Sunday night line: School choice and the anti-Obama media | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday night line: School choice and the anti-Obama media

Posted By on Sun, Aug 11, 2013 at 5:19 PM

The line is open. Not much else to report. But tomorrow:

* SCHOOL 'CHOICE': The pandora's box opened by the legislature's adoption of a nearly unfettered school choice law this year dumps its contents MOnday on the state Board of Education. It has an agenda that includes 13 — THIRTEEN — appeals of school district decisions to deny school transfers — from Cabot, Lakeside, Marion, Lonoke, Palestine-Whteatley, White Hall and Wynne School Districts. The districts will invoke desegregation histories and current issues with varying degrees of specificity. The school choice legal forces — backed by the Billionaire Boys Club influence that brought about this law change in the first place — are pushing eventually for the end to any barriers to movement of students between school districts, including concerns about segregation. And when school district lines and race no longer have meaning, then what? Besides all-white and all-black school districts and the inevitable disparity, 1954-style.

We're not there yet. But I do wonder sometimes how matters might change if somebody did something like a New Enghland anti-poverty worker once told me about. They were going to round up all the poor people in their service area in Vermont and propose to move them to New Hampshire. Poverty solved in Vermont! Same idea for Arkansas schools. I propose that we free all the children trapped in the failing schools in Little Rock and put them on buses every day to the successful schools in Bryant, Benton, Cabot, Greenbrier and Sheridan. Problem solved, right?

* AND MEDIA TYPES MIGHT BE INTERESTED: In this op-ed in the Chattanooga Times Free Press (a newspaper owned by the Democrat-Gazette's Walter Hussman) about the reaction the newspaper received following the sacking of the editorial page editor who put a "Take Your Jobs Plan and Shove It, Mr. President" headline on an unfriendly editorial on the occasion of Barack Obama's visit to the city. That action apparently prompted a huge angry response — from people upset about the firing (and apparently from people not particularly familiar with the political leanings of Walter Hussman and his newspapers.)

Our editors, managers, customer service reps, reporters, and others began receiving calls and emails from all across the nation that were nothing less than vicious. Complete strangers took the story out of context and claimed it was this newspaper succumbing to President Barack Obama.

The ‘N’ word was screamed in dozens of emails and calls. “If you are not a [N] then you are an [N]-lover” one caller said.

The word “woman” was used as an insult over and over again. One bitter respondent went as far as to tell our female editor that she is an example of why the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, should have never existed. Another told her this is why women shouldn’t be doing jobs meant for men. Scores of others referred to her with almost every imaginable derogatory, vulgar term known.

Obama was called a “rag-headed Muslim” or “Chicago thug gang banger” by many who felt compelled to target their rage against him towards us. Many times they included their contact information as if it was a badge of honor that accompanied the sentiments. Others hid behind the veil of anonymity with their sordid remarks.

Personally, I heard from more than one stranger this week that it was a shame my mother did not have an abortion. Dozens more thought I was born without parts of my male anatomy. Many told me how physically ugly I was. And the “F” word was used almost as freely as the “N” word in trying to describe my alleged personal support of Obama. More than one suggested my death would result from my misinterpreted pandering to political pressure.

There's more. Of course many of the hateful quoted the Bible. The silver lining is that the columnist, Jason Taylor, said he'd responded to all the calls and messages. And he reports that many saw they'd been in error. Many apologized.

Of course, that lining isn't so silver when you understand that many undoubtedly felt sheepish only on learning that they'd heaped vituperation on a reliably anti-Obama newspaper. Had it been the Arkansas Times — keep those racist curses coming!

EDITOR'S NOTE: I noticed, too late after the fact, one of those terrible "automatic fill-in' things that happen on cell phones and — now I know — on the administrative function of the Arkansas Times' webpage. Triple slaying and Trayvon Martin? Not on my radar today.

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