South Park: Band in China…

NYT: How Italians Became ‘White’

Brent Staples, writing at the paper of record:

Darker skinned southern Italians endured the penalties of blackness on both sides of the Atlantic. In Italy, Northerners had long held that Southerners — particularly Sicilians — were an “uncivilized” and racially inferior people, too obviously African to be part of Europe.

Racist dogma about Southern Italians found fertile soil in the United States. As the historian Jennifer Guglielmo writes, the newcomers encountered waves of books, magazines and newspapers that “bombarded Americans with images of Italians as racially suspect.” They were sometimes shut out of schools, movie houses and labor unions, or consigned to church pews set aside for black people. They were described in the press as “swarthy,” “kinky haired” members of a criminal race and derided in the streets with epithets like “dago,” “guinea” — a term of derision applied to enslaved Africans and their descendants — and more familiarly racist insults like “white nigger” and “nigger wop.”

An excellent, well-researched article. It’s unfortunate that we Americans tend to forget our past so quickly and so easily. Sadly, I can recall my mother recounting stories from her youth wherein she was regularly called names, including “dago”, “wop”, even “nigger wop,” among others.

The influential anti-immigrant racist Representative Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts […] argued, beliefs about immigrants were in themselves sufficient to warrant higher barriers to immigration. Congress ratified that notion during the 1920s, curtailing Italian immigration on racial grounds, even though Italians were legally white, with all of the rights whiteness entailed.

The Italian-Americans who labored in the campaign that overturned racist immigration restrictions in 1965 used the romantic fictions built up around Columbus to political advantage. This shows yet again how racial categories that people mistakenly view as matters of biology grow out of highly politicized myth making.

Sunday 13th of October 2019

“Hey Darryl.”

“Hey Darryl.”


“Coal mining and truck driving are not exactly jobs of the future, so add Carrara subway tile to my fucking shopping list!”

—Randy Marsh to Darryl Weathers, South Park S21E01, “White People Renovating Houses” (2017).


FiveThirtyEight Significant Digits: 43 new accusations

Significant Digits For Friday, Oct. 11, 2019

43 new accusations
Two dozen women have already publicly accused President Trump of inappropriate behavior, but a new book details 43 new allegations, including more than two dozen cases of “unwanted sexual contact.” The book is “All The President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator” by journalists Monique El-Faizy and Barry Levine, and draws upon more than 100 interviews to illustrate the president’s relationship with women across different periods of his life. Assistant Esquire editor Adrienne Westenfeld writes, “What emerges from the authors’ reporting is a portrait of a serial predator who hides behind wealth and institutional power to frequently harass and abuse women.” [Esquire]

As I said–just yesterday–about the revelations concerning the FBI continuing to violate the privacy rights of American citizens, the foregoing is “no longer shocking… hell, for that matter, it’s no longer even surprising.”

Reason: The Same FBI That Wants To Destroy Encryption Is Still Illegally Snooping on Americans

Scott Shackford, writing at

As late as last year, agents at the FBI were still violating the privacy rights of American citizens through misuse of federal surveillance tools, a ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has revealed.

The ruling is from October 2018 but was only declassified and disclosed this week, albeit in a heavily redacted format. In the process of analyzing and reauthorizing the FBI’s ability to engage in warrantless domestic surveillance under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISC Judge James Boasberg determined that on multiple occasions, FBI personnel were not properly restricting their searches and thereby violated the Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens.

Sadly, this is no longer shocking… hell, for that matter, it’s no longer even surprising.

Thursday 10th of October 2019

“Contrary to what the judge thinks, the only thing that has been made clear is just how ludicrously cruel our criminal justice system can be.” 21-Year-Old Oversleeps, Misses Jury Duty, and Goes to Jail for 10 Days


Remembering Cisco Landry, seven years on

As I do every year on the 9th of October, I take a few moments to remember…

Seven years ago today, my family lost a beloved member… our faithful companion, Cisco Landry.

Trump: Wag, wag, wag…

CONRAD BREAN: “Who’s got the story?”

AMES: “Wait, don’t you want to know if it’s true?”

CONRAD: “What difference does it make if it’s true? It’s a story and if it breaks they’re gonna have to run with it. How long we got ’till it breaks?”

AMES: “Front page, Washington Post tomorrow.”

CONRAD: “Uh, well, yeah, now that’s not good. Ok. Where is he?”

LEVY: “China.”

CONRAD: “He’s in China. Ok. When is he due back?”

LEVY: “Well, they’re set to leave, uh, pretty soon.”

CONRAD: “Uh, yeah, well, alright he stays on the ground in China, at least another day.”

CAIN: “Why?”

CONRAD: “You the Press Office?”

CAIN: “Yes.”

CONRAD: “Earn your money. He’s ill—the plane is sick.”

AMES: “When do we bring him back?”

CONRAD: “I’m gonna need a day, at least a day. He’s sick: get that out right now. Get him on the phone and tell the jackals how sick he is. We gotta get that out before the story breaks so we aren’t caught ‘responding’ to it. Issue it as a bulletin, he’s got some rare strain…”

AMES: “It won’t hold.”

CONRAD: “I need a day, I need some running time.”

AMES: “It won’t even hold a day, Connie.”

CONRAD: “Yes it will. You know why? I’ll tell you why: why is the President in China?”

LEVY: “Uh, trade relations.”

CONRAD: “You’re goddamned right, and it’s got nothing to do with the B-3 bomber.”

LEVY: “There is no B-3 bomber.”

CONRAD: “I just said that. There is no B-3 bomber, and I don’t know why these rumors get started.”

—Wag the Dog (1997) @ 4:28.

CONRAD: “Whoever’s leaking that stuff to that geek at the Post let’s it slip:

’Geez, I hope this won’t screw up the B-3 program.’

’What B-3 program, and why should it screw it up?’

’Well, if the President decided to deploy the B-3 before it’s fully tested…’

’Deploy the B-3 before it’s fully tested?’



’Why? The Crisis.’”

AMES: “What Crisis?”

CONRAD: “Well, I’m workin’ on that.”

—Wag the Dog (1997) @ 6:44.

Sunday 6th of October 2019

R.I.P. Ginger Baker Ginger Baker, Powerhouse Jazz-Rock Drummer for Cream, Dies at 80


Saturday 5th of October 2019

“A recurring theme throughout Donald Trump’s presidency has been his inability to distinguish between the interests of the country and the interests of Donald Trump.” Reason Roundup