Two years ago, if someone had suggested to me that I don an orange jumpsuit and a black hood and haul a cross down the street in opposition to torture, I would have laughed at them. Yet here I am at the end of 2010 having pulled that stunt, or something akin to it, more than 30 times in the past year.
Street protests in America today are far less common than they have been in years past, but they are particularly out of place in the relatively upscale business districts of West Des Moines, Iowa. There, week after week, a small, rotating group of ordinary people carry out the old tradition of holding signs inscribed with simple messages. These range in tone from straightforward pleas – “Shut down Guantanamo,” “No More Torture: Not Here, Not There, Nowhere” and “Free Shaker Aamer” – to sarcastic slogans – “USA: Torturing Our Way to World Peace” and “Don’t Worry, We’ll Tell You What to Confess!”
Note from the marketing department: if you are looking to convert strangers to your ideas, waving signs on a street corner is not your best bet.
But it seems they had a little snow in DC last night, and around 11pm last night I got a message that General Counsel Cameron Kerry’s flight got scrubbed, so the meeting had to be canceled. It’s fairly rare for US Government traveling road shows on issues relating to Internet policies to come south of Atlanta (if that), so I was looking forward to this and even rescheduled a class so I could attend, which is a significant burden on my students. There’s a remote chance the meeting may be rescheduled, but I’m not optimistic.
Meanwhile, I get to go to New York next week and at least freeze. But the forecast currently is only for light snow.
Seems they have a great management style in nearby Aventura Adventura. And, hey, good news!, it’s all legal too:
The district court ruled that Murphy failed to establish that she was subject to a hostile work environment. The district court found that nine of the eighteen remarks described by Murphy constituted “generalized profanity and insults.” The district court also found that Murphy failed to establish that Soroka “singled out females as the targets for” the profanity based on statements by Judy Appelgren, Soroka’s assistant, and Ginger Kimnick that Soroka routinely and indiscriminately cursed at male and female employees. The district court found that the remaining nine remarks, although sex-based and offensive, did not rise to the level of sexual harassment because they were of “limited frequency,” having occurred over two years and eight months; were not severe; were not physically threatening and were not humiliating; and did not “unreasonably interfere” with Murphy’s work performance. The district court also ruled that Murphy failed to establish a prima facie case of retaliation. The district court determined that Murphy failed to establish that she had complained about gender-based discrimination and, in the alternative, she lacked an objectively reasonable belief that she was subject to a hostile work environment based on sexual harassment.
Plaintiff Murphy was represented by Richard Burton and Ben Kuehne, so this is likely court failure not lawyer failure. Is the 11th Circuit the worst place in the nation to bring a sex discrimination complaint? (I don’t know what’s doing in the 4th or the 7th, which would be my other guesses.)
Rep. David Rivera’s (R-FL-25) shtick isn’t playing well in Washington DC. Even the Republicans up there don’t like him:
In addition, there is anger and frustration at Rivera in GOP leadership circles. Rivera is described by Republicans as being “less than candid” or “not forthcoming” about his ethics problems in conversations with leadership aides and campaign operatives, and they have been surprised on several occasions as new allegations surface.“It’s only a matter of time before the eighth shoe drops,” said one senior House Republican staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Given the sleaze allegations swirling, you would think the indictment, and then the resignation under the GOP’s “zero-tolerance” policy would be coming soon. Except I’m not even sure he’ll go if indicted.
I have no idea if this video claiming to have images from North Korea is authentic, but I am prepared to believe that it is. And the initial image of the woman starving in the fields is certainly … unforgettable. Not for the faint of heart.
Tim Pawlenty took a page out of the Madison Avenue playbook today. It’s a core belief of modern (but not post-modern) brand management that if consumers associate your product with something negative, you try to overcome that with advertising designed to make the opposite positive association.
Car ads are a case in point. Last night during the football game that the Jets showed up for late I saw a commercial for a Cadillac that was designed to make me think of it as a sports car driven by wealthy yuppies approaching middle age, rather than a grandparental boat or a pimpmobile. I laughed.
I’m sure the campaign sees this as a triple win: First they get to try to associate the candidate with good right wing stuff like fighter planes, toughness, and various multi-ethnic feelgood imagery. Second, they get to try to suggest he might be exciting. (Good luck with that.) Third, they get to be the first ones visibly out of the gate. (Do NOT pay any attention to that Romney behind the curtain!)
To the very limited extent the American public notices, I predict bemusement.
That doesn’t mean Pawlenty isn’t as serious a candidate for the GOP nomination as any of the other members of a fairly unprepossessing field. If you think Romney will use all that money to loom large, then Pawlenty has a shot at being the ABR-ABP (Anyone But Romney, Anyone But Palin) candidate, if Huckabee (the natural ABP candidate) can be marginalized as Palin Lite, or as the front man for the parts of the party Main Street fears. Watch to see how much Pawlenty genuflects to the Tea Party tendency: the trick for an ABR-ABP candidate is to have at least some support there without going overboard.