ARISTOTLE’S ERROR: Digby seems to embellish a tad!

WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 2014

Part 2—The liberal world and its values: Are we so-called human beings really “the rational animal?”

No exactly, no. Consider what happened in Atlanta.

As has been widely reported, a major cheating scandal occurred within the Atlanta Public Schools during the past decade. In the current New Yorker, Rachel Aviv offers a harrowing, detailed look at the way this massive fraud went down in Atlanta’s Parks Middle School.

Aviv’s report is detailed, harrowing. That said, you almost have to laugh at the way it starts:
AVIV (7/21/14): One afternoon in the spring of 2006, Damany Lewis, a math teacher at Parks Middle School, in Atlanta, unlocked the room where standardized tests were kept. It was the week before his students took the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, which determined whether schools in Georgia had met federal standards of achievement. The tests were wrapped in cellophane and stacked in cardboard boxes. Lewis, a slim twenty-nine-year-old with dreadlocks, contemplated opening the test with scissors, but he thought his cut marks would be too obvious. Instead, he left the school, walked to the corner store, and bought a razor blade. When he returned, he slit open the cellophane and gently pulled a test book from its wrapping. Then he used a lighter to warm the razor, which he wedged under the adhesive sealing the booklet, and peeled back the tab.

He photocopied the math, reading, and language-arts sections—the subjects that would determine, under the No Child Left Behind guidelines, whether Parks would be classified as a “school in need of improvement” for the sixth year in a row. Unless fifty-eight per cent of students passed the math portion of the test and sixty-seven per cent passed in language arts, the state could shut down the school. Lewis put on gloves, to prevent oil from his hands from leaving a residue on the plastic, and then used his lighter to melt the edges of the cellophane together, so that it appeared as if the package had never been opened. He gave the reading and language-arts sections to two teachers he trusted and took the math section home.
After carefully executing a series of fraudulent acts, Lewis “gave the reading and language-arts sections to two teachers he trusted!”

The opening to Aviv’s report doesn’t exactly make sense. As she continues, she seems to be portraying Lewis as a bit of an innocent—as a guy who stole those tests out of curiosity, without nefarious intent.

Within a week, though, Lewis is in the testing office, erasing wrong answers on students’ answer sheets, apparently at the direction of the school’s principal. “I couldn’t believe what we’d been reduced to,” Lewis is quoted saying—one week after he had engaged in the theft of those tests.

Whatever! From there, Aviv describes a Shakespearean progression of increasingly fraudulent conduct. This seems to have started in 2005, when Parks’ new principal—convinced that Parks’ elementary-level feeder schools were cheating on their tests—decided to adopt two procedures he had heard about at those schools.

(Providing test questions to teachers in advance. Changing incorrect answers on students’ answer sheets.)

Over the next few years, Parks Middle began producing marvelous test scores. As if in a tale by Lewis Carroll, Lewis and others were even flown to D.C. at one point to receive an award for greatness from Arne Duncan himself.

Most of this doesn’t mean that Aristotle erred. But we thought of Aristotle’s description when we read this embarrassing passage in Aviv’s report:
AVIV: A 2007 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, titled “Beating the Odds at Atlanta’s Parks Middle School,” attributed its unlikely progress, in part, to its “relentless focus on data.” The report noted that Waller kept an index card in his pocket listing all the school’s achievements, which he read aloud to parents and students. “Even the kids know their data,” Waller said. Kiel, the testing coordinator, told the foundation that data is a “passion, it’s a love, because it tells the truth: it’s not what I think—and what I feel, and what ought to be, and how I perceive it—but how it actually is.”
Good God! By the year 2007, possible cheating on standardized tests had been an issue for a very long time. Despite that fact, the “educational experts” at the Casey Foundation were taken in by this con.

It didn’t seem to occur to Casey’s experts that they might be reviewing a fraud. How bad did the cluelessness get? In 2008, Parks Middle’s young principal said he had decided to resign. According to Aviv, the Foundation provided an “incentive award grant” of $15,000 to persuade him to stay on.

We thought of Aristotle’s error when we read Aviv’s report. At some point, the cluelessness of the Casey folk becomes a bit hard to square with Aristotle’s pronouncement—and such cluelessness is on wide display all over the world of education.

That said, the cluelessness of the Casey folk is important for the following reason:

The Casey Foundation is part of the well-intentioned liberal/progressive world. When liberal intellectual leaders are this clueless and this gullible, liberals should be upset and concerned.

This brings us to the screaming headlines we saw in Salon last week. These headlines involved deserving children, as did the events in Atlanta. According to Salon, wing-nuts (plural) had been “spitting at endangered kids:”
FRIDAY, JUL 11, 2014 09:00 AM EDT
Wingnuts’ gross war on children: Screaming and spitting at endangered kids
This is what it's come to: As children flee horrifying violence in their home countries, the right assaults them
HEATHER DIGBY PARTON
For once, Salon had written a headline which understated the claims of the piece in question. Falling onto her fainting couch while speaking for “decent people everywhere,” Digby had started like this:
PARTON (7/11/14): It has to come as a shock to decent people everywhere to see the vitriol and rage written on the faces of anti-immigrant protesters toward the recent wave of unaccompanied Central American children seeking asylum at the United States’ southern border with Mexico.

[...]

These are kids whose desperate parents are sending them away on their own to escape horrifying violence in their home countries. According to the New York Times these countries have been overrun with gang warfare, with kids as young as 6 and 7 being kidnapped and tortured to death.

And what is the response of the right wing? The protests in Murrieta, California, over the past week show scores of Americans screaming and spitting at busloads of kids and mothers with infants calling them diseased and worse.
Was that true? Had the protests in Murrieta involved “scores of Americans screaming and spitting at busloads of kids?”

If so, Digby has a scoop! After reading her piece, we fired up the Nexis. As best we could tell, no one had reported any such conduct, whether by “wingnuts” or “the right wing” or by anyone else.

There was one widely reported spitting incident in Murrieta. In that incident, a protestor whose identity remains unknown spat in the face of Lupillo Rivera, a singer and pro-immigration activist.

The conduct by this person was widely condemned, even by “the right-wing.” But as Digby fell onto her couch, that incident had somehow been transformed into “scores of Americans...spitting at busloads of kids.”

Do decent people everywhere create such bogus facts? More specifically, do decent people create fake facts which teach us to hate The Others?

We thought of lofty Aristotle and his rather large error.

In this case, Digby’s claim was almost definitively pre-rational. It comes to us straight outta prehistory, where hating and fearing the other tribes was a survival skill.

Salon’s headline was teaching young people to hate. Anthropologically speaking, it captured one of the many ways the “liberal” world is currently surrendering its liberal values.

Digby fell on her fainting couch. She has long mocked this conduct in others.

At Salon, on The One True Channel, we are becoming a great deal like them. More on this problem tomorrow.

Fraud leading on to fraud: Once you start to surrender your values, your descent may be hard to stop. In this passage, Aviv describes the lengths to which Lewis and others went to explain those incredible test scores:
AVIV: Parks attracted so many visitors who were eager to understand the school’s turnaround that teachers had to come up with ways to explain it. At [Principal] Waller’s direction, they began maintaining what they called “standard-based mastery folders,” an index of all the objectives that each student needed to grasp in order to comprehend a given lesson. Lewis, who was taking night classes at the School of Education at Clark Atlanta University, wrote his master’s thesis on the technique. “It was a wonderful system,” he said. “But we only put it in place to hide the fact that we were cheating.”
Good God! Did we read that correctly? Lewis wrote his master's thesis on a technique they had put in place to hide their ongoing fraud!

77 comments:

  1. Why did Lewis have to surreptitiously steal the test questions if the principal condoned the cheating? What good did it do him to steal the questions a week in advance, if that allowed insufficient time for the students to learn the material, even with that advance knowledge, necessitating that he and the principal erase the incorrect answers the children gave, after they had taken the exam?

    No one who works in education is unaware that cheating is wrong. It is part of what teachers are expected to instill in children. Portraying Lewis as naive about cheating is incompatible with his job description. No matter what the pressures, someone who has lost his moral compass doesn't belong in the classroom in any capacity, because teachers are expected to teach character not just math.

    The Casey Foundation turned a blind eye because it was happy with the results. They colluded in the deception.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMB (Fondling the Rosary Nexis Beads with OTB)

    "Was that true? Had the protests in Murrieta involved “scores of Americans screaming and spitting at busloads of kids?”

    If so, Digby has a scoop! After reading her piece, we fired up the Nexis. As best we could tell, no one had reported any such conduct, whether by “wingnuts” or “the right wing” or by anyone else."

    BOB Today

    Nobody BOB, except the local paper in Riverside County!


    THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE

    MURRIETA: Protests aren't hampering efforts to woo business


    Murrieta hopeful that protests at the immigration processing center will not ding the city’s economic development image.



    By Jack Katzanek

    "Two weeks ago, much of the nation had never heard of the quiet Southwest Riverside County city of about 107,000 called Murrieta.
    ......
    National media outlets sent out images of people in Murrieta protesting at a Border Patrol processing facility and blocking buses trying to enter the complex with young Latin American detainees......


    The concern, experts say, is spurred by days of coverage of protesters yelling and in some cases spitting on buses. Many defend the protesters’ right to challenge the nation’s immigration policies, but others worry that these images will last after the current debate has calmed."

    http://www.pe.com/articles/murrieta-697457-city-long.html

    KZ

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    1. To paraphrase from the first comment on this post.


      The Daily Howler turned a blind eye to spitting coverage because Somerby is unhappy with the Digby's success. Let's hope his readers don't collude in the deception.

      Delete
    2. Kayzertag:

      The article you cite was written and published the day after the Parton article was published. Is that important? Maybe the expert quoted in that piece is Parton herself! Maybe Bob was searching Nexus for articles upon which Parton could base her statements. I.e. a source. The article you cite could not be that because it was published after. What do you think?

      Delete
    3. Kayzeetrain:

      Sorry - published on the same day. But still. What do you think? Do you think Digby could have used that as as source? Everything is possible. What does your intellect tell you? Mine says the claim of busloads of children being spat upon is an obvious overstatement. But I could be wrong. I'm a drug addict and a high school drop out. What do I know?

      Delete
    4. The article references days of coverage of people spitting yet it is the first source cited by KZ. Where are the articles comprising those days of coverage?

      Delete
    5. 1:59 I suggest you reread the article and the comment.

      Delete
    6. Anon. 1:40-1:47

      You could be wrong. But admission of a problem is the first step in recovery, so keep going to your meetings.

      And admission of an error is one step away from the cult of BOB, so by your correction you are doing that which OTB can only do as rarely as the Devil in Orange Clown Shoes.

      BOB was not, however, looking to see if he could find a source for Digby's claim. He said he was looking to find if anyone reported "any such conduct" and "as best we could tell" nobody had. His best, obviously, is not THE best. Unless of course, by the phrase "any such conduct" you need to find someone reporting exactly that conduct in exactly those words.

      Of course we have, for years, been trying to find the article in the Nashville Tenneseean in which a reporter is claimed to have written that Al and Tipper were the models for Love Story based on an interview with Erich Segal. It is often cited by BOB to this day as the defense that Al was not the source of the claim. As best we can tell, we never have. Guess we are just like BOB.

      KZ

      Delete
    7. I don't go to meetings young'n.

      The article you posted doesn't prove or say anything. You've wasted more of your time and abilities.

      Not that there's anything wrong with it.

      Take care ole buddy.

      Delete
    8. You are right. It says nothing. I didn't find it through Nexis.

      KZ

      Delete
    9. @2:49 -- here is what the article excerpted in KZ's comment says:

      "The concern, experts say, is spurred by days of coverage of protesters yelling and in some cases spitting on buses."

      If there are days of coverage of protesters spitting, why can KZ find only that one article, the one that came out after Somerby's post?

      Delete
    10. Are you a complete idiot 8:07? After Somerby's post? Somerby's post came out today. The article in the local paper where Murietta is located came out on July 11.

      The reporter did not say there were days of coverage of spitting. He wrote days of coverage of protesters yelling and in some cases spitting on buses.

      Somerby said he could find no such reporting. There was.
      Why argue with a fact?

      Delete
    11. Actually, that article ISN'T reporting any spitting incidents AT ALL.

      That article tells us that plural unnamed "experts say" that "concerns" have been raised by "days of coverage" of the incident(s).

      That just ain't the same as the article constituting reportorial coverage of same, not at all.

      Where is the actual reporting of the incident(s)? Not in what KZ provided, that much we know.

      Delete
    12. Well if 8:08 doesn't beat all in showing how to defend his/her beloved Howler. The "experts" consulted by the local reporter must have been so fearful of the hate preached by the Salon posting that day by Digby that they generated an article that same day.

      Delete
  3. Also,
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-protesters-murrieta-20140704-story.html

    "Maria Carrillo, a local resident, said she didn’t think that buses of women and children were such a threat. She said her daughter came to Tuesday’s demonstration but was spit on and asked to clean toilets."

    There's no excuse for missing an article in the LA Times when writing about a story out of Southern California.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To paraphrase from the first comment on this post:

      Portraying Somerby as naive about press coverage is incompatible with his blog's description. No matter what the pressures, someone who has lost his moral compass belongs in media criticism in any capacity.

      Delete
    2. Was the daughter in the story a Central American child seeking asylum at the United States’ southern border with Mexico? Or was she a local resident? The claim by Digby was the immigrants seeking asylum were spat upon. Was she one of those people? Is that an important distinction? Or does Digby's claim include everyone there. That's not what she said but should we just interpret it that way? What do you think?

      Delete
    3. The way you are paraphrasing my comment about school cheating suggests you think it is funny or trivial. Is that really how you feel about it?

      If you don't care how kids are educated, why do you care of people spit on them? Which does them more damage?

      Delete
    4. I may be reading this wrong. Is one person now a "busload'? Can any one tell me? The LA Times reports one local resident said her daughter took spit. Digby says busloads of immigrants got it too. Commenters say Bob is erring. That he should not of overlooked the one local resident who was spat upon when looking for evidence of busloads of immigrants being spat upon. How is the local resident now a busload of immigrants? I don't get it. Am I overlooking something?

      Delete
    5. @ 2:24 I am not paraphrasing your comment because I think school cheating is funny or trivial.

      I am paraphrasing your comment because it is as erroneous about the Casey Foundation as Somerby was in error when he suggested there were no reports of spitting other than one involving a singer.

      You are funny and trivial when you think making fun of you is an expression of opinion about anything other than you.
      You don't collude in deception. You wallow in self deception.

      Delete
    6. 2;32, I'm curious, Exactly how much spit is permissible when a rather large mob shows up to turn around a bus with children on it who have already gone through hell?

      Delete
    7. Good question 5:10

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Eckford#mediaviewer/File:Little_Rock_Desegregation_1957.jpg

      Delete
    8. How much can a story be embellished when it is written about a good cause? Can just a few facts be made up or can lots of facts be invented? Can they be about the busload of kids or can they only be made up about the protesters? When do journalists become novelists -- after they make up a few facts or after they make up especially colorful ones, like spitting on children?

      Delete
    9. Digby isn't a journalist she is a blogger. Or is Somerby a journalist? He certainly professes to know what is and is not good journalistic practices. Even what is and is not journalistic proof.

      If he is a journalist he is quite the novelist as well. If you doubt it, show me the 10 million cars entering the George Washington Bridge from Ft. Lee.

      Delete
    10. Somerby is an activist.

      Delete
    11. Busloads!!

      Well, here's one.

      Now stop being mean to digby, you amoral old Somerby.

      signed,
      Douchebag Trolls

      Delete
    12. Douchebag trolls! That said, your preferred repeated insults may differ. We love Somerby so we say the same thing over and over and over. Can we talk? Gack on it you clueless rubes of Liberalworld.

      Delete
  4. Man is the only animal capable of finding holes in his fellows' reasoning, no matter how small or inconsequential.

    Long ago, it is said, other animals had opportunities to acquire the skill, but decided to pass on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And man is the only animal capable of applauding insight
      in his fellow's observations, no matter how small or inconsequential.

      Do other animals play golf?

      Delete
    2. By contrast, we have Somerby's deep and entirely large and consequential insights as he debates Digby, Dowd and Aristotle himself.

      Delete
    3. Aristotle is a rhetorical device not a topic of insight.

      Delete
  5. It's astonishing that there are brooding defenses of commentators inventing incidents so that they may have something against which they may direct their perpetual dudgeon. The progressive tribe is beyond merely ridiculous. It has lost its mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Especially from your vantage point in the back of the turnip truck.

      Delete
    2. Is their perpeutal dudgeon high? Gaping maws want to know.

      Delete
  6. Hmmmm, we begin today with cheating in Atlanta that is somehow connected to the refugee crisis on our southern borders. After all, the connection couldn't be more clear to Somerby:

    "This brings us to the screaming headlines we saw in Salon last week. These headlines involved deserving children, as did the events in Atlanta."

    Then Bob spends the next half of the post talking about how the right-wing reaction to this crisis isn't so bad after all. After all, there couldn't have been that many cuss words said, or that much spit flying. Bob can't find any stories at all that says so.

    Well, Bob has proven one thing. A mind that can somehow link the test cheating in Atlanta to the horrors faced by the children in Central America who are fleeing for their lives, only to face such hostility here, is certainly not a very rational mind.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And they call us schizophrenic!

      KZ

      Delete
    2. Or another point. whatever side you want to take about the immingration issue, how dead does your soul have to be when your first response is to use it as a club with which to beat your newest, hated target?

      Delete
    3. What value has a living soul when confronted with death of a culture at the hands of a couch ridden pearl clutching liberal?

      Delete
    4. I guess truth and the contribution of an informed populace to democracy are trivialities when kids are being spat on.

      Delete
    5. correction: BUSLOADS of kids.

      Delete
    6. @ 8: 12 if Digby had written this:

      "And what is the response of the right wing? The protests in Murrieta, California, over the past week show scores of Americans screaming at busloads of kids and mothers with infants calling them diseased and worse, and spitting on fellow Americans in the crowd who were there to support the busloads of children and mothers with babies."

      Do you think that Somerby then would have simply covered the years old cheating scandal and once again ignored the largest domestic issue going on at the moment as he has been doing?

      Or do you think he would still attack Digby because he could only find coverage of the spitting on the singer and not the teenager?

      Delete
  7. "Last week, Heather Parton, clutching her pearls, fell back on her fainting couch. In our view, some of what she wrote in this piece is heinous, almost obscene."

    When Bob wrote that I shuddered, fearing I had been clueless and gullible. My anger seethed in anticipation of what would be revealed when this post was finally written and that heinous obscenity exposed.

    Now that it has I can only say I have been taught to hate Salon and the Digby's of the world for the havoc they wreak on liberal values and their destruction of our discourse.

    I WANT MY INTELLECTUAL CULTURE BACK!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The definition of "heinous" is rather fluid. See: Ultrasound, Gov.

      Delete
  8. Please forgive me for being old enough to remember, but when I saw the video of a very enraged and rather large group of people turning back the busses in Murieta, my first thought was of the Freedom Riders back in 1961.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Forgive me for being older. Whe I read comments about spitting I thought of this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Eckford#mediaviewer/File:Little_Rock_Desegregation_1957.jpg

      Delete
    2. Truly, we’re a helpless, colonized people. You simply can’t insult our intelligence.

      The Daily Ironic Howler

      Delete
    3. Yes, mobs do tend to look similar. That doesn't make the issues being protested similar at all. It means people get emotional, especially in groups and on camera.

      Delete
    4. No, the issues aren't identical. But that doesn't mean they don't share any similarities whatsoever.

      Try not falling into the Somerby trap of splitting hairs and being so literal, and try looking at both as human rights issues.

      As Bob and his fans continue to search for evidence of spit, I'll put in my two cents about the bigger picture.

      1. Grant these refugees immediate refugee status because that's what they are, just like we grant every Cuban immediate refugee status when they arrive in this country without a visa or other proper papers.

      2. Use our full powers of diplomacy to address the problems in those countries that are forcing people to flee for their lives. And this includes the massive amounts of aid we once spent to prop up some of the worst, most brutal dictatorships in history.

      But naaah, let's forget all that. We've got the entire problem of spit and how Digby so grossly exaggerated it to deal with. Can't do anything else until that huge issue is solved.


      Delete
    5. The issues aren't similar. One was busloads of young Amercians coming to protest American apartheid of blacks.
      The other was busloads of young Central Amercans coming to be incarcerated who were brown.

      Delete
  9. FYI: Rachel Aviv is not a regular education writer. She is an grad of two Ivy League colleges not named Harvard or Yale. She has less than a decade out of college.

    ReplyDelete
  10. In the Little Rock pic, the white ladies are yellin' but they ain't spittin'. That ain't no spittin' image!

    And stop blaming old Aristotle for that "rational" stuff. In the world's greatest center for classical studies we read this:

    "Rational animal is a classical definition of humanity, often (though mistakenly) attributed toAristotle's Metaphysics, however, in the Nicomachean Ethics I.13, Aristotle states that the human being has a rational principle, on top of the nutritive life shared with plants, and the instinctual life shared with other animals, i.e. the ability to carry out rationally formulated projects."

    He never denied that people have animal instincts - in fact, he clearly asserted it.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Then Elizabeth left the house and, four blocks away, boarded the bus heading downtown.

      Fifteen minutes later, at the corner of 12th and Park Avenue, two blocks from Central, she hopped off. She'd often walked by Central—it was on the way to her grandfather's store—and instantly she sensed something was awry: more parked cars than usual, the murmur of a crowd. Then the jeeps and half-tracks came into view, along with the soldiers ringing the school. She saw some white children pass quietly through the line, a sign that everything was al right. But the first two soldiers she approached rebuffed her. A mob of several hundred protesters that had gathered across the street quickly caught sight of her. "They're coming!" someone shouted. "The niggers are coming!" Elizabeth walked down the street a bit, then approached a different group of soldiers. This time they closed ranks and crossed rifles. "Don't let her in!" someone shouted.

      Elizabeth's knees started to shake. She walked toward Central's main entrance and tried a third time; again, the soldiers blocked her way, but this time told her to cross the street. Now the crowd fell in behind her, shouting: "Lynch her! Lynch her!" "No nigger bitch is going to get in our school! Get out of here!" "Go back to where you came from!" Looking for a friendly face, she turned to an old woman, who spat on her. Before long, some 250 whites were at her heels. She knew she couldn't go back the way she'd come. But if she could only get to the bus stop a block ahead, she thought, she would be safe. She wanted to run, but thought she might fall down. Recording it all was 26-year-old Will Counts of the Arkansas Democrat. He felt sorry for Elizabeth, but he had a job to do; he just hoped he had enough film. "Lynch her!" someone shouted. "Send that nigger back to the jungle!"

      One white girl in the throng stood out: she was "screaming, just hysterical," as Benjamin Fine of The New York Times later put it. It was Hazel Bryan. Unlike many in the crowd, rednecks from the sticks, Hazel was a student at Central—like Elizabeth, about to begin her junior year. Her father was a disabled vet; her mother made lightbulbs for Westinghouse. Hazel's dress was fashionable and a bit too tight, as if to show off her figure. Her good looks brought her lots of boys and a certain license, and she'd always been a bit of a performer. Her racial attitudes mirrored her parents': her father would not let black clerks wait on him, for instance, and when banks started hiring black tellers, he found himself another line.

      Marching alongside Hazel, chanting "Two, four, six, eight—we don't want to integrate!" were two friends, Mary Ann Burleson and Sammie Dean Parker. Sammie Dean, immediately to Hazel's right in the picture and wearing a dark dress, was one of the ringleaders of the segregationist students; Mary Ann, the girl carrying the purse at the far left, was largely along for the ride. Each of them was having herself a grand old time. But to Hazel—her friends called her "Kitty"—this was serious business, and her mood, and look, were dark. An alien federal government was foisting blacks into her secure, comfortable schoolgirl world, and she was outraged. While Mary Ann stared ahead amiably and Sammie Dean Parker turned momentarily toward her father, thereby protecting herself from ignominy and posterity, Hazel, her eyes narrowed, her brow furrowed, her teeth clenched as if about to bite, shrieked: "Go home, nigger! Go back to Africa!" Click. Will Counts had his picture.

      Delete
    2. Will Counts's picture:

      http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/media/gallery/photo/will_counts1_f.jpg

      Delete
    3. There was a great debate going on among leaders of the civil rights movement at that time.

      The old guard, the NAACP, wanted to fight the battle in the courts. And they did so with great success. But others, including King, soon realized that all the success in courts amounted to nothing until the federal government stepped in to enforce them.

      King wanted to provoke such responses -- very carefully choosing his battles -- hoping that America would see the face of evil and respond.

      That was what the Freedom Rides were also about, although King himself thought that the young Freedom Riders who came out of the lunch counter demonstrations in Nashville had chosen a battle that was too dangerous.

      The decisions to order the integration of all interstate travel, and depots and stations, had been on the books for a few years, but they weren't being enforced. And the Freedom Riders were well prepared to sacrifice their lives, if need be, to show the evil of continued segregation in defiance of court decisions

      It took several riots, buses set on fire, and the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of hundreds of Riders -- when one group got sent to Mississippi's notorious Parchman Farm, others took their place -- until they achieved their victory.

      I hope that the incident in Murieta also teaches us the same lesson. Apparently, already townspeople and others are counter-demonstrating against the hate that was on display, and it appears that public opinion is at least turning toward at least more humane treatment of these refugees -- and they are refugees.

      And that is a good thing.

      Meanwhile, we have a huge humanitarian crisis on our hands. And Somerby is concerned about how much spit there was.

      Delete
    4. Some of us think that forcing public school teachers and principals to cheat in order to get adequate funding to teach our kids is a humanitarian problem, if not a crisis.

      Some of us respect the right of all Americans to express their opinions in peaceful protests, even when we disagree with those opinions. Personally, I think that excludes spitting but there may be Supreme Court rulings already on that matter. I don't think immigration and integration are similar issues, even if there are buses involved in both.

      Delete
    5. Oh, I don't know. Seems to me that these people were very much on a "Freedom Ride" -- until they reached the border, were detained, were herded onto buses for detention centers until they overwhelmed them, then herded back onto buses, then an airport where they were flown some 1,000 miles or so to another bus headed for another detention center, where a rather emotional mob turned them back.

      I kinda think both immigration and integration are human rights issues, myself.

      But then again, there are times when I miss connections that other sees. Like test cheating in Atlanta and the refugee crisis from Texas to California.

      And I guess we also have different definitions of "peaceful" as well. I saw nothing peaceful about that protest. In fact, I saw many of the same angry, hate-filled faces that were so much on display 57 years ago in that photo from Little Rock.

      And guess what? Both "peaceful protests" accomplished the goal of turning back kids.

      Delete
  11. I cannot tell you how glad I was to find that the people in Murietta were merely screaming at the buses filled with children and some mommies
    rather than spitting at thoses buses. How dreadful to exaggerate actual spitting in the faces other Americans into an attack on vehicles with children inside.

    Thank you Bob Somerby. My faith in those protesters is restored. I won't hate them anymore. I will just regard them as foolish as you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ratchet everything up a notch and you're not reporting any more, you're propagandizing.

      Delete
    2. Ratchet everything up a notch and a howling mob is beating people who arrive on buses.

      Wait. That happened. Well surely it won't happen again.
      Heck, they only spit on a grown up and perhaps a teenager in the crowd. Not the buses.

      Delete
  12. TL;DR

    Stop showing me that I'm consuming propaganda. The enemy is too evil for us to worry about such trivia as that, you vile, vile Somerby!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So me a person in this Information Age too lazy or intellectually curious to find the truth, and I'll show you a Bob fan who needs Somerby's help to sort it all out.

      Delete
    2. "Show me a person . . ." of course. I'm from Missouri,

      Delete
    3. I'm with 8:16. At least Digby had the dignity to avoid Liberalworld's greatest failing. She didn't drop the "R" word.

      I look forward to the Somerby post admonishing the Pope.
      He did drop the "R" word on this very issue. And, although not Irish, he is Catholic.

      Delete
  13. Yes, let's ignore the fact that we have a huge problem that one political party won't even dare to begin to address because so many people in their base have swallowed the "propaganda" that there are brown hordes invading us for no good reason except to steal our jobs, our resources and our American Way of Life while forcing us all to speak Spanish.

    Nope, the real propaganda is that Digby wrote about spitting when Somerby can find hardly any spitting at all.

    So round them all up and send them right back, without even the dignity of a hearing. And if they were fleeing from their lives and we send them back to their deaths, we are blameless. After all, we have to protect our borders.

    I mean, what do we think we are anyway? A nation of immigrants?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it is worse than that. In this piece Somerby uses a cheating scandal on standardized tests to launch into a screed
      over a sentence in a Digby piece.

      He ignores, and I assume most of his readers do because they rarely follow his links, that Digby's Salon article used the incident in Murietta as one of many examples of the right's cruelty to other people as an animating force. Talk about missing the forest.

      Delete
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