Day: October 21, 2010

National Public Radio Wrong To Fire Juan Williams Over Fears Of Muslim Garb On Airplanes! :(

Political commentator Juan Williams, who has long been involved in the civil rights community with his writings and work on African American history, has just been fired by National Public Radio for expressing his views about Islamic clothing.

Williams said on the Bill O’Reilly show on Fox News Channel that he is not prejudiced against the Islamic faith, but that it strikes fear in his heart when he sees people in full Islamic clothing on airplanes, as it brings back memories of September 11, 2001.

Such a statement is purely freedom of speech; it is not expressing anti Islamic hatred, as many others have done.

It is a common thought of many Americans because of the events of September 11, as it makes many Americans uncomfortable.

It is not stating that Muslims should not be free to wear such garb. It is just an opinion and expression of a fear which is quite common.

Juan Williams is a quality journalist, and firing him is unjustified! It does not make NPR look very good, as it is stifling freedom of speech!

This is not the same as Rick Sanchez being fired by CNN for his anti Semitic comments about Jews in the media, and perceived discrimination against Hispanics in the media, including himself!

If one is a journalist, and cannot express his thoughts in a non hateful way on a cable or television or radio channel without fear of losing his job, then we have really become a nation where civil liberties itself is under attack!

And since NPR has a reputation as a “liberal” or “progressive” channel, it is especially reprehensible to be seen as intolerant, and lacking an open mind to allow a diversity of opinion!

NPR has done the wrong thing, and it should reverse itself and rehire Juan Williams, and recognize what he is: a quality journalist who deserves respect for his non hateful opinions!

Virginia Thomas: The Clarence Thomas Supreme Court Controversy Revived By A “Loose Cannon”! :(

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas has been on the Court for 19 years, charting a consistently conservative course, and showing very little ability to grow beyond his narrow views, expressed by his statement when he was confirmed that he would stay on the Court longer than any Supreme Court Justice in history to “confound the damn liberals” who he felt had tried to derail his nomination!

Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, to replace retiring liberal Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American on the Court, became enmeshed in a controversy over charges of Anita Hill, an African American woman who worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that he had sexually harassed her during her employment at that agency.

The accusations led to testimony by both Thomas and Hill before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and it set up a very embarrassing situation, in which senators and the public took sides, with many believing Thomas’s denials, and others believing Hill’s accusations.

Thomas was confirmed 52-48, the closest vote for a Supreme Court Justice in the 20th century, but he continued to feel bitterness and anger about the situation, and in his memoir written in 2007, he vented about it.

Now his wife has revived the matter, by leaving a phone message at the office of Hill, a law professor at Brandeis University, asking her to consider an apology to her husband, and to explain why she accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, and nearly derailed his Court nomination. Hill handed over the information to campus police and they notified the FBI, because of concern that it might be a prank.

Virginia Thomas is obviously a “loose cannon”, and has become controversial as the head of a right wing lobbying group, Liberty Central, connected to the Tea Party Movement. Some have wondered if what she engages in is a conflict of interest, considering her husband’s position on the Supreme Court!

She does not seem to care about her image, and her contacting Anita Hill, is proof of it, and one has to wonder if she consulted her husband before making the phone call to Anita Hill.

Of course, Anita Hill made it clear no apology is forthcoming, because what she claimed happened back in the 1980s REALLY happened, a view the author has always held since the beginning!

It is perfectly clear that Virginia Thomas has a grudge, and rather than consider that her husband may have covered up the truth, as many believe, she instead revives the controversy, which frankly is better forgotten, with Thomas imposing his reactionary views on the Supreme Court for a generation, and unfortunately, probably for an equivalent period in the future, and in the process, holding back progress and undermining constitutional law! 🙁