Here's what several people have said!


Fruit of the tribal impulse: Vice President Harris said that she was very upset by Florida's new course of study.

She flew to Florida and sounded off about it. Over at the National Review, Charles C. W. Cooke then sounded off about her.

You can read Cooke's essay for yourselves. Here's what his headline said:

Kamala Harris Is Brazenly Lying about Florida’s Slavery Curriculum

On our scorecard, that headline goes over the top. That said, we think Vice President Harris had gone over the top in the remarks in question.

So it tends to go at times like these, at times of high tribal conflict. Each tribe starts to otherize The Others—starts seeing the Others as "evil."

(Cooke explicitly used that term in discussing Harris's remarks.)

As we said, we think Harris went over the top in describing Florida's new course of study. We think Cooke then went over the top in describing Harris's remarks.

That said, our public discourse is now driven by thoroughly partisan news orgs. These major news orgs are thoroughly partisan, and they're profit based.

All in all, these thoroughly partisan major news orgs are selling tribally pleasing products. As an example of what we mean, here's a comment Rachel Maddow threw off on Monday night's show:

MADDOW (7/31/23): In this challenging time for one of our two supposedly governing parties, where is this all landing? Where is this all going?

Where it has been landing, or where it seems like it's going to keep landing, is in culture war politics, which so far is going great for them. Republicans for example continuing to rail about the Barbie movie, which has now taken in $775 million and counting, just a global juggernaut that people absolutely love, which Republicans say you are wrong to like.

Ron DeSantis, in Florida, trying his hand at a winning national message now by campaigning on the need to look at the bright side of slavery...

So snarky, but also such fun!

Have Republicans been saying that people are wrong to like the Barbie movie? We don't know about that.

But is Ron DeSantis really campaigning "on the need to look at the bright side of slavery?" Life can be fun when you're being paid millions of dollars to make pleasing statements like that.

That's where our blue tribe's messaging went with respect to that one tiny (and accurate) point about enslaved people sometimes being allowed to earn their own money. Maddow's comment was very stupid but tribally pleasing. This is where things tend to go at polarized times like these.

Our major news orgs are polarized. Also, they're selling a product. You can't run a major nation this way, but lots and lots of cold hard cash can be "earned" along the way.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Times like these tend to produce the kinds of wars which simply can't be won.

Everybody was sounding off. This is a dangerous time.


  1. This is why it is important for our schools to teach children about our racial history -- so that they will know that this racist behavior is wrong and not repeat past racist acts:

    "Six former Mississippi sheriff's deputies from a self-described "Goon Squad" pleaded guilty Thursday to subjecting two Black men to racialized torture and shooting one of the victims in the mouth after a neighbor called in a complaint about the men staying in the home of a white woman.

    Former Rankin County Sheriff's Office (RCSO) Deputies Brett Morris McAlpin, Jeffrey Arwood Middleton, Christian Lee Dedmon, Hunter Thomas Elward, Daniel Ready Opdyke, and Joshua Allen Hartfield pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the January 24 torture of 32-year-old Michael Corey Jenkins and 35-year-old Eddie Terrell Parker.

    On January 24, the white deputies—who had no warrant—broke down the door of the Braxton home where Parker was living, handcuffing and repeatedly tasing the victims before sexually assaulting them, calling them racist names while threatening to kill them, and shooting Jenkins in the mouth, shattering his jaw and causing permanent injuries to his tongue and neck.

    "These guilty pleas are historic for justice against rogue police torture in Rankin County and all over America," Malik Shabazz, an attorney representing Jenkins and Parker, said in a statement. "Today is truly historic for Mississippi and for civil and human rights in America."

    Why would police officers anywhere in our nation believe it is OK for them to do this stuff, under cover of authority or not? Condemning our brutal past and our brutal present is necessary so that kids will not grow up to become men like these. Being from Mississippi may be an explanation but it is no excuse for what these six white officers did.

    1. "Each tribe starts to otherize The Others—starts seeing the Others as "evil."

      I think that these Others (and yes, they are definitely part of the political Other in our country) deserve to be called evil. Who would disagree, besides the right wing nuts who lionize assholes like Kyle Rittenhouse? The right wing has made Aubrey's killers into martyrs. But Somerby says we aren't allowed to Otherize and call evil the folks who do this stuff. Yes, this is one example, but there is something in the news like this, every few days. It has to stop and it is important that a law-abiding society not tolerate behavior like this, even in the name of right-wing politics.

      These people are Other because they do not know how to behave like human beings, because they police force tolerated them, and because black people deserve to be acknowledged and treated like human beings, even by miscreants like these "officers".

      Let's hear Somerby defend their right to be called something other than Other. If he is smart, he won't try.

    2. Listen, the right wing slavers and right wing Nazis were just doing the best they could.

      Maybe they actually believed they were doing the right thing.

      Did we really need to complain about their behavior and try to stop them?

      Were we not going a bit “over the top” with all that Civil War and WWII nonsense?

      How about instead we try all just getting along?

      Just throwing Somerby’s supposed sardonic takes back in his face.

    3. You have him pegged.

  2. Note Somerby's language here:

    "She [Vice President Kamala Harris] flew to Florida and sounded off about it. "

    Is it "sounding off" when our Vice President makes a speech on an important topic? By using such language, Somerby implies that she made it a point of going to Florida (which is not only true, but part of her job as the Vice President of all of the states in the union) to express her opinion about something. But is what Vice President Harris said just some rando's opinion, or does she have more standing to comment on what is happening in our country, given that she is second in command to the President and was elected by a large majority of the people? The term "sounding off" disparages not only her position, her office, but also her authority and her knowledge, especially on the topic of African American history, race, and the welfare of our country. She has greater standing than DeSantis, certainly, and also more reason to be commenting about FL's new standards than Somerby or Drum, given both her life experience, her position as a black leader, and her influence as someone who more than half of voters put into office.

    It offends me that Somerby would refer to her speech in such a demeaning manner, one that disrespects her race, her gender (which is no doubt part of Somerby's ire against prominent women, given his previous misogyny here), her position, and her wisdom on a subject close to her own experience.

    Somerby would do better to refer more respectfully to someone he intends to criticize, because he makes it clear that he has ulterior reasons for disliking Harris, and that undermines whatever pseudo-rational statements he might make thereafter.

    1. If Somerby couldn’t use this blog to express his sexism and racism, he wouldn’t bother posting.

  3. "As we said, we think Harris went over the top in describing Florida's new course of study. We think Cooke then went over the top in describing Harris's remarks.

    That said, our public discourse is now driven by thoroughly partisan news orgs."

    Kamala Harris is not a partisan news organization. She is the elected Vice President of the USA. She has not only the right but the duty to speak to the American public and to express the views of the Vice President, in her official capacity, on an important topic of the day.

    That doesn't make her Other and it doesn't make her a journalist either -- something she has never been. And if she says something that Somerby disagrees with, even is "over the top," that is Somerby's problem, not hers, and she is not wrong because Somerby's opinion differs. I recall the time when she quoted a statistical figure produced and published by the Department of Labor and Somerby called her a liar himself. So here is the Somerby kettle calling Cooke black, otherizing, because he called Harris "brazen" and "evil." He is only following in Somerby's footsteps on this one.

  4. "Ron DeSantis, in Florida, trying his hand at a winning national message now by campaigning on the need to look at the bright side of slavery..."

    Somerby objects that Maddow is being snarky and only saying such things to make money. What is the evidence for that when people make even more money on the right than the left selling their culture war lies -- when Tucker Carlson out-earned Maddow in the same time slot and position ($20 million for Maddow, $27 million for Carlson)?

    But what Maddow said is essentially true. The right is using culture war issues, including invented anecdotes and manufactured complaints (made up facts about a gay wedding blog that never existed, for example, or classroom litter boxes for kids identifying as cats), to avoid having to talk about actual issues and to whip up their base into an outraged fury against evil Democrats (who traffic in children to harvest Adrenochrome). Barbie is small potatoes next to the right's various crusades, lately including DeSantis's war against the College Board and AP exams, not to mention Disney and Bud Light. Maddow has truth on her side.

    Yes, DeSantis is pretending that there were some positive aspects of slavery. Yes, it upsets all but the most corrupt right wing black politicians and historians, educators and experts, not to mention the left. There is consensus that DeSantis is wrong about this, bipartisan and multiracial consensus. But Kamala Harris wrong to speak up when she is expressing a widely shared viewpoint about an education issue that is playing out in multiple red states who are following FL's lead.

    Maddow isn't being snarky -- she is expressing hersef in a direct and colorful but also truthful way. This is not a good example of Somerby's thesis about journalism. And yes, the right has been telling people not to like or go see the Barbie movie, just as they are still telling them not to drink Bud Light (judging by sales figures). And yes, DeSantis is campaigning on this -- what do you think he means when he says FL is where woke goes to die? It is pretty much ALL he is campaigning on.

  5. Were Russian pogroms good for Jews? Of course not. However, I am better off than Jews who stayed in Russia. The pogroms drove my father out of Europe and into the United States. The horrible treatment of Jews in Russia hurt my forbears but indirectly helped me.

    Similarly, black Americans are, on average, better off than blacks in Africa. The horrors or slavery harmed many, many generations of blacks, but indirectly benefited today's black Americans.

    Does harping on the horrors of slavery help today's black Americans? I think it does more harm than good. YMMV

    1. Is the historical question whether David is better off now than the Jews who were attacked in pogroms?

      Some Jewish individuals do not exist today because their forbears were killed during the pogroms. Is that wrong offset by David's current good fortune?

      There are reasons why we do not reason this way about moral issues. First, not everyone believes that personal gain or loss should be the measure of whether an act is right or wrong.

      David has no sense of how horrible his remark sounds to others who read it. Blacks should be happy they are alive today because so many blacks are not, David says in so many words.

      Yes, harping on the horrors of slavery helps black AND WHITE Americans in several ways: (1) it makes clear the evils of slavery so that people today are not tempted to engage in it, given its financial benefits to the oppressors; (2) it explains why current inequalities persist between black and white people in our society, giving an alternative explanation to bigotries such as that blacks are lazy, dumb, physical brutes with no sense of morality who cannot compete with white in any venue except sports; (3) it provides black children with an explanation for their own current condition as underdogs in our American society; (4) it provides an accurate record of our nation's history for future generations so that they too will understand what we were and are now; (5) history is the context of current events and is thus important understanding why we have so many white supremacists trying to overturn our democracy now; (6) it can help black children and adults maintain a healthier self-esteem by providing alternatives to the gaslighting of bigots over time which largely blame them for their own circumstances; (7) it can provide white Americans with a healthier understanding of what was wrong with previous racist views that they may have grown up with or still be hearing in their homes and communities because changing racism is important to both white people and our society as a whole; (8) it provides a foundation for identifying and correcting wrongs that are being perpetuated economically, legally, politically and socially in our current society; (9) when you understand the historical details, it opens up a whole different way of seeing our history that better explains what is going on in many areas, such as why Democrats are the party of civil rights while Republicans rule the American South so unanimously, why we have an electoral college instead of directly electing our president, why urban and rural areas are so different in their attitudes and beliefs, why Trump is such an abomination as a president; (10) teaching the history of oppressed and marginalized people builds empathy in students at any age -- that empathy is an emotional reaction that right wingers have been trying to suppress and avoid having students feel.

      There are no indirect benefits David can site beyond simply being alive today, or he would have mentioned them. That is a pretty pitiful argument. Jews, for example, established tight neighborhood organizations and institutions in both Europe and America because they were excluded from the broader society. Did blacks do that or were there aspects of slavery that prevented it, such as no freedom of association, inability to read and write, no resources to share because they owned nothing, no means of communicating between plantations or farms, etc. Is it a fair analogy to compare Jews with blacks when their circumstances in America were so different?

    2. David doesn't even know how to compare blacks in America to Africa. Which blacks, which country in Africa, using which demographic measures, in what time period. This is kind of simplistic remark that depends on the ignorance of America about nations in Africa and living conditions -- most people hold stereotypes of shithole countries without imaging skyscrapers and universities and businesses comparable to our own. Do we compare well-off Africans to American blacks in poverty? Americans imagine jungle natives from movies about Zulus, not doctors and scientists and a culture that regularly produces Nobel prizes in literature. It is bigotry to suggest what you did, David.

    3. David thinks that teaching the details of African American history (ie. harping on the horrors) is of no benefit to black children. If you Google the topic you will find numerous education sources explaining the benefits to black kids and to all kids.


      ​"...Often, the main reason given for teaching African American history is that it is needed to provide a balanced view of United States History. This is certainly true, but there are more important reasons for teaching African American history. Teaching this subject can help develop critical thinking skills in students and help them understand the views of others. Students who learn about African American history will be better citizens by learning to respect other cultures and by developing an appreciation for diversity.

      African American history should be part of the standard curriculum because it provides a number of benefits to students--including becoming more knowledgeable about other cultures, developing a sense of perspective, learning historical continuity, and learning how to weigh evidence and gain appreciation for different cultures.

      Understanding African American history helps teach critical thinking skills which are valuable in all areas of life. By studying the lives and achievements of African Americans in detail, you will gain insight into what motivated them and what helped overcome adversities that often seemed insurmountable. You will learn how they were able to stay true to themselves despite significant opposition from their fellow citizens based on racial hatred."

      Here is another thoughtful article that explains why even very young children should learn African American history in grades 1 and 2:

      "As inequity persists and anti-Blackness abounds, early educators must bring Black history and cultural production to the forefront of how Black children make sense of themselves and society in the classroom. In doing so, we can reimagine elementary schools as spaces that sustain Black students’ identities—making those identities the source from which we should derive standards, learning objectives, and lesson plans."

      This is, of course, the last thing that white bigots want African American people to be doing.

    4. Thanks for three thoughtful responses. They make some excellent points, but I still believe it's much more important to teach a minority child about all the opportunities that exist today.

      @4:42 wrote: "(2) it explains why current inequalities persist between black and white people in our society, giving an alternative explanation to bigotries such as that blacks are lazy, dumb, physical brutes with no sense of morality who cannot compete with white in any venue except sports; (3) it provides black children with an explanation for their own current condition as underdogs in our American society;"

      There is some truth in these two points, but I consider them harmful to children. They're both excuses for failure. Excuses for failure are appealing, but are ultimately unhelpful. To tell a child that she can't succeed because her forbears were slaves is about as bad as telling her that she can't succeed because she's stupid and lazy.

      IMO children should be taught that there is no barrier to success in today's United States. IMO that's today's reality. After all, a young black man with limited experience was elected President. My mixed race cousin Lizzie, who Bob discussed some time ago, chose to consider herself black. That's an indication that being black is not a barrier to success today.

      I will pass over @4:56 playing the race card, except to remind that person that I actually went to Washington D.C. to hear MLK speak, and I have donated many thousands of dollars to black causes.

      BTW the leading conservative intellectual, Thomas Sowell, turns your gibe around. He accuses liberals of favoring policies toward blacks that make themselves feel good, whether or not those policies actually help blacks. I greatly admire Sowell, because he is so focused on actual results.

    5. David, Lizzie - the one Bob mentioned, who is an acquaintance of mine, is not your cousin, this is a flat out lie.

      It’s creepy how you continue to lie about this, and other aspects of your false claims.

      By every metric that matters, Whites are stomping all over people of color; racism is so prominent in our current society, it does not matter how hard a person of color works, how talented, they will most likely fail, and to sweep this under the rug is a horrible form of racism.

      David, your racism is well known, the constant reminders aren’t serving you well.

    6. @8:50 - You claim to know my cousin Lizzie. Do you really know her? If so, can you name her son? Can you name her new husband? Maybe you and I are thinking of two different people named Lizzie.

      Whites are not stomping over all people of color. Asian Americans are substantially outstripping Caucasians in terms of educational success and income. BTW foreign-born blacks on average do much better than American-born blacks. These two facts show that something other than racism is playing an important role.

    7. It helps all people to feel good about themselves and to believe they can accomplish their reasonable goals through individual effort. It is demotivating to believe that the game is rigged. But when the game actually is rigged, it is wrong to pretend it isn’t, to allow individuals to believe they failed because their best efforts weren’t good enough to achieve what whit people around them take for granted. Honesty about racism is important. Many black people switch to activism when they encounter the ways in which the system is unfair, which is emotionally healthy. Bitterness and disillusion as a consequence of such lies are not healthy for individuals or society.

      There has been a suggestion that many Trump supporters are such people, disillusioned about America’s promise because they have failed to get ahead in the ways they expected. Is it really kind to tell white or black kids that they can be President or anything they want if they just work hard enough, when that is untrue? Whie men who are living vicariously through Trump are not doing themselves or our country any good, especially since Trump is going to jail eventually, and these guys will be disappointed again. All people in our nation not only deserve but need to hear the truth and form reasonable, achievable expectations for themselves and their lives. This is key to mental health.

      A fantasy of white male superiority based on subjugation of minorities can no longer be sustained as a strategy for feeling successful because mistreatment of minorities has been made illegal and is being prosecuted. Men are being fired and jailed for racist behavior. Trump’s cult is a backlash to that social change. We are not going back to the bad old days so men need to find other ways of feeling good about themselves, especially as men crabing respect. Racist behavior is an obsolete strategy in manstream America if not in small town Mississippi or the local bar. No one gets to be Trump any more, not even Trump.

    8. craving not crabing

    9. David, you are so ignorant and efforts to teach you fall on deaf ears. Asians have their own problems with racism. They don’t get promoted in business, suffer hate crimes in public, are treated badly due to stereotypes, have a history of mistreatment in the USA, suffered segregation and quotas, were kept out of professions. It is insulting to suggest they have done well in the face of such mistreatment. Do you not know what the Asian Exclusion Act was?

      It should be obvious even to you that foreign born blacks who come from majority black countries tend to do better in the US because they did not grow up internalizing the relentless racism of our society. Once here, they consider themselves exceptions to racist stereotypes, some even learn to despise American blacks, because white people in our society do. Would you want to identify with he losers at the bottom? They reject black identity in favor of thinking of themselves as Haitians or Nigerians. Unlike poor blacks, such immigrants may have resources and help of an immigrant community, sponsor or church, sometimes savings or education brought with them to the US. We’ve old you this before but it never penetrates and you keep teturning with the same racist beliefs.

    10. Negative stereotypes about Asians: 1) they have small penises, 2) they are too meek or submissive to be effective leaders in business, 3) they are all good at math and super smart, even if they aren’t, 4) you can’t trust them or know what they are thinking, sneaky, 4) good at following orders but not creative, 5) cold, brutal, merciless. White men tend to fetishize Asian women as exotic, subservient submissives who will do anything. If you consider these positives you are truly an idiot.

    11. No one cares who cousin Lizzie is.

    12. Knowing someone black is not the same experience as being black.

    13. @9:36 wrote: "It is insulting to suggest [Asians] have done well in the face of such mistreatment." But, it's a fact that Asians are out-performing whites academically and economically. One ought to accept reality. Don't reject reality by calling it insulting.

      I didn't deny that Asians suffer from negative stereotypes and discrimination. Today, much of the discrimination comes from liberal universities. It speaks well for Asians that they are achieving so much despite the discrimination.

    14. No, it is a fact that given their education and performance Asians are not being promoted to higher levels, much the way women encounter a glass ceiling. Asians are also not elected to office in proportion to their demographics.

      There is poverty among Asians too, but the perception of success comes partly from cultural traditions of involving all family members in family businesses, loaning money to relatives and helping each other in a longstanding immigrant community. This is not “outperforming” but a successful adaptation that sacrifices individual goals for communal ones. Is success as a group good if it comes at the expense of individual needs and desires?

      The oldest son is expected to go to a top university and get a high-paying job in order to put younger siblings through college after them. All parental energy is funneled through that oldest child. Only careers in business, engineering, computers are acceptable, not risky or low paying occupations in arts, education, social work, philosophy. It does not matter what the interests of the oldest might be. The younger sibs might get more latitude. Do you see how such parental demands might result in higher average income than families where the kids choose not only which major but whether to go to college or not?

      When a woman marries an Asian man, she is expected to work in the family business. When she has kids, the grandma or a simlar elderly female relative will take care of the kids while the mother continues to work. The kids also work when they are old enough to be useful, along with high expectations fir school work. Kids are disciplned through shaming and shunning (withholding approval and affection). Adult children are often told who they may and may not marry. Do you see how all that unpaid labor might be an advantage to a business? But how free are individuals in such families?

      Discrimination against Asians in universities and K-12 education was worse in the past than now, even though attention is now being focused on it. There was legal segregation in San Francisco schools into the mid-20th century. Berkeley had smaller quotas than now. Fewer Asian students were admitted in the past than now, when admission restrictions are being contested.

      Are you suggesting that black families can or should adopt similar practices? Can you see how the disruption of black families during slavery (parents sold away from each other and their children, slaves forbidden to marry) might have led to different family organization, handed down through generations? Do you see why black people might value not being forced by anyone, even parents, to study, work, marry against their own wishes. Duty is to self and one’s own integrity raher than to others.

      It is ignorant to insist that people from different cultures should all behave the same, in whatever way produces the most money, when white people in mainstream society do not do that, nor does anyone expect them to. Is individuality without disapproving judgment by. guys like David only available to white people?

    15. David, again, Lizzie is not your cousin, and frankly, you’re being a creep.

      It’s Lizzie Skurnick, the writer, and she is not your cousin. Yes I’m aware of those aspects of her personal life - they’re also easily found on the internet.

      Stop being creepy and lying that you have this cousin.

    16. @1:52 I suspect you're bluffing when you say that Lizzie Skurnick's personal life is on the internet. Let's get real. Do you know her son's name?

    17. This is how such info gets out there.

    18. David, who claims to have more relatives than Joseph Smith, accuses another of bluffing. LOL!

    19. David, Lizzie is not your cousin, and she does not like you making this false claim. I do know her son’s name, and it is also easily found on the internet.

      If you had a modicum of integrity you would not make these bizarre claims about cousins and whatnot, stop being a creep. Lizzie is not your cousin, nor any kind of relation.

  6. "That's where our blue tribe's messaging went with respect to that one tiny (and accurate) point about enslaved people sometimes being allowed to earn their own money."

    No, that supposedly tiny point was not accurate. It was debunked widely in the mainstream news and in more specific historical sources. The list of examples provided by those creating that standard were also debunked as incorrect (for example, Booker T. Washington was illiterate when emancipated at age 9, and did not acquire the skills in slavery that he later used as an "educator").

    When Somerby was defending his attack on the MS NAEP reading score improvements, his assertions were repeatedly debunked in comments, at this site and over at Kevin Drum's comment section. Somerby avoided those criticisms by not reading his comments. Thus he could repeat his wrong assertions over and over without making any corrections until the bitter end, after Drum himself acknowledged that the commenters were right and his statements incorrect.

    Now history repeats itself. Somerby and Drum have both said that the tiny point (which we do not agree was tiny at all) was accurate. In spite of all the evidence presented showing that it was not accurate, Somerby is repeating his wrong statement every day again, because he will not read or respond to the debunking, will not acknowledge it. The MS debacle went on for over 6 weeks. How long will Somerby repeat an untruth this time, stubborning stating it every single day, forcing his commenters to persist long past the point where anyone has any interest any more?

    I am not going away on this matter. Somerby will bore his readers tremendously, if he keeps hammering away that it is a tiny accurate point that slavery had some benefits to the slaves. He is wrong about that and Kamala Harris and the many others who have spoken against this point are correct. Somerby is simply too ignorant on this subject to so confidently express such an adamant opinion about that particular standard. I suspect that his desire to defend the South against charges of abuse of black people motivates this jumping on Drum's bandwagon on a point that they simply do not know the facts about.

    White guys all over the country may react like Drum and Somerby, defending the good will of whites in a time period they know nothing about. Somerby perhaps reasons that it couldn't have been all bad, and why not teach about the brave black people who succeeded despite the obstacles that were insurmountable to nearly all blacks. Somerby keeps looking for that same bright side -- but guess what, it wasn't there. Somerby has no idea what happened to black people during Reconstruction and Jim Crow. But he will keep repeating his wrong statements over and over and over and over, until we are all heartily sick of it. And I am going to match him in that, so he will not triumph by persistence, as he attempted and failed with his last crusade -- claiming that MS kids have not improved their reading skills no matter what the NAEP says. Notice how Somerby does not grapple with the larger concern that the standards as a set tend to whitewash the history of black slavery. He is perhaps hoping that by claiming accuracy for this supposedly tiny point, the term accurate will stick in people's minds and outweigh the grossly false picture that DeSantis and the standards are trying to present and the protesters of those standards will appear to be nit-picky and wrong about other things they claim are also false and misleading. Because that is how propaganda works and Somerby is here as a propagandist, spreading right wing disinformation.

  7. Somerby won't like this idea but black women are 84% more likely to be abused on social media than white women (according to a 2018 Amnesty International Study linked by The Root, a black newsletter). The Root reports: "...Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has spoken publicly about the hate messages she's received."

    It is not OK for writers like Peter Greene to offer over the top criticism of the Vice President, calling her evil, but neither is it OK for Somerby to target her, calling her "over the top" for commenting on a racial matter. And then calling Rachel Maddow a money-grubbing snark artist for calling out DeSantis. Unsurprisingly, gay women receive more hate than cis-gender heterosexual women. Black women with a public profile seem to receive more abuse and the love seems to go the same way as well -- look how energetically Somerby defends white women accused of being Karens, but when Cooke attacks Harris, someone agrees with him that she is over the top, if not exactly evil.

    Somerby needs to check his bias. It is leaking out in ways that make those of us with some sympathy for him sort of embarrassed.

    1. correction to 1st line of 2nd paragraph: should refer to Peter Cooke, not Peter Greene (who didn't attack Harris).

  8. There are so many of these stories that illustrate how life is different for African Americans than for Somerby. Today, the Root describes an incident where a woman smeared her face with dark brown makeup (approximating blackface), went into a Target store and demanded to know were their Pride gear was being sold. There was none, because not only is Pride month over, but Target succumbed to pressure from right wingers over Pride merchandise and had already removed it. The woman launched into a harangue about Lester Holt and then went to a nearby Starbucks wearing a shirt covered with Trump stickers, complaining about having lost her post office job. She was subsequently arrested and placed into protective custody (having apparent mental health issues).

    But these sorts of events, which are terrifying to black people, happen too frequently to people who are just trying to shop or otherwise go about their business in their daily lives.

    White people may laugh this stuff off, but when there are actual shootings at Target stores and grocery stores, they are no laughing matter to black people. Perhaps understanding the history of terrorism as a means of controlling black people might allow white people to understand why these are not just funny anecdotes to African Americans in a violent, gun-owning society like ours.

  9. Dave in Cal- Sowell is from the Clarence Thomas camp of reactionary black cranks who think they worked extremely hard to get out of poverty and all these people who stay poor are lazy (or sucking on government teats. Same kind of nasty as Ayn Rand. Also glad your bi-racial girl ended racism in America.

    As for Somerby asking what do I know of Barbie. Fox attacked it primarily by targeting trans/gay themes hoping for a Bud Light kill shot. A two second search got this from Fox News just before the movie released:
    "The upcoming "Barbie" film ignores its key demographic in favor of catering to "a small percentage of the population," a faith-based film review site claimed.

    "Warning: Don't take your daughter to Barbie," Movieguide, a Christian movie review site warned ahead of the film's release July 21."

    Best part was predicting box office doom for the mega hit.

    1. @8:59 - if you were discussing a brilliant whtie conservative, such as Milton Friedman, I think you would acknowledge that he's a very smart person, but you think he's wrong. However, when faced with a brilliant black conservative, you just call him a crank. You seem to have a different standard based on race.

    2. Not a single soul on the Left thinks Milton Friedman is anything but a mean spirited moron.

      The Right’s shameless use of tokenism, such as with Clarence Thomas and Sowell, is yet another example of their deep rooted racism.

    3. Was, obviously he is long dead and rotting in hell.

    4. What if you think Milton Friedman was a crank?

    5. Sowell earned that distinction.

    6. Didn’t write crank, wrote crank who. Like Milton Friedman was a white crank who hated democracy.

  10. So if both sides have stepped over the line ( it was not cynical to assume this from a distance) why does this need to be beaten to death? Does Bob issue any point of view on this he hasn’t in previous posts? Well, I guess nothing was going on yesterday….

  11. "Times like these tend to produce the kinds of wars which simply can't be won."

    It is the right wing that has called for Civil War II and has been using this kind of terminology to talk about divisions in the US. It is not the left that talks about war.

    But apparently war metaphors are OK with Somerby. Is he really unaware that the right is taking such talk literally? Does he not know that they are the ones with the guns, asking when they will be allowed to use them? Is he not aware that the bulk of recent political mass shootings have arisen on the right, not the left?

    I find it irresponsible to use such language, even figuratively, given the loonies with guns who are itching to start shooting their political enemies -- and these people reside on the right, not the left, so it would be us who are the targets, not Somerby's right wing buddies and pseudo-centrists.

    If you don't believe me about this trend, see David Neiwert's new book The Age of Insurrection. It documents the right wing violence arising from Trump's cult.

  12. "Fruit of the tribal impulse: Vice President Harris said that she was very upset by Florida's new course of study."

    According to Somerby, it is VP Harris who is responsible for the intemperate resposes from the right. If she didn't want to be called evil, she shouldn't have complained about the FL standards.

    According to Somerby, the complaints by black historians, politicians, even black Republican politicians, which Harris echoed in her appearance, are "over the top" and the tiny point that he isolated for discussion is "accurate" because one slave somewhere in the history of US slavery may perhaps have used something he learned as a slave to better himself, although none of the examples given by the FL standard working group members could show that. Was it true for many slaves, much less most of them? Not even close. In fact, the main effect of slavery was bad and there are no benefits to them that can be talked about, as Cooke himself shows by listing the many ways that slaves suffered. So what is the fuss about? The standards are constituted to encourage teachers to minimize the impact of slavery on African American slaves and black people since emancipation. The standards leave out the lasting impacts, such as Jim Crow. They emphasize the way that white people supposedly eradicated slavery single handedly, and they suggest that American slavery was better than what has occurred in other times and places, which is a dubious proposition. And the standards do not discuss racism and its lingering effects in our current society. And that is pretty bad -- not at all the "accuracy" claimed by Somerby and his right wing defenders of the FL standards, including lots of Republicans and white people.

    And why does Somerby not listen to Kamala Harris, a highly educated black leader as well as the elected VP of our country, when she speaks about black experience? Why does he think his judgment as an undereducated former teacher and stand-up comedian outweighs hers when it comes to discussing race in America? Somerby is stupid enough to consider that tiny point (one of the standards proposed by FL) true, even though he has no evidence to support his disagreement with Harris and most other liberals on this. But Somerby apparently doesn't know how laws enacted immediately after emancipation locked black people into low paying manual labor for their previous owners and did not permit them to set up their own blacksmith shops or otherwise use those skills they were taught as slaves (a joke, under the cirumstances of most slaves working conditions). If a slave learned the proper way to polish silverware, he or she did not get to use that to their own benefit after emancipation, not even in their own homes, because (1) they didn't own homes, and (2) they didn't own silverware either. So this is a cruel mockery when Republicans suggest that slaves benefitted from slavery because they learned skills they could use to improve their lives in freedom. It could have happened that way, but it didn't. And Somerby should know that, but he has apparently absorbed those good ole Southern vibes in Baltimore and now defends bigotry instead of opposing it.

    He deserves to be snarked upon by the likes of Rachel Maddow. He should be ashamed to have ever presumed to teach black kids in Baltimore's inner city schools, given his ignorance and racist bullshit.