Patterico's Pontifications


Did James Rucker & Van Jones Apologize To Bush?

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 6:46 pm

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

Remember when Kayne West said ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people?”

Of course you do. And you probably also remember that he apologized a few months back.

West says he spoke out-of-turn during an emotional moment and regrets his choice of words. “I would tell George Bush, in my moment of frustration, I didn’t have the grounds to call him a racist,” he said. “But I believe that, in a situation of high emotion like that, we as human beings don’t always choose the right words.”

In his full interview with Lauer, Bush said he “appreciates” the rapper’s apology and forgives him. He does, however, reiterate that West’s comments troubled him, especially because “nobody wants to be called a racist if, in your heart, you believe in equality of race.”

Well, what I didn’t know is that the Color of Change’s James Rucker and Van Jones  made a BIG deal out of Kayne’s original statement.

This is the email sent out at the time…

Our friends Van Jones (Ella Baker Center) + James Rucker (
have teamed up to create a brilliant new campaign:
Hell yeah he was right.
Go check out the website, sign up and forward it everywhere!
Buy the T-Shirt + Rep it everywhere.

Now, this happened before Color of Change was founded. Did Rucker and Jones apologize?

Oh – and for fun – click the link to see where aims to now!

– Lee Stranahan

Breitbart Not Racist: Color of Change Not Happy

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 3:50 pm

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

What’s the color of mope?

Color of Change manages to successfully pressure HuffPost to do something unprecedented – make Andrew Breitbart the only person in the entire world who can’t be featured on the front page of the Huffington Post. After initially backing free speech and good publishing practices, HuffPost caved.

But that wasn’t good enough for James Rucker. Check about this comment from his awful new article about Race-baiting vs. Racism. 

Breitbart, though, is relieved that Sekoff and Arianna Huffington have said publicly that they don’t think Breitbart is a racist. "I want to make it as clear as possible that neither I nor Arianna believe that Andrew Breitbart is a racist," Sekoff said in his email to the Daily Caller. "If we did believe that, we never would have allowed him to blog on HuffPost — let alone featured him on our front page. The decision about not featuring him on the front page in the future had nothing to do with race, but was based on the nature of his attack on Van Jones, as we’ve always made clear."

Sekoff’s words are troubling for several reasons. For one, he (and, because he implicates her, Arianna Huffington) pretends that race has nothing to do with why Breitbart is bad for the Huffington Post brand. Instead, he sticks by their stated, implausible rationale for getting rid of their Breitbart problem: that it’s because Breitbart said mean things about ColorOfChange co-founder Jones on someone else’s website.

Why not tackle the issue directly and speak to Breitbart’s role in destroying Sherrod’s career, maligning the NAACP and financially crippling ACORN under false pretenses? Why did taking that additional step prove too difficult for Sekoff and Huffington? Perhaps for the same reason that many white progressive organizations and bloggers (with some important exceptions) that are usually eager to pile on when there’s an opportunity to call out the lies of conservative operatives were silent.

The race-baiter is James Rucker – they are the ones who introduce race into the issue and then pretend that they aren’t calling Bretitbart a racist. Note how race-baiter Rucker throws in “many white progressive organizations and bloggers”? Got to force that white guilt, right James? What – you didn’t get enough people piling on your censorship crusade?

Color of Change’s James Rucker is a cowardly censor. I hope James Rucker gets Google Alerts, because I’ll debate that dishonest fundraiser any time, any place. Rucker is happy enough to write for the Huffington Post and use it for his own purposes but he doesn’t want other people, specially Andrew Breitbart, to have the same ability. You want to debate Sherrod or the NAACP or Pigford or ACORN? I’m right here, man.

Good job, Roy and Arianna. As I said in my Arianna  Shrugs article – the far left hate you. Stop sucking up to them. They hate you.

– Lee Stranahan

Delicious Irony: Bill Keller on What Separates the New York Times from the Agenda-Driven Rabble

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:07 am

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller:

Some years ago, a colleague tried to sum up the essentials that set us apart from agenda-driven journalists of the right and the left.

The first is that we believe in verification rather than assertion. We put a higher premium on accuracy than on speed or sensation. When we report information, we look hard to see if it stands up to scrutiny.

You know what’s coming when a Big Media guy starts bragging about Big Media accuracy, right? He’s about to screw something up. The very same column began:

Has anyone actually seen James O’Keefe and Julian Assange together? Are we quite sure that the right-wing prankster who brought down the leadership of National Public Radio and the anarchic leaker aren’t split personalities of the same guy — sent by fate to mess with the heads of mainstream journalists?

Sure, one shoots from the left, the other from the right. One deals in genuine (albeit purloined) secrets; the other in “Candid Camera” stunts, most recently posing as a potential donor and entrapping a foolish NPR executive into disclosing his scorn for Republicans and the Tea Party.

O’Keefe wasn’t posing as a donor, of course. He wasn’t even wearing a donor costume! Or a pimp costume. Or . . . in the video at all.

(Sticklers for accuracy might also wonder how Keller knows O’Keefe “entrapped” NPR execs, given that Keller obviously didn’t watch the video. Keller tells us: “We put our faith in the expensive and sometimes perilous business of witness.” Yet he can’t even bring himself to take the inexpensive and non-perilous step of pressing the play button on a video player, so he can witness the video about which he is writing. Either that, or he doesn’t know what O’Keefe sounds like — meaning he never watched the ACORN videos. Either way, it does not inspire confidence.)

Keller of course acknowledged that the paper makes errors. The same paper that prizes accuracy over speed rushed to tell us that Gabrielle Giffords was dead. So what separates the Gray Lady from those damn agenda-driven journalists? Why, the forthrightness and speed of their corrections!

Of course, newspapers are written and edited by humans. We get things wrong. The history of our craft is tarnished by episodes of gullibility, denial and blind ignorance on the part of major news organizations. The Times pretty much overlooked the Holocaust as it was happening.

So there is a corollary to this first precept: when we get it wrong, we correct ourselves as quickly and forthrightly as possible.

So you would presumably be astounded at the speed with which Keller’s paper corrected his rather glaring error regarding O’Keefe. Right?


Correction: April 10, 2011

An essay on March 27 about the responsibilities of the mainstream media in an era of partisan coverage misstated the role of James O’Keefe in the recent so-called sting aimed at National Public Radio, during which an NPR executive voiced his dislike of Republicans and the Tea Party. O’Keefe arranged for two of his associates to pose as donors to NPR; he did not pose as one himself.

The date at the top of Keller’s essay says March 25, but let’s go with the correction’s date of March 27, which probably represents a print publication date.

That’s two weeks to make a simple correction to a blatant error.

Do you think they just learned of this error yesterday?

Yeah, Bill Keller, the speed of your corrections does indeed set your paper apart.

Just not in the way you think.

Google, Montessori & Unschooling

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 9:38 am

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

(Hey Pattereaders — I’ll have more to say about the political implications of some of this stuff in a later post, but I thought I’d set up a little bit about homeschooling and specifically ‘unschooling’ here first.)

I was reading an article about Larry Page today and I came across an interesting quote. If you don’t know Page’s name right off the bat, Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the cofounders of Google. This past week, Larry Page took over as CEO of Google from Eric Schmidt. It’s potentially a turning point for Google similar to when Steve Jobs returned as the CEO of Apple.

But leaving aside the business machinations, listen to this…

“You can’t understand Google,” vice president Marissa Mayer says, “unless you know that both Larry and Sergey were Montessori kids.” She’s referring to schools based on the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori, an Italian physician born in 1870 who believed that children should be allowed the freedom to pursue their interests. “In a Montessori school, you go paint because you have something to express or you just want to do it that afternoon, not because the teacher said so,” she says. “This is baked into how Larry and Sergey approach problems. They’re always asking, why should it be like that? It’s the way their brains were programmed early on.”

There are lots of potential jumping off points in that article, but I’m going to riff on one of my pet topics – education.

I’m a Montessori kid. This was a big deal to my mother, who made sure that my brother and I – born in 1969 and 1965, respectively – both attended Montessori schools. I mention these dates because many modern-day Montessori schools are just more or less "progressive preschools" that bear very little actual resemblance to Maria Montessori and her original techniques. This watering down of Montessori techniques have already started by the 1960s but it’s gotten much worse.

The idea that “you go paint because you have something to express or you just want to do it that afternoon, not because the teacher said so” is a very good summary of growing trend of unshooling, too — only substitute the word "parent" for "teacher.”

In my brain – apparently programmed to ask "why should it be like that?" — I think what a huge positive impact it would have on our society if our children were allowed the freedom to pursue their interests. In my little tribe of Stranahans, we have tried to do this by homeschooling/unschooling our kids but I often think about ways this could be implemented on a much wider level.

Here’s a clip from my upcoming documentary Unschooling : The Movie.

I often hear, “Well, not everyone can homeschool.” Sometimes when people say this, they mean that not every parent is qualified to be a teacher but this implies a model of homeschooling where the "teacher" is the all-knowing authority who needs to constantly mold and direct the children. That’s exactly the paradigm that unschooling rejects. Every parent is "qualified” to be able to provide encouragement and materials for their children to be able to pursue their own interests, especially in the digital age where anyone with a computer and an Internet connection has access to more resources than any Ivy League student had access to just 10 years ago.

The other main meaning of “not everyone can homeschool” is that many people have put themselves into a lifestyle that doesn’t allow it, for example one where both parents work outside of the home. But honestly, that’s a choice so saying people who make that choice "can’t" homeschool is a misnomer. They could but they choose not to.

I think it’s more accurate to say, "Not everyone should homeschool.” This is doubly true with unschooling. If you believe it’s a bad idea, you shouldn’t do it. If you have a spouse that is trying to talk you into it, work out all those issues first.

If you want to homeschool but can’t figure out how your kid will get into your old alma mater if they didn’t attend a normal school then I think you’re a real bad candidate for unschooling. The entire idea of pre-planning outcomes for your child is really the opposite of the unschooling philosophy. If your goal is to help your child’s natural interests and talents unfold, you can’t really do that with a predetermined destination in mind.

But for parents who are ready to trust that their kids will find their own path and willing to create an environment that encourages that…well, thanks for the whatever the big ‘what if’ innovation they come up with in 2021.

– Lee Stranahan

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