Jumping to Conclusions – Again (Shirley Sherrod, BP, and the Lockerbie Bomber)

July 26, 2010

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Last week The Crunchy Conservative had an article about Shirley Sherrod (the woman at the USDA who was dismissed after a tape of her speech before the NAACP was released.  This tape apparently exposed her as a racist (anti-white as she is African-American) and using her position within the government to penalize a white farmer.  The NAACP and the White House condemned her, but have since apologized for not knowing the whole story.  I commented on that article that we (average people not in the US government) will probably never know the whole story.  I have listed to the entire tape (at least what is reported as the entire tape) and I still find very little to be sympathetic to her about.  Having been a former civil servant, I am appalled that what her customer looked like had any bearing on her fulfilling her duties.  (I must admit that I completely agree with responding to verbal attacks with reduced service).  Civil servants are basically the store clerks of the government.  Most have no authority and have to put up with a lot of abuse.

So, should she have been fired?  I have no idea.  But now we have a new flash news story, where the instant media is demanding action.  Apparently, the British head of British Petroleum (BP, the guys with the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico) is alleged to have been part of the negotiations to release the Lockerbie bomber.  For this, the press is demanding that he be fired.  I find this as bizarre as the firing of a USDA official.  If he was involved in the discussion, why not a public outcry when it happened?  Why wait until now when some in the government and many in the media want to punish BP for the oil rig accident?  (Editor’s note – Peter Rabbit wrote an article condemning the release last year – but indeed, the BP connection was not mentioned).

So what do we, as average people, know?  First we know that Tony Hayward is the CEO of BP and was in BP upper management at the time the Lockerbie bomber was released.  Second, we know (?) that BP was given drilling privileges off the cost of Libya after the release.  Third we know that BP officials (maybe Hayward) testified before the Scottish parliament for the release.  From this, he needs to be fired.  And the firing need to happen right now, with no trial or questions asked.

I truly fear that our society has no attention span, and no ability to discern logical cause and effect.  We are an instant gratification society.  We want the fastest internet -getting the news storey up first is more important than getting it right – and even the fastest food.  We complain about being fat, so we need instant weight reduction (no long term commitment or high effort), and we still eat fast food.  Perhaps we are just spoiled.  We expect and get fresh food all year long, we get 120 stations and TiVO so that we can watch anything we want instead of waiting for a show we want to watch.

In the end, let’s go back to the source of this rant.  Should these people be fired?  I don’t know.  Is it any of our business?  I say emphatically, NO!

Shirley Sherrod, The White House, And The NAACP

July 22, 2010

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Shirley Sherrod made comments at an NAACP event that were “taken out of context”. She was fired, sorry, asked to resign,wait…fired, from her position at the USDA by the Secretary of Ag (and Iowa’s (my) former Governor) Tom Vilsack. Now, she’s been given a “unique” rehire opportunity back at the USDA. Really? So are we making up jobs now? Is she the “assistant to the regional manager”? Fans of The Office can feel free to chuckle.

The White House claims it didn’t know all of the facts when it acted, requesting that she be canned. Come on, now. We’re supposed to believe that? This coming from the same White House that waited how many days to make a statement regarding the oil rig explosion and spill? So we can wait to comment on something we can see, but have a knee jerk reaction to something else? Not buying it, Gibbs.

What amuses me is the media reaction to all of this. First of all, the story comes out and they all jump on it. Then, when it’s discovered that the entire video was not released, the Tea Party and Fox News is to blame. Rachel Maddow (not quite sure why I even watch her as she always makes my blood pressure go up) claimed that Fox News was to blame for “poor reporting”. Um, sure. That’s why they cream you in the ratings week after week after week. Because they are poor reporters. Rachel also made comments about the “fake ACORN scandal” that Fox News reported on. Hey, Rachel, it’s not fake. Now who is the poor reporter here?

It has been reported that Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook called Sherrod on Monday and asked her to resign for FEAR that Glenn Beck might go after her. FEAR of Glenn Beck. Wow. Those “poor reporters” sure have zero influence.

And I’m sure that all of this media hullabaloo has nothing to do with the fact that the NAACP recently passed a resolution urging the Tea Party to disassociate themselves with racism. I don’t consider myself a member of the Tea Party, but I think I know their intent well enough to know the Party is not based on race.

The President, Ben Jealous, of the NAACP criticized Sherrod for her comments and has since apologized for that. But here’s the kicker. HE WAS AT THE EVENT. HE WAS THERE WHEN HER COMMENTS WERE RECORDED. So wouldn’t he know if they were taken out of context? I understand how it is at events. Some speakers you listen to and sometimes you’re busy visiting with others etc. But if you’re going to publicly criticize someone for comments made at your event, I would be sure to “go to the tape” and re-watch the entire speech BEFORE going to the media.

I apologize if this rant doesn’t make sense as I gave birth to a healthy white male two weeks ago. I intend on raising him in my “crunchy conservative” manner. So I guess that makes me part of the problem, doesn’t it Rachel?