Archive for November 15th, 2008

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Jury Bends Klan Over

November 15, 2008

Ha! I’m laughing tonight. A jury in Brandenberg, Kentucky, has awarded a Latino teenager $2.5 million in damages after he sued a Ku Klux Klan group for beating him up.

The chinless wonders who actually beat Jordan Gruver to a pulp in 2006 are behind bars. But Jordan enlisted the help of the true American superheroes at the Southern Poverty Law Center to go after Ron Edwards, imperial grand lizard or whatever, of the Imperial Klans of America, as well as the assailants, and Jordan won; the jury concluded the Klan’s attitudes and doctrines played a role in the beating.

We’re not talking about six inbreds in a trailer here. This is big business. Imperial Klans of America is one of the largest racist organizations in the U.S., 23 chapters in 17 states, all of them full of tattooed Nazi worshippers … the kind of guys who have fewer IQ points than teeth, but not by much.

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center was talking yesterday about another Klan case, the incident in Louisiana this weekend that saw a prospective member, a lonely Tulsa woman, murdered during her Klan initiation. Potok said it’s not uncommon for these groups to attract people whose worldview is not exactly level.

“These groups, in particular the Klan, tend to attract gangsters, thugs and people who are deeply in need of a place in the world,” Potok told the AP. “We see quite a lot of people with mental problems in these groups or attracted to these groups.”

Well, that’s pretty clear from just a basic skimming of the details of the Imperial Klans of America. The group’s leader is a violent criminal named Ron Edwards. That’s him up there, with the subtle tattoo work. He’s a roly poly ball of hate who says he’s going to appeal the jury’s verdict, because if he doesn’t, his Klan will go under. Boo hoo.

A lawsuit like this succeeded in bankrupting and shutting down an Idaho Klan group in 1999. More are in the works. It’s just kind of sad that in a 21st century where America can elect a black president, this kind of thinking is still in play. So keep at it, folks. Keep hammering these racist thugs until they’re a footnote in a history book.

Jordan Gruver is a brave kid. And smart. Sadly smart: “I’m overwhelmed. I’m victorious,” he said after the verdict. “And, I’m also sad. I’m sad because those guys are still going to be the same way that they were. That will never┬áchange.”

He’s right. But he got them where it counts. This kid is a real hero.

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Star Trek Trailer: A Short Review

November 15, 2008

I’ll post a more indepth study of the new Star Trek trailer once it’s available online on Monday, but here are some quick observations based on my first viewing:

  • It looks farkin’ fantastic. Action, humour, thrills, epicity … this is the way Star Trek is supposed to be.
  • The new bridge is indeed bright and shiny and glowingly white. Of all the changes, that’s the hardest one to accept.
  • Is that the tail end of a transporter effect we see on young Spock? If it is, that’s really different, and I quite like it.
  • Bruce Greenwood is cool. He has always been cool, and he remains cool. Note: He’s Canadian, and that’s why. At first, I was not happy that he had been cast as Pike, as he is extremely non-Pikelike, and looks nothing like Jeffrey Hunter. But then I remembered what Hunter was actually like and said “I can live with this.”
  • John Cho does not look like Sulu. But that’s okay, for the same reasons I just gave you about Bruce Greenwood.
  • Karl Urban nails, totally nails, McCoy. I suspect this, not Pine or Quinto, will be the performance people are talking about once this movie opens.
  • Simon Pegg gets to be silly and funny, from the looks of his two-second appearance.
  • Young Spock is a pretty emotional guy, which fits with his early appearances in the series.
  • In the future, women still wear lacy brassieres under their Starfleet uniforms.
  • The Enterprise was apparently built in a field in Iowa, and young Kirk (Chris Pine is really growing on me) was there to watch. This is a canon violation, but I remain hopeful that J.J. Abrams addresses this in some way. Maybe what we’re seeing is a refit and not the initial construction, or perhaps Kirk’s actually in San Francisco, not Iowa. Or maybe it’s a different ship entirely. Anything can happen, right?

So far, so good. This is yet another example of why I think this movie may turn out to be the best thing to happen to Star Trek in a long, long time.

The best place to stay up to speed on what’s going on with this movie remains trekmovie.com. Go check it out.

Meanwhile, my deputy assistant flunky Chris P. Bacon, currently on patrol off the northern coast of Australia, says “Once again, the Kirk hanging onto the edge of a cliff isn’t William Shatner.” Bacon’s mind works that way.

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