Thursday, September 23, 2010

With liberty and justice for ... Anna Mae?

Let's make one point clear from the beginning: Anna Mae Weems is an important civil rights figure in the Cedar Valley. At the height of the struggle black people went through to end discrimination and gain equality throughout our society, she was out there fighting the good fight. In the decades since, she has continued to be a voice and a presence on civil rights issues. Perhaps she should have been appointed to the Waterloo Human Rights Commission earlier this month. That doesn't excuse how her daughter Frieda Weems responded --- presumably with Anna Mae's blessing, since she got in on the act, too. Frieda's two-week harangue before the Waterloo City Council included cries of conspiracy and illegal voting as well as calls for resignations of elected and appointed officials. See stories from The Courier's coverage here and here. If she was arguing for the rights of a downtrodden group in the community, such outrage could be warranted. But to win a position for herself? Let others (not your daughter) make the case in more somber tones and leave it at that. Such self-serving indignation does little for her well-deserved legacy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's good to be king ... of the crazy wingnuts

Congressman Steve King's refusal to discuss the possibility of a debate with Matt Campbell, the Democratic challenger for the Iowa 5th District seat, has led to the latest in a long series of his provocative attention-grabbing comments. On Aug. 30, Campbell crashed one of King's town hall meetings and confronted him for not responding to requests to set up a debate. King's response was that Campbell has "not earned" the right to debate him. Read the story and see the Sioux City Journal's video here: That tops a string of statements spanning his political career which have garnered a disproportionate amount of attention for their breadth of arrogance, naivete and partisianship. Some examples, you say? There was his 2004 response to Iraqi prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib:; his 2006 contention that Washington D.C. is more dangerous than the Iraqi warzone:; and finally his more recent statements that President Obama is a Marxist: and that he has a "default mechanism" favoring blacks over whites: Cumulatively, these show King to be a crazy wingnut. And we think he has earned that lifetime achievement award! Here's a 2006 story where King offers some insight into his own provocativeness: Campbell may not get his debate with King and we'll have to wait until Nov. 2 to see who has "earned" the votes of most 5th District residents.