Always the victim

Go ahead and top this one. I dare you.

“I am the victim because I made a mistake”

…says a government investigator in Tennessee who met with a man suing the state after first responders would not perform CPR because his mother was black. William Sewell opened the meeding by asking if the man had been to prison and he closed it with a story about a black man who was lynched in 1896 by folks in town, going on for a while about a ‘skin trophy’ from the hanged man’s back that Sewell’s grandfather had passed on to him.

Sewell, now fired, says that he was trying to sympathize. It boggles the mind how these well-meaning people keep getting misunderstood.

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141 replies
  1. 1
    Tommy says:

    You might have left out the worse part, they say he told this story as a means to intimidate the family of the women.

    “They hung him, and they started carving his skin out of his back,” Allen said. “It was like he got excited telling this story.”

    “They lowered the body, and all the white men standing around took turns removing the skin from the black man’s back,” Mainord recalled Sewell saying.

    In conclusion, Sewell said that he still owned a “strap” of the black man’s skin that had been given to him by his grandfather.

    “They made a strap out of his skin, and they used that strap as a knife sharpener,” Allen remarked.

    Mainord pointed out that the skin “was like a trophy to him, and that concerns me.”

    “It was my impression he still had it at his house,” Mullins noted. “The way he enjoyed telling the story, I thought perhaps he was still using it.”

  2. 2
    Tim F. says:

    @Tommy: Well yeah, I thought that would go without saying. I cannot imagine anyone would take it in a friendly way.

  3. 3
    MomSense says:

    He enjoyed telling them about a ‘skin trophy’ from a lynching. Wow. Just wow.

  4. 4
    monkeyfister says:

    On Twitter, I list my location as Armpit, TN. Some have asked where Armpit, TN is. I always tell them, “Armpit, TN is everywhere in Tennessee.”

    11 years transplanted in this state from Michigan. Eleven years of my wanting to stab my eyes and ears out with a dambed icepick on a daily basis.

    Please send that meteor soonest, oh Lawd. Please.

  5. 5
    ppcli says:

    …. first responders would not perform CPR because his mother was black.

    OK, this sounds bad, but you have to remember that these first responders were sincere Christians, basing their actions on Biblical principles.

    (Acts 17:26, Genesis 10:5, Romans 9:19-24, dozens more cited by segregationists during Jim Crow and early in the civil rights era; mysteriously less prominent nowadays, but that is just because Christians have been shamed into silence by the intolerant liberal establishment media, unions, teachers, and Hollywood elites and Benghazi.)

    Since they were acting on their sincere religious beliefs, that means it was absolutely OK for them to do this, and it is anti-Christian to suggest otherwise.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    Most people would go to a recently bereaved household and talk about how their granpappy murdered people for fun and profit as a token of sympathy and empathy in TN? Does Hallmark have an entire line of such cards? Hell of a culture they’re protecting.

  7. 7
    Tommy says:

    @MomSense: I have a few family members that are racist. I don’t talk to them much, cause well I find them terrible humans. But I am pretty sure they wouldn’t blink to give an African America CPR. They might be terrible humans, but a life is still a life.

    Why didn’t the guy give her CPR? I mean did he think he was going to get some disease from touching her mouth with his? I live in a rural area that might not be that different then TN. If I don’t leave my little town I don’t see a person of color. 98.7% white according to the last Census. But how does a firefighter. A first responder not deal with, even in TN, people that are not white. Makes me think this wasn’t the first time something like this happened.

  8. 8
    beltane says:

    Though it’s tempting to go Godwin, even most Nazi sympathizers these days know enough to keep these types of thoughts to themselves. The fact that someone like Sewell can go around bragging about “skin trophies” in polite company tells me all I need to know about the state of white culture in parts of this country.

  9. 9
    Mark S. says:

    @monkeyfister:

    I was pretty horrified driving through Tennessee and seeing signs for this.

  10. 10
    beltane says:

    @scav: Wait until someone shows up telling you to f*ck off for criticizing Southern white culture.

  11. 11
    Lurking Canadian says:

    Well, he is a victim. Those unscrupulous people reported the plain meaning of his words, taking them in context and everything! How is a public servant supposed to do his job if members of the public expect him to serve them?

  12. 12
    gene108 says:

    @Mark S.:

    We have Army bases named after Confederate generals. Sure Forrest started the KKK, but there are plenty of places around the country named after Confederates, as in every Ft. Lee, Ft. Hood and Ft. Bragg the Army uses.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    @gene108: I thought Ft. Lee, NJ was named after Henry Lighthorse Lee, Revolutionary War hero and father of the traitor, not the traitor himself.

  14. 14
    fidelio says:

    Remarkably enough, Tennessee state employees are required to take regular respectful workplace and customer service training. THere are tests and everything.

    As a supevisor, I have to verify that the people in my work group have done the training and passed the test.

    Clearly, it’s possible to do the training, pass the test, and completely fail to absorb and internalize the premise of the training.

  15. 15
    Kay says:

    @Tommy:

    Makes me think this wasn’t the first time something like this happened.

    Well, we’ll never know because the “investigator” who has been there for 40 years feels perfectly comfortable intimidating black people who file a complaint, and still doesn’t understand that it’s not okay:

    Sewell had started the meeting by asking Mullins if he had ever been to prison.
    “His very first question was, ‘Mr. Mullins have you ever been to the penitentiary?” Mullins recalled. “That was more than insulting to me.”

    It’s a threat. They filed a sworn statement and he doesn’t want it revealed that the first responders falsified records, so he’s trying to get them to back off the statement. If he really doesn’t understand what he did wrong, they have some bigger problems, seeing how he’s the “investigator” and all.

  16. 16
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tommy: If that was the case (not performing CPR on a dying person. due to them being Blah), criminal action should be taken against the 1st responder & any supervisor who allowed it/failed to get CPR done on lady.

  17. 17
    MomSense says:

    @Tommy:

    Yeah it makes me think it’s not only the first time this happened but it may not have been the first time the victim’s family was intimidated by the investigator. This guy was a senior investigator.

  18. 18
    gene108 says:

    @beltane:

    Fort Lee NJ is a city, which is not named after Robert E.

    But the Army base in VA? I’m betting it’s named after Robert E. I’m betting Ft. Bragg, in NC is named after Braxton Bragg.

  19. 19
    Paul in KY says:

    @gene108: I don’t think the other guys committed war crimes against Union troops as Forrest did.

    See ‘Fort Pillow’.

  20. 20
    MomSense says:

    @beltane:

    I feel like the news keeps going Godwin and we get dragged along for the ride.

  21. 21
    beltane says:

    @gene108: Thanks. I didn’t know there was another Ft. Lee besides the one by the GWB.

    Let us not omit the fact that Georgia now has a Confederate flag licence plate option for all those who long for the days when treason in defense of white supremacy was all the rage.

  22. 22
    Face says:

    first responders would not perform CPR because his mother was black

    Incredibly, if his religious beliefs told him not to assist The Blahs, what he did will very soon be completely legal in Arizona, if I read the reports correctly.

  23. 23
    Tommy says:

    @MomSense: I am not a fearful person, but you tell me a story like that and clearly you are trying to scare the heck out of me. There is a story I tell. When I lived in DC I moved to an area where I was the only “white dude” around. It took a little time for me to be accepted, but as a “white dude” it was an experience. The first time in my life I wasn’t around, well mostly white people. I think it is easy to not understand, even in 2014, what it might be like for the family. Where they are literally a minority. Might not be so easy to stand up for yourself.

  24. 24
    Kay says:

    Good for them for bringing witnesses. Otherwise, he would have been “in fear for his life” and they may not have lived to tell the tale although witnesses and videotapes don’t matter anymore once the magic get out of jail phrase “I was in fear for my life” is invoked, so in this case they were lucky to be believed even with the witnesses.

  25. 25
    blueskies says:

    @beltane: Southern white culture:

    Picking a fight, getting your ass kicked, and then whining about it for the next 150 years.

    That is pretty much Southern white “culture.”

  26. 26
    scav says:

    @beltane: Why wait? It’s basically aloha for certain segments.

  27. 27
    beltane says:

    @Paul in KY: They were enemy generals engaged in war with the United States of America. Why not just rename an army base Ft. Rommel while we’re at it. No difference at all.

  28. 28
    blueskies says:

    @gene108: And every fucking one of them should have those names ground off and replaced with the names of heroes who gave their lives for their country, not traitorous sociopaths who led a bunch of blue-skinned clay-eaters to the slaughter.

  29. 29
    elmo says:

    @Paul in KY:

    I don’t think the other guys committed war crimes against Union troops as Forrest did.

    Maybe not war crimes against Union troops, but the sainted Marse Robert of hallowed memory did indeed commit rampant war crimes against Union civilians, kidnapping them and selling them into slavery.

    Funny how the “heritage” and “states rights” zombies don’t like to talk about that little vignette of history.

  30. 30
    Tommy says:

    @beltane: My father’s PhD is in Civil War military history. As a kid, during the summer when folks went to Disney World, I went to Civil War battle fields. There is/was nothing “cool” about the Civil War. As Ken Burns says in the opening to his series on the war “we killed each other wholesale.” At Cold Harbor 7,000 American died in under 30 minutes. As I’d walk those fields with my dad and he’d tell me what happened there, it was heart breaking.

  31. 31
    beltane says:

    @blueskies: It’s because they didn’t get their asses kicked hard enough, plus the fact that they’ve been put on a pedestal by the rest of the country ever since. The Confederate leaders all got off extremely lightly compared with the leaders of every other defeated enemy of the United States and we’ve been paying the price ever since.

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Face: The Arizona legislature may say so, but the 14th Amendment and the Supremacy Clause say otherwise.

  33. 33
    Tommy says:

    @blueskies: I love the fact if you drive down 110 in Northern Virginia by Arlington National Cemetery Robert Lee’s house over looks it. I don’t know if this is true, but I was once told it was built there as a FUCK YOU to him.That every morning when he looked out his windows he’d see the graves of those he killed.

  34. 34
    Botsplainer says:

    How dare anyone criticize the culture of honest, God fearing, salt of the earth Southern white conservative Christians.

    He was merely sharing tales of his “Heritage, not Hate” family history.

  35. 35
    Aimai says:

    @Kay: he says right there that he thought everything was fine because the two aa men to whom he told this story shook hands with him before they left and saud goodbye politely. It was a real bill o’reilly goes to harlem moment ” no one was yelling ‘give me some motherfuckin ice tea…’ So…everything was copacetic.

  36. 36

    Go ahead and top this one.

    I thought George Zimmerman already did with his whining about his own victimhood and how he just wants a normal life.

  37. 37
    GregB says:

    Every time I think I can’t be more disgusted with the conduct of some racist shitheel I am mistaken.

    Fucking flesh trophies……..blerg.

  38. 38
    Tommy says:

    @Aimai: IMHO there is kind of a racist thing there as well. I mean heaven forbid those men were polite. I can dislike you. What you stand for. Even sue you. But I can also be polite and act like an adult. Seems for him this was confusing.

  39. 39
    Paul in KY says:

    @beltane: I certainly didn’t make the decision to name them thay way. One former confederate, think it was Johnston, served with distinction in US military post Civil War (don’t know if anything is named for him).

    I guess it was all that reconciliation crap.

  40. 40
    MattF says:

    Apparently doesn’t know the meaning of ‘sympathize’. “‘Well, where I come from it means ‘kill'”

  41. 41

    @monkeyfister:
    I have made similar comments, and frequently, about ‘Pigfart, Kentucky’.

  42. 42
    Cervantes says:

    Go ahead and top this one. I dare you.

    A direct quote from Sewell?

  43. 43
    Paul in KY says:

    @elmo: Very sad story. Certainly Lee knew, and probably had ordered Longstreet to carry out his orders. Having free men sold into slavery (in this day and age) would constitute a war crime.

  44. 44
    Botsplainer says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Very sad story. Certainly Lee knew, and probably had ordered Longstreet to carry out his orders. Having free men sold into slavery (in this day and age) would constitute a war crime.

    My position is that Lee prolonged the war by parading around a small city-sized group of men around the hinterlands of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia, looting supplies and killing people for about 2 years. As far as I’m concerned (not just passing judgment on the reprehensible and illegitimate cause he served), from a military point of view, every casualty suffered by his troops, every casualty inflicted on the US Army, and every casualty suffered by civilian populations from the beginning of 1863 forward is on him.

    He should have swung from a rope for that fact alone. Davis, Stevens and Benjamin should have all hung as well, as a message.

  45. 45
    tybee says:

    @beltane:

    it’s not just a license plate. take a look at the original “stars and bars” confederate flag and then look at georgia’s current state flag.

  46. 46
    boatboy_srq says:

    @ppcli: Just wait for the defeaning caterwaul the moment someone refuses to assist them because they’re heretics.

  47. 47
    Kay says:

    @Aimai:

    he says right there that he thought everything was fine because the two aa men to whom he told this story shook hands with him before they left and saud goodbye politely.

    I don’t believe that’s why he said it. I think he’s (again) trying to impugn their credibility.

    I know you know this, the history of this, but I’m starting to come at these cases and incidents from our long and documented history of elevating the credibility of white people over that of black people. Before the last shooting attack, I would have said “well, you need witnesses and tape” but apparently witnesses and tape aren’t enough.

    I don’t know what you need. A lot.

    Here’s it looks like they knew the first responder had falsified records in some way, so Mr. Mullins had that going in, thank goodness.

  48. 48
    Cervantes says:

    @Tommy:

    I love the fact if you drive down 110 in Northern Virginia by Arlington National Cemetery Robert Lee’s house over looks it. I don’t know if this is true, but I was once told it was built there as a FUCK YOU to him.That every morning when he looked out his windows he’d see the graves of those he killed.

    Almost true.

    The house and grounds were turned into the cemetery in 1864. Lee and his family were no longer living there at the time (they had left in 1861).

    And yes, the site was chosen partly to send General Lee a message.

  49. 49
    Brian R. says:

    This guy’s a racist asshole, and he deserved to be fired.

    But let’s not paint the whole state with his dipshittery. The Nashville news station brought this story to light, and the Tennessee agency he worked for fired his ass immediately.

    Fuck, I live in New York, and I’ll be damned if anyone can attribute Hannity’s dumbassery to me personally because of proximity.

  50. 50
    gian says:

    @beltane:

    Rommel died because he tried to kill Hitler. I can’t name a Southern General who tried to kill Jefferson Davis, maybe that’s my poor education.
    I can think of plenty more Nazis who have more in common with Southern Generals.
    I expect in this part of TN you could build a Dickensian workhouse and put minorities in it with a fancy gate that says freedom through work
    and most of the white populace would love it, but would complain about how much the food for the workers costs.

  51. 51
    gvg says:

    By the way http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201.....d-forrest/
    Jacksonville High School finally is changing it’s name. Newer elected school board and petition drive by the students themselves. the next generation!

  52. 52
    monkeyfister says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: You need to pass through Pigfart, KY on your way to Armpit, TN, driving south. Only way through.

  53. 53
    Cervantes says:

    @gian:

    Rommel died because he tried to kill Hitler.

    Rommel opposed the assassination of Hitler; he wanted him arrested and put on trial. To Hitler this was a distinction without a difference, and so he forced Rommel to take his own life.

    I can think of plenty more Nazis who have more in common with Southern Generals.

    Agreed.

    I can’t name a Southern General who tried to kill Jefferson Davis, maybe that’s my poor education.

    Same here.

    I expect in this part of TN you could build a Dickensian workhouse and put minorities in it with a fancy gate that says freedom through work and most of the white populace would love it, but would complain about how much the food for the workers costs.

    Someone should do this as an experiment.

  54. 54
    Cervantes says:

    @GregB:

    Fucking flesh trophies……..blerg.

    Before the torch was applied to the pyre, the Negro was deprived of his ears, fingers and genital parts of his body. He pleaded pitifully for his life while the mutilation was going on, but stood the ordeal of fire with surprising fortitude. Before the body was cool, it was cut to pieces, the bones were crushed into small bits, and even the tree upon which the wretch met his fate was torn up and disposed of as “souvenirs.” The Negro’s heart was cut into several pieces, as was also his liver. Those unable to obtain ghastly relics direct paid their more fortunate possessors extravagant sums for them. Small pieces of bones went for 25 cents, and a bit of liver crisply cooked sold for 10 cents.

    That’s from 100 Years of Lynching by Ralph Ginzburg (1988).

  55. 55
    Avery Greynold says:

    Politeness is a perfected southern art that allows you to hate The Other. Being from SoCal, I didn’t understand it till I realized that I was being exceedingly polite to my a-hole neighbor. I wanted them to have no justification for hating me, and wanted to feel superior while hating them. (culture/race was not an issue, btw)

  56. 56
    Brian R. says:

    @Avery Greynold:

    Yep. I grew up in the south, and the words “bless your heart” can be the most elegant “go fuck yourself” in the right hands.

  57. 57
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Cervantes:

    Someone should do this as an experiment.

    We’ve been pretty close to this at least once.

  58. 58
    Paul in KY says:

    @Botsplainer: I would have been fine with their execution. Particularily, Davis.

  59. 59
    Paul in KY says:

    @Brian R.: Have they fired/indicted the 1st responder and/or any supervisor who was on scene or knew about it at time it happened?

  60. 60
    Ruckus says:

    @Cervantes:

    Someone should do this as an experiment.

    Been done.
    This of course being the entire rational behind the civil war. For the experimenters it was a success. For those being experimented on, not so much.
    But you probably knew that.

  61. 61
    Aimai says:

    @Brian R.: they fired him after 40 years on the job pulling this crap. There is no way this was the girst time. Its only because there were witnesses that the poor guy trying to investigate his mothers death even got a hearing from the press.

  62. 62
    Paul in KY says:

    @monkeyfister: Make sure you stop at the tobacco/liquor store & nerve clinic as you pass thru.

  63. 63
    Origuy says:

    While we’re on the subject of the Late Unpleasantness, Southern apologists like to defame Lincoln by pointing out that he suspended habeas corpus. Well, as Lt Col Bateman points out, Jefferson Davis did too.

  64. 64
    ftoad says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I’ve been transplanted to this part of the country from Colorado. Regarding insults to white southern culture, there’s nothing to be fucking proud of . . . having been to virtually every state in the Union (and I now have been to every one of the southern states several times over), the reason people make fun of the South is because it IS an impoverished backwater of America. It looks like our nation’s slums. The towns and cities of the South are generally more dilapidated, dirtier, seedier, and full of desperation, poverty, and neglect. The institutionalized poverty that racism causes is a blight on the South and the country. The only place I’ve seen outside of it that compares is Gary, Indiana. And Indiana is as red as the rest of the South, so it’s not really a good comparison.

    Having lived here for the better part of 20 years I am completely insensitive to the “fee-fees” of the white southerner who makes this mess around himself and then complains about it. Things are getting better by jumps and starts, and I think the shock to the system that is causing so much right-wing despair around this country is that these regions of the nation, often 20 years behind their northern or western neighbors, either need to modernize or go the way of the Amish. They know it, and for example Kentucky now that they’ve gotten over their delusion of electing Republicans are modernizing their state pretty rapidly. New transportation lines, a fucking BRIDGE actually getting built in Louisville after 30 years of dicking around, KYNECT, and so forth.

    As these little islands of modernity begin to appear in the South I think the wastrel, dying, failed white supremacist social order will finish collapsing completely. Not before a few bitter old men go out and gun down some innocent kids, I fear. They seem to be determined to go “down” swinging.

  65. 65
    slippytoad says:

    I have no idea what happened to make me “ftoad” but I swear I am not trying to make a sock puppet. That’s like the worst sock-puppet name ever.

  66. 66
    slippytoad says:

    @Cervantes:

    It is astounding how savage the Confederacy was, and how low it made people become.

    Ugh, what a shitstain on our history.

  67. 67
    So the story goes. says:

    This is why piss-ignorant bigots like yutsano, tim f, john cole, all of the piss ignorant bigots who’ve found a.home at Balloon Juice get away with so much.members of outgroups don’t expect justice from inner circle types, expecially those with personal demons and histories of predation. victims have to move on or go insane. The predators always have resources cultivated to cover their asses in case they are called into question. Our culture is biased towards power, and most people’s worst mistake is transporting their sense of who is the aggressor and who is the victim into contexts in which the power has been shifted or is concentrated in different quantities. The instinct to correct injustice is a fine one. However,as the specific power structure of the time and place becomes less exact, to the point of reaching mere simulacra, and the aggressors and victims become proxies as well, it is incumbent upon anyone with a taste for vigilante justice or social correction to do the work to make sure their actions are both justifiable in concrete terms and as symbolic amelioration of historic grievance. This is why this blog and all who participate in it suck. None of you are bright enough nor cautious enough to act, nor do you care to admit the imperfect affectations you ascribe as truth and justice.

  68. 68

    But … but … RACISM IS OVER!!!!

    Yeah this story didn’t get nearly the attention it should have in Tennessee.

  69. 69
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @tybee:

    You mean this flag?

  70. 70
    greennotGreen says:

    @Brian R.: “But let’s not paint the whole state with his dipshittery.”

    Thank you.

    Living in Nashville, I often wonder how we ended up with the batshit insane legislature we have. I guess people like William Sewell are part of the answer. Nashville passed a sexual preference non-discrimination act, but the state legislature nullified it. (The old “We won’t allow anyone to be less bigoted than we are” principle.)

  71. 71
    Paul in KY says:

    @So the story goes.: Yup, that’s why we are celebrating that POS down in TN.

    Need some commas and other stuff in your screed, BTW.

  72. 72
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @tybee:

    Georgia’s previous state flag (the one flown from 1956 to 2001) was adopted specifically as a symbol of resistance to segregation. It features the Confederate Battle Flag at the fly. The current one strongly resembles the Confederate “Stars and Bars” flag.

  73. 73
    monkeyfister says:

    @Paul in KY: My personal view is that Grant should not have accepted the surrender at Appomattox. He should have wiped the entire Confederate South clean– all of them. Finished it properly.

  74. 74
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @So the story goes.:

    Wow, Several paragraphs of derp jammed into one!

  75. 75
    monkeyfister says:

    @Paul in KY: Fort Pillow is about 10 miles north of me. Glad to see it ruins. I piss on it every time I go up there to fish the Lower Hatchee.

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Is that derf or mcl.? There seem to be elements of each.

  77. 77
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @monkeyfister:

    That’s what W. Tecumseh Sherman (my personal hero) wanted to do.

    Fuck the Southern Christian Fascists. Should have finished them off then.

  78. 78
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @monkeyfister:

    Sherman let his humanitarian impulses get in the way during the march from Atlanta to the sea.

  79. 79
    monkeyfister says:

    @A Ghost To Most: If I only had a Time Machine…

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Paragraph breaks are good, too.

  81. 81
    greennotGreen says:

    I lay at least some of the current intransigence on the part of many Southerners at the feet of our poor educations. Well, I actually had a pretty good education in the South except for high school history where in the 1960s we were taught that the War Between the States (really!) was primarily based on economic colonialism by the North. However, when I much later took American history in college (again, in the South) and went back to original accounts, it quickly became obvious that the leaders of the South around the Civil War were, what’s that term? – bugfugging nuts! And their intellectual descendants now populate our legislatures, having been put there by the descendants of the cannon fodder who died by the millions to protect the wealth and privilege of the few.

    Oh, God, I think I’m having deja vu.

  82. 82
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @beltane: At least he was a magnificent bastard.

  83. 83
    Yatsuno says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Honestly can’t tell. I haven’t been called a bigot in a long time. Probably because I try working on my prejudices instead of ignoring them. But I like how I got called out first. That kinda screams Durf sockpuppet.

  84. 84
    Cervantes says:

    @slippytoad:

    It is astounding how savage the Confederacy was, and how low it made people become.

    The incident depicted in that paragraph occurred in 1899.

  85. 85
    Ruckus says:

    @Yatsuno:
    I see the microsoft random word generator has been released. I understand that this is the alpha version, much work remains.

  86. 86
    Citizen_X says:

    @So the story goes.:

    it is incumbent upon anyone with a taste for vigilante justice or social correction

    Um, just, uh, by the way, you don’t happen to have a large collection of firearms, do you? Or a large amount of fertilizer? (And did you trade all your punctuation for this stuff?)

  87. 87
    feebog says:

    @So the story goes.:

    needs moar righteous indignation.

  88. 88
    Cervantes says:

    @slippytoad:

    for example Kentucky now that they’ve gotten over their delusion of electing Republicans are modernizing their state pretty rapidly. New transportation lines, a fucking BRIDGE actually getting built in Louisville after 30 years of dicking around, KYNECT, and so forth.

    Good signs — thanks.

    Let’s do what we can to encourage positive change.

  89. 89
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Cervantes: And is almost exactly the same as a 1911 incident in Coatesville, Pennsylvania that led to better anti-lynching laws.

  90. 90
    Paul in KY says:

    @monkeyfister: As long as the CINC was fine with that & had approved, etc.

  91. 91
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: That was the ‘other stuff’ ;-)

  92. 92
    Paul in KY says:

    @Citizen_X: It traded it’s punctuation for a bag of magic beans.

  93. 93
    Walker says:

    This is some seriously racist stuff. However, these comment threads always devolve in South basing.

    I grew up in TN/NC. I have neighbors near my home outside of Ithaca, NY, that bastion of upstate liberalism, that are just this racist.

    I have never seen any evidence that the North/Midwest/SouthWest/whatever is less racist than the south. They might be less in your face with it. But not less racist.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Walker:

    I have never seen any evidence that the North/Midwest/SouthWest/whatever is less racist than the south. They might be less in your face with it. But not less racist.

    As far as I’ve been able to tell, the difference is that it’s been institutionalized in the South. I guarantee you that in California or Illinois, a state official who said shit like that to citizens would have been fired years ago. There is not the same institutional support for open racism in the north and west that there is in the south.

    That doesn’t mean there’s no racism. It just means that you can’t do that shit in public and expect to get away with it.

  95. 95
    redoubt says:

    @Cervantes: By Union Quartemaster General Montgomery Meigs, who lost his oldest son thanks to the Army of Northern Virginia.

  96. 96
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think there’s a slight difference, not in how racist they are, but in how much importance they place on racism. No one outside of the South ever started a four-year-long war to preserve its racial institutions, or carried states on a third party platform based on literally nothing but “segregation now, segregation forever.”

    What impresses me about Southern history is not the racism, it’s the degree to which they’re willing to die on that hill.

  97. 97
    Kay says:

    @Walker:

    I have never seen any evidence that the North/Midwest/SouthWest/whatever is less racist than the south.

    I agree, but that was never the claim, historically anyway, and, I would argue, also in the present day. The claim was there was more state-sanctioned bigotry in the south- “under the color of law”. For whatever reason, this “public servant” felt like it was okay to threaten these people so they’d drop their complaint.

  98. 98
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Walker: There is racism everywhere, but anyone who can’t see today’s regional differences is deliberately trying not to.

  99. 99
    Trollhattan says:

    Maybe I can’t top it, but I’ll offer up one Jack Bidwell for Southern Butthurt Victim of the Day. Proceed, Mr. Bidwell.

    A new Georgia license plate featuring a large Confederate battle flag has ignited a controversy in the state — but its designer thinks the whole thing’s overblown.

    “What’s the big deal?” asks Jack Bridwell, the state commander of the Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the designer of the specialty plates that benefit his organization. “If I offend anyone, I don’t understand why because we had the emblem on there for years.”

    Georgia has offered a Sons of Confederate Veterans-backed license plate with an image of the Confederate flag since 2003. But a recent change in the state’s manufacturing process from embossed images to digital stickers necessitated a redesign. With it came renewed attention — and a fresh round of criticism.

    “To display this is reprehensible,” Southern Christian Leadership Conference spokesman Maynard Eaton told the Associated Press. “We don’t have license plates saying ‘Black Power.’”

    The Confederate flag is an especially charged symbol in the South, representing a legacy of racism, injustice and oppression to many while held up as an important emblem of heritage by others.

    Nine states – Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia – offer Sons of Confederate license plates featuring a version of the Confederate flag. Proposed plates in Florida, Kentucky and Texas have been rejected. In 2011, the board of the Texas DMV unanimously rejected a Confederate plate after hearing hours of testimony from opponents who believe the flag perpetuates racism. The Sons of Confederate veterans sued over the decision and the case remains in the courts.

    TIME.com http://nation.time.com/2014/02.....z2tywbN4Ye

  100. 100
    Trollhattan says:

    @So the story goes.:

    Gosh, it’s like B.O.B. without punctuation or lesbians. Or nouns.

  101. 101
    Ksmiami says:

    @A Ghost To Most: next time we nuke them and build a wall

  102. 102
    Ian says:

    @gene108:
    I don’t think its the confederate generals problem, I think its the founder of the KKK problem.

  103. 103
    Ian says:

    @Face:
    Completely legal for all of 20 minutes until it gets a federal injunction for violating the 14th amendment

  104. 104
    Gex says:

    @Walker: And these threads also have defenses of the south as well as finger pointing to other regions. But feel free to tar us all with your “south bashers” complaints.

  105. 105
    brantl says:

    @So the story goes.:

    anyone with a taste for vigilante justice or social correction to do the work to make sure their actions are both justifiable in concrete terms and as symbolic amelioration of historic grievance.

    Symbolic justice?Just what sort of idiot are you? Don’t mistake me, I can tell for certain your an idiot, I’m just confused about the specific flavor. Poltroon!

  106. 106
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Trollhattan:

    California’s vanity plates? No Confederate flags on our state-supported license plates.

  107. 107

    @Walker:
    I have lived in the South most of my life, in several places that were mostly the nicer spots. I grew up surrounded by hate, less racism and more a culture that loves to hurt people. I have lived outside the South just enough to know that it’s definitely not universal. I am going to bash the living Hell out of Southern culture every chance I get. I have certainly earned the right.

  108. 108
    Ruckus says:

    @Walker:
    I’ve lived in the south for a while. SC. I’ve traveled and worked a reasonable amount in most of the southern states. There is a difference. The culture is different. It may be changing (and it has a lot in the last 50 yrs. Of course it had a long way to go) but it is different. Are there pockets in probably every other state that are racist? Absolutely. Are there racist people everywhere? Absolutely. But as some have pointed out it was the south that went to war over it. It was the south that fought openly against ending their institutionalized racism for 100 yrs after they lost. It is the south(OK KS and AZ as well) that are still fighting and trying to impose laws based on racism. Maybe the south is not the only area that is racist, but show us anywhere else that is trying so hard to remain racist.

  109. 109
    patrick II says:

    The worst case of self “victim”hood I have ever heard was the drunk driver who, after leaving a bar, drove down a highway at night in the wrong lane. He had a head-on collision that killed an elderly couple in a car coming the other way. He sued their estate for damages because he thought they should have gotten out of the way.

    But this is pretty bad too.

  110. 110
    dww44 says:

    @gene108: You would be right. and, then there’s Ft. Gordon in Augusta, the army’s signal school. Dating back to its pre fort days during WWI, it’s named after John Brown Gordon, another Confederate general, but also subsequently a governor,and a Senator.

  111. 111
    Cervantes says:

    @Ruckus:

    Are there racist people everywhere? Absolutely. But as some have pointed out it was the south that went to war over it.

    I agree with the general point — but racism is not one color only, nor was it ever contained by the Confederate flag. For example, as you can see above, California offers license plates that celebrate Yosemite and Lake Tahoe — but just think of what happened there to the Ahwahneechee and the Washoe. Our racist history — institutionalized or otherwise — is hardly confined to the south.

  112. 112
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    Yes, because putting a picture of a national park on your car is just like putting the Confederate flag on your car. Yosemite sends the exact same message to passers-by as a Confederate flag.

    Come on. We both know you’re not that stupid. We’re not talking about racist history. We’re talking about racist symbols. Please show me where white supremacists use images of Yosemite and its landmarks as a triumphalist icon against Native Americans the way Southern states use the Confederate flag against African-Americans.

  113. 113
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    a culture that loves to hurt people

    This is the key. Not so much ni-CLANG bashing as just finding ways to be better than any of Those people. I’ve done my share of travel as well, and I’ve seen enough of this.

    The North and the Left Coast seem to fragment more tightly: French-Canadian don’t mix with Irish don’t mix with Italians don’t mix with Germans don’t mix with Slavs etc. I know several towns who segregate (loosely) based on which church one attends.

    But it’s nothing like the South – where different flavors of Baptist don’t associate, and where the elbows get awfully sharp awfully quick, and what populations aren’t busy keeping the Other down are busy staying on the grift: most business in FL, for example, seems dedicated to separating fools – especially old fools the elderly – from their money. And in each case there’s a palpable sense of spite involved in the process, as if there is an immense chip on the collective shoulder of that portion of society – a sensibility that pervades all ranks and social strata. Even the (local) 1%ers have this behavior. It’s train-wreck style fascinating to watch the same segments of society behave uncivilly toward wealthier parts of the country at the same time the seem to be doing their damnedest to stay poor and ignorant.

    I won’t willingly visit or transit a Southern state.

  114. 114
    El Cid says:

    He seems nice.

  115. 115
    dww44 says:

    @beltane: Well, I disagree. There is a significant difference between a General Rommel, no matter how noble he’s viewed by many in this country, and a confederate general who returned to the “fold” after the war. If the country returned citizenship rights to these former generals after the war, it serves no greater purpose to call them traitors 150 plus years later.

  116. 116
    Mnemosyne says:

    Though if we’re going to drag California history into things, the Huntington Library just finished a really interesting exhibition about Fr. Junipero Serra and the California mission system. I got to see it a couple of weeks before it closed and it was a really interesting way of telling the story, from Serra’s life in Spain to the mission system he founded, and then on through the collapse of the missions and the romanticization of Native American life (including photos of one of the stars of the “Ramona” pageant held in Hemet every year under her birth name of Jo Raquel Tejada — now better known as Raquel Welch).

  117. 117
    dww44 says:

    @Walker: Thank you, Walker. There’s lots of South bashing at this site of late and as a lifelong Southerner I don’t appreciate the tarring and feathering of all us with the same brush. After a number of decades of living, I’ve seen virulent racism from all sections of the country.

  118. 118
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @dww44:

    There is a significant difference between a General Rommel, no matter how noble he’s viewed by many in this country, and a confederate general who returned to the “fold” after the war. If the country returned citizenship rights to these former generals after the war, it serves no greater purpose to call them traitors 150 plus years later.

    You can call a whore a virgin but it doesn’t make her one. Fuckers were traitors and I spit on their graves.

  119. 119
    gian says:

    @dww44:
    Other than being true that they were treasonous bastards who shouldn’t have honored memories in the names of our military bases. .. The ones with the soldiers who swear some sort of oath to defend the nation from treasonous bastards. Mixed fucking message that

  120. 120
    Duane says:

    @Comrade Dread: wow you beat me to it, I thought it was about Zimmerman myself, I read the next paragraph. Which was my mistake because Zimmerman would have never admitted he made a mistake, he just killed a killed a kid and now he is the victim.

  121. 121
    Trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Lemme see–oh yeah, after establishing Yosemite National Park the US Cavalry was tasked with driving the shepherds, avec flocks, from the backcountry and the Basques are STILL pissed.

    Also, too, the whale plate continues to mock Sons of the Whalers. Not to be confused with the Wailers.

  122. 122
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Trollhattan:

    You don’t want to piss off the Basques. Those guys hold a grudge almost as long as the Irish.

    Though apparently if you ever find yourself in Bakersfield, the Wool Growers Restaurant is the place to try.

  123. 123
    opiejeanne says:

    @gene108: So is the Fort Bragg in California, but it was named for him in 1857.

  124. 124
    Ruckus says:

    @Cervantes:
    Thank you for making my point.
    That’s the reason I put that whole point in my comment. Very few areas are innocent of racism. Many southern whites risked all for the Underground Railroad. I know black racists, who hate Mexican people. We are not a homogenous society. We were never intended to be one because we were supposed to allow more than one idea and ideal and work together on the things that matter, health, food, shelter, survival, instead of bullshit nothings like where we were from or where we do or don’t go to church.
    But the south is still the only part of this country that banded together to wage war on behalf of slavery. Full Stop.

  125. 125
    opiejeanne says:

    @patrick II: I lost an uncle to a drunk driver and the drunk’s family sued my uncle’s family. This was in 1934 in California, probably San Diego.

  126. 126
    opiejeanne says:

    @Ruckus: When Zimmerman’s supporters tried to point out that he is a minority, proving what? That it’s not possible for him to be prejudiced against African Americans? I rolled my eyes so hard I thought they’d get stuck.

    I walked through Los Angeles’s Olvera Street in 2008 before the Democratic Convention and every single shop and booth had a sign supporting Hilary, and I’m pretty sure it was because she isn’t black.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ruckus:

    They were also the only part of the country to formally ban black people from voting and enforce it through terrorism, which was one of the many reasons for the Great Migration of the early 1900s.

  128. 128
    Chris says:

    Dead thread, but what the hell;

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I have lived in the South most of my life, in several places that were mostly the nicer spots. I grew up surrounded by hate, less racism and more a culture that loves to hurt people.

    Yep, that’s pretty much modern conservatism in a nutshell. A huge amount of it is racial, but even more basic is simply the urge to find out who’s lower than you on the totem pole, and then kick them when they’re down. The moment when a room full of conservative supporters gave a standing ovation to Ron Paul for saying that people without insurance should be left to die is the movement distilled to its purest essence.

    Ground zero is in the South, but it’s pretty much the definition of American conservatism everywhere nowadays.

    @boatboy_srq:

    The North and the Left Coast seem to fragment more tightly: French-Canadian don’t mix with Irish don’t mix with Italians don’t mix with Germans don’t mix with Slavs etc. I know several towns who segregate (loosely) based on which church one attends.

    I wonder if the fact that the North was more fragmented is the reason you never had the same kind of racial dynamics there that you did in most of the Southeast. The WASPs hated the Irish, the Irish hated the Italians, the Italians hated the Jews, and everyone hated the blacks – but with that many competing ethnicities, it’s harder for any one of them to impose itself. Especially true since Northern economics relied so much on immigration, which meant an ever increasing supply of non-WASPs.

    There used to be a Northern WASP form of identity politics that wasn’t all that different from its Southern counterpart (hence the spread of the KKK up there in the 1920s and after), but it never managed to impose its supremacy to the same degree that existed in the South. The scope of ethnic diversity and increasing number of “These People” probably had a lot to do with it.

    (Though, of course, there’s the legacy of slavery in one place and not in the other to consider too).

  129. 129
    JasperL says:

    @Ruckus:

    I almost think saying it was about ‘slavery’ understates the point a bit. They waged a war for white supremacy, of which slavery was a natural, divinely inspired result. I have lived all my life in the South, most of it in Tennessee, and the racists I’ve known don’t just ‘hate’ blacks, they believe in their core that blacks are an inferior race. That’s entirely different than the Italians hating the Jews, etc. or even Christianists hating homosexuals.

  130. 130
    Cervantes says:

    @Ruckus:

    Thank you for making my point.
    That’s the reason I put that whole point in my comment. Very few areas are innocent of racism. Many southern whites risked all for the Underground Railroad. I know black racists, who hate Mexican people.

    Yes, for what it’s worth I’d say you and I are operating on the same wave-length. Racism in the US is not only about slavery, not only about the Confederacy, not only about the South. American racism, institutional or individual, is everywhere, is in the very ground we stand on; and too many of its beneficiaries have their denial worked out quite comfortably.

    (One caveat about your last example: some people insist that “racism” involves the use of power; and from that vantage point, a person with no power cannot be “racist” — but then you have to think about relative powerlessness.)

    But the south is still the only part of this country that banded together to wage war on behalf of slavery. Full Stop.

    Yes, that’s true. (Earlier you had phrased it in terms of racism rather than slavery, which is why I used the comparison I did: entire populations of immigrants banded together to wage racist, genocidal wars against our indigenous peoples.)

    Thanks much for your thoughts.

  131. 131
    Cervantes says:

    @opiejeanne:

    I walked through Los Angeles’s Olvera Street in 2008 before the Democratic Convention and every single shop and booth had a sign supporting Hilary, and I’m pretty sure it was because she isn’t black.

    Why are you “pretty sure” of this? Did you try to talk to anyone there about it? What did they say?

  132. 132
    steverino says:

    @beltane:
    Opposite Fort Lee, in Manhattan, is/was Fort Washington. They were to defend the river. On the Jersey side is a historical park, and I see in Wikipedia there’s one in NY as well.

  133. 133
    steverino says:

    @Chris:

    The WASPs hated the Irish, the Irish hated the Italians, the Italians hated the Jews, and everyone hated the blacks

    National Brotherhood Week –Tom Lehrer

  134. 134
    dww44 says:

    @Bobby Thomson:And that comment makes you no better than the racist Southerners/generals, that you so malign.

  135. 135
    gian says:

    @Cervantes:

    way late to respond
    1) I stand corrected on Rommel

    2) I’m not in favor of such an experiment. it would be unethical. it would even be unethical to do it on the white population at large. However, I must conceed that if we linked it to proven white terrorists in the KKK some of the ethical issues are no longer paramount. But Milgrim’s experiment is considered not OK nowadays…

  136. 136
    gian says:

    @dww44:

    yeah, that’s totally the equivalent of actually getting people killed like generals do. I mean talking mean is the same as murderous intent, that and playing loud music, right?

    oops forgot to add, look at the thread title.
    to celebrate traitors who took up arms against the united states – especially when their cause was slavery (read the damn declarations of secession) – and to name bases where people who take an oath to defend the country against all foes, foreign and domestic, after treasonous bastards who killed Americans for slavery is an injustice.

  137. 137
  138. 138
    Cervantes says:

    @gian:

    2) I’m not in favor of such an experiment. it would be unethical. it would even be unethical to do it on the white population at large. However, I must conceed that if we linked it to proven white terrorists in the KKK some of the ethical issues are no longer paramount. But Milgrim’s experiment is considered not OK nowadays…

    Yes, I agree. (Mostly I was trying to suggest that the experiment had already been performed …)

  139. 139
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    @Cervantes: I agree with the general point — but racism is not one color only, nor was it ever contained by the Confederate flag. For example, as you can see above, California offers license plates that celebrate Yosemite and Lake Tahoe — but just think of what happened there to the Ahwahneechee and the Washoe. Our racist history — institutionalized or otherwise — is hardly confined to the south.

    Yes, because putting a picture of a national park on your car is just like putting the Confederate flag on your car. Yosemite sends the exact same message to passers-by as a Confederate flag. Come on. We both know you’re not that stupid. We’re not talking about racist history. We’re talking about racist symbols. Please show me where white supremacists use images of Yosemite and its landmarks as a triumphalist icon against Native Americans the way Southern states use the Confederate flag against African-Americans.

    (I’m just going to leave this here as a sort of monument.)

  140. 140
    Tehanu says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    There is not the same institutional support for open racism in the north and west that there is in the south.

    Exactly right. There are lots of really nice people in the South, and they’ve dismantled a lot of the old Jim Crow crap. But they have far too much respect for “tradition” and there are still far too many unreconstructed ignorami who spend all their time kicking and screaming about being dragged into the 18th century, never mind the 21st. Chris and Kay’s comments after yours are also dead on.

  141. 141
    Tehanu says:

    @dww44:
    FWIW, I’m on Bobby’s side. They WERE traitors who never for one moment actually believed in the principles that this country was supposedly founded on, that “all men are created equal” and the other noble rhetoric that is the main thing separating the USA from the blood-and-soil rationale of most places. Maybe the grunts, the foot soldiers and followers, were excusable. The leadership was not, and neither are their modern-day defenders.

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