Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 13, 2009


Only 21% of the country calls themselves liberal. What that means, among other things, is that liberals need to reach out to other Americans, instead of constantly treating them as merely Bible thumping, gun toting, abortion hating red necks. Here is a good example of how not to do it.

McClatchy - Supporters of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor are quietly targeting the Connecticut firefighter who's at the center of Sotomayor's most controversial ruling. On the eve of Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearing, her advocates have been urging journalists to scrutinize what one called the "troubled and litigious work history" of firefighter Frank Ricci.. . .

On Friday, citing in an e-mail "Frank Ricci's troubled and litigious work history," the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way drew reporters' attention to Ricci's past. Other advocates for Sotomayor have discreetly urged journalists to pursue similar story lines.

Specifically, the advocates have zeroed in on an earlier 1995 lawsuit Ricci filed claiming the city of New Haven discriminated against him because he's dyslexic. The advocates cite other Hartford Courant stories from the same era recounting how Ricci was fired by a fire department in Middletown, Conn., allegedly, Ricci said at the time, because of safety concerns he raised. The Middletown-area fire department was subsequently fined for safety violations, but the Connecticut Department of Labor dismissed Ricci's retaliation complaint. . .

With his awards for bravery, some 17 years of fire department service and history of overcoming dyslexia, Ricci has become a compelling human character in the Sotomayor confirmation drama


Anonymous Anonymous said...

People may not like the term liberal, but there are very few people who would support going back to a monarchy. Most people support Single Payer, and still call themselves conservative. And none of the christians who want a theocracy would tolerate the one that actually manifested when they started being told how to worship.

People aren't conservative; their tricked into eqating liberal=gay/atheist/soft on criminal(black/brown)

Democrat liberals miss the point becuase they're just a slightly different shade of republican. Real forward thinking progressives are failing because they're up against the biggest PR machine in history.

July 14, 2009 12:42 AM  
Blogger robbie said...

Frank Ricci's "story" is unequivocally immaterial to the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor. Republican's want him there for propaganda purposes only. And, frankly, Ricci is a rather letigious guy, suing every other couple of weeks.

July 14, 2009 6:18 AM  
Anonymous pay justice said...

Elsewhere yesterday the question "Is healthcare a right?" was asked, and I responded with this: People do not get born with equal GIFTS of brain, brawn, good health, or other natural attributes, but they are certainly born with equal NEEDS and therefore RIGHTS for food, clean water, land (a place to put your feet while you live on earth since you cannot float in air), education, healthcare when they're sick.

The response from the rightwing was: I have trouble with this "rights" stuff. You don't get rights simply by showing up. You have to earn rights. Sorry.

Now, Sam, never mind that Jefferson spins in his grave - please tell me; just how the bloody hell does one "reach out" to THAT fundamental lunacy?? What possible compromise can there be with class warfare? Since the rightwingers' sorely mistaken 2 essential pillars of belief are that cheap labor and social hierarchy are not only a good and a natural thing but required for commerce to work, again I ask how the bloody hell does a "lefty" "reach out" to the right's inherent love of and devotion to ludicrous, anti-moral unjustice???

July 14, 2009 8:06 AM  
Anonymous old hippy who never joined the commune said...

I'm constantly getting e-mails from PDA, which I generally read and delete. Occasionally I agree with them, but generally they seem to be tools of DNC who have no clue as to what democracy actually means. I used to consider libertarians trust fund babies who didn't want to pay their taxes. I must say that nowadays they are the most effective spokesmen for personal freedom and the Bill of Rights. I believe our present gov't. is completely corrupt, almost unbelievably corrupt (see http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20090713033854249) but I'm leery of people with good intentions, the lunatic govt. of China e.g., who want total control. I know for a fact the bigger an organisation gets the further away from original intent and effectiveness it gets, and besides, I'm just not a joiner.
Contingually, I don't see how a guy who fights back against discrimination is litigious, but the fucking dems have seen the last of me since a decade or more. They are a sorry-ass joke.

July 14, 2009 12:26 PM  
Anonymous oops said...


July 14, 2009 1:15 PM  
Anonymous hippy again said...

"People for the American Way". How pathetically myopic and self-inflated is that? Seems to be the perfect definition of liberal. My objection to Sotomayer's confirmation concerns her ruling that punishing a kid for criticism of school officials outside of school is reasonable (completely contrary to the First Amendment) and her ruling denying appeal to a defendant who was later exonerated by dna but served sixteen years wrongly because of her ruling (procedure trumps innocence--complete bullshit). True she's not as a bad as Scalia or Thomas, but what warm-blooded mammal is?

July 14, 2009 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Keesha said...

I get what Sam is raising and wonder why it's skipped in the comments?
Sam's saying that trying to smear the firefighter makes us look trashy and, since he's working class (as am I), it makes us look elitist. It hurts us with the general population. Instead of addressing that, we get: "Ricci is a rather letigious guy, suing every other couple of weeks." Did you read what Sam wrote?
The man's a firefighter, he came before Sotomayor. The issue is did he get justice or not? You can argue either way depending upon what you believe but to dig through his personal story -- which had no bearing on her ruling -- for dirt is shameful and drives away support we on the left might otherwise get.
I got Sam's point.
I would also say that some of the commentaries posted here about Palin are exactly the same thing, driving people away.
I'm African-American. There are Palin jokes among my friends, have been since, "Say it ain't so, Joe." But they are jokes. We don't ridicule her as "she went to community college! To more than one!" or any other elitist crap.
We didn't vote for her but we're not insulting her and one reason is that her own story is one that a lot of us would love. To be a mayor, to be a governor. We on the left need to be thinking about our criticisms which have gotten very sexist and very classicist.

July 15, 2009 10:37 AM  
Anonymous ?? said...

Exactly what comments were racist or sexist??

July 15, 2009 12:54 PM  

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