Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Divided & Conquered

Finally, someone's ready to tie it all together.

Our kids were the ones whose education was stilted by our submission to the belief that one test could effectively distill and determine the depth and extent of an entire year of a child’s education. They are the ones whose time was wasted by “academic pep rallies” and “test prep” and by the subtle and insidious ways we told them the test was “important” and put pressure on them to “do their best because our school is counting on you.”

They were the ones that did without art and music and chorus and drama because we increased the amount of time they spent in ELA and Math. They were the ones that had time in their Social Studies and Science classes cut back more and more so schools could focus on the “really important areas” of ELA and Math. They were the ELL’s that couldn’t speak English but still had to take the test.


And the kicker:

I struggled with the rest of you as to why NCLB would go to such great lengths to make public education appear to be such a failure, to set up a system that would guarantee failure for practically every public school as we advanced toward that magical 100 percent level and provide no tangible rewards for success and such punitive actions for not meeting arbitrary goals. On top of all of that, I failed to recognize why our nation’s legislators so nimbly avoided even the discussion of reauthorization to change what everyone knew was a failed policy. One day it finally hit me.

They didn’t want to change the policy, because the policy was designed in theory and in fact not to aid education but to create an image of a failed public school system in order to further the implementation of vouchers and the diversion of public education funds to private schools.

I am not usually a conspiracy theory guy, but this was no theory. These were cold hard facts slapping me in the face. We failed in our obligations to protect our students from one of the most destructive educational policies since “separate but equal.” We did not educate the public on the myth and misdirection of Adequate Yearly Progress, and we allowed closet segregationists to direct the implementation of policies that we knew would result in our being the guys in the black hats responsible for “the failure of public education.”


The states and legislatures and governors offices and local school boards could have fixed American public education any time they wanted to. They had something different in mind, and it will cost us.

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Amen

This. Kickoff is Thursday night.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ye Olde Flood Insurance Lament

Oh, woe is the taxpayer who is unjustly coerced into subsidizing the National Flood Insurance Program! Why must those Americans who engage in risky behavior be sheltered from risk. It's like "a special program to offer subsidized health insurance to people who refuse to wear seat belts!"

Like a train that is never late, we expect to see national pundits question the amount of government spending while reacting to natural and man made disasters involving water. Though I'm more used to hearing such business from the Ron Paul wing of suicidal libertarianism than to hear it from the pages of Ezra Klein's blog, the Daily Dish, and Think Progress.

Maybe even the left needs a hard lesson in losing money in order to save money. Yes, the Feds lose money on subsidized flood insurance. Yes, if the nation didn't subsidize flood insurance, people, businesses, and industry would pay higher premiums to live in flood-prone areas. Yes, we ought to figure out better ways to mitigate damage to lives, property, and finances.

But don't ignore the facts. Almost everywhere humans live in this nation are flood-prone. Some of the most flood prone areas are the areas where there is the highest utility for commerce.

Right now, whole parts of the Northeast are underwater. Earlier this year, the Midwest was underwater, and the Mississippi River was closed due to flooding. In 2009, there was flooding in the upland South. Further stretching the "people ought not live in flooding areas" credibility were this year's flash floods in Arizona, an arid state that spent most of its disaster money on wildfires. Happened last year, too.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) estimates that the US economy took a $35 billion hit from natural disasters in 2011 (including flooding), and that was before Irene flooded New England. That total adds up to an estimated $750 billion cost to the US since 1980, and that's the conservative estimate.

I know folks like to think it can't happen to them, and that cutting off the Federal subsidy for flood insurance will keep those pesky individuals in the "moocher class" from taking advantage of living near rivers and oceans and lakes and creeks and, well, anywhere 2 inches of rain in an hour can collect, run downhill, and sweep away cars and homes. But that would raise the costs of every commerical activity in the United States of America.

Fix the levees. Raise the homes and businesses. Fund the program more robustly. Respond more effectively to disaster situations. Prepare more effectively for disaster situations. Mitigate the risks as best we can. By all means, let us have a serious conversation about the costs of flooding in this nation.

But you start that conversation asking why NFIP costs so much. Because the answer to that question will tell you exactly why the country is willing to take a loss to cover the cost, and the only people who question that are pundits with an agenda.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Why the State Must Act

Now, this is a withering take down of right-wing economic mythology. From a libertarian-leaning economist, no less.

HT: Patrick Appel at The Dish.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rising Tide 6

The conference is today at Xavier University in New Orleans. You can even tune in from out of town through the webcast or follow the day's programming on Twitter.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Irene & the East




It appears the East Coast is taking no chances with Irene. That's a good thing. Even as a Category 2, Irene is a huge storm. Violent rain bands are already over the Carolinas, and the radar images look like the heavy rain will continue for hours before and after landfall. And that's before considering the storm surge, which looks like it will be working the coast constantly for at least two changes of the tide. Big storms push a lot of water, after all.

This weekend, as New Orleanians get together to discuss the continuing state of things on the Gulf Coast, my thoughts and prayers will be with my friends and family in the East.

Despite the gallows humor from those areas of the country that live their lives on the hurricane coast (doubtless inspired from the earthquake jokes earlier in the week), there is nothing fun about high wind, flooding rain, storm surges, property damage, and drowning. Especially in cases where your own infrastructure works against you.

Y'all be safe. And Take. This. Seriously.

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Working With the Tea Party

Almost as predictable as political disingenuity from the right comes the clockwork-like political reality denial of the professional left. Though it is always funny to see such reality-denial chided as not damaging enough.

Talking specifically about the union representative who takes issue with Obama "working with the Tea Party," I wonder if this guy knows how to count. Right now, the Tea Party is setting the agenda for the Republican Party, and (last time I checked) the Republican Party politically controls the United States House of Representatives. That same House of Representatives represents a fairly significant managing organization in the heirarchy of governance in the United States of America.

Barack Obama, as the President of the United States, must work with the Congress to acheive almost any policy goal.* It would be nice if Congress remembered that they also need to work with the President of the United States, but the current political majority wasn't sent to Washington to acheive policy goals, they were sent there to play-conservative-on-television and represent one of the greatest marketing schemes in United States history. Redistricting, combined with a dismemberment of the political opposition at state and local levels, means that the majority will suffer no political consequences in the absence of policy acheivements.

That makes the President's job more difficult, especially when it comes to getting Federal policy into a position to support job growth in an unsustainable economy. Add another level of difficulty when you accept that the Tea Party isn't going anywhere for a while. Especially if professional left-wing organizations can't win state elections in states where they have the most advantages. While I hear a lot of folks to the left always complaining about this President's inability to lead and to enact progressive policy, he's actually gotten a tremendous amount of work done considering the odds stacked against him.

Which brings me to my next points:

One: unions need to evolve if they wish to remain relevant. Our current economy is unsustainable, and too many union jobs are based on government subsidies and loopholes to businesses they work for, manufacturing unsustainable products like gas guzzling SUV's, and work in struggling public sectors (schools, prisons, police).

Two: Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives need to start focusing on local and state issues. Right now, there is an outsized interest in national issues beyond the influence of most of the DLP "base." This is good policy. Jobs can be created by getting a handle on ineffective local or state policies and prioritizing the value of public education. Local focus might be able to get more money out of the hands of Wall Street and get some cash back onto Main Street. It would also be good politics, as the GOP and Tea Party nationwide have been able to portray DLP as the architechts of every problem, turn that portrayal into local political capital, and cash that capital in for national political priorities. There is no matching political capital generator for the center or the left.


* - Except on Libya, apparently.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Read Their Lips

No new taxes ever, for any reason whatsoever, except on working people and businesses looking to hire Americans.

[P]ayroll-tax cuts are the sort of tax break most likely to "get the economy moving again" during a recession. (Because they put money in the hands of people most likely to spend it and therefore boost other businesses. And on balance they lower the cost of adding new workers.) Income-tax breaks at the top end are least likely to create new demand or jobs. (Because they go to people who have a lower "marginal propensity to spend" and are more likely to park the money in the bank.)


Makes sense to me. I'd reckon that, if they made this a really big issue, Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives might start cracking the false narrative of Republican Tax Relief, kneecap support for the Bush Tax Cuts, gain some desperately needed political capital, and hammer the GOP on a fundamental economic vision for America. This situation, after all, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Barack Obama cut taxes so that working people and small businesses were the primary beneficiary. It also demonstrates that Republicans, who have literally picked "not raising taxes" as their hill to die on in the Debt Ceiling debates, are actually willing to raise taxes whenever it is politically convenient to do so.

And by "raise taxes," I'm using the GOP definition which includes: letting certain tax cuts expire, closing loopholes, ending subsidies, and the spectre of raising taxes at some future time.

So now that we've determined what kind of tax opponnents Republicans really are, all that's left is negotiating. Oh, and spreading the word to the American people before the GOP is able to work its way onto both sides of this issue as well.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Fake Cattle

Truth begins to emerge about Rick "Miracle Worker" Perry's Texas.

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Always Right

Republicans are never wrong. They've always got people working the angles, so the Democrats can take the blame.

Remember all the Libya war hate from the Republicans? That was an easy position to go on the news and advocate back when the rebels looked like they were about to get thrown into the sea by Qadaffi's mercenaries, wasn't it?

But now that the Libya intervention seems to have worked, the pro-interventionist Republicans get to blame the President for not getting involved soon enough.

I really like how no one in the GOP even acknowledges that there is a difference of opinion within their own party. That's a powerful media strategy, my friends.

Same as it ever was.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Behaving Badly

There's a lot of cultural nonsense about how enlightened Europeans are versus the boorish behavior of Americans. Then things like this happen and we're reminded that anyone from any nation or any culture can behave like a total dick.

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Republicans Don't Care About Spending

Worried about government spending? Worried about the deficit? Worried about a balanced budget? Worried about the national debt? Think the USA has a "spending problem" and not a "revenue problem?"

Republicans don't. Otherwise they wouldn't have been sending dozens of funding requests for government projects in their districts.

You know what, I'm down with putting people to work now and getting all these projects funded now. As long as the President publicizes the shit out of the fact that all this government spending is what Republicans ask for when the cameras are turned off. He should sign into law each district's requests and call them Republican Stimulus requests. They are the ones who made stimulus a dirty word, after all.

All that fear-mongering about the state of the country's finances is just talk-talk. They love stimulus and bringing home the bacon just as much as any other politician.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Declaration of Victory

In Georgia, politics will no longer be decided along partisan, political party lines. Instead, all decisions will be made based on intraparty politics.

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School's Out Forever

It is time to stop beating around the bush and start talking about what these people are saying and what their goals are: Many mainstream Republicans want to de-legitimize and deconstruct public education as a concept in the United States of America.

This isn't their sole historical property, mind you. There was a time not so long ago when populist Southern Democratic governors stood in schoolhouse doors and fought public education as well. These are old questions, it is an old fight. And Democrats don't have a very good record of holding political allies responsible for the failing state of many public schools across the land.

That being said, there are two questions that must be asked about public school: Do you think that every child in the United States should be offered the opportunity to obtain a basic education? Do you think a government organization is the most effective way to deliver this basic education to the most possible children?

The current answer from the right wing continues to be "no," and "hell, no." That answer dominates the mainstream Republican Party mindset.

Let's not mince words, those kinds of beliefs are not political non-negotiables. Our own national history has often been built on the fights for universal access to basic education. It often took generations of struggle to reform school policy to include one group or another, or to fund one group the same as any other. Once one goal was acheived, it opened up a new host of problems that had to be addressed, and the political debate continued. That debate never ended, it just changed.

Right now, those answers to those two questions are winning the national debate. They are doing so because any political opposition refuses to accept that those questions make up the heart of the debate.

The current crop of Republicans is out to destroy the concept of public education in the United States of America.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Poisoning the Food and Water

Who needs all this pesky environmentalism stuff, anyway? We're not even talking global warming climate change anymore. We're talking about all the poison within 100 miles of home.

And for the poison just outside that circle, there's still oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. But don't worry, BP assures us it has nothing to do with them.

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Not a Counterpart

First of all, you'll have to forgive me for taking another look at what Van Jones is doing. The hit job against this young man came about back when the right was still creating narratives on cheaply bought credibility, back before all the fabrications about ACORN, the academic cover of Kenyan anti-colonialism, and the absolute fantasy of the Ground Zero Mosque.

And as "pro-slavery" Republican Presidential candidates discovered, it isn't difficult to put your name on a petition without realizing what's in it.

Not that I think Jones is out there creating a left-wing response to the Tea Party. That's nearly impossible in the first place. Organizations have been trying to unify the left at a grassroots level for generations without much success; or maybe I should say too much success - many of these organizations already exist, and compete for the progressive activist for funding and involvement.

Secondly, is that really such a good idea? The Tea Party has terrible approval numbers nationwide because A) their unifying message is simply a hatred of all things liberal, B) their marketing has burned through a tremendous number of empty platitudes, and C) they have very little long-term credibility outside their core supporters. Hell, even their charges about Van Jones have probably been forgotten as the outrage machine has found new false emergencies to rant about.

Pardon me if I don't think "the left" ever needs an organization that fits that billing. Hopefully, it sounds like Jones is actually working on something different, and the Tea Party comparisons are going to come mainly from a media standpoint.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

All Hat & Fake Cattle

If Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives had two ounces of sense to rub together, they'd make Rick "Miracle Man with a Silver Bullet" Perry's campaign for President the poster child for both the policies that got America into all our current messes and the politics of right-wing cognitive dissonance.

In fact, they could go after Perry for not being a fiscal conservative and only playing one when the cameras are rolling. That would, of course, make the "Perry is the Next Bush" politics far more credible than the crap they are likely thinking of running.

Such a focus will be far more credible than the coming campaign against the Confederate States of America some of those never-squander-an-opportunity-to-lose-the-South professional bloggers and activists are doubtlessly planning on running. It would also allow the DLP to actively challenge the very right-wing narratives and political marketing that have been so effective since 1994.

HT: Andrew Sullivan.

Perry is going to be the nominee. He is the embodiment of the current Right-Wing, GOP, Tea Party alliance. He displays all their strengths and weaknesses, and could give President Obama and what Democrats remain an actual foil to run against and turn their own numbers around.

And they don't even have to make stuff up to do it.

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Bonkers: The Democrats & Congress

It doesn't matter that John Boehner is as unpopular as Nancy Pelosi on the generic ballot or whatever.

A. Pelosi's unpopularity all came from one side of the aisle, unifying an opposition and allowing them to sell that unpopularity to independents. There is no similar marketing campaign to turn independents against Boehner.

B. If Democrats are somehow able to make Boehner's popularity an issue in national congressional elections, they'll be asking independents to exchange his leadership for....Nancy Pelosi. In a contest between two incredibly unpopular choices, the incumbent has an edge, and the best marketing has an edge. The GOP has both.

C. Republicans and Independents-who-vote-Republican will not express their displeasure with incumbent Republicans by voting for Democrats.

D. District boundaries matter. Both in how many likely voters live in each district (favors the GOP) and how much campaign infrastructure can be organized for Congressional elections (favors the GOP).

E. You have to have electable Democratic candidates to run in those Republican-leaning districts, and they have to be able to organize campaign infrastructure.

The Republicans will maintain control of the US House of Representatives. They will actually increase their majority. The Senate will be under the control of the GOP, possibly to a supermajority. The President can get reelected, but only if Democrats nationwide start realizing how many disadvantages they are actually facing in 2012.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why Redistricting Matters

Georgia was a de facto one party state. Now they're a de jure one party state.

2023. At least a few people realize what's going on here.

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More Reality With That?

There are still a lot of folks who aren unwilling to accept the reality presented by the loss of the Wisconsin recall effort. I know it is a lot of reality to accept, and it isn't the reality that was thought to exist before the polls closed. But you can take your medicine now and start figuring out how to do things differently, or you can hold fast and keep losing.

Here are six things the Wisconsin votes showed us, the most important of which is that unions, under their current SOP, are finished as a major political force in this country.

As I've been telling people, union-busting, defund public education Republicans hold the government of Wisconsin. They took them in general elections, and survived a mulligan set of special recall elections in which the full force of union political power and money was brought to bear. Again, in Wisconsin.

You don't get more game-set-match than that.

Time to reinvent the wheel.

(HT: Andrew Sullivan)

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Structural Politics

So, already, we've seen the right-wing go after the state governments and legislatures while Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives focused on national issues and ignored the power of redistricting.

Now we see the end-game of Federal Judiciary stacking, while blocking young justices nominated by opposing political interests.

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The Trickle

In a Tea Party Economy, Washington does not attempt to land the unusustainable house of cards economy fall softly, it just lets the collapse trickle down. By the time it gets to the local level:

State and local officials face tough hurdles for the foreseeable future as service needs will not diminish, but assistance formerly received from higher levels of government are likely to be cut. These same elected officials will have to face an electorate who feels “taxed enough already”, and aren’t likely to want to hear that the services they have been receiving have at least partially been financed by deficits in Washington D.C.


Truth hurts.

But don't worry, I'm sure the folks who play conservative on television will find some way to blame all this on Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives.

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Red Tape Hurdles

There are some oversimplified narratives our nation entertains as if the events they describe happen in a vaccum. They're usually used to deflect responsibility for a problem from those who can actuall fix the problem.

Like "Teachers are responsible for the state of public education, and blaming school administrators, school boards, state offices and state legislatures are just excuses." Or "Blighted properties exist because poor people don't take care of the large and valuable properties they own, and cities can't do anything about it."

Another big one is "Amtrak specifically and trains in general don't make money," as if laws didn't exist to specifically make their overhead more expensive and hamstring their ability to make money and possibly turn a profic.

As if the laws Amtrak must follow rained upon the organization out of the clear blue sky.

And let's not even talk about how their competition is able to "make money."

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Texas A&M to the SEC

Team Speed Kills disects the rumour mill. It all comes down to this:

The SEC is a great conference the way it is and should not expand just to expand. But if the Big XIIish is going to spin apart -- and it eventually will -- the SEC has to get Texas A&M.


While I think this probably means things will happen sooner rather than later, I still come back to the same question I keep thinking of: what other team gets the invite?

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Know Truth: The Perry Presidency

The general election for President of the United States of America began last Wednesday night, when Texas Governor Rick Perry "slipped" some information about Texas A&M joining the SEC, and dominating the millions-strong college football fan news cycle for 24 hours. That was followed up on Thursday night, when a staffer "let slip" that Perry would be announcing his assumed candidacy for the Presidency on Saturday. Governor Perry will be speaking in South Carolina on Saturday, and will sew up the Republican nomination for President of the United States of America before he's finished. That contest is all over but the shouting - everyone else is now vying for second place, and a favorable speaking time at the Republican National Convention.

As I've said before, not only is Perry the most likely candidate to win the GOP nomination, he is the most likely Republican to win the White House in 2012.

And the biggest "political liability" he has - or that his opponents think he has - is the "neo Confederate" ties that really aren't. While opponents will portray this as much more than it is, all that does is play to the crowd that already agrees with them, and build his supporters up. He'll be able to counter that with The Dukes of Hazzard and Smokey and the Bandit imagery, and his apologists will note that such "liberal" stalwarts as the late Senator Robert Byrd were actual Klan members and were still welcome as part of the caucus. And who looks more un-American, those folks, or the Kenyan anti-colonialist?

If his opponents were very smart, they'd link him with the Tea Party (which has lower ratings than even the CSA) and remind everyone that Perry = Bush III. And keep reminding people that these are not scare tactics, they are the stated beliefs of the Republican-NeoCon-Tea Party Caucus. This is how they want to "govern" our nation:

1. We'll be at war with Iran and Syria in his first term, while gearing up for war against Venezuela in his second. If they use anything like Bush's strategy, the USA will be at war until 2036. Run charts showing how much all that will cost, especially because we won't be out of Iraq and Afghanistan first.

2. The inability to cut defense spending, and the promise not to "raise taxes" or "end subsidies" or "close loopholes" means deep Social Security and Medicare cuts. Far from being changed and made solvent, they could actually be closed down as "unaffordable" entitlement programs. And if Social Security and Medicare are doomed, so much for any social welfare or shelter the homeless or feed the hungry programs. Those will be exported to charitable organizations first thing.

3. Banks and Financial Institutions will be able to do whatever the hell they want with your money and investments, leading to the next bubble, the next bust, and the next Panic. That's the Tea Party economy!

4. A lame duck Obama might be able to end the Bush Tax Cuts for three months until President Perry, a GOP Senate Supermajority, and a Tea Party House of Representatives delivers even bigger and deeper tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans: "job creators" who aren't creating jobs, despite the lowest tax rates, biggest loopholes, and most luxurious subsidies in in the post WWII era. Hell, they may finally be able to end the income tax this time, and take us back to 1829 instead of 1929.

5. You thought unions were in trouble before? Hah.

6. So much for all the gay marriage legislation at the state level. Instead of going after corrupt police departments and civil rights violations, the Perry Justice Department will go after those states with gay marriage and any state proposing a civil union, and probably stop enforcing hate crimes laws. DADT will be back with a vengeance, and no company that allows partner benefits will receive any government subsidy at any level. Equal Rights advocates will get hammered so hard, they'll start fondly remembering Clinton and the Defense of Marriage Act.

7. Drill, baby, drill. It doesn't matter that gasoline prices won't go down relative to the economy. It doesn't matter how dangerous this policy is. It doesn't matter how many subsidies this policy already showers on fossil fuel industries. It doesn't matter.

8. The Environment? Global Warming? Have fun with that, fellas. As natural disasters continue to overwhelm our infrastructure that we won't be paying for (pork), droughts and floods continue to make economic waves of instability for those not affected by disaster even as insurance companies lobbyists make sure no one is held accountable for screwing over disaster victims regardless of coverage. Rick Perry will pray for you, though, while your house washes away in the flood, your crops whither in the drought, and the earthquakes level your city.

9. And you can forget suing the chemical or fossil fuel companies when they poison the food and water and air your children eat, drink, and breathe. Tort reform, baby! Your kid's health is frivolous.

10. And when people take to the streets to protest all this stuff, they'll just be labeled the enemy. And what do you think the Perry administration will do with all those folks who can be called:

America-hating, baby-killing, terrorist-sympathizer who, with help from my illegal immigrant friends and union thugs, will follow our illegitimately elected Kenyan anti-colonialist President to turn this nation into a communist economy with a sharia legal code that follows the homosexual agenda.


My guess is, the reaction will not be kind.

Obama better get his game in gear, and Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives need to figure out what exactly is at stake in 2012 and start telling people what politicians like Perry really stand for. The Rebel Battle Flag is the least of your worries.

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Making Stuff Work

On the other hand, look what simplified and well stated zoning has done for Freret Street in New Orleans.

Things done correctly tend to work, after all.

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Falling Apart

Let's try this:

1: An historic building is grandfathered in to a zoning change
2: The buiding changes owners
3: The building closes for needed renovations
4: The renovations take some time
5: During that time, the city removes the historic building's historic use
6: There is no other way to use the building
7: The city offers a longer, more tedious, and possibly less successful process to amend the zoning

For a city like New Orleans, where historic character is theoretically held in high esteem, this is ridiculous. It proves the lie behind what passes for historic preservation in this town, and the joke that is zoning here. This city is in such terrible condition in many ways because there are government regulations that force it to be this way.

And that's not just some sort of Tea Party "goverment = bad" rhetoric. Regulations are necessary, but you have to make sure they work for your city and don't kneecap your neighborhoods. You have to have a process where historic buildings can be purchased and updated and renovated so those properties can maintain value. If you require specific, specialized renovations, that work is going to take time. If that work takes time, you have to recognize that when it comes to zoning issues.

Most importantly, some aspect of reality must be factored into your decision-making process. Who the F wants to buy a 14 unit aparment building off the current owners and renovate it again for one or two family living?

Here's a few scenarios:

A: This will artificially drive down the value of the property for the current owners, who have already sunk money into the project. Some well connected individual can come along and buy the property so the current owners take a loss, then use their connections to get the zoning fixed and make bigger profits.

B: This will artificially drive down the value of the property for the current owners, who have already sunk money into the project. Some very wealthy individual comes along and buys the property, tears down the historic building, and constructs something more realistic to reflect the zoning.

C: This will artificially drive down the value of the property for the current owners, so they let the property deteriorate. It won't appraise for as much, but what is their incentive to keep up a property they cannot use? As a St. Charles Avenue home, this isn't likely to happen, but anywhere else this could contribute to blight.

You'll notice that "make a reality-based decision about the property; charge the owners a small fine for being late on the renovations; allow the property to go back into commerce and increase the city's property tax base, historical character, and housing stock" are not a part of the viable scenarios here. That would be to "win-win-win" for a city like New Orleans.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The SEC Year in Preview

By Spencer Hall, can be found here.

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Dispatches from the Tea Party Economy

Remember how the fake issue of John Kerry's boat was considered newsworthy some years ago because it brought into question the taxes he owed on it?

Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives across the nation should make Georgia Tea Party Congressman Tom Graves' business transactions a mater of national media attention, stat. And, here's a hint to the DLP - don't wait for the mainstream media to do it for you because they won't talk about it until someone else makes it an issue.

And there are a lot of issues to choose from, here:

Banks colluding with politicians to offer millions of dollars in loans the banks knew couldn't be paid back. Loans made based on shaky grounds anyway. Non-payment of taxes and fees accrued over the course of the litigation. Real estate falling into disrepair and contributing to blight.

And of course the "do as I say but not as I do" problem. These guys are Tea Party Republicans, after all, who make it their business to decry spending money and accruing debt as well as those 'free-spending, irresponsible liberals.' I mean, if your main political position is that the other side acts irresponsibly, you open yourself up to serious criticism when you yourself are anything less than above board in your business affairs.

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On the Other Foot

What would the national reaction be if there was a liberal version of the Tea Party? Though the craziest thing about this is that nothing would change. They already say all the worst things they can about liberals in this country.

Hell, half the time, they ain't even talking about liberals when they say those things: they're talking about pragmatists, moderates, centrists, and even really real conservatives. There's only one thing anyone has to do to enter the "Enemy of America" club in the eyes of these radical right-wingers: disagree with radical right-wingery. The only acceptable version of America, to them, is their own version, no matter how make-believe or utopian that version is.

HT: To the Dish where we are also reminded about the peaceful, non-violent nature of America's internet "Christian" population. < / sarcasm >

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National Repercussions

The focus of Peach Pundit is on Georgia state politics, so when the politics of other states show up on the front page, it is generally for a purpose. Here's their thoughts on the Wisconsin recall elections, and if you were looking for a quick summary of what those elections meant, you won't find it put more succinctly:

The election results will likely embolden Washington conservatives to stand their ground in upcoming budget debates.
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Imagine the crushing effect that a Wisconsin Democratic takeover victory would have had on state-level conservative reformers across the country. After all, our state governments are often the place where new ideas are incubated and then carried to Washington.


I added emphasis to that last part, because that statement by itself is of vital importance to understand why Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives continue to lose elections as well as policy and political questions. The GOP has gone after the states first, have built up their party organization, and have no end of ideas or candidates to bring off the bench into the national spotlight. Those ideas and candidates almost always have a support structure, press, and political review ready when they debut. Not only that, but they already have some idea what opposition to expect and how best to counter or discredit that opposition.

It didn't take long before another Peach Pundit front-pager chimed in:

Republicans are quick to note that Democrats just spent an amount that could run three competitive U.S. Senate races and their result was to pick off two State Senators, one with serious personal baggage. Moreover, they point to the fact that national union interests flooded a major union state with cash and workers, only to have the majority of Republican reformers affirmed by voters.


It isn't just Republicans who should note this dynamic. As I said before, the DLP needed to win or tie the Wisconsin recall elections. They did not. If DLP's can lose to Republicans in Wisconsin over the issue of union-busting and defunding public education, the rout is officially on: in 2012, expect the GOP to add to their number of state legislators, to bolster their majority in the US House of Representatives, to gain the majority in the US Senate, and probably oust the incumbent President of the United States.

And that's just national politics; as far as unions go, this election consigns their current political clout to the dustbin. They are finished under their current operating model. Their two options now is to deny that reality and continue losing competitive elections by inches or come up with a new way of organizing, adding value for their membership, and marketing themselves poltically.

Kyle Wingfield at the AJC puts it more succinctly:

Republicans held onto four of the six — and thus a one-seat majority in the Senate — by an average of 6 percentage points. The cumulative vote was 53 percent to 47 percent in the GOP’s favor.


A union-busting, defund public education GOP in Wisconsin.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Keep Your Money At Home

But not under the mattress.

Here's someone with a $15 Trillion stimulus plan for the American domestic economy.

Of course, reverse engineer this idea, and you'll find that most of that money is currently going into the hands of professional gamblers Wall Street financial planners, corporate interests that aren't creating jobs, and real estate oversupply. Is it any wonder why the current American economy is unsustainable and stagnant?

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Southern Strategy Endgame

Why won't the Democratic Party regain the US House of Representatives for the next 12 years (at least)? For the same reason the Democratic Party is going to permanently lose Georgia State Senate and House seats in this round of reapportionment. Georgia House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams puts it this way:

They accomplished this by purging the state of Georgia of white Democrats.


Maybe Representative Abrams needs to get together with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and together they can tell the rest of the Professional Democratic, Liberal, and Progressive side of the aisle why they keep losing policy and political issues to the other side.

HT: Peach Pundit.

Of course, it would be par for the course for Republicans to point out that this kind of thing is A) the same thing Democratic officials did to the GOP for two generations, and B) that this is simply the logical result of the Voting Rights Act. < / Rolling Eyes >

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Truth About Blight

Owen Courreges at the Uptown Messenger examines some of the legal hurdles to addressing blight in New Orleans.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

ENOUGH

Volunteers in London take a stand against the rioters. As it always has been, and God willing, will forever be.

"As I watched those white fires flame up and die down, watched the yellow blazes grow up and disappear, I thought, what a puny effort is this, to burn a great city."

- Edward R. Murrow, October 10, 1940


We are reminded, at times like these, not to confuse thuggery like this with civil disobedience. We should also remember that riots or looting has not been a problem in other places often accused of being riot and looting-prone.

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"Unable to Move"

Athenae at First-Draft talks about what is at stake this week in Wisconsin.

I feel like most people know what kind of country we are. They know we're mean and paralyzed and small. They know we've talked ourselves into being unable to move, and either they can't see how we can get out of it, or they don't care if we ever do.

This is how it works: You start out just not doing one thing because it's too hard, and pretty soon you can't do anything. We are a country that cannot button our shirt in the morning because we actually cannot conceive of the process by which we would do that, no matter how many shots of brandy we take to steady our nerves.


This election will mean different things to different people. To me, it will show us just how hard people are willing to fight for those things that defined America from 1929 to 2001. Win or tie, and there are still some things left of the old consensus, that cultural belief that we were on an bending arc towards a more perfect union. Lose, and the whole modern political complexion of the country will be forever changed, and the march to pre-1929 philosophies, so long consigned to the dustbin of history, will continue nearly unopposed.

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House of Cards

You play with fire long enough, you're liable to get burned.

If your object is to get back to the pre-1929 world economy, we're well on our way and it looks like the whole world is coming with us. Of course, all of this should have been expected, because what else do you think happens when the American government - maybe the one entity with the ability to spending enough money to land the economy safely - says they're going to stop spending money? Business leaders and stock brokers know that there is no one left to spend the money. Companies aren't spending money, despite massive tax breaks, subsidies, and loopholes. Individual people aren't spending money, because they're too busy trying to make ends meet. People in other nations aren't spending money, because their economies are based of the USA spending money.

Not only that, but if you borrow money from the USA, there is the very real possibility that a completely untrustworthy political group is going to put the brakes on you getting paid back so they can further curb the spending ability of the one organization left that can still spend money.

Thanks, Tea Party! Y'all own this economy, now. While all the kids may have pushed on the antique vase that ended up broken, the kid holding the baseball bat should recieve the most scrutiny. This isn't just the Tea Party Economy, y'all, this is the exactly stated results of their policies.

For a little while, it looked like we might get let down easy. The unsustainable economy America has been building over the last two generations was finally being exposed for the fraud it was. The panic of 2007-08 evaporated trillions of dollars in Monopoly Money from the economy, to the shock of many. The nation was bleeding jobs even as real estate oversupply sent house values tumbling below what owners and developers borrowed from the banks to pay for the land. Those are the types of jobs that aren't coming back, so not only are people going to need to find new jobs, they have to discover new ways to live within their means or create new jobs on their own. The whole time, the cost of health care continues to rise, along with prices of food and energy.

Of course, few politicians were willing to say in public how screwed the country is, lest they be called out for "making the situation worse" with a dose of reality. Out of our political caste, President Obama comes the closest to the truth the most often with the most consistentcy. And while that reality might draw derision from the Professional American Left, their national influence wanes the further away you get from the New York Times editorial pages.

On the other hand, talking about reality only draws howls and hatred from the fanatic and ideologically pure Right-Wing, content to sell cultural panic for the political capital necessary to win elections. At this point, the Right-Wing's stated policy goals include returning this country to a mythical utopia of stars-and-stripes-colored unicorns and business-friendly faeries where the government is based only on the parts of the Constitution they agree with. After all, the theory goes, how bad could things have been back in the days when the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery after Paul Revere raised his guns and bells to warn the British of an insane and armed American population?

And if you think incredible historical misconceptions are very different from the historical buffoonery of Bachmann and Palin, you're just kidding yourself.

Anyone mildly versed in United States history knows that pre-1929 economics would take us back to the boom and bust cycles of pre-1929 America, where the economy didn't experience "recessions" as often as it experienced "panics." Sound good? Try this: those economic panics happened so often they had to be labeled by the year instead of the decade, and often evaporated entire regions of national economic health.

The Right-Wing political sales pitch is more American Pie than Jim Crow, Segregation, and the legacy of slavery; more Strict Constructionist than Louisiana Purchase; more "right to work" than children in the coal mines; more seperate but equal vouchers instead of public education; and more Whistlin' Dixie than the Battle Cry of Freedom that eventually mtobilized the Union for total war.

Bobby Lee might have been revered by his soldiers and, later, an America that adores tragic heroes, but Grant and Sherman came after him with more men, more guns, more ammunition, more food, railcars to move all of those things and shoes on their soldiers' feet. I think of that any time a Tea Partier from the eleven states of the Old Confederacy talk to me about government being the problem.

These howlers aren't interested in the reality of the situation with the American economy, it only matters what they can sell the loudest to the 24 hour cable news consuming public. Discussing the real problems and real solutions would be difficult professionally and would make for boring television, after all.

Well, I doubt pre-1929 America was a boring place to live, based off the history I have read. Thanks to the Tea Party Economy and the right-wing, I think we're about to get a taste of just how "exciting" that kind of life would be.

(NOTE: This was scheduled to post Monday around lunch, and then I saw that Dante had posted Monday around breakfast, so I pushed it back.)
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Monday, August 08, 2011

Religion of Peace

Anybody care to take a guess at what religion the perpetrators of this crime identify with?

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The Problem With Protests

Jeffrey does some fine work covering the PCU-like, protest-for-protest's sake nonsense that helped legitimize the ALEC convention in New Orleans last week. Because nothing makes a bunch of lobbyists in suits look more adult than a bunch of smelly "anarchists" making fools of themselves outside:

As they came by shouting "This is what Democracy looks like" it occurred to me that they were probably right about that. Elites and lawmakers quietly dividing up the wealth of the nation in a hotel suite while clueless douchebags and idiot kids prattle on to no affect in the street is pretty much exactly what American democracy looks like in 2011.


For the longest time, I have believed that individuals who show up at protests like this are really actors paid by the "targets" of their "ire." Real protests don't look anything like that nonsense, they look and sound more like this.

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Getting to the bottom of the $2 trillion mistake.

Standard & Poor's downgraded the US to a AA+ rating over the weekend. The Treasury Department immediately fired back that Standard & Poor's analysis was based on a $2 trillion mistake. There are pretty smart people running Standard & Poor's but they are fallible. So ok, what sort of mistake?

From the Treasury:
Specifically, CBO calculated that the Budget Control Act, including its discretionary caps, would save $2.1 trillion relative to a “baseline” in which current discretionary funding levels grow with inflation.

S&P incorrectly added that same $2.1 trillion in deficit reduction to an entirely different “baseline” where discretionary funding levels grow with nominal GDP over the next 10 years. Relative to this alternative “baseline,” the Budget Control Act will save more than $4 trillion over ten years – or over $2 trillion more than S&P calculated. (The baseline in which discretionary spending grows with nominal GDP is substantially higher because CBO assumes that nominal GDP grows by just under 5 percent a year on average, while inflation is around 2.5 percent a year on average.


Entirely different baseline? What the hell? How do you get a second baseline? Well, the Treasury Department doesn't want to say. That makes me suspicious. What does Standard & Poor's have to say about this? (Stupid Flash. Sorry, for not linking directly, but if you go to standardandpoors.com there's a press release called "S&P Clarifies Assumption Used On Discretionary Spending Growth" currently on the main page).

We used the Alternative Fiscal Scenario of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which
includes an assumption that government discretionary appropriations will grow at the same rate as nominal
GDP.


There's your second baseline. Standard & Poor's took the savings estimated from the debt deal which was based on the CBO's Baseline and applied it to the Alternative Fiscal Scenario. But why even look at the Alternative Fiscal Scenario? What is the difference between the two?

Time to ask the CBO directly:
The budget outlook is much bleaker under the alternative
fiscal scenario, which incorporates several changes to current
law that are widely expected to occur or that would
modify some provisions of law that might be difficult to
sustain for a long period. In this scenario, CBO assumed
that Medicare’s payment rates for physicians would gradually
increase (which would not happen under current
law) and that several policies enacted in the recent health
care legislation that would restrain growth in health care
spending would not continue in effect after 2020. In
addition, under the alternative scenario, spending on
activities other than the major mandatory health care
programs, Social Security, and interest would fall below
the average level of the past 40 years relative to GDP,
though not as low as under the extended-baseline scenario.
More important, CBO assumed for this scenario
that most of the provisions of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts
would be extended, that the reach of the alternative minimum
tax would be kept close to its historical extent, and
that over the longer run, tax law would evolve further so
that revenues would remain at about 19 percent of GDP,
near their historical average.


There are some odds and ends the CBO deems likely but aren't actual law yet. The linchpin of these arguments is that the Bush tax cuts will be extended. I think it's fair of Standard & Poor's to assume the Alternative Fiscal Scenario is closer to reality, but the Treasury Department was correct. It is absolutely a mistake to apply savings from the debt deal which were projected under the CBO's standard baseline to the Alternative Scenario. The CBO didn't calculate savings based on the Alternative so if S&P believes that baseline to be the more accurate one, they would need to do their own calculations.

Instead, S&P admitted their mistake and went with the standard CBO baseline. Good catch by the Treasury Department. Even if I can understand S&P's reasoning, you can't switch baselines like that. A final point on the mistake was that it wasn't a $2 trillion mistake as far as S&P was concerned. That $2 trillion is based on a 10-year projection. S&P deals with 3-5 year projections. It was a $345 billion mistake.

It didn't change anything. S&P still downgraded the US. You can discuss the whys of that decision if you want. This post was mainly to get to the bottom of this mistake business since it was so widely reported yet so poorly defined.

Another Left-Wing Narrative

"Poor and Working People make up one politically homogeneous demographic." Another can be added to this: "The Democratic Party represents poor and working people."

Right-wing narratives are easy to spot, and are marketed better. All you have to do is listen to a Republican, a Tea Partier, or Fox News for five minutes, and you'll hear no less than three repetitions of some assumed and politically marketed false choice or oversimplification sold with all the truth of accepted common wisdom.

On the left, they're a little more difficult to spot. One reason is because "the left" is really a loose, bickering coalition of competing interests that can hardly agree on any issue. They usually have to cut deals to achieve policy goals, and can't often get everything they want at once because so many varied stakeholders have to be in on the deal. That's one structural reason why the right-wing is usually the group setting the terms of every political conversation.

Luckily, every once in a while, I'm reminded that a few overarching left-wing narratives do exist that tie a huge majority of "the left" together. In this case, it is a narrative often used in dismay or disgruntlement by someone on the left, who is frustrated that politics are hard, and that the Democratic, Liberal, and Progressive coalition that makes up "the left" must usually factor into their governing philosophies the political priorities of the Libertarian, Conservative, Tea Party, and Republican coalition that makes up "the right."

This is especially true when "the right" has some sort of political power or capital that they are willing to cash in to get policy concessions from "the left." Such policy concessions are not seen as a necessary part of the governing process, they are considered wholesale surrender of all progressive political priorities everywhere and for all time, that will throw us immediately back into the 3rd World poverty and vassalism of the Dark Ages.

Since the Democratic Party so obviously has broken with the Liberals and Progressives in their coalition, the only answer is a third party that really represents poor and working people.

Just like the Tea Party is waiting on a 3rd party ready to represent the wishes of Real Americans (tm).

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Guilty

The list of charges.

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The Tax-Cut Gnomes

Step One: Cut Taxes
Step Two: ?
Step Three: Make Profit!

Tax cuts are supposed to be some miracle cure for economic woes, period. That's the deeply held faith of so many Republicans, Libertarians, small-l libertarians, Tea Partiers, and Right Wingers. That's what they sell in their political marketing to America.

If it was really true, where are the jobs? The United States has some of the lowest tax rates in our nation's history. Many of the states with the lowest tax rates also have the highest rates of unemployment (Georgia & Louisiana). Low taxes, tax cuts, tax loopholes, and all the subsidies our governments provide haven't been able to provide any national economic security for a decade. Jobs haven't been created or retained. Wages have only increased for the top 1%. New industries and businesses have had trouble opening. The only way the powers-that-be could pretend our nation made any economic gains in the last decade was to give us a shell game, where our whole economy become less dynamic, more dependent on cheap energy that no longer exists, a house of cards real estate bubble, and illegal labor.

In the face of all this truth, how do the right wing's political marketers reply to the burning wreckage of policy that is their biggest and most successful advertising?

Why, they double down on the bullshit and blame the economy on a make believe tax hike orchestrated by a tax cutting President, that's what.

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Twelve Years

The next time the Democratic Party is able to name a Speaker of the US House of Representitives will be in 2023 at the earliest. Thus are the results of abandoning state parties and allowing the GOP to manage the congressional redistricting process in a majority of the United States.

And remember, that 2023 number is at the earliest. That's if the Democrats figure out right now the importance of reasonable districts, make that an issue with voters, and deliver on those promises. I don't expect that to happen.

Unfortunately, there are too many national Democratic representatives who like consolidating likely Democratic voters in their own districts and protecting their own job security. They will continue to allow the more numerous GOP to draw Democratic voters out of the more numerous Republican districts. While they will keep thier jobs (for a time) their actions effectively kneecap any chance Democrats have to put some of those other districts into play in general elections.

This is why I laugh at those Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives who are gnashing their teeth over Obama's "surrender" on the debt ceiling. The President is a pragmatist, a realist, and got the best deal he was able to get out of an undefeatable, stark raving mad Republican and Tea Party controlled Congress. And the reason he has to make deals like that is because too many of his party's House caucus surrendered the states to the GOP years ago.

That's why next year's "Mediscare" campaign isn't going to swing control of the Congress. And if that doesn't work, the Dems are out of political options. If voters in the majority of Congressional districts don't like their incumbent, they're going to choose another Republican in the Primary.

And what's really going to bake your noodle is the effect this will have on Senate and Presidential elections. The greatest voter turnout occurs when voters believe they have a form of agency, and that their vote matters. If Democratic voters live in a GOP district, and there is no credible Dem challenger, they are less likely to go to the polls and pull the lever for other offices. It may not make much of a difference, but in a country as evenly divided as this one, it could make all the difference.

I read an article the other day that was as much science-fiction as it was political. It was about Nancy Pelosi plotting her return to the Speaker's chair. I wonder if she realizes she'll likely have to serve in Congress for 20 more years before she even sniffs another chance. My money says Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn will be retired Congress long before the next time the Dems choose a Speaker.

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Separate in Inherently Unequal

We're still learning this lesson, it seems.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Historic Truths

Right now, a bunch of Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives are whining loudly about the Debt Deal, a political battle they lost to a group of opponents whose every policy and political priority was exposed as either a failure or a fraud between 2000 and 2008, and from 2008 to 2010. So, of course, the most important thing they want to do today is remind people about how terrible they are at politics, and expect people to reelect them so they can continue losing to occupants from the clown car.

The excuses are plentiful, but the "American people are just a bunch of racist, ignorant, Bible-thumping rednecks biding their time until the South Rises Ag'in" train is never late. (HT: Jeffrey) Yeah, I know that article makes a lot of very good points, but the macro topic is the old DLP abdication of political agency at the hands of Americans who "just don't get it."

The article discusses symptoms while ignoring the actual illness. Yes, the far right will never accept policy victories delivered to them from Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives any more than from Centrists or Pragmatists. To those true believers, anyone to their left is a baby-killing, terrorist-sympathizing, America-hating, Godless, Kenyan anti-colonialist, fascist, communist, Marxist, homosexual-agenda-following illegitimate, and no amount of giving them what they want is going to change their mind. Seriously, everyone to their left could vote unanimously for their entire platform tomorrow, and we'd still be trying to destroy America in their eyes.

That is a fundamentally ridiculous set of beliefs for a party to hold, and they strain the bounds of credibility. So what is the larger illness that keeps the Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives from winning political victories against these individuals? Very easily stated: the right wing chooses what political issue to fight over, makes an issue out of it, makes a bunch of stuff up about it and then dares members of the DLP to address their make believe claims and come and knock them off their hill. That is not a winning proposition, because you can't meet crazy with crazy. The right knows how the DLP is going to respond before the DLP even knows what they're going to be talking about. The DLP responds by repeating right-wing talking points, disputing right-wing talking points, and generally giving more credibility and attention to right wing talking points than they are due.

Here's the rub: they sacrifice their own momentum to do so. If we're discussing right-wing issues, we are not discussing progress-prone issues. By the time the right has won a political battle, like the Debt Deal, the DLP's only recourse is to try and figure out what is to blame. The blame usually lands on the people in the "red states" who are "voting against their personal interests" because they are "dumb." That way, anyone who was even considering giving ear to DLP priorities is turned off or written off. Nowhere do I see critiques of DLP's own political marketing strategois.

As a Southern Liberal who has watched the professional political class hand the South over to the GOP, the Tea Party, and the Fire-Eaters Born Anew, this drives me crazy.

For example, there is a way the DLP could spool up a huge progress-prone political campaign right this instant that reminds people that the right wing has zero credibility and is in fact attempting to re-write American history to replace it with bullshit, reminds people the progress our nation has made when it comes to our social justice history - advances owed to unabashed small-l liberalism, comes down on the side of family values, legitimizes African-Americans as part of the American society, and exposes the mythology of the "good ole days" as nothing more than unvarnished feudalism that we are happy to be rid of. And it teaches a little bit about real American history and how our nation has overcome nearly insurmountable obstacles in the past to become a better, more exceptional place. Not only is that something we should all be very proud of, it celebrates America with regard to this nation's unique story.

I am, of course, discussing the Antebellum Myth About Slave Families and the Right Wingers Who Tell Such Lies to the American People. Every Democrat, every Liberal, every Progressive should be on the news right now talking about this issue.

Stop whining about losing the Debt Deal politics, start talking real American values, start pointing out the foes to those values, and start winning the next round of Debt Deal politics. That's how this stuff works, y'all.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

SEC Expansion (Again)

Should Missouri join the SEC? Some folks think it would be a good fit. Others don't.

Why is this even a topic of discussion? Because last year's conference realignment talk featured a few good moves, a lot of bad ideas, and one line of thinking that refuses to die: "Texas A&M should be in the SEC."

As one of the folks who thinks Texas A&M would be a good fit, let me start off with this: the SEC does not need to expand right now. The brand is strong, the sports are strong, and the money is strong. Any moves made should be decidedly win-win moves, or they aren't worth it, from a conference standpoint. Unless the additions verifiably increase the conference's worth, they are not worth making.

I can see what TAMU brings to the table. I can also guess that, if they are invited, they will not refuse the SEC a second time. And in the land of narratives and memes the TAMU to the SEC is a strong one.

Missouri is only present in the discussion because of the question "what school would the SEC take to balance the numbers, if TAMU gets an invite?" First of all, I don't think that's a good enough reason.

While I don't think Mizzou would be a detriment to the SEC, I don't see them bringing a whole lot to the table. I don't think they fit the win-win mold that the SEC needs to be looking for when considering targets for expansion. Because of this, Mizzou becomes part of a growing list of schools that would love an SEC invite, but probably won't get one because there just isn't enough brought to the table to make it worthwhile, or there is already an SEC school that is a rival of the invitee who isn't ready to deal with that rival in-conference.

That list includes, but is not limited to:

Georgia Tech - a school that would bring absolutely nothing to the table for the SEC.
Tulane - see Georgia Tech
Clemson - a good cultural fit in a terrible television market.
Florida State - see Clemson.
Virginia Tech - see Clemson.
West Virginia - a less than appropriate cultural fit, less potential, and a less valuable television market than Clemson.
Oklahoma - more tied to the success of University of Texas sports than Texas A&M
Texas - will never join the SEC, and might destroy the conference from the inside if they do
Louisville - interesting opportunity, but a risky bet
North Carolina - DO WANT, but Kentucky basketball is not going to let the Tar Heels into their division

Missouri is different enough from most of those to understand why the idea might grow legs. It doesn't own any TV market, but is close to two big ones. It isn't a cultural fit, but isn't a cultural clash. Their athletic programs aren't big brand names, but they've got a lot of potential in several sports.

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Illegitimate Elections

After all that bellyaching we heard about ACORN affecting elections in our representative republic, I'm shocked, SHOCKED there isn't more mainstream media outcry over stunts like this.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Follow Up

You remember those girls with the lemonade stand back in Georgia? Well, as of today,

These girls have learned a valuable lesson about small business, big government and the power of publicity.


Aint't that the truth.

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Angry Liberals

Incapable of trying to contain a political loss, some House Democrats are now falling over themselves to multiply the Debt Deal fallout by using hyperbole to make themselves objects of ridicule.

Folks, the Debt Deal was an issue that was 1 part policy to 9 parts politics. This was so much theatre that I now think Washington has more to fear from a writers' strike than Hollywood. "Issues" like this only become issues because the GOP is good at playing politics and making mountains out of molehills, and the Democrats often lose at "king of the (imaginary) hill."

Think about this: after months (if not years) of Tea Party and GOP whining, pouting, getting an inch and taking a mile, victimization mythology, hyperbolic rhetoric, and marketing the snake oil of cultural and economic panic, the Democrats are the ones getting laughed at.

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