Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Links: Happy Tax Day

BOULDER, Colorado -- Today we are going to ignore all of the teabagging that is going on across the nation, because those people are nuts and ignorant. Instead, we bring you news about race in America (the two stories may be linked, however), as well as stories about the dastardly deeds of the unhirable fools from the Bush administration and some urban ruins of bygone eras.

Colorado Matters: Come fly the racist skies.
Until 1963, there were no black commercial airline pilots in the United States. Carriers actively discriminated against black pilots, claiming that racist passengers would refuse to fly with them if they hired blacks, or that they would not be able to put them up in hotels during layovers in segregated southern cities. Then Marlon Dewitt Green took his case all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in Green v. Continental Air Lines that the practice was unconstitutional.

Hartford Courant: Do-over! In more recent race-and-hiring-practices news, my hometown could be approaching a landmark Supreme Court case. A group of 15 New Haven firefighters have taken the city to court over its hiring practices. The men all took a test to determine promotions, and they received the top 15 scores - unfortunately, 14 were white, and one was Hispanic, and there were only 15 promotion spots available. Because there were no black candidates who scored in the top spots, the city decided to hire nobody. The Court will hear oral arguments in the case, Ricci v. Destefano, later this month.

NASHI: All deposed presidents of former Soviet republics may now begin boarding.
Everyone's favorite government puppet right-wing youth movement, Nashi, demonstrated earlier this week at the Georgian embassy in Moscow to show their "solidarity" with the Georgian people who are clamoring for President Saakashvili to resign. They've even bought Mikhael a ticket to DC, where everyone (especially John McCain) loves him. It's worth noting that these are the same people who were baying for the blood of every last Georgian during last summer's war over South Ossetia.

The New Yorker: Mr. Feith, there are some men here to see you. They have a warrant.
At looks like at least six members of the Bush administration can look forward to a life like Henry Kissinger - that is, they can never leave the country, and probably can't travel to some US states, for fear of being arrested. British attorney Philippe Sands first identified the "Bush Six" in his book Torture Team, and Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon has upheld the indictments of the former officials on charges of torture.

Strange Maps: The Rochester Subway. From 1927 to 1956, Rochester, NY, once one of America's most successful boomtowns, had its very own subway. The system consisted of a single line that was placed in the former bed of the Erie Canal, which had been diverted around the downtown. Today, all that remains are a few concrete trenches and overpasses.

New York Times: Keep smallpox alive.
One of New York Cities oft-forgotten islands is the quaint Roosevelt Island, located in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. Perhaps it's forgotten because for most of its history it has been home to prisoners, mental patients, and people suffering from wildly-infectious diseases. Now the city is trying to keep part of that history alive by restoring the ruins of the island's famous smallpox hospital.

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