my own life and people who depend on me to do it, THAT’s what I concentrate on. I think a lot of political obsessives concentrate on news and politics just like sports fanatics concentrate on ESPN; doing so distracts them from their own, unfulfilled lives, which is probably your situation.

    I enjoy observing, but not identifying with a team and not pretending it really matters, because it’s largely bullshit.

    So, also, fuck yourself.

  104. 104
    KCinDC says:

    @John Cole, “the left” are coming to her defense as soon as they hear about it? How are we supposed to react any earlier than that? Maybe if we broke into Breibart’s private communications?

    The administration, on the other hand, caved in record time on this one. She was already gone before “the left” even heard of her. No doubt this time appeasing the right-wing noise machine will work, rather than strengthening them. Seriously, does the White House show any capacity for learning at all?

  105. 105
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @El Cid:

    Why would they not? At what point will anyone in the non-Fox media or in government say, ‘Stop, wait—nobody’s going to panic here because of one website’s allegations, we’ll investigate it and if there is serious wrongdoing then it will be handled.’

    We have nothing to fear but fear itself, oh and also dubiously sourced and maliciously edited YouTube videos. We have nothing to fear but two things: fear itself, and YouTube videos, and mindless infotainment culture. We have nothing to fear but three things…

  106. 106
    Jay B. says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    But she didn’t say anything stupid. She related a story of redemption for fucksake. Shit, the Administration caved, in advance of the news cycle, when they could have easily waited a day or two. Heroic.

  107. 107
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    At the same time, if she’s going to admit that she took a racist stance and recites that story, she’s going to have to take the criticism that comes from that. I’m glad she realizes what she did back then was wrong and has changed her opinion (and is teaching others not to do the same), but, if she admits she was once a racist, she’s going to get criticism for that. It would be in her best interests to just recite reasons why racism is wrong instead of telling everyone how she discriminated against a white farmer long ago. She’s asking for trouble. If she wants absolution, she should go see a spiritual counselor.

    You are COMPLETELY wrong.

    First of all, your verb tenses suck. It’s not that she realizes now — 24 years later — that it was wrong to brush off the farmer. She clearly realized THEN that she was wrong and acted THEN to help the farmer and became friends with them THEN.

    Secondly, one of the best damn ways to make a point is to confess where you went wrong, describe how you realized how you were wrong, and how you shaped up and others can, too. See: Paul of Tarsus, St. Augustine, and, oh yeah, Shirley Sherrod.

    If someone else deliberately takes their brave statements out of context, that reflects badly on the moral imbecile, not the penitent. And given how the real story has come out so quickly this time, that’s an extra argument for her approach.

    Hope she gets her job back and an apology. And I hope that this is now open season on that prick Breitbart.

  108. 108
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    it doesn’t help your position if you immediately concede the point without a fight

    It doesn’t help your position if you let every at-will employee firing become reviewable and second-guessable by the punditocracy and the hyena blogosphere.

    If I am the official who made this decision, I would never allow my decision to be second guessed by anybody. I either have the authority to fire at will, or I don’t. If I do, my decisions are final. Period. If I make a bad call, then too bad. No organization can send a message down to the management level that says that every hiring and firing decision is subject to executive override … after the fact. No organization can work that way.

  109. 109
    demo woman says:

    @Little Dreamer: She ended up helping him and she became friends with the family. The story was about overcoming racism. I respect her for sharing something that obviously bothered her.
    If Fox News did a story about overcoming racism and fear, fine. They did not. Instead they took a clip of a video to show she was racist.
    The fact that the Sec’y of Agriculture did not watch the entire video bothers me. That is why I called his office.
    Department of Agriculture tel. no (202) 720-7100
    Email… agsec@usda.gov

  110. 110
    timb says:

    @cleek: Well, if you say it must be true, but I was blogs yesterday and the rebuttal was already out.

    Tommy V’s desire for state and national office notwithstanding, it was there to be commented upon.

  111. 111

    @demo woman:

    fuck. and. that.

    rehiring her? sheeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttt, i’m sure she would prefer to be token reinstated, given full govt pension and bennies for life, then allowed to tell them to officially kiss her ass, and then go on the left wing wingnut welfare tour if such a thing existed, attacking the breitbarting she and others received….

    that is what should happen….this woman does not deserve mere reinstatement, that is what would happen, if we had the balls the right wing does.

    also, too. free her up to use the celebrity the left could make her into, to speak about real family farms. you know, the ones who aren’t in the conglomerate farming, the ones hesitant to trust the party they think doesn’t know they exist. take the message directly to the people the gop gets by default, because we don’t even try.

    that is what should happen.

  112. 112
    tim says:

    @Keith G:

    Didn’t our President say that he didn’t work on the news cycle’s time clock? Further, didn’t he say that he liked to get all the information before making a decision?

    Was he bull shitting us?

    Oh, Keith, don’t be silly. President Obama would NEVER bullshit us. He’s on OUR side, don’t ya know.

  113. 113
    demo woman says:

    @fucen tarmal: yup..
    Couldn’t agree more.

  114. 114
    Kryptik says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    But it usually takes at least a day two for that to happen. And why can’t we at least have enough pushback to get more information to avoid things like this. I mean…christ, soon as the scandal claimed Sherrod’s scalp, all the context came out that made this a non-story, hours too late. The only reason it claimed a scalp despite the reality coming on so quick is because the consequences ended up coming just that much quicker.

    We need to find ways to not enable the kind of scorched earth tactics that the Becks and the Breitbarts continually win with, because it’s getting faster, more efficient, and more impossible to fight back against if the cave ins keep coming this goddamn quick.

  115. 115
    timb says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:
    Your first paragraph is disgusting, but the rest makes some sense. Reminds me of the 90’s, where libs showed that if they ignored Far Right demagoguery and bullshit, it would just go away. Give them a few scalps to make it go away.

    And, then there was this blue dress

  116. 116
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    See: Paul of Tarsus, St. Augustine

    Apparently you are unaware of my severe dislike for Paul of Tarsus. No thanks!

    This woman stated in the video I saw that she chose at that time (24 years ago) to not do as much for the white farmer as she could have. That is wrong. She realized it THEN, when it happened? So then why is she citing that, and why did the NAACP take notice of it, and why was she fired and why are we talking about her?

    You’re wrong!

  117. 117
    Malron says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    The hair-trigger reaction we’ve developed as a society is a major problem, especially with regards to the Fourth Estate. I will never understand how the media continues its inability to process events and information and then apply them to relevant situations in the future. Breitbart is a liar. He tells lies. All the time. Since forever. He got you with the ACORN shenanigans; I’ve even seen the articles printed and discussed in traditional media outlets talking about investigations that proved the tapes were bogus. But then he comes along with another one, and literally no one takes the time to say “Wait a minute. This is the guy who played us like chumps last time. Maybe we should do some digging and see if there is more to this tape, since this is exactly how he played us like fools last time.”

    Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; I must be a fucking idiot.

  118. 118
    Jay B. says:

    @timb:

    Oh, well, if you saw it and it could have been commented on, then surely, everyone here who says otherwise is lying.

    Also, I do find it rich that the guy who runs a high-profile blog manages to blame the left for silence when he runs a high profile blog. If only HE had some way to let people know about this debacle!

  119. 119
    Kryptik says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    …isn’t that why you…you know, wait for more information before making that sort of call? So you don’t leave room for that sort of second guessing and you can be sure the right call was made? I mean…it’s not like it was a matter of pondering this for months. It was within a day of the story break that this happened and collapsed.

  120. 120
    timb says:

    @Little Dreamer: Yes, our public discourse would be better if there was less honesty and more jejune vapid banalities

  121. 121
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    that is what should happen.

    Nope. What should happen is that a statement is issued that it’s regrettable that Ms. What’sHerName had to leave, and then we move on.

    You cannot run an organization in which the rules of the game can be changed on the fly because people on tv and the internets get all upset over something like this.

    Assuming that Ms. WHN worked in an at-will capacity, which assuredly would have been made clear to her at the time of her hiring, then once a decision to let her go is made, it’s over. If she worked in a merit system of some kind, with job protection, then the mechanism in place to protect her job would kick in and take over at this point. Absent that, this little drama needs to be over.

  122. 122
    MattR says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    She realized it THEN, when it happened? So then why is she citing that, and why did the NAACP take notice of it, and why was she fired and why are we talking about her?

    /trying to pick jaw up off the floor

  123. 123
    Dungheap says:

    The Breibart video itself should have been enough for anyone with teh google and half a brain to figure out that the events she was discussing occurred a long time ago prior to her work at the USDA.

    For all of his editing, he left in the part where Sherrod mentioned that the events happened just after Chapter 12 bankruptcy for family farmers was enacted. That happened in 1986. Anything more than a reactionary freakout should have prevented the firing.

  124. 124
    gwangung says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    she admitted that she chose to not go as far as she could have ‘to help the white farmer’. That is a crime. It’s discrimination. Perhaps you don’t realize this?

    I think YOU aren’t realizing what she did.

    Help was given. The farm was saved. What more could she have done?

  125. 125
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    she admitted that she chose to not go as far as she could have ‘to help the white farmer’. That is a crime. It’s discrimination. Perhaps you don’t realize this?

    @Brien Jackson:

    Look, this is basic politics: someone said something stupid at one point, the other side used it to put the administration in an untenable situation, and the flunky had to fall on their sword. Happens all the time.

    That’s the thing, though. She didn’t really say anything stupid. She admitted that she struggled with a basic human failing, but was able to see past it because she realized that race isn’t a pertinent issue to separate people; we’re all human beings with needs and wants alike. She was talking about the benevolence of basic human decency.

    But [wife of the white farmer Eloise] Spooner, who considers Sherrod a “friend for life,” said the federal official worked tirelessly to help the Iron City couple hold onto their land as they faced bankruptcy back in 1986.

    Sherrod noted that few news reports have mentioned that the story she told happened 24 years ago — before she got the USDA job — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund.
    __
    “And I went on to work with many more white farmers,” she said. “The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it’s about the people who have and the people who don’t. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.”

    This is another critical element. This incident didn’t even happen while she was working for the USDA. Hell, it didn’t even happen within the last 20 years. So what we’re really discussing is bureaucratic cowardice as opposed to having the fortitude to do due diligence, in the face of an opposition empirically-proven to be liars. That is a problem.

    There’s nothing really untenable about the situation. The context is entirely explainable and simplistic. The supplementary character witnesses are there to provide depth to the narrative. And, here’s the kicker, the people pushing the story in the first place are notorious for lying. Just lying about anything they can even possibly think to lie about. The president is the anti-christ? Run with it. He has a deep-rooted hatred for white people? Sounds like a winner.

    There was no flunky who had to fall on a sword because there was nothing to fall on. Where is the sword in this situation? Surely, you are not talking about the extended video which will exonerate Shirley Sherrod and once again prove her accuser, Andrew Breitbart, to be a slanderous fraud?

  126. 126
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Kryptik:

    I worked in the public sector for a long time. Certain aspects of my employment were at-will matters. Meaning, if the official in charge decided that he wanted to replace me with his sister in law, he called me in, thanked me for my service, tut tutted over the thing, and asked me to be out of the building before noon. End of story. No recourse.

    That’s the way it works, should work, and must work. You either have at-will authority, or you don’t. It’s not subject to review by the local tv station.

  127. 127
    Rick Taylor says:

    The usual suspects release a heavily edited video, the MSM rolls with it, a good person gets fired, and the administration and the left are silent. Yeehaw!

    __
    I don’t get it, who’s the left in this case? I just read about this on Atrios, TPM, and now here.
    __
    And yes, Tom Vilsack should be out of a job. Yesterday.,
    __
    P.S.
    Never mind, John, I just read your response.

  128. 128
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    the left are silent

    I don’t get this part. I’d already read about this on a couple of lefty blogs and a mainstream article before I dialed up Balloon Juice.

  129. 129
    Glenn says:

    @Jay B.:

    Jay B. FTW!

  130. 130
    Kryptik says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    …I…don’t know. Maybe to point out that she was forced to look past her own prejudices when that incident occurred, and to use it as a positive example for the sort of people that the NAACP is trying to help and influence?

    And the NAACP acted as quick as they did, because they were caught in the same shitstorm everyone else was, and forced into acting before the reality fully came in. Just like the USDA was. Because no one wanted to wait for the real story to come out, when there’s such a compelling narrative that could take down that nasty evil NAACP for criticizing the poor Tea Partiers.

    Good christ, so recounting mistakes made, to show how we learn from them is something to not only be discouraged but be actively disgusted at? Fuck all, man…

  131. 131
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Little Dreamer: I don’t care much for Paul either, but he was successful in his approach.

    But nice derail attempt anyway.

    This woman stated in the video I saw that she chose at that time (24 years ago) to not do as much for the white farmer as she could have. That is wrong.

    Well, yeah, wrong. She says so herself.

    She realized it THEN, when it happened? So then why is she citing that, and why did the NAACP take notice of it, and why was she fired and why are we talking about her?

    Because some people (not wised-up Shirley and not me) are really credulous or easily panicked by the media circus.

  132. 132
    batgirl says:

    @Little Dreamer: Because the frakkin video was edited and we are not going the whole thing. Haven’t your learned anything about Breitbart yet?

  133. 133
    cyntax says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    She realized it THEN, when it happened?

    Yes, and then she went on to do everything she could for the farmer, helping him save his farm. She and the white farmers became friends. It’s annecdote from her own experience on how much better we can all do (including minorities) when we make an effort to overcome our own prejuidices.

    How is this not a good example of successfully moving past racism and prejuidice?

  134. 134
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Out of context? She stood there in front of a group of people and admitted that she didn’t do what she could have for a white farmer because she felt some racial tension between them. She decided that she was being discriminated against and chose to discriminate back, and then admitted to it to an audience 24 years later. WTF is out of context about that? What, because circumstances changed? Well, she admitted to being a racist at one point and actually allowing her racial stance to affect her decision-making. So, because she befriended the gentleman and his wife and fixed the whole thing, that makes it out of context? I repeat: she admitted she BROKE THE LAW by allowing a racial situation to affect her decision making… if she had just not admitted that, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it now. It’s her mistake. I’m sorry she lost her position, but, she is the one who brought this on herself.

  135. 135
    Malron says:

    A bit of good news. TPM reports the NAACP is walking back its intial comments about Sherrod’s case:

    NAACP Walking It Back

    CNN just read on the air from a new NAACP statement saying that the organization will now investigate the Shirley Sherrod case:

    “The NAACP is conducting an investigation into the recent revelations about the situation with Ms. Shirley Sherrod including attempting to speak with Ms. Sherrod, the farmer in question and viewing the full video.”

    I commend them for at least doing that. Now, let’s see if we can put enough pressure on Vilsack to do the same thing.

  136. 136
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    And yes, Tom Vilsack should be out of a job. Yesterday.

    Hell, he’ll probably get a promotion for “acting decisively.”

  137. 137
    Kryptik says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    So there’s no incentive for telling the truth or being informed, because the concept of at-will authority will always reward the liars.

    Nice to know. :/

  138. 138
    gwangung says:

    @Little Dreamer: She REALLY don’t know what she did, do you? You’re still operating out of ignorance and doubling down.

  139. 139
    Jay B. says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Meaning, if the official in charge decided that he wanted to replace me with his sister in law, he called me in, thanked me for my service, tut tutted over the thing, and asked me to be out of the building before noon. End of story. No recourse

    .

    That sounds like a great way to serve the public interest! You do realize that the Why a Dog Licks His Balls argument doesn’t exactly make for a compelling reason why we should move on, right?

  140. 140
    timb says:

    @Little Dreamer: See, the pain in the ass trying to tell people to get over STILL doesn’t know the story.

    It’s not discrimination when you work for a private, cooperative of African-American farmers and a white farmer who is NOT part of the coop asks your help. You do NOT have to help people outside of your coop. Do you understand what a club is, little dreamer? There was no discrimination here and, in fact, she did help this guy keep his farm and the family calls her a friend.

    Maybe, petty injustices don’t bother you, because you just don’t care to know the whole story?

  141. 141
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    This woman stated in the video I saw that she chose at that time (24 years ago) to not do as much for the white farmer as she could have. That is wrong. She realized it THEN, when it happened? So then why is she citing that, and why did the NAACP take notice of it, and why was she fired and why are we talking about her?
    __
    You’re wrong!

    I don’t think it’s possible for you to misinterpret this entire situation more than you already have. I mean, you are just so far off base in your analysis, it is mind blowing.

  142. 142
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Tom Vilsack should be out of a job. Yesterday.

    Maybe he will, although it would be a disastrous organizational error to do that, but the decision would not be subject to override … just as the subject firing decision he made should not be subject to override, and for the same reason. There’s nothing to be gained by turning an unfortunate employment matter into a keystone cops movie.

    Maybe the real error was ever hiring this person in the first place without exploring her background? Maybe we should also investigate that, and fire the person who hired her? Maybe we should start looking into all one million of the hirings and firings involved in keeping the Executive Branch going, and have each of them reviewed in public by John Cole and Judge Judy?

  143. 143
    Little Dreamer says:

    @cyntax:

    Perhaps we need to discuss what the meaning of “then” is, because she didn’t both decide to “not do all I could to help the white farmer” and also decide to break down that racial barrier at the same time. Perhaps it was a few hours, or days later, or weeks, or months, but it wasn’t at the time she says she decided to not help him all she could.

  144. 144
    Kryptik says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    No, seriously, are you just being willfully obtuse about this? Are you?

  145. 145
    Glenn says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    I’m sorry, what LAW did she BREAK?

  146. 146
    timb says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: You would have great in the Bush administration

  147. 147
    Brachiator says:

    Why does Breitbart still have a job?

    This was a smear, pure and simple on his part.

  148. 148
    Rick Taylor says:

    24 hours? The way you were speaking about it, I assumed the story must have been out for a week, but on right wing blogs I don’t read. As much as I’d love to join in the hippie punching, I do think the fault is the administration caving and dumping a good person so quickly at Breitburt’s behest without even bothering to get the full story, rather than the left’s inability to research and debunk every insane story the right wing nuts put out within hours.

  149. 149
    timb says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: You would have great in the Bush administration@timb:

    Crap that’s unfair. I tried to delete it. Likable, please accept my apology for that cheap shot

  150. 150
    Kryptik says:

    @Brachiator:

    Why? Because he wins. Because the media lets him win, or helps him win. Because there’s no incentive for being informed when you can lie your way to getting what you want.

  151. 151
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    I’m sorry, I guess I didn’t see the video (except that I did).

  152. 152
    TJ says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Vilsack can dither with the best of them. But on this he moves like lightning. They both blew this one. Just giving Breitbart another win would have given me pause.

  153. 153
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Maybe, petty injustices don’t bother you

    Petty injustices are a dime a dozen. Grotesque remediations, such as firing cabinet officers for them because bloggers are chagrined, are not the appropriate remedy.

  154. 154
    demo woman says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): Balloon Juice was discussing this issue on an earlier thread also. I took the silence of the left to mean that we should do something. Bitching is not enough. The right has FOX News and their ability to show non news stories as dangerous to the security of our nation. Phone calls and letters to the editors may or may not be enough, but the left can and should do more.

  155. 155
    Glenn says:

    @Brachiator:

    Um, because that is Breitbart’s job.

  156. 156
    roshan says:

    A lot of folks here seem to have opened up their Queensbury Rules Handbook for guidance.

  157. 157
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @timb:

    Meh, it’s a blog. Petty injustices are part of the game.

    This venue is more akin to a food fight and to ice hockey than it is to figure skating. Eh?

  158. 158
    Jay B. says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    A disturbing look into the mind of a bureaucrat, but I appreciate the honesty. Rules is rules, therefore rules is right!

  159. 159
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Out of context? She stood there in front of a group of people and admitted that she didn’t do what she could have for a white farmer because she felt some racial tension between them. She decided that she was being discriminated against and chose to discriminate back, and then admitted to it to an audience 24 years later. WTF is out of context about that? What, because circumstances changed? Well, she admitted to being a racist at one point and actually allowing her racial stance to affect her decision-making. So, because she befriended the gentleman and his wife and fixed the whole thing, that makes it out of context? I repeat: she admitted she BROKE THE LAW by allowing a racial situation to affect her decision making… if she had just not admitted that, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it now. It’s her mistake. I’m sorry she lost her position, but, she is the one who brought this on herself.

    You’re moving from her story of not wanting to move heaven and earth for someone who she felt was condescending to her to some kind of heinous racist, exclusionary act. She was not with the USDA, she was not the only recourse this man had, she did not break any laws. She sent him to someone who she expected could work with this man. Referring someone to another competent professional is not racist.

    When that person wasn’t good enough (something that was apparent within a short period of time) SHE STEPPED IN HERSELF, saved the farm and became friends with the family. This is not a slow realization years after the fact that she was the better choice for the family: she realized it then and acted then.

  160. 160
    timb says:

    @Jay B.: Well, I don’t remember accusing anyone of lying, but not responding to obvious disinformation all over memeorandum.

    In the future jay, I will take my lead from you

  161. 161
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Out of context? She stood there in front of a group of people and admitted that she didn’t do what she could have for a white farmer because she felt some racial tension between them. She decided that she was being discriminated against and chose to discriminate back, and then admitted to it to an audience 24 years later.

    Except for the part where she kept the farmer out of bankruptcy, and became such close personal friends with the farmer and his wife, that Shirley Sherrod’s own husband said the following:

    “Her husband told her, ‘You’re spending more time with the Spooners than you are with me,’ ” Spooner told the AJC. “She took probably two or three trips with us to Albany just to help us out.”

    Of course, since this happened 24 years ago, during the exact timeframe she references during the story, she is guilty of discrimination and violating the law.

    I really hope you don’t quintuple down on this nonsense.

  162. 162
    sbark says:

    hmmm….but when a “right winger” has a macaca moment, and later turns around and helps a minority……..

    is he still a racist?????

    hey…..lets ask Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson

  163. 163
    El Cid says:

    Good thing no Southern white conservative politician ever told a story of having to adjust to the new post-Civil Rights Act world.

    By today’s standards, I guess Ronald Reagan should have stepped down because he didn’t reject a Louisiana KKK endorsement (given in gratitude for Ronnie’s “States’ Rights” speech launching his campaign in Neshoba County, Mississippi) until a Carter campaign member brought it up.

  164. 164
    MattR says:

    @Little Dreamer: If you saw the complete, unedited video can you please send it to the NAACP, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and all the other outlets who have finally decided that it might be appropriate to look at the entire thing but have not been able to obtain a copy yet?

  165. 165
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    I’m sorry, I guess I didn’t see the video (except that I did).

    I don’t know what the fuck you saw, but it damn sure didn’t have anything to do with the actual facts of the situation or things that happened in real life.

  166. 166
    shortstop says:

    I really hope you don’t quintuple down on this nonsense.

    I really hope you didn’t lay any coin on her not doing so.

  167. 167
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    That sounds like a great way to serve the public interest

    Are you fucking serious? There is not a public organization in the world that does not operate this way, and has not always operated this way. For that matter, not many private orgs either.

    What fairyland world do you live in? Do you know what “at will” means? It means you serve at the pleasure of somebody else. Period. The decisions are not subject to explanation, or review.

    If you want to reinvent the world of organization work, maybe blathering on an obscure blog that does politics as an aside to pet blogging isn’t the best way to go about it?

  168. 168
    Jay B. says:

    @timb:

    That, or you could jump to conclusions about people’s response time to Memorandum items.

  169. 169
    Rick Taylor says:

    It is incomprehensible the NAACP was taken in. I mean, apart from the principle of giving people the benefit of the doubt and waiting to weigh in until the facts are known, don’t they know who Breitbart is?

  170. 170
    Keith G says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    That’s a problem that goes beyond the USDA.

    It does indeed. I guess I am a fool for believing that *this* was part of what Obama was talking about as he promised us that he would change how Washington works.

    Bullies need to to be stood up to. The bad guys and the media won’t, as the bullies serve their purposes. If the folks (Dem leadership) who should face down the bullies refuse to, who should we believe in?

  171. 171
    Malron says:

    I don’t think Vilsack should lose his job over this, either. Firing Vilsack would still give Breitbart bragging points and fuel to claim his sleazy tactics are effective. I think Vilsack needs to examine the merits of the incident, realize he fucked up by jumping to conclusions and hire Sherrod back. He should probably fire that rep who badged Sherrod into quitting, though. Vilsack should then hold a joint press conference apologizing to Sherrod for falling for Breitbart’s okeydoke.

    Get the shit out in the open and point out how full of shit Breitbart is and demand the media stop circulating his nonsense. That’s my fantasy ending. Now, I’ll politely hop on my unicorn and ride gently into the sunset.

  172. 172
    Bella Q says:

    @GregB:

    Can someone please fabricate a video Andrew Brietbart fucking a goat or Mickey Kaus?

    No, please make it a threesome. And dress a sheep as the goat. I love goats. They are bright, witty and quite independent. I wouldn’t wish Breitbart or Mickey Kaus on any of them.

    Sheep, well, they play follow the leader really well. And I’ll pony up for the production costs. Please. Surely there are aspiring filmmakers here.

  173. 173
    demo woman says:

    @Malron: Since we are dreaming, can Vilsack mention Fox News also?

  174. 174
    El Cid says:

    @Bella Q: Use that demon sheep video maker.

  175. 175
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Jay B.:

    Cut the crap. It’s not about rules is rules. It’s just about rules, which are understood by both parties at the time of hiring, which mean what they say, and have legal effect, and it’s about at-will hiring and firing authority, and what that means.

    What is the matter with you? Do you really think the world doesn’t operate this way? Or that it could operate otherwise?

    At will doesn’t mean that you override the decisions after the fact if you don’t like them. It doesn’t mean you have to like them, either. It means they are not subject to review. It means you serve at the pleasure of somebody else. Period.

    If you want to run for president and make the replacement of at-will employment a plank in your platform, then you should do that. Really. Make your case. Explain your new warm and fuzzy system. Get your ass laughed off the stage, but do it … own it.

  176. 176
    D-Chance. says:

    And when Oh-boy goes down in ’12, he and his buds are going to wonder, “Gee, where were all those excited supporters from ’08?”

    But, he got his, fuck the rest of you… 11th dimensional chess, indeed.

  177. 177
    Jay B. says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    What fairyland world do you live in? Do you know what ‘at will” means? It means you serve at the pleasure of somebody else. Period. The decisions are not subject to explanation, or review.

    Yeah, I’m a fucking dreamer because when government zombies fire someone “at-will” because of a stupid fucking reason that was made up from whole cloth — and then compound their stupidity by offering up “shut up, that’s why” in their defense — I don’t find it to be a very intelligent thing to do or an “effective” way to run anything.

    Of course, butched up bureaucrats jealously guard their prerogatives because that’s what they care about, not proper outcomes. It’s the same in the private cubicle farms too, of course, all of which goes to reward mediocrities (smart people are threats and must be eliminated) in the name of “organization”. A truly laughable term for whatever it is you are working for.

  178. 178
    ChrisS says:

    You see here, the real racism has been happening for years because of this civil rights bullshit.

    If Obama were really bi-partisan he would get rid of the civil rights act and or allows us whites only schools and libraries, and roads, and offices, and …

  179. 179
    Console says:

    What kills me is that the video is OBVIOUSLY edited in a suspicious way. In the middle of the story it just fucking stops. That makes no sense at all because you expect one of two things to happen. Either she was going to go in depth into the other ways she refused to help this guy, or she was going to say that something changed her mind. Either way, an honest reporting of the event would have zero reason to leave out the ending. Are people really that unperceptive that they don’t think the video as is, is suspicious?

  180. 180

    @Kryptik:

    There’s no way to not enable this sort of stuff, because they have nothing to lose. I mean, even if the administration pushes back, and even if they win, and even if they do so without incurring any political damage whatsoever, what happens to Breitbart? Nothing. He’s still a hero inside of his bubble, with no credibility whatsoever outside of the bubble. But he’ll have gotten a public fight with the President out of the deal anyway. And the White House is just back where they started. This is the definition of the a no-win situation for the administration.

  181. 181
    MattR says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: And there is nothing in at-will that says that someone higher up the food chain can’t reverse the decision (and even fire the person who made the original firing decision if they want to).

    (EDIT: Additionally, if someone is fired “for cause” from an at-will position they have the right to contest that decision. )

  182. 182
    mnpundit says:

    @John Cole: Don’t act like an idiot. Now that the story is spreading, the left is beginning to come to her defense.

  183. 183
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Jay B.:

    Forget it, man. You are just spouting pure bullshit.

    At will employment means at will. You can be fired at will.

    It says what it means and means what it says. It is the basis for a good deal of public and private employment.

    If you want to argue that at will employment is wrong, then make that case, but you are off to a bad start. Picking a weird circumstance like this current example is not going to win the day.

    What part of “You agreed that your position was at will at the time of hiring. What part of that agreement did you not understand?” do you not understand?

    The part that says that if your firing makes the Baby Jesus cry, you get to override it if you can get bloggers to write emo posts for you?

  184. 184
    bill-tb says:

    LOL — I suppose the NAACP could produce a video to back up their proved false claims about racism on the capital steps.

    So you could say, turn-about is fair play.

    But of course she did say what she said, regardless context.

  185. 185
    El Cid says:

    @Brien Jackson: Personally I think it’s more of a win for Brightfart to get a government employee sacked or an entire organization defunded than just to get more media attention.

    Had there been right wing screaming about ACORN due to the fake pimp video, that’s one thing; having destroyed the organization is quite another. That’s a bigger prize to claim.

  186. 186
    Joel says:

    Bullshit like this is actually the only case where the “both sides do it” equivalency holds. With the notable exception of Bush II, where the Democrats were too craven to even resort to dirty tricks.

  187. 187
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Glenn

    I stand corrected, apparently there was no actual law broken. The only thing that suggests a breaking of the law is the preamble of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but, there is apparently no actual law that was transgressed.

    The closest thing I can come to find is the civil rights act of 1964 and of course the Preamble of the Constitution (which isn’t cited as actual law, just a statement that says we’re all supposed to be equal (if “all men” includes women too). I’ve been brought up to understand that discrimination is wrong, and perhaps the fact that it wasn’t actually illegal (AFAICS) might be part of the problem.

    Apologies.

    It still seems wrong to me, but, I’m done arguing this whole thing. You people believe what you want to believe, you will anyway.

  188. 188
    Jay B. says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    What is the matter with you? Do you really think the world doesn’t operate this way? Or that it could operate otherwise?

    Again, all you are arguing is that the most important thing in this case are the rules, not the outcome. There are plenty of examples in the real world of the opposite — this is why there are sexual harassment laws, affirmative action, anti-discrimination laws, unions, guilds, contracts, review boards and other things which protect employees from capricious firing.

  189. 189
    timb says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: Do you intentionally ignore the points that shine light and context or are you just being too stubborn to admit that all you did was watch a heavily video and rush to the internet to defend the right of authority figures to use their authority however they damn way want?

  190. 190
    Tim I says:

    @tim:

    The real bullshit here is that this woman resigned – she was not fired. I’ve read nothing to suggest that anyone in the Administration had a clue as to what was happening. I saw her interview on CNN, which also included the wife of the farmer, who credited her with saving their farm.

    The woman may well be innocent, although the remarks seem ill advised, but she seems to have jumped the gun by resigning so quickly.

  191. 191
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    And there is nothing in at-will that says that someone higher up the food chain can’t reverse the decision (and even fire the person who made the original firing decision if they want to).

    Absolutely. But that would be a truly stupid thing to do here.

    To send a message at that level that an at-will firing can be overriden in a case like this? IMV, just nuts. And I am making no declaration whatever on the merits of her situation one way or the other. Because it isn’t relevant to this point.

    What happens to a giant (1m people) organization when every hiring and firing decision becomes grist for the mill of maudlin public opinion and examination? You figure it out.

  192. 192
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    That this woman is going around citing that she broke a racial discrimination law years ago while assisting farmers means she’s marking herself for criticism.

    Actually, she didn’t. There’s no law against not going the extra mile for someone. She did exactly her job and nothing more, but also nothing less.

    She did nothing illegal. Not a thing. But you want to see her hanged because she didn’t kiss the farmer’s ass and grovel for him above and beyond the call of duty.

  193. 193

    @El Cid:

    A win for Breitbart would be getting a prolonged, racially-tinged public fight with the administration. Getting some low level political appointee fired and replaced is nothing.

  194. 194
    4tehlulz says:

    Erick son of Erick, of all people, isn’t buying this.

    I’m hoping there is more to the video of Shirley Sherrod, because otherwise it seems like the right just got the scalp of a penitent lady.

  195. 195
    Emma says:

    Little Dreamer: I claim troll. You couldn’t be as dense as that.

    Perhaps it would help you to understand that the man’s widow is standing up for her and calls her “a friend for life.” Or not, since you seem to have decided that a story about how someone learned to overcome her own racial biases and work with the poor of every color is some kind of confession to a crime.

  196. 196
    GregB says:

    Remember how the right instantly dismissed the Wikileaks story about the civilian shootings in Iraq because “the video was edited”.

    That ended the story for them right there.

  197. 197
    KRK says:

    Everyone shut up about at-will employment and firing and rehiring. That’s an irrelevant distraction. Sherrod’s position at USDA was a political appointment. She was never a civil service employee. She wasn’t fired. She was induced to resign.

    P.S. Could Jrod, Slayer of Phoenix make another comment about a certain water supply and maybe earn us another GBCB respite?

  198. 198
    timb says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: why are you making this about employment law and not about Breitbart intentionally and dishonestly destroying a woman?

  199. 199
    Loneoak says:

    Fox’s new take on the story: Big mean White House refused to hear the truth about the nice lady who helped out the Whites.

  200. 200
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Do you intentionally ignore the points

    At will employment decisions are not subject to override. If they are, then they are not at will any more. If you have a point on that subject, make it. Otherwise we aren’t talking about the same points.

    If you don’t think at will employment is right, then by all means, take that on. But arguing with me won’t feed the bulldog. I didn’t invent it and I don’t have the power to keep it or eliminate it. It just is what it is.

  201. 201
    GregB says:

    D-chance.

    Oh-Boy is a pretty shitty, race tinged thing to call the President.

    Just call him Boy and get it over with.

  202. 202
    Glenn says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Oh Christ. Look, Sherrod herself admitted it was “wrong.” That was the whole fucking point of the story, that she learned an important lesson. I can agree it’s “wrong” in some sense, although if the white farmer really came in giving her a bunch of condescending bullshit (and I’m from Georgia, so I tend to believe this), then I think her response was wholly understandable.

    But you threw down this “she BROKE THE LAW” as if it were your trump card. No one else was suggesting that things turned on the legality or illegality of her actions. And now it turns out, as suspected, you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Even to the point of not knowing the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

  203. 203
    cyntax says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Perhaps it was a few hours, or days later, or weeks, or months, but it wasn’t at the time she says she decided to not help him all she could.

    She did what was required while working in private position for a coop–i.e. not as a public official. At first she didn’t go above and beyond. Then she did.

    What part of “I learned a lesson and did better” don’t you understand? And why she should she be pilloried for this?

    If she had done this as a public official, you’d have a point but she didn’t.

  204. 204
    Tim I says:

    @tim:

    I stand corrected. TPM is reporting that USDA requested her resignation.

  205. 205
    Violet says:

    @Emma:

    the man’s widow is standing up for her and calls her “a friend for life.”

    He’s not dead yet. The rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

  206. 206
    Malron says:

    @Loneoak: Fox’s new take on the story: Big mean White House refused to hear the truth about the nice lady who helped out the Whites

    Works for me. A lot better than text formatting, apparently…

  207. 207
    Dungheap says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Why aren’t at will employment decisions subject to override? Are you calling notakebacksies or some shit?

  208. 208
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    She realized it THEN, when it happened?

    Yes, she did. That’s what the entire story is about: she did something at the time, she realized within a week or two that it was wrong, and she helped the farmer and became close friends with his family, which is why there’s that video at the top of this post with the farmer’s wife defending Sherrod.

    The fact that you’re not paying attention is not helping you here.

    So then why is she citing that, and why did the NAACP take notice of it, and why was she fired and why are we talking about her?

    Because Andrew Breitbart took a couple of phrases out of context and forwarded them to the NAACP. The NAACP freaked out and demanded that she be fired. She was then fired.

    Now the actual story of what she said is coming out, not Breitbart’s heavily edited version. And yet you’re still clinging to words of a guy who’s a proven pathological liar and insisting that the rest of us, including the woman who’s been friends with Sherrod for over 20 years, must be lying and Breitbart must be telling the truth because shut up, that’s why.

  209. 209
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @timb:

    Because it is about employment law, and organizational protocol.

    You can bemoan the thing and say how regrettable it is until you are blue in the face … and be right. It doesn’t change the fact that at will employment is what it is, and weakening it because you weep over an outcome of it is not wise, not effective, not useful, and not really as just as you think it is. Once you take that structure apart, you turn at will from “at the pleasure of my boss” into “at the pleasure of a mob.”

    You don’t want to see that because it’s more fun to stamp your feet over the supposed injustice of the case. Good for you, but even if you get some grotesque remedy in this one case, you can’t make at will employment go away. Luckily. At will is not warm and fuzzy, but I am pretty sure it is better than the softheaded alternatives. At will serves all ideologies well. Don’t fuck with it. Break it at your peril.

  210. 210
    MattR says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: The thing is that whoever made this decision showed very poor judgement. The kind of judgement that would make me question every other decision they made. My gut instinct would be to fire the person, whoever it is, but I also have no history with that person and there may be other factors to consider.

    As for the impact on an organization, it would have a huge positive effect on the employees if they see that upper management cares about the little people and that grossly unfair decisions can be changed.

    PS. I think you are overly fixated on the at will aspect of her employment. Nobody is disputing the authority to fire, only the wisdom to do so.

  211. 211
    Little Dreamer says:

    @MattR:

    I didn’t view the entire video, I viewed the part where she admitted that she decided not to help the white farmer in all the ways she could. Apparently people here seem to think that isn’t enough to consider racial discrimination, but to me, it sure seems like it is. She admitted to deciding not to help the white farmer all she could. Whatever came after is just added facts in addition to that fact, it doesn’t erase the fact.

    But, I’m not going to push this anymore. As I stated, you all believe this situation played out differently, that because this woman realized she did something wrong, and changed her stance, that it gives her a pass to not being complicit in the racism that occured. So be it, you guys win, I’m finished arguing the point.

  212. 212
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    It is incomprehensible the NAACP was taken in. I mean, apart from the principle of giving people the benefit of the doubt and waiting to weigh in until the facts are known, don’t they know who Breitbart is?

    This is really the part that baffles me, as well. They have to have some kind of cursory familiarity with the guy after his antics about conservatives hurling racial epithets and spitting on Democratic representatives in the lead up to the vote on the Affordable Care Act. Was there really no one during the chain of events that led to her condemnation by NAACP who was capable of saying, “Hey, wait a minute. This is being pushed by that Andrew Breitbart guy? Isn’t he the same slimeball behind the ACORN hit job and the one who called Rep. John Lewis a liar when he said he was spit on and called a nigger because there was no videotape? Shouldn’t we be pretty skeptical about this given his record?”

    I am stunned that failed to happen both with the NAACP and, to a larger degree, with the White House. It’s just the rate of acquiescing to the bullshit that is astonishing, really. I don’t think it’s happened this quickly before.

  213. 213
    El Cid says:

    @Brien Jackson: I disagree. I think this particular incident will be equally promoted as the fault of the Obama administration as had Sherrod not been forced to resign. It’s not that I’m incapable of imagining that Brightfart and the right could benefit from such a mythical fight, but they’re doing that every single day, anyway, about every issue under and never seen under the Sun, and this ranges from bullshit about New Black Panthers and whatever else — and getting someone’s scalps successfully is better.

  214. 214
    timb says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: For a few thousand dollars I found out that that’s not true. You can be fired for any reason: a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason, but you can’t be fired for an illegal reason.

    This case isn’t about whether tommy V COULD cave, but rather, it’s over whether he SHOULD have caved.

    By now, you know this lady worked for a private organization, the incident happened over 20+ years ago, she actually did help the farmer, and she tells a sotry about overcoming racism to be a better person. And, it took less than an hour. It’s the same lesson Tommy V could have learned in the time it took his press secretary and lawyer to write the statement he released.

  215. 215
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Little Dreamer: You are the winner of the Dim Bulb of the Day award.

  216. 216
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Why aren’t at will employment decisions subject to override?

    How stupid can you be not to understand this?

    If I hire you and tell you that you have at will authority over the positions under you, and then when you fire somebody in a good faith at will decision, and I come along and pull your authority out from under you, then (a) I lied to you when I hired you unless I told you that I would review and possibly override your decisions whenever I felt like it, and (b) I just made your at will authority meaningless … while of course, preserving my own. Do you think you can run an organization that way?

    Yes, you probably do.

  217. 217
    dhd says:

    what. the. fuck.

  218. 218
    Little Dreamer says:

    I guess that means that if I rob a bank today and then decide tomorrow to go back to the bank and apologize and return the money, that it means I didn’t rob a bank at all (I bet the cops would still arrest me though). Funny how that works!

  219. 219
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    The closest thing I can come to find is the civil rights act of 1964 and of course the Preamble of the Constitution (which isn’t cited as actual law, just a statement that says we’re all supposed to be equal (if “all men” includes women too).

    Troll. Absolutely Troll.

  220. 220
    timb says:

    @Tim I: She claims she was forced to resign. the news story is quoted in this here very comments section

  221. 221
    Little Dreamer says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    Sticks and stones… wow, that really hurt! I’m crying now. LMAO

    Go rob and bank and take the money back and see if you don’t get arrested. LOL

  222. 222
    timb says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: except, of course, that no one is arguing that point

  223. 223
    Comrade Mary says:

    I guess that means that if I rob a bank today and then decide tomorrow to go back to the bank and apologize and return the money, that it means I didn’t rob a bank at all (I bet the cops would still arrest me though). Funny how [my brain doesn’t work]!

    Fixed that for you.

  224. 224
    MattR says:

    @Little Dreamer: A more accurate analogy would be that you go to a restaurant and pay your bill but don’t leave a tip. But you realize that was wrong and go back the next day and make sure your server gets the tip s/he deserved.

  225. 225
    Keith G says:

    @Loneoak:

    Fox’s new take on the story: Big mean White House refused to hear the truth about the nice lady who helped out the Whites.

    When you appease bullies expect to get slapped even harder the next time.

  226. 226
    cyntax says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Apparently people here seem to think that isn’t enough to consider racial discrimination, but to me, it sure seems like it is. She admitted to deciding not to help the white farmer all she could. Whatever came after is just added facts in addition to that fact, it doesn’t erase the fact.

    You know, I’ve tried to see things from your point of view but it’s a decidely stupid one, based in vengeance and grudge holding. Nothing in how you view this event would lead to any sort of rapproachment, or any sort of increased understanding.

    People learn from mistakes, because no one is perfect. Excepting obviously you.

  227. 227
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac:

    No, I’m just a lowly human female who used to visit this blog a lot and I don’t listen to talking points but make my own decisions about what to believe and how. Sorry that you have to go looking for conspiracy around every corner.

  228. 228
    Emma says:

    Little Dreamer: You’re not arguing a point, and the increasingly idiotic comparisons to robbing banks prove it. You’re a troll.

  229. 229
    Glenn says:

    @MattR:

    @Little Dreamer: A more accurate analogy would be that you go to a restaurant and pay your bill but don’t leave a tip. But you realize that was wrong and go back the next day and make sure your server gets the tip s/he deserved.

    Oh, and it happened 24 years ago.

  230. 230
    gwangung says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    I didn’t view the entire video

    Then you’re simply stupid to keep commenting. This is being willfully ignorant.

  231. 231
    timb says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: At will sucks as my class in law school demonstrated. it is an excuse for employers to treat employees like serfs.

  232. 232
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    But, I’m not going to push this anymore. As I stated, you all believe this situation played out differently, that because this woman realized she did something wrong, and changed her stance, that it gives her a pass to not being complicit in the racism that occured. So be it, you guys win, I’m finished arguing the point

    You are arguing a point that doesn’t exist. Really, you just made up an entire issue that isn’t pertinent, and went after it full throttle. All you are admitting now is that you are finished being incredibly dense and arguing against imaginary wrongs being committed.

    Thanks for the update.

    I didn’t view the entire video, I viewed the part where she admitted that she decided not to help the white farmer in all the ways she could. Apparently people here seem to think that isn’t enough to consider racial discrimination, but to me, it sure seems like it is. She admitted to deciding not to help the white farmer all she could. Whatever came after is just added facts in addition to that fact, it doesn’t erase the fact.

    Is McMegan trolling us today?

  233. 233
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    This case isn’t about whether tommy V COULD cave, but rather, it’s over whether he SHOULD have caved.

    This case is not about what you say it is.

    It’s about what the organization says it is.

    Whether Vilsack (if he was the decider, I haven’t vetted that factoid) made a good call or not is not the issue WRT to what you do next. If you are going to fire somebody at his level for making what amounts to a midlevel personnel decision that his position always has, always will and always must treat as an at will decision, then you just broke the whole at will model and made it useless. Nobody in the org now can make any petty decision without fear of being canned for it. Now all hiring and firing decisions go up to the White House. Now every one of the one million employees in the org knows that if he can get some public churn over an injustice in his case, he can get his boss fired for trying to exercise his at will authority.

    Now we can hire an army of Breitbarts and timb’s to act as lawyers before the Court of the Baby Jesus on every hiring and firing decision that comes over the desk.

    Great. Now a truly good and just world is assured.

  234. 234
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Little Dreamer:
    I’ll just say what Comrade Mary said:

    She sent him to someone who she expected could work with this man. Referring someone to another competent professional is not racist.

    But hey, you just can’t let go of your possible sighting of a black woman who’s racist against white people, can you?

  235. 235
    Little Dreamer says:

    @cyntax:

    Whatever. I really don’t care what you think of me. Really, I don’t.

    If A happens, and then something happens to alleviate A, that doesn’t mean A never happened. Explain how that statement is not correct.

    Look, I’m not saying this woman was wrong to figure out that she was racially discriminating against someone and made amends to that person. I’m glad she did, but she still admitted she discriminated against someone and you can’t say she never did when her own words prove she did.

    What is this, a Christianist “washed in the blood of Jesus, my sins never happened” argument? Fairytale reasoning.

    I’m out of here, you people are insane.

  236. 236
    demo woman says:

    @Loneoak: Fox on line mentioned that the administration overreacted. When I called Vilsack’s office I mentioned the new Fox News take.
    Fox online also quoted the AJC article but did not mention that Sherrod blamed Fox’s reporting.

  237. 237
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    I didn’t view the entire video, I viewed the part where she admitted that she decided not to help the white farmer in all the ways she could.

    Again, you really seem to think that an employee is always required to go the extra mile and do extra work above and beyond the call of duty and if Sherrod (by her own admission) only did things within the parameters of her job and no more, it’s illegal discrimination. Why is that, exactly?

  238. 238
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @timb:

    Whatever. It is the rule in every public office I have seen, and I have seen a lot of them.

    Maybe your argument is with at will employment. Maybe you should crusade to get rid of it. I don’t agree that that is a good idea, because the alternatives are going to be worse. But hey, go for it.

    But until the day that you repeal it and get that constitutional amendment barring it …. you are stuck with it, and you should be careful before you try to mess with it. Baby, bathwater, etc.

    You can’t have a sort-of-at-will system. You either have one or you don’t. If you take it away, what will you replace it with?

    Employment cases on the Judge Judy show, with public voting by text message? Employment decisions via popularity contests?

  239. 239
    KRK says:

    @Emma:

    You couldn’t be as dense as that.

    This thread has proven otherwise, no? It’s not the first.

  240. 240
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    @Little Dreamer: If giving Optional Assistance to a farmer who was a jerk to someone was like robbing a bank, perhaps. But sadly, no.

    It’s really more like if a cop locked up a black guy because the cop was racially biased, locked the guy up for a day, and then had some sort of ephiphany about how racist he was and dropped all charges against the guy, *and then paid the guys bills for the month*. If THAT situation happened, nobody would be whooping and hollering that the policeman be fired. And even though my example is closer to what happened, it’s still not the same because the Aid being offered at the time from Sherrod had nothing to do with the law, it was optional.

    Sheesh.

  241. 241
    shortstop says:

    Aaaargh. Please put down the shovel, Little Dreamer. Please. Tasmania is nigh.

  242. 242
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Admitting that you chose not to help a white man in all the ways you could IS racist.

    Goodbye.

  243. 243
    Glenn says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    I’m out of here,

    That’s like the 3d or 4th time you’ve said that, and yet…

    Don’t make me go all Inigo Montoya on your ass.

  244. 244
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    I guess that means that if I rob a bank today and then decide tomorrow to go back to the bank and apologize and return the money, that it means I didn’t rob a bank at all (I bet the cops would still arrest me though). Funny how that works!

    Yes, civil law and criminal law are exactly the same, which is why companies that have been sued for discrimination have their CEOs go to jail. Because there’s no difference between civil law and criminal law.

  245. 245
    tim says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    How stupid can you be not to understand this?

    If I hire you and tell you that you have at will authority over the positions under you, and then when you fire somebody in a good faith at will decision, and I come along and pull your authority out from under you, then (a) I lied to you when I hired you unless I told you that I would review and possibly override your decisions whenever I felt like it, and (b) I just made your at will authority meaningless … while of course, preserving my own. Do you think you can run an organization that way?

    Yes, you probably do.

    Man, Likeable, you are way more of a dick than even I get accused of being here. Are YOU a bureaucrat of some sort in some organization? Do you masturbate over the rules and procedures manual each night?

  246. 246
    Dungheap says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    But you’re totally full of shit. At will employment does not mean that once a decision has been made it is absolutely final and cannot be reversed under any conceivable factual scenario you can dream up. Nor does it mean that any person that makes an employment decision is free from scrutiny regarding the wisdom of that decision.

    And frankly, if shit-canning Vilsack meant that other people in the administration would think twice before demanding resignations from people because of some chopped-up garbage bubbling up from Breibart, I see that as a good thing.

  247. 247
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    No, I’m just a lowly human female who used to visit this blog a lot and I don’t listen to talking points but make my own decisions about what to believe and how.

    You apparently also don’t listen to facts or reason, so what exactly are you listening to? The voices in your head?

  248. 248
    batgirl says:

    @Little Dreamer: Because you know one can’t say in talking… I decided not to help. Then I went ahead anyways and helped to… [blah blah blah]

    Are you dense or something? You realize you are watching an edited video which you continue to refuse to acknowledge.

    She helped save the farm according to the farmer’s wife so obviously she ended up helping them.

  249. 249
    Kryptik says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    And you prove that you have not followed the whole story and are being willfully obtuse about the whole thing.

  250. 250
    Hugin & Munin says:

    KRK: Yep. Seen this all before, right down to the “you all are insae” for pointing out how wrong and indefensible her original point was.

  251. 251
    Console says:

    Little Dreamer is like one of those people who the most the got out of Obama’s philly race speech is that he called his grandmother racist.

  252. 252
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Little Dreamer: I rest my case. Dim. Bulb.

  253. 253
    Loneoak says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    I think Little Dreamer’s interpretation of this situation highlights a deep, deep problem with the right wing taking over our culture’s common wisdom, and the consequences of MSM and some of the lefties adopting their attitudes. There is no longer any room for public figures to show their humanity—there is zero tolerance for thought and reflection at any level.

    Sherrod should be an exemplar of how we come to see each other’s common humanity through service and solidarity. But the fact that she went on a journey from resentment to interracial friendship apparently excludes her from the public sphere. If anyone ever has the temerity to have an internal state, let alone an action, that does not exactly match some imagined, nonsensical standard dreamt up by Breitbart then they must be scalped. I wish the USDA was staffed entirely by Sherrods, but apparently they are staffed by a lot of moral cowards.

  254. 254
    mistersnrub says:

    Sue Breitbart for defamation.

  255. 255
    Resident Firebagger says:

    Obama Administration:

    Noise from the right: Tremble and fire/distance themselves from the “offender(s)” immediately, because that makes everything go away.

    Noise from the left: “Shut up, retards.”

    Any questions?

  256. 256
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Arguing with the hyena pack over something like this is an exercise in futility, LD.

    These are people who cheer for pictures of ass boils. Rile them up with caution.

    I’m sorry that this woman got her breastplate caught in the wringer of politics, but you know, there are important stories today, like Lindsay Lohan going to jail, and the endless failures of Obama the Hapless.

  257. 257
    scarshapedstar says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    “Admitting that you chose not to help a white man in all the ways you could IS racist.”

    THE FARMER’S WIFE HAS STATED THAT SHIRLEY SHERROD HELPED HIM MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE. YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY BE THIS STUPID.

  258. 258
    licensed to kill time says:

    Man, this end of the thread has officially gotten old for me.

  259. 259
    handy says:

    Breitbart is really putting in some quality work here. Drudge must be getting jealous.

  260. 260
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Admitting that you chose not to help a white man in all the ways you could IS racist.

    Yes, but then you take the giant leap from “she thought a racist thing and therefore didn’t go the extra mile to help the guy” to “she illegally discriminated against him.”

    Those are, you may be surprised to hear, not the same thing. They’re not even in the same ballpark. By her own admission, she did her job even while thinking a racist thing — what she didn’t do at first was work overtime to help the guy and go beyond what she needed to do. She referred him to someone she thought could help.

  261. 261
    demo woman says:

    @Loneoak: Little Dreamer shared his/her comments about the Sherrod story on the open thread earlier in the day. After 5 hours he/she said maybe no laws were broken but still believes that a cut video tells the entire story.

  262. 262
    scarshapedstar says:

    Obama Administration:
    Noise from the right: Tremble and fire/distance themselves from the “offender(s)” immediately, because that makes everything go away.
    Noise from the left: “Shut up, retards.”
    Any questions?

    Yep. My only question is, when will John reveal the hidden brilliance of the “Be Breitbart’s Bitch” strategy and call out the Jane Hamshers of the Left for undermining it.

    After all, you go to the White House with the criminally/pathologically inept political operation you have, not the minimally principled/courageous political operation you wish you had.

  263. 263
    Kryptik says:

    @Loneoak:

    Yep. As if I didn’t have enough to be depressed about these days.

  264. 264
    shortstop says:

    And you prove that you have not followed the whole story and are being willfully obtuse about the whole thing.

    I was internally giving her the benefit of the doubt re the Elizabeth Warren thread this morning, theorizing that she just wasn’t that sharp but was at least trying. I now conclude that she’s both fairly dim and utterly incapable of backing off a bad argument. Attractive combination.

  265. 265
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @demo woman:

    I took the silence of the left to mean that we should do something. Bitching is not enough.

    Okay, but this is the kind of issue where I have difficulty conceiving of correctives other than “bitching”, which I would broadly define as stating publicly and forcefully that this was a disgraceful slime job and capitulation. What do you suggest?

  266. 266
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Admitting that you chose not to help a white man in all the ways you could IS racist.

    Except when you actually do fulfill your professional obligations to someone who may have been treating you in a condescending fashion initially, and upon realizing that the professional you sent him to is incapable of assisting him, you step in and proceed to go above and beyond your legal and professional duties because you realized from the initial reaction that despite an auspicious beginning on both sides, race is no reason to deny someone in need critical assistance.

    At least Brick Oven Bill had the occasional witticism when he was being a fucking idiot. You are just sounding like a homeless person’s Megan McArdle.

  267. 267
    KRK says:

    I’m out of here, you people are insane.

    You keep promising, but your follow-through is poor.

    And I love how you’re such a beleaguered champion of civil rights and anti-discrimination in this thread (despite not having a clue what you’re talking about). It was a different story when the topic was Arizona’s new profiling law though, wasn’t it?

  268. 268
    Tim I says:

    @tim:

    My apologies. I stand corrected. Tom Vilsack forced her out. He and the NAACP have some egg on their faces. I do think the story is just breaking now, so there wasn’t much chance for outrage prior, but I’m sure you’ll see plenty now.

    I hope this ends the Breibart video scam. He doesn’t have much credibility left.

  269. 269
    scarshapedstar says:

    Admitting that you chose not to help a white man in all the ways you could IS racist.

    Little Dreamer is a white man. I would not choose to help him in any way. Apparently, even though I’m white, that makes me a racist.

    I have to say, though, I’m okay with that.

  270. 270
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    At will employment does not mean that once a decision has been made it is absolutely final and cannot be reversed

    I made no such assertion. I said that doing so would be stupid, and a big mistake. Don’t put words in my mouth.

    It doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out that a make believe at will model won’t work when the at will authority at one level will be overridden at next level up every time some employee claims … whatever. But, you can do it that way.

    But, you see, that is not done in orgs that work. Unless the dismissal rises to some level of egregiousness that we haven’t indentified … people are not going to weaken it by using overrides. Because … do I really have to explain this? …. that weakens the system, it does not strengthen it.

    One of the things that makes at will work is that when somebody is let go, no explanation is required, or desired. That’s the whole point. Once you start explaining and open ever decision to debate and question, you have a mess.

    Like I said, you don’t have to like at will employment. But deciding ad hoc that in some case or another you don’t like the outcome is not a very smart reason to take it apart, unless you are prepared to replace it with something better. By all means, go on that crusade. But this case is not going to get you there.

  271. 271
    Mnemosyne says:

    @scarshapedstar:

    I’m not, but Little Dreamer is. That’s her quote. :-)

    Basically, Little Dreamer is arguing that Sherrod should be punished for thoughtcrime and wrongthink: she had a racist thought that led her to not work overtime and go beyond her group’s mandate to help the guy. The fact that Sherrod did end up going beyond the scope of her job to help the guy because she realized she was wrong doesn’t matter because of the original thoughtcrime and wrongthink.

  272. 272
    gwangung says:

    @Loneoak:

    I think Little Dreamer’s interpretation of this situation highlights a deep, deep problem with the right wing taking over our culture’s common wisdom, and the consequences of MSM and some of the lefties adopting their attitudes. There is no longer any room for public figures to show their humanity—there is zero tolerance for thought and reflection at any level.
    __
    Sherrod should be an exemplar of how we come to see each other’s common humanity through service and solidarity. But the fact that she went on a journey from resentment to interracial friendship apparently excludes her from the public sphere. If anyone ever has the temerity to have an internal state, let alone an action, that does not exactly match some imagined, nonsensical standard dreamt up by Breitbart then they must be scalped. I wish the USDA was staffed entirely by Sherrods, but apparently they are staffed by a lot of moral cowards.

    Yes, this. Exactly.

  273. 273
    BlizzardOfOz says:

    Add me to those who are confused as to why John Cole would bash “the left” here. Most of us long ago recognized Obama for what he is, and have completely disowned him, while Cole denounced us for starting a “circular firing squad”. This is completely in character for Obama, so how about the Obots take some ownership of his actions here?

  274. 274
    cyntax says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    If A happens, and then something happens to alleviate A, that doesn’t mean A never happened. Explain how that statement is not correct.

    It is correct. The question is whether action A deserves the degree of censure that you’re ascribing to it. Your arguments for why it should don’t seem very well supported. You’ve already admitted that she didn’t break any laws. At that point, what else is left in your concept of justice other than making it right with the people she wronged?

    Justice with no concept of redemption is both unnecessarily punitive for the individual, nor does it help society improve itself. If you remove an indivdual’s chance to redeem themselves, what chance is there for things to get better?

  275. 275
    El Cid says:

    Re:

    At will sucks as my class in law school demonstrated. it is an excuse for employers to treat employees like serfs.

    That’s the nature of the reality of power distribution in this nation — and most others. If employees have no real power, then at any time they can be treated in whatever manner the employer can legally choose to pursue. Maybe most of the time people have a good experience, and if they’re fortunate a good and loyal employer. But if not, there’s not much you can do outside the very few causes under which you might have an ability to sue or certain other extremes (ordered to do something illegal, for example, maybe).

    Some nations like Canada, in much of Western Europe, Japan etc. do require government agency reviews of termination cause, a more regulated ‘at will’ system. Those nations seem to do pretty well. Those companies do, though, still tend to have a much stronger level of unionizing and tradition of labor-dominated governments than the USA.

    On the other hand, Cuba is nearly entirely a state capitalist economy, and they’re getting ready to lay off several tens of thousands from current positions, and though there is, I’m sure, some formal government or party review, it will likely be more formality than review. Not that everyone will be screwed or that this isn’t somehow necessary, but they’re not necessarily any more empowered as employees than they would be under an ‘at will’ system.

  276. 276
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Okay, the kangaroo court of Balloon Juice has been called in for roll call, and has voted “To the guillotines!” for somebody, Vilsack I guess.

    John gets a 300 post thread, ass boil pictures will follow later today, and absolutely nothing has been accomplished.

    The kangaroos have decided that At Will Employment is officially a Bad Thing and will have it outlawed and then replaced by the new At The Pleasure of the Blogs employment model, which is sure to be a big improvement, eminently fair, just, and even handed to a fault.

    Another good day on intertubes.

    Excelsior!

  277. 277
    Tom Q says:

    Okay, I know this is late in the game, but here’s how I think it went down, and why the parties reacted so quickly.

    Breitbart releases wildly misleading video through his usual enabling outlets.

    NAACP faces challenge. They’ve just made a big deal that Tea Party folk must denounce all racists in their number, no matter how obscure. If they waffle on this (seeming) example from the other side, they are instantly marginalized as hypocrites. So they jump to a conclusion.

    The White House, not having heard a word of this before maybe yesterday, is hit with “even the NAACP says she should be fired”. Had they not seen to it that Sherrod was fired, the press hounds would have been at full bay — today’s presser with Cameron would have covered no other subject. So they, too, jumped quickly.

    I think the NAACP holds the lion’s share of blame for the screw-up, but I can see why they reacted as they did.

    And Fox News suddenly turning around 180 and blaming the administration for acting too quickly –a charge no doubt soon tgo be laundered by the Best Political Team in Television — is the perfect illustration of why our media system is broken.

  278. 278
    MattR says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    It doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out that a make believe at will model won’t work when the at will authority at one level will be overridden at next level up every time some employee claims … whatever. But, you can do it that way.

    Except that I don’t think anyone is claiming this. This is not some random hiring/firing decision. It is the exception that proves the rule. How well do you think an organization runs when egregious errors like this one are not corrected by upper management?

  279. 279
    Glenn says:

    I hate to indulge in what could be seen as ad hominem argument, but the fact that Likable sympathizes and commiserates with Little Dreamer tells you a lot about the former’s reasoning skills.

    Now, to rescue myself from the ad hominem charge, or at least from being purely ad hominem, I’ll simply say that Likable’s ridiculous treatise on the legal doctrine of at-will employment, aside from being utterly irrelevant, tells you even more about his or her reasoning skills.

  280. 280
    cyntax says:

    @Tom Q:

    is the perfect illustration of why our media system is broken.

    And how the USDA got pwned. Vilsack et al are just incentivizing bad behavior.

  281. 281
    baxie says:

    it’s so awesome that the Obama administration lets right wing pukes like Breitbart make their personel decisions.

    this is the sort of thing that really gets me energized to go out and fight for them in the next election.

    oh wait….

  282. 282
    Keith G says:

    @licensed to kill time: I saw what you did.

    Nice call back.

  283. 283
    Rick Taylor says:

    What Digby said.
    __

  284. 284
    bago says:

    Breitbart is such an an emo he goes off half-cocked all of the time. Filming him overreaching won’t be hard.

  285. 285
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    there is zero tolerance for thought and reflection at any level.

    I’m afraid I take these to be crocodile tears.

    If there is tolerance for this woman to make a mistake some kind, and then come along and rectify it later, then why isn’t there tolerance for her employer, later, to “mistakenly”1 discharge her for making that earlier mistake, and to judge that her remedies don’t make up for the fact that in his judgment — right or wrong, as you prefer — the earlier mistake makes it impossible for her to serve in her present capacity. And that in this case, in an at will situation, he decides that she has to go … without a mob coming along and demanding his scalp?

    At will is a knife that can cut in various directions. If that isn’t acceptable, then you need to invent a model that works better and is acceptable to all of the parties involved. That is, the employees, and the employers. Right now, at will meets that criterion, flawed as it may be. I haven’t seen a replacement that looks like it could work, but …. who knows, maybe there is one. I doubt it.

    (1). In quotes, because it’s arguable, and I am not addressing that argument on its merits or demerits.

  286. 286
    And Another Thing... says:

    @cyntax: I suppose this is what is “moral hazard” in action. Shame on Vilsack. Wonder who Beck get’s to execute next.

  287. 287
    Jay B. says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    But deciding ad hoc that in some case or another you don’t like the outcome is not a very smart reason to take it apart, unless you are prepared to replace it with something better.

    Hilarious. An ad hoc decision in the first place is beyond ad hoc rationales to reverse it.

    Your entire argument is that the ad hoc reasoning behind firing any at will employee isn’t to be second guessed, lest the organization breaks down over an ad hoc decision.

  288. 288
    eric says:

    @gwangung: In South Africa they have a name for people like this: South Africans.

    It is the entire point of a redeptive christ — the notion that the heart you live with trumps the heart you used to live with. If “we” did not collectively believe this, then there would be no point to moral progress. Once bad, always bad.

    To be mundane, just because a player quits on one play in a game does not make her a “quitter” if she plays her ass off the remainder of the game.

    eric

  289. 289
    gwangung says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: Hm. You’re not making much sense in light of the situation as I understand it.

  290. 290
    El Cid says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: Jeebus, cripes, I’ve seen you spar with a couple of people on this topic and now you’re going off about ass boils and kangaroo courts — why do so many of this blog’s commenters suddenly turn drama queen and perceive huge conspiracies against them or hordes of angry partisans who sour their every excursion?

    God, damn, you got into some bits back and forth about at will employment with another commenter or two. It’s a fucking blog comments page. This will happen.

  291. 291
    drag0n says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Don’t pretend that this is like working at WalMart. This was a politically motivated firing and there can just as easily be a politically motivated reinstatement.

  292. 292
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Likable’s ridiculous treatise on the legal doctrine of at-will employment

    If you think there is a superior model that can replace it, present it, or shut the fuck up. You are just making farting noises.

    Reasonable people in both employer and employee positions by the tens upon tens of thousands work under this model daily and agree to it in advance at hiring time.

    Fine, challenge it, but with what? Rhetoric and bloody shirt arguments? No, challenge it by showing a model that will serve essentially the same needs and be acceptable to all parties … which the present model manages to do, whether you like it or not. That’s the fact.

  293. 293
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Keith G: o~O drivin’ me loco O~o

  294. 294
    scarshapedstar says:

    Maybe we should put it this way.

    Is there anyone who is not concerned that the White House has, for all intents and purposes, hired Andrew Brietbart (who hates their guts) as their personnel manager?

  295. 295
    El Cid says:

    @bago: Wasn’t there footage or photos of that time when Brightfart ran out onto a restaurant balcony [I think it was in Santa Monica] to throw two big middle fingers up and scream at some protesters whom he was sure were protesting the Iraq war or whatever but turned out to be protesting child soldiers in Africa?

    That still cracks me up to imagine being one of those do-gooder marchers on a topic you’re pretty sure everyone agrees with and all of a sudden there’s this drunk angry screaming pot-bellied white dude giving you the finger, and you’re wondering ‘Are there people here in Santa Monica who traffic in child soldiers? Is that a big industry here?’

  296. 296
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    If there is tolerance for this woman to make a mistake some kind, and then come along and rectify it later, then why isn’t there tolerance for her employer, later, to “mistakenly”1 discharge her for making that earlier mistake, and to judge that her remedies don’t make up for the fact that in his judgment—right or wrong, as you prefer—the earlier mistake makes it impossible for her to serve in her present capacity.

    Because the woman corrected her mistake while the employer continued and extended their mistake rather than correcting it?

    I’m really not getting what’s so confusing to you about the argument that if this woman admitted to and corrected a mistake, it’s not unreasonable to think that the employer should also admit to and correct their mistake rather than doubling down and making the mistake worse.

    This sounds like “zero tolerance” as applied to employment: “Oh, sure, you had Advil in your pocket, but someone else might have had illegal drugs, so I’m afraid you’re still fired for carrying drugs. Buh-bye.”

  297. 297
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    This was a politically motivated firing and there can just as easily be a politically motivated reinstatement.

    Of course. I have already said so. But that would be a really stupid thing to do IMO.

    Fire a cabinet level officer over something like this? That’s about ten times more stupid than the decision you think was so bad.

    In the world of the blog mob, such a thing seems to make sense. In the world of the real workplace, and real political jobs, it’s crazy. I have never seen it. Have you ever seen a cabinet level official forced to rehire a midlevel dismissal thanks to political theater? I haven’t. Don’t hope to either.

  298. 298
    drag0n says:

    @Jay B.:

    Your entire argument is that the ad hoc reasoning behind firing any at will employee isn’t to be second guessed, lest the organization breaks down over an ad hoc decision.

    His argument is ridiculous and he appears to have no management experience beyond his local big box store.

  299. 299
    bago says:

    Oh yeah. But they were blackity black, you see…

    Obviously they were the real bird flippers.

  300. 300
    Mnemosyne says:

    @scarshapedstar:

    Is there anyone who is not concerned that the White House has, for all intents and purposes, hired Andrew Brietbart (who hates their guts) as their personnel manager?

    I’m more concerned that the NAACP has hired Breitbart to vet everyone who’s ever spoken to one of their groups. Or did you miss the part where Sherrod was fired on the NAACP’s demand, not Breitbart’s?

  301. 301
    scarshapedstar says:

    In the world of the blog mob, such a thing seems to make sense. In the world of the real workplace, and real political jobs, it’s crazy. I have never seen it. Have you ever seen a cabinet level official forced to rehire a midlevel dismissal thanks to political theater? I haven’t. Don’t hope to either.

    Yeah, but it seems to me the clincher here is that she was fired based on doctored tapes.

    It’s kinda like how a lot of us said that we should leave Iraq when it was proven beyond all doubt that we invaded based on lies. Even though we were already there, leaving was/is the right thing to do!

  302. 302
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    This sounds like “zero tolerance” as applied to employment:

    No, it doesn’t, you are just saying it does.

    What it really is, is saying, you either have at will authority, or you do not. You can’t almost have it or kinda have it.

    If you want to have it but then revoke it … at this petty level … at the whim of a superior who also has it, then you basically just made a mockery of at will altogether.

    If you want to destroy the at will model, fine, that’s your choice, but you are going to want to invent something to replace it, and so far I haven’t seen any suggestion of such a thing. Remember, that thing, whatever it is, has to work in an executive branch that manages on the order of a million employees the last time I looked it up.

    Are you sure you want to tackle that can of worms?

  303. 303
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    That this woman is going around citing that she broke a racial discrimination law years ago while assisting farmers means she’s marking herself for criticism. It bit her in the ass, that was her mistake.

    That’s not what she’s saying. The most important fact (of many) that is getting lost in the flash lynching is that she actually did help the farmer. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your narrative.

  304. 304
    cyntax says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    I suppose this is what is “moral hazard” in action.

    Hah. This was the wrong sort of risk at work: concern about getting into port ahead of the shitstorm. Why is it politicians always seem to have such inverted value systems? The controversies they avoid are the ones they should shoulder and vice versa.

    Here’s hoping we at least get Elizabeth Warren as head of the consumer protection agency.

  305. 305
    scarshapedstar says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m more concerned that the NAACP has hired Breitbart to vet everyone who’s ever spoken to one of their groups. Or did you miss the part where Sherrod was fired on the NAACP’s demand, not Breitbart’s?

    I had no idea that the NAACP released the doctored tape to Fox News and started the hissy fit. Things must really be out of whack.

  306. 306
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @scarshapedstar:

    I’m sorry, but “yeah … but” is not really an answer.

    Have you ever seen such a thing? Why do we suppose that such a thing is not done? Because all of the managers and officials in these big orgs are just stupid, venal people who want to fuck over other people? Really? Is that why, or could it be because this is the way it has to be?

  307. 307
    demo woman says:

    Vilsack can and should fix this. He can say he over reacted and unless the entire video shows something else, he has reinstated her. Call his office. The telephone number and email address are at comment 81

    By the way I must admit, that I also have had bad thoughts.

  308. 308
    Keith G says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    Thanks for the link.

    I humbly suggest that the commenters here leave Likeable and LD to hone their performance art in solitude.

    Go and read what Kevin Drum and Digby have to say.

  309. 309
    drag0n says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    No need for anyone to be fired. Someone lower down the totem pole apologizes, eats crow and reinstates her, lies low for a bit and then the WH comes out and pillories Breitbart and the right wing smear machine. Hell, it’s a perfect opportunity.

    Very publicly canning someone in your organization for political reasons that turn out to clearly based on a LIE perpetuated by your political (or corporate) adversaries is not a great way to run an organization either. That is a far more slippery slope than admitting a mistake was made. THAT is succumbing to the MOB RULE of your political/corporate adversaries.

    Get it?

  310. 310
    sven says:

    And the circle is complete….

    Breitbart is starting to push the ‘NAACP and Obama victimize nice lady’ angle.

    Warning, this link goes to Breitbart

    I am now bleeding from the ears; my brain can’t take it anymore…

  311. 311
    batgirl says:

    If there is one thing the MSM press should learn from this is never ever run with a Breitbart video without requesting, receiving, and fully reviewing the complete, unedited video first. [like that would ever happen]

  312. 312
    Rick Taylor says:

    I swear I made that last post before I saw it on Atrios’s blog.

  313. 313
    And Another Thing... says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: Despite your paeans to at-will employment, it’s not germane in this case. It appears that she was a political appointee.

    And, by-the-way, your analysis of at-will is flawed and disproportionate. For example, an organization may have personnel policies and/or practices that modify the effect in that organization. At-will firings are reviewable, sometimes within an organization and some times by the courts. Many organizations do not allow a supervisor to fire a subordinate without prior review because of potential liabilities and employee morale issues.

    But the discussion if irrelevant to the case at hand, She was a political appointment.

  314. 314
    MattR says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: This may surprise you, but on a rare occassion people do get their job back after being hastily fired.

  315. 315
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    What it really is, is saying, you either have at will authority, or you do not. You can’t almost have it or kinda have it.
    __
    If you want to have it but then revoke it … at this petty level … at the whim of a superior who also has it, then you basically just made a mockery of at will altogether.

    Which are the exact same arguments I’ve heard for zero tolerance explaining why a kid whose mom puts a plastic butter knife in his lunchbox has to suffer the exact same two-week suspension as a kid who brings a switchblade to school.

    No one is arguing that at-will employment should be ended. We’re just arguing that your particular vision of at-will employment where no supervisor can ever be overridden because it will bring the whole facade down! is stupid. It’s the same argument that zero tolerance folks make — if you allow even the slightest deviation from policy or make the slightest allowance for difference, chaos ensues, so instead you have to stick to the letter of the law even if it’s stupid and counterproductive.

  316. 316
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    She stood there in front of a group of people and admitted that she didn’t do what she could have for a white farmer because she felt some racial tension between them.

    No, she didn’t. She saved the fucking farm, which you would know if you didn’t stop in the middle.

  317. 317
    Kryptik says:

    @sven:

    FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF-

    I fucking swear, I fucking swear, I fucking goddamn swear I will have an aneurysm at this rate, and I will welcome it because it’ll mean I’ll be dead before the total utter Republican take over of this country happens because the MEDIA AND GOVERNMENT ARE FULL OF TOTAL GODDAMNED EASILY MANIPULATED FUCKING MORONS.

  318. 318
    cyntax says:

    @sven:

    Breitbart is starting to push the ‘NAACP and Obama victimize nice lady’ angle.

    Gawd the adminstration looks like a bunch amateurs on this one. As Digby pointed out, this is the second time they’ve fallen for exactly this scenario.

    Maybe reflexively running from the right isn’t the answer–just sayin.

  319. 319
    drag0n says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    What it really is, is saying, you either have at will authority, or you do not. You can’t almost have it or kinda have it.

    What you are saying is that a mistake cannot be admitted by a manager – even if it was a very public mistake made due to an obvious smear campaign by a political adversary. A smear campaign so obvious that even people on the adversaries side are walking away from it.

    Good Management Practice? I think not. It’s cowardice.

  320. 320
    Mnemosyne says:

    @scarshapedstar:

    I had no idea that the NAACP released the doctored tape to Fox News and started the hissy fit. Things must really be out of whack.

    They must be, because this was the sequence of events:

    Breitbart releases tape.
    NAACP demands Sherrod’s firing.
    Sherrod resigns.

    Interesting that you keep trying to elide over the complicity of the NAACP in this and insist that it’s all, totally, and completely the administration’s fault. Or are you arguing that they should also ignore the NAACP when they alert the administration to something that appears to be racist?

  321. 321
    Corner Stone says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: I love it how you’ve continued to try and make this about “at-will employment” when it has absolutely nothing to do with what happened here.
    If some appointee were fired no one would ever say a thing about it.
    The context of this event matters a little, whether you want to acknowledge that or not.
    This isn’t about labor & employment law, of which you seem to know shockingly little about how it actually works in real life.

  322. 322
    demo woman says:

    This is from TPM

    Breitbart tells TPM: Sure, I’ll release the entire Shirley Sherrod video — if I can get permission. More soon …

    Did Breitbart have permission in the first place? fu.fu.fu.fu.fu.fu.fu.fu..fu.fu.fu.fu.fu.fu..fu.fu.fu.fu.fu.fu.fu.

  323. 323
    cleek says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    your timeline leaves out a step or two:

    Breitbart releases tape.
    NAACP demands Sherrod’s firing.
    USDA demands Sherrod resigns from her Blackberry, while she’s pulled over on the side of the road.

    Sherrod resigns.

  324. 324
    Kryptik says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think the point is that Breitbart shoulders the initial blame for making that hackjob tape in the first place.

    But the NAACP, USDA, and White House all deserve a shitload of criticism for dropping trou and caving reflexively within 24 hours, especially when the truth came out so quickly right after that colored the whole statement in the absolute opposite way Breitbart had implied.

  325. 325
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cleek:

    I’m not sure how that exonerates the NAACP in this little disaster and puts all of the onus on the administration. Please clarify.

  326. 326
    Rick Taylor says:

    I swear I made that last post before I saw it posted on Atrios.

  327. 327
    El Cid says:

    FWIW, the Moonie Times is now going after Sherrod for her role in the organizations receiving federal compensation as part of the Pigford v USDA settlement.

    So I guess we’re supposed to forget about Shirley Sherrod from this point forward.
    __
    Not just yet. Luckily, she’s not going away quietly, and is complaining about Fox News and the Tea Party causing her dismissal. Keep it up, ma’am, because you and the USDA both deserve further scrutiny.
    __
    Ms. Sherrod’s previous background, the circumstances surrounding her hiring, and the USDA’s agenda may all play a part in explaining her sudden departure from the agency. These matters have not received much scrutiny to this point.
    __
    An announcement of Ms. Sherrod’s July 2009 appointment to her USDA position at ruraldevelopment.org gives off quite a few clues:

    RDLN Graduate and Board Vice Chair Shirley Sherrod was appointed Georgia Director for Rural Development by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on July 25. Only days earlier, she learned that New Communities, a group she founded with her husband and other families (see below) has won a thirteen million dollar settlement in the minority farmers law suit Pigford vs Vilsack.

    What?

    Because she helped found an organization in rural fucking Georgia in the 19-god-damned-60’s promoting the rights and interests of poor black farmers, and because the cooperative which she helped found to do so won a historic settlement against the federal agency whose discrimination against black farmers caused the very damage to the cooperative and its members being compensated, now obviously this is a conspiracy of a payoff by a race pimp, probably by a bunch of damn shiftless Negroes who may not ever have been farmers, just belly-aching because their grandfather lost all his property because the federal government denied him the help that this white neighbors were getting.

    Let’s go read the source that the Moonie maniacs are using as their fodder for making this economic rights fighter out to be as another race pimp:

    We have wonderful news regarding the case of New Communities, Inc., the land trust that Shirley and Charles Sherrod established, with other black farm families in the 1960’s. At the time, with holdings of almost 6,000 acres, this was the largest tract of black-owned land in the country. Now with a cash award of historic proportions, the group will be able to begin again.
    __
    In 1969, New Communities received a planning grant from OEO and was encouraged to expect substantial funding for implementation, but Governor Maddox would not permit further funds for the group to come into the state.
    __
    Nevertheless, New Communities built up farming operations to help retain the land.
    __
    They had highway frontage where they had a farmers market to sell their crops. They raised hogs and sold the processed meat in a smokehouse they built on the highway. Their sugar cane mill on the highway also attracted customers. New Communities was ahead of the times in raising eight acres of Muscatine grapes, which are now widely grown in the area. They also farmed 1,500 acres of row crops, including corn, peanuts and soybeans.
    __
    Over the years, USDA refused to provide loans for farming or irrigation and would not allow New Communities to restructure its loans. Gradually, the group had to fight just to hold on to the land and finally had to wind down operations.
    __
    In 1985, as the land was being lost, Shirley entered the RDLN program. Previously, she had worked behind the scenes, but as she participated in RDLN, she began to realize her capacity as an up-front leader.
    __
    She invited the Federation of Southern Cooperatives to sponsor her in the RDLN program, earned her master’s degree with a thesis that continues to provide a blueprint for her ongoing work with black farmers and others, helped orient all succeeding groups of RDLN Leaders, and became vice chair of RDLN’s Board of Directors.
    __
    As you all know, Shirley is Georgia Lead for both the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund and the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative. She has also chaired the board of the Farmers Legal Action Group, which has been active in the minority farmers law suit, along with the Federation and other groups…
    __
    The cash award acknowledges racial discrimination on the part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the years 1981-85. (President Reagan abolished the USDA Office of Civil Rights when he became President in 1981.)
    __
    New Communities is due to receive approximately $13 million ($8,247,560 for loss of land and $4,241,602 for loss of income; plus $150,000 each to Shirley and Charles for pain and suffering). There may also be an unspecified amount in forgiveness of debt. This is the largest award so far in the minority farmers law suit (Pigford vs Vilsack).

    The right is going to go after the entire structure of the lawsuit, particularly the settlement of the remaining Pigford bits done under Obama.

    This woman has been fighting bitter and cold racial discrimination against the poor black farmers of Georgia and they even did all the self-help stuff that the TeaTard fantabulists imagine that they do in all their 18th century yeoman farmer cosplay.

    The right’s gonna hate her even more because she and black farmers took on and won against the Reagan administration for discrimination.

    They’ve bagged one head, now they’ll be going after others.

  328. 328
    And Another Thing... says:

    @MattR: You are absolutely right. A valuable Human Resources/personnel operative helps “fix” these kind of screw-ups. Why, it’ll even get you promoted. It’s not Manichean the way some people seem to think & say.

  329. 329
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kryptik:

    But the NAACP, USDA, and White House all deserve a shitload of criticism for dropping trou and caving reflexively within 24 hours, especially when the truth came out so quickly right after that colored the whole statement in the absolute opposite way Breitbart had implied.

    I don’t disagree. I’m just tired of the “Obama caved!” crowd giving a free pass to the NAACP for their role in this mess. They’re all to blame and it’s weird to me that people keep leaving out one of the most influential pieces in the puzzle.

  330. 330
    drag0n says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m not sure how that exonerates the NAACP in this little disaster and puts all of the onus on the administration. Please clarify.

    I’ll try. The admin shouldn’t be going around turning their employees/appointees lives upside down every time some pressure group says BOO without a modicum of due diligence.

  331. 331
    Kryptik says:

    @El Cid:

    *sigh*

    I give up. I just fucking give up. this country is just so goddamned fucked, I can’t stand it.

  332. 332
    Mnemosyne says:

    @drag0n:

    So the administration should take the NAACP and Andrew Breitbart equally seriously when it comes to accusations of discrimination and racism?

  333. 333
    cleek says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    there’s no need to exonerate the NAACP because the NAACP was not her employer nor does the NAACP does not control who is employed by the USDA. the NAACP does not make firing decisions for the USDA.

    if her employer, the USDA, didn’t bother checking the facts before reacting, it’s not the NAACP’s fault.

    the NAACP fucked-up for trusting Breitbart. but the USDA fucked up by trusting him, too. and then they fired her.

    Sherrod told CNN on Tuesday that she was told repeatedly to resign Monday afternoon after the clip surfaced. “They harassed me,” she said. “I got three calls from the White House. At one point they asked me to pull over to the side of the road and do it because you are going to be on Glenn Beck tonight.”

    Sherrod said the calls came from Cheryl Cook, USDA deputy undersecretary for rural development. “The administration was not interested in hearing the truth. They didn’t want to hear the truth,” she said.

    i hope she sues the pants off everyone involved.

  334. 334
    cyntax says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Or are you arguing that they should also ignore the NAACP when they alert the administration to something that appears to be racist?

    So far from what I’ve read I haven’t seen anything saying the NAACP released the doctored tape, that was Breitbart. The entire speech was broadcast over cable:

    The AJC is working to recover the full video footage of Sherrod’s speech to the Douglas NAACP. A production company, DCTV3 in Douglas, recorded the event at the local NAACP chapter’s request and is waiting for permission to release the full speech.

    “We broadcast it on cable,” DCTV3 program director Johnny Wilkerson said. “Somebody probably picked it up and recorded it, then put it on YouTube. That’s probably why the video looks so shabby.”

    So someone from the NAACP was commenting on the doctored tape saying:

    Responding to what he knew of the video Monday evening, Atlanta NAACP chapter president R.L. White recalled many years of unfair treatment against minority farmers when he told the AJC that the footage, at face value, “does suggest unfair treatment.”

    So don’t know that the NAACP alerted the administration to anything. At least not according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article [link].

  335. 335
    Mark S. says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    What it really is, is saying, you either have at will authority, or you do not. You can’t almost have it or kinda have it.

    That isn’t true at all. Even if it is at will employment, you can’t fire someone for any reason. Otherwise, I could hire a woman and fire her if she refused to have sex with me.

  336. 336
    kc says:

    @Tim I:

    I hope this ends the Breibart video scam. He doesn’t have much credibility left.

    Tim, with all due respect, what are you smoking? This was a smashing success for Breitbart. He got an innocent woman canned, and made the Admin and the NAACP look like fools. He don’t need no stinking credibility! As long as he can Fox to play his edited tapes, and intimidate the MSM and the admin into dancing to his tune, he’s gonna keep on doing this and getting away with it. And he’ll get rich doing it.

    Just goes to show ya, it pays to be a big fat lying sack of right-wing santorum.

  337. 337
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cyntax:

    So far from what I’ve read I haven’t seen anything saying the NAACP released the doctored tape, that was Breitbart. The entire speech was broadcast over cable.

    No, what the NAACP did was respond to Breitbart’s doctored tape and demand that Sherrod be fired.

    Again, please explain why the NAACP gets a free pass for falling for Breitbart’s bullshit and all of the blame falls on the administration for listening to the NAACP.

  338. 338
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    What you are saying is that a mistake cannot be admitted by a manager

    I never said any such thing. Assuming that you are talking about Vilsack, he is free to do that if he chooses. I think it would be a mistake, but … I don’t really know what his decision process was, or what he thinks of it now. I suppose that if that is what he wanted to do, and the rules allowed it, I wouldn’t object.

    However, I wasn’t addressing that possibility. I was addressing calls for HIM to be fired for firing her, which is an entirely different animal. I take that to be a huge mistake, on all levels. Bad from an organizational point of view. Bad from a political point of view. Makes the whole organization, starting at the top, look pretty ridiculous. Increases the opportunity for churn and endless parsing on the airwaves and on the blogs. Turns a possibly unfair firing into a circus show of major proportions. Caves into what appears to be a mob, which is exactly what the mob is accusing Vilsack of doing in the first place.

    With that, Breitbart doesn’t get a relatively obscure civil servant in a big org. He gets a cabinet member. That’s not a win for my side AFAIC. It’s just dumb.

  339. 339
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Interesting that you keep trying to elide over the complicity of the NAACP in this

    With all repect:

    But god damn it, I did not vote for the NAAACP to lead my country. And I sure as fuck did not donate my time and money to help spread the word that we needed the NAACP in the White House as a buttress against the Right Wing crazies.

    completely the administration’s fault

    I’m sorry but as Harry said that’s where the fucking buck stops.

  340. 340
    cyntax says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I wouldn’t say the NAACP gets a free pass, but neither they nor Breitbart are in charge of the USDA–AFAIK.

  341. 341
    drag0n says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think any employer should do some research before canning an employee.

    VIA TPM. Vilsack is sticking to his guns

    Yesterday, I asked for and accepted Ms. Sherrod’s resignation for two reasons. First, for the past 18 months, we have been working to turn the page on the sordid civil rights record at USDA and this controversy could make it more difficult to move forward on correcting injustices. Second, state rural development directors make many decisions and are often called to use their discretion. The controversy surrounding her comments would create situations where her decisions, rightly or wrongly, would be called into question making it difficult for her to bring jobs to Georgia.

    Our policy is clear. There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA and we strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person. We have a duty to ensure that when we provide services to the American people we do so in an equitable manner. But equally important is our duty to instill confidence in the American people that we are fair service providers.

  342. 342
    GambitRF says:

    @El Cid:

    Ms. Sherrod’s previous background, the circumstances surrounding her hiring, and the USDA’s agenda may all play a part in explaining her sudden departure from the agency. These matters have not received much scrutiny to this point.

    so basically, “it would be irresponsible not to speculate!”

  343. 343
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cyntax:

    So, again, you’re arguing that Breitbart and the NAACP have — or should have — equal credibility, so if the administration listens to the NAACP when they say they’ve found some evidence of discrimination, they’re equally as credible as Breitbart is when he makes the same claim.

    That’s the thing that’s really driving me crazy with this story: Breitbart has basically dragged the NAACP down to his level by getting them to buy into his bullshit and agree with him that Sherrod should be fired.

  344. 344
    Malron says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Breitbart releases tape.
    NAACP demands Sherrod’s firing.
    Sherrod resigns.

    On what are you basing this claim? I’m reading that the NAACP only supported Sherrod’s resignation. The NAACP didn’t demand she be fired. The USDA undersecretary pressured her into resigning because of the bad press they’d get from FOX and Glenn Beck.

    At first, the national NAACP released a statement supporting Sherrod’s resignation. “Racism is about the abuse of power. Sherrod had it in her position at USDA. According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race. We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers,” president Ben Jealous said in a statement. The statement, however, appears to have been removed from the organization’s web site.

  345. 345
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Even if it is at will employment, you can’t fire someone for any reason.

    No reason is required. You simply discharge the employee with thanks for her service, and state that you are going in another direction. The end. Happens every damned day. Happened to my boss. Absolutely no reason was ever given.

    In the government shops where I worked, the employee signs a release at employment time, and agrees to the terms. No cause for firing is required. There is nothing to challenge.

    Some positions are eligible for at will, and some are not. Merit positions require extensive documentation and process before dismissal except for certain causes that foreclose on process, like bringing a gun into the office. At will positions are subject to termination at any time without explanation or notice. Says so right on the agreement signed by the employee.

  346. 346
    merrinc says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Who gives a damn about this NAACP’s role? I didn’t vote for the NAACP. I campaigned for and voted for Obama and I damn well expected that his administration would have just a teensy bit more backbone or at least fucking clue enough to INVESTIGATE before demanding a resignation.

    Whoever said up thread that Brietbart won is right. He’s got everybody dancing to his tune.

  347. 347
    MattR says:

    @drag0n: Son of a …!

    Beyond the fact that Sherrod was one of the voices fighting against the “sordid civil rights record of the USDA” for far longer than 18 months, does that mean if someone finds some kind of evidence of Vilsack ever doing something “wrong” at any point in the last 24 years that he will resign?

  348. 348
    Corner Stone says:

    Cleek posted this upthread but it must be reposted:

    “They harassed me,” she said. “I got three calls from the White House. At one point they asked me to pull over to the side of the road and do it because you are going to be on Glenn Beck tonight.”
    __
    Sherrod said the calls came from Cheryl Cook, USDA deputy undersecretary for rural development. “The administration was not interested in hearing the truth. They didn’t want to hear the truth,” she said.

    Glenn Beck. They didn’t want to hear the truth.

  349. 349
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I asked you to email me and gave you an address. Until I hear from you (and you can use a blind address, as I do, no threat to your anonymity) I am not going to respond to you in here.

    If you need me to repeat the address let me know.

  350. 350
    Mnemosyne says:

    @merrinc:

    Who gives a damn about this NAACP’s role?

    I do, because they’ve basically capitulated to the teabaggers with this idiocy.

    They did the right thing by attacking the teabaggers for their racism, and now they’re desperately backpedaling and leaving everyone else holding the bag for the backlash.

    Does anyone here really think Sherrod would have been fired if not for the kerfuffle of the last few days between the NAACP and Mark Williams? Breitbart had this scalp in his back pocket and he pulled it out at the right moment: take one of our guys down and we’ll take out one of yours.

  351. 351
    cleek says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Glenn Beck. They didn’t want to hear the truth.

    wimps. all of them, apparently.

    not even a perfunctory hearing where she’d get to make her case, just shit-canned by close-of-business. even though the only “evidence” came from Breitbart, of all people.

    this administration is utterly fucking clueless and pathetic beyond belief. cowards.

  352. 352
    cyntax says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No again, you’re misunderstanding. The NAACP was commenting on the same doctored video evidence that everyone else had at that time. Why should the adminstration work with incomplete evidence?

    And regardless of whether the NAACP or Bretbart should have more weight, neither is the final arbiter–that’s the administration.

  353. 353
    flukebucket says:

    But equally important is our duty to instill confidence in the American people that we are fair service providers.

    Well I guess it can be said that Shirley Sherrod got fairly serviced.

    My confidence is soaring.

  354. 354
    sven says:

    Obama should have a big speech and say this:

    “A shit-sandwich isn’t steak just because Breitbart says it is and we all just ate a shit-sandwich”

    There are three groups with egg on their faces

    1) the conservative media (Breitbart)

    2) the MSM (for believing Breitbart)

    3) the Obama administration

    Both 1&2 now have a huge incentive to make the story Obama screwed up.

    Fox and Breitbart have already made the story “Obama throws nice lady under the bus”

    Here is RedState doing the same.

    The Administration is going to be embarrassed and will quietly try to make the story go away. They should do the exact opposite. There is no way that the Obama Admin doesn’t get hammered over this, so they should make damn certain Breitbart and the MSM eat their fair share of the sandwich.

    Republicans always remember politics are zero-sum; Obama could stand a reminder that it isn’t just how you are doing, it is how your opponents are doing as well!

  355. 355
    Malron says:

    Somewhere USDA undersecretary Cheryl Cook is preparing to fall on her sword. Or should be.

  356. 356
  357. 357
    El Cid says:

    @drag0n: The guy in charge of the agency which lost a humongous lawsuit based on its generations-long discrimination against African Americans publicly and boldly backs the firing of a woman [an African American woman who was at the forefront of helping African American farmers fight against the very discrimination that same federal agency was committing] who has committed no discrimination and no acts of discrimination in order to preserve the reputation of an agency seeking not to be associated with any discrimination.

    Again — no one has accused Sherrod of any discrimination or discriminatory acts. Literally, no one.

    Fuck, I didn’t think about this.

    This may not just be cowardice — shit, the USDA probably has this woman on its shit list because she was among the most prominent of those who defeated the USDA because of its racist discrimination against black farmers.

    Fuck. I didn’t even fucking thing of that before. Now I’m fucking sick.

  358. 358
    dww44 says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Thanks, that helps.

    And, yes, most technical things are far more complex appearing than in actual practice, the truth of which I was just recently reminded while affixing a little battery powered led light in my too dark pantry. But then, the instructions were in stilted English.

  359. 359
    TJ says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Irrelevant now. The NAACP is backing off and Vilsack is doubling down. He’s just become a Breitback Tool.

  360. 360
    cleek says:

    @Malron:

    Somewhere USDA undersecretary Cheryl Cook is preparing to fall on her sword. Or should be.

    leaping into a combine might be more appropriate, given the agency.

  361. 361
    David Hunt says:

    @tim: Yeah. Obama and Bush are just 2 peas in a pod. Think I’ll just sit 2010 and 2012 out. I mean, really? What’s the point?

    As horrendous as this story is, I think it is important to point out that there is a difference in the two parties. A lot of the time neither is any good, but the I still have no regrets that I worked to make sure Obama defeated a war-mongering, septuagenarian, cancer survivor and his idiotic religious fanatic VP candidate. The context of this off as it’s what I come up with to respond to the idiots who think Obama is a leftist soshulist instead of the mirror image of Bush, but I’ll share it anyway.

    If Obama becomes a dictator, rounds us all up into FEMA camps, and starts the mass execution of all the white folks, my last thought as they’re putting me up against the wall to execute me will be, “I did the right thing.” The alternatives were even worse.

    Sitting out the next elections merely rewards the wingnuts who dream these fake scandals up.

  362. 362
    drag0n says:

    If I was in the USDA I would be looking for another job. There’s nothing like seeing a coworker get shit canned for no reason than to make me lose any and all enthusiasm I may have had.

  363. 363
    El Cid says:

    This is an opportunity for the USDA to get rid of one of the people who won a lawsuit against the USDA for historic discrimination against black farmers. I’m sure the agency has enough institutional memory to recall what names forced them into a multi-billion dollar settlement with black farmers in admitted racial discrimination.

  364. 364
    4tehlulz says:

    @drag0n: The most likely source of the video was her USDA coworkers.

  365. 365
    les says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    I know it’s late, but you really are a fucking idiot, aren’t you.

  366. 366
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Holy crap, nothing to do with this thread, although they were talking for a bit about this topic … but …

    Dylan Ratigan just administered the worst smackdown to a guest I have ever seen on blathertalk tv.

    Did any of you see it? Jesus. Basically told him to shut up and if he didn’t like it he never had to come back on the show.

  367. 367
    Corner Stone says:

    @drag0n: and also @El Cid

    we have been working to turn the page on the sordid civil rights record at USDA

    What should be remembered here is that the sordid record involves discrimination against blacks.
    So, she’s being held up as a lamb to demonstrate the USDA no longer does business that way. They don’t harm blacks anymore is their policy.

    ETA – the reason I included the @El Cid is because I believe I saw you post the info on this previously, and just wanted to bump this.

  368. 368
    Keith G says:

    @sven:

    The Administration is going to be embarrassed and will quietly try to make the story go away. They should do the exact opposite. There is no way that the Obama Admin doesn’t get hammered over this, so they should make damn certain Breitbart and the MSM eat their fair share of the sandwich.

    I hope so. Few things would make me happier, but I am a bit concerned that appeasement and strategic retreat are ingrained in this West Wing.

    In other words, I doubt that there will be a counter attack.

  369. 369
    lou says:

    “You people are insane.”
    @Little Dreamer:

    Pot, meet kettle. You have got to be the thickest troll to ever haunt Balloon Juice.

  370. 370
    farmette says:

    Ah ha! Complete refudiation of Breitbart germalism!

  371. 371
    El Cid says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: What guest? Talking about what?

  372. 372
    matoko_chan says:

    the unfairness of what Breitbart did makes me badly want to do the same thing….its like the ACORN pimp tape.
    and i could do it…i could do something seriously evil…i gotz the goods.

    do we always become what we most despise?

  373. 373
    Rick Taylor says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    The NAACP certainly did screw up, and I did feel that was missing in Digby’s otherwise excellent piece. But I hadn’t heard they demanded her resignation; I thought they reacted after she’s already been fired, in which case it’s a matter of the NAACP reaching a faulty decision by giving the administration too much credence before checking out the facts rather than the other way around.

  374. 374
    licensed to kill time says:

    @dww44: You’re welcome :)

    Have your link already copied and ready to paste before you click the link button.

    See also Steeplejack’s advice .

    I have found it helpful to practice these things on an old thread before I embarrass myself in public, which believe me, I have done ;-)

  375. 375
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @El Cid:

    There was a pair of guests in two windows, a black guy who seemed to be the Dem, and a white guy who seemed to be the Republican. The two of them got into a bit of an argument, and the white guy would not stop talking.

    Finally Ratigan just slapped him down, I’m in charge of the show, I decide who gets to talk … etc The guest sputtered about equal time, and Ratigan said, Equal time? Who said anything about equal time? I decide who to talk to and for how long, and if you don’t like that you … (more or less, paraphrasing) can leave and not come back to the show.

    Ba da bing. Ratigan looked like he was going to eat the guy.

  376. 376
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I read through the thread… has anyone said that what the woman said she did is _very close_ to what the Fox News people have been saying Eric Holder did on the New Black Panther bullshit? Because that’s why I think it could be blown up into something explosive: there has been a set of allegations (by racists and ignoramuses) that with Obama in charge white people’s complaints about black people are being slow-walked or ignored. And that’s IMHO part of why Vilsack and the rest of the administration hit the panic button so fast: they must have thought, damn, whatever the merits, we can’t have another thing like this become a drawn-out news story. Seems like a steaming load of bullshit, of course, but that’s my theory about the rationale for the swift action.

  377. 377
    drag0n says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Breitbart did his job – namely stir up shit. It’s the administration that fucked up here by falling for it – and now refusing to admit making an error.

  378. 378
    Corner Stone says:

    @Rick Taylor: Honestly, I don’t want the NAACP or Breitbart making employment decisions for the admin.
    So what difference does it make if they screamed for her head?
    I’d be just as upset either way.

    Who is the ultimate arbiter here? It’s the admin.

  379. 379
    les says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    You could just stop at “I don’t listen.” For accuracy, ya know.

  380. 380
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G:

    In other words, I doubt that there will be a counter attack.

    They want this to go away. They were pissing their pants that it could be a story for two news cycles.
    Couldn’t even wait to roundtable what happened and what could be done. If her account is true she had to pull over and text her resignation.

    Maybe the admin should watch a little Olbermann once in a while to see the bit where Beck does his barking at the camera routine. Dude’s a mad barking clown leading a bunch of ignorant racists who hate your fucking guts.
    And these are the people you just failed to appease.

  381. 381
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    1) Briebart releases video calling Sherrod racist
    2) Fox echoes. (MSM echoes Fox)
    3) NAACP Condemns
    4) USDA “fires”
    5) Full story comes out
    6) Fox takes Sherrod’s side
    7) Briebart takes Sherrod’s Side.

    I think we’ve just proved that a temporal paradox does not cause the universe to come to an end, as proposed in Time Travel movies.

    Go ahead, cross the streams, go back in time and slay your ancestors, die while in dream limbo, etc., nothing is as robust as space-time.

  382. 382

    @Little Dreamer: Read the rest of the goddamn fucking article and actually read the comments. She realized at the time she was wrong and went back to help the guy and his wife after the lawyer she sent them didn’t help. Good god. Seriously.

    This story is bullshit. Whatever. I concede the media and the internets to the right. Good day.

  383. 383
    roshan says:

    Can the blog owner please push this dumb pit of a thread into a landfill?

  384. 384
    Elie says:

    Can Sherrod sue Breitbart and Vilsack for impugning her character? It appears that her reputation was maligned from a distortion of the facts and poor conclusions from a tape or wilful manipulation of what she said to deprive her of her employment. Seems to me that she should have some sort of redress — she was in effect called a “bigot” where there is no evidence that she was..

    Just my thoughts anyway — I am not a lawyer so someone who is will have to advise.

    I am VERY disappointed in the Obama admnistration on this…VERY!

  385. 385
    jwb says:

    @matoko_chan: The revenge of feeding people their own medicine is very sweet. I’m convinced that we believe ourselves absolved of our sadistic fantasies when we believe we give them a dose of their own medicine. Finally, for anti-egalitarians like you, there’s undoubtedly the belief that your idiot opponents are inept, and you could improve on their lame-assed, mediocre attempts and do what they should have done if they were only competent.

  386. 386
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Vilsack: “The controversy surrounding her comments would create situations where her decisions, rightly or wrongly, would be called into question making it difficult for her to bring jobs to Georgia.”

    I just talked to a guy who knows a guy who says that Vilsack likes to have sex with children. I have no idea if that’s true but, rightly or wrongly, he should resign for the sake of the agency’s credibility.

  387. 387
    b-psycho says:

    @David Hunt:

    If Obama becomes a dictator, rounds us all up into FEMA camps, and starts the mass execution of all the white folks, my last thought as they’re putting me up against the wall to execute me will be, “I did the right thing.” The alternatives were even worse.

    …was this supposed to be funny?

  388. 388
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @El Cid:

    This may not just be cowardice—shit, the USDA probably has this woman on its shit list because she was among the most prominent of those who defeated the USDA because of its racist discrimination against black farmers.
    Fuck. I didn’t even fucking thing of that before. Now I’m fucking sick.

    Either way, this entire situation raises a lot of questions about how the White House will respond to these fauxrages in the future.

    Sherrod told CNN that Cheryl Cook, deputy undersecretary for Rural Development, called her three times on Monday to eventually demand her resignation on behalf of the White House.
    __
    “They were just looking at what the Tea Party and what Fox said, and thought it was too (politically) dangerous for them,” Sherrod said of the agriculture department.

    I don’t care how disastrous the Republican Party is, you aren’t going to have much success as a political operation when your initial reaction to a “controversy” is affording undue credibility to preeminent liars and known slanderers.

  389. 389
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac:

    Bingo! ♪♫ Let’s do the Time Warp again! ♪♫

  390. 390
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    I just talked to a guy who knows a guy who says that Vilsack likes to have sex with children. I have no idea if that’s true but, rightly or wrongly, he should resign for the sake of the agency’s credibility.

    We have been working to turn the page on the sordid sex with children record of Tom Vilsack.

  391. 391
    les says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    What it really is, is saying, you either have at will authority, or you do not. You can’t almost have it or kinda have it…If you want to have it but then revoke it … at this petty level … at the whim of a superior who also has it, then you basically just made a mockery of at will altogether.

    Sorry, but this just doesn’t make sense, or good policy, to me. If mgmt exercises authority (which I haven’t seen anyone deny exists) based on what turns out to be incomplete information, and then uses additional information to reverse that decision, you are claiming it will somehow damage the organization? Seems ass backwards to me. Even in at-will situations, employee morale and all that stuff matters; sticking with an obviously unjust decision, just because you made it, is seldom a good thing.

  392. 392
    Corner Stone says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Either way, this entire situation raises a lot of questions about how the White House will respond to these fauxrages in the future.

    It’s kind of like that saying on Justified, “If you were in the first grade and you bit somebody once a week, they’d start to think of you as a biter.”

    When do we acknowledge how they handle situations?

  393. 393
    Joseph Nobles says:

    One day this nation will judge people by the content of their character and not the half-content of a video from Andrew Breitbart. Pray God it is soon.

  394. 394
    jl says:

    I also wonder whether Sherrod can sue for defamation.

    I agree that the behavior Obama administration was pretty weak, shabby and pathetic. They are probably well intentioned, in their world, perhaps pantspissing panic whenever conmen drum some nonsense is thought to be a good way to lead and inspire.

    On other hand, Vilsack as the proximate decision maker, and did anyone expect him to act bravely or wisely in a crisis?

    By Vilsack’s own flimsy and foolish justification for his rash action, there will controversy surrounding him which damages his ability to do his job. So, he should go. That might be one good outcome of this mess.

    I hope no one takes Breitbart seriously after this. But this conman has talent, he executed his own absurd reverse so quickly that it might bamboozle the press.

  395. 395
    Mnemosyne says:

    @sven:

    Plus group #4, the NAACP, who now look like idiots with a hair-trigger for supporting Sherrod’s resignation, which — surprise! — makes them look bad with the whole Mark Williams thing, too. (“If the NAACP was wrong and this nice lady was helping white people, then they must have been wrong about that poor man from the Tea Party.”)

  396. 396
    demo woman says:

    According to The Plum Line
    A White House official insists that the White House didn’t pressure Shirley Sherrod to resign, or pressure USDA chief Tom Vilsack to fire her, over the Andrew Breitbart video allegedly showing her claiming she didn’t help a white farmer 24 years ago because of racial reasons.

  397. 397
    Mnemosyne says:

    @4tehlulz:

    Doubtful. Breitbart has a whole stable of people who scour the internet for shit like this. This has his fingerprints on it from start to finish.

  398. 398
    AnotherBruce says:

    “The left are silent”

    In retrospect, not such a bright statement.

  399. 399
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: I guess there needs to be a little Texas in their “Chicago style” of politics.

  400. 400
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jl:

    On other hand, Vilsack as the proximate decision maker, and did anyone expect him to act bravely or wisely in a crisis?

    But everyone on here is telling me that Obama personally decided to fire Sherrod. Are you saying they might be wrong and maybe Cook and Vilsack fired an undersecretary in their department without first getting the direct okay from the big guy?

    ETA: Sorry, Cook is the undersecretary. Sherrod was a director.

  401. 401
    Corner Stone says:

    @demo woman: Ah yes, the old trusty white house official denial.
    What a mess.

  402. 402
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But everyone on here is telling me that Obama personally decided to fire Sherrod

    Can you point to a quote where someone told you this?

  403. 403
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It’s kind of like that saying on Justified, “If you were in the first grade and you bit somebody once a week, they’d start to think of you as a biter.”
    __
    When do we acknowledge how they handle situations?

    You’re right in this instance, which is why I’ve been saying throughout this entire thread that the problem here runs way deeper than Vilsack and the USDA. The fact that Sherrod was essentially railroaded into resigning by Cheryl Cook, deputy undersecretary for Rural Development, on behalf of The White House is not really the kind of incident you want happening when your political party is already suffering from a serious enthusiasm gap against a horde of indefatigable insanity. They dropped the ball on this one, and they dropped it in a major way.

    What my previous comment was trying to get it is whether this event marks some kind of turnaround in how they preceive, analyze, and then subsequently respond to these kind of patently sensationalized non-stories. If they don’t learn any lessons from this, if Vilsack’s last words on this are “The controversy surrounding her comments would create situations where her decisions, rightly or wrongly, [emphasis mine] would be called into question making it difficult for her to bring jobs to Georgia,” then I don’t even really know where to go from there.

    When we reach the point that the credibility of accusations becomes irrelevant and less noteworthy than the fact that the accusations exist in the first place, then what can you really do to stop the march of inanity? How do you seriously combat that kind of accommodation of serially insane individuals?

    I really don’t know, but man, this whole situation sucks. Big time.

    And I’m not even Shirley Sherrod.

    EDIT: And of course the White House is denying that they directly pressured Sherrod to resign. The whole situation is a fucking disaster. HOW DO THESE PEOPLE CONTINUOUSLY LET ANDREW FUCKING BREITBART GET THE BEST OF THEM?! Sweet Moses, read a fucking blog once in a while, Democrats in Washington DC.

  404. 404
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Among others, you did, right above my comment:

    Ah yes, the old trusty white house official denial.

    Or were you trying to tell us where Rahm touched you when you said that?

  405. 405
    Elie says:

    I just emailed the White House…

    This is just awful. I hope that someone with some brains and courage sorts this out and pulls them out of a situation that makes this administration not only look bad, but terrified of the right.

    Vilsak needs to have his butt kicked if he ran off and did this on his own. Not saying he should be fired – which would be a mistake — but he should get a personal “correction”.

    Ms. Sherrod should be re-instated immediately. I still think that she should sue Breitbart and Fox and anyone who manipulated what she actually said. I will send her money to do that

  406. 406
    And Another Thing... says:

    So Glenn Beck just held up his red-only-the-White-House-has-the-number-please-call phone, and it looks like he’s going to beat on the Admin. He JUST loves this.

    Vilsack looks like a douche.

    And the Admin. has been just inept about dealing with the right wing hate machine.

    This.is.just.so.depressing.

    Glenn Beck deploring things that are taken out of context.

    Where’s the tequila when you really need it.

  407. 407
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: Heh. God no. But, heh.

  408. 408
    Corner Stone says:

    @And Another Thing…: I have bourbon if that’ll do.

  409. 409
    sven says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I think the administration wanted to avoid playing into the current right wing obsession with race and still had fresh memories of the slow motion disaster surrounding ACORN. They made a too quick calculation and decided to just shut the story down before it could get off the ground.

    BTW, I think this is where the ‘Team of Rivals’ concept breaks down most clearly. The easiest way back for the Obama Admin would be for Vilsack to fall on his sword by making a publicly humiliating apology. (We acted in haste…) Unfortunately, Vilsack came in as an independent political force and wants to safeguard his own future. When he reaffirmed his prior decision it was a message to Obama even more than the public: “You are going to have to deal with this one.”

  410. 410
    El Cid says:

    I’m really having a hard time right now imagining that the USDA would have stood up for Sherrod under any circumstances whatsoever. She had attacked their institution frontally and won. I don’t think this is the kind of shit a government agency forgets.

  411. 411
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: Are you saying that somewhere on here I have said Obama personally instructed her to be fired?

  412. 412
    Kryptik says:

    The sheer ineptitude surrounding the response to this by everyone but Breitbart and other right wing morons just remains mindblowing. And there’s no way to spin it either. Breitbart utterly punk’d the White House and the NAACP like it was April Fool’s Day. It was an unqualified win for him, because he managed to get them to panic to an out and out lie by him and his crew, and it was swallowed verbatim. Express line to humiliation.

    I’m sorry, but this is just utterly disgraceful. Is there no way that anyone with any sort of power or influence can actually stand up to these swill mongers, or is everyone in the Democratic Party jellyspined and inept?

  413. 413
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: This is getting pretty tired. Tonight is beer night. Have any suggestions?

  414. 414
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    So you were trying to point to the place on the doll where Rahm touched you? Otherwise, I’m not quite sure what “White House” is supposed to signify other than “Obama.”

  415. 415
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Corner Stone: Cool.

  416. 416
    Corner Stone says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    You’re right in this instance

    This would imply there are other instances where I may not be right.
    I think we can both agree that’s clearly unpossible.

  417. 417
    Elie says:

    @sven:

    If Vilsack acted on his own to do this stupid shit and is sending the message that you state, I would be sending him home with his severance check, if I am Obama.

    Independent political force? After this? Does Vilsack think black people anywhere will support his cowardly, craven ass after this? Where is he from? Iowa isnt it? Well, maybe THERE. But forget anywhere else. Also seems like a man who will throw his people under the bus pretty quick. Great selling point for garnering support. Also.

    He is better off taking off his hat and putting out a sincere mea culpa ASAP. And if he don’t do it on his own, he should find a horse’s head in his bed…

  418. 418
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: Negro Modelo always seems to go alright on a nice hot evening.
    If you have a local brew place with a decent nutbrown ale, that’d probably be the ticket as well.

  419. 419
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @Corner Stone:

    We have been working to turn the page on the sordid sex with children record of Tom Vilsack.

    Wow, you’re the second source I’ve run across today who says Vilsack does this.

  420. 420
    AnotherBruce says:

    Hmmm, couldn’t help but notice that the tag “Democratic stupidity” was missing from this thread.

  421. 421
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: God you’re a moron.
    Please find a quote where someone said Obama himself ordered the firing. You can’t, but that’s what you said happened.

  422. 422
    patroclus says:

    This is outrageous. Vilsack should either rescind and refudiate this firing or should resign. A clearly doctored hack video that Andrew Breitbart is pushing?? How on earth could anyone fall for this?

  423. 423
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    All nonsense. The employee signs an agreement of understanding that he is accepting an At Will position. The nature of that arrangement is made clear in the job announcement and is crystal clear before he even applies for the job.

    You are being hired for an At Will position. Your employment can be terminated at will, without cause. You are not eligible for the merit process protections for your job.

    There is no misunderstanding and no ambiguity. Both sides sign the thing and it’s fully understood at hiring time.

    “At Will Position” is the actual moniker used to describe the arrangement. Some people don’t want to accept an At Will position. That’s their choice. But if they do, the thing is very simple.

    “Jeff, we appreciate and thank you for your good service, but unfortunately, we are moving in another direction. I am going to have to ask you for your keys and your badge.”

    That’s it. The documents are written by the governing body and apply across the entire government domain, in my case, comprising some 17k employees.

    Not rocket science. The at will declarations are right on the HR website on the job announcements.

  424. 424
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Please find a quote where someone said Obama himself ordered the firing.

    You said it, and I gave you the quote from yourself. Have you developed hysterical blindness or something?

  425. 425
    Elie says:

    @Kryptik:

    I agree. And I am usually an Obamot — but this is rank and disgusting… How can they be so –so — weak kneed? Why would they think that ANYTHING said by these characters should be accepted on its face immediately — ANYTHING. To coin a phrase from Lillian Helman, “everything out of their mouths is a lie, including “and” and “the”! Anytime they hear those sources they need to think LIE, LIE, LIE…

  426. 426
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Again, no one is arguing that At Will employment doesn’t exist. What we’re arguing is your interpretation that says At Will employment means that a manager’s decision to fire an employee can’t be reversed.

  427. 427
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @les:

    Your argument is obviously sincere and reasoned, I just don’t agree with it.

    “Firing Vilsack,” which is where I came in, just turns a low-midlevel mob-response firing into a cabinet member level mob-response firing. It magnifies the circus aspect of the thing and gives the evil Breitbart a cabinet level scalp when he was only out to get a midlevel administrator.

    I think we will just have to agree to disagree.

  428. 428
    Michael Finn says:

    Can’t we just put a bounty on the reporters that do this kind of crap, and by do I mean the beltway insiders who love to trump this crap up, I don’t don’t think the Breitbart’s of the world are ever going to change.

    Why aren’t they held to the same standard as the rest of the world? If they have ever said anything or done anything in the past that they might regret, they should have to answer for that today!

  429. 429
    El Cid says:

    @Elie: I’m thinking that very shortly the Georgia NAACP is either going to remember or be reminded who this woman is.

    And also, who her husband was and is.

    In 1961, while studying at Virginia Union University, Sherrod again joined in a sit-in, this time at department stores in Richmond, Virginia. Later that year, he turned down a college teaching position and instead headed to Shaw University to join student leaders from around the country in the founding of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
    __
    Sherrod was one of the first to practice the jail-no bail policy, which became a common tactic of the movement. When ten students were arrested for a sit-in in Rock Hill, South Carolina in February of 1961, Sherrod and three others went to Rock Hill, held a sit-in, were arrested, refused bail, and served thirty-day sentences in an attempt to dramatize the injustice of the law.
    __
    Early on, one of SNCC’s areas of focus was southwest Georgia, where Sherrod went in the fall of 1961 at age 22. Two months after arriving in Albany, Georgia, Sherrod and SNCC field workers led a large series of demonstrations that would last for over three difficult years, during which hundreds were arrested.
    __
    By printing up leaflets, registering voters, and holding seminars on non-violent resistance, they galvanized Albany’s black students to rise up and challenge unjust laws of segregation. Throughout this time, Sherrod and SNCC field workers traveled throughout the surrounding counties to educate and register black voters in southwest Georgia’s rural areas.
    __
    It is often pointed out that Sherrod went to southwest Georgia and never left. After a brief sojourn in New York, where he received his master’s degree in sacred theology from Union Theological Seminary in 1967, Sherrod returned to the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, where he served as director from 1961 to 1987.
    __
    He also directed New Communities, Inc., a cooperative farming project, from 1969 to 1985. He served on the Albany City Commission from 1976 to 1990, and in 1996 ran unsuccessfully for Georgia State Senate. Sherrod currently works as a chaplain at the Georgia State Prison in Homerville, Georgia.

    I think the national NAACP just hastily folded on the wrong people. I don’t see this as going very well for the Georgia civil rights groups who remember who was here fighting the voter information and registration campaign and then who fought a decades-long battle against government discrimination against black farmers.

    I would bet some NAACP apologies or explanations are coming soon.

  430. 430
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone:I’ve seen that everywhere, just never picked it up.

    As a reference point, I am just finishing up a six of Dead Guy “Rogue” Ale. Very hopsy. Quite good.

  431. 431
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I never made that statement. I said, it would be a stupid mistake to make, and argued that point. From an organization protocol point of view it’s a bad move AFAIC. For reasons explained at length. Disagree if you like, but disagree with what I said, not your version.

    I didn’t say it wasn’t possible. And this is not the first, or second, or probably even third time I have said this on the thread.

    Can you not read?

  432. 432
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Elie:

    How can they be so—so—- weak kneed?

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Cook was lying when she claimed that the White House was demanding Sherrod’s resignation to try and pressure her into resigning immediately.

    If that’s the case, then the least Vilsack deserves is a horse head in his bed for overstepping his bounds and putting the White House is a really bad position where they can get caught out by something like this.

  433. 433
    kc says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    I think we will just have to agree to disagree.

    Can we also agree that you have thoroughly hijacked this thread with your offpoint horseshit about employment-at-will?

  434. 434
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    I never made that statement. I said, it would be a stupid mistake to make, and argued that point.

    And that’s where I compared your point to a zero tolerance policy, because your argument was that a company can’t possibly admit a mistake in a firing or they’ll look weak, so they have to stick to it no matter what.

    Sorry, but your management theories suck.

  435. 435
    Elie says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    I agree with you that firing Vilsack would be wrong — unless Vilsack refuses an instruction by the administration to take her back or to somehow handle this without his correcting the situation. His job is to do what he is told to do and to be quick about it.

    This of course, does not absolve the administration of a serious pie in face, stupid, messed up — to me, maybe the worst handling, of this very obvious situation. What a freakin embarrassment to be caught looking like they are afraid of these slimes! THAT is what is just making me crazy here… that Obama’s folks are running around with their tails between their legs when any of these morons say anything. Don’t they know, these folks LIE, and LIE and LIE… they lie so much that nothing that they say should be respected by being acted upon — EVER.

    Very frustrating… a real low point for this administration…

  436. 436
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Negro Modelo

    It’s Negra. Not Negro.

    Don’t you know anything?

  437. 437
    batgirl says:

    @Kryptik: Everyone in the Democratic Party is jellyspined and inept (except maybe Grayson).

    Fuck it all. Every day I am reminded why my decision not to bring offspring into this world was the right thing to do.

  438. 438
    demo woman says:

    This quote sounds like it came from Little Dreamer.
    “I think the video speaks for itself. The way she’s talking about white people … is conveying a present tense racism in my opinion.
    Actually it’s a quote from Breitbart over at TPM defending himself.

  439. 439
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    unless Vilsack refuses an instruction by the administration to take her back or to somehow handle this without his correcting the situation. His job is to do what he is told to do and to be quick about it.

    Absolutely. He serves at the pleasure of the President and there is no recourse.

    But doing this, at that level, would be a gobsmack circus event that would magnify a small fuckup into a huge carnival.

    Very bad move IMO.

    Like it or not, I think their best move is to regret the move, defend it, and move on.

  440. 440
    Elie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    If Cook was lying, she needs to be gone tomorrow.

    If Cook was lying, and Vilsack finds that out, it should make it easier for him and the WH to clean this up a bit — since the “villain” will be Cook.

    That said, I hope that the WH takes a good long look at itself and that whoever is running the political response team re-examines what they are trying to do here… This is really pathetic

  441. 441
    Jay B. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Is there ever, at any point, a time when Obama can take heat for what his actual cabinet does?

  442. 442
    les says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Well, we’re not disagreeing about firing Vilsak, which I didn’t recommend–although if Obama tells him to fix this mess and he refuses, that’s different. I was just trying to figure out what you were saying–it seemed to be that, a decision to reinstate with the explanation of more information would be somehow bad for the organization; which I do disagree with, but I’m not sure you’re saying.

  443. 443
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: As most of the ridiculous arguments you choose to double down on are, this is stupid as well.
    This is the Obama Administration. The Obama White House, and the Obama Presidency.
    And while he doesn’t take the call of everyone with a question, the ultimate accountability is his. And either his team knows this or they do not.
    He can’t control a volcano exploding in Iceland, nor an oil well being destroyed in the Gulf.
    But if it is your contention that his administration can not even properly handle personnel management in his own fucking administration then what the heck are you defending?
    They got led by the nose through the outhouse by a circus performer. They are being trounced by all sides for their handling of this. It’s an own goal.
    You can pedantically argue that “white house official” or “admin” is the equivalent of saying “Obama personally” if you like.
    Because, to me, the boss is the boss and is accountable at the end of the day. This wasn’t some farm bureau firing a docket clerk for taking pencils home. They got their ass handed to them in 24X7 full color HD.

  444. 444
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Very frustrating… a real low point for this administration…

    My hunch is that it gets forgotten fairly quickly, unless they foolishly do something like firing Vilsack.

    The fact is that Breitbart seems to have won this skirmish. That’s a rotten shame, because our side has, and deserves, the high ground. But in a charged atmosphere, things can go wrong. A good example of that is the idiotic call here for Vilsack to be vilsacked. Hey, why stop there. Let’s impeach Obama while we are at it. That will show them.

  445. 445
    Svensker says:

    Is there any case to be made for Sherrod to sue Breitbart. His outright and deliberate lies caused her to be fired. Is that actionable?

  446. 446
    And Another Thing... says:

    @El Cid: You continue to be such a trouble maker by injecting useful data and information into these debates.

    /snark

  447. 447
    Elie says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    best move is to regret the move, defend it, and move on.

    Second step doesnt work for me. Second step is apologize to Ms Sherrod and to highlight the importance of getting all the facts and how this is an example of character destruction by the right — that they think nothing of destroying this fine civil servants reputation to achieve their ends… we apologize to Ms Sherrod. Then they move on.

    They will not be able to move on if they defend this because people like me and the progressives will not forget this cowardice. I dont want to move on. I want them to man up and fix it!

  448. 448
    David Hunt says:

    @b-psycho:

    …was this supposed to be funny?

    Yeah, it was. Unfortunately, I’m not all that good at jokes. I was trying to make the point that as bad as Obama and the Dems have been about a bunch of stuff, that it pales in comparison to apocalyptic awfulness that we’d have had if McCain and Palin had won the election…and that it also pales in comparison to what we’ll have if the Republicans get back the wheels of power. That the Republican fever dream/fantasy of re-education camps and death panels would still be better than what we’d get from the other guys.

    I was trying to make the point in a snarky way, stealing adapting a snippet of a joke I saw John Rogers put on his blog about a friend of his leaving the writing staff of Cosby. I think I’ve proved I’m not a comedian.

  449. 449
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    Is there ever, at any point, a time when Obama can take heat for what his actual cabinet does?

    When Obama directs or approves the decision. I would add in that if someone goes cowboying off and does something to embarrass the administration and doesn’t get their ass fired (or at least have to do an abject apology on broadcast TV), then Obama is also blameworthy for that. If Obama wasn’t in on the decision and the cabinet member did something on his/her own, I’m not getting why that would be Obama’s fault and he should get the blame rather than, say, Vilsack for making the stupid decision.

    When Crazy Uncle Joe says something stupid, should we blame Obama and absolve Joe since, after all, Obama picked him to be VP so it’s his fault when Biden says something stupid?

  450. 450
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    seemed to be that, a decision to reinstate with the explanation of more information would be somehow bad for the organization; which I do disagree with, but I’m not sure you’re saying.

    Yes, that is just about what I am saying. Doing that just amplifies the noise and churn around the topic, and absolutely nothing about this topic helps our side or our cause if spotlighted further.

    Clearly the buttheads on the right have a video library of stuff designed to embarrass our current administration, and in this case, they pulled out an arrow and got a kill. The rationale for having her resign may be arguable at best, but it plays better than whatever the alternative is, IMV. I think it is too late to call this back. Declare regret, and move on, that’s what I would do.

  451. 451
    jp7505a says:

    amazing. I’ve just been listening to the talking heads. It’s Obama’s fault, its the NAACP’s fault, it’s the media’s fault for engaging in this kind of racial attack. Now I agree a lot of people jumped the gun on what this woman had to say, but it wasn’t the Obama administration that posted the edited video. It wasn’t the NAACP that started this whole thing. It was this guy Breibart who posted the video and Drudge, et al who flogged it. Yet some how the only blame falls on the Obama administration and the NAACP. It’s true they did not do their homework, BUT they did not post the video in hopes of another ACORN moment . During one segment the source of the video was never mentioned, as if it were beamed down from a federation starship. Shameful

  452. 452
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: I don’t care for the Dead Guy line, as you say a little “hopsy”. Not a big fan of that texture or flavor.
    I would also suggest maybe a little Spaten Premium Lager, as it’s a little lighter than others in the family.
    When it gets a little cooler this fall we’ll have to go to New Braunfels for Oktoberfest and have pitchers of the Spaten Oktoberfest, some roasted corn and 5 types of sausage on a stick.

  453. 453
    shortstop says:

    Very hopsy. Quite good.

    This thread has been ugly all day. Now y’all are drinking bunny rabbits.

  454. 454
    El Cid says:

    @And Another Thing…: Yeah, but since there’s no edited video of my doing it dressed like a pimp, it didn’t happen.

  455. 455
    Corner Stone says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: The beertender always seems to bring me what I asked for.
    And I thought you weren’t talking to me.

  456. 456
    Corner Stone says:

    @shortstop: The blood of bunny rabbits I first violated while being taped.
    Much tastier after a little workout.

    God, I hope that tape doesn’t come back to haunt me when I’m the Sec Ag in the Bill White Administration.

  457. 457
    sven says:

    @Elie: This kind of scuffle goes on all of the time in state-level politics. It is true that Obama could kick him to the curb but Vilsack can easily claim that his actions were all directed from the top. Using anonymous leaks, Vilsack could make this story a terrible liability for Obama without even leaving clear fingerprints.

  458. 458
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Elie:

    Well, it’s a reasonable position you have there, but I wouldn’t advise it if Barack calls me later for his evening briefing.

    Seriously, I am guessing that he vetted Vilsack’s statement at the White House and that this is their official position, and given his record, if that is the case, then I wouldn’t advise them otherwise. I am not sure that I am qualified to give Barack Obama advice on how to handle the race issue at that level.

    If he asks Vilsack to reinstate her, I will support that. If he asks my advice, which I am sure he will, I will say that he should move on.

  459. 459
    Jay B. says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    I’m sure they’ll figure it out next time! After all, fool me twice, third time will totally be different.

    Also note that Vilsack is taking your approach of defending a completely illogical “at-will” premise — we have a zero tolerance policy, so she’s gone (even though “zero tolerance” here literally means coming to grips with your issues 24 years ago, quickly reassessing and overcoming them while committing yourself helping people who desperately needed the help) — by throwing his authority around and by doing so ensures that people will be screaming about this for a lot longer, while it ruins the morale of USDA folks who want to see the right thing done. A quiet, flexible approach that “revisited” the issue would make this a one day story.

    Nope!

  460. 460
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    He is a humanist.

    I am an Episcopalian.

  461. 461
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jay B.: Shorter Mnemosyne: “No.”

  462. 462
    matoko_chan says:

    @jwb:

    for anti-egalitarians like you

    ?? are you calling me an elitist intellectual snob?

    do what they should have done if they were only competent.

    well….no.
    you forget the part where im a sufi and a quellist.
    In arabic the word shaheed does not mean martyr….it means witness. and the context is that the witness should work for justice, to remedy injustice.
    and this is what quell says….

    Quell: ..A Quellist society is an aware populace….demodynamic nanotech in action.
    Kovacs: Right– so the big bad oligarchs have switched off the nanotech.
    Quell: Not quite. The oligarchs aren’t an outside factor; they are like a closed subroutine that has gotten out of hand. A cancer if you want to switch analogies. They are programmed to feed off the rest of the body no matter what the cost to the system in general, and to kill off anything that competes. That is why you have to take them down first.
    Kovacs: Smash the ruling class and everything will be fine?
    Quell: No, but its a necessary first step. Every previous revolutionary movement in human history has made the same basic mistake. They have all seen power as a static apparatus, as a structure. And its not. Its a dynamic, a flow system with two possible tendencies. Power either accumulates, or it diffuses throughout the system. In most societies, its in accumulative mode, and most revolutionary movements are really only interested in reconstituting the accumulation in a new location. A genuine revolution has to reverse the flow. And no one ever does that, because they are too fucking scared of losing their conning tower moment in the historical process. If you tear down one agglutinative power dynamic and put another one in its place, you’ve changed nothing. You have got to build the structures that allow for diffusion of power, not regrouping.

    i guess you could say ima revolutionary against the status quo.

  463. 463
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Jay B.:

    A quiet, flexible approach that “revisited” the issue would make this a one day story.

    Hmm, I think that’s dreaming, but if it worked, I wouldn’t object to it. I just don’t think it would work.

    I think the Breitbarts of the world are waiting with bated breath for our side to make another move and will pounce on that, whatever it is.

    I’d pay good money to listen in on the phone calls between Barack and Vilsack today.

  464. 464
    lenn23 says:

    @shortstop: This is the worst fucking thread in history!

  465. 465
    Mnemosyne says:

    @sven:

    Using anonymous leaks, Vilsack could make this story a terrible liability for Obama without even leaving clear fingerprints.

    Frankly, it’s already a major liability, as can be seen by the number of people here in the comments who think that Sherrod’s firing was directed and controlled from the top.

    I think the only option now is for the administration to distance themselves from Vilsack and Cook.

  466. 466
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @lenn23:

    One word: Darrell.

  467. 467
    Corner Stone says:

    @kc:

    Can we also agree that you have thoroughly hijacked this thread with your offpoint horseshit about employment-at-will?

    Agreed.

  468. 468
    And Another Thing... says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: Here’s the relevant part of the US Code on personnel action procedures in the Federal government. http://www.law.cornell.edu/usc.....-000-.html

    Perhaps you should read it before holding forth on Federal employment practices. I have no idea what state you live in or what it’s policies are, but they are irrelevant to what the Feds do. Until you have read the material will you please STFU about at-will and how it applies to this case.

    My quick perusal of the section doesn’t look to me like federal employees are treated like at-will employees. Especially see the third page “Cause and procedure.”

    The reporting that I have seen says Ms Sherrod is a political appointee and exempt from these personnel rules. It looks to me like her status is covered in paragraph b which is about half way down the first page.

    You have a right to your opinions but you do not have a right to your own “facts”.

  469. 469
    Scott P. says:

    You can bemoan the thing and say how regrettable it is until you are blue in the face … and be right. It doesn’t change the fact that at will employment is what it is, and weakening it because you weep over an outcome of it is not wise, not effective, not useful, and not really as just as you think it is. Once you take that structure apart, you turn at will from “at the pleasure of my boss” into “at the pleasure of a mob.”

    Wait, isn’t that how she lost her job in the first place? Her boss was pleased with her work, but the mob came along and forced her resignation.

  470. 470
    Jay B. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    OK then, the Obama Administration is populated by a bunch of chickenshit knobs (including Joe “Bankruptcy” Biden) who like to take anonymous shots at the nominal allies while consistently siding with people who hate them and will NEVER vote for them when it counts.

    Obama, personally, is exempt from it. Thank God.

  471. 471
    les says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    OK, well then, OK, let’s see, how does this go? Oh yeah–

    Well, then, I’m obviously right and better looking than you, and you are not right (or even wrong) and possibly even mean spirited, or even worse!! Hah! Take that!

    But wait, you brought Negra Modela into the conversation, I think, which would force me to reverse everything I just thought.

    god this intertoobs stuff is hard.

  472. 472
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    It looks to me like her status is covered in paragraph b which is about half way down the first page.

    I’ll check that out, thanks.

  473. 473
    Alex S. says:

    I was working and stuff, so I missed this whole episode, but whatever happened to “investigating the allegations”? Shouldn’t you at least spend a few hours checking the facts before you fire someone?

  474. 474
    And Another Thing... says:

    @El Cid: Ooooo costumes…and are you saying there’s art…but that we just haven’t seen it yet?

  475. 475
    jimBOB says:

    @And Another Thing…:
    Link doesn’t work.

    Your link reads as “http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/5/usc_sec_05_00007511%E2%80%94%E2%80%94000-.html” which is HTML gibberish. I think when you copied it the text was altered.

  476. 476
    sven says:

    @Mnemosyne: Exactly, but creating that distance is only possible if Vilsack goes along with it.

    My main point was just that when top positions are filled with the Boss’s people there is less question that they will go with the flow. When top positions are given to people who want the boss’s job they are a lot less reliable when the fit-hits-the-shan.

    This is true whether you are a Governor, President, CEO, or Pope.

  477. 477
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Wait, isn’t that how she lost her job in the first place? Her boss was pleased with her work, but the mob came along and forced her resignation.

    Well that was kind of my point. So what good does it do to fire Vilsack in response to yet another mob? It just gives Breitbart a bigger scalp. And tells the cabinet officers, you can’t make a firing decision at that (relatively low) level, you can be overruled from the White House at any time. Say what?

    Two fuckups don’t make chicken soup out of chicken feathers, to ruin several metaphors.

  478. 478
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    Sorry, I can’t get to your link. Not sure why

  479. 479
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    I’m obviously right and better looking than you

    You are damning yourself with faint praise, I assure you.

  480. 480
    Keith G says:

    @shortstop:Hopsy is good.

    Mopsy is way better.

    Do the kids know what we are talking about?

  481. 481
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Alex S.: YES, a million times YES. Otherwise you may hear this term of art “arbitrary and capricious” which is code for full employment for lawyers.

  482. 482
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @kc:

    I’ll let you know when I see the material AAT wants me to look at, which I can’t see because I can’t the link to work.

    Apparently the woman is a political appointee and … I will leave it at that until I see the aforementioned material.

  483. 483
    shortstop says:

    @Keith G: Keith, for crying out loud. That book dates to 1901 and as far as I know is still a best seller. I’ll go along with your implication, though, for the ride. Children, Keith and I are excellent counters to John McCain’s whiny-ass argument that you cannot learn to use a computer in your 90s.

  484. 484
    Mark S. says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    No reason is required. You simply discharge the employee with thanks for her service, and state that you are going in another direction. The end. Happens every damned day. Happened to my boss. Absolutely no reason was ever given.

    Yes, most employers aren’t stupid enough to admit that they fired someone “because she wouldn’t suck my cock.” That doesn’t make any firing of an at-will employee legal. And if you get sued for wrongful termination and the plaintiff makes a prima facie case, you will have to respond with a non-discriminatory reason for the termination.

  485. 485
    Bella Q says:

    “Why aren’t at will employment decisions subject to override? Are you calling notakebacksies or some shit? ”

    Because LikeableInMyOwnWay plays an employment lawyer on TV? Of course they are subject to review within an organization. They may not get reversed upon review, but the upper levels can and often do take a look. Sometimes at the urging of an attorney for the plaintiff.

    Which is not to say that at will employment isn’t shafting workers right and left. It is, and it does. But the organizational world will not end if somebody says to Vilsack “Baaad call, made too quickly, kiddo. Fix it.” But I’m not a front pager anywhere, so what do I know?

  486. 486
    And Another Thing... says:

    @jimBOB: try this..

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/usc.....-000-.html

    OK, I’m stumped, when I paste the link into the Google it works, but pasted into the post it explodes in my face. hmmmm I’ll get back to you…quickly I hope.
    Sorry it didn’t work, but I tested the above in a google window and it worked.

  487. 487
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    OK then, the Obama Administration is populated by a bunch of chickenshit knobs (including Joe “Bankruptcy” Biden) who like to take anonymous shots at the nominal allies while consistently siding with people who hate them and will NEVER vote for them when it counts.

    The NAACP hates Democrats and Obama and will never vote for them when it counts?

    I keep bringing up the NAACP because I really think it’s the confounding factor here. If the NAACP hadn’t supported Sherrod’s firing, I doubt it would have gone down this way, but Vilsack (and Rahm?) got spooked by the fact that one of their biggest and most reliable allies were calling for her firing, too. If it had just been Breitbart, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.

  488. 488
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    That doesn’t make any firing of an at-will employee legal. And if you get sued for wrongful termination

    How do you sue for wrongful termination when you sign a pre-employment agreement that your position is at will, and that you can be terminated at any time without cause? And you are discharged with thanks and regrets, and no cause given? And you are not eligible for the protections of the merit system, as stated in the agreement?

    What kind of termination, in those circumstances, would bring a lawsuit? In fifteen years there and numerous examples, never heard of a lawsuit under those circumstances.

  489. 489
    Scott P. says:

    Well that was kind of my point. So what good does it do to fire Vilsack in response to yet another mob? It just gives Breitbart a bigger scalp

    The point is, if we’re already reduced to mob rule, the only two options are to go along with the mob or form a bigger mob.

  490. 490
    Jay B. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The NAACP has reversed itself and backed down. The ONLY people the Administration is siding with are the crackpot right.

    So, in sum, the NAACP acknowledged their mistake and the Administration cynically and amazingly, said that her firing was right because of the USDA’s poor civil rights record.

    It defies belief.

    By blaming the NAACP, you are using exactly same excuse as the crackpot right regarding their influence on the administration.

  491. 491
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    Hmm .. I think word press is eating your link.

    this is the link I actually get:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/usc.....4000-.html

    which looks not much like the one I see in the post …

    which is partial, I can’t just type it in by hand.

    Not sure what is up with this.

    Can you cut and paste that one section you referred to earlier?

    (Cause and Procedure, paragraph b)

  492. 492
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Scott P.:

    I think the other option is to declare regret over the woman’s remarks, Vilsack style, and walk away.

    It’s not the option I would prefer. I would prefer the option that causes Breitbart to die in a fire, but I don’t see that on the table.

  493. 493
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mark S.:

    And if you get sued for wrongful termination and the plaintiff makes a prima facie case, you will have to respond with a non-discriminatory reason for the termination.

    Exactly. “At Will” does not mean “Open Season.” You can’t fire someone for discriminatory reasons just because their employment is “At Will.” If necessary, you have to be able to defend the firing in court.

  494. 494
    You Don't Say says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: Federal law still applies to at-will employment. I haven’t followed this thread of the discussion from the start. How do we know she’s an at-will employee?

  495. 495
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    The NAACP has reversed itself and backed down. The ONLY people the Administration is siding with are the crackpot right.

    I’m glad to hear it. Though I do find it amusing that you’re such a conspiracy theorist at this point that you assume that Vilsack was doing the direct bidding of the White House when he decided to double down on being an asshole. I mean, it’s not like he could have decided on his own to defend his deputy undersecretary. Nope, it must have been the White House that directed him to do it.

  496. 496
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Where I work, at will is without cause. No cause has to be given. No cause IS given, that would be foolish since it just invites challenge.

    The thing is stated as “We are going in a different direction, the term of your employment has expired. Thank you for your service.”

  497. 497
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @You Don’t Say:

    Apparently we don’t. I am told that she is a political appointee and I have been trying to get to a link that describes the “cause” part of that. However the link isn’t working.

  498. 498
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    How do you sue for wrongful termination when you sign a pre-employment agreement that your position is at will, and that you can be terminated at any time without cause?

    You sue because you were fired based on your race, gender or religion. I find it hard to believe that you’ve never — not once — run into a case where someone fought their “At Will” firing because they thought it was really because of their race or religion.

    You cannot fire someone for illegal reasons, even if they are an “At Will” employee. Federal law takes precedence over “At Will” contracts.

  499. 499
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Where I work, at will is without cause. No cause has to be given. No cause IS given, that would be foolish since it just invites challenge.

    But if your ex-employee can prove that s/he was fired because of his/her race, gender, or religion, your comeback cannot be, “But it was At Will employment!” YOU are then on the hook to prove that you did not fire that person for discriminatory reasons.

    It kind of scares me that you keep claiming to have experience in this field and had no idea that you can’t fire an At Will employee for being black or being a woman.

  500. 500
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Which is not to say that at will employment isn’t shafting workers right and left. I

    How is agreeing to an at will, no-cause termination in advance, in writing, getting shafted? Agreeing that merit rules do not apply to you … in advance … getting shafted?

    My last boss signed that very agreement, and was very happy with it. He knew the thing coming in, the at will declaration was on the job announcement on the website.

    Where is the shafting?

    Another candidate in the office declined the same job because he wanted to be in the merit system and did not want to work under At Will.

    I don’t understand how this is shafting anyone.

  501. 501
    And Another Thing... says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: I hope this one works,

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/usc.....30_75.html

    It should take you to Sec 75, click on subchapter II, and click on 7511.

    follow the links to see what procedures for a covered employee

    As for Sherrod, here is the language,

    (b) This subchapter does not apply to an employee—
    (1) whose appointment is made by and with the advice and consent of the Senate;
    (2) whose position has been determined to be of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making or policy-advocating character by—
    (A) the President for a position that the President has excepted from the competitive service;
    (B) the Office of Personnel Management for a position that the Office has excepted from the competitive service; or
    (C) the President or the head of an agency for a position excepted from the competitive service by statute;
    (3) whose appointment is made by the President;

  502. 502
    shortstop says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I mean, it’s not like he could have decided on his own to defend his deputy undersecretary. Nope, it must have been the White House that directed him to do it.

    He could have done it on his own, certainly. But by the time he doubled down, this thing had been brewing across the national media all day. Does it seem likely that he would have said anything public this afternoon without consulting the WH first?

  503. 503
    Jay B. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Though I do find it amusing that you’re such a conspiracy theorist at this point that you assume that Vilsack was doing the direct bidding of the White House when he decided to double down on being an asshole. I mean, it’s not like he could have decided on his own to defend his deputy undersecretary. Nope, it must have been the White House that directed him to do it.

    ?

    I think by now even Obama might have an inkling of it and may, in fact, have an opinion about the right course. It’s even possible that he might mildly inform his own Cabinet members about said opinion. Although I’m sure he’s loving the superlative way that it’s being handled (“Obama Administration fires Civil Rights Hero because Andrew Brietbart Demanded it!”)

    That said, Vilsack’s actions (“backed by the White House”), even in absence of Obama’s personal signature, are those OF the Administration. Because he is a member of the Administration. I’m not sure how this is a conspiracy theory.

    But, as you say, since Obama does the bidding of the NAACP, I’m sure he’ll reverse course and do the right thing.

  504. 504
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    It kind of scares me that you keep claiming to have experience in this field and had no idea that you can’t fire an At Will employee for being black or being a woman.

    It kind of scares me to think that you think nobody in a 17k employee organization hasn’t thought of that.

    How does the employee prove the discrimination? My point is that there would have to BE actual discrimination, right?

    And if so, then are we not saying that discrimination is not acceptable regardless of the terms of employment? Which is pretty much understood by all parties from the get-go. Declarations against discrimination are all over the website and employment docs.

    So absent actual, provable discrimination, what is the point? And if this is such a big problem, why are people offering and accepting these At Will jobs all the time, and there don’t seem to be any big problems with the system?

    What is your point? That if a boss goes around telling people “I am going to fire that cracker” he might have a problem after he fires the guy? In other words, egregious rights violations are not wiped away by At Will employment agreements. So how is this relevant to this case? Do we suppose that someone could construe this to be a case of job discrimination because the woman is black? Does that make any sense whatever? Why are you even bringing it up?

  505. 505
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    Yes, that appeared to work. I will look it over. thanks.

  506. 506
    And Another Thing... says:

    @You Don’t Say: She doesn’t know that Sherrod is at will, and can’t be bothered to use the google. The press is reporting that she is a political appointment. In my experience, and having been one, you can be fired at any time for any reason. (Theoretically, you could sue for for sexual harassment, discrimination, etc. – but I’ve personally never heard of such a case.) It is not clear that federal employees are at-will employees. In my experience, if you are a federal civil service employee you are not at-will in the garden variety sense. You cannot just be fired without cause. My quirky non links go to the section of the US Code that outlines those processes, and they are NOT the way truly at-will employees are treated.

    I also worked in state & county government for 10 years and they were not effectively at-will employees, as there were civil service procedures for punishing and firing employees.

    The minute that a company or government writes a Personnel Policy manual, they are required by the courts to follow that manual. If there are rules in a manual covering employee discipline they must be followed or you create a legal cause of action.

  507. 507
    Keith G says:

    @shortstop:

    Does it seem likely that he would have said anything public this afternoon without consulting the WH first?

    And if he did, what does it say about this administration’s ability to think on their feet, keep their bunnies in a row, and stay out of the brier patch.

  508. 508
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Okay, first pass, I don’t find that I have enough information to ascertain whether this woman fits the described definitions.

    But more to my point, I find that the “cause and procedure” section describes something very similar to what is called the “merit system” in my situation. In other words, process, and protection. Whereas, in the At Will agreement, these protections are processes are specifically excluded.

    While these are informative, I don’t see how they resolve the subject case.

    First of all, what are the legal terms of this woman’s employment?

    Second, what are the grounds for asking for her resignation today?

    Without knowing those two things, I don’t think any of us can speculate about the legal standing of this dismissal … including me. If the issue rests on the “expanded” version of her story (beyond the quick and dirty rehash of her original story, without the background) then … I don’t know, to me this all falls into “judgment call” territory.

    I pretty much allowed that Vilsack’s action (if he is the decider here) may have been ill founded, but my point was and is that trying to walk this case back from here, by reinstating the woman … or, the idiotic suggestion on this thread that we fire Vilsack, which is what really fired me up … doesn’t help. The horse is out of the barn. The toothpaste is out of the tube. I only know one guy who could handle walking this all back, and that is Obama. And if he isn’t willing to try to do that, I am sure as hell not qualified to suggest that he do it. Nor are any of you, AFAIC.

    I will ponder this and have more to say later.

  509. 509
    Scott P. says:

    I think the other option is to declare regret over the woman’s remarks, Vilsack style, and walk away.

    Why would you declare regret over remarks that are not deserving of regret?

  510. 510
    Mnemosyne says:

    @shortstop:

    Does it seem likely that he would have said anything public this afternoon without consulting the WH first?

    Knowing Vilsack? Yeah, it kinda does. You have a low-level appointee who (appears on an edited tape to have) said something stupid and it’s only a big deal on Fox News, so why get White House clearance? The fact that we still only have “anonymous White House sources” supporting Vilsack would seem to support that as well.

    If Robert Gibbs says tomorrow that Vilsack has the White House’s full support, then you were right and I was wrong.

  511. 511
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jay B.:

    That said, Vilsack’s actions (“backed by the White House”), even in absence of Obama’s personal signature, are those OF the Administration. Because he is a member of the Administration. I’m not sure how this is a conspiracy theory.

    She will never understand or admit this salient point.
    Either it’s cool with Obama or he has a rogue cabinet secretary diddling about on his own.
    Which is it?

  512. 512
    Corner Stone says:

    TZ, as I said previously, I love it that you keep trying to make the at will employment law some part of this thread.
    It’s irrelevant to what’s happening here.

    And just to play your game for a second, I work in TX, king of the at will employment. I work with an org that has 15K employees and they recently spent 6 months documenting everything under the sun so they could terminate a secretary.
    Because they knew when she was told her time was up a lawsuit would be coming.
    Was she discriminated against? No.
    Was she at will? Yes.
    Did any of that matter? Nope.
    They spent almost 100 hours billable time of their North American HR attorney’s time to make sure they did everything right.

    It’s pretty damn clear you’ve never had anything to do with HR in an org.
    So not only is it irrelevant here, but you’re also just flat wrong as it applies to real life.
    In all my time of working in professional environments I’ve only ever seen one person terminated on the spot. He was doing certain things in the server room he should not have been doing and they locked his office door while he was at lunch.
    Every other termination has involved documentation, counseling, reviews, mentoring, countless intervention. Even for low level staff.
    You just don’t know what you’re talking about here.

  513. 513
    Sgt. Jrod and his Howling Commandos says:

    Aw darn, I missed the epical return of LD to batshit craziness. Oh well, I’m sure there’ll be more opportunities to call her a fuckwit.

    Incidentally, feel free to apologize for that time you called me a genocidal maniac bent on wiping Phoenix off the face of the planet. I’ll be here.

    Hey TZ, if this has anything at all to do with at-will employment, why the fuck was Sherrod pressured to resign? I mean, she wasn’t simply fired for no stated reason, she was asked to resign for a very specific and stated reason. Doesn’t this kinda imply that this isn’t the same situation as a Wal-Mart checker who always comes back from her breaks late?

    Seriously, if you can stop pulling your pud over the USDA’s org chart for a couple minutes and actually pay attention to the fucking story, you’d see that this was political from beginning to end, and has basically nothing whatsoever to do with bureaucratic structure.

    But congrats on the trolling job. You and your wife completely fucked this thread. Kudos to a couple internet assassins. U R SOOO KEWL LOL KAWAII.

  514. 514
    shortstop says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You have a low-level appointee who (appears on an edited tape to have) said something stupid and it’s only a big deal on Fox News, so why get White House clearance?

    Maybe because by the time Vilsack doubled down to defend Cook, it was also a big deal on CNN, on MSNBC, in national newspapers and (certainly of less interest to the WH) on blogs galore. Are you understating the coverage that this has gotten in an attempt to support the idea that Vilsack shouldn’t have been talking to the WH? Seriously?

    If Robert Gibbs says tomorrow that Vilsack has the White House’s full support, then you were right and I was wrong.

    Yeah, if someone asks him explicitly to defend Vilsack tomorrow and he explicitly answers the question that way, that’ll be the way we know. But otherwise, we’ll just have to assume that the WH knew nothing about it. Because silence couldn’t mean anything else, right? If Vilsack is doing this on his own, we all know the WH would put out a statement saying Obama can’t control his own cabinet secretaries.

    And let’s skip the “you’ll be right and I’ll be wrong” false construction, please. I don’t know what’s going on in Tom Vilsack’s walnut brain and thus was careful to phrase my suggestion as a strong possibility, not an assertion of fact. I do know that speculating that a cabinet secretary’s statement — made well into a controversy — was actually vetted by the WH should really not seem like such an unlikely suggestion, given that it happens a hell of a lot more often than a cabinet secretary going rogue does…and you’ve been quite energetic in defending the likelihood of that possibility.

  515. 515
    drag0n says:

    She is back. We Won

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday he will reconsider the USDA’s decision to oust a black employee over racially tinged remarks after learning more about what she said.

Comments are closed.