Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

Things that change when the truth becomes known:

1) The NAACP retracts their original damning statement regarding Shirley Sherrod:

With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA Official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias.

Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans.

The fact is Ms. Sherrod did help the white farmers mentioned in her speech. They personally credit her with helping to save their family farm.

Moreover, this incident and the lesson it prompted occurred more that 20 years before she went to work for USDA.

Finally, she was sharing this account as part of a story of transformation and redemption.

The USDA, who stood firmly by their resignation request and acceptance is now saying, "Of course we'll review it."

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said early Wednesday that he will review the case of a former Agriculture Department official who resigned after a video clip surfaced of her discussing a white farmer.

"I am, of course, willing and will conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the American people we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner," Vilsack said in a statement.

Even Glenn Beck who was one of the first to shout "Off with her head," is now playing magician and magically erasing not only his involvement in spreading "the news" but also absolving Andrew Breitbart, FOXNews and all of it's assorted front men of any culpability by laying all of the blame firmly where he thinks it belongs - on The White House.

Glenn Beck devoted the first twenty minutes of this evening's Fox News program to attacking the Obama administration for their response to the release yesterday of heavily-edited clips a speech then-USDA official Shirley Sherrod gave. Beck savaged them for not waiting to see the full context of her comments before attacking her, saying that it appeared that she was discussing a "turning point," and said that she shouldn't have been fired.

But Beck -- while claiming that "Context matters" -- somehow manages to erase Andrew Breitbart and Fox News from the creation of that image.

All Beck says about Breitbart is that he's "trying to get the full video." In fact, it was Breitbart, without having that full video (the "context" that "matters") who originally posted the clip, claiming that it was "video evidence of racism" by Sherrod, and illustrating his post with an actual "race" card. Breitbart called her a racist without knowing the context of her statements, and has subsequently said that the context doesn't matter, that what he saw in the clip is sufficient to support his claims. Beck doesn't mention that -- in fact, he actively suggests the opposite is true, that Breitbart is engaging in responsible journalism.

Beck does not mention Fox's own horrendous coverage, which certainly did not wait for "context" before declaring Sherrod a racist.'s first report on Sherrod -- the first mainstream report on her speech -- gave no indication that her comment might have been taken out of context. It reported that Fox was "seeking a response from both the NAACP and the USDA," but not that they had attempted to find the full version of the tape or contact Sherrod herself. In the network's first coverage of the comments, Bill O'Reilly said they were "simply unacceptable" and called on Sherrod to "resign immediately." Newt Gingrich said that her comments indicated a "viciously racist attitude," Sean Hannity called them "racially charged," and the Fox and Friends co-hosts agreed they were "Exhibit A" of "what racism looks like."

Sue 'em all, Shirley, sue 'em all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Shirley Sherrod Update #1

More information coming forth:

The NAACP had the following statement issued by Ben Jealous on their website:

"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."

That statement has now been removed - which is good since she didn't "abuse her power" in her "position at USDA," and if Mr. Jealous had not jumped the gun and done exactly as those manipulating the news wanted him to do, he would have realized that by the remark "right after Chapter 12 for farmers."

It looks as though everyone from the president on down might need to say they're sorry right along with Mr. Jealous.

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.

Sherrod is also saying that she and the white farmer she referred to in the video, Roger Spooner, became friends. Apparently this is so because Spooner's wife, Eloise, confirmed to CNN that she and her husband considered Sherrod friends.

"She helped us save our farm by getting in there and doing everything she could do," Eloise Spooner said. "They haven't treated her right."

Sherrod said she told the story to make the point that at the time she thought that white farmers had the advantages because of their race but she learned that was not the case.

"The point was to get them to understand that we need to look beyond race," Sherrod said.

There's more worth reading here, in The Washington Post.

CNN has also just announced that The NAACP has issued a statement saying they are now conducting an investigation into the matter - and after speaking to Shirley Sherrod, the farmer in question and after viewing the entire video they will issue another statement.

Which means they never even bothered to contact either of those people before publicly condemning Ms. Sherrod.

Nor did The White House apparently.


Shirley Sherrod Video Edited?

I'm trying to find more information on this story but it's either not there or it's slow coming......

There's enough available, however, to mention here, especially since it doesn't seen to be being mentioned anyplace else.

We've all seen the FoxNews, Andrew Breitbart video of Shirley making her speech to the NAACP dated March 27th. We've all heard that she's resigned her position and her resignation has been accepted. We've all read that The NAACP has condemned her actions.

What we're not hearing much about is the fact that in the video Shirley states that this white farmer incident took place shortly after Chapter 12 was established for farmers. Chapter 12 for farmers was established in 1986. In 1986, Ms. Sherrod worked for The New Communities Black Farm Coop in Georgia - she was not employeed by the government in any way at that time. It also means that the white farmer in question came to a black organization for help - 24 years ago - in a different racial climate and a different time. It's not unreasonable to believe that the farmer in question was not associated with the black coop and thus not eligible for help from the coop which Shirley worked with.

What's more, in a telephone interview with Ms. Sherrod this morning, The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that Ms. Sharrod told them the following:

Sherrod said what online viewers weren't told in reports posted throughout the day Monday was that the tale she told at the banquet 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.

Sherrod said the short video clip excluded the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with the farmer and his wife.

"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."

The AJC is trying to recover the full video footage of Sherrod's speech to the Douglas NAACP.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Flip That Room - By Joe












Thursday, July 01, 2010

Tilt-A-Whirl - Journal of Repeating Poetry

New journal out today - brought to you courtesy of Kate Benedict, who's also the editor/publisher of Umbrella.

This one is called Tilt-A-Whirl and deals strictly in repeating-formal poetry.

And I is in the premiere issue with one of my all time wacky, twist-around-come-back-and-bite-you-in-the-ass favorite forms The Rodeau.