Saturday, April 23, 2011

We’re Sorry, So Sorry

April has been a busy month for apologies -- the court-ordered kind, the notorious kind, the begrudging kind and a few other flavors. A brief roundup:

• Charlie Crist had to apologize to David Byrne for the unauthorized use of his song “Road To Nowhere” in his failed Senate campaign. As part of the settlement Crist had to record an apology and post it on YouTube. Watch it here; you can practically see the gun at his head:

• Waaaay back in 2007 when he was a journalist for ABC’s “20/20,” John Stossel (who's now at Fox News) pulled a Breitbart on L.A. pastor Frederick K.C. Price. The story was about wealthy pastors, and Stossel aired a quote of the preacher’s completely out of context, making it appear he was gloating about owning a yacht and living in a mansion when in fact Price was making a point about how such earthly treasures do not lead to spiritual wealth. Price sued and now, four years later, ABC and Price have reached a legal settlement which includes this apology:
"ABC News apologizes for any harm caused to you as a result of its broadcast of a video clip that ABC News stated was of you speaking about yourself when in fact you were talking about a hypothetical person," Kerry Smith of ABC News said in her statement to Price. "ABC News regrets that it did not conduct sufficient investigation of the clip after receiving it to establish its correct context.  By presenting the footage out of context, ABC News misled its audience and failed to meet its own standards, which ABC deeply regrets."

Four years may seem like a long time to wait but sadly, no:

• The state of Alabama has finally apologized to an African American woman who was kidnapped and gang-raped by seven gun and knife wielding white men on her way home from church 67 years ago. The men were never prosecuted, but the now 91-year-old Recy Taylor finally has her apology for the state's failure to act. That’s about all she’s going to get, though. Read this and weep for “the good ol’ days” some folks seem intent on dragging this country back to:

Although Taylor was able to identify her attackers, two all white, all-male grand juries refused to issue indictments, as was the case in the South when whites committed crimes against blacks in the days before the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act.

In addition, Taylor, her husband and their 3-year-old daughter had to leave their home after white men attacked it to intimidate the Taylors. The home was firebombed during one attack.

The family moved in with Mrs. Taylor's parents and younger siblings and her father would sit in a tree with a shotgun at night guarding the home.

Six of the seven attackers have died. Although there is no statute of limitations on rape in Alabama, charges must be brought in the county where the crime occurred and law enforcement officials have not been willing to do so in the close-knit community.

Well what do you expect. We may have a black president but we certainly aren’t past our racial biases.

• There are do-overs in apologies! Orange County, California, Tea Party activist and Republican Party official Marilyn Davenport at first defended her racist e-mail of President Obama, but now she really means it. Honest.

• Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs accidentally made 3.5 million Texans’ names and social security numbers publicly available on the web for an entire year, so she’s sent an apology to each and every one of them. Sorta:

The letter ends with the only thing approaching an apology: “We sincerely regret that this incident occurred. Thank you for your shared vigilance at a time when the potential for cyber crime remains a great threat.”

Her signature isn’t on the 3.5 million form letters that went out. Holy identity theft, Batman, that’s a lot of voters — equivalent to about one of every five adults in Texas. The letters are signed instead by Victor Gonzalez, chief technology officer for the comptroller’s office.

He resigned last Friday, before all of the letters had even been delivered.

• Not exactly an apology but this correction in a pro-nuke L.A. Times op-ed by Mark Lynas cracked me up:

For The Record

Los Angeles Times Friday, April 15, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 27 Editorial Desk 1 inches; 51 words Type of
Material: Correction

Nuclear: An April 10 Op-Ed advocating for nuclear power indicated that to replace Japan's current nuclear generation capacity would require wind farms occupying 1.3 billion acres and more than 50% of the country's total land mass. The correct figures are 1.3 million acres and less than 3% of Japan's land mass.

Dude forgot to carry the one.

Honorable mentions:

• Still waiting for their apology: Taco Bell, which wants an apology from the law firm which just withdrew its “where’s the beef” lawsuit. Curious that they don’t want one from the plaintiff.

• Some people are too big to apologize. They just need to have the official record scrubbed.

• Pending apology: Michigan Republican State Senator Bruce Casswell, who wants to make the kids in Michigan’s foster care system buy all of their clothes from second-hand stores. Why? Because when he was a kid, “I never had anything new.” You just know he’s going to have to walk that one back any day now.