[colored_box color="red"]Clarence Thomas
Arguably the most conservative jurist—if not the luckiest—on the U.S. Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas was 17 years old when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, one of the most important accomplishments of the Civil Rights era. But when Thomas recently cast his vote in the Court’s 5-4 decision gutting the law, he jabbed “a dagger” in its heart, according to its longtime supporter, Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), who actually marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965—and got his skull fractured by state troopers—to gain rights for his fellow citizens that Thomas, also from Georgia, would later take for granted. How did Thomas get into Yale Law School? He’d never admit it—but he got in by the progress made at such a heavy cost by men and women like John Lewis and other courageous people who risked life and limb to overcome our country’s endemic racism. That Thomas would let himself be cynically nominated to fill Justice Thurgood Marshall’s seat by the first President George Bush—and thus become the second African-American to serve on the highest court in the land—without feeling any moral obligation to follow in Marshall’s footsteps is very damning indeed. Thomas climbed up a ladder that the Freedom Riders had risked their lives to erect. That he would deliberately pull that ladder away from future generations of disadvantaged Americans by siding with the conservative majority in this ruling is a cruel joke played on the American people by the country club elite. When the Court is in public session, Thomas is known for not saying a word. But what more can he say—after Anita Hill exposed him for who he really is? His continued presence on the Court, like his silence, is obscene.
The celebrity chef known for her Southern comfort got burned when she admitted in court depositions that she’d let the N-word trickle out of her mouth and cracked anti-Semitic jokes in her restaurant. Now Paula Deen, who really likes to pile on the butter, is smacked dab in the middle of a mud cake without the Food Network to support her and corporate sponsors like Target, Home Depot, Caesars Entertainment, Smithfield Foods and Walmart to pick up the tab. In her defense the 66-year-old busted belle blubbers, “I is what I is.” And her deluded clans of kitchen fans have made her latest batch of cholesterol-challenging recipes, “Paula Deen’s New Testament,” a top seller on Amazon’s book list. If they can swallow her warmed-over, stale racism, served with a plate of humble pie, so be it. But we lost our appetite a long time ago.
When Aaron Hernandez was a tight-end for the New England Patriots, he made life miserable for the New [Jersey] Jets—but nobody accused the football player of killing anything other than the hopes and dreams of Gang Green and their luckless fans. Now Hernandez, 23, stands accused of shooting a friend, Odin Lloyd, to death with a .45-caliber handgun in an industrial park less than a mile from his $1.4-million Massachusetts mansion. Allegedly destroying evidence like smashing his cell phone into pieces, hiring house cleaners to scrub his place after Lloyd’s murder was reported and dismantling his mansion’s security system add up to some blown coverage, let’s say. It’s right that the Pats cut ties to him. The NFL may run on thugs—but they know when to stop at the whistle. How could Bill Belichick have missed those tell-tale “Blood” tattoos on Hernandez’s arms? Maybe he didn’t have his video cameras pointed the right way that day.
The joke was on George Zimmerman, charged with murdering Trayvon Martin, when his witless defense attorney Don West bombed in the courtroom with a knock-knock joke: “Knock, knock,” West said. “Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? Congratulations, you’re on the jury.” We know justice is supposed to be blind, but not dumb. West should have saved his stand-up routine for a comedy club.
It’s not often that people think of Toronto mayors as being wild and crazy guys but Rob Ford apparently defies the stereotype. According to Gawker’s John Cook and Toronto newspaper reporters, drug dealers shot a video of the conservative mayor smoking crack cocaine this year. Toronto cops have said that the mayor knew the gangbangers posing in their hoodies with their arms around him in a widely circulated photo that does not show the mayor with a crack pipe in his hand. Canadian cops say that two of the men pictured with Ford were busted in a series of pre-dawn raids targeting guns and gangs in Toronto and Windsor, and one of the men was shot in a gangland execution outside a Toronto night club. Apparently the amateur videographer had made overtures to sell the incriminating footage, showed it to the reporters, but then got cold feet (or upped the ante). Ford says the video exists only in somebody’s fevered hallucination—he’s clean as a whistle. People who’ve seen the footage beg to differ. Gawker has since set up a crowd-sourcing fund to raise the 200 hundred grand the video maker supposedly wants for the crack tape. Perhaps prompted by the attention swirling around the scandal, a young Toronto woman threw a cup of juice at him recently while he was attending an Italian street carnival and got herself arrested. Maybe she was just trying to put out a fire—like the one that comes from a crack pipe, perhaps—and missed. We don’t know. Either way, when people tell Mayor Ford to “put that in your pipe and smoke it,” somebody may want to call the cops.
Those Texas politicians sure do spend an awful lot of time worrying about women’s sexual organs. Sometimes in the heat of the moment they say the darnedest things. While all the recent attention was rightly focused on Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, who had to take a stand, literally, for almost 12 hours to filibuster a very restrictive anti-abortion bill pushed by Texas Republican lawmakers, we’d like to shine the spotlight on Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, one of the bill’s sponsors in the Texas House. The measure imposes an unconstitutional ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and effectively closes 37 of Texas’ 42 Planned Parenthood clinics, leaving hundreds of thousands of women without recourse. In denying an amendment that would have exempted victims of rape and incest, Laubenberg made the amazing observation that emergency rooms have rape kits so “that the woman can get cleaned out.” Wrong. Those kits are only good for collecting evidence, not terminating a pregnancy. Nobody accused Laubenberg of knowing science, but you’d think she’d know more about what women in the Lone Star State have to endure before she blithely puts them through it.
An animal control officer in North Ridgeville, Ohio, Barry Accorti got the call from a homeowner concerned about a litter of newborn kittens in a woodpile behind her house. So, while the woman’s children were watching from their windows upstairs, Accorti shot the 8- to10-week-old kittens to death. “Mommy, he’s killing the kittens!” they started screaming, according to Teresa Landon, Ohio SPCA executive director, who demanded that Accorti be shit-canned. His chief, who must hate cats as much as he apparently does, stood by the kitten-killer and decided his “actions were appropriate.” They weren’t.
Amanda Bertoncini, Ashlee White, Casey Cohen, Chanel Omari, Erica Gimbel & Joey Lauren
Cable commoners know these damsels by their royal name: “Princesses: Long Island.” They squabble, they babble, they shop ’til they drop, and then they scream for more, more, more! This bevy of rich girls behaving badly may be good for Bravo’s ratings, but they sure are terrible for Long Island’s bruised and battered image. We can imagine what the network had in mind, but what were these young women thinking? Apparently, nothing more challenging than whether nail polish is a reflection of inner beauty or whether lip gloss and breath freshener should really be combined. These “reality” females have dissed Freeport, kvetched about Super Storm Sandy’s “disgusting” debris and otherwise managed to insult New Yorkers by embodying the worst of the Jewish stereotypes. But their biggest offense? Boredom. Surely they can all do better than this. These pampered “Princesses” give “privilege” a bad name.
He’s the brutish art tycoon hubby of the voluptuous TV celebrity chef Nigella Lawson. Whatever they do behind closed doors is their business. But when the estranged couple had lunch at London’s ritzy Scott’s restaurant last month, things got out of hand, literally. Saatchi, a 70-year-old advertising mogul who owns art galleries in New York and London, was at a sidewalk table with his 51-year-old wife when the millionaire grabbed her throat and made her wince. The tabloids ran the pictures of her leaving the restaurant in tears. Saatchi called his throat-clutching gesture “a playful tiff.” She didn’t file charges—she just moved out on him. Good for her. She can leave the joking choker behind.
She’s the Texas actress nobody had heard of until she told the FBI that her estranged husband, Nathan, had sent ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mark Glaze, the director of Bloomberg’s anti-gun initiative, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Besides the poison-penmanship, threatening correspondence also targeted Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney John M. Bales and FBI Special Agent in Charge Diego Rodriguez. But talk about “return to sender!” Federal authorities arrested the 35-year-old actress—and pregnant mother of five—and charged her with setting up her husband, a 33-year-old Army veteran, whom she wed in 2011. Now she faces up to 10 years in federal prison. That’s probably not the outcome the former beauty pageant winner who appeared in “The Walking Dead” and “the Vampire Diaries” had in mind when she allegedly came up with this plot. It would have been better if her part had been cut.