Links, 7/26/11

(This video documents a mother’s effort to get her son a Voter ID card in WI.)

Good News for Kids

McDonalds is rolling out new and improved Happy Meals, now with fruits or veggies and fewer fries. These Happier Meals will have 20% fewer calories.

The NYPL has offered an amnesty on overdue fines; but to earn it, the kids need to read. Kids get $1 knocked off their fines for every 15 minutes they read. I’m wondering if there’s a way we could get the NYPL to come up with a debt reduction plan, rather than the yahoos in Congress.

Justice and Injustice

Bunny Greenhouse vindicated! You might remember Greenhouse as the Army Corps of Engineer Chief Oversight Officer who criticized abuses that led to KBR getting a no-bid contract in 2005. She was demoted as a result. But she just got a $970,000 settlement for retaliation.

Remember that ridiculous $85 million wrist slap the Fed gave to Wells Fargo last week, in part because its employees lied on liar loans? Joe Nocera asked DOJ why they weren’t prosecuting those folks. In response, DOJ sent him a statement on 2010 indictments, none of which had anything to do with Wells Fargo.

Back when I was Valedictorian of Cowpie High, the Administration tried hard to discourage me from making the traditional Valedictorian speech–they were worried I would incite rebellion, I think, or maybe say “blowjob.” But even though they distrusted me, I ultimately got to accept the honor. Not so Kymberly Wimberly, (h/t ABL) an 18 year old black woman in Alabama Arkansas who had the best GPA in her class, but nevertheless was replaced as Valedictorian by a white student with a lower GPA.

Jerry Brown nominated Goodwin Liu to the CA Supreme Court.

Bob Fertik expanded on my thoughts about News Corp being a Transnational Organized Crime organization into a worthwhile post. The big question, though, is whether DOJ will treat Murdoch’s band of hacks in the same way as they will the mafia or drug cartels under this program.

A MN Court just ruled that letting pesticides drift over another farm’s field counts as trespassing. It’s be really nice if this rule were applied to Monsanto and their GMO plants.

Our Dying Economy

We continue to treat the long-term unemployed like shit, specifically refusing to consider hiring people who are long-term unemployed.

Cate Long at MuniLand reports on what an infrastucture bank might look like, if we ever raise the debt ceiling. But she notes something disturbing: even though both parties appear to back this infrastructure investment, it’s not entirely clear who will own the infrastructure that gets built.

A number of people have pointed to this WaPo/ABC post showing voters souring on Obama’s economic policies. But what most surprised me about the cross tabs are the results for the question, “Who do you think cares more about protecting the economic interests of Wall Street?” 59% said the GOP, 26% said Obama, and just 4% said both (they had to offer up that answer). I mean, granted, the GOP has done more for Wall Street, particularly in scuttling things like the CFPB. But are people not noticing the way Obama has refused to hold Wall Street accountable? If that remains true, that, by itself, might make the difference in 2012.

Our Economy’s Not the Only One with Troubles

Following a fatal high speed rail crash in Wenzhou, analysts think China will not be able to compete for rail business internationally, as they were increasingly doing. Maybe that’s why China buried the train and has mandated a “in the face of great tragedy, there’s great love” theme for reporting on the crash.

The British economy has tanked since Cameron pushed through austerity. It’s what we have to look forward to!

Our National Security State

Another one of our CyberSecurity officials stepped down suddenly on Friday. There are suggestions he left because the US government’s websites have been hacked recently.

The Third Circuit has ruled that the government can collect DNA from people arrested, but not yet convicted, for a crime.

40 police offices and other units around the country are adopting an iPhone based iris scanner technology to make IDing people in the field easier.

Matthew Olsen admitted in his confirmation hearing to be the head of the National Counterterrorism Center that the “authority may exist” to track Americans inside this country using their cell phone geolocation. Olsen’s General Counsel at NSA right now, so presumably he would know.

Apparently, we’re still in the habit of kidnapping the family members of alleged terrorists.

John Robb explains why extremist groups–such as the Norwegian terrorist or an off-shoot of the La Familia drug cartel in Mexico–might be attracted to Knights Templar culture: because they offer these groups the “fictive kinship” that makes the group closer to a tribe, but one not bound by normal laws.

Sandy Levinson, over at Balkinization, thinks Tom Friedman’s stupid “Radical Center” effort funded by hedge fund money is an effort to set up a David Petraeus run.

24 replies
  1. nomolos says:

    That the young woman in Alabama was replaced as Valedictorian by some white geek is absolutely reprehensible but I guess Alabama, like a lot of the south, is still mired in the segregational past.

    Yep the National Security State is undoubtedly alive and well in the fascist states of america. One would have thought what with all the wiretapping and email harvesting the powers that be would have found some real criminals to go after…oh wait the powers that be are the damn criminals.

  2. harpie says:

    Bunnatine Greenhouse is one tough whistleblower and I am so happy she finally has seen some measure of justice.

  3. emptywheel says:


    The complaint also said that the last time her high school had a black Valedictorian was 1989.

    But I wonder whether others were replaced, like her. She learned about this partly because her mom worked at the school. So how many other black Alabama Valedictoriansl were replaced in the last 22 years?

  4. MadDog says:

    An additional link via Wired that tickled my cynical funnybone:

    DHS Fears a Modified Stuxnet Could Attack U.S. Infrastructure

    One year after the discovery of a sophisticated worm that was used to attack centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear program, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told Congress it fears the same attack could now be used against critical infrastructures in the U.S…

    …The testimony comes in the wake of accusations that the U.S. was itself responsible,, along with Israel, for developing and unleashing Stuxnet into the wild, thereby making it possible for the hackers, nation-state attackers and terrorists that DHS fears to now repurpose the malware for use against critical infrastructure systems in the U.S…

    Kind of like reusable bombs, no?

  5. GulfCoastPirate says:

    As someone who has lived in the South for almost 60 years let me state what I have said many times before. The teabaggers are about overturning everything that happened in the 60’s. Anyone who thinks it is about anything else is a fool. It’s about overturning all of it – birth control, abortion, civil rights, voting rights – everything. If people want these things to continue they had better prepare to fight for them.

    Did you really give a valedictorian speech and not talk about blowjobs? I can understand not inciting rebellion but no blowjobs? I bet your mom put her foot down. :)

  6. emptywheel says:


    Yeah, that wasn’t predictable at all. Fucking morons keep exposing us to blowback as if they had never heard of it before.

  7. emptywheel says:


    I used Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to talk about the importance of being true to yourself–something schmaltzy like that. They were worried about rebellion and they got Willy Wonka!

    A number of my classmates later said it was the best speech, better than the student picked to give one. So there.

    • bmaz says:

      Arrgh Pirate, now ye can see why I signed on to this here galleon! The Captain, she’s got spunk!

  8. tejanarusa says:

    Bless Bunny Greenhouse (and not in that “bless her heart”not way. A few people get justice, eventually.

    I’ve bookmarked that story about the co-valedictorian (which I read somewhere a few days ago) to whip out when people say there’s no racism any more.

  9. MadDog says:

    EW – Hoocoodanode?

    I’m betting the folks in our Intel Community who approved the Stuxnet virus attack on Iran had simply read “Hacking for Dummies” and decided as a result of doing so, that it made them Master Hackers.

    They got the Dummy part right. LOL!

  10. tejanarusa says:

    Further comment on mine at 9. re the valedictorian “big mess” (they are getting a much bigger mess than they thought they would with Kymberly W. as valedictorian.

    It sounds like, from reading the facts in the Complaint, like the school couldn’t make up their mind what exactly they were doing.

    They appointed another student “co-valedictorian,”, but the Principal, on telling her mother about the “co-valedictorian,” asked if he should tell Kymberly that she “was no longer valedictorian.”
    One thing left out of the Complaint is what actually happened at graduation. Did Kymberly make a valedictory speech? Did the other student? Both? Neither?
    I hope the principal and superintendent and board have to pay court costs and damages personally.

  11. emptywheel says:


    Note they also sent out competing press releases.

    Also note it appears she had a kid along the way–the reason she got one B is because she took time off for maternity leave.

  12. P J Evans says:

    The British economy has tanked since Cameron pushed through austerity. It’s what we have to look forward to!

    I’ve been reading Rule 34, where at one point they mention that the American economy crashed into ‘mass repossessions, Greenspan favelas, and civil unrest’ (some time before the period when the story is set). What we have to look forward to?

  13. mzchief says:

    The whole “not enough activity on your bank account” stuff in the WI “Voter ID at the DMV” video is alarming. WI sure looks like it’s making sure poverty is a barrier to voting. Register here if you would like Smiley & West to visit and hear your family’s story on battling poverty on its Smiley and West‘s Poverty Tour.

  14. Desider says:

    Wimberly is from *ARKANSAS*, not *ALABAMA*

    So can we stop with the immediate trashing of Alabama already?

    And one case doesn’t condemn a whole state anyway. This is a stupid decision by 1 or 2 people in the school (the girl’s mother is head of media for the school – should she be condemned too?)

    My guess is that this is as much about her being child parent already as about being black – you know that ‘morals’ thing – and getting preggie in high school is considered worse in Arkansas than saying ‘blowjob’.

  15. Desider says:

    Correction on my speculation that this could only be about teen parenting –

    The lawsuit makes it quite clear repeated racist treatment in keeping blacks out of advanced courses and other issues.

    Good luck to her – seems like a promising start to Arkansas Law School if she wins (even though she’s majoring in biology)

  16. emptywheel says:


    Corrected, sorry. I attribute it to the A-state confusion that often gets people to confuse MS with MI, both segregated hard hit states, but obviously totally different.

  17. klynn says:

    Thanks for the Fertik link.

    I remember “when”… bloggers linked to you and they would included a statement about your background. Now, you are just cited and linked to as emptywheel.

    Very cool.

  18. frang says:

    Interesting results on the WaPo/ABC poll. Although the poll queried about who caters the most to Wall Street, it didn’t ask about who was weakest/most ineffectual in leadership. I would bet that Obama would outpoll the Repubs on that question (although I believe BO is doing just what he planned to do all along). Perceived weak leadership skills could also affect the 2012 election and I don’t think that BO starting another war would help him in that area.

  19. Desider says:

    @emptywheel: Marcie, considering the tons of digital print you put out a day, confusing Alabama with Albania and Arkansas with Alaska would seem natural and human now and then.

    It’s more that Democrats have a problem with the South, and it’s reflected in pretty automatic full-destruct rage mode whenever anything racist or pseudo-racist happens.

    Yes, it’s more than a few bad apples, but there’s been huge progress and the vitriol isn’t helping much.

  20. Desider says:

    @Desider: Aargh, meant to make it clear I didn’t think you were in full-rage mode, just some of the comments – you stuck with the story, which by itself was pretty outrageous with no mention of extenuating circumstances.

Comments are closed.