Contributors

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Evidence of Adolescence

Hey, check out the car parked next to me at the club today...















Obama emblem that says "Douche" instead of Obama...something about hand guns...a sticker that says "I'm not a racist, I hate Biden too"...and a little boy peeing on the word "Obama."

Was this person 12 years old?

He also had some sort of emblem that said something about the 2nd amendment being homeland security since 1789 next to an American flag on his bumper. Wow...

The Tide Has Turned On Climate Change

Check out this headline...

Most Republicans Say They Back Climate Action, Poll Finds

Oh snap. What are the members of the Church of the Climate Skeptic going to do now?

In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans said they were more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They were less likely to vote for candidates who questioned or denied the science that determined that humans caused global warming.  

Among Republicans, 48 percent say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change, a result that Jon A. Krosnick, a professor of political science at Stanford University and an author of the survey, called “the most powerful finding” in the poll. Many Republican candidates question the science of climate change or do not publicly address the issue.

Holy shee-it! It's going to be most amusing to watch the GOP candidates in 2016 fall all over themselves in trying to address this. Here's my advice (and the real reason why this poll shows a shift). Focus on how much more money is going to be lost by corporations if climate change isn't addressed. Juxtapose this with how much money can be made in the emerging renewable energy market.

The almighty dollar always wins the day and that, my dear readers, is a good thing!

The Idiot’s Guide To Gun Storage

I'm not a huge fan of Wonkette, mostly because she reminds me too much of the right wing blogs that contain a lot of wacky, ideological nonsense. But her recent piece on just how irresponsible Americans are with guns is right on the mark.

In other words, you can literally misplace your 9mm pistol in the waistband of your one-year-old’s diaper (please don’t!), and most jurisdictions in this country won’t bring criminal child neglect or endangerment charges. Which is exactly what the founders intended. 

On this issue, we need to see more stuff like this. This is the only language the Gun Cult understands. Anything less is like bringing a knife to a gun fight (pun intended).

And, if you think the stories related in this piece are anectdata, think again. We have over 200 children under the age of 18 killed or injured and accidental shootings outnumbering defensive use by 54 incidents already in 2015 with next to nothing being done about it in terms of gun safety.

The responsibility for next to nothing being done lies solely at the feet of the gun lobby and the cult that believes everything they say. Shedding a light on this simple fact, as Wonkette does in her gun violence pieces, is completely supported by this site.

The Whole "if guns were cars" Argument=Torpedoed

Ever notice how a debate about gun laws usually elicits a guns to cars comparison?

It usually goes something like this. A completely rational and logical person asks a member of the Gun Cult why we shouldn't alter our existing gun laws. After wiping away the spittle and mouth foam from their shirts, this same rational and logical person is given a long  and very adolescent diatribe about the American Revolution, totalitarian governments, and tough history coming.

Mixed in with his wacky, ideological nonsense is the inevitable and childish comment about how there should be more car laws or changes to automobile technology because, after all, cars are death machines and kill far more people.

Well, guess what? We ARE doing that.

The chances of a driver dying in a crash in a late-model car or light truck fell by more than a third over three years, and nine car models had zero deaths per million registered vehicles, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Among the improvements credited for declining death rates is the widespread adoption of electronic stability control, which has dramatically lessened the risk of rollover crashes. SUVs had some of the highest rates a decade ago due to their propensity to roll over.

Side air bags and structural changes to vehicles are also helping. Automakers are engineering vehicles with stronger occupant compartments that hold up better in front, side and rollover crashes, allowing the seatbelts and air bags to do their jobs well, said Russ Rader, an institute spokesman. Improved technologies were responsible for saving 7,700 driver lives in 2012 when compared to how cars were made in 1985, the institute said.

So, how about some improvements to gun technology then, eh? Since we like to compare cars and guns, why not use the same method that has been effective here? I would think we could come up with all sorts of techno add ons that would prevent, say, yet another child picking up their parent's gun and shooting themselves or others with it.

What do you say, Gun Cult?

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Week In Politics

Since the State of the Union, the political scene sure has gotten interesting. As I have previously suggested, the president's approval ratings would rise if he started to appeal more to his liberal base. The fact that he was done in the low 40s was partly due to the left (and not exclusively the right) not approving of him because he was being too moderate. Well, they have come home, folks.

The president's tone in last Tuesday's speech shows that he's finally getting it right. You start off far left and then force Republicans to meet you in the middle. You don't start off at the 40 yard line on the left side of the field. Then you end up with a policy that is on the 30 yard line on the right side of the field. Now he's more or less forced the GOP to meet the reality of governing. Yes, that's right, conservatives. Now YOU GUYS have to deal with approval ratings running 30 percentage points behind the president.

Mitt Romney decided not to run for president today. That's too bad because I would have like to see him gum up and already gummed up field. I've heard a lot of talk about the deep bench on the side of the GOP but I see it more like this.

7 right-wing demagogues that will be shoved down our throats in 2016

In many ways, this is good news, though, because Reince Preibus's dream of being able to hide the batshit will not come to pass. These guys are going to be out there with their short wave radio lunacy and wacky, ideological nonsense, straw manning their way to their next appeal to fear to old, white men who can't seem to get over their problem with their parents...I mean, authority.

I say we let them have center stage for the next few months and then President Grandma can announce her candidacy sometime later in the year. What could possibly go wrong?:)


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Simply Let Them Speak

From a letter to my local newspaper...

The Jan. 27 editorial “As the Midwest warms, economy will suffer” is the 2015 version of a sky-is-falling progressive scare. We have seen it all before. In the 1970s, it was the “population bomb,” then the coming of a new ice age — both wrong. The next iteration was Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth,” complete with a dramatic hockey-stick graph of temperature rise. Undaunted by being totally wrong, progressives revised the global-warming mantra using the meaningless term “climate change.” Since climate changes from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year, this latest scare tactic to save Minnesota, the United States and the world is guaranteed to require more government with higher taxes to support a big new bureaucracy with big new programs. The inconvenient truth is that this is but another boondoggle in a long history of progressive, tax-and-spend, save-the-world ideas.

Wow....


A Very Active Gun Lobby


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two Cops Get Shot and Fox News Isn't Covering It

On Monday a man shot two cops outside a city council meeting in New Hope, Minn. The news has been all over the Twin Cities, but the national press has been almost completely silent about it. NPR and ABC have stories, but Fox News has nothing to say about it.

This seems curious, given the extreme attention that the national press has given such shootings since two cops were assassinated as they sat in their squad cars.

Why is the cop shooting in Minnesota being ignored? Maybe it's because the cops in New Hope survived with only relatively minor wounds.

Or maybe it's because the shooter was a crazy old white guy with a gun fetish.

The shooter, Raymond Kmetz, had a history of mental illness, terrorizing and attacking judges, police officers, lawyers, city council members, and so on. He had dozens of charges filed against him over the years, and his own attorneys filed restraining orders against him.

His son, Nathan, wrote long rambling diatribes on the Internet insisting that his father wasn't crazy, that they'd locked him up in a mental institution and ruined his life. But Kmetz's brother Marvin always feared his crazy brother would get someone killed.

Why did Kmetz go to the city council meeting with a gun?  This appears to be the motivation:
In 2008, he tried to sell the house on Nevada Avenue N. where he had lived for 40 years to the city of New Hope for nearly $1 million, though it was worth well below half that amount. He argued that it was in an industrial zone ripe for development. The council rejected the unsolicited offer. The property was last sold in 2013 for $140,000 and now is boarded up. 
In other words, he was in financial difficulties and wanted to get bailed out.

If Kmetz had been a schizophrenic young black Muslim angry that the city council had blocked the building of a mosque in his town, what do you think the reaction of Fox News and the national news media would have been?

But if a crazy old white man tries to shoot up a city council meeting? That's just another Monday in Minnesota.

Ecolab Going All Solar

Ecolab, a global company that is a seller of hygiene, energy and water technologies to businesses, is the first big Minnesota company to go all-in on solar. With this deal, Ecolab will acquire more solar output than now exists across the entire state.

“It’s groundbreaking in many ways,” Ken Johnson of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a Washington, D.C., trade group, said of the Ecolab-SunEdison deal. “When people think of solar they tend to think of places like California, Arizona, Hawaii and Florida. They don’t traditionally think of the Midwest. This is going to open up a lot of eyes.”

It's been pretty amazing to drive around Minnesota and Iowa the last few years and see the renewable energy market exploding. Wind turbines have already dominated rural areas in southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa. Now we are going to see more solar panels and deeper buy in from private concerns like Ecolab with renewable energy.

In my view, this shift in the free market will render further discussion about climate change largely moot. If corporate America decides that's where the money is, climate deniers will end up about as relevant as the cassette tape.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Stunning...

I've appreciated Frank Scaeffer's mea culpas over the years but this one is, hands down, fucking awesome. Soak it in deeply, readers, and attempt to answer the following question...

How are Christian conservatives different from Islamic conservatives?

Monday, January 26, 2015

R.I.P., Political Career of Sarah Palin

With Sarah Palin's recent speech in Iowa, I think we can now safely say that her political career is over. Rambling, incoherent, and filled with a whole lot of wacky ideological nonsense, Palin's recent speech in Iowa was so bizarre even conservative Byron York was wondering WTF.

Of course, her speech (which can be seen in its entirely below) is honestly an excellent representation of what happens when you smoke too much right wing blog. I'm happy to report that even people inside of the bubble are starting to realize this.

 

Tea Party "Scam PACs" Are Screwing Over Conservatives

An article in Politico describes a problem that appears to be unique to Tea Party conservatives: PACs that pop up instantly, beg for money to defeat Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney, collect millions and then spend all that money on themselves:
A POLITICO analysis of reports filed with the Federal Election Commission covering the 2014 cycle found that 33 PACs that court small donors with tea party-oriented email and direct-mail appeals raised $43 million — 74 percent of which came from small donors. The PACs spent only $3 million on ads and contributions to boost the long-shot candidates often touted in the appeals, compared to $39.5 million on operating expenses, including $6 million to firms owned or managed by the operatives who run the PACs. POLITICO’s list is not all-inclusive, and some conservatives fret that it’s almost impossible to identify all the groups that are out there, let alone to rein them in.
People who think they're supporting the Tea Party are just lining the pockets of con artists.
“These groups have the pulse of the crowd, and they recognize that they can make a profit off the angst of the conservative base voters who are looking for outsiders,” said the influential conservative pundit Erick Erickson, who has taken it upon himself to call out PAC operators and fundraisers he sees as scams. They are “completely a drain,” said Erickson, whose assessments of candidates and groups carry particular weight among tea party activists and the Republicans who court them. “The conservative activists feel like they’ve contributed to a cause greater than themselves, but the money goes to the consultants, and eventually the activists get burned out and stop giving money, including to the legitimate causes.”
The groups ripping off conservatives under the Tea Party banner are the same sort that the IRS was going after before House Republicans hammered them for doing their job.
These organizations lie about what they're doing and rip off people who think they're helping their political movement. They do just enough to lend an air of credibility to their organization, but they pocket most of the cash.

If only there was an organization that was dedicated to uncovering fraud and abuse of the tax laws and the campaign financing system.

But wait! There is! It's called the IRS. After Citizens United the IRS had a really tough job trying to figure out who the crooks were. They tried to stop Tea Party groups with fishy sounding names that were skirting campaign financing laws and committing perjury on official forms, groups that said they were social welfare groups when they were really just self-dealing fund raisers and political hucksters. And for their efforts to protect the American people from these rip-off artists the IRS was dragged before a House committee and blasted for "singling out" Tea Party groups that were stealing from conservative voters.

The crucifixion of the IRS and the Federal Elections Commission is coming back to bite Republicans. The Republican House has forced the IRS to back off and let these pirates running under the Tea Party banner rip off conservatives. Now Tea Party conservatives are reaping the oats they sowed.

A cynical person would say that all Tea Party organizations are like this. One of the first was formed by Clarence Thomas' wife, almost the instant after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. I can just imagine the dinner table conversations in the Thomas household about how they could cash in big time with their supremely conservative credentials.

Clearly, there need to be controls over these organizations. Word of mouth isn't good enough, because so much of this fund raising goes on over the Internet or cable TV and they all use similar sounding names to intentionally confuse people.

Is the Tea Party is real, or just another scam to rip off cranky old farts?
At this point you've really got to ask whether the Tea Party is real, or just another quick-buck scam like cheap Viagra, dietary supplements, or motorized scooters, designed solely to rip off cranky old farts.

And you can't count on "luminaries" like Karl Rove, or Erick Erickson, or Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh to tell you who the good guys are. Because they all have their own PACs and their own consulting firms that are competing for the dollars of conservatives.

We need the FEC and the IRS to do their jobs and watch these clowns so they don't rip us off.

Going Solar!

The cover piece for this week's Christian Science Monitor is truly splendid. Africa is experiencing a quiet solar revolution and brushing off the usual criticism of developing countries not being able to do renewables.

Now, however, a new solar energy movement is bringing kilowatts to previously unlit areas of Africa – and changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The idea behind the latest effort isn’t to tap the power of the sun to electrify every appliance in a household. Instead, it is to install a small solar panel not much bigger than an iPad to power a few lights, a cellphone charger, and other basic necessities that can still significantly alter people’s lives. 

Going smaller better fits the budgets of the rural poor. People use the money they normally would spend on kerosene to finance their solar systems, allowing them to pay in small, affordable installments and not rely on government help. The concept is called pay-as-you-go solar.

Check out the whole piece, folks. There are going to be big things happening with renewables in the next couple of years!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gun Control: An Inconvenient Truth


Senate Admits Climate Change Is Real, Whining that It's Not Our Fault

Last week the Senate acknowledged in a 98-1 vote that climate change is real, but like some rich kid who wrecked the family car, Republicans whined that it's not our fault.

Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the Republican who has for years insisted that climate change is a hoax, voted in support of the measure, saying:
Climate is changing and climate has always changed and always will. There is archaeological evidence of that, there is biblical evidence of that, there is historical evidence of that, [but t]here are some people who are so arrogant to think they are so powerful they can change climate.
What's arrogant is that Inhofe thinks that 7 billion people pumping 35 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year for centuries will have no effect on the climate. We are burning thousands of billions of tons coal, oil and gas that it took nature billions of years to bury in the span of a few hundred years.

A few million people can change the climate of entire states just by burning gasoline, or by replacing vegetation with concrete and asphalt. A few thousand people can change the climate of Brazil by cutting down hundreds of millions of acres of rainforest over a period of a decade or two. Hundreds of coal plants in China belching out smoke and ash can not only foul the air and kill thousands of Chinese annually, but that much crap in the air alters air temperature by several degrees.

It took just a few tens of thousands of people to create a dust bowl in Inhofe's own Oklahoma in the 1930s. Over the decades farmers cut down millions of acres of oak savannahs and tore up the natural prairie grasses and replaced them with crops. Poor agricultural practices combined with drought caused terrible dust storms that forced tens of thousands of Texans, Oklahomans and Kansans to abandon their farms, exacerbating the effects of the Depression. It took decades to recover, economically and ecologically.

Removing vegetation -- forests and prairies -- and replacing it with crops, roads or buildings on a large scale changes the climate. Forests are one of the major the driving forces of climate. Trees put oxygen into the atmosphere and take carbon dioxide out. Remove them and you change the climate. Drastically.

Inhofe doesn't seem to understand how big a number 7 billion is, or the massive scale of what we do to the environment. He seems to think that humans are tiny and insignificant compared to the wide world.

The fact is, earth's atmosphere originally contained no oxygen. Earth has an oxygen atmosphere today only because tiny and insignificant cyanobacteria began to emit oxygen billions of years ago.

We are millions of times bigger than those tiny, insignificant bacteria and there are 7 billion of us. We humans now produce more CO2 than all the oceans, trees, plants and algae in the world can absorb. That's why CO2 is slowly building up in the atmosphere.

Since we're making more CO2 than plants are making oxygen, the undeniable conclusion is that we are altering the climate.

Of course, we'll run out of oil and coal long before we turn the planet into an inhospitable desert planet like Venus. But the economic and social costs of dealing with the mess we're creating will far exceed the costs of curbing our gluttonous appetite for carbon. And because the oil and coal will eventually run out, we'll have to make this change in any case.

Why not do it now, while we are still rich enough and aren't going to war with every other country for the last few barrels of oil beneath the arctic?

If These Were Deaths By Muslim Extremists...








































....what do you suppose would be the reaction of the American people?

Republicans Raising Taxes

It appears that Republicans are finally getting the message: middle class economics works.

At least eight Republican governors have ventured into this once forbidden territory: There are proposals for raising the sales tax in Michigan, a tax on e-cigarettes in Utah, and gas taxes in South Carolina and South Dakota, to name a few. In Arizona, the new Republican governor has put off, in the face of a $1 billion budget shortfall, a campaign promise to eliminate the unpopular income tax there.

But why?

Still, the shift is striking, and it comes in the wake of problems that Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Republican, suffered after pushing though sharp cuts in business and income taxes. Governor Brownback, who found himself in an unexpectedly tough race for re-election in part because of a budget deficit fueled by the tax cuts, recently called for raising cigarette and liquor taxes and slowing planned reductions in the income tax rate to help reduce the shortfall. 

By most accounts, the proposals emerging from state Republican lawmakers seem like acts of pragmatism rather than shifts in philosophy for the Republican Party. 

Pragmatism indeed.

Speaking of pragmatism, it looks like Scott Walker could sure use some. If only he had embrace the now proven to be enormously successful economic policies of Mark Dayton here in Minnesota. Perhaps Wisconsin would have then been named the best state in the country.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Again With The Rape

I'm please to report that Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina is at least owning the GOP's problem with women. Recognizing that you have a problem is a big step. Of course, this simple fact has seemed to have escaped Lindsey Graham.


What exactly is a "definitional problem" with rape? More importantly, why are they talking about rape AGAIN?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mea Culpa, Fox News Style


Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats? (Part Ten)

The question of which political party is more racist was recently addressed on Quora. This answer was by far the best one given. Several key takeaways emerge from it. First, a summary timeline... 

-From 1828 to 1948, the Democratic Party was clearly the party favored by Southern whites who supported slavery and then Jim Crow & segregation. In 1948, Democratic President Harry S. Truman ordered the integration of the U.S. Armed Forces. Things start to get murky. 

-From 1948 to 1968, it was a period of great flux with regard to race in politics in America. This was the period of Strom Thurmond's presidential campaign, the Dixiecrats and George Wallace. Again in play was The American South. 

-From 1968 until 2005, the Republican Party had a clear pattern of exploiting racial resentments in the South over the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In what has become known as the "Southern Strategy," the Republican Party – first with Barry Goldwater and then more successfully with Richard Nixon – sought to exploit racial anxieties of Southern Whites. In 2005, then RNC Chair Ken Mehlman apologized for the Southern Strategy and repudiated it at the annual conference of the NAACP.

With the last segment, we see an admission from the highest ranking member of the GOP at the time that they employed the Southern Strategy to win the white conservative vote. Interestingly, his apology drew criticism that illustrates the point I have been making all along: the GOP has a problem with race, particularly black people.

But what about from 2005 to 2015? In his answer on Quora, Mr. McCullough offers a detailed look at the racial implications of voter ID laws followed by this:

Bottom line: whichever party appeals to and builds upon the voting bloc of Southern White Conservatives owns the legacy of slavery and institutionalized racism in the United States. These days, that party is the Republican Party. ...look away, look away, look away Dixieland.

I completely agree. "Owning" is not a word conservatives do really well at all. Their first reaction is to DARVO (Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender) and blame the liberal media. It will never cease to amaze me that the party that preaches responsibility completely fails to take any of it on a myriad of issues today.

But own it they must because Southern White Conservatives are a substantial part of their base.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats? (Part Nine)

In looking at the index of all of the graphics I have put up thus far, it's quite clear that white Republicans tend to be more racist than white Democrats.


























The good news is that the trend is downward for both parties. Still, it's far too high for 2015.

Part of what is driving all of this is "the old ways" of the South. Take a look at this.




















The above graphic is from Humboldt University's Geography of Hate map and which tracks where the most tweets with the word "nigger" originate. The primary cluster of red globs are located around and below the Mason Dixon line.

Which party overwhelmingly dominates these states?


The Brick Wall


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mocking Conservative Appeal To Fear

Great Words

From a recent comment thread on Quora...

Thanks Mark, I worked out pretty quickly that it was a waste of time...pedantic, semantic arguments seem to the weapon of choice ( pun intended ) for Kevin. I just find it odd, that there are people out there that see nothing wrong with innocent bystanders dying, so others can exercise their right to own and carry a gun.... Thanks again...

Pedantic, semantic arguments combined with wacky ideological nonsense pretty much sums up today's conservative. Of course, that's the result of a baseline of insecurity and inferiority hence the need to "win" all the time:)

Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats? (Part Eight)

Here is the last question culled by 538 from GSS data in our continuing series on racism and political parties.
























I'm not terribly impressed by the question as the word "close" is pretty ambiguous although I am glad to see the numbers lower than some of the other questions. Note that there is still an uptick after the president was elected and that more Republicans rate themselves as not being close to black people.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Populist President

My first reaction to the speech tonight was this...who won the election again last November? :)

Obviously, the president and the Democrats know that they stole the honeymoon from the Republicans and are sitting pretty right now. The president realizes that there is a missing story from last year's election and so they are going to shift left and pull the country with them. He's got the poll numbers now (and Congress sure as shit does not) to throw his weight around a little more and you could really tell from his body language tonight as well as his speech. Barack Obama is finally at a point where he has absolutely nothing to lose and, man oh man, did the Republicans look uptight and grumpy about it all night during the speech.

A few highlights...

America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.

Yes it is..in a large part, thanks to him which is why conservatives hate him so much. He has been successful.

We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. And more Americans finish college than ever before.

So much for "Department of Our Collapsing Schools"

So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way. We can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can't put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.

Yes, the verdict is clear. Conservative economic ideology has failed. Time to leave it behind forever.

21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure -- modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.

I think the Keystone Pipeline is a great metaphor for Republican policies...rigid and out of step with a dynamic world.

I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists; that we don't have enough information to act. Well, I'm not a scientist, either. But you know what -- I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.

We should also not act like little insecure babies who don't like it when there are other people out there who are smarter and more accomplished than we are. Having more intelligence than someone shouldn't be a prerequisite for attacks from paranoid morons living in their parents basement.

Of course, the main takeaway from this speech is going to be the middle class tax cuts paid for by tax increases on the wealthy. Clearly, that's when GOP members in the audience lost a little in their shorts. How dare President Uppity try to take back the middle class white vote?

It's going to be a fun two years, folks!




Some First-Hand Experiences

I'd like to expand on Mark's post because I have direct personal experience with this kind of racism. I'll be the first to say that anecdotes, like way too many surveys, are meaningless, but since Fox News relies exclusively on anecdotes to buttress every "news" story they air, I figure it's my turn.

When my fourth sister announced that she was marrying a Latino Texan my father disowned her. Then he disowned my third sister for helping her put on the wedding. I had to walk my sister down the aisle because my father refused.

There was nothing wrong with this guy. They met in the Army Reserves. They've got two kids and have been married for 20 years now. He has a decent job locating fiber optic cables buried underground.

Whites seem to have a racial predisposition to getting diseases that put them on disability...
My father approved of my second sister for years. She married a fine, upstanding, right-wing racist just like my dad. She married this kind of guy three times. And now she's been divorced three times. Oddly, it turns out that intolerant white, gun-loving, right-wing conservatives make terrible husbands. They all turned out to be bums, with any number of excuses for why they can't be bothered to work, from "my head hurts," to alcoholism, to multiple sclerosis (not that guy's fault, of course, but whites have this racial predisposition to getting diseases that always seem to put them on disability...).

My third sister's husband was the same: another gun-loving conservative alcoholic who can't keep a job. Is it just my sisters' poor taste in men, or is something wrong with white guys?

But then my second sister got in the doghouse with my dad because her oldest daughter got pregnant and married a Latino guy.

Yes, you can find racists everywhere. Yes, there are blacks who -- after having been treated like animals for centuries by white slave owners, were then harassed for another century and a half by post-bellum Southerners who falsely imprisoned them, beat them, lynched them, prevented them from voting, made them sit at the back of the bus, didn't let them use rest rooms and drinking fountains, segregated them into poverty-stricken ghettos, sent them to terrible schools, and to this day send cops into their neighborhoods to single them out for harassment on minor traffic violations and shoot them for walking in the street -- bear resentment against whites. I can't figure out why.

And, yeah, many Chinese and Filipino and Japanese and English and Irish and Norwegian American parents are opposed to their children marrying outside their ethnic group. But this is not always racism: frequently, it's tribalism.

Is it racist to fear that your culture will die out because your children marry outside your ethnic group?
It's not surprising that some Chinese parents don't want their kids marrying Anglos because they're afraid they'll stop speaking Chinese, they'll abandon Chinese customs, and their grandkids won't look like them.

Children are the only real form of immortality there is. The people some commenters say are racist may just be people who think that if their grandkids don't look like them, it will be the end of their line. Their culture -- their "kind" -- will die out. Now, I'll grant it's a silly notion -- their DNA is still there, they can still wield cultural, social and moral influence over their grandkids (as long as they don't foolishly disown them).

In fact, the entire idea of race is false: there are blood types and tissue types, not racial types. Africans can donate blood and organs to Scandinavians, and all humans can cross-fertilize (to the chagrin of the racists). "Racial" differences are minute evolutionary changes that have crept in over the last few tens of thousands of years. Race is purely a function of geography, not biology.

But the fear of losing ethnic, cultural and linguistic connections with their descendants is understandable.

More to the point, this is exactly the same thing that the Republicans are talking about when they speak of "taking back America." Why is it racist for Filipino Americans to want to perpetuate their culture and ethnic appearance, but not racist for Republicans to want to "take back America?"

When Republicans say the United States is a Christian nation, they're saying that non-Christians are unwelcome.
When Republicans say the United States is a Christian nation, they're saying that non-Christians are unwelcome (although Republicans currently favor Jews for political reasons, this has not always been the case). And since religion and ethnicity are tightly linked, it's an inherently racist proposition.

And here is the core difference between the Democratic and the Republican Parties. The Republican Party welcomes the reactionaries and racists who want to maintain racial, religious and cultural purity. They adopt political platforms to move this agenda forward and actively devise electoral strategies to garner the support of and motivate racists.

Individual Democrats might have racial and tribal prejudices, but the party does not.

Republicans these days don't make their racism explicit. They couch it in terms like "take back America," "Christian nation," "states rights," "welfare queens," and low taxes. But everyone who knows the code knows what's really going on.

Now, Republicans will welcome blacks, Latinos and Asians into their party, just as long as they toe the line and give everything that makes them different: speak English only, adopt one of two related monotheistic religions, abandon their parent's culture, abhor the "gay lifestyle," constantly mouth Old Testament paternalisms, adopt a vindictive, suspicious and fearful mindset, watch Fox News, badmouth Obama and Obamacare, drive the right kind of car (pickup truck, Hummer or anything that gets less than 15 mpg), constantly screech for the blood of Muslims, denounce climate change as a hoax, genuflect every time St. Ronald is mentioned, etc.

For a political party that prides itself on rugged individualism, the degree of rigid uniformity required to be a Republican is staggering.
The Republican Party is not a political party: it's a conservative Christian tribe. And you have to adopt all the trappings of the tribe or you're not welcome.

Republicans defend themselves against the racism charge by pointing at Herman Cain and Bobby Jindal. But seriously, if Jindal was still a Hindu, do you think he'd be the Republican governor of Louisiana today?

In the end, tribalism is just as evil and destructive as racism.  It encourages the same sorts of violence and hatred that skin color does. Just ask the Catholics and the Protestants in Northern Ireland, or the soccer hooligans in England.

Or Cardinals and 49ers fans.

The Maturity Level Of The Gun Cult


Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats? (Part Seven)

At a recent holiday gathering, my father in law, a lifelong Democrat and strong supporter of the president, said that he had nothing against black people. He just didn't want my daughter dating or marrying one.

This sort of attitude is illustrated in the graphic below.


























Though the numbers are trending downward, they are still far too high for this day and age. No doubt, this is true for both parties. I think the flatline for the Democrats likely represents the age cohort in which my father in law belongs.

Yet it still is important to note that there still are more Republicans than Democrats who opposed interracial marriage. Again, I think this is due to older people simply being more conservative than liberal as well as more conservatives being from the South.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Good Words

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Dr Martin Luther King JrStrength to Love, 1963.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats? (Part Six)

One of the great lies that has been spread over the years about black people is that they are less intelligent than white people. Or, in the case of this question, they are more unintelligent than intelligent.



























White Republicans track pretty even since the early 90s with the GOP being slightly more of the belief that blacks are more unintelligent than intelligent. After the election of 2008, the GOP even sunk lower than the Democrats but rose above them again by 2012. The trend is still downward for the Democrats.

I find it pretty distressing that there are even this many people that think this. 15 percent of our white population? Really?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats? (Part Five)

Our series on racism in political parties takes a positive turn today with this question.





























One caveat here is that GSS did not ask this question between 1998 and 2006, hence the smoothness during that time. Yet we still see a drop when the question gets asked again and that is very good news indeed.

Progress!

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Myth Behind Defensive Gun Use

Politico has a piece up about the myth of defensive gun ownership that is certain to cause many mouths to foam and bowels to be blown. Here are a few choice pulls...

What do these and so many other cases have in common? They are the byproduct of a tragic myth: that millions of gun owners successfully use their firearms to defend themselves and their families from criminals. Despite having nearly no academic support in public health literature, this myth is the single largest motivation behind gun ownership. It traces its origin to a two-decade-old series of surveys that, despite being thoroughly repudiated at the time, persists in influencing personal safety decisions and public policy throughout the United States. 

Check. My brother in law assures me that his children are much more safe in his house because there are many guns there. When I ask him who is more likely to have an accident with a gun, his kids or my kids (living in a house with zero guns), he says, with a straight face, my kids. You really have to love the Gun Cult:)

In 1992, Gary Kleck and Marc Getz, criminologists at Florida State University, conducted a random digit-dial survey to establish the annual number of defensive gun uses in the United States. They surveyed 5,000 individuals, asking them if they had used a firearm in self-defense in the past year and, if so, for what reason and to what effect. Sixty-six incidences of defensive gun use were reported from the sample. The researchers then extrapolated their findings to the entire U.S. population, resulting in an estimate of between 1 million and 2.5 million defensive gun uses per year.

Did they, now? Now I understand why the Right is so paranoid about data. They are simply projecting the fact that they manipulate data on to the rest of us. What a complete load of bullshit. Not everyone in American owns a gun so to extrapolate to the entire population is terribly flawed. Worse, the fact that the NRA humps this "fact" all the time without mentioning the amount of accidents that occur with those same gun owners honestly creates a make believe land where guns are always good, forever and ever, amen.

Brand new data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a non-partisan organization devoted to collecting gun violence data, further confirms Hemenway’s suspicion that Kleck and Getz’s findings are absurd. The archive found that for all of 2014 there were fewer than 1,600 verified defensive guns uses, meaning a police report was filed. This total includes all outcomes and types of defensive uses with a police report—a far cry from the millions that Kleck and Getz estimated.

I've never heard of the Gun Violence Archive but I can bet that the words "non-partisan" are nearly certain to elicit shrieks of disapproval and chest thumping from the Gun Cult. This is especially true when you see something like this.

So, really, it's far less than 2 million defensive uses a year. The Politico piece also notes that Kleck himself admitted that "defensive gun use" is a relative term. 36 to 64 percent of the defensive gun use was illegal? Wow. And when you compare it to the other statistics like accidental shootings, murders, and injuries, the necessity of defensive gun use is exposed to be one of the greatest lies ever believed by the American people. As the article concludes...

But the evidence clearly shows that our lax gun laws and increased gun ownership, spurred on by this myth, do not help “good guys with guns” defend themselves, their families or our society. Instead, they are aiding and abetting criminals by providing them with more guns, with 200,000 already stolen on an annual basis. And more guns means more homicides. More suicides. More dead men, women and children. Not fewer. 

Yep.


Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats? (Part Four)

Next up in our series on racism within the GOP is this question.



























An interesting question to say the least. It is indeed heartening to see the trend moving downward for both parties but note the uptick (again) right after the president gets elected. It's much sharper with Republicans. I'll be interested to see the data from the last two years.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Pope Sides with Terrorists on Charlie Hebdo?

While en route to the Philippines the pope talked about the massacre in Paris. And he really screwed the pooch on this one:
The Pope also condemned the Paris violence. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God,” Francis said. “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.

He broke it down in everyday terms, something that is coming to be known as classic Francis teaching style. “If [a close friend] says a swear word against my mother, he’s going to get a punch in the nose,” he explained. “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”
The pope is trying to have it both ways: first he condemns Islamic terrorists, and then he condones physical violence as retaliation for verbal insults. He believes that if someone says something sufficiently demeaning you have the right to retaliate physically.

This mindset is exactly why mass mayhem ruled Europe for centuries during the slaughters between Catholics and Protestants over disagreements on religious dogma -- nonsense like transubstantiation, for God's sake -- in what we would today call religious terrorism.

Is the pope really this oblivious? Violence begets more violence.
Is the pope really this oblivious to the ways of the world? When Joe calls Mike's mom a slut, and Mike punches Joe out, it doesn't end there. Joe punches Mike back. Then Mike picks up a bottle and smashes it over Joe's head. Then Joe hits Mike with a chair. Then Mike tackles Joe, throwing him to the floor and cracking his skull open. Then Mike goes to jail for killing Joe.

Violence begets more violence.Wasn't it Jesus who advocated turning the other cheek when someone smites you? Now the pope says it's okay to strike first?

Is the pope endorsing duels? Medieval trial by combat? The idea that might makes right? Or is he simply trying to understand and explain the reactions of unsophisticated brutes to insults, which is extremely insulting in and of itself?

In any case, what difference do insults make? If Mike's mom is a slut then it's a true statement and therefore not actionable. If she isn't, then Joe is a liar and scumbag and unworthy of response. Or, if the charges are public and sufficiently slanderous, Mike can take Joe to court.

The entire business of proselytizing religions such as Christianity and Islam is to demean other religions.
Now, on a larger scale, the entire business of proselytizing religions such as Christianity and Islam is to promote themselves, and to demonstrate their superiority over other religions. This inevitably means that other religions must be cast as inferior, and their basic tenets and practices must be derided as false and risible.

Christianity's official positions on Mohammed have ranged from him being a liar, a warlord, a polygamist, a false prophet and according to Luther, "a devil and first-born child of Satan." How much more insulting can you get?

Whenever another religion disagrees with yours on matters of theology, it is insulting your faith and demeaning your beliefs. It doesn't matter whether they use angry four-letter words or euphemisms couched in civility.

Because, truly, what's the difference between saying that A) Mary, the mother of the Church, was not a virgin her entire life, and B) Joseph and Mary fucked like minks? Why will A get a throat clearing, and B elicit a papal punch in the face?

Popes during the Reformation orchestrated religious wars and the deaths of thousands in Europe for centuries. They executed thousands of people simply for denying abstruse points of theology. In the Middle Ages popes demanded Christians go to the Holy Land and slaughter thousands of Muslims because their religious beliefs insulted the Lord.

And this nonsense isn't over. Some sects of Islam consider the very existence of other sects to be an affront to their religion. This is why the Sunni/Shia schism in Iraq is so bad -- the Saudi/Al Qaeda branch of Sunni Islam is determined to kill all Shiites, apparently by blowing up one mosque at a time.

So listen up, Francis. If you condone beating people up for calling your mom a slut, then you condone beating gays for insulting God's laws, then you condone the murder of doctors who disagree with Catholic dogma, then you condone terrorists that slaughter cartoonists who defame the image of the one true prophet of Allah.

You can't have it both ways. Once you condone physical violence as retribution for mere words, ideas or pictures, you endorse all-out war. Because physical violence always escalates. The bigger the insult, the more violent the retaliation.

Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats? (Part Three)

Next up in our examination of racism within the Republican party is this.



























These numbers are fairly shocking for both parties. The Democrats seem to have leveled off but that humber is still too high. And, as I have been saying right along, the Republicans have a serious problem with racism against black people. Combine this graphic with my previous two graphics and it's just plain awful. In addition, note the spike when President Obama took office.

Honestly, there's not really anything positive to take away from this question.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Death of Email?

I just went through the arduous process of changing my email addresses. It took several hours to go through all the websites I use and test that everything still works. It was a lot more work for me than most people because I had to change both my personal email as well as several business emails, and change some software that uses them.

I had to do this because my old email addresses have become useless. I get hundreds of emails a day, and 99.9% of them are spam. Real email messages are then lost in that sea of crap.

Why did I have to do this? Hackers have attacked several major websites in recent months, stealing hundreds of millions of credit cards and email addresses. Spammers also scour web pages across the Internet, harvesting any email addresses they find.

Spam is the perfect example of a libertarian paradise where there are no government controls on business.
But changing my email address won't solve this problem for very long. It's only a matter of time before more websites get hacked, or the address books of the people I correspond with get ripped off. Or one of the websites I gave my email address to sells it to spammers. And then these new email addresses will become useless.

The act of creating new email addresses means I have to give them to other people, from whom spammers will ultimately take them, therefore defeating the entire purpose of creating the new emails in the first place.

Email is essentially a completely open and free market, without no central controls. If you want an idea of what life would be like in a libertarian paradise with no government controls on what business can do, spam is the perfect example.

The Tragedy of the Commons
The current state of email is the tragedy of the commons on steroids. This is an economic theory, first postulated by William Forster Lloyd and reiterated by Garret Hardin, which states that people acting independently and rationally in self-interest ultimately behave contrary to the best interests of the group.

Originally the "commons" was the actual common village green in an English village, which was shared among villagers. Everyone could pasture their cows and sheep there, which of course led to overgrazing that quickly turned the village green into a barren pit of mud.

The metaphor extends to all resources held in common, such as:
  • The ocean, which is being overfished and polluted by dumping and toxic runoff.
  • The atmosphere, which is used as a dumping ground for automobile exhaust, coal-burning power plants and industrial pollution.
  • The freeway system, which gets overcrowded at rush hour, making it useless for everyone.
  • The stock market, which can be manipulated by insider trading, high-frequency computer trading and hedge fund rumor-mongers for personal gain while trashing market value for everyone else.
  • The financial system, which was nearly brought down in 2008 through bad lending practices by individuals increasing their personal gain at everyone else's loss.
  • The telephone system, which is exploited by con men and phony charities, like those calls from Apogee Retail begging for used clothing in the name of real charities, to which they give nothing.
The percentage of spam in email has fluctuated over time. It has been estimated to be anywhere from 68% to 90% of all email in recent years. I can't find reliable current stats, but my personal experience is that there has been a significant uptick in spam in recent months after a significant drop last year.

Spam filters help, but are no panacea. Real emails get lost when they're falsely flagged as spam, or when mailboxes get filled. And spammers are getting better at making spam look like more like real email that gets past the filters.

Another way to deal with spam is to simply reject any email you get from an address you don't recognize. That might work for individuals, but it doesn't work for businesses that need to accept queries from customers. To avoid having to deal with spam, those businesses instead turn to web forms (which have those annoying captchas to prevent spammers from sending spam through web interfaces).

Then there are the economic costs: worldwide millions of man-hours are wasted each day simply by people having to spend time weeding out and deleting spam.

If 60-90% of email is spam, that means that 60-90% of the network capacity, the server horsepower, and the very electricity that powers all the Internet infrastructure devoted to handling email is being wasted.

That adds up to hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Which means people are just going to start giving up on email. And many of them already have: lots of people send texts, or use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other texting apps on their smart phones in preference to email.

So, the Internet had better come up with a real solution for spam, or email is going to go the way of snail mail.

Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats? (Part Two)

Our next graphic has just as much to do with anti-government sentiment as it does with anti-black sentiment.




























I think the anti-government sentiment and the fact that a black man got elected president in 2008 explain the rise on the Republican side. This question seemed to be trending downward for both parties but there was an uptick after the 2008 election. Thankfully, the Democrats are down to the single digits now.

The Republicans, however, clearly have their work cut out for them. If a third of their party believes that too much money is spent on improving the conditions of blacks, they do not have a grasp of history. Let's review

400 years of slavery
100 years of Jim Crow
50 years since the Civil Rights Act passed.
20 years (maybe) of white people being less crazy and a little more nice.

The whole "get over it" meme doesn't really work when you consider the depth of devastation done to black people in this country over time. This is where an anti-government type like Rand Paul could capture the black vote. It was the federal government that allowed slavery for how many years?

Let's also remember this piece from a while back. The biggest recipients of welfare?

The South.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Robbing A Gun Store

I've been assured by the Gun Cult that no one would ever consider robbing a gun store least of criminals. They would be deterred by the mere presence of that which is to be worshiped while gently fondling one's penis!

Well, there goes another bullshit lie.

Much of downtown Shawnee went into lockdown in the minutes following the attempted robbery and shootout at a gun shop there on Friday.

So, if there were schools full of guns and armed people like this gun shop then it would really make any difference.

When are we going to stop listening to these people?


Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats? (Part One)

A recent post on race elicited several highly defensive and steeped in denial remarks from two of the five people who actually read comments. As is usually the case with conservatives like these gentlemen, they quickly redirected the conversation to me, issuing imperial declarations originating from an unfortunately deep insecurity and an inability to admit fault.

I did take away one thing from their feedback, though, and that's the fact that a more detailed examination of just how exactly Republicans are more racist than Democrats was required. For the next few days, we're going to be taking a look at polling done by a few different outfits on this issue. The main ones are going to be the General Social Survey and Nate Silver's 538 site but before we take a look at the first question, let's examine a fundamental fact about Republican party strength. Take a look at this map.


















131 electoral votes come from the Old South and you'll note that today these are solid red states through and through. In the 2012 election, the popular vote in these 12 states was roughly 18 million people which is just shy of a third of the Republican votes in that election. Suffice to say that the South represents a substantial portion of the GOP base.

Given these facts, it's not surprising we see data like this.






















A couple of interesting things to note. There are still plenty of white Democrats who have a problem with race. Sadly, some are in my family and, again not surprising, they are from the South. I also think it's interesting to note the uptick after Barack Obama got elected. Conservatives like to downplay the president's race but that's like my 12 year old son trying to downplay his black teeth when I ask him if he got into the Oreo cookies.

The positive to this graphic is that the trend is downward. Much of this has to do with old, white people dying off and taking their bullshit with them. Most people under the age of 40 don't have the same views on race as people over 40 do. Go even younger and it gets even better. We can thank our education system and its commitment to diversity and sensitivity on race for that sea change:)

So, it's clear from this graphic that more Republicans than Democrats think that black people are more lazy than hard working which is a classic racial stereotype. Given that a substantial portion of the GOP base is from the South, this myth about black people is likely more prevalent in those 12 states and drives the number higher for Republicans.

(Postscript: I suspect that this post and the ones on race that follow are going to cause a few bowels to be blown. I'm going to request that when commenting on this and future posts in this series, please offer a counter argument (if you disagree) that is based in reason and leaves me out of it.  I won't ban or delete any comments that are Markadelphia obsessed as they essentially illustrate avoidance and denial of reality thus leading to confirmation of my assertions here. But I at least wanted to offer my usual five commenters the chance to really focus on the evidence presented here and post a true counter argument complete with their own assertions. 

After all, they repeatedly claim that they are superior to me in several ways. Now's their chance to prove this to be true:))

Monday, January 12, 2015

You Are Not President





































Uh...Michele?

You aren't president and this is not the result of anything you did.

I'm completely shocked that a conservative doesn't understand fundamental economics.

All Economic Signs Good!

Yesterday's paper had a great piece on how well the economy is doing here in Minnesota and in the rest of the country. Check out this interactive graphic that illustrates the five key indicators (jobs, unemployment, consumer sentiment, gas prices, and GDP) clearly showing just how much our economy has improved during the Obama years.

Any retractions out there yet?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why Globalization Is A Rising Tide That Lifts All Boats

The video below shows exactly why globalization and capitalism are indeed very good things. Take a look at how the bubbles, even in underdeveloped countries, rise over 200 years. Rosling's stuff is amazing and I highly encourage all of you to check out his interactive graphic where you can track the progress of each country, crunch the data, and be a complete social studies nerd like myself.



Despite what the apocalyptics on both the left and the right tell you, our world is improving every day.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Still On Board The Zimmerman Train?

George Zimmerman has been arrested...again. This time, it's aggravated assault.

I'm wondering if folks are still hitching their wagons to his star.

The Girl Effect

If there was one clear reason why there is inequality in the world, it's this.



This would be exactly why globalization isn't the evil demon that some on the left make it out to be.

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Obummer Destruction of the Economy Continues

Today's jobs report was very positive with the unemployment rate dropping to 5.6% and 252,000 jobs added in the month of December. November's jobs number was revised upwards to over 350,000 jobs. Overall, the economy added nearly three million jobs in 2014.






















I look at this graph and I have to wonder, where is the "Obummer Destruction of the economy" I hear so much about from conservatives? Certainly, you can't credit the president completely for the improved economy but his policies have most definitely helped.

As always, I'm still waiting for that "tough history coming." Any day now...:)

Good Words

From my most recent question on Quora...

The Southern Strategy is overwhelmingly the biggest reason for the shift in American politics, and that strategy DOES have its roots in the opposition to the Civil Rights movement in this country. There were residual issues from that era that bled into the '70's-notably Affirmative Action, Busing/educational issues, urban issues, etc. All of these issues essentially had a Black face. 

In addition, other movements were making their mark as well-Cesar Chavez in the '70's started the labor movement among Hispanic/Mexican immigrants, and Stonewall (beginning of the gay rights movement) occurred in the later part of the decade. Hispanics and gays are also next to blacks on the Republican bullseye. All of these things changed America from a white dominated culture to a more multicultural country-and the most conservative, racist individuals in the South reacted by using racial coding to give aid and comfort to a white population that was uncomfortable with the changes. 

You have to remember: after the 1964 Civil Rights Bill was passed in the US, many Southern Democrats-called Dixiecrats-left the Democratic party for the Republican party in protest. They were vehemently against the concept of equal rights for blacks. That spirit of the Dixiecrats is still alive thanks to the "Southern Strategy". Starting with Nixon, Republicans took that spirit and fanned the flames of the anti-Civil Rights act movement for political gain. Prominent Republicans have confirmed that the "Southern Strategy" was part of their election strategy. 

And here is an example of the famous "black hands" ad for a Republican Senator in the '80's:RNC Adviser Alex Castellanos Admits That His Infamous Jesse Helms Ad Hurt Race Relations 

There are more examples of race based strategies, coding, baiting, and slips of the tougue as well. One can turn on any right wing media outlet and hear it for themselves. And of course, in the present day, the most notable recent example of the residue of this strategy is one Steve Scalise, who was caught speaking to a white supremacist group, and labelling himself "David Duke without the baggage (whatever the hell that means). 

So, yes, it is not an exaggeration to say that racial animus on the part of conservatives, specifically Southern conservatives, was a huge reason for the shifting of American politics to what you see now. And this history is why nonwhites in this country don't trust conservatives, and don't vote for them in such large numbers.

I'm wondering if any of my five commenters are courageous enough to respond to this and engage in a much larger forum than here:)

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Free Speech: Racist Epithets vs. Blasphemy

The massacre of cartoonists and journalists at Charlie Hebdo in Paris by Muslims outraged by the publication's depictions of Mohammed brings up an important question: why do liberals consider Charlie Hebdo's cartoons of Mohammed, the Piss Christ and The Interview to be expressions of free speech that should not be silenced, while they routinely condemn derogatory racist and sexist epithets applied to minorities?

Is it simply hypocrisy? Political correctness run amok? Or is it a principled stand against the oppression of the weak by the powerful?

Blasphemy is irreverent speech about religious figures such as god, or Mohammed, or Jesus, the Pope, Kim Jong Un, or the books and institutions of a religion. Those institutions are powerful and influential and are completely capable of weathering criticism from cartoonists and late-night comics.

Christians, Muslims and North Koreans are equally free to condemn this irreverent speech. What we cannot abide are threats and physical harm to blasphemers and, not just coincidentally, the persons and property of the religious.

Historically, charges of blasphemy are usually leveled at competing sects from the same religion that consider the very existence of the other sect to be a blasphemy. The Sunni-Shia schism and the Christian Gnostic blasphemies come to mind.

Racist and sexist epithets, by contrast, lump an entire class of underprivileged people together as something less than human, providing justification in the minds of racists for systematic discrimination and personal ad hominem and physical attacks.

More to the point, the people who condemn racist and sexist epithets in public discourse are simply condemning racism and sexism. They may call for racists and sexists to be socially shunned or their companies boycotted. But they're not advocating that the haters be killed or jailed for their hateful speech, except when that speech crosses over into actual threats of violence.

It's not an abrogation of a conservative's right to free speech or "political correctness" when others upbraid him for calling something "gay," or express outrage when he makes watermelon and fried chicken jokes about the Obamas, or call him a dick for telling sexist jokes. They're simply exercising their First Amendment rights.

Just like he did when he spouted that crap in the first place.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Scary!


Monday, January 05, 2015

Dick Cavett on Ayn Rand

From a recent interview with Dick Cavett...

 CAVETT: Oh, well, that’s so, too. You can piss away valuable hours of your life reading Ayn Rand—her wretched appeal to the young, her wretched writing, her wretched person. She was supposed to be on my show; I was kind of sorry she wasn’t, because I was kind of laying for her. I did not succumb, as a kid, to being enthused by Ayn Rand, and that sense of power, as every kid was at one time until they outgrew it. The old bag sent over a list of fifteen conditions for appearing with me, or for appearing with anyone, I guess. One of them was, “There will be no disagreeing with Ms. Rand’s philosophy.” 

GREEN: You’re kidding. 

CAVETT: No! I wrote at the bottom of the list, to be sent back to her, “There will be no Ms. Rand, either.”

No disagreeing with Ms. Rand's philosophy...gee, that sounds awfully familiar:)

The above quote kinda reminds me of another quote...

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” — [Kung Fu Monkey — Ephemera, blog post, March 19, 2009] John Rogers


More Guns In Chicago

One of my favorite bits of fiction peddled by the Gun Cult is that Chicago, a city that heavily restricts guns, is a great example of what gun control really does...create more violence and leave ordinary citizens defenseless.  So, by this logic, if Chicago were to loosen its gun laws and allow more people to have guns, violence would decrease, correct?

I'm curious...what is the basis for this line of thought? And how would a fully armed Chicago look if the laws were indeed changed?

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Democrats Still Got More Votes Than Republicans

Across the 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections., the current Senate of 46 Democratic Senators got just shy of 68 million votes while the 54 Republicans about to take office only got 47 million votes.

I wonder if conservatives truly understand what this means...

The Southern Strategy Explained



You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

For the full interview, click here. 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Yet Another Conservative

I've received several requests to comment on the Steve Scalise story so I guess I might as well say something. I've been reluctant, for the most part, because honestly this is nothing new (yet another conservative has a race problem? Shocking...not). This is one of those stories that has a whole lot of "merry go round" ishness to it. Republican is discovered to have ties to racist organization...people are shocked...other Republicans screech about race baiting, deny to the point of silliness, and blame the liberals (like they do for everything else)...round and round we go.

Most Democrats, including myself, will tell you that they have a much longer history of racism than do the Republicans. That's because, up until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the conservatives of today were southern Democrats. They simply switched parties and became Republicans (see: Nixon's Southern Strategy.  So, it's really not surprising that Scalise spoke at a meeting of neo-Nazis. Nor is it surprising that Louisiana Democrats are rallying to Scalise. If I were him, I'd tell anyone who is a southern Democrat to shut the fuck up.

The Daily Beast has an interesting piece on the folks who courted Scalise to come and speak at their little meeting. Check out this photo of their leaders...



















Looks like some commenters from Kevin Baker's blog:)

Anyway, it's my view that Scalise doesn't really have much to worry about. His supporters and, indeed, a big chunk of the GOP base (especially in the South) would actually be more in favor of him speaking at a meeting like this. That's because many of them are dreaming of the South rising again and taking back what is rightfully their's.

Exactly what that is, I've never been able to quite figure out.


Friday, January 02, 2015

A Big Test For The Minimum Wage

This year, 21 states will be raising the minimum wage so we will finally get a broad look at how this action affects economies. My hope is that the following question will not be answered: will the rise in low-paid workers' salaries and their increase in spending in the economy (thus creating more jobs) outweigh any costs in slower job creation?

My answer is YES

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Kicking Off The New Year With Positivity

I'd like to kick off the new year with some positivity. Check this out.

The rate of violent crimes in the United States has been cut in half during the past 20 years. That’s according to statistics released in November by the FBI. What surprises some criminologists is that the decline has persisted against the backdrop of two other trends long believed to lead to an increase in crime: The US prison population is dropping and the number of young adults, who are considered more likely to commit a crime, has risen.

But why is this happening?

Criminologists say the latest gains against violent crime appear rooted especially in improved law enforcement, rather than a drop in the number of teenagers and 20-somethings. The “community policing” movement has brought beat cops into closer ties with the neighborhoods they serve, for one thing, and a data-driven focus on crime “hotspots” has led to successful prevention efforts in high-risk areas.

Isn't this exactly how the United States is supposed to work? I find it very interesting that this flies in the face of what I see in the mainstream media...