Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Hayride Went Down to Georgia

Georgians are experiencing a trust problem that starts in the governor's office. Sound like any governments we know?

It says a lot that folks in Georgia are asking Deal to listen to Bobby Jindal's advice.

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Since we like credibility gaps here...

Keller, TX recently tried to pass a tax referendum to raise property taxes to cover the impending budget shortfall in their school district. The news was flush with horror stories of how there would be massive layoffs if the referendum didn't pass. It just so happens that Keller's school tax rate is the highest in Tarrant County and one of the highest in the state. Voters said, "Oh hell no." to the referendum. Turns out things aren't as bad as Keller made them look. They managed to save slightly less than half of the positions they said they'd have to cut. Now I'm not saying 122 employees from a district of about 1,000 employees isn't a massive layoff but if you're going to put your nuts up on the table and say "Do this or else..." you lose a ton of credibility if the "or else..." doesn't happen.

While this is good news for the employees who will not be cut, this whole referendum stinks of fear-mongering. The only explanation of additional funding Keller received was "$4.8 million in federal money." Yeah, because districts don't know what federal dollars they'll get beforehand. Look, things are bad for Keller. They are facing layoffs. They are facing a budget crunch. Making things look as bad as possible to get more tax money was entirely unnecessary and will just make it that much harder for school districts to pass similar referendums throughout the state.

Black Jersey

In 2007, the University of Georgia Bulldawgs football squad beat the Florida Gators in Jacksonville. The next week at home against Auburn, The 'Dawgs took the field in traditional helmets, but wearing black jerseys. The fans in Sanford Stadium "blacked out" the game. It was one of the more stunning visuals ever associated with Georgia football. Once the Dawgs beat Auburn badly in that game, Georgia fans thought the black jerseys were one of Coach Mark Richt's best ideas ever.

I got to see them in person when Georgia destroyed Hawai'i in the Sugar Bowl. It looked great. At the time, I thought a new tradition was brewing.

Then came the 2008 Alabama blackout. Dawgs got destroyed by the Nick Saban coached Tide. In 2009, Georgia donned Grambling State-like black helmets against the Florida game and also lost badly. Fans wanted any uniform changes banned, never again to haunt the team.

I can't agree. The Black just looked too good. On the other hand, Georgia's worn red and white and silver britches through plenty of football losses and wins. What should be done with the Black Jerseys?

Mr. Sanchez solves this problem forever.

Beat Florida, you can wear the black jerseys. Win the SEC East, you can wear the black jerseys. Make a BCS bowl, and you can wear the black jerseys.


That's the answer. That should be the tradition.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Peach Fail

I have never understood Georgia's inability to come up with an aesthetically pleasing license plate design. They were fine back when I started driving, but change after change has led to this ridiculousness.

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Ruffled Feathers in Savannah

Looks like the Wilmington Island henhouse needs to call up the 7th Ward Rooster and his crew to find out how they handle up on this business downtown.

(HT: Peach Pundit)

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Real Crime-Fighting

NOPD finally comes up with an effective crime-fighting initiative. Bait bikes for opportunistic thieves to steal.

Every district should dedicate at least one team to do something like this every day for the next year, at least. While some folks will poo-poo the idea that going after bike thieves will cut down on other crimes, you have to remember that bike theft is a huge problem in this city in its own right. High profile initiatives to leave bikes unlocked and then arrest the thieves may make a few scoundrels think twice about a crime of opportunity, and that's a good thing.

Just wait until they figure out they could follow the thief for less than an hour and probably come across additional criminal activity.

And hopefully, this will work so well that NOPD will figure out how to use undercover officers as "mugger bait" in areas experiencing upticks in robberies. It is easier to catch a thief when you've got them on camera in front of officers specifically on the lookout.

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Preservation Starts at Home

Owen Courreges at Uptown Messenger points out the good one individual can do to make a place better.

I absolutely respect the impact that just one citizen can have on a place. But let us never forget how well a place can be preserved when a city's preservation initiatives are citizen oriented, progress-prone, and helpful.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Rogue Secrets

Cliff reviews C. Ray Nagin's opus without even reading it.

I'm thinking about buying it just to play the "Rogue Secrets" game: where you put up a quote from C. Ray's or Sarah Palin's books and ask readers to guess which author it came from.

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Criminal Justice 101

Essential reading from Radley Balko at Huffington Post:

Criminal Justice Myths 1
Criminal Justice Myths 2
Criminal Justice Myths 3

I would say that these items need to be read by every individual in the American criminal justice system, but I know they won't be. Further, I understand that many individuals in the criminal justice system will find ways to rationalize each and every one of these examples.

So, instead of that, these items need to be read by every American likely voter. And every American likely to spend any time on a jury, anywhere.

Though the traditional criminal justice system response to juries behaving such ways would likely lead to the end of the American trial-by-jury system, and authoritarian advocates would define such behavior as "turning criminals loose" as opposed to seeing the widespread lack of confidence in the system we have.

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance," - Thomas Jefferson, and he was talking about more than just paying attention to possible terrorists and criminals in the area around you. It is time civil libertarians started going to Police Academy en masse instead of law school.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

It Is Your Destiny

Is there anyone better suited to be Sarah Palin's running mate than former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin?

Even the quotes from their books sound alike.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

The Intervention

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone is absolutely right to bring up the flip-flop of pro-war right wingers, as they're now turning on international interventions they couldn't get enough of when a Republican was in the White House. Though be assured, now that President Obama has declared that Americans will be drawing down troops in Afganistan, even the newly reenergized isolationist wing of the right will hammer him on tactics as if the tactics of the last 10 years didn't exist.

But this is nothing new. The GOP is able to flip-flop at will over American wars without any reasonable accountability because they are so good at marketing their changing position. Either way they go, they are "on the side of Americans," at least on TV or radio.

They loved Iraq War I, but were split on Somalia before they were against it. The GOP almost completely bailed on the incredibly successful US military involvement in the Balkans, which American political culture rarely references. With that one, they questioned every item of American priority from why we were getting involved to the open ended mission to how much it would cost the US taxpayer. At one point, there was even legislation: the House passed a bill not to fund the Balkans operation, while in the Senate

Another resolution sponsored by a group of Republicans led by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas would support the troops but not the President's decision to send them.


Does that sound like GOP behavior from the last decade? What would have been said about actions like that if Democrats had been the ones taking them? Luckily, we have that answer, and it is maddening to critics and opponents of the Iraq war, the Afganistan engagement, and the whole partisan tone of war politics during the Bush II years. It didn't matter if a position was right or wrong, supportive or non-supportive, or based on tactics alone: if it wasn't part of the GOP talking points, it was WRONG, not only WRONG but AMERICAN-SOLDIER-HATING, FLAG BURNING, TRAITORS SHOULD BE BURNED AT THE STAKE wrong, and that's how every public debate was framed. Taibbi sums up these feelings well:

Six or seven or eight years ago, I seem to remember, anyone who even hinted that not using military force to resolve any foreign policy dispute, no matter how trivial or how imaginary the justification, was to be considered a traitor.


Bill O'Reilly drew a direct line in response to Dick Durbin's equally ridiculous hyperbole (the Democrats and the left, never able to miss an opportunity to make a right-winger's point for them, only encouraged the bad behavior). Or we were led to believe that actually examining the war was akin to surrender. And all this went on for years, every day, every hour on Fox News and Talk Radio.

It even continued into the Obama Presidency, with right-wingers, hawks, and Republicans breathlessly anticipating American military surrender or defeat, now that a Democratic President was in the White House.

Then a funny thing happened. Obama called the right-wing bluff and went all in with the Cheney/McChrystal strategy. Y'all want to keep going in Afganistan? Let's really spool things up there and see what you do.

From a purely tactical standpoint, it still wasn't enough. Not nearly. We simply don't have the manpower or materiel or international support or national popular committment to "win" in Afganistan the way many Americans envision "winning" a war. And that cultural tactical confusion is what's been used by partisan politicians since the first troops showed up there.

But if you're trying to find a political solution to end the war - and I'm talking about here in the United States, not in Afganistan - you have to do some things that change the national conversation on a fundamental level. The President did the only thing he could plausably do considering the political climate: bulk up the forces with as few troops as possible to end this thing as close to our terms and cultural needs as possible. Work away from a goal to acheive a goal. Which is what is happening.

Though, thanks to Bush's strategic blunders of not sending adequate manpower or materiel at the onset, and the recent success against Osama Bin Laden personally, popular opinion has turned to ending the wars sooner rather than later. A financial crisis at home is driving home the point. And now GOP Presidential candidates are starting to use the machinery of right-wing marketing to advocate ending the war and bringing the troops home.

It is hard to call a political opponent out for "surrendering" when your stated positions advocate an even quicker exit - an exit that for a decade has been demonized by the right - when said political opponent is delivering not only on his campaign promises but yours. This gives Obama tremendous political capital in the face of defense contractor interests and neoconservatives that the left was simply unable or unwilling to manufacture on their own accord for the past decade. The national narrative has turned from "when will the Democrats make our brave troops surrender" to "how fast can we bring our brave troops home?"

In 2 years, President Obama has reconfigured the terms of the entire national-security discussion. That's something the liberals and progressives and true believers were wholly unable and unprepared to do for the last decade. Working away from a goal to acheive a goal.

Which brings me to the Libya intervention. US involvement is a huge gamble here. The Administration's going at it without Congressional authorization, and our Consitutional law professor President basically throwing that authorization need back into the faces of Republicans in Congress, is confusing. Why would such a deliberate administration act in such ways? Especially when Obama's stated position on Executive authority is so well known.

The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.


Of course, there are bipartisan internationalist members of the US Senate working to acquire Congressional authorization for the Libya action, even as isolationist Republican and anti-war Democratic members of the US House work to defund it (the old Balkan War trick).

This seems to be the par-for-the-course behavior. Isolationists and anti-war folks will get their voices heard, but the majority will back the Administration and the Libya operation will continue. But this President is despised among the Tea Party wing, who appear unafraid to salt the earth to keep the President in check. Add to that the rage of the anti-warrriors of the Democratic left, and you've got a good sized chunk of the Congress. Even if they aren't successful at defunding the Libya operation, they're going to want revenge for Obama's marginalization of Congress.

This became clear to me when I read the quote from Senator John McCain regarding how such behavior affected the Bush administration, and how it could affect future GOP Presidents.

"We were right to condemn this behavior then, and we would be wrong to practice it now ourselves, simply because a leader of the opposite party occupies the White House," he said. "Someday, a Republican will again occupy the White House, and the President may need to commit U.S. armed forces to hostilities.

"So if my Republican colleagues are indifferent to how their actions would affect this President, I would urge them to think seriously about how a vote to cut off funding for this military operation could come back to haunt a future President when the shoe is on the other foot," he continued.


Think about this politically: Obama has stated a desire for war powers to require more robust Presidential approval. Many Republicans oppose him to the point of distraction. The President could have gone to Congress for the Libya operation (especially when all the GOP folks currently complaining were calling on him to intervene) and recieved Congressional authorization in a heartbeat.

He chose to pick a fight with this Congress over the Executive powers to use the military, in the most in-your-face way possible. If nothing legislatively happens, the status quo remains.

But what if the anti-Obama GOP team up with the anti-war Democrats to propose legislation specifically limiting a President's authority to engage in military adventures? What if they amend the War Powers Act to be more specific, and more in tune with Obama's stated Constitutional beliefs?

That means this President could topple Quadaffi WHILE creating political conditions necessary to legislatively restrain a President's future ability to get the nation into wars BY engaging in a conflict with minimal exposure and cost to American troops by emboldening our NATO allies. This could be some Michael Corleone level plans.

Maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part. But this President has already demonstrated a willingness to work away from a goal to acheive a goal, and an ability to allow American popular opinion to shift of its own accord. We'll see if anything really comes from this, but it sure does make for interesting viewing.

Update: The votes are in, and an big majority of Congress is standing up to the President on Libya. They're even entertaining a notion later that will "defund" American operations, except for search and rescue, intelligence gathering, refueling, and logistical operations. You know, the kind of operations that pretty much define the current US involvement in Libya.

So the mission continues as planned. Anti-Obama Republicans and anti-war Democrats are now working together against American adventurism abroad. Wonder what comes next?

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

$64,000 Question

So you're telling me a couple that makes $64,000 a year, including Social Security benefits, might qualify for Medicare and that's a bad thing?

I'll admit that might be a little bit high. Median household income in the United States is around $45K a year, so I guess folks who earn around that number might consider themselves "middle class." But with the price of food and gasoline going up, the value of homes decreasing, and the astronomical costs of medicine in this country, maintaining a household of two + individuals at $64,000 a year isn't a walk in the park.

Hit with almost any major medical emergency, that $64,000 can vanish quickly.

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Excellent Police Work

At least this Police Officer was polite when he arrested a woman in her own front yard for videotaping a traffic stop.

I do not believe that this is what we maintain a police force for in this country.

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Bipartisan Government Spending

I guess it is OK to make a case for government investment in infrastructure if the cities you help are in Georgia.

Those of us who have lived in New Orleans for the past many years know how easily that line of thinking gets turned on its head.

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Culture as a Weapon

Sectarian violence in Northern Ireland just a week after sports violence in Vancouver is making me wonder what progress resistant traits exist in culturally Christian nations that encourage this type of behavior.

Because, if our overblown national narrative of the last decade is to be believed, the only reason individuals in Muslim countries participate in violence is because of their religion. If that is true, we should employ the same lens to examine this widespread violent behavior in Christian and culturally Christian populations. If we did, I'm sure the Congressional hearings on Irish radicalization will be very uncomfortable for some.

Or maybe, propensity to violence is a human trait we see in some measure in all cultures. The only antidote isn't to change religion or national boundary or whatever issue is on the demagogue's list of rationalizations, but to seek justice as an antidote to reprisal.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Moar Thuggery Please!

Those union thugs in Wisconsin are now accused of attacking Tea Party fists with their faces.

Really, though, I'm sure this episode will show up all over right-wingistan as TP types getting "attacked" by union folks. But as a flag owner myself, stringing a flag between two people to cover up someone already standing there is picking a fight behavior. You do not behave that way.

I'm sure we'll hear more. It will be amazing to see what Andrew Breitbart does with any video.

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Glow, Baby, Glow!

I guess the right-wing energy "experts" were right - nuclear power is just as safe as oil production in this country!

When are we going to have a serious national conversation about the dangers of our high energy consumption? It would be one thing if policy could be discussed with a deep national understanding that fossil fuel and nuclear energy production came with serious human and environmental costs, and the subsidies we make available to providers of cheap energy.

It is another thing entirely to have that conversation with blinders on, which is our current state of affairs.

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Misinformation

On Sunday, John Stewart went on Fox News and claimed that Fox viewers are the "most consistently misinformed media viewers."

Politifact looks at some polling data and calls this claim false. (HT: Andrew Sullivan.)

I read the Politifact article and I have only one word: bullshit.

The devil is in the details, folks. While Fox viewers have demonstrated a high capacity for answering questions like "who is the Vice President," "who is the British Prime Minister," and "which political party controls the US House of Representatives" that wasn't the kind of thing Stewart was talking about.

These are all current events questions, and those only tell part of the story of viewers being misinformed. To gauge the true level of mininformed viewer, you have to go into the narratives.

Questions that may prove Stewart correct, on the other hand:

1. Barack Obama was born in what country?
2. What religion does Barack Obama follow?
3. Has Barack Obama increased federal income taxes?
4. Did Barack Obama sign into law the bank bailout, known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program?
5. Is the Dow Jones Industrial Average higher or lower than when Barack Obama took office?
6. How many women is New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner accused of having sex with?
7. Radical Islamic fundamentalists are planning to build a victory mosque at what location in the United States of America?
8. How many state governments operate under Sharia law?
9. How many United States Supreme Court Justices are Muslims?
10. True or False: The majority of United States Democratic office holders are members of the Communist Party.
11. In what Midwestern state did public sector union members riot when their Republican governor eliminated their right to collectively bargain in early 2011?
12. How many states have outlawed Christmas-themed displays on private property?
13. Which United States President famously included Death Panels in their proposed health care overhaul?
14. What foreign nation did Sarah Palin claim to see from her house?
15. Would a Federal income tax rate of 37% be an increase or a decrease for most Americans?
16. What year did the United States Supreme Court overturn Barack Obama's ban on gun ownership?
17. Earlier this year, Barack Obama sided with violent Muslim Brotherhood protesters to overthrow the pro-American leader of what Middle Eastern nation?
18. Operatives of ACORN were convicted of voter fraud in how many states?
19. Which former United States President signed a law granting amnesty to illegal immigrants if they entered the country before 1982?
20. In what year did Barack Obama sign a Presidential Order creating the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)?

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Professionalism

Or not. I'll leave this here without further comment.

Because, really, what can I say?

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Heckuva Job Moment

This massive Federal blunder belongs to the higher-ups at the ATF and the Department of Justice. Folks have stuck the Obama administration with a lot of BS over the years, but they're going to have to own this one, hard.

I know they were trying to do something bigger, but you have to pull the plug before it gets out of control on this level. This is stunning in scope and breadth of failure, on a scale with Michael Brown's leadership of FEMA in August and September of 2005.

And now that Weiner is out of the news, I expect we'll hear about this in a big way.

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Planes of the South

OH NOES! Those Dirty Southerners are TAKIN' URR JOBS!

That explains, in one absurd op-ed, why so many people in this country have such a low opinion of unions. Here's a hint: if you are a pro-organized labor writer, and your purpose is to encourage sympathy for American workers, you don't do that by demonizing other American workers to make your case. And if you intend to make the company look like they're engaged in nefarious dealings, you don't make their free-market case for them in the most free-market major American news daily.

I know it might not seem this way to a big Chicago union lawyer, but we do a few things down South more complex than picking cotton. For example, Kyle Wingfield at the AJC picked apart this ridiculous screed of rhetorical sleight-of-hand, false choices, bald sectionalism, and inaccurate equivalencies. I don't always agree with real conservatives like Wingfield, but he makes some pretty good points in his takedown.

But let's be honest, he could go much, much further. And if he was so inclined, he could go at this from the left or the middle. Here's how:

Boeing is one of the most heavily subsidized corporations in the United States of America. They get billions in tax dollars and tax breaks. Hell, our government sends money overseas in loans so other countries and foreign companies will use those dollars to buy our Boeing products. Then there are the subsidies for the airlines they build these planes for.

I know it isn't helpful to the unions to say this, but the only reason these American workers have jobs at this particular plant doing this particular thing is because the industry they work in is heavily subsidized by tax dollars paid by other American workers - including workers from the South. It damn sure doesn't have anything to do with the skill, work ethic, pay grade, or experience of some American workers at the expense of others.

And that's before you start to consider the state and local subsidies that keep a manufacturing center running. There's a lot of local political connections involved in protecting the facility that currently exists, and there's a lot of local and political connections in developing the facility on the drawing board. The states and cities will be throwing taxpayer dollars at Boeing to keep them around.

Of course, that means every single one of these jobs is vulnerable to political conditions instead of market conditions. If we didn't have so much subsidy, we wouldn't need so many planes. If we don't need so many planes...

So right off the bat, we can see why this is such an important fight to special interests, and why that requires involvement of narratives from the right and the left. Some of the most vicious fights are the ones where localities are feuding over billions in government subsidies. And to protect those subsidies, they'll pull out all manner of completely empty partisan rhetoric. This ain't about "The American Worker" or "The Free Market" at all - and anyone who says so is just whistlin' Dixie.

Yes, I know that stings. Especially to those of you who may have bought in to one narrative or another. But government subsidy dollars find their way into high-priced union lawyers' bank accounts just as easily as they find their way into corporate profits. That's why that whole WSJ op-ed, or any of the pro-orgainzed-labor press on this issue never talked about just how heavily South Carolina will be subsidizing the Boeing plant in Charleston.

That really sticks in my craw, too. Do you know how useful that news would be in exposing a whole lot of Southern Republicans as fiscally fraudulent in their "conservative" rhetoric? But the organized labor interests demand we leave that arrow in the quiver, because bringing it to light may invite comparisons to how heavily Washington State subsidizes their Boeing plants. And Lord help us if anyone asks about national tax subsidies supporting airplane manufacturing and the airline industry! That just might start a conversation about why us taxpayers are subsidizing businesses in the billions while they keep declaring and delivering profits to their shareholders.

As for workers who can manufacture airplanes (no matter what state they call home), they'd be better off, with more secure jobs, working in an industry that is more sustainable economically and doesn't exist solely off the largesse of government subsidies.

I've never done anything as complicated as manufacturing an airplane, but I'm guessing that's a fairly specialized trade that requires some high level of skill. And while they've worked really hard and have earned their money and benefits within the system they had access to - I hate to be the one to bring up reality here - we won't be able to sustain the airplane manufacturing industry at current levels for much longer.

Petroleum costs are only going up. That means costs of jet fuel are only going up, which will make air travel much more expensive. You already see where this is going, but let's finish the trip. While the government will continue to subsidize the airline and airplane manufacturing industry robustly for a while, at some point that will become unsustainable economically and politically. Especially with one group of folks scaring the crap out of citizens about what a bad idea it is for the government to spend money.

Eventually, American culture, transportation, and tax priorities will shift, and it doesn't matter if you live in Washington State or South Carolina, there are going to be a whole lot less airplanes that need to be made, and a whole lot less subsidies to support their manufacture.

Alternately, what will need to be made, by highly skilled workers trained in manufacturing durable items with extremely high standards, are items to support alternative energy, green technology, high-speed rail, and mass transit. Who knows, there are some really nerdy types that want to get us back to dirigibles (and yes, I'm a nerdy type and I think that would be awesome). But all of those things are going to need to be built. The next generation of aircraft utilizing lighter but stronger materials to become as efficient as possible are going to need to be built. And whatever new technologies come along and require fabrication are going to need to be built.

That's a lot of stuff to be built. And the folks who are going to be needed to build it are the folks who are currently building high tech products like the Dreamliners. That's good news for the workers, but bad news for the status quo that unions want to protect. Maybe we could get to building that stuff sooner if we started turning off the subsidy tap that's keeping our economy from innovating.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Everybody's Doing It

Gerrymandering, I mean redistricting, is going on across the country. You'll notice how little the actual opinions of the voters comes into play in this analysis. The only time that matters is if the voters get angry at blatant redistricting overreach. Everything else makes it sound like a bunch of horse tradin'.

And, no, I still don't think Democrats will win control of Congress for the next decade, precisely for this reason.

(HT: Peach Pundit.)

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Play On

I guess we can't even watch a 22 year old from Northern Ireland turn in one of a sport's performances of a lifetime without a bunch of Americans acting like spoiled children having a temper tantrum.

First of all, I hope the broadcaster learns that this is what happens when you try to please that loud but small population of thin-skinned, overreactive, and hyperdefensive grown up American babies who mask their lack of faith in God and Country by wrapping themselves in a flag. They'd rather spend their time yelling at others for some imagined slight against God and Patriotism than realize they're watching something special happen on live television. You will not be able to please these people until the only golfers invited to participate in the US Open renounce their home nations and recite odes to American exceptionalism before teeing off. You should not apologize to these people, you should tell them to STFU because that's what needs to happen to folks who get offended over some B__. S__.

Second, WTF are you doing with that kind of intro anyway? You know how you lead into a sporting event like the US Open? With pictures of the golf course, highlight reels from the week, and maybe some shots of kids having a great time in the summer. It ain't like Congressional isn't scenic.

Maybe some production assistant got confused. The US Open Championship is not like a World Series, or Super Bowl, or BCS National Championship. It is an open golf tournament. I've always found the US Open so rightly culturally named because, you know, the United States is in the "Free World," we're the "melting pot," and we have a Statue of Liberty to welcome the huddled masses of the world. That the United States should host an Open as one of the sport's 4 major events, where anyone who qualifies in the sport can be eligible to participate, with winners determined by the skill of their game, is incredibly appropriate.

The event itself is exceptional. The players are exceptional. The course is exceptional and, on Sunday the storyline was exceptional. The background for the course is the Capitol Dome in Washington. People who watch golf on television were tuning in because of those things.

Where, exactly, was the need to add any rah-rah to the stupid TV intro? Hell, that's when the majority of Americans watching the event were making themselves a sandwich. How did you screw this up? It isn't like more people were going to tune in due to your "savvy" marketing, or somebody would be flipping channels and think "Oh, the Pledge of Allegiance, I should watch golf on TV for my country."

Third, the superstar under the microscope Sunday, like last year's US Open champion, was not from the United States. Just a quick look at the final leaderboard should tell you all you need to know about how much worldwide talent was in play Sunday: there were two Americans in the top 10 finishers - the same number of South Africans.

So of course, let's pick the broadcast of this event to fight our culture war battles over. Folks, not every televised sporting event needs to begin with a tear-jerking tribute to HOW AWESOMLY ASS KICKINGLY BADASS AMERICA (F__ YEAH!) HAS ALWAYS BEEN AND ALWAYS WILL BE ZOMG!!! Sometimes, especially on championship days that could end up very special, you can let it be about the beauty and skill at which the game is being played, and the joy those things bring to players and fans of all nations.

But that might just be too simple.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Remember, Folks

< sarcasm >

The economy was sunk by things like this. Pay New York Times editorial level attention to this house of cards built by scant government oversight and supported by Democratic insiders, because this is indicative of the kind of politics Democrats, liberals, and progressives are likely to continue.

On the other hand, pay no attention to the house of cards built by highly financed real estate developers and supported by GOP insiders. This is not indicative of the kind of politics Republicans, conservatives and God-fearing Americans are likely to continue. You can trust them not to do this again, they wear American flag pins on their lapels.

Now, repeat after me, "Fannie Mae was the problem." There is no need to look anywhere else or entertain the idea that dipping your hands in the real estate bubble is historically the most bipartisan American political activity.

Hat tip to Kyle Wingfield at the AJC who reminds us that:

Fannie Mae did all those things that Democrats accuse Big Oil, Big Finance, the military-industrial complex, et al. of doing.


Emphasis mine.

< / sarcasm >

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Unique Homeownership Opportunity

Located near the interection of Real Estate Oversupply Avenue and Spend At Least an Hour on Your Commute to Atlanta Highway, this incredible deal puts you in a mass produced cookie-cutter home just minutes away from not one, but TWO scenic Exurban Traffic-Choked Strip Malls. Fall asleep at night to the constant noise of jumbo jets approaching one of the world's busiest airports as you contemplate the multiple car notes you have to pay just so you and your spouse can get the kids to soccer practice on any number of winding non-grid surface streets. The area is zoned specifically to discourage foot and bicycle traffic, so you won't even be tempted to use alternative modes of transportation or interact with your pesky neighbors to form "community."

And with such a desireable place at such a reasonable price, you can afford the gasoline you'll need to use in order to live in a place like this!

What isn't to like?


View Larger Map

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Mayor Landrieu makes the case for building the University Medical Center in New Olreans. This is a response to those who would seek to take the knees out from under the project and benefit their special interests under the cloak of "fiscal conservatism." All at the last minute, once an entire neighborhood has been destroyed and families have been uprooted.

In the larger context, Landrieu's rebuttal exposes the way individuals who play "conservative" on television willingly misrepresent tax figures as a means of providing for their own pork projects and protecting their own clients' subsidies.

For those of you who live in more progress-prone parts of the nation, you may be scratching your head wondering why this has been so difficult for New Orleans. Jeffery puts it in local context:

Ever content to remain the richest club in a poor and shrinking city, New Orleans' socialites resist any and every effort to grow the economy. They dress this conservative agenda up as "preservation" but it's better described as ossification. What gets "preserved" are old buildings, staid pageantry, anything that might make easy packaging for a hotelier or a filmmaker to sell.


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Utopian Drift

Andrew Sullivan on the state of "conservatism" in America.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Disaster Funding

Attempting to solidify his "fiscal conservative" credentials, Mitt Romney wants to send responsibility for disaster relief back to the states, if not private industry. Continuing to handle disaster relief at a Federal level "jeopardizes the future for our kids" and is "immoral."

Which makes me wonder just how bad disasters have to get in this country to remind someone so out-of-touch why the Federal government started getting involved in this in the first place.

And maybe I've got the wrong definition of "fiscal conservative" in my mind, but I thought one of the bottom lines of that belief system was to make sure any tax dollars spent were done so in the most efficient and effective way possible, with a subtext of keeping the overall national economy sound. Removing disaster relief as a responsibility of the Federal government only makes sense if your definition of "fiscal conservatism" is don't spend any money, ever and you don't give a shit about localized or regional problems dragging down the whole national economy.

Here's something Romney needs to be reminded of: the states already pay for disaster relief. Private organizations already pay for disaster relief. Do you know why the Federal government also needs to be involved, Mitt? Because even with their efforts combined, the states and private organizations cannot touch the level of funding required to relieve even moderately sized disasters in terms of economic and material damage, let alone the big ones.

So let's look at the numbers from the big leagues of disasters. One low estimate places the damage figures of Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood at $81 Billion*, not including overall economic impact to the states and regions most affected or the nation at large. Keep in mind that, at the time, gasoline got up to $4 a gallon many places far, far away from the Gulf Coast.

Let's do a little common sense math. Compare that figure to the state budget of Louisiana for FY 2005 ($17.5 Billion), the state budget of Mississippi for 2005 (just under $13 Billion), and the state budget of Alabama for 2005 ($33.2 Billion).

All three of those total state budgets combined ($63.7 Billion) only make up 78% of the total low damage estimate. That means three states of the union most affected by Katrina and the levee failures would have had to spend every single tax dollar they recieved that year and it still wouldn't have covered the recovery. And that's a total figure, which means the states wouldn't be able to pay for anything else without massive deficit spending.

While private organizations contributed a tremendous effort and generous sums of money and materiel to the recovery, do you think they'd be able to come up with $17.3 BILLION?

Of course, the states could have rebuilt without Federal help, given a generation or three. But who can estimate the economic fallout to these most affected states, the larger regional impact, and to the Union at large if these areas were forced into a local or regionalized recovery that the most affected states couldn't pay for before the disaster destroyed huge swaths of their state economies?

I can only imagine that Louisiana would have had to levy higher duties on shipping interests bringing products through what was left of New Orleans to even begin making a dent in their recovery needs. The economic ripples would have affected every suburban commutuer in America who drives a car and every American whose diet depends on the Midwestern corn crop. Things that happen one place tend to affect the lives of others someplace else. A butterfly flaps its wings and all that.

Now run that same scenario against these figures. Or just look at the map (PDF).

Sure looks like a national problem needing national solutions to me. And if "conservatism" means we throw responsibility for all that back on the states, private organizations, and - make no mistake - the individual familes who fall victim to such disasters, maybe it is time to start thinking of "conservatism" as its own dirty word.

(* - NOAA estimates the damage at $133 Billion)

The Show Horse

Finally, some intelligent and thought-provoking analysis regarding the Only News Story of the Year.

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An Interesting Concept

Georgia governor Nathan Deal is trying to address two problems facing his state.

Georgia's new illegal immigration law goes after employers who hire illegally. While this is one of the only steps available to curb the number of illegals in the state, this means there are employers who previously leaned heavily on the illegal labor pool who are now searching for laborers.

And while you'd think in this economy, people would be willing to find a paycheck wherever they could, agriculture is apparently facing a labor shortage.

So the governor wants to hook employers up with Georgia's significant number of probationers. While this appears a "back to the fields" solution at first glance, there are some things that need to be considered:

Once you have a conviction on your record, it is more difficult to get a job. If you already come from an at-risk population (undereducated, rural, born in poverty, minority), the level of difficulty increases exceptionally. And without some form of gainful employment, the liklihood of recidivism increases.

Then there is the fear that employers will have incredible power over probationer employees in a right to work state. This is definitely a valid criticism of the idea. However, laborers who are on probation would have a more equitable relationship than either incarcerated laborers or illegal immigrants (relationships with such power inequalities that encourage the historical abuse we have witnessed, especially in the South).

Finally, look at the demographics and socio-economic status of Georgia's probation population. What percentage of that population directly overlaps the population most likely to participate in agricultural fields previously staffed by illegal labor? That's a Freakonomics style question, to be sure.

While this won't be a magic solution to all of Georgia's problems, it might actually turn out to have some positive, reality-accepting results in regards to at least two big issues - illegal immigration and criminal justice costs.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Garnet & Black Colored Lenses

The Senator points out this college football preview for the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Not to be confused with the "poetry of pre-mature trash talk", a different category of fan pathology in the best of cases, the tradition of Carolina fans to offer boastful hyperbole during the pre-season is legendary within the SEC. It really is something to look forward to by many other SEC fanbases.

Though as a Georgia fan, I've enjoyed it much less since I took my own bit of undergraduate fan swagger into Williams-Brice Stadium one fall afternoon in 2000, when the Gamecocks officially served notice that they would no longer put up with being an assumed Bulldawg win.

Georgia has still taken the supermajority of wins in the series since that afternoon when Quincy Carter interceptions fell like pinata candies into the unbelieving arms of the Garnet-clad secondary, but Carolina has done a tremendous job in closing the gap in the rivalry in terms of games won outright and close losses. Without Branden Smith's 61 yard TD run in 2009 and the mind-boggling David Pollack Interception/TD in 2002, the UGA - USCe rivalry could easily stand at 5 and 6 since 2000.

Of course, there are those who will correctly note that's why we play the games, or moral victories don't count, or the final score is all that matters; Carolina will always be Carolina, they will say.

Maybe. But membership in the SEC has its privileges. That TV money makes a difference in athletic facilities, coaching hires, and desirablility due to national exposure. South Carolina may not be the most fertile recruiting ground, but the state produces a crop of elite players every year. Sharing borders with Georgia and North Carolina give them an in, and close proximity to Florida (not to mention a coach with a pedigree from that state) put the program in better shape than most others in the country.

This is allowing them to close the talent gap, if not yet the depth gap. In the past, those gaps would combine to destroy Carolina's momentum later in the season as attrition and the talent plateau would take its toll against Florida, Tennessee and Clemson.

But the 2011 Gamecocks are not going to have the same talent plateau - they proved last year that they can play with elite teams for 4 quarters, if they maintain their concentration (another maddening achilles heel for Carolina fans over the years). For almost a decade, this team has deployed a scrappy defense playing above their level, and that D has often kept them in games against incredibly good teams. If they remain healthy, both Ashlon Jeffrey and Marcus Lattimore have the talent to play on Sundays*. If Stephen Garcia figures out how not to lose games, they may finally have an offense that can give the defense leads to protect.

And they'll all be playing with a dangerous psychological combination not often seen in Columbia: while the Carolina chip on the shoulder will be there still, you now inject into the mix the knowledge that this team was able to play and win against the elite. They've beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee in recent years, and those SEC opponents may not be able to count on their own programs' winning tradition to get in Gamecock players' heads.

This year, the preseason talk may not be the traditional hyperbole for Carolina. The game in Athens this year is going to be the biggest and most important this rivalry has seen in a while.

(*- Spencer Hall at EDSBS once referred to Georgia players and NFL 1st round draft picks Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno as "uncontainability twinned," and the same could be said for Jeffrey and Lattimore.)

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Losing the Drug War

I don't agree with a lot of what Bob Barr says, but the man is an honest civil libertarian and has not wavered much from that stance. I'm glad one of the things he talks about negative impact of the Drug War on America, and America's need to lead the world out of this mess.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

How Not to Build Stuff

Maybe they should have thought of this, or something like it BEFORE they declared imminent domain and bulldozed the neighborhood that existed there before. You want to talk about government waste?

Step 1: Your city has a teaching hospital run by the public state university that treats a high volume of at-risk patients. The system has big problems, but the building is solid and would be viable given some serious renovations.

Step 2: Man-made disaster seriously damages the teaching hospital.

Step 3: Agents of the government attempt to repair the teaching hospital. It is a hospital in the middle of a disaster area. Such facilities tend to be useful.

Step 4: Agents of the public state university allegedly stop repairs and close the teaching hospital. They want to declare the old hospital a loss, collect insurance money, collect national disaster money and build a new teaching hospital.

Step 5A: Powers that be know where they would put a new hospital. Friends, family, and connections begin buying cheap land in and around that area. These properties are left to moulder because they'll all get torn down when the new teaching hospital gets built.

Step 5B: Regular citizens who live in that area move back into their homes, and use what little insurance and government disaster aid they can apply for to renovate their homes. They aren't informed by the powers that be that all of their properties will be seized by imminent domain and torn down to make way for a new teaching hospital.

Step 6: Argue in public over the option to renovate the old teaching hospital (for $600 million) or build a new teaching hospital (for $1.2 billion). Ignore homeowners and businesses and other government agencies who have sunk money into properties that will be demolished. Let several years go by without much action, because who really needs a public hospital in the middle of a disaster area to serve at-risk populations?

Step 7: Convince the US Department of Veterans Affairs that the new teaching hospital is a done deal, and that they should start building their new hospital nearby.

Step 8: Convince developers and investors that the new teaching hospital is a done deal, and that they should start building new retail and residential use facilities as if the new hospital is guaranteed to be built.

(Seriously, I have a friend in another city, and some NOLA booster organization gave them a sales pitch that this hospital would be ready to open this fall or winter, with 5,000 new professional jobs coming to town.)

Step 9: Win the argument despite divisive local opionion and viable, cheaper alternatives. A Shiny New Hospital Will Be Built! Begin declaring eminent domain and bulldozing buildings. Move a few historical buildings to shut up the most agitating homeowners and preservationists. Clear dozens of city blocks of structures.

Step 10: Have state and federal officials representing competing intereststs attempt to derail the project at the last minute under the name of hostage taking fiscal conservatism.

Because if you think anything above describes fiscal conservatism (or fiscal liberalism, for that matter) you watch too much cable network news and don't understand the definition.

As a whole, words just fail.

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The War on Christmas

Sure seems like Christmas is winning.

Behavior like that ain't Christian, it ain't Southern, and it ain't polite. If your faith is so weak that someone else's disbelief intimidates you and makes you act like a defensive hyperemotional thin-skinned jackass, your problem ain't with them, is what I'm sayin.

(HT: Adrastos)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Will Build Train for Water

High speed rail from Atlanta to Chattanooga (and later to Nashville). In exchange, Atlanta gets water from the Tennessee River. Sounds win, win to me.

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Jackass of the Month

We used to trot out the JotM Award pretty regular around these parts. Adrastos runs one over at First-Draft called"Malaka of the Week," highlighting "wankery not evil."

But it got me thinking about what a week it has been. We tend to focus on two topics on Hurricane Radio, sports and politics, and I'll be damned if it wasn't a banner week for bad behavior in both of those realms. Those topics usually have their share of weekly head slappers, to be sure, but the sheer volume of it this is impressive. Some of the memes and stories from Monday are already old news.

That's something. I mean, take your pick...

Jackasses in Politics:
Anthony's Weiner - naturally the biggest political story this week
Andrew Brietbart - he gets one thing right and takes a week long victory tour
The Senator from Louisiana - because of the ninja suit he can put on to completely vanish from the national zeitgeist the minute any other politician has a sex scandal
Sarah Palin re: Paul Revere's guns and bells(?)
Newt Gingrich's Incredibly Imploding Political Campaign

Jackasses in Sports:
Mike Hamilton - soon-to-be-former Athletic Director of the University of Tennessee for his hand in bringing down UT Athletics (and I'm a Georgia fan saying this)
Bill Stewart - soon-to-be-former head football coach of the West Virginia University Mountaineers, who was discovered to be giving the press dirty details on the personal behaviors of the soon-to-be head football coach (sort of a folksy Andrew Breitbart)
LaBron James - for making such a big deal out of playing basketball in Miami, and then playing like this in the NBA finals
Terrelle Pryor - former quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes who has gotten involved with so many shady sports star cliches that people may not remember the Cam Newton controversy from earlier in the year

And yet, all of this pales in comparison to former head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Jim Tressell, who resigned his job on Sunday ahead of a blistering Sports Illustrated expose regarding allegations of widespread and long-term sports-based shenanigans conducted while cloaking himself in the mantle of deeply held Christian faith.

Of course, in true Tressell fashion, he picked the perfect week to do so, because all that other stuff makes Sunday seem so very long ago.

So that's that. Hopefully next week things will slow down somewhat.

Until then, I'll go the opposite route and give you this item of heartwarming, classy behavior.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

How's That Moratorium Working For You?

Maitri engages in some media criticism over the announcement that ExxonMobil has hit vast new oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico.

Depending on your political bent and which talk-radio blowhard you listen to, you might have thought TEH EBIL COMMUNIZMS of KENYAN ANTI-COLONIALIST OBAMA were trying to keep anyone from drilling oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and that this "moratorium" was somehow affecting gasoline prices and killing jobs.

Or you could be surprised that any oil companies were allowed to think about fossil fuels within 200 miles of the Gulf of Mexico, much less have already resumed drilling. Wasn't this stuff shut down with the BP "shakedown?"

If so, congratulations! You've been misled by someone with an agenda. What I find interesting is that people on both sides of the issue (Drill, Baby, Drill vs. Spill, Baby, Spill) appear to have been misled into believing nearly the same things.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Police State

Another reason people have trouble trusting the police.

More than anything else going on in our society right now, unaccounted police misbehavior and the associated lack of public trust in the justice system is what I find the most ominous.

(HT: Andrew Sullivan and Balko.)

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"The United States of Stepford"

Maitri puts American puritan cultural hypocracy on blast. In a just world, this would be more than a t-shirt slogan:

Get over it, you frustrated, misprioritizing tensionball of a nation just waiting to burst.


Meanwhile, Jeffrey quotes Glenn Greenwald, who's also calling for a realistic perspective.

You know who's not calling for perspective? GOP Chair Reince Preibus. But I've got two words and four letters for RP: David Vitter. STFU.

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Hooked on Subsidy

Jay Bookman at the AJC talks about real American tax dollars at work in Brazil.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Guns, Bells, & American History

No, Palin does not get a pass. Any reasonable person viewing the video knows that she totally flubbed it. That's excusable. Defending a flub as if it were real reality? Inexcusable. That rolls into "these aren't the droids you're looking for territory." "Everything is a gotcha question with her." (Remind you of any other famously foot in mouth politicians?) And, no, I won't be letting this go any time soon.

A lot of folks peddling the "messiah," the "anointed one," and "the one" narratives about an American political candidate were all correct - they just attributed it to the wrong candidate.

This gaffe is a gift that keeps on giving. And giving.

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How Do You?

Dump on USC and Auburn University at the same time?

This.

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Getting Rid of Red-Light Cameras

And using the law to do it.

Option 1: Legally require municipalities to increase the amount of time a light spends on yellow. Cameras then become more of a drain on city budgets as their costs outpace their revenue generation.

Option 2: A judge in Florida just ruled that red light tickets violate the Equal Protection Clause because they allow two distinct punishments for the same crime. I can only believe this is the case here in Louisiana.

Though that one may backfire, as this state might make the cameras deliver the more punishing offense of getting points on your license.

Option 3: Have the state legislature ban the devices.

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Credibility Matters (Mea Culpa Update)

Well, I guess that's one that Breitbart finally got right. Now this is all we'll hear about, regardless of his long line of previous failures, lies, misrepresentations, and video splices. He and his cohorts are still deeply in the red when it comes to credibility, and they remain so.

Especially because who Congressman Weiner flirts with - even inappropriately and outside his marriage, even over the internet - is only anyone's business if A) he did something illegal or B) if he ran campaigns based on "traditional family values."

Hell, there's a fairly high-value US Senator from the state of Louisiana who survived a much more sordid scandal, and he focuses almost exclusively on family values issues. Of course, he'd never have to feel threatened by the likes of Breitbart & Co....

Though in the age of the internet, I am constantly shocked to find out how many dudes, especially those with high profile jobs, think they can get away with this kind of drunken, college level type behavior. This is bush league stuff, and lacks class. At some point, fellas, it is time to start behaving like grown-ups.

But unless there's something we haven't heard yet, someone's position as a US Congressman is beholden only to voters and the law. Being a classless tool is not a career ending offense last time I checked.

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Zombie Alert in Georgia

New Orleans has Treme shut down whole city blocks for filming. In Georgia, they shut down whole state highways in metro Atlanta to film their local drama The Walking Dead.

At least it isn't The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Though if they needed to shut down a highway for scenes, I'm wondering why they didn't use I-16 around Metter or US 441 around Irwinton. There would be far less traffic to divert either place.

But round McDonough? That's just zombnoxious.

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Sunday, June 05, 2011

Body Counts in the Drug War

DADvocate makes note of the police killing of Jose Guerena in Pima County, Arizona.

The war on drugs has become a war on the freedom in America. Too many police departments have taken on the cowboy/Dirty Harry mentality and are terrorizing the populace.


At least in Arizona, the police are still using the drug war as an excuse to terrorize the population. Some police departments have a bar far, far lower. Once you accept that the police can violate your rights for one reason or another, you'll have to defend everywhere else.

For those keeping score at home, Guerena was a United States Marine, a veteran of the Iraq War, and members of his family had recently been killed in a home invasion. So the SWAT team comes pouring into his yard in military garb, as part of a marijuana investigation. In the confusion, he takes up a weapon - who wouldn't, with armed men invading your home - and is killed in a hail of 77 bullets.

The police initially claimed that he had shot at them, and that illegal drugs were found on the property. This would justify their actions. Of course they feared for their life, as Guerena feared for his. Why do we put our police and citizens in such situations?

Of course, it is now coming to light that this might be a CYA story, that Guerena never got the safety off the weapon, and nothing illegal was found in the house. Nothing really connected him to the marijuana investigation at all other than the word of a secret, confidential informant. An informant that provided information into a home where nothing illegal was found. Why am I not surprised?

When I grew up, I remember hearing stories about despotic governments, where the thought police would keep track of people, and report on them to the government. In such places (thought to be the Third World, the Asian Tyrannies, and the Eastern Bloc) secret informants could destroy your life with a few words. The informed-upon would be "disappeared" to a camp or a mass grave, leaving the family only wondering.

The drug war has already been like that for a long, long time.

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Friday, June 03, 2011

"Ringin' Those Bells"

I'll just leave this here right next to this. Tell me that wouldn't be a political team for the ages!

It would be a match made in tabloid writers' heaven and campaign advisers' hell.

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Religion of Peace

I guess it is good that a few news outlets are reporting on this.

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"Resegregating the South"

Cynthia Tucker at the AJC reexamines the unintended consequences of the Voting Rights Act of 1984. She starts with a mea culpa and then blisters the effect gerrymandering redistricting has had on our nation as a whole, and particularly the South.

And if it is to change, we will need many voices ready to overcome the racially-based demoagougery we are sure to hear from the left. Especially the machine politicians who benefit the most directly from turning majority-minority districts into personal fiefdoms.

If black voters think they have made substantial gains simply by having more black representatives in Congress, they’re wrong. They’d have more influence if they were spread through several legislative districts, forcing more candidates to court them.


I'm glad to hear someone saying it. Y'all what has been going on is bad for everyone. We need more demographically balanced districts all over the country, and we will need them if we ever, ever hope to rationally address the problems this nation is facing.

Case and point: Louisiana just got some new Congressional districts. Take a moment and look at the map. See if you can guess which one is specifically drawn to concentrate as many minority voters as possible.

Then look at the demographics. For a state that is one-third African-American, African-Americans have a voice in only one-sixth of the state's Congressional delegation.

Unintended consequences don't begin to cover it.

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Credibility Matters

Look, I don't know a lot about New York congressman Anthony Weiner, and I really don't have the time to follow him closely. I think maybe I've seen some video of him in the past, probably regarding the "GOP's War on Women" narrative, and that was the last time I heard about him.

Which is probably why I'm I'm hearing about him now.

Of course, I'd find the whole thing far move believable if the first people to report on the scandal weren't the credibility deficit-running likes of Andrew Brietbart & Co. One of the golden rules of prank-playing is to let someone else discover your handiwork, so your involvement isn't immediately clear to anyone paying attention.

But after Brietbart's reporting on ACORN and NPR were proven to be manufactured, and after the Big Prankster spliced Shirley Sherrod's anti-racism speech into the last Common Sista Soulja music video and called it "news," his involvement with any story degrades its crediblity almost to the point of laughability.

Weiner could have made a solid case that his Twitter and Yfrog accounts were hacked in the first place. Brietbart's almost immediate involvement in the scandal-story only solidifies Weiner's claims, and tells us all we really need to know about this.

How does this get MSM play, though?

I've explained in the past why the GOP, with their lock-step talking points and reliance on winning elections based on emotional cultural issues rather than effective policy goals, is more vulnerable to scandal "coattails" than the Democrats. When your whole party choses to die on the hill of "traditional values," and the folks standing with you on "traditional values" get caught in decidedly non-traditional scandals, you're more likely to all look like fools. You all get hit with the charge of hypocricy, and the photos you took together get rolled out come election time (with typically mixed results based on your voting base).

The Dems, on the other hand, hardly agree on policy matters, much less talking points or stances on values. That's why Democratic sex scandals usually only affect those who engage in illicit behavior, and the staffers who help them keep things covered up. The scandal coattails usually don't extend very far (outside a typical demographic), even though the other side spends limitless talk radio wattage to do so.

And that's the rub. That's why right-wing operatives go to such lengths to try and manufacture scandals surrounding Democratic, liberal, progressive, and left-wing operatives, even when plenty of real (but boring) policy failures exist. These scandals A) play to the base, who love to hear a good scandal like the tabloid followers they are, B) pay the bills, because fake scandals = page views and advertising dollars, and to some limit C) control the narrative, because "Democratic Congressman Tweets Lewd Photo" is a headline people everywhere will remember if it gets picked up by the MSM.

What I can't figure out is why the MSM keeps falling for Brietbart's scams. Then I remember that he and his folks are running five or six or seventy of these types of scams every week, and not even the MSM can keep up.

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