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Comeuppance is making a comeback. The CBS talk jock Don Imus got his. The World Bank President, Paul Wolfowitz's seems to be in the works. The odds are that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' will get his sooner rather than later. Karl Rove could be next .
We could all talk for hours about Imus (and who hasn't?) What's more interesting than the man's foul-mouth, is the process by which his brand went south. It wasn't corporate conscience that broke the Imus brand. It was people-power -- first at the National Association of Black Journalists -- and then as expressed by Al SharptonNational Action Network and (according to newspaper accounts,) by African American staff people at MSNBC and CBS who met with management and talked. Corporations pulled their advertising because Imus lost legitimacy -- not the other way around.
Scales can tip. That's exactly what's happening to Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank. I was just in Washington DC where employees of the bank were were preparing to protest publicly for their boss to be given the boot. For "Wolfie" the Bank's annual meeting will be a very uncomfortable place.
There will be plenty of "rapid responses" to the gun rampage on the Virginia Tech campus, which has claimed the lives of as many as 31 students -- making it the deadliest school shotting incident in the history of the United States.
Do not doubt that the National Rifle Association is preparing its "this-had-nothing-to-do-with-guns" press release. The group has no compunctions about living up to its reputation for being beyond shame -- or education -- when it comes to peddling its spin on days when it would be better to simply remain silent. But the NRA will not be alone in responding in a self-serving manner. Many groups on all sides of issues related to guns and violence in America will be busy making their points, just as many in the media will look for one dimensional "explanations" for what the university's president, Charles Steger, has correctly described as "a tragedy... of monumental proportions."
"The university is shocked and indeed horrified," explained Steger, after it became clear that what had happened on his campus Monday was worse than the carnage at Columbine High School in 1999 or at the University of Texas in 1966.
Some people are outraged that Wal-Mart spied on a New York Times reporter. But the company's behavior to workers overseas is much worse.
Wal-Mart is pulling out of the Chong Won factory, the plant in the Phillipines I wrote about last month. "Cutting and running" may be an easy way for a company to look as if it's taking a stand against supplier misconduct, but it doesn't help the workers.
Chong Won workers don't want to lose their jobs; they are fighting to be able to organize a union, without fear of violence and intimidation. Wal-Mart is doing the wrong thing, and shouldn't get away with it.
For those of you who think Don Imus got a bad rap, and you know who you are, how do you defend this Maya Angelou poem parody a producer on his show read last month?
"Whitey plucked you from the jungle; for too many years took away your pride, your dignity and your spears."
My guess is you can't and you don't because just like most of Mr. Imus' "comedy" it â€˜s about cruelty rather than wit or insight. In fact, I would argue that it's even more offensive than the now infamous "nappy headed ho's" remark which ultimately lost him both of his high profile, high paying jobs. Yet it was usually simply shrugged off or excused as the madcap antics of one of our beloved American shock jocks.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a six-term veteran who once chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, had always wanted to cap his career by joining the U.S. Supreme Court. But Republicans prefer young justices who can serve long tenures. And, while he remains vital, Hatch is now 73.
So the senator is looking for a conciliation prize, and he appears to have found it.
It is no longer a secret that Hatch is moving aggressively to position himself as the replacement for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. With the scandal involving Gonzales' firing of U.S. Attorneys deepening on a daily basis, there is no longer much question that President Bush is going to need someone new to take charge of the Department of Justice. And Hatch has made little secret of the fact that he thinks he is the man for the job.
Yesterday I posted about the public's increasing opposition to war and its desire for our government to pursue diplomacy. This week, in the city of Urbana, IL, residents expressed that exact sentiment by placing a referendum against a war with Iran on the ballot for the February 2008 election. And in the cities of Berkeley, CA and Portland, OR, the city councils passed resolutions opposing US military engagement with Iran. Actions like these will continue to grow the peace movement's momentum and pressure our elected representatives to catch up to the will of the people.