News Roundup for 10/26/09

Whitten in front of 'Whitten Inn'
Pictured, l.to r.; Asshole's hotel sign, asshole

-Headline of the day-
"Hotel owner tells 'Spanish' employees to change their names and 'speak only English.'"

Taos, NM, hotel owner Larry Whitten is clearly the most enlightened man on matters of race since Keith Bardwell, the Louisiana Justice of the Peace who refuses to grant marriage licenses to interracial couples. Well, maybe not; where Bardwell pretends his racism isn't personal, but a concern about other people's racism, it seems that Whitten's is rooted in paranoia and other forms of craziness.

AP reports that the first time he showed up to his hotel, "Whitten met with the employees. He says he immediately noticed that they were hostile to his management style and worried they might start talking about him in Spanish."

"Because of that, I asked the people in my presence to speak only English because I do not understand Spanish," Whitten says. Because people only say bad things about you when you're around.

Then he took things further. According to the report, "Then Whitten told some employees he was changing their Spanish first names. Whitten says it’s a routine practice at his hotels to change first names of employees who work the front desk phones or deal directly with guests if their names are difficult to understand or pronounce."

How hard to pronounce? One guy stuck with the tongue-twister "Marcos" was fired because he refused to answer to "Mark" or -- confusingly -- "Bill." Like Bardwell, Whitten denies he's a racist.

"It has nothing to do with racism," he says. "I'm not doing it for any reason other than for the satisfaction of my guests, because people calling from all over America don't know the Spanish accents or the Spanish culture or Spanish anything."

There's some evidence to support his claim that he's not racist. Unfortunately, that evidence suggests he's just an all-around asshole. Think Progress reports that he "further angered the local community when he referred to people in the town as 'mountain people' and 'potheads who escaped society' during interviews with the press."

Of course, this only proves he's not just racist. I don't know if there are moves to boycott his hotel (it's hard to imagine there isn't), but that seems unnecessary to me; this guy is just such an incredible prick that I can't imagine anyone having contact with him ever wanting to go back.

Good luck with your hotel, Lorenzo. I hope you enjoy all the success you deserve. (Think Progress, with video)

-Speaking of racism-
When you need good old-fashioned blatant racism, you can always count on Republican voters.

From the Republican Party's little corner of Facebook:

Racist image

You may not be able to make out the caption, but it reads, "Miscegenation is a CRIME against American Values. Repeal Loving v. Virginia." Loving v. Virginia being the Supreme Court case that struck down laws barring the marriage of people of different races.

Other fun images include John Kerry with a shotgun to his head and a photo of Mother Teresa feeding a child captioned, "Enabling scab-eating mouth breathers will do them no good. How do we expect them to take care of themselves?"

All of these were on the party's Facebook Fan page and no one thought that maybe it'd be a good idea to take them down.

To be fair, there's damned good evidence that these are the work of a troll pretending to be a GOP fan. But the fact that these stayed up for so long is kind of a problem for the party regardless. Either way -- sincere or troll -- the GOP is way too comfortable with having dicks put racist and hateful crap up on their page.

Not that anyone can tell the difference between a real Republican and a troll pretending to be a Republican anymore. Read through the comments on a wingnut site sometime... It's all so over-the-top it's self-parody. (Raw Story)

-Bonus HotD-
"Statisticians reject global cooling."

One of the big global warming denier claims dies the death it deserves. According to the report, "In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time."

"If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect," said John Grego, a statistics professor from the University of South Carolina. If you don't cherry-pick, the numbers show the opposite -- global warming.

"The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record," says NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. "Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming."

So, for those of you keeper score; global cooling = bullshit, global warming = not bullshit. Don't expect this to convince your rightwing Aunt Eunice or that dick on that online forum you go to, though -- those guys take the denial as a matter of faith. No amount of evidence could possibly sway them. They're like creationists that way -- bullheaded and ignorant.

They'd rather be politically correct in wingnut ideology than right. I wouldn't waste my time. (Associated Press)

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