Handling Threats in Comments

I have a comment hanging around in my moderation queue.  It reads like an angry 8th grader’s racist bathroom graffiti.   It contains a threat against President Elect Obama, exhorting readers to “give him the MLK lesson”.

In keeping with the comment policy at this blog, I’ve decided to allow it.  However, I’ve also decided, given its nature, to publish the exact time of the comment, as well as the originating ip address and given email address (though clearly fake).

If racists and bigots want to use this blog to vent, that’s fine.  It showcases their ignorance in marked contrast to the liberals they foam and rant against.  But I want to make clear:

Any comment that can be construed as a violent threat may get your ip published.

Here is the offending comment:

Time to get moving…give him the MLK lesson.

Remember: Let as nigger out of the back of the bus and he wants to drive!

One more democratic vote for a dead nigger.

[EDITED: Removed]

Racists like this particular little maggot can scream all they want, in the end they are simply spineless cowards who lack real power and legitimacy.

UPDATE: Upon Reflection (and Christopher’s excellent suggestions), I’ve decided reporting is the way to go.


Indentured Students

Everything old is new again at the Boston Globe.   Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow writes:

The next thing in student loans: Investors pay your bills. You give them a share of your future:

The result is an innovative way to think about paying for higher education. The idea, sometimes called human capital contracts, is that investors agree to cover the costs of college or graduate school in return for a percentage of the students’ future earnings over a fixed period of time. Since payments are scaled to wages, the odds of default – and of financial hardship for the graduate – are greatly reduced. This scheme transfers much of the risk from students to investors. But if the students earn handsomely, the investors stand to gain more than they would under a traditional loan.

This forms a relationship of debt between the student and the investor, allowing investors to profit off the labor of several students in exchange for giving them access to higher education.  Rather than an innovative stroke of economic genius, it is an odious jerry-rigging of a broken education system to further cement the idea that education, a public service, is in fact a private commodity.

The contracts could offer a new way for students and their families to handle the burden of postsecondary education bills. In recent years, rising tuition costs, combined with limits on federal loans, have increasingly forced students to resort to private loans, which have markedly higher interest rates. The challenges of paying for college promise to intensify during the economic downturn. Disruptions in the credit market have caused turmoil for student borrowers, while diminished endowments may force many colleges to jack up tuition rates even higher. Constraints on the federal budget will limit the options of President-elect Obama and the next Congress, regardless of their plans to aid students.

What we should question is why higher education isn’t provided to the public like k-12.  Now that would be an innovative investment.

Obama Watch: The Human Rights Litmus Test

Crossposted at Revolutionary Act

Now that we’ve successfully elected Barack Obama, we need to make sure he stays honest and true to his campaign.  This article from the Wall Street Journal uses an interview with his transition team to suggest he might not be.  When running for office:

On the campaign trail, Mr. Obama criticized many of President George W. Bush’s counterterrorism policies. He condemned Mr. Bush for promoting “excessive secrecy, indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping and ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ like simulated drowning that qualify as torture through any careful measure of the law or appeal to human decency.”

As a candidate, Mr. Obama said the CIA’s interrogation program should adhere to the same rules that apply to the military, which would prohibit the use of techniques such as waterboarding. He has also said the program should be investigated.

However the word on the street suggests otherwise:

Mr. Obama is being advised largely by a group of intelligence professionals, including some who have supported Republicans, and centrist former officials in the Clinton administration. They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.

“He’s going to take a very centrist approach to these issues,” said Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations. “Whenever an administration swings too far on the spectrum left or right, we end up getting ourselves in big trouble.”

Given that this is coming from a single advisor I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to be simply wishful thinking on his part, or even playing to the media’s obsessive need to claim that Obama must run a centrist administration when a largely left-wing coalition won him his office.

This is too important an issue to let alone, we need to keep the pressure on.  So I’ve started a petition (which is only a small start).  Any other ideas?

Please sign the petition asking President Elect Obama to Uphold Human Rights.

Time to Put the PUMA Out For the Night

sm77 at PUMA blog the Confluence sums up their irrelevance in a goodbye post (emphasis mine):

To think we waited 8 years PRAYING for a Democratic President.  Well now we have one and I still feel the same.   But as a true, firebrand, loud and hellacious liberal who endured the Dubya years, my job is to dislike the president and critique anything and everything the president does.   So it’s not like things have changed much.  Instead of a “W” now we have an “O.”   Instead of obsessively myopic Evangelicals, we have obsessively myopic Obamacrats.  Meet the new boss, same as the old.

PUMA power couldn’t resist going out with one last bang of ironic detachment from reality.  McCain, affectionally dubbed McSame, was cast out in enthusiastic favor of Obama.  The sense I got, reflecting on the vitriol sent our way by McCain/Palin supporters with those who supported Obama, Edwards, and Clinton during the primary season, was that we all had won.  The 18 million strong turned out to be a couple hundred vocal pundits and bloggers after all.

Meanwhile the candidates who stood for the same principals and policies as Hillary Clinton carried the day, defeating the heir to Bush’s self styled throne and the Cheney loving anti-feminist he picked as a “fuck you nod” to disaffected Clinton supporters.

Now is the time to recognize what Obama stands for, and to take up the banner he shares with Clinton and help bring progress to this great nation of ours.  Now is the time to leave PUMA behind, and follow Hillary Clinton’s lead and support our new President.

Prop 8: Bigotry Wins in California


Voters have approved prop 8, writing discrimination into the California state constitution.

Their jubilation comes at the expense of people they denied the right to marriage by successfully hiding behind the veil of religious freedom and appealing to people’s worst instincts.

The thing to remember is that their victory will be short lived.  There will be another proposition to overturn prop 8 as surely as there is a will to victory emboldened by Obama’s historic win and call to service.

Younger generations by far favor equality, not bigotry.  If not in 2 years then in 4.  If not in 4 years then in 6.  To those of good heart in California take heart: This is a battle we will win!

Will I Am: CNN Episode 1

What the hell CNN?

At the victory party in Arlington, a bunch of us where wondering why there was a hologram talking to Anderson Cooper.  Glad to see we weren’t the only ones:

“Will I Am, I want to thank you for being with us via hologram tonight.”

How do these decisions get made? Was there really no one at CNN who had ever seen the first Star Wars movie? Did no one think, hmm, I wonder if this will make us the laughingstock of one of the most important evenings in American history?

I was actually secretly hoping their next guest would be voicing a poorly animated version brought into the study via the magic of the blue screen.  The night felt surreal enough.


WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For Virginians, Americans, and all the citizens of the World.  This victory means the change we sought during the election is now possible.  This election is the beginning of a long road, and we are finally in the driver’s seat.