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Beth Rickey, 1956-2009
September 15, 2009 5:51 AM   Subscribe

Beth Rickey, instrumental in thwarting the rise of neo-Nazi David Duke in Louisiana politics, died this weekend at the age of 53 in a Santa Fe motel.
posted by Horace Rumpole (34 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
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Never heard of Ms Rickey but I am truly sorry for her passing. What a magnificent fighter.
posted by By The Grace of God at 5:57 AM on September 15, 2009


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I went to school with the son of a well known New Oreleans mobster. One time in class we were discussing wetland redevelopment and the topic of Edwin Edwards came up. He spoke up and said, "hey, let's stop talking about Edwards, he's a friend of my family." I leaned over to him and wispered, "would that be your immediate or 'extended' family?" He wispered back with a wink, "both."

Still better than Duke.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:01 AM on September 15, 2009


Upon reading further I am even more impressed that she did all this while having Crohn's disease and precursor conditions to that. A close loved one in my had that condition and I know that it can truly sap your energy.
posted by By The Grace of God at 6:01 AM on September 15, 2009


In a phone interview with The New Mexican last week, Rickey said she had spent all of her savings on health care and was too ill to work. She said her last income came from selling her incomplete dissertation on Duke to the American Jewish Committee, but believes that the public should not forget Duke.
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:24 AM on September 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


A great American, impoverished and finally killed by an antique Robber-Baron health care system. Can you imagine what a woman like that could accomplish if she wasn't trying to scrape together enough spare change to afford both an apartment and the next doctor's visit?

There's no doubt she'd still be battling it out in New Orleans against neo-nazis and crypto-fascists. It's a thankless job that pays poorly, but in desperate need of being done, and done with passion, determination and intelligence.

And now this true lion of the Republican party is done, laid down to die in the desert, abandoned by her nation, while Duke snickers.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:27 AM on September 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


I recall that during this Louisiana election, the best ever bumper sticker came out. "Vote for the Crook: It's Important"
posted by Midnight Skulker at 6:35 AM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


dot and lol
posted by bunnytricks at 6:47 AM on September 15, 2009


while Duke snickers

Actually, more like, while Duke lives in exhile in Austria after having completed his prison sentence in the US and having been thrown out of the Czech Republic in April. But maybe he is snickering, who knows? Who wants to listen to his bull shit long enough to find out?
posted by Pollomacho at 7:05 AM on September 15, 2009


Thanks for this post. I wasn't aware of Ms. Rickey's bravery, and I'm sorry she didn't get the recognition she deserved.
posted by tizzie at 7:09 AM on September 15, 2009


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posted by dirtdirt at 7:20 AM on September 15, 2009


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posted by Iridic at 7:23 AM on September 15, 2009


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posted by hydropsyche at 7:49 AM on September 15, 2009


Thanks for the post. I too had been unaware of her, and I'm glad to know about her.

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posted by languagehat at 7:58 AM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


while Duke lives in exhile in Austria

What? How can David Duke be free in Europe with his views and their notoriously strict anti-Nazi laws?
posted by DU at 8:00 AM on September 15, 2009


"Vote for the Crook: It's Important"

Those were great. One day I threw a half full can of soda at Duke. Looking back on it now, I'm sorry I littered.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:23 AM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Update on global fascism, emphasis on Austria
posted by hortense at 8:27 AM on September 15, 2009


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posted by localroger at 9:15 AM on September 15, 2009


How can David Duke be free in Europe with his views and their notoriously strict anti-Nazi laws?

Wikipedia says: "Local authorities have stated that as long as he does not break any laws, Duke is allowed to stay in Austria if he wishes." It seems he's safe as long as he keeps his mouth shut.

Does make me wonder how he got his visa, though.
posted by Zed at 9:19 AM on September 15, 2009


This was the only political activism I was ever involved in. I marched against Duke in New Orleans. I still don't buy some of the ideas such as when he reached Baton Rouge he would "turn on the ovens," but he was clearly not a Good Idea. Racism runs deep in Louisiana. It still does. Duke would have won without Ms. Rickey's help.
posted by tcv at 9:26 AM on September 15, 2009


I recall that during this Louisiana election, the best ever bumper sticker came out. "Vote for the Crook: It's Important"

Heh, very similar slogans were used in the infamous French presidential election of 2002. Fortunately, the Crook also won there (by 82%!).
posted by Skeptic at 9:28 AM on September 15, 2009


According to the Santa Fe paper, she was the niece of Branch Rickey, who brought Jackie Robinson into the major leagues. She sounds like a great lady. It's a crying shame she died practically homeless.
posted by jonp72 at 9:33 AM on September 15, 2009


Tragic.
posted by dejah420 at 9:42 AM on September 15, 2009


Meanwhile, David Duke *hearts* the Tea Parties... and so do his white supremacist friends.

Stormfront, for instance, was founded by his ex-wife, and receives a reported 92,000 visitors a day. It has a special section of their forums dedicated to the Tea Parties, where members have arranged carpools for the most recent Washington, DC event and coordinated their plans. They have also discussed issues such as bringing weapons to the events.

There was a post on Stormfront a few months ago saying the following:
"The Tea Party Americans Coalition is a work group of serious White Nationalists. It is meant to be a grand project of the entire WN movement . . .We hope to get not only individuals to work within our coalition, but entire groups, and organizations. . . We see the situation in America today, and the Tea Party movement as an opportunity to gain potentially millions of followers."

TPAC has a special forum on Stormfront, in fact.

Really, it may be a bit premature to think that David Duke is gone for good.
posted by markkraft at 10:01 AM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


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posted by rmd1023 at 10:10 AM on September 15, 2009


About 10 years ago, my ex worked as a waiter at a TGIF in Tallahassee, FL. One evening David Duke came in with a party of 4-5 people. After the hostess had seated them, one of the waiters recognized Duke and spread the word. Every single waiter refused to wait on the table, even though they were repeatedly flagged down by the increasingly annoyed customers. In the end, they left after about 30 minutes, pissed off and hungry.

(If I hadn't heard about this from the source I wouldn't have believed it, as my experience with Tallahassee was that it is incredibly racist. But for once, yey Tallahassee.)
posted by widdershins at 10:47 AM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wish I had heard of Beth Rickey before now.

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posted by Librarygeek at 12:02 PM on September 15, 2009


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posted by jb at 12:10 PM on September 15, 2009


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posted by notashroom at 12:36 PM on September 15, 2009


Wow, thanks for posting this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:47 PM on September 15, 2009


Does make me wonder how he got his visa, though.

Oh. If I actually RTFC (read the citation), it explains: "As a US citizen he can, as a tourist, stay three months at a time without a visa."
posted by Zed at 1:58 PM on September 15, 2009


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Two great Americans were let down by the healthcare system already this week. Rickey and Crystal Lee Sutton both died because they couldn't afford to maintain care for their chronic diseases.
posted by Jon_Evil at 3:03 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I too wasn't aware of her contributions until this post.

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posted by cazoo at 4:06 PM on September 15, 2009


I'm sad that I didn't know about her while she was alive, but glad that I do now. I'm impressed and disappointed that somehow we let her die that way.
posted by ignignokt at 12:55 PM on September 16, 2009


Does make me wonder how he got his visa, though.

Oh. If I actually RTFC (read the citation), it explains: "As a US citizen he can, as a tourist, stay three months at a time without a visa."


Of course, as a convicted felon, he wouldn't be eligible for the benefits of the visa waiver treaties, right? But from the article:

Mr Duke said he lived a quiet life in Austria: "I'm not in Austria for any political activities. I just come to Austria to relax – the mountains are beautiful. The Austrian Alps are just beautiful. There's beauty all over the world.

You know who else used to like to spend time relaxing in the Alps over Salzburg?

It's just too easy folks.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:23 PM on September 16, 2009


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