Wake up Democrats!
The confirmation hearings on Clarence Thomas’ ascension to the Supreme Court featured what was probably the first nationwide coverage of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Uncle Tommie got a walk.
With the number of folks now losing their jobs and positions for acts like those of Thomas…Perhaps the ultimate test of whether the current flurry of sexual harassment punishments is a “fad” or something we will take seriously going forward is whether Thomas receives the same treatment. Whether he is punished or not has some rather serious implications relative to the Supreme Court’s already badly battered credibility.
Utah Republican Orrin Hatch called “bullcrap” on Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown last week. The Senate Finance Committee lion tore into Brown for “spewing” that the Republican tax plan to transfer a trillion dollars to the rich was in reality a Republican tax plan to transfer a trillion dollars to the rich.
I got my first dose of Hatch during the wall-to-wall coverage of the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, George H.W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominee. Hatch was the Republicans’ designated questioner of Anita Hill. She was called to testify because she’d told the FBI that Thomas had sexually harassed her 10 years earlier, when he was her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Education.
Sitting behind her were her mother, Erma (“who is going to be celebrating her 80th birthday”); her father, Albert; her sisters, Elreathea, Jo Ann, Coleen and Joyce; and her brother, Ray. No way she was going to lie to the committee, or to us, in front of them.
Hill testified that Thomas had repeatedly asked her out, and that she repeatedly refused. So he demeaned her. He told her someone had once “put a pubic hair” on his Coke can. He said porn star Long Dong Silver had nothing on him in the endowment department.
Hatch called her charges “contrived” and “sick.” He claimed she’d stolen them. The pubic hair, she’d taken from page 70 of “The Exorcist.” Long Dong Silver, she’d lifted from a Kansas sexual harassment case.
Hill agreed to a polygraph test, and passed. Thomas refused. He called the hearings a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.”
It was painful to watch Hatch slime Hill. Women who’d also been sexually harassed found in the hearings no reason to be less fearful of telling their stories. Nor, later, could they take comfort in how Bill Clinton’s accusers were reviled. Or Bill O’Reilly’s. Or Roger Ailes’s.
But something changed. The tipping point may have been Donald Trump bragging to Billy Bush about assaulting women. Sixteen of his victims had the courage to say he’d harassed or groped them.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump’s escape from accountability for that predation contributed to the decisions by Harvey Weinstein’s victims to talk on the record to Jodi Kantor and her New York Times colleagues and to Ronan Farrow at the New Yorker. Before long, more than 80 women attested to Weinstein’s assaults as far back as 1990.
Then nine women gave the Washington Post detailed accounts of Alabama Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore’s history of pedophilia and abuse. They knew the blowback would be brutal. They did it anyway.
Still, Moore won’t quit. Why would he? Kay Ivey, Alabama’s Republican governor, says she’ll vote for him even though she believes his accusers. Better to elect a pedophile than a Democrat who’d vote against a Supreme Court nominee who’d overturn Roe v Wade.
Now Senator Al Franken is in the crosshairs. The Minnesota Democrat offered an apology to Leann Tweeden for “completely inappropriate” behavior in 2006, which she accepted, and he asked for an ethics investigation of the incident. Calls for his resignation illustrate the fallacy of false equivalence; they’re the witch-hunt Trump claimed had victimized him.
Hill was a thoroughly credible witness. Thomas has no stronger case for his innocence than do Trump, Moore or Weinstein. Pressed to defend Trump’s sexual improprieties, his press secretary said the American people “spoke very loud and clear when they elected this president.” No to put too fine a point on it, but she’s spewing bullcrap. Elections don’t decide culpability.
In the wake of the Hill/Thomas hearings, a record-breaking 117 women made it onto the federal ticket in the 1992 election. The 24 women elected to the House that year was the largest number in any single House election, and the three elected to the Senate tripled the number of women senators.
That sharp uptick didn’t persist. If you think that today’s 80% male Congress isn’t good enough, check out Project 100, which is working to elect 100 progressive women to Congress by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. Full disclosure: my daughter is a co-founder. As her dad, and as the onetime speechwriter for the first presidential candidate to pick a woman as his running mate, you can imagine how proud of her I am. And how hopeful she and her young teammates make me feel.
Seems the Royal History is a bit “darker” than we thought…
I have a niece who is a dead ringer for Charlotte.
When Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement Monday, Twitter erupted with the news that the newest princess in the royal family would be bi-racial.
“We got us a Black princess ya’ll,” GirlTyler exulted. “Shout out to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Their wedding will be my Super Bowl.”
But Markle, whose mother is black and whose father is white, may not be the first mixed-race royal.
Some historians suspect that Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III who bore the king 15 children, was of African descent.
Historian Mario De Valdes y Cocom argues that Queen Charlotte was directly descended from a black branch of the Portuguese royal family: Alfonso III and his concubine, Ouruana, a black Moor.
In the 13th century, “Alfonso III of Portugal conquered a little town named Faro from the Moors,” said Valdes, a researcher for Frontline PBS. “He demanded [the governor’s] daughter as a paramour. He had three children with her.”
According to Valdes, one of their sons, Martin Alfonso, married into the noble de Sousa family, who also had black ancestry. Queen Charlotte had African blood from both families.
Valdes, who grew up in Belize, began researching Queen Charlotte’s African ancestry in 1967, after he moved to Boston.
“I had heard these stories from my Jamaican nanny, Etheralda “TeeTee” Cole,” Valdes recalled.
He discovered that a royal physician, Baron Christian Friedrich Stockmar, described Queen Charlotte as “small and crooked, with a true mulatto face.”
Sir Walter Scott wrote that she was “ill-colored” and called her family “a bunch of ill-colored orangutans.”
One prime minister once wrote of Queen Charlotte: “Her nose is too wide and her lips too thick.”
In several British colonies, Queen Charlotte was often honored by blacks who were convinced from her portraits and likeness on coins that she had African ancestry.
Valdes became fascinated by official portraits of Queen Charlotte in which her features, he said, were visibly “negroid.”
“I started a systematic geneological search,” said Valdes, which is how he traced her ancestry back to the mixed-race branch of the Portuguese royal family.
Charlotte, who was born May 19, 1744, was the youngest daughter of Duke Carl Ludwig Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen. She was a 17-year-old German princess when she traveled to England to wed King George III, who later went to war with his American colonies and lost rather badly. His mother most likely chose Charlotte to be his bride.
“Back in London, the king’s enthusiasm mounted daily,” wrote Janice Hadlow in the book, “A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III.” “He had acquired a portrait of Charlotte and was said to be mighty fond of it, but won’t let any mortal look at it.”
King George III ordered that gowns be made and waiting for his new bride when she arrived in London.
He met Charlotte for the first time on their wedding day, Sept. 8, 1761.
“Introduced to the king, Charlotte ‘threw herself at his feet, he raised her up, embraced her and led her through the garden up the steps into the palace,’ ” Hadlow wrote. “Some later reminiscences asserted that at the moment of their meeting, the king had been shocked by Charlotte’s appearance.”
In a portrait painted by Sir Allan Ramsay, Queen Charlotte’s hair is piled high in curly ringlets. Her neck is long and her skin appears to be café-au-lait.
Ramsay, Valdes said, was an abolitionist married to the niece of Lord Mansfield, the judge who ruled in 1772 that slavery should be abolished in the British Empire. And Ramsay was uncle by marriage to Dido Elizabeth Lindsay, the black grand-niece of Lord Mans field. Dido’s life story was recently recounted in the movie, “Belle.”
In 1999, the London Sunday Times published an article with the headline: “REVEALED: THE QUEEN’S BLACK ANCESTORS.”
“The connection had been rumored but never proved,” the Times wrote. “The royal family has hidden credentials that make its members appropriate leaders of Britain’s multicultural society. It has black and mixed-raced royal ancestors who have never been publicly acknowledged. An American genealogist has established that Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III, was directly descended from the illegitimate son of an African mistress in the Portuguese royal house.”
After the Times story, The Boston Globe hailed Valdes’ research as ground breaking. Charlotte, who died in 1818, passed on her mixed-race heritage to her granddaughter, Queen Victoria, and to Britain’s present day monarch, Queen Elizabeth.
Some scholars in England dismissed the evidence as weak — and beside the point.
Prince Harry’s engagement to American Meghan Markle has caused a stir among some of the subjects –
The “Suits” star will be the first American to officially marry a British royal.
Though the 36-year-old television star’s engagement is much less unusual than it would have been in previous generations as traditions become more progressive, Markle’s upcoming ascension to the royal family is still groundbreaking in several ways.
She’s a woman of color.
One columnist from The Daily Mail wrote that if the new couple had children, “the Windsors will thicken their watery, thin blue blood and Spencer pale skin and ginger hair with some rich and exotic DNA,” and described Markle’s mother as “a dreadlocked African-American lady from the wrong side of the tracks.”
Another Daily Mail story about the actress’ hometown of Los Angeles contained the headline, “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton,” referring to the LA suburb where the rap group N.W.A. formed. The writer also wondered if Harry would visit the “gang-scarred home of her mother.”
In a rare public statement last November, Prince Harry condemned the pieces’ “racial undertones” and the ongoing “abuse and harassment” Markle and her family experienced.
In 2015, Markle wrote in Elle Magazine about racism she and her parents have faced ― and how her father advised her to “draw your own box” when needing to identify her race.
There was a mandatory census I had to complete in my English class — you had to check one of the boxes to indicate your ethnicity: white, black, Hispanic or Asian. There I was (my curly hair, my freckled face, my pale skin, my mixed race) looking down at these boxes, not wanting to mess up, but not knowing what to do. You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other — and one half of myself over the other. My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. ‘Because that’s how you look, Meghan,’ she said. I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So, I didn’t tick a box. I left my identity blank — a question mark, an absolute incomplete — much like how I felt.
When I went home that night, I told my dad what had happened. He said the words that have always stayed with me: “If that happens again, you draw your own box.”
She’ll be the first American to officially marry a British royal.
The Los Angeles native is not the first American to marry a British royal, but is the first whose relationship has been officially accepted by the royal family.
In 1936, King Edward VIII famously abdicated the throne to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson after their relationship caused a royal scandal.
Markle, like Simpson, is divorced, but the acceptance of the former shows more tolerant social conventions over time. Prince Harry’s father Prince Charles divorced his mother, Princess Diana, and in 2005, married the twice-divorced Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall — though their wedding was a civil ceremony.
She was raised Catholic.
Until 2015, British rules barred members of the line of royal succession from marrying Catholics, as Queen Elizabeth II serves as the head of the Anglican Church.
But the revised law now allows Markle, who attended a Catholic high school, to marry Prince Harry.
The British Parliament’s changes to the law on royal succession also included the removal of biases toward male heirs ― which now allows, for example, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s daughter, Charlotte, to join the line of succession directly after her older brother, George, even if she ends up having other male siblings.
Tasering someone who is elderly, has a heart condition or other medical issues is dangerous. Taskers have killed a number of people.
What is the deal with a cop, who is too much of a punk to redirect an 86 Year Old man with dementia without having to physically abuse him or shoot him with a deadly weapon?
Admittedly Mr Chatfield should not have been driving. However, if you have ever dealt with a relative with Dementia or Alzheimers you know they often are not connected enough with reality enough not to do dangerous things.
An 86-year-old black man from Sorth Carolina has been placed in intensive care after a police officer used a Taser gun on him.
The Post and Courier reports that 86-year-old Albert Chatfield was sent to the hospital after a confrontation with a Kingstree Police Officer Stephen Sweikata, who said he deployed a Taser on Chatfield because he was worried for the man’s safety.
The trouble started when Chatfield, who suffers from dementia, was pulled over by Sweikata for running a red light in his Ford SUV. Chatfield then got out of his car and starting behaving in a confused manner, and officers say that he began walking in and out of lanes of traffic.
Chatfield ignored the officers’ commands, and Sweikata said that he fired his Taser at the man “because traffic was still moving … and I was afraid that Mr. Chatfield would be struck by a vehicle had this continued.”
Chatfield, however, was badly injured by the Taser, as he suffered bleeding from the brain and a broken nose after falling over from being stunned. He was in a medically induced coma earlier this week, and he could not speak properly when he awoke.
Chatfield’s family’s attorney, Justin Bamberg, said that it simply defied belief that an 86-year-old dementia patient was such an apparent threat that he needed to be Tasered.
“If you cannot restrain an 86-year-old, you need to eat some spinach,” he said.