Beware Hurricane Harriet

No one ever said President Bush was smarter than Al Gore (well, except maybe for Harriet Meirs, who called Bush "the most brilliant man she'd ever met"), but a lot of people said they "liked" him better. All Bush had to do was speak in complete, unfumbled sentences and he seemed "presidential."

So can Harriet Meirs come across as worthy of the Supreme Court? Easily, I think. Will she be confirmed? I'm afraid so. She's no John Roberts, and certainly no Sandra Day O'Connor, but then, she doesn't have to be.

As John Dickerson puts it: The caricature of Miers that is emerging is so pathetic, her inadequacies so exaggerated, her inarticulateness so certain, that by the time she speaks in the committee room, she's almost certain to seem appealing.

Instead of continuing on about her lack of "judicial" experience, opponents should stick to the facts. Like Michael Brown, Harriet Meirs is a crony disaster appointment. Unfortunately for all of us, she's a disaster that would last a lifetime.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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