Goodman: Roseanne’s raw racism earns well-deserved cancellation

Roseanne Barr   (Brinson+Banks/The New York Times)

A television network stood up for decency today. With head-spinning speed, ABC canceled its hit revival “Roseanne,” just hours after its titular star tweeted a crude racist remark about former Obama presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett.

The viciousness of the tweet (“muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj”) was a shock too great for Disney, ABC’s owner, to tolerate, even if it meant sacrificing the highest-rated and most-watched series of the broadcast season.

Robert Iger, Disney CEO, tweeted “there was only one thing to do.”

The quick axing was a necessary corrective in this age of Trump, when the dog whistles from the White House have awakened many an inner racist. When you have a president who says there are “some fine people” amid the neo-Nazis at Charlottesville, who talks about “shithole countries,” you’re going to see an uptick in hate speech. You’re going to get what Roseanne Barr called her “bad joke” about Jarrett’s “politics and her looks.”

You can’t separate President Donald Trump from this story. Indeed, Trump has celebrated “Roseanne”‘s high ratings as a powerful endorsement of himself and his followers.

In the revival of the show, the title character returned to the air after a 21-year absence as, explicitly, a Trump supporter — just like Barr, the mouthy comedienne who plays her. The sitcom was seen as smart counter-programming on a network that has made a specialty of minority-themed comedies with a liberal bent, like “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat.”

ABC seemed, in fact, to be smelling the makings of a trend. There was talk of developing more shows to cater to conservative, Trump-admiring audiences. And why not, if the shows could deal with our divisions with humor and wisdom — and not compound our divisions?

The network seemed OK with its hard-to-control star, even when she filled her Twitter account with wildly fact-free conspiracy theories.

But raw racism — such as comparing an African-American woman (even a woman as accomplished as Jarrett) to a simian — has no place in American society. We cannot go back to a time when it was considered OK for many white Americans to look upon people of other races, cultures or religions as less than fully American — nay, less than human.

When that attitude surfaces, it must be confronted and repudiated.

By doing so in such a swift and forceful manner, ABC has done us all a favor. It has helped steer America’s course back towards its true north.

I’d like to know what you think.

Poll: Did the NFL make the right call regarding kneeling players?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (Photo by Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

The National Football League, under pressure from many fans and the man in the White House, announced rules meant to remove the spectacle of players kneeling in protest during the playing of the national anthem.

Team owners voted Wednesday to require all team and league personnel who are on the field during the anthem to “stand and show respect” for the flag and the song. Those who choose not to stand for the anthem can stay in the locker room or away from the field, although each club can adopt its own additional rules.

Rick Christie, editor of the Palm Beach Post’s Editorial Page, says the owners are ordering players to subdue their protests against racial injustice: “In other words: Don’t demonstrate downtown, I have shopping to do. Don’t demonstrate at a sporting event because you take away from my entertainment. Why can’t you all just shut up and dribble?”

What do you think? Take our poll:

Post’s Christie, Goodman tell WPTV’: ‘South Florida sea-level rise threat is real’

The Intracoastal Waterway between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach an hour after high tide. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

We’ve been beating the drum on the issue for weeks now: The message that there is no graver threat to the future of South Florida than the accelerating pace of sea-level rise. By 2060, the sea is predicted to rise another 2 feet, with no sign of slowing down.

RELATED: Editorial: Wake up, South Florida! Speak up on sea-level rise

The editorial boards of The Palm Beach Post, South Florida Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald — with reporting help from WLRN Public Media — have joined hands in an unprecedented collaboration this election year to raise awareness about the threat facing South Florida from sea-level rise. Our goal is to inform, engage, provoke and build momentum to address the slow-motion tidal wave coming our way.

The collaboration is called The Invading Sea.

To that end, we (Post Editorial writer Howard Goodman and me) went on WPTV-Channel 5‘s  “To the Point” to discuss the threat of sea level rise with host Michael Williams.

As we’ve said previously, most South Floridians get it. The Yale Climate Opinion Maps show 75 percent of us believe global warming is happening, even if we don’t all agree on the cause. We understand that when water gets hotter, it expands. And warmer waters are melting the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. If all of Greenland’s ice were to melt — and make no mistake, it’s melting at an increasing clip — scientists say ocean waters could rise 20 feet.

The problem is, too few of us are convinced sea-level rise will personally harm us in our lifetimes. We’ve got to change that mind-set because it already is. Lila Young, who has lived on the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach for 30 years, said she’s seen the king tides progressively getting higher and flooding her neighborhood more often.

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Palm Beach County is fortunate to have a slightly higher elevation, which means the risks aren’t quite so acute here as for our neighbors to the south. Still, the high-priced real estate on the barrier islands is equally vulnerable, along with the low-lying mainland along much of West Palm Beach’s Flagler Drive. As the sea level rises, the agricultural area south of Lake Okeechobee will drain more and more slowly after a major rainfall. And when significant hurricanes and floods hit farther south, we may see a sudden flood of people from Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Are we ready? Are we taking the threat of sea-level rise seriously enough?

Christie: Will new One Flagler tower push bring the same old questions?

Kenneth Himmel, president and CEO of Related Cos., speaking at the monthly Palm Beach Chamber meeting at The Breakers, is expected tor renew a push for his proposed One Flagler project . (Melanie Bell / Daily News)

It’s been the worst-kept secret in West Palm Beach since the March 13 election.

Mayor Jeri Muoio is looking to make another push to create the controversial Okeechobee Business District (OBD), which is basically a way to allow the Related Cos. to get approval to build the proposed 25-story One Flagler tower on the waterfront.

It’s also been no secret that the mayor was not happy after September’s City Commission vote to create the OBD went 3-2 against her and Kenneth Himmel, president and CEO of Related.

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Himmel, the developer of CityPlace and more, has done a lot of good for downtown West Palm Beach. To that end, he and Muoio share a vision of a European-influenced downtown that attracts financial heavyweights to the shores of the Intracoastal Waterway.

The problem is that a lot of downtown residents don’t necessarily agree with this vision, especially when the city looks to make a decision that appears to benefit a single person or company. And not to mention if there is no legit reason for making an already horrible traffic situation even worse.

The proposed One Flagler tower was rejected by the West Palm Beach City Commission last September by a vote of 3-2.

The Post Editorial Board took issue with this, and the way the process appeared to be manipulated before the City Commission’s closely-watched September decision narrowly voting it down.

“It looks beautiful in the drawings. The proposed One Flagler in West Palm Beach — designed by renowned architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, of New York’s Freedom Tower — is less an office tower than a work of art: tiered, slender, luminous, yet restrained.

The tower’s developers, The Related Cos., admirably intend to preserve the handsome and historic First Church of Christ, Scientist, and to memorialize the long-neglected African-American architect Julian Abele.

But they want to put their 25-story building on a waterfront site zoned for five stories. To accomplish this, the West Palm Beach City Commission is being asked on Monday to carve out a glaring exception to the city’s Downtown Master Plan by creating an “Okeechobee Business District” that will allow 25-story buildings to benefit, basically, this one property.

However attractive this tower may be, the contortions being done to the city’s zoning rules are ugly. So are the political strong-arm tactics employed to dampen opposition, such as the abrupt removal of a veteran member of a key planning board who had asked pointed questions about One Flagler… “

But the March election changed the make-up of the commission. There are two new members, one of whom replaces a former no vote — Shanon Materio.

RELATED: Editorial: 25-story One Flagler too much for West Palm waterfront

With Tuesday evening’s Planning Board meeting on the OBD scheduled, I thought it a good idea to re-publish last September’s editorial and ask about a potential future vote.

Take our poll and leave a comment here…

Christie: Um… so what’s going on with these rising gas prices?

MIAMI — Customers pump gas into their vehicles as reports indicate that the price of gasoline continues to rise. AAA forecasts the national gas price average will be as much as $2.70/gallon this spring and summer. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

For the last few weeks, there has been an elephant in the room of the (sort of) daily White House Press briefing.

As of Monday’s gaggle, no White House reporter has asked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about what the president plans to do about rising gas prices. Not one word. Nada.

That’s kind of glaring given the fact that anyone who drives a car, truck or lawnmower  has felt some pain at the pump as gas prices have spiked the last several weeks. Again, as of Monday, the average price per gallon for unleaded gas was $2.73 in Florida and $2.85 right here in in Palm Beach County, according to AAA.

RELATED: Spring runup in gas prices has begun

Prices for gas are running at their highest in at least three years, and are expected to go even higher as Memorial Day kicks off the summer driving season. And AAA warned of potentially higher oil prices this week if President Donald Trump pulls out of the nuclear deal with Iran and imposes sanctions on that oil producing nation.

Usually, this would be fodder for Washington reporters to pound the current White House occupant on the issue, asking: “What’s the president going to do about this issue that affects literally every American household?”

Fair or not. Ever since the Arab Oil Crisis of the 1970s, no American president has been immune to this baseline pocketbook issue. Well, it seems, until now.

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The White House Press Corps can be forgiven for being a little distracted.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls on reporters during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Let’s see: there has been serious stuff like the above-mentioned blowing a hole in the Iran Nuclear deal and further de-stabilizing the Middle East. There’s setting up a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to broker a peace on the Korean Peninsula. There has been the less serious comedic takedown of Sanders by Comedy Central’s Michelle Wolf at the much-maligned White House Correspondents Association Dinner. And of course, the daily drumbeat of developments on the Stormy Daniels’ front — which has reached a new octane level under Trump’s new lawyer, bombastic former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Wait… what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, higher gas prices.

To be sure, the White House has continued to trumpet other (positive) economic news. On Friday, the president made sure to mention the latest jobs report that showed the unemployment rate dip below 4 percent to 3.9 percent — technically a sign of full employment.

Although it would be nice, as economists note, to see workers’ wages finally show a substantial increase as a result of that much-ballyhooed $1.5 trillion Republican tax cut.

Gas pump prices have been heading upward for months, about 50 cents more on average than a year ago. But is that enough reason for consumers to be concerned?

Could it be that higher gas prices are not as a big a deal as they were in the past?

What’s paying 50 cents more per gallon than you were a year ago mean anyway? Well, if you have a 20-gallon tank, that’s $10 more per fill-up. Average two fill-ups a month and that’s $240 more you’re paying a year. And if you still haven’t gotten rid of that big sport-utility vehicle, God help you.

There are also plenty of small businesses that depend on gas to run their operations. Pizza and other food delivery, retail florists, landscapers and those now-ubiquitous food trucks, just to name a few.

Take our poll here, and tell us what you think about rising gas prices. Are you concerned, changing any travel plans, etc.?