Archive for Politics

Yale names college for bigot

YaleYes, Yale voted to retain the name of Calhoun College – named for  John C. Calhoun – this week. All the media attention was on that move, but Yale didn’t succumb to the revisionist trend that includes renaming things and tearing down statues.

However, Yale also announced that they had named two colleges at the same time. One of these was named for Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin, a Founding Father, appears on the $100 bill and is honored in numerous ways across the country – especially in Philadelphia. He had some opinions that could be considered just as controversial as the views of Calhoun that caused some to want to drop his name from a Yale college. My point is not to trash Franklin or move to remove from the $100 bill. I am just demonstrating the absurdity of the positions of revisionists and taking positions to their logical ends.

Franklin made a lot of comments about German immigrants coming to the American colonies during the 1700s. I had heard before he was concerned about Philadelphia becoming predominantly German-speaking and favored a push by some in the city to direct all the immigrants from Germany to go to the surrounding areas that are now the suburbs. When he was younger, he published a German-language newspaper that failed after a year.

Franklin thought Germans were stupid among other things:

“Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation…and as few of the English understand the German Language, and so cannot address them either from the Press or Pulpit, ’tis almost impossible to remove any prejudices they once entertain…Not being used to Liberty, they know not how to make a modest use of it…I remember when they modestly declined intermeddling in our Elections, but now they come in droves, and carry all before them, except in one or two Counties…In short unless the stream of their importation could be turned from this to other colonies, as you very judiciously propose, they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious.”

He also didn’t think Germans were white enough, calling them “swarthy”

Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the   English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as   to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our   Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.

24. Which leads me to add one Remark: That the Number of purely   white People in the World is proportionably very small. All Africa is   black or tawny. Asia chiefly tawny. America (exclusive of the new   Comers) wholly so. And in Europe, theSpaniards, Italians,   French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call   a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only   excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People   on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers were increased. And while   we are, as I may call it,Scouring our Planet, by clearing   America of Woods, and so making this Side of our Globe reflect a   brighter Light to the Eyes of Inhabitants in Mars or Venus, why should   we in the Sight of Superior Beings, darken its People? why increase the Sons of   Africa, by Planting them in America, where we have so fair an   Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and Tawneys, of increasing the lovely   White and Red? But perhaps I am partial to the Complexion of my Country, for   such Kind of Partiality is natural to Mankind.

As a descendant of some of these German immigrants who came to Pennsylvania before eventually ending up in North Carolina, I could take offense at this. I could demand Franklin be removed from the $100 bill and that his statue be upended everywhere, but I won’t.

I don’t believe in rewriting history and I think Yale did the right thing by not changing the name of Calhoun College. History is history, even with all its warts. You can’t learn from it if you totally blot it out.

Yale students upset about Franklin name

The New York Times reports that actual Yale students were actually upset about the Franklin naming:

Many students were perplexed by the selection of Franklin, who received an honorary degree from Yale. Franklin, like many other founding fathers, was once a slaveholder himself before he became involved in the abolitionist movement. Mr. Salovey explained that Franklin was a “personal hero and role model” of Charles B. Johnson, a businessman and Yale alumnus who donated $250 million to pay for the new buildings — the largest gift in the school’s history — and who suggested the honor.

Of course, the NYT didn’t have any quotes from all the Yale students interviewed about the Franklin name, so I’m not sure that there were that “many” who were “perplexed” by the move.

If these students were upset about a slaveholder (Franklin) who later became an abolitionist, then very few names of any white males prior to 1865 can be used as a name on Yale’s campus.

George Takei’s latest slur

George TakeiGeorge Takei’s latest racial/ethnic slur happened today on Facebook.

Earlier this afternoon I tweeted about a Facebook post made by George Takei. Please retweet it when you get the chance.

Specifically, here’s just the graphic he posted on Facebook this afternoon:

George Takei

The use of the term “gypped” is a slur against people of Romani origin, who are often called Gypsies. AP Style says the terms Gypsies and Roma be used to interchangeably to describe the ethnic groups.

You would think Takei would know better, but there appears to be a lot of ignorance and indifference about the usage of the term. If the Roma were a bigger ethnic group in the US, maybe there would be more awareness of the issue.

Takei is usually a pretty consistent advocate on issues of equality, whether it be because of his own captivity in a Japanese interment camp in the U.S. during World War II or his activism for gay “marriage.”

In fact, Takei changed it to the text below (an even worse pun) without updating the status itself to indicate it was changed. Instead he made a comment pleading ignorance buried in the thread on the status saying: “Oh myyy, that was not something I was aware of. Thanks for pointing it out. I certainly will keep it in mind.”

Generally the rule with blogs, newspaper articles, and social media is that you put any apologies and what was updated in the original post or status itself. Only if you’re trying to hide it do you react like George Takei did.

George Takei

George Takei’s Past Use of Racial Slurs

Takei’s strident activism on the same-sex “marriage” issue is what got him in trouble before.

Here’s a report in The Hill from July 2, 2015:

Actor and gay rights advocate George Takei is slamming Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after his dissent to last week’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide claimed that the government can neither give nor take away human dignity.

“He is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court. He gets me that angry,” the former “Star Trek” star said in an interview with Fox 10 this week in Phoenix, standing alongside his longtime partner and husband.

That same day The Federalist reported on Takei doubling down on his remarks and saying they weren’t racist. In his explanation, he compared Thomas to a black buffoon and said he was a traitor to his race.

Takei later apologized publicly for the original remarks.

What do  you think? Do you really think George Takei was ignorant of “gypped” being a slur? Do you find it hard to believe in light of his previous comments Clarence Thomas?

 

 

 

 

Baltimore Sun finally corrects Jack Mehoff story

Jack Mehoff Story

As I wrote before, The Baltimore Sun published a story quoting “Jack Mehoff” after reporter Ian Duncan fell hook, line, and sinker when interviewing a Donald Trump supporter at an event Wednesday night on the Eastern Shore. The Jack Mehoff story was published online at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday and remained untouched until midday today.

Today at 12:55 p.m., Duncan made the following tweet:

The Sun retweeted it shortly thereafter. I asked both Duncan and the Sun via Twitter if correction notice would be added to tomorrow’s print edition of the paper. So far, I have received no reply from either.

I received a response after this piece was posted via The Sun on Twitter:

If you look at the story you’ll see the line the original error was in changed just the last name from Mehoff to Morris:

Jack Mehoff Story

Here’s the text:

Jack Morris, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”

There was also a correction notice at the bottom of the story:

Jack Morris, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”

Here’s a screen capture:

Jack Morris - Pull

The time stamp at the top of the story still shows 10:44 p.m. on April 20.

How The Sun Screwed Up – Then fixed the Jack Mehoff Story

The prank was totally missed by the reporter Ian Duncan it seems. I noted yesterday his tweet following the attention the story got indicated he was totally fooled and maybe even that he didn’t care. Ultimately the fact that it appeared in the print edition, went viral online, and ended up being corrected is above his pay grade.

At least one editor let it slip through. As I asked on Twitter, did any editor even ask a question about the name?

Since then, there have been attempts to defend the fact that the name could have been real, citing phone listings. I noticed the phone listing research was flawed and showed what I found when I researched state judicial records (both civil and criminal.)

Tommy Christopher of Mediaite flat out said there would be no correction, based on his misreading of the Duncan tweet on Thursday.

I will be checking now to see if a correction appears in tomorrow’s print edition, assuming I get no reply to my queries with Duncan and The Sun.

I also wonder how they tracked down Jack Morris. I assume they verified his identity by requiring him to produce his driver’s license, passport, or another method of identification. If not, they should have after being burned once already. If they didn’t already have protocols in place for this kind of thing, I’d hope they learned from it this week enough to develop them.

The Sun’s former corrections and clarifications page on their site still shows their committment to transparency with a 404 Not Found error.

Multiple people were to blame including the reporter and his editor(s). I’m not sure how the process unfolded on their end, but it took them from 10:44 p.m. Wednesday until midday Friday to get it fixed. I’m not sure that is a short or a long period of time because they’ve been so silent on the issue. It’d be nice if they actually talked about how it happened and how they’re making sure it doesn’t happen again.

Anti-Trump Ad Airing in Baltimore

Anti-Trump

Earlier today, The Washington Post reported on a memo by an Anti-Trump Super PAC that will be airing ads in the Baltimore television market.

The group says in the memo that Trump has a “nearly impossible path” moving forward and counters Trump campaign talking points that he will have 1,400 delegates after the primaries and will win a first ballot nomination in Cleveland.

From the story:

In its Thursday analysis, Our Principles PAC calls the Trump campaign’s prediction “detached from reality.”

“In order to secure 1,400 delegates, he would have to win 82% of all remaining delegates, a task simply not possible for him or any candidate at this stage in the process,” the memorandum states. It goes on to detail how Trump faces many obstacles and that “there are dozens of viable and plausible outcomes that will leave Trump well short of the required 1,237 delegates.”

Looking ahead to the five primaries in the Northeast on April 26, sometimes called the “Acela Primary,” Our Principles PAC concedes that Trump is likely to have sweeping victories: “… our planning assumes Trump can win nearly all of the bound delegates without improving his very slim chances.”

Watch the Anti-Trump Ad

Read the Anti-Trump Memo

Here’s the Our Principles PAC memo:

TO: INTERESTED PARTIES

FROM: OUR PRINCIPLES PAC

SUBJECT: DELEGATE MATH UPDATE – NEW YORK REALITY CHECK

DATE: APRIL 21, 2016

Read More…

Baltimore Sun quotes “Jack Mehoff” in Trump story

Baltimore Sun

A friend in DC posted about a story from The Baltimore Sun on Facebook today.

Ian Duncan, a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, filed a story at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday night about the visit of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to the Eastern Shore yesterday.

From the story:

Jack Mehoff, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”

Here’s the screenshot from Duncan’s story if you don’t believe it (and for when they eventually change it – likely without an editor’s note):

jack mehoff

Mr. Mehoff – whatever his real name is – is identified as 19 years old in the story. It appears Duncan and his editors were fooled by a grade school prank worthy of Bart Simpson.

The Jack Mehoff name is all over Google and even has an Urban Dictionary entry. Black Sheep, a movie featuring the late great Chris Farley, even used this prank:

Bart Simpson made a habit of making prank calls to Moe’s Tavern on The Simpsons. Here are a few of his best examples:

The Baltimore Sun is not alone

There’s a Wikipedia entry on gag names that includes one of the most famous media pranks I remember. James Scott of the Charleston Post & Courier quoted a protester at the Master’s golf tournament in Augusta named “Heywood Jablome.” The protester was there counter-protesting Martha Burke’s protests over Augusta National’s lack of women members at the time. There are other examples in the Wikipedia entry.

Additionally, in 2013,  KTVU and USA Today were both pranked by someone calling himself “Jack Mehoff.”

Jack Mehoff 2

It’s one thing if a reporter falls for it, but it’s even more embarassing if it survives being edited. Despite the lateness of the hour this story did make the print edition today.