May 28th 2009 Thursday

geeky-images1Hour 1: Abu Ghraib rape photos, Judge Sonia Sotomayor and the economy.

Hour 2:  Should there be mandatory teaching of "gay tolerance" in our public schools? Thom challenges Susan Allen, Former First Lady of Virginia

Topic: "Torture goon squads at Gitmo, KBR still winning contracts" Thom talks with independent journalist Jeremy Scahill

Topic: "Geeky Science Rocks" our weekly update from the world of science


Mark (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

You'd be surprised by the kind of things that go on in schools. Otherwise forgettable Kent, WA made the news a few years ago when the NAACP sued the school district for allowing security guards to put plastic hand-cuffs on kids as young as six. The district superintendant commissioned a panel that included a African-American retired general, and the panel concluded that the practice should be stopped. But being a right-wing community, the superintendant, surprised that her hand-picked panel didn't support the practice, ignored its recommendations, and nothing came of the lawsuit.

Anyways, here I am off to a world that most people who listen to this show are unfamiliar with. I think it is a fair question to ask what constitutes “criminal” in regard to police officers. Sexual misconduct, or trashing a patrol car while hard partying is likely to land a cop in hot water. But not much else. Killing unarmed suspects certainly won’t do the job, or putting forty bullets into a man standing in a doorway, or beating an elderly man. Or, for that matter, chasing an innocent man, and “pushing” his head “within acceptable limits” into concrete, causing critical brain injury. This latter occurred recently in Seattle, where a sheriff’s deputy was found not conducting criminal behavior in doing to the wrong “suspect” what witnesses said sounded like the crack of a baseball and bat.

Richard Nixon told David Frost that if the president does it, it’s not against the law. Police operate on the same principle. The police are not merely enforcers of the law, but they believe they are the law—nay they respect no law. All-white inquest juries have repeatedly told them that they are above the law, a law unto themselves. In fact there is no law that cops respect, other than their “right” to act as arbitrarily as the wish. And who is to blame? You, and you, and you, because anything is justified to protect you from “them.”

People have this idea that the state of Washington is “progressive,” but that is a matter of semantics. King County, regarded as the most liberal, is generally Republican country outside of Seattle. Kent is one of these places. It’s practically an armed police camp, with their “volunteer” police (usually blond-haired Arian-Nordic white women), and unmarked police cars that light-up like Christmas trees and sound like coyotes in heat. More people expire per-capita by “death by police” that any other state-wide community, according to a cement-filled coffee can sitting on the sidewalk placed by a lonely activists, holding a small cross and a poster. The poster depicts headshots of two dozen people, accompanied by the words "Murdered by KPD" and "Stolen Lives." All but two or three are minorities.

There is a shopping area with yuppie-type hang-outs called Kent Station. It’s located in a low-to-lower middle class neighborhood, which explains why 1940s and 50s big band music is constantly blaring (“keep out” is the subliminal message). I never go there, until I used a public restroom recently, A security guard followed me in, inspired by the usual paranoia of these guys toward minorities, and he proceeded to look into every nook and cranny in an effort to intimidate me into leaving before I was ready. I told him I wasn’t impressed. He asked what I wasn’t impressed about. I told him I wasn’t impressed by his attempt to intimidate me. He asked me how long I would be there, and I told him I would be leaving shortly to go to work; he told me he’d wait until I left, and stood rather unmanfully close to me. I was angered by this behavior, and decided not hang around any longer. He then told me to leave the premises. I had no intention to stay, since I had to go back to the bus station and catch an 8:30 bus, but this security guard prejudicially-inspired actions upset me further. What had I done wrong? What crime had I committed? For what reason the bullying? Because I look like a “Mexican.”

I decided I wasn’t going to take this, accept sitting down, so I sat on a near-by bench. Henry David Thoreau preached civil disobedience, and civil rights activist Rep. was arrested for it in Sudan the other day protesting the genocide in Darfur. I decided to do my own sit-in protest for my rights as a human being. The guard summoned the Kent police, who essentially rubber-stamped his prejudicial behavior. One of police officers proceeded to (or pretended to) write a ticket, and informed me that I was not allowed on the premises for a year, or else I would be charged with criminal trespass.

This is the world I live in. I have no illusions about it.

Mark (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Lisa Birnbach, filling in for Ron Reagan, devoted much of her show Wednesday on the Sonia Sotomayor nomination, which ended-up being a sickening parade of callers who—following the lead of Newt Gingrich, Glen Beck and others—referred to her as a “racist.” The basis of this assertion was Sotomayer’s admission that as a Latina, she had experiences that white males (like Scalia, Alito and Roberts) did not share. This is merely stating a simple fact, but it is perfectly “understandable” why people like Gingrich—whose own state Georgia was the center of a Southern Poverty Law Center report on its abuse of Latino immigrants—might feel the way they do. Not all Republicans feel they need the support of Latino voters, especially given the fact that their constituencies tend to be virulently anti-Latino. Many have also made use of anti-Latino sentiment and scapegoating as a tool to divert their constituency’s attention from other issues.

There is no getting around the virulence and hypocrisy of those who oppose Sotomayor’s nomination based simply on her race. I see the prejudice and stereotyping all around me in the way many people consciously and subconsciously react when they encounter a Latino, prejudices reinforced by the media and the highly subjective nature of the “facts” it chooses to disclose, which skews toward the negative. The bottom line is that those who oppose Sotomayor because of her “racism” are in fact revealing the fact of their own racism; whenever I hear someone say that they judge people of other races by the “content of their character” I ask myself “How would they know what it is if they don’t even bother to find out?” These people don’t want someone on the Supreme Court who directly contradicts what's in their own mind's dark place.

edward capo (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Boy KBR still doing well....have no fear....Obama & Holder are on top of it, LOLOLOL...I bet the former Vice Pres is making good money on those stocks options he has. The Oddity Of Hope...Imperial Occupations with out end called WAR. A TV EYE MORE THAN WILLING TO PLAY ALONG..... US economic hit men and global speculators bleeding humanity. Troops being forced to do endless tours, Troops killing themselves in great numbers because they know this whole thing is BULL...they have been given no way out while we all try not to watch what is really going on. George Bush and all his people new once they opened this can of worms no-one would have the courage to stop the occupations maturation. Yet executive power trumps the origins of the founding of this country. I guess my vote was again for the Lesser Of Two Evils. "Two Party Trap" I hope the Justice Department does its job. Millions are dead and lives ruined so these IVY League Ruling Class Kings Can Have There Way.

Quark (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago


What a powerful description of events in your life. So much in peoples' lives is governed by fear, reinforced by those who crave power. I have often thought that our relationships (as humans) with each other might be so different if we were disembodied spirits not influenced by race, gender, status or other distracting influences. But, I also believe that we are here on earth to learn.

Here is one person (of many, for example) from whose beliefs I try to learn and understand and, if I'm lucky, I may even model --- the late Bruce Lee. Lee was a philosophy major in college. When he came to the U.S. from China, he encountered SO much prejudice. When asked about how he dealt with poor treatment he said he becomes like water --- water is resilient and becomes whatever shape it is poured into, but always stays itself. He said if he didn't do this, he wouldn't be Bruce Lee! Here are some of his thoughts which you might find interesting:


Be Water original

When we experience injustice, we have so many choices concerning how we deal with it. Whether or not they will be effective is often not known until later. But we still make a choice.

I am not critiquing your experiences. Please forgive me if I sound that way. I am only trying to share some of my thinking in MY life. Life experience is meted out so unevenly (or, one might say unfairly across the human "family.")

You sound like a remarkable person with a lot to offer this world.

KMH (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

So lets keep our kids as innocent as possible and them give them jobs in our fabricated wars.

KMH (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

So your kids are not seeing breast cancer on the internet?

Quark (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago


Can you give me a quick primer on how to insert a photo along with your posts?

Richard Adlof (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

When folk lived on farging farms these conversations were less necessary . . . Cuz they saw it daily.

Hell, diaper changing was banded in Ventura County, CA at one time becuase the teenager in Home Ec class might see the genitilia of the bratling being diapered . . .

This is insane.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Ooops . . . 'banded 'shoulda been 'banned.'

Bad fingers. Bad. Bad.

AZAFVET (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Those who object the most to the idea of homosexually can't get past the mechanical aspects of coupling rather than the affection and love that is all about.
Many older straight people never have sex when the marry late in life. It's the companionship that they desire.

Tim From Los Angeles (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Thom, I know the term "Democrat Party" is one of your pet peeves, but maybe the Republicans who do call our party the Democrat party are the byproducts of No Child Left Behind?

English 101:

"Democratic Party" is a proper noun and any other such term is wrong. If the term "Democratic Party" were not a proper noun, the grammatical usage of the term "democrat party" would be correct, e.g. "shoe store," "school bus," "peace movement," "Senate election," etc. An argument in favor of the usage of "democrat party" is that Americans commonly speak of "the Iraq war" rather than "the Iraqi war" but the term as a proper noun has not yet been thoroughly determined. If the term "Iraq War" were to become a proper noun, it would be correct, but otherwise, would need to be "the War in Iraq" or else "the Iraqi War."

Or maybe the Republicans are just stupid?

mathboy (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Susan Allen said she wants kids to remain innocent as long as possible. But as with your immune system, lack of experience here can be dangerous. I remember not being innocent at age 6. At that age, my friends and I discussed where babies come from, etc. Mrs. Allen mentioned not wanting children to be aware of divorce until necessary (i.e. until it happens to them). My parents divorced when I was 7 and my troubles weren't compounded by having to ask what divorce was.

When I think back on my school education, I realize that, ironically, it was very dumbed down, because adults tend to underestimate how much kids can handle.

KMH (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Why do not people understand being gay within the context of transitory genes / evolutions- serving ancillary functions for the survival of all. For example, someone wants to commit suicide, but they sit down with Uncle Ed and his partner Bob- have a great mind expanding conversation, and continue with life.

KMH (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Per Bruce Bagemihl, Ph.D., biologist and researcher who has served on the faculty of the University of British Columbia,” Homosexuality in its myriad forms has been scientifically documented in more than 450 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and other animals worldwide.”

brian a. hayes (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

what is this gog and magog stuff that they say bush believes in?

Mena Sprague (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

My cousin was at a City Hall meeting in Colorado Springs with Focus on the Family members also there. The FOF people were saying being gay is a choice plus derogatory messages about glbt people. My cousin stood up and said listen to what you are saying about me. Now why on earth would anyone choose to be gay?

frankthliberal (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

One is born gay or straight, being an evangelical Christian is a lifestyle choice

brian a. hayes (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

my son is 11 at nine he learned from classmates about what being gay is. i took it upon myselve to teach him to have respect for all people. that people that are gay are no diferent than anyone else. i talk to him as i would talk to anyone else. children learn from thier parents actions , words and deeds. if are children maybe gay from are actions they will feel its ok. if we are negaive about it our children will not open their lives to us. what are people afraid of.

Making Progress (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Once again Thom hit the nail on the head when he itemized the multiple precedents of looking the other way. Obama is a moderate, and as such he will always differ to precedent unless he has no other choice and there has always been a double standard for the ruling class.
A majority of Americans are already on intellectual overload trying to understand the economic crisis and can’t begin to fathom human rights issues unless someone is violating theirs.

B Roll (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago


The United States would have to totally change to do what Greg Mortenson did, and the reason is very simple. The United States bases its foreign policy, including foreign aid, on what will benefit the economic ruling elite of this country. Helping poor people in other lands is only important if it advances the cause of those economic and political elites.

If it were otherwise, U.S. foreign aid wouldn't be heavily weighted towards military aid. If the United States was interested in helping the people of other lands, it wouldn't use the World Band and the International Monetary Fund to force poorer countries to cut back on social programs in favor of the kinds of projects that John Perkins described in "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man".

You said that what Mortenson does turns people into "allies" of the United States. Knowing what you do about the objectives of American foreign policy, can you truthfully say that would be a good thing? It appears that you do, because you often say that, even though you have to know that the policies of the American government, for the most part, aren't planned for the betterment of the people of other countries. In fact, they're not even designed to improve the lives of the people of this country.

Unfortunately, you seem to cling to the idea that "we're supposed to be the good guys." I'd say that everyone is supposed to be the good guys. Americans like to believe that we are the good guys. But we have a long history that shows that it isn't the case, no matter how good it makes you feel to believe it.

Think Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the war against Mexico that ended in the theft of 40-50% of the land of that country and support of its corrupt government, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, support of the apartheid government of South Africa, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo and years of support for the corrupt dictator Mobuto Sese Seko… on and on and on. Some good guys, huh!

Drew (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Obama is really adding up to zero for me. First he's up 2 points, then down 2 points. It's not the worst case scenario at least, and in a way, his actions(take not wanting to pursue the Bush crimes for example)are quite revealing about how politics really work. He is too smart to not be aware of his actions and their results.
His pick for a supreme court seat is irrelevant to me because his administration has done nothing about the injustices of the Bush administration within the legal and court systems. The Don Siegelman case is a perfect example. Obama is ready and willing to sacrifice on the left to gain from the right so we end up in the middle. This is disappointing to me because it makes it easier to drag us to the right in the future.

KMH (not verified) 15 years 3 weeks ago

Hey- I am with Louis the Truck Driver. In addition to the list you ran off today, yesterday I am heard reports that Obama is buidling some embassy the size of Bush's in Iraq- in Pakistan???

Can you de bunk? I hope this can be debunked, I have not the time to run this down.

Great job with David- listen to how ill informed and or misinformed these people are.!

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