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November 07, 2007

McCaskill puts hold on Myers confirmation after blackface party prize

Bravo to Sen. Claire McCaskill for putting a hold on the confirmation of Julie Myers to head the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE):

McCaskill, D-Mo., said she was acting because of questions raised about Myers' role in a Halloween contest in which an agency employee wore a racially offensive costume.

Myers heads the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency as a recess appointee of Bush and is awaiting Senate confirmation.

She was a judge at last week's contest in which the employee was recognized for having the "most original" costume: a prisoner with a black-and-white striped outfit, dreadlocks, and bronze makeup on his face, according to Kelly Nantel, an agency spokeswoman. [SLPD]

McCaskill wants answers about why Myers awarded the prize, and why the official photographs of the event were "discarded."

DHS subsequently deemed the employee's infraction serious enough to place him on leave. What does that say about his boss?

What would possess the nation's top immigration enforcer to give an employee in blackface a prize at a Homeland Security Halloween party? A prize for originality no less...

I can only hope the latest debacle will remind people that Myers was never qualified to run ICE in the first place. Like Michael Brown at FEMA, she was chosen for her personal ties to high-ranking administration officials, rather than her CV.

The bigger scandal is that Myers' was chosen to lead the largest investigative component of the Department of Homeland Security, the second largest investigative agency in the federal government, despite having no law enforcement experience. Nevermind that her legal job description calls for a candidate with at least 5 years' experience in law enforcement.

Myers' behavior at the party shows that she also lacks common sense, moral seriousness, and empathy for her colleagues and employees.

But most importantly, her actions show that she lacks any grasp of the mission of her agency.

Recall that ICE is charged with arresting and detaining foreigners. Given the nature of its work, ICE operates in a racially charged environment. Whatever legitimacy and efficacy the agency has is contingent on the perception that it is an impartial, non-racist law enforcement organization.  Every time recess appointee Myers' laughs at a racist joke in public, she undercuts the mission of ICE.

Myers must not be confirmed.

It should also be noted that Myers was one of a three-judge panel that bestowed the "most original costume" prize. Who were are these other two senior officials? Also, according to media reports, the party was a relatively intimate affair. There were only 50-75 guests in attendance. So, a DHS employee who gets invited to a Halloween party with the Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security is probably relatively senior in his own right. Finally, Myers admitted in a Nov. 2 email that "a few of the costumes were inappropriate and offensive." A few? Let's hear what those other costumes were.

If Michael Chertoff is being honest when he says that he won't tolerate this kind of behavior in DHS, he will release the names of the other two judges and the contestant. He will also hand over the original digital media/negatives that captured the images, the hard drive of any PC that received images from a digital medium or scan, and any URLs where event pictures were posted. He will also release all the official pictures of the party that were deemed sufficiently inoffensive to make it into the record. (If he won't, we can probably FOIA them.) Finally, he will write out a meticulous timeline from the instant the images were exposed to the moment a spokesperson claimed images had been "discarded." If anything got lost, he will know when, why, and by whom--and explain it to the press and Congress. 

If, for some reason, he can't deliver these simple things to the House and Senate committees that oversee Homeland Security by quitting time tomorrow, he should tender his resignation, because he's clearly unqualified to head the Department of Homeland Security.

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Comments

Just what we need -- another pointless witch hunt that plays right into the Rethuglican's hands as the kakocracy continues. We liberals are good at this sort of pointless noisemaking, and bad at everything else politically. Instead of worrying about this type of tripe, we should be working to get Bush and his entire cabal impeached.

we ARE richard, we ARE. H. Res. 333 is being considered. Will be reintroduced, as well as impeachment for bush. Even the MSM is playing the song.
But, we have a chance to pick off a few right here.
I really LOVED this call to action and think that the last sentence is very accurate. Hope you're reading, Julie. Go home. Take some cronies with you.
The thought of their sick lil party while doing their own witch hunts is galling.

It's not the crime, it's the coverup.

I want to see those pictures.

If Chertoff is sincere about "zero tolerance," he wouldn't let his subordinates cover up embarrassing evidence.

If he has nothing to hide, he'll find out exactly what happened and tell Congress and the press. He claims DHS is conducting an investigation of the party. Presumably, that means he thinks that's important to get to the bottom of this. So, the internal investigation should cooperate with concurrent Congressional inquiries and public scrutiny.

"a few of the costumes were inappropriate and offensive."

One can just imagine. . .

Since Myers is from team BushCo, she's probably too obtuse to have noticed what's been happening with race in the US ever since the three fifths compromise or thereabouts. Which is no excuse- even David Duke is probably smart enough to figure out not to hand out a prize to a rasta gangstah costume when the press is likely to be watching. The woman is clearly too stupid to be left alone with sharp objects, much less run an agency any larger than county fairgrounds commission.

Typical of the high level of Bush/GOP competence.

Thanks voxy. I really think we can hold Chertoff to account on this one.

Cfrost: ...even David Duke is probably smart enough to figure out not to hand out a prize to a rasta gangstah costume when the press is likely to be watching.--Precisely.

But it's even worse. DD only has to play to his crazyass racist base. Whereas, Myers is responsible supervising a diverse workforce and for gathering intel from people who really aren't going to think this is funny.

I apologize for insulting county fairgrounds commissioners.

Good for McCaskill, and good for Dodd for holding the FISA bill.

Let's hope a senator will hold and filibuster the next funding bill for Iraq. Let's push them to do it.

SHUT UP!!!!!
It was a halloween costume
THE ONLY REASON issues like these still exist is because over-sensitive idiots get their feelings hurt on behalf of a race that they aren't even a part of. If other races want to be completely equal then they get the jokes the same as the rest of us. I promise you that if a black or mexican man walked into that party dressed as white trash, not one person would have said a word!! Infact the white people there probably would have loved it and laughed right along with them.
THIS ISSUE RIGHT HERE IS THE TRUE RACISM IN THIS COUNTRY!!!! this is a waste of time and effort!!

THERE COMES A TIME IN EVERYONE'S LIFE WHERE YA JUST GOTTA SUCK IT UP AND LET THE SMALL STUFF GO!!! OUR EFFORTS COULD BE DOING SOMETHING WORTHWHILE LIKE FEEDING STARVING PEOPLE, GIVING HEALTH CARE, ETC....!!!

Agree with Richard and David.

If you've got substantive objections to someone doing the job, argue those.

Making it all about p.c. political costumes dumbs down the debate. The "missing photos" aren't exactly the Nixon tapes.

And ditto the idea that it's never good when non-minorities (ie/ Jewish atheist women) take such offense on behalf of colored minorities. You're stirring up trouble about something minor substancewise -- a damn costume. Are the minorities themselves leading the pack of those proclaiming they were so offended? If not, let them choose their battles.

Also, why in the world -- if it's all about not offending minorities because we need their buy-in -- do you think unearthing more "offensive" costumes and pictures will help things??

You need some real scandal to focus your energies on. Hurt feelings only get you so far -- see Don Imus and those who exploited that situation all in the name of race.

Agree with Richard and David.

If you've got substantive objections to someone doing the job, argue those.

Making it all about p.c. political costumes dumbs down the debate. The "missing photos" aren't exactly the Nixon tapes.

And ditto the idea that it's never good when non-minorities (ie/ Jewish atheist women) take such offense on behalf of colored minorities. You're stirring up trouble about something minor substancewise -- a damn costume. Are the minorities themselves leading the pack of those proclaiming they were so offended? If not, let them choose their battles.

Also, why in the world -- if it's all about not offending minorities because we need their buy-in -- do you think unearthing more "offensive" costumes and pictures will help things??

You need some real scandal to focus your energies on. Hurt feelings only get you so far -- see Don Imus and those who exploited that situation all in the name of race.

Nepotism.

non-minorities (ie/ Jewish atheist women)

And Jews and atheists (never mind Jewish atheists!!!) are majorities where exactly? Teh stupid, it burns....

if it's all about not offending minorities because we need their buy-in

And that's it in a nutshell, really. So what brought the racists over to your blog, LB?

The point, really, is that Julie Myers is a stupid and malignant asshole who does not deserve to hold such an important position.

Look, this is the Bush administration and the MSM we're talking about here. They are not going to judge people on their actual abilities and qualifications to do the job. That's not how they got theirs, after all.

This kind of bullshit is the only thing that gets attention, and if we have to play these cards to win a few small pots, then so be it.

Let's see the photos of Myers laughing and gawking at a mocked-up Rasta in prison garb. I want to see the look on her face.

Agree with Richard and David.

Priceless. The same pearl-clutching troll who wails how people just won't engage her arguments with respect and civility is now expressing agreement with a commenter whose contribution begins with "SHUT UP!!!!!"

You are truly a piece of work, Mary. Obnoxious, yet hilarious. Hilarious, yet obnoxious. Hilaxious? Obnarious?

Based on what I have read it appears there are some serious questions as to Myers; qialifications to hold this position. Not surprising given the track record of this administration. I have no problem with a little nepotism from time to time, but only if the person is qualified. Which it appears Myers is not.

What is sad is that there had to be an outcry over a real non-issue for her lack of qualifications to come to the surface. That is what is abhorent, not the Halloween party costume contest.

B-Money, welcome to our society. On your planet, I'm sure that her inability to meet the minimums listed in the job description, for such a vital role in protecting my family's safety, would be enough to exclude her from confirmation.

Here on Earth, the egregious racism she rewarded with a prize at a company party IS the only issue that we can grip tightly enough to throw at their heads.

Morons who don't think that ICE being racist in public is a big deal: Get out of your mom's basement sometime. Come and visit us in the sunny Southwestern US, where we have a lot of immigrants--documented and paperless--who aren't white. Many of them are broke, desperate and armed with various dangerous objects. It is very important to my family's safety that the agency charged with managing those people be perceived as friendly to their interests. So next time your Cheetos supply runs low, go further from your house to buy more.

Hey Phoenix, learn how to read. I clearly state that from what I have learned Myers is not qualified. This means, that even without the bad judgment, which she is clearly guilty of, she does not deserve the position she holds. So as you can see, I am here on Earth while you seem to have your head up your ass.

The fact that Myers could be denied a position despite an otherwise strong performance due to a possibly offensive Halloween costume is unbelievable. Has this country lost the ability to laugh at itself without worrying about offending somebody? What happened to freedom of speech and freedom of expression? Sen. Claire McCaskill said, "I can forgive anyone who apologizes for a wrong deed, but it doesn't change the fact that the incident showed a woeful lack of judgment." To me, the only ones showing a serious lack of judgement are the U.S. Congressmen who really think this is a problem.

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