Sunday, January 31, 2010

What the Haiti?!

I came up with the title actually Friday afternoon for this article about the halting of airlifting people in need of medical treatment out of Haiti due to disputes over who'll pay for the healthcare cost. (Ironic, huh?)

And I was gonna follow that up with this article about Fox News and Rush Limbaugh giving aid and comfort to Osama bin Laden and Al Qeada.

But I couldn't think of an explanation for the Limbaugh piece in part because I was trying to find good video of the tea tax Obama smacked down Friday afternoon. Then I got caught up listening and before I knew, I needed a break.

Then, closing down for the night, I came across this: Americans Arrested While Taking Children From Haiti.

"Ruh, roh, Shaggy!"

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Taste Some Real Tea (Updated and Improved)

That's not what I really wanted to say, but I do have a God to "serve and glorify."

I got this from an email for Organizing for America. Mitch Stewart is practically giddy. Like a little boy after his first kiss by his sweetheart (also links to video). So I took down the CNN video, though I'm leaving the link to the url. Here's a link to a 14min clip for the Ed Show of MSNBC and a clip from The Rachel Maddow Show of MSNBC. Also, there's a clip from this morning's The Today Show that demonstrates Republicans' recalcitrance.

Philly Ethnic Minorities Need to Form Some Alliance

For real. Cause if ya both being screwed, your problem ain't with each other.

Now first, hat tip to field negro on this one: The strange case of Tiana Drummond-Phiri.

I'm just sharing a portion of Annette John-Hall's article on the incident that happened last school year:

Let's see if I have this straight.Tiana goes home fearing her fate. Farley, fractured eye and all, goes out later that day to indulge in some underage drinking for more than two hours, according to his own testimony. Farley is allowed to testify without repercussions. But Cann, Tiana's primary witness, is pulled from the stand after the prosecutor asks for a conference, according to Tiana's lawyer. A public defender called by the court then tells him he could be criminally charged if he testifies. He doesn't.

Tiana had to be at the station to take the train home. No one can explain why Farley was there, including Farley. (Well, the detective noted in his report that kids often go to the station to hang out and smoke cigarettes. Nothing like a cigarette after a hard day at school.

Farley fought. Tiana didn't.Tiana gets slapped with nine criminal charges. No one even looks in Farley's direction.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Today in "What The . . .?!"

I mean, can black folks "do the Dew?" Is that okay? ~ No1KState

Police beat black teen after mistaking soda bottle for gun
Staff Reporter | Posted January 25, 2010 10:20 AM

Police in Pittsburgh are under fire after an unarmed black teenager was brutally beaten after officers mistook a soda bottle for a gun.

Jordan Miles was walking from his mother's home to his grandmother's house when three undercover white police officers jumped out of a car and approached him around 11 p.m. on January 12. Miles, 18, ran but the undercover officers caught him and punched him with closed fists, according to news reports.

The police say they suspected the shape underneath Miles's coat was a deadly weapon. It turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew soda.

Tea Part-(i)ers

Way below is a recent comment I left on Prometheus6 in response to New Yorker article, The Rise of the Tea Party Movement. First though, I should give some explanation.

I've come to realize as of late a couple of things:
  1. I do spend maybe too much energy commenting on other blogs.
My health being what it is, I can't afford not being discriminate in how I spend my energy. The thing is, righting something of scholarship takes just an inordinate amount of energy. Starting with deciding what I'm going to right about and keeping everything straight in my head. I mean, sometimes, by the time I've finished thinking out my thoughts on one issue, I've actually gone through 2 or 3 issues. Now granted, I can usually manage to remember what thought prompted another, and I can follow my logic from one argument to the next. But it can be like trying to stretch out a slinky; and as soon as I try to blog, the slinky recoils and I get slapped in the face. Because I'm trying to choose between a number of topics that're all intertwined and can all be gotten at from different angles.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reconciling History

As always, I'm in the process of learning and thinking, learning more and rethinking.

It just so happened that I was delivered a book by the local library's book mobile titled, The Door of No Return  by William St. Clair. One of the aspects of the transatlantic slave trade St. Clair addresses is the active participation of native Africans, the Fante in this case. And I decided to do some quick checking and thinking myself.

This wasn't a case where I didn't feel up to writing a post. Just that in the process of confirming what I read and what I'd already learned, I found these really great posts. So I'm sharing them with you. I'll share my thoughts later (I hope), but before I go, I'll also share with you one of my favorite heroines from history, Queen Nzinga. ~ No1KState

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Prison School?

Michelle Chen
Lawsuit Charges NYC Police With Criminalizing Kids
Jan 21, 2010
After years of complaints and mounting tensions in New York City public schools, civil liberties activists have filed landmark lawsuit against the city government and police force. The NYCLU accuses the NYPD’s School Safety Division of systematically violating children’s civil rights and creating a school climate of violence, arbitrary arrest and discrimination.
School to Prison Pipeline
Read more.

Way to Go, Opie! For Real!

Hey, people. Your name down, pass it around! ~ No1KState

White Folks Step Up to Fight Racism With “US for All of Us”
Terry Keleher
Jan 21, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bushwhacked, Again!! (Updated)

No new information, just a thought. Isn't it ironic that for all the whining and complaining about liberals using the Courts to push their agenda on the country, that's precisely what conservatives have done.
If the election of Scott Brown(ie), 'Publican of mASSachusetts, wasn't enough, now this:

By a 5-4 vote, the court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads.
I am near tears.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is the Dream a Reality, or Are We Waking to Reality

If you don't know my health situation, just ask. Or search, cause I really don't like talking about it.

I would love to do more regular posting of my own original thoughts. Love to!! But that's a little out of my reach right now. Still stretching towards the mark, though. Don't doubt that. And I may do something original later this week.

But until then, one thing I can do is find an article that captures my thoughts. What will follow is one. Economic and racial justice are inseparably entwined. Dr. King came to realize this towards in his last years. A lot of the poverty we see in black America today reaches back to post-WWII racism in handling the GI Bill and in FHA redlining. (Which gets to my case that reparations are due; and if white Americans can't stomach going back to 1865, going back to just 1945 is another option.) In his time, King didn't realize this until he came to notice that having the right to sit at the lunch counter didn't mean much if you couldn't afford to eat there. Moreover, the negative stereotypes used against all blacks, light-skinned and Negro-dialect included, that result in unemployment rates among blacks being nearly twice as high as that among whites are based on the social ills that exist among the black poor. As such, a good bit of these issues could be address just by alleviating financial pressures.

Wait. I don't think I'm being clear. I'm trying to point out the circular pattern of poverty and racism. Things that happen among the black poor are used to restrict opportunities for all blacks. Even though once socioeconomics is accounted for, gaps in crime disappear. Then, these restricted opportunities result in more disproportionate poverty.

So, anyway, I lost my train of thought and commented on another blog and couldn't recover my train of thought. But I really want to share this op-ed by Bob Herbert with you.

Lastly, please MA Dems, get out and vote!! Coakley ain't perfect, but she ain't a 'Publican, either!

Monday, January 18, 2010


Just a marvelous op-ed in the Boston Globe by James Carroll. I'll reiterate that King didn't launch anything. Other than that, learn and enjoy, via portside. ~ No1KState

King: `Now is the Time to Make Real the Promise'

By James Carroll

Boston Globe
January 18, 2010

The great Martin Luther King Jr. address of 1963 at the
Lincoln Memorial is remembered as the "I have a dream''
speech. But King spoke an even more compelling line
that day: "When will you be satisfied?'' It was the
question that had so often been put to him and his
fellow "devotees of Civil Rights,'' and it carried the
accusation that he was a malcontent - never happy with
the incremental progress offered to black Americans, as
if the shift from slavery to Jim Crow should have been
enough. "No!'' he answered.

King launched the civil rights movement, but was not
satisfied - because he saw that racial discrimination
was embedded in violence. Therefore he drew the link
with the nation's violence in Vietnam. He then brought
together powerful movements opposing racism and war -
but still he was not satisfied. He saw how the brew of
racism and violence was essential to poverty, and he
recast the movement again, launching the Poor Peoples'
Campaign. Yes, a class revolt, and it got him killed.
"No! No! We are not satisfied!'' he had declared in
Washington, "And we will not be satisfied until justice
rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty

If King were with us today, one imagines him speaking
less of dreams and more of dissatisfaction. For
starters, he might eschew the word "poor'' in favor of
"impoverished,'' since poverty is not a natural state,
but the result of social structures, policies, and
market systems tilted to protect the privilege of a few
at the expense of many. That's more clear this year
than ever. In the four decades since King's murder, it
is true that doors have opened to African-Americans,
even including the door to the White House. Wouldn't
that leave him satisfied? But one hears the answer,
"No! No!'' And then that rolling cadence, the prophetic
voice denouncing, say, the vast American prison
population, disproportionately made up of young black
males, most of whom are guilty not of violent acts, but
of the crime of, well, being dissatisfied. Rather than
educate or motivate such malcontents, and rather than
address the conditions that condemn them to
dissatisfaction, America would rather snatch them from
the streets and lock them up.

Since King's time, the free markets have gone global,
and now vast populations of humans have been declared
redundant. Having made connections between civil
rights, domestic poverty, and US wars, King can be
readily pictured today making further connections with
the cast-aways abroad - the impoverished masses who
have been declared superfluous by the world economy.
The catastrophe of Haiti would be no mere symbol of
global inequity to King. He was attuned to the real
suffering of individual human beings, and would be part
of the effort to alleviate it there. But would he be
satisfied with the compassion of the moment? Moral
sentiment unattached to structural analysis, and to
changes in systemic causes of poverty, is worse than
useless. The Haiti earthquake might be deemed an act of
God, but King would rage at any characterization of the
foundational Haitian plight that left out historical
factors like slavery and colonialism, or the defining
contemporary influence of the United States, which,
across the years since King's death, has, in relation
to Haiti, defiled the meaning of neighbor.

What is the key to King's greatness? It was his
ferocious dissatisfaction that fueled his capacity to
dream, and to articulate his dream in a way that made
its fulfillment possible. Yes, King's dream did come
true when Barack Obama took the oath as president one
year ago this week. But equally, King's dream, even in
coming true, continually fired his refusal to be
satisfied. No! No! King would be a malcontent today:
"When will you be satisfied?'' And today, Haiti would
define his answer. His burning unhappiness on behalf of
that benighted nation would ignite his urgency and his
action. " Now is the time to make real the promises,''
he said in Washington. "Now is the time to open the
doors of opportunity to all of God's children.'' In
nearby Haiti we glimpse the far distance that separates
this world from justice. Now is the time to close it.

James Carroll's column appears regularly in the Globe.

Remembering the Mover and The Movement

First, I'll just share a some of my own thoughts, then I'll share some good stuff I found online this morning.

Always, my in initial thought is amazement. Even though we're two days away from the first full year of a sitting black president, I still surprised we have a holiday for a black person. Don't get me wrong, after Christmas and New Year's Eve, I'm winding down the holiday juices. And MLK Day usually sneaks up on me. So I can be a little shook that there's another holiday so soon. But that it's a holiday in remembrance of a black man is usually what keeps me shook until the day after. Just can't get over it.

And while I'm thinking about it, let's not forget today is a national day of service. But starting a tradition of having an MLK fish-fry or cook-out couldn't hurt, could it? (Now, for those who may not know, a cook-out is the same as a BBQ, as in "neighborhood BBQ" not pulled-pork. I don't know another word for fish-fry, but it's pretty much what it sounds like.) I mean, we eat on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the 4th of July. Why not MLK Day? True, I haven't had breakfast. I'm hungry!

Another thought is something I got in an argument about with my mom, but my history professor agreed with me: too much emphasis is put on Dr. King, Jr in terms of the Civil Rights Movement. He didn't start it. He didn't lead it. He was an incredible voice for it and gave his life for it.

But he wasn't the only participant. Not the only leader or speaker, or person to give his life. He made some great moves and used some great strategy; he made some bad moves and used some bad strategy. That's not to disrespect the youngest person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize, as he was certainly a major voice for peace. The truth is, he was human. Just like the rest of us. As he said, all it takes to be great is to serve and anybody can be great cause anybody can serve. And he was a champion servant! Don't get me wrong, he did some prodigous serving. I just wish we paid more attention to other champion servants.

A very recent thought is irony of the Civil Rights Movement/Black Freedom Movement by comparison to the Tea Party Movement. The point of the CRM was to pull everybody into citizenship on equal status. What is it that the tea party hopes to accomplish that will lift up all of America? The CRM looked to the past and said, "It's damn time for black folks in particular finally to get the rights gauranteed to us nearly a hundred years ago!" What's the tea party hailing to history for? They reach to a time when only white men who owned a certain amount of property had say, in the little European settlers had say in, in colonial government, then completely misunderstand and revise the history of American Independence. Their heroes are racist and sexist nominally Christian men who dressed like Iroquois to sneak on a boat and overturn crates of tea in part to protect settler-owned "big" business. These men weren't fighting for freedom and liberty for anybody. Just money.

What's most disturbing in terms of history are the threats of violence coming from the tea party. Gotta water the tree of freedom with the blood of tyrants sometime. They come unarmed this time. As though true revolution involves blood.

And, well, maybe they have a point. The goals of The Movement haven't been accomplished yet. The eldest surviving child of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King prefers to observe the national holiday in honor of his father as opposed to celebrating it. Martin Luther King III said there is simply too much work to be done around what his father called the "triple evils." As MLK, III puts it,

"We can't celebrate when the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism are still very much existing in our society. The holiday always gives us an opportunity to begin anew."
Read the entire article, a great article, here.

The last thing I want to address is the santaclausification of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So much of what he said and did is forgotten in collective/white memory. The true MLK doesn't serve the purposes of white supremacy. Few whites, and no political conservative or libertarian of any race, would hold up MLK as an exceptional black all other blacks should aspire to. He supported affirmative action and reparations. Let's not forget that.

All right. The video that follows is a clip Dr. King giving a speech few people quote today. Yep, Dr. was "black and proud," not American and ambivalent.

But before that, if you can, help Martha Coakley (D-MA) beat her tea-party endorsed opponent Scott Brown. The dude coming strong with the stupid in the video in my previous post.

A'ight, Ladies and Gents. Hope to hear from ya soon. Holla.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hellava Job Scott Brown(ie)

These are just my initial thoughts. Maybe I'll write more later.

3 - Sarah Palin is no feminist, and if it weren't for the feminist movement of the 60s and 70s that so many conservatives decry, she would still be in Alaska. Now, to be sure, feminism is about women's equality and ability to do and say anything they like. One thing it is not about is restricting women's reproductive rights. Moreover, from what I can tell, she hasn't reached national prominence based merit; but perhaps, the lack thereof.

2 - How dare he suggest Obama was born out of wedlock. Now, I'm not hating on folks who were and are. But inference he is making, for those who support him, is crude. Obama's mother was married. Or, is it that black or biracial child born to a teen is born out-of-wedlock?

1 - If Obama's mother wasn't married when he was born, then he's a natural citizen of the US, no question about it. Tea baggers/birthers/Republicans can't have it both ways.

Initially, I was ambivalent about making calls to Massachusetts about their intrastate politics. Now, well . . . I hope it's okay to call on a holiday.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Protecting the Right to Vote, Updated

Sorry I've been away. I just came across this a few minutes ago. I read the entire thing and will be looking into the whole New Black Panther case. ~ No1KState

Update: The New Black Panther Party is far, far more radical than the actual Black Panther Party, even stoking some indignation from the Black Panthers for using their name. I can't blame them and wonder if they would have a case in court.

Now, as for "voter intimidation," I think I can summarize the whole hoopla fairly quickly. Two members of the New Party stood outside a Philadelphia precinct during the 2008 national election. One of them had a night stick.

That's the extinct of intimidation.

The case, which has has been dropped except for telling the one with the night stick not to ever bring a weapon near a polling place, seems to have been racially motivated in the beginning. The New Party was sued, rather than prosecuted, by BushCo's DoJ on behalf of Republican, white poll watchers just a couple of weeks before inauguration. Under Bush, the DOJ had only brought one other case of voter intimidation, which the won, and it was on behalf of white Americans, too. No one from the precinct in Philly stepped forward to publicly complain of intimidation.

In my opinion, case was rightly dropped. It should have never been brought. If whites were intimidated, it's because whites are irrationally afraid of black men anyway. The precinct itself is heavily black, and Obama probably would've won the precinct by the same margin without members of the New Party standing guard. I should inform you the the national committee of the New Party disavowed the two and doesn't condone having weapons at polling places. They had poll watchers at precincts all over the nation without incident. And poll watching isn't new or "black." So the issue speaks more about the racism of BushCo and the current whining conservatives (The link goes to a google search page. You know, or should be able to deduce, how I feel about linking to conservative sights.) than anything else. The US Commission on Civil Rights, which is dominated by conservatives, intervened and now there's an internal review about why the case was dropped. There should be one on why it was ever brought to begin with.
Now, to be sure, the New Party isn't a group of cub scouts, pun intended. In fact, the Southern Poverty and Law Center has them listed as a hate group. Their ideas aren't all that bad as just ideas for improving the lives of African Americans, and really aren't so different from the platform of the Black Panthers. They practically copied and pasted if you ask me. The problem is that they throw in all too many references to "the white man." And apparently, the rhetoric of the national spokesmen, as distinct from members of local chapters, include references to whites, Jews, and violence, not all in that order. I gotta give the credit for standing up against the KKK, but apparently, even black residents didn't want the New Party of Dallas to come in. For what it's worth, the New Party needs to stick to nonviolent community activism and leave hate towards whites and Jews for others. It's their anti-white and antisemitic rhetoric that turns me off. I'm just too tired right now to round up any strong indignation. For me, it says enough that the SPLC has them listed.

Now, as for my absence . . . I can't blame it entirely on my health. A great, great deal, just not entirely. What energy I could've used here went to a drawn out argument over at racismreview. I should apologize to any regular readers and myself for my lack of judgement. I've grown from the incident, though. I know why I visit that site so often and owe it to myself not to waste energy defending my integrity against people who don't acknowledge the reality of racism in this country. I'm not promising a post tomorrow, but hey . . .

The Battle for Voting Rights

Could reassignment of the Bush-era head of the Justice Department section charged with protection of voting rights mean real change?

Adam Serwer

Sometime during Christmas week, Christopher Coates, the chief of the Voting Rights Section of the Justice Department, was quietly reassigned to an 18-month detail in the U.S. attorney's office in Charleston, South Carolina. Coates, a longtime career attorney in the Civil Rights Division, became head of the Voting Section in 2007. The previous head, John Tanner, left in 2007 in the midst of an uproar over racially inflammatory remarks.
Outraged conservatives quickly accused the Obama administration of reassigning Coates in order to cover up its dismissal of a voter-intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party that Coates supervised. Hans von Spakovsky, former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights under the Bush administration with a history of pushing for voting restrictions that disproportionately harm minority voters, said it was another sign of the Obama administration enforcing civil-rights laws on an "ideologically and politically biased basis." The conservative Washington Times headline blared "Justice Dept. Moves Panthers Pursuer to S.C."

This was not the first time the Civil Rights Division, of which Voting Rights is a part, has hit the headlines -- the division was widely criticized under the Bush administration. A joint report filed by the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility found that Brad Schlozman, who had been appointed to run the division, along with von Spakovsky and Tanner, regularly considered political affiliation when hiring career attorneys. According to the report, Tanner in particular complained that prior to the Bush appointees removing safeguards against politicized hiring, you had to be a "civil rights person" to work in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. In 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama blocked von Spakovsky's nomination to the Federal Election Commission saying von Spakovsky was "directly involved" in efforts to "disenfranchise voters" and "politicize" the Voting Rights Section.

A Government Accountability Office report released in December confirmed what veteran civil-rights lawyers who left the division over the past eight years had feared -- during the Bush administration, enforcement of civil-rights laws in employment discrimination, voting, and hate crimes fell across the board. It wasn't just about the cases: The racial atmosphere in the division was so hostile toward African Americans that by 2007, almost all the black lawyers in the division had left.

The New Black Panther voter intimidation case became an opportunity for conservatives to turn the tables on accusations of politicization. The battle for the soul of the Voting Rights Section didn't end with the new administration -- it continued, with conservatives in Congress and in the media waving the dismissal of the New Black Panther case as prima facie evidence that Democrats were politicizing the Justice Department.

Coates wanted to pursue the Black Panther Case, which became a rallying cry among conservatives. The Washington Times printed one-sided articles alleging politicization within the Voting Rights Section. Republican Reps. Lamar Smith of Texas and Frank Wolf of Virginia accused the administration of engaging in a "cover-up." In the Senate, Republicans used the New Black Panther case as an excuse to hold up Obama's nominee to head the Civil Rights Division, Thomas Perez. The now right-leaning U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), dominated by Bush appointees who are ideologically opposed to the division's traditional role of protecting minority rights, began investigating the dismissal of the Black Panther case and subpoenaing Justice Department lawyers. At a December American Constitution Society event, Thomas Perez, now confirmed as head of the Civil Rights Division, seemed to fire back at conservative critics, saying, "Those who had been entrusted with the keys to the division treated it like a buffet line at the cafeteria, cherry-picking which laws to enforce."

At first glance, Coates' extensive experience with voting rights -- he first worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and later the Justice Department -- made him look like just another career attorney. But Coates' current and former colleagues at the Justice Department say Coates underwent an ideological conversion shortly after a black lawyer in the Voting Rights Section, Gilda Daniels, was promoted to deputy section chief over him in July of 2000. Outraged, Coates filed a complaint alleging he was passed up for the job because he is white. The matter was settled internally.

"He thought he should have been hired instead of her," said one former official in the Voting Section. "That had an impact on his views … he became more conservative over time."

Coates' star rose during the Bush administration, during which he was promoted to principal deputy section chief. While not mentioned by name, Coates has been identified by several current and former Justice Department officials as the anonymous Voting Section lawyer, referred to in the joint Inspector General/Office of Professional Responsibility report, that Schlozman recommended for an immigration judge position. Immigration judges have jurisdiction over whether or not foreign nationals are deported. In his letter to Monica Goodling, a former senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who was implicated in the scandal involving politicized hiring, Schlozman wrote of Coates:

Don't be dissuaded by his ACLU work on voting matters from years ago. This is a very different man, and particularly on immigration issues, he is a true member of the team.
At the heart of the New Black Panther case was Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act, which offers legal protections against voter intimidation. It had only been used once prior to the Bush administration -- in 1992 to prevent a statewide voter-suppression effort initiated in South Carolina by then-Sen. Jesse Helms. In this case, the Bush administration wanted to use Section 11(b) against several New Black Panthers who had stood in front of a polling place in a black neighborhood, one of whom wielded a baton.

"There was no pattern and practice, no concerted effort to cage thousands of voters like in the [1992] Jesse Helms case," said Gerry Hebert, a former senior Voting Rights Section attorney who has served under multiple administrations. "That strikes me as the kind of large-scale voter-suppression case that would be more appropriate for Justice Department resources to be spent on."

The Bush administration filed two Section 11(b) cases, both on behalf of white voters, both supervised by Coates: the Black Panther case and a separate case in Noxubee, Mississippi. The Voting Rights Section had gone from ensuring voting rights for all Americans to focusing on the conservative bugaboo of "reverse racism."

A December report from Ryan J. Reilly of the legal publication Main Justice revealed that the now conservative-dominated USCCR had subpoenaed Coates and another Voting Section attorney, J. Christian Adams, to testify before the commission regarding the New Black Panther case. Adams is a straightforward ideologue, hired during the Bush era of politicized hiring. Having previously worked as a volunteer for the Republican National Lawyers Association, Adams has written pieces praising "tea party" activists and compared President Obama to Nazi appeasers. He was one of the lawyers assigned to the New Black Panther case.

Shortly after the report in Main Justice, von Spakovsky, who was at the center of the politicized hiring scandal at the Bush Justice Department, took to the pages of National Review to defend Coates and Adams and attack Thomas Perez, for not honoring the USCCR's subpoena. Two members of the USCC, Peter Kirsanow and Abigail Thernstrom, have also written for National Review, where the New Black Panther case has become a frequent topic of conversation.

According to Voting Section employees, the racially hostile atmosphere -- and for the most part, the politicization of the section -- that had existed during the Bush administration dissipated with John Tanner's departure. For some in the section, the New Black Panther Case symbolizes a chapter in the section's history they would rather put behind them. Thomas Perez has declared the Civil Rights Division "open for business," slamming the Bush administration for its lax enforcement of civil-rights laws. Department veterans who left, like Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandez, are now trickling back. The atmosphere of "fear and retaliation" that once permeated the Voting Rights Section is gone. Last year saw the highest number of hate-crimes prosecutions since the last time a Democrat was in office. In many respects, the promises of change made by Obama as a candidate have fallen by the wayside. But not in the Civil Rights Division. Not in the Voting Rights Section.

On Tuesday, employees in the Voting Rights Section a held goodbye lunch for Coates. At the end of the lunch, employees went around the conference table expressing their appreciation to Coates. At the end, the attendees were startled when Coates pulled out a binder and began reciting a written defense of his decision to file the New Black Panther and Noxubee cases. Voting Section employees exchanged glances in disbelief.

"It felt like he was summing up to a jury," one attendee said.

Coates' replacement, Chris Herren, is a longtime career attorney with an encyclopedic knowledge of voting rights issues whom one Justice Department employee described as being "like Yoda with voting rights." Laughlin McDonald, head of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, and someone who has worked with Herron on voting rights issues for years, said "I can't really think of a better [choice] in that division."

As one Justice Department official put it, "It just feels like things are finally being righted."

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