Meet your new national hero, Bree Newsome, of Raleigh, North Carolina, who was arrested Saturday morning for climbing the flagpole outside the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia and taking down the Confederate flag, taking a rather more direct approach to the problem than Nikki "Brave Sir Nikki" Haley has. The New York Times notes that Newsome was "nearly halfway up the pole when a State Capitol police officer on routine patrol ordered her to come down. The authorities said the woman, who was wearing climbing gear, had ignored the command." In a remarkable show of restraint, the cops did not shoot her for ignoring their commands, which suggests that our law enforcement officers is learning.

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Newsome and her spotter/accomplice, James Tyson, also from North Carolina, were charged with "defacing a monument," a misdemeanor that could get them fines of up to $5000, three years in prison, or both. Yr Wonkette would suggest that if the pair must be punished, they should be sentenced to community service along a highway, given their proven proficiency at removing trash.

Newsome emailed a statement to news media saying:

We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer. We can’t continue like this another day ... It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.

Despite protesters' calls to just leave the flag down, it was replaced within an hour. Later on Saturday, a group of about 60 marched in support of keeping the Confederate flag, with the usual bullshit about how it's not a symbol of hate or anything, because of course they did. One marcher had these very S-M-R-T observations about the inevitable links between the Confederate flag and economic systems:

Ryan Hughes, a 22-year-old from North Augusta, said the nation is headed toward socialism as Confederate flags across the country continue to be lowered [...]

“There are only a few local hard-core people who are going to stand up and defend the Southern heritage,” said Hughes, adding that rest of the country bullies the South. “Just people from the South, in general; we are the most oppressed group in America today. It needs to change.”

The news that white Southern fans of the Confederate flag are America's most oppressed group will no doubt be news to the families who are still holding funerals for the victims of those murdered in the name of starting a race war.

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Newsome and Dyson were released on $3000 bail; they apparently didn't need to take up filmmaker Michael Moore's offer for bail, but we're sure that his volunteering to pay other legal fees will come in handy too, as will a legal defense fund set up on IndieGoGo. Newsome will be represented by the South Carolina House Minority Leader, Rep. Todd Rutherford, who has previously sponsored legislation to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.

Newsome has been the very best kind of troublemaker back in her home state of North Carolina as well; she was arrested at the state Capitol in 2013 in a protest against that state's worst-in-the-nation voter suppression laws. Newsome and five others occupied the office of Thom Tillis, then the speaker of the state House and now a U.S. senator, because when you make it harder for black people to vote, you get rewarded with higher office.

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Newsome is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of Arts, and in high school she "created an animated short that earned her a $40,000 scholarship from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences." In college, she won a prize cosponsored by NYU and MTV for a Public Service announcement encouraging voter turnout.

Also, she's in a band, the "Charlotte-based funk band Powerhouse."

Good lord. This woman is the liberal activist Buckaroo Banzai. Now she just needs to assemble a team of crimefighters and get a jet car. Maybe make it a hybrid.

[NYT / The Heavy / Charleston Post and Courier / Charlotte Observer]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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