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Links With Your Coffee - Thursday

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In 1937, the Appalachian Trail was opened, running from the southern US state of Georgia to Maine in the north. In future, could it be extended to Europe and even Africa?

Not far from where I live - deep in the hills of western Massachusetts - runs the famous Appalachian Trail, the 2175-mile (3500km) walking trail, getting on for a century old, and of which American east-coasters are understandably proud.

We see it when we drive to our local grocery store, where the trail crosses Route 23. An arrow pointing left says simply, "Georgia" and to the right, "Maine", and in each direction the tiny pathway snakes off into the woods, in just a moment vanishing among the trees.

The Obama administration has been shamed by its rush to judgment after it forced the resignation of a black midlevel official in the Agriculture Department who was wrongly accused of racism by the right-wing blogosphere. Shirley Sherrod was sandbagged by a two-and-a-half-minute clip from a 45-minute speech in which the real message was reconciliation.



Breitbart, a lying right-wing blogger, deliberately misrepresents Shirley Sherrod's speech and record and the Obama administration (Vilsack) fires her without even verifying the scumbag's story. Alberto Gonzales testified before Congress and behaves like a Mafia Don and he ket his job almost until the bitter end.



Here's what everyone seems to be missing here. She admitted that she didn't give the guy the full force of her power in her position on USDA, specifically because he was white. Regardless of whether or not she had a change of heart, she admitted being discriminatory in her position in at least this one case. Secondly, she claims that the farmer, the same guy who she's buddy buddy with now, was trying to show that he was superior to her. What did this farmer say that gave her this idea, or perhaps that was her own prejudice coming through. Face it, if this was a white guy working for the USDA and he said these same kinds of things, change of heart or not, he'd be crucified and no one would come to his rescue. Racism is alive and well, and always will be, within all groups. In a hundred years, white people will be in chains and called n*s.

...if this was a white guy working for the USDA and he said these same kinds of things, change of heart or not, he'd be crucified and no one would come to his rescue.

You mean if a white guy said "I used to be racist, but now I see that we're all equal" he would be crucified? Here's what Senator Robert Byrd said about his past involvement with the KKK: "I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times ... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened." I don't recall him ever being crucified or even forced to resign. He served a long and distinguished career. If, as you suggest, there's a double standard here, it would appear to be working in the opposite direction from what you are asserting.

Here's what you seem to be missing, ryuhayabusa:

The real story of racism at the USDA

Right now, if you do a web search of the words "racism" and "USDA," the majority of links will steer you to coverage of this week's Shirley Sherrod affair, in which the African-American U.S. Department of Agriculture staffer based in Georgia resigned after a conservative website reversed the meaning of a speech she gave last year to imply she would deny farm loans to whites.

It's an astonishing development given the history of race relations at the USDA, an agency whose own Commission on Small Farms admitted in 1998 that "the history of discrimination at the U.S. Department of Agriculture ... is well-documented" -- not against white farmers, but African-American, Native American and other minorities who were pushed off their land by decades of racially-biased laws and practices.

It's also a black eye for President Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who signaled a desire to atone for the USDA's checkered past, including pushing for funding of a historic $1.15 billion settlement that would help thousands of African American farmers but now faces bitter resistance from Senate Republicans.

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