Quotes: From Reuters

“In France it was Joan of Arc; in the Crimea it was Florence Nightingale; in the deep south there was Rosa Parks; in India there was Mother Teresa and in Florida there was Katherine Harris,” said singer Larry Gatlin as he introduced Harris to an adoring crowd of Florida Republicans. … Speaking to Reuters before she made her surprise address to the crowd, Harris dismissed suggestions she would receive an appointment from the Bush administration.

Harris also declared she wanted to stay on the list of worst dressed women of 2000 — even after self-styled fashion maven “Mr. Blackwell” took her off the list for improving her appearance. “I want to stay on the list because I was in extremely good company — Elizabeth Hurley and Madonna. I’m not as glamorous as them,” Harris said.

Bush’s brother Jeb, the Governor of Florida, was also mobbed by the crowds at the inaugural ball, but he made no appearance onstage. “I’m pleased and proud,” Bush told Reuters of his older brother’s inauguration as 43rd President. “I’m also pleased to be here with all of my friends from Florida because we made it happen.”

Forty acres and one big digital mule: … Art McGee and the Black Radical Congress get some dap in this Village Voice article.

McGee says many African Americans came late to the Internet´┐Żbut that they are there, especially in social settings, and just need to be organized. “There’s an unevenness to the Internet from the [black] activist standpoint,” he says. Now McGee hopes to pull the communities behind sites like BlackPlanet.com and BlackVoices.com toward progressive politics. The timing is certainly right to harness minority outrage over the election and the Supreme Court nod to Bush, McGee argues. “It’s all out there in the open now,” he says. “We don’t even have to explain what the problem is, just how we go about changing it.”

Much Apu about nothing: So it was Saturday night, and the wife and I were at home giggling on the couch tonight over this. Why? ‘Cause we’re weird.

The character “Apu,” on the television show “The Simpsons,” is one of the few representations of a South Asian male immigrant available within the popular American imaginary. Apu is a caricature of a stereotypical South Asian immigrant male worker with a heavily accented English and comical foreign mannerisms. In the episode “Much Apu About Nothing,” The Simpsons satirizes Apu’s readiness for American citizenship while ridiculing the displacements effected by nativist anti-immigration discourses. Apu is depicted as a convenience store employee with an education seemingly at odds with his profession and also at odds with the education of his “American” working-class friends. The episode begins with the problem of a wandering bear in the town of Springfield which the mayor responds to by raising taxes to form an ineffective “bear patrol”. When the citizenry angrily storms town hall in hysteria over the bear and the tax increase, Mayor Quimby quickly blames the tax increase on illegal immigrants and proposes the initiative “Proposition 24” to deport all illegal immigrants from the small, suburban town of Springfield. Initially, Homer Simpson sides in favor of Proposition 24, claiming that illegal immigrants are responsible for his son’s lack of motivation in educational pursuits: “The schools are so jam-packed with immigrants that kids like Bart have lost the will to learn.” Upon discovering that his friend Apu is not a “regular Joe,” but actually an illegal immigrant, Homer slowly changes his take on the Proposition. Apu reveals that after coming to the United States on a student visa as a graduate student, he took a job in order to pay off his student loans. He found the only viable employment opportunity at a “Quick-E Mart” convenience store. In his initial attempt to stay in the country, Apu thinks just acting “American,” i.e. getting rid of his religious icon Ganeesha statue and wearing a cowboy hat and Mets shirt, will convince everyone of his American citizenship. After Lisa discovers an amnesty clause that would allow Apu the chance to become a naturalized citizen, Apu finds that studying for the citizenship test is the only viable way of staying in the U.S.

As the Simpson family prepares Apu for the Citizenship exam, this episode highlights how Apu’s difference from them is constituted through his formal post-colonial education in India. When quizzed on the origins of the Civil War, Apu composes a long and complex explanation invoking the economic disparities of the North and South when he is instructed by a confused examiner to, “Just say ‘slavery.'” “Slavery it is,” says Apu, thus adopting the state’s formal agenda in reproducing a dominant version of U.S. racial history. Adopting the notion that U.S. racial processes can be reduced to the overcoming of slavery is depicted, in this instance, as a precursor to citizenship. Apu’s answer to this question on the citizenship exam satirizes the simplistic understandings produced by the U.S educational system and evidences Apu’s very different relation to the study of history.

Quotes: … from out, about and around.

  • Dick Gregory, the comedian, accused Mr. Bush of stealing the election. “If you stole my car,” he told the crowd, “I’m never going to accept that it’s your car.”
  • The nation was rising, a new president in the wings, and on the streets a grim-faced man took up early silent protest outside the Supreme Court. “Crime Scene,” his sign proclaimed. “5 of 9 Should Do Time.” But with the daylight, a group with a contrary point of view began singing in his face, “God Bless America,” again and again.

    “You want a crime scene, the White House is down that way,” one member of the Republican chorus said to the protester, who took it as mutely as a guard outside Buckingham Palace. “Go on, they’re fumigating the West Wing this morning,” the chorus member advised.

    “Now guys, remember: a positive message,” a man with a bullhorn said. And he began another chorus of “God Bless America” to invoke innocence upon the day.

  • The biggest problem today was that unmistakable vibe of unhappiness around the fringes of the event. Thousands of people showed up with the firmest of convictions that George W. Bush does not have a legitimate claim to power. Among them, only Al Gore held his tongue. He declined to exercise his Constitutional and moral right to heckle Bush unmercifully throughout the inaugural address.

    Many of us expected Gore to whip out some papers and shout, “Late results from Broward County!”

    I chose to watch the first part of the ceremony on the streets, among the people, the common folk, to experience the inauguration in its most authentic and populist form. Mine was a distant vantage point.

    I may have actually been in Arlington. If you squinted really hard, you could see, far in the distance, a tiny object that I am pretty sure was the Capitol dome.

    This was the turf of the protesters.

    “Unity my Ashcroft!” one sign said.

    “Re-elect Gore in 2004.”

    “A Handgun for Every Child.”

    The most strident may have been the one composed by San Francisco photographer Johanna Hetherington: “Dubya: Buffoon King of Corporate Whores, Earth Plunderers and Election Thieves.”

    “It’s a sad day, because democracy was subverted,” said Connie Anguili, a protester from the District.

    “Nobody cares about democracy as long as there’s a smooth transition of power,” said her friend Arlene Whitten.

    “I really would like somebody who’s actually been elected,” Anguili said.

    “Not by Supreme Court corruption,” added Whitten.

    The new president spoke of unity, common ideals, shared values. He’s got a lot of work to do to make that come about. The protesters had tuned him out. They had no interest in his speech. For the Left, the theft of the presidency is as fixed and immutable a chapter of American history as the French and Indian War.

  • Mr Bush said on Friday that he was “not backing off” from his conservative political convictions. He had a blunt message for Democrats in the divided US Congress – they should work with the new administration “or they’re going to be left behind.”

    To those who believe that he “stole” the election and is not entitled to appoint conservatives, such as John Ashcroft, to his cabinet, he had an equally brusque response. “Too bad,” he said. “I’m going to.”

  • Pop and politics: … no, not this, but this.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President-elect George W. Bush (news – web sites) drew more cheers than the platinum-selling pop singers with whom he shared the stage on Friday during a pre-inauguration youth concert.

    Pop acts Destiny’s Child, Jessica Simpson, Lee Ann Womack and 98 Degrees performed and Bush briefly addressed the thousands who attended the two-and-a-half-hour event at the MCI Center in Washington. A number of Bush Cabinet nominees spoke at the event in between the performances.

    Several singers mixed politics with their music.

    Destiny’s Child singer Beyonce encouraged the crowd to “say Bush” when she was not exhorting them to wave their hands in the air. Jessica Simpson changed the chorus of one of her hit singles to: “George, I think that I’m in love with you/I’ve been doing silly things when it comes to you.”

    It’s different for Deutch: A guilty plea, no prison time and the loss of his security clearances. No jail time, no fines, no charges of mishandling.

    The Justice Department initially declined to prosecute Deutch in 1999 after a yearlong review of the case. When Deutch left the CIA in December 1996, CIA security officials had discovered he had written and stored highly classified intelligence reports on home computers linked to the Internet. Deutch has publicly apologized for his behavior. But Attorney General Janet Reno ordered a review of the case after the CIA inspector general later completed a report on the episode. Prosecutor Paul Coffey concluded that criminal charges should be filed.

    Some observers had noted that a prosecution of Deutch was initially declined but that the government filed 59 felony charges against fired scientist Wen Ho Lee over his handling of nuclear weapons secrets at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Some questioned whether that was evenhanded treatment.

    But prosecutors always viewed the two cases quite differently. Deutch was mishandling classified data that he was working on as part of his job, they noted. But Lee, without authorization, downloaded secrets unrelated to his work, which they considered more suspicious. Lee had been the subject of an espionage investigation, but the government never charged him with spying.

    Last September, Lee pleaded guilty to one felony count of mishandling secrets and was released after nine months of pretrial detention in a plea bargain in which he agreed to tell the government how he disposed of copies he made of the secret data.