Shirley Sherrod

March 7, 2012 by · Comments Off on Shirley Sherrod 

Shirley Sherrod, Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart may have died Wednesday but that hasn’t stopped Shirley Sherrod’s defamation lawsuit against him. Sherrod filed the suit against the late conservative activist last February after Breitbart published a controversial, distorted video that led to her firing from her post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Politico reports:

Courts have a fairly straightforward and unemotional way of dealing with deaths, even one as sudden and headline-grabbing as Breitbart’s. Normally, some party or attorney files a “suggestion of death.” In a civil case, the person’s estate is usually substituted for the person who died. So, Breitbart’s estate would ordinarily be liable for any damages that would have been awarded against him. Legal Times pointed out Thursday that Breitbart’s estate’s defense could be weakened by his death, since he would not be available to testify.

However, the impact of Breitbart’s death on the outcome of this particular lawsuit could be limited, since O’Connor presumably was involved in discussions about the video, could testify about them and is also named as a defendant. In other words, the case won’t just be going away unless Sherrod agrees to drop it, or the appeals court rules that the anti-SLAPP law might or does apply.

Tom Vilsack

July 21, 2010 by · Comments Off on Tom Vilsack 

Tom VilsackTom Vilsack, The saga of earlier employees of the USDA has Shirley Sherrod soon became a new kind of public relations nightmare for the Department of Agriculture is Tom Vilsack. When a video making racist comments Sherrod apparently at a dinner of the NAACP appeared on the Internet on Monday, Vilsack panic, and without investigation, without meeting Sherrod, without seeing the whole unedited tape had one of its members call Sherrod three times – “harass” her, Sherrod said – until he tendered his resignation. Why the rush? “You will be on Glenn Beck tonight,” said Rep. Sherrod said.

But the narrative spun by Andrew Brietbart soon began to unravel, and when it published the entire speech last night, it was clear that Brietbart Vilsack and had got everything wrong. In his speech, Sherrod spoke about how his father was murdered in 1965 by a white man who was never brought to justice. She vowed to stay in the South and devote his life to improving the lives of “black people only.” That’s why, as she relates in the original clip, white farmer went out to Roger Spooner a white lawyer for more than two decades. But he soon saw that the white lawyer does not care about the white farmer, either, and realized that was not black people who needed his help, he went to the poor of any race. “There is no difference between us,” he said.

Vilsack – having argued that, even if it was really cold stone Sherrod a racist perception of being a racist was damaging enough – soon became more open to his return after a call from the White House. “Of course, I am ready and will conduct a thorough review and consider any additional facts to ensure the American people that provide services in a fair and equitable,” he said in a statement in the morning. Yes, uh … you think?

We’ve all seen the video, and it is clear to everyone – even the Fox News host who apparently is in charge at the USDA these days – that Sherrod was the victim of an unjust decision. Vilsack now has to decide whether to reverse. Sound familiar? Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, commissioner found in the same place seven weeks ago after a blown call by umpire Jim Joyce torpedoed a rare perfect game for the pitcher Armando Galarraga. What was infuriating about the incident Galarraga was that human error was allowed to leave without indisputable video evidence. How can you let everyone know that the runner was out, but the ruling at first base was “safe”? It made no sense, and it was not fair. Selig never did overturn the call, however, there are too blown at each station, and call a do-over could have created a league on a path that did not want to travel.

But there is no slippery slope in the case of Sherrod. What, are you going to re-employ all the people you thought you were racist, but they were actually preachers of racial equality? Good! The only drawback to this woman back to work is that Vilsack would admit human error – such as panic and coward who had been at first. Better yet, the panic, cowardly, and stubborn.

Andrew Breitbart

July 21, 2010 by · Comments Off on Andrew Breitbart 

Andrew BreitbartAndrew Breitbart, Last week, Kevin Zeese, a lawyer for, a national organization dedicated to monitoring clean, accountable and transparent government, sent a letter to Attorney General Douglas Gansler and Maryland State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy Maryland interest Coats criminal charges brought against James O’Keefe, Hannah and Andrew Breitbart Giles for violating wiretapping and electronic surveillance of Maryland Law. A copy of the letter is on

In summary, the letter states that Breitbart, Giles O’Keefe and conspired in secret wiretaps and videotaped employees of the Baltimore office of ACORN without their knowledge or consent, and published the video with the intent to cause damage to employees and ACORN. Maryland law is very clear in requiring two consent of the parties for any video recording. The letter cites two official reports of the Advocates General, the GAO and the House Judiciary Committee, which noted that all O’Keefe et al violated privacy laws in Maryland and edited the tapes to make it appear that ACORN has done something wrong when he did not.

O’Keefe has pleaded guilty to federal crimes in connection with the handling of the phones in the office of Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana last January and has since been convicted and condemned such criminal activity. He and Giles have been sued by an employee of ACORN in California for violating his privacy in a case very similar to the case of Maryland. Yesterday, Breitbart was involved in another scandal video released that falsely accused Agriculture Department officials Shirley Sherrod racism.

“O’Keefe, Breitbart and Giles clearly engaged in criminal activity with intent to do harm. His conduct in Maryland is part of a general fraud, often involving crimes be brought back and across the country for political purposes” said VR co-founder and investigative journalist Brad Friedman. “They are dedicated to crime, creating false scandals and then accuse others of criminal activity. We have asked the Maryland law enforcement officials to stop this behavior reprehensible and illegal once and for all.”


July 20, 2010 by · Comments Off on Lightsquared 

LightsquaredLightsquared, NEW YORK — AP —  U.S. consumers and businesses could get additional options in wireless service starting next year, by the launch of a new wireless broadband network that aims to provide competition to the incumbent phone companies.
Private-equity firm Harbinger Capital Partners on Tuesday revealed details of the launch of its wireless network, LightSquared, which should cover 92 percent of the population by 2015.
But there are financial and regulatory hurdles to overcome. And in another wrinkle, LightSquared won’t initially be offering conventional cell phone service, just data. It’s possible to send phone calls over data connections, but that technology is not fully mature or standardized.
Still, LightSquared represents a rare new entrant in the wireless market. Only two other companies, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc., have firm plans to build nationwide networks using the same, fourth-generation network technology that LightSquared will use. Sprint Nextel Corp., through its Clearwire Corp. subsidiary, is building a third one with a different 4G technology that’s likely to get less support from equipment makers.
Consumers won’t buy service directly from LightSquared. Instead, it will sell access wholesale to other companies that can resell it to consumers. LightSquared hopes to attract cable TV providers, phone companies that don’t have wireless networks of their own and retailers that want to provide wireless service under their own brand.
Dan Hays, who focuses on telecommunications with consulting firm PRTM, said LightSquared “could provide a renewed opportunity for retailers and major brands such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Office Depot to enter the wireless market as service providers to consumers.”
LightSquared plans to start providing service in the second half of 2011 in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and Baltimore.
LightSquared said Nokia Siemens Networks will build, maintain and operate the network under a $7 billion, eight-year contract. Nokia Siemens is a joint venture of Finland’s Nokia Corp. and Siemens AG of Germany.
The contract is an important step for Nokia Siemens, which hasn’t had much of a presence in the U.S. market for wireless equipment. On Monday, it announced a deal to buy Motorola Inc.’s networks business for $1.2 billion, with a view to increasing its foothold in the U.S.
One reason it’s rare for new national wireless carriers to spring up is that it’s difficult and expensive to procure the rights to airwaves across the nation. Verizon Wireless paid $9.4 billion for nationwide spectrum rights in a 2008 auction, for example.
LightSquared is in an unusual position in that it owns nationwide wireless spectrum once set aside for satellite phone use. Harbinger bought SkyTerra, a satellite company, earlier this year.
Placing calls over satellites is expensive and impractical compared with using cell towers, so the FCC allows spectrum holders to back up satellite coverage with towers. That gives LightSquared a “back door” to building out a conventional ground-based network of cell towers.
However, under current FCC rules, all devices that use LightSquared’s spectrum have to come with the ability to connect to a satellite besides conventional cell towers, according to satellite industry consultant Tim Farrar. That would add to the cost of devices and limit the selection.
LightSquared is banking on the FCC changing its rules to allow devices that only talk to towers. Regardless, it needs to launch a satellite later this year to satisfy the FCC’s condition that it be able to provide satellite connectivity.
The launch of the new network would fit into the FCC’s goals of creating more competition in the wireless market. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Tuesday that he was pleased to learn of the creation of LightSquared.
Farrar said it’s also not clear if Harbinger will be able to raise the billions needed to build out the network, and other expenses.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see where this money comes from,” Farrar said.
Tom Surface, a spokesman for LightSquared, said the company “will evaluate our funding needs as we develop and grow our business.”
LightSquared’s CEO is Sanjiv Ahuja, who was CEO of French cell phone company Orange from 2004 through 2007. He then founded a company that started wireless service in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.