Friday, February 27, 2009

More on Jindal

This is Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with . . . Jon Stewart and Comedy Central's Wyatt Cenac on Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R-LA) ridiculous Re-PUB-lican response to President Barack Obama's address to the joint session of Congress.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Thoughts On Bobby Jindal Response to Pres. Obama Address to Congress

Sorry I haven't written in the last few days. I've been CFS tired.

That said, I'm really not going to write a lot today. I'll point out that while Rupert Murdoch's apology was one of those, "I'm sorry you misunderstood what I was saying even though it should've been plain so I'm not really sorry," apologies, he was forced to make some effort at amends, and that's something.

And before we get to a response to Jindal's speech, I wanna point out two things. First, here's a quote from Jindal: "You know, a few weeks ago, the president warned that our country is facing a crisis that he said, in quotes, "we may not be able to reverse." " I italicized what's important to notice.

Now, Obama does used those words twice. Once in a speech as president-elect on January 8, 2009:

It is time to set a new course for this economy, and that change must begin now. We should have an open and honest discussion about this recovery plan in the days ahead, but I urge Congress to move as quickly as possible on behalf of the American people. For every day we wait or point fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose their jobs. More families will lose their savings. More dreams will be deferred and denied. And our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.
Again, I italicized the pertinent words. He also repeated those words on Febuary 5, 2009 in a Washington Post op-ed, with the pertinent words again italicized:

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.
So you see, Obama meant nothing like what Jindal portrayed. And I find Jindal's purposeful misquoting of Obama despicable. Which reminds me, I'll probaby do a post about how I find Tom Delay despicable as well. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

And oh! I did like Obama's address to Congress.

Second, read this:
Issuing a news release pointing out that Jindal's first name is Piyush, which the state Democratic Party did last week, removed the racist label from the Republican Party and placed it clearly on the backs of the Democrats.
Sam Hanna, Jr, the author of those words, couldn't be more wrong. And I'll tell you why. The Republicans were trying to scare people by touting Obama's middle name Hussein. Also, Obama was fairly open about his middle name. No more or less open than we'd expect anyone else to be. No one went around talking about John Sidney McCain.

The problem that Bobby Jindal's first name is Piyush is that he's obviously fully assimilated into white America, casting his Indian heritage aside. Obama stuck to his given name, even going from "Barry" to "Barack" as he started his journey into manhood. Moreover, the name "Piyush" is perfectly neutral, having no similarities to some other figure Americans are supposed to hate, fear, and/or despise. But as usual, Republicans/racists after try to deny their own faults by mischaracterizing what they see in others. Their incapability to think abstractly would be amusing if they didn't have such influence on the lives of others.

Now, this, with a hat tip to Prometheus6, just about sums up my feelings of Jindal's response to Obama address to a joint session of Congress:

Paul Krugman
Conscience of a Liberal
New York Times
February 25, 2009, 11:08 am

What should government do? A Jindal meditation
What is the appropriate role of government?

Traditionally, the division between conservatives and liberals has been over the role and size of the welfare state: liberals think that the government should play a large role in sanding off the market economy’s rough edges, conservatives believe that time and chance happen to us all, and that’s that.

But both sides, I thought, agreed that the government should provide public goods — goods that are nonrival (they benefit everyone) and nonexcludable (there’s no way to restrict the benefits to people who pay.) The classic examples are things like lighthouses and national defense, but there are many others. For example, knowing when a volcano is likely to erupt can save many lives; but there’s no private incentive to spend money on monitoring, since even people who didn’t contribute to maintaining the monitoring system can still benefit from the warning. So that’s the sort of activity that should be undertaken by government.

So what did Bobby Jindal choose to ridicule in this response to Obama last night? Volcano monitoring, of course.

And leaving aside the chutzpah of casting the failure of his own party’s governance as proof that government can’t work, does he really think that the response to natural disasters like Katrina is best undertaken by uncoordinated private action? Hey, why bother having an army? Let’s just rely on self-defense by armed citizens.

The intellectual incoherence is stunning. Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rupert Murdoch, Owner of the New York Post, Finally Apologizes


Last updated: 3:16 am
February 24, 2009
Posted: 2:22 am
February 24, 2009

As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.

Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you - without a doubt - that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

He Went All Post-al

Actually, I'd really like to start the creative use of an all word - "chimp."

(to go) chimp on - verb - to be filled with irrational rage/fear and hit, crush, push, beat, shoot someone for no reason
As in, "No one knows what happened. Chris Brown just went chimp on Rhianna.

Or, as in, "Black men have to be careful around cops of any race. They're all likely to go chimp on him like they did Sean Bell."

But for now, I'm just going to make use of the oldie but goodie, "postal." This, my dear friends, is for the New York Post, even if you've seen it already.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Apparently, They Can, Too

Um, yeah. Nine Republican representatives from Florida and joining 9 Democrat reps in asking for stimulus cash. Even though they voted against it, remember? What is this? The Twilight Zone?

Nine Fla. Republicans want stim cash

They voted no, but they want the dough.

We're getting into broken record territory here on Republicans clamoring for stimulus money.

Nine GOP House members from Florida, all stimulus no's, joined nine of their Democratic colleagues, all yesses, in asking the feds to grant a waiver giving them access to, you guessed it, hundreds of millions in state stabilization stimulus cash.

“This critical funding is vital to protecting our schools from budget cuts and teacher layoffs. Because Florida has been hit especially hard by a rise in foreclosures, unemployment, and recent natural disasters, we are experiencing a crippling budget crisis. Now more than ever, we must invest in our state’s future,” said the letter.

The Republican co-signers: Adam Putnam, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Tom Rooney, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ginny Brown-Waite, Cliff Stearns, John Mica and Bill Posey.

The Dems: Suzanne Kosmas, Ron Klein, Alcee Hastings, Robert Wexler, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Kathy Castor, Kendrick Meek, Alan Grayson and Corrine Brown.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Nation of Cowards"

Sorry I haven't written as prolifically as I had for a few days. I haven't been feeling well. But I've been paying attention to what's going on in our world and am up for any conversation you'd like to have.

But I wanna talk about this whole "nation of cowards" brouhaha. I just watched Dr. Michael Eric Dyson discuss the issue with Pat Buchanan, who I feel is a fervent racist.

I agree with Attorney General Eric Holder that America is a nation of cowards when it comes to race. There is a minority of African Americans who are ashamed of our past. Why, I don't know. And there're also an overwhelming majority of white Americans who are, frankly, delusional about our past. It's hard to find a white person willing to accept the truth.

That's the first thing I want to say. Here's the second: a discussion of race should concern institutional/structural racism. It should concern the interactions between the races, not within them. It should be interracial, as it were, not intraracial.

See. There are some white Americans, like Pat Buchanan, who I feel is a fervent racist, who wanna start talking about things that happen within the black community. They wanna talk about teenage pregnancy and out-of-wedlock births within the black community. "White people aren't responsible for that!" is their argument. Now, there are a number of problems with that argument. First off, in an indirect way, it's wrong. Once you study the numbers, crime, teenage pregnancy, etc and so on, our numbers break down along economic lines and are no worse than white America. Poverty leads to crime and teenage pregnancy. The black community is disproportionately poor. This poverty is historical. Therefore, the issue is has little to do with personal responsibility. With the exception of out-of-wedlock births, our numbers are the same. Oh! There is also the exception of fathers who are not in the home but remain very active in their child(ren)'s life. In that regard, black fathers do better than white fathers. Though, to listen to the shtick about the black community, you'd never know.

I for one refuse to demand more "personal responsibility" of the black community than is demanded by other communities. That's an old racist trick that's been played on "Negroes" since slavery. Enslavement was good for us because it gave is religion, morals, a work ethic, etc and so on. As if in Africa, people just lay about doing nothing all day. After slavery, we were denied the full rights of citizenship because so many of us were illiterate. Slavery, of course, caused that. Every step along the way, white/mainstream America has declared its treatment of African Americans is better than anywhere else and any maltreatment was the fault of African Americans. It's this same line of argument that Pat Buchanan is using and why I feel he's a fervent racist.

What's real funny is that Pat Buchanan, who I feel is a fervent racist, argued that leaders within the black community should stop focusing on what white people are doing to black people and hold the black community accountable for what we're doing to ourselves. I think the argument is empty and demonstrative of race relations in the country in that we do talk about personal responsibility! We talk about it every Sunday at church. News flash: just because you didn't see/hear it, white people, doesn't it mean it didn't happen! I mean my goodness! You're worse than Columbus thinking he "discovered" America, despite the millions of people already living here.

Now. Back to my point. The discussion should concern interaction between the races. The inherent racism in our school systems and curriculum. People like Pat Buchanan, who I feel is a fervent racist, like to argue that white people aren't responsible for the crime within the black community. But he forgets the lack of equal funding for education. The lack of job opporunities. All that is ignored. But another news flash: no job prospects and little education leads to crime.

Take also the income and employment disparity. Are black people responsible for that? How about the fact that on average, African Americans pay more for mortgages - and I'm talking when you hold for income and down payment and loan amount. How about the inequality in the judicial system? From the fact that African Americans are targetted to the fact that the average juror, regardless of race, is predisposed to see black people as more criminal. Less human. Something like a . . . oh, I don't know . . . a chimp.

See, Pat Buchanan, who I feel is a fervent racist, is right in that white people can't control what goes on in the black community. So, to my point, why talk about it? Why talk about the issues within the black community, as though we're the only ones with any issues - I mean, of all the big banking CEOs that went before Congress, I don't remember a black face? That's besides the point. Especially when America is made up of Asians and Latin and other ethnicities. Right?

So. In summary, Eric Holder is right. Pat Buchanan, who I feel is a fervent racist, is wrong. We are a "nation of cowards" when it comes to discussing race, but I ain't scared. So bring it on. Pat Buchanan-type racists and all!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Money, Money, Money and Race (Updated) (Again)

Update (2/15): It occurs to me that the tax cuts, while massive, are targeted to the working/middle class. So, it's no wonder the Republicans voted against it, and I am not being ironic.

Update: h/t to lamh32, Jack and Jill commenter:

According to [Republican Senator David] Vitter, the GOP is basically betting the farm that the stimulus package is going to fail, and the party wants Democrats to go down with it. "Our next goal is to make President Obama and liberal Democrats in Congress own it completely," he said. Instead of coming up with serious measures to save the economy, the party intends to devote its time to an "we told you so" agenda that will include GOP-only hearings on the bill's impact in the coming months to highlight the bill's purportedly wasteful elements and shortcomings.
Update: h/t to djchefron, a commenter on Jack and Jill Politics for this The Washington Monthly article pointing out that the Republicans just voted for the Biggest. Tax cut. Ever. This article just shows that congressional Republicans are only interested in being obstructionists. They're not standing on principles at all.

Right now, I'm absolutely enthralled by this economic crisis. Now, of course, I can talk about race in this context. How people of color were more likely to received sub-prime loans, even if they qualified for prime or didn't qualify for anything at all. How people of color will end up being the hardest hit. How we have our first African American president, and if he doesn't do this right, the lily-white Republican party, and I'm including Michael Steele in the lily-white description, is going to hang this on his head. They'll do a worse job than he's doing and the crisis will last that much longer.

But, I'm enthralled by the politics and economics of the situation. I'm even reading Paul Krugman's book The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008; and after his unreasonable bashing of President Obama during the primary and the general elections, I really wasn't a big fan.

But, the general economic argument is that the recovery plan was not nearly enough. Nowhere close. Being that I didn't even take econ 101 in college, I didn't really wanna step on the toes of conservative economists. But when even someone from the stupidly conservative American Enterprise Institute is saying, “I think they know how big it is, but they don’t want to say how big it is. It’s so big they can’t acknowledge it. The lesson from Japan in the 1990s was that they should have stepped up and nationalized the banks,” you know the proverbial sky is falling.

Now I'm convinced that this most recent attempt to stimulate the economy won't turn things around. The (re)calcitrant congressional Republicans will try to argue that the package was too big and had too much spending. And some people, because they're not seeing the big results they expected, may buy into the conservatives' arguments.

However, the reason things won't turn as much as people hope is that we're not spending enough money.

What convinced me? It wasn't this op-ed by Paul Krugman, which you should read; it was this article by Hiroko Tabuchi titled, "In Japan’s Stagnant Decade, Cautionary Tales for America."

So. Understand. The package isn't enough and everyone's afraid to do what needs to be done. Kinda like with an addict - sometimes we wait too long for the intervention.

And now that I've given you the economic side of the situation, let me rant about the politics. Even though it's clear that congressional Republicans are just playing pure politics; they don't care anything about the economy or American citizens; and, they only care about regaining the power they've lost; they still weld too much influence on our economic policy. Part of the reason the Obama administration isn't doing enough is because they don't wanna lose fiscal conservatives, both Republican and Democrat. But the fiscal conservatives will land the entire country in the poor house if we listen to them!

Even Republican governors, with perhaps the exception of Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal, both of whom are prospective candidates for the 2012 presidential elections, are on board. I mean, you did say Florida's governor Charlie Crist hugging up on Pres Obama at the town hall in Ft. Myers, Fl? The states are suffering budget deficits. They need federal money and lots of it to balance their budgets. Money that'll save the jobs of teachers, bus drivers, police and firemen. Money that'll keep people from getting sick or becoming sicker. You can look at state and local balance sheets and see that the $800 billion ain't enough. Even for state and local Republicans. But the Republicans in Congress wanna act like they can't add.

But the past 25+ years have convinced me that really can't add.

And the odd thing is that we have history to guide us, right? Japan's lost decade and our own Great Depression. But conservatives in general and Republicans in particular have decided to re-write history. They have tried to blame the Great Depression on FDR. Even though the unemployment numbers show what FDR was doing was helping and things were turning around until FDR started doing what fiscal conservatives wanted, they blame him for continuing the Depression. And they're arguing the Japan's attempts to stimulate its economy were wastes of money even while numbers bear out that Japan lost a decade because they didn't do enough soon enough! So now, in order to do something without incurring a public backlash, the Obama administration can't do enough. And the thing is, now is the time when he can do what needs to be done. Politically, he can force the senate Republicans to filibuster and push through a plan of the size and scope that will accomplish what the country needs. The Democrats have the numbers. And the time. The next election isn't for almost 2 years. That's enough time for the voters to see the positive effects of what's happening and keep the Democrats in power. Economically, waiting will only make things worse. So, I don't get why the Obama administration is being so timid.

I got it! Think of the situation as taking antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Bronchitis or sinusitis or something. You've had some sort of bacterial infection in your life, right? The doctor gave you antibiotics and told you to take the whole prescription as it's prescribed even if you start feeling better, right? The prescription is for about a month. But if you don't take all that medicine within that month, you end up having take even more medicine later. I know from my own 2 or 4 or more sinus infections. The economy is the same way. Spend all the money you need at the beginning, cause if you don't, you end up spending more money later. I mean, check out this article predicting the Bush tax cut stimulus attempt wouldn't be enough and we'd have to spend more money later, which we're doing now.

For goodness sakes congressional Republicans, read something other than and listen to somebody besides a fat, racist, insensitive, ig'nant drug addict!

One issue making Pres. Obama so timid in face of the crisis is that he has way too many people connected to corporate America, former bankers and lobbyists for banks, in his administration. And the bankers wanna keep the power and money they have. So essentially, part of the reason we can't manage to do what we need to is the selfishness of the big bankers and CEOs and the mean-spirited greed for power and the Republicans. The irony is it's precisely the selfishness of the big bankers, CEOs and the Republicans that we're in this mess. The bankers screwed around with people's money and lives. The Republicans gave major tax cuts to people who didn't need them and turned a record budget surplus into a record budget deficit.

But here's the most ironic thing of all. And it has to do with race. During the Great Depression, the South was solidly Democratic. Remember, due to racism, voters in the South were 99.9% white. They had run out socially liberal Republicans who were for politically empowering blacks during the Counter-Reconstruction after the Civil War. By the time of the Great Depression, the national Republican party was lily white and full of robber barons. People who wanted low taxes and no regulation - things that got us in our present mess, remember. But now, since the Democratic party has become socially liberal and all the civil rights victories of the 60s and 70s are attributed to Democrats, whites in the South have turned to the Republicans.

To make it clear, what I'm pointing out that if it weren't for their anti-anybody else feelings, Southern whites would overwhelmingly be supporting the Democratic party. Now, it is widely known that the South is anti-union, anti-labor. Which is odd given the poverty in the South that effects whites and blacks alike. But I digress. The reason the South is anti-union isn't that they actually believe the only way to create and preserve jobs is to empower business people to the detriment of workers. Remember, while poor whites had the benefits of their white skin in relation to blacks, wealthy whites were screwing over everybody. The majority of whites in the South would not side with business men when it came to the economy. However, they would side with whites against blacks when it came to any issue. So, the reason the South is anti-union is because white workers didn't want to band with black workers even for their own economic improvement.

Now, we have whites in the South voting against their own economic interests under the banner of "legitimate social issues," or rather, latent racism. They are the ones giving political power to a party they wouldn't have supported during the Great Depression.

Did you follow that? If voting habits were the same today as during the 20s and 30s, Republicans wouldn't have the little bit of power they have today. And the reason voting patterns changed wasn't a ideological conversion; it was racism, pure and simple. Don't get me wrong, white Southern Republicans may have convinced themselves that fiscal conservatism is the way to go, but it's only to justify their racist voting. Remember I said in a previous post that wealthy whites would screw over poor whites if it meant more money for them. And they get away with it by blaming people of color. Take Rush Limbaugh for example. Get it?

Okay. So. If the voting habits were the same today as they were during the Great Depression, and the people had an incentive to actually learn from history instead of re-writing it, we would actually spend the $2.3 trillion we need. But instead, the Republican bases which is increasingly white, male, and Southern, have an incentive to act stupid because they're still voting against the Democrats who they blame for supporting civil rights. Their racism is the main cause behind their "socially conservative" votes that empower people who don't care about them. They so concerned about race, they're voting for people who're more concerned about money. And not their money.

Great News for US and Africa!

First, the economic recovery package went through. Second, China-Africa trade is up 45%. Greater trade for Africa means a better economy for Africa. And with China? Africa can start throwing off the economic colonialism of the West.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Here's a Good One

Gotta be honest, I do laugh until it goes to far. Especially when it's evident that the person of color being used as the "prop" is becoming offended by the "joke."

Now, part of the reason I'm posting this is because it occurred to me that I hadn't addressed race in America in a while. I just thought it was time to continue the discussion. I have my own ideas, but haven't completely thought them out. Why I feel compelled to stick to a discussion of race, I don't know. I just do.~ No1KState

So, hat tip to Macon D of stuff white people do

act like a racist in order to demonstrate that you're not a racist
What is "hipster racism"?

I'm not sure of the origin of the phrase, but it sure is useful these days. In a discussion of the notorious New Yorker cover that featured the Obamas dressed up as terrorists as an example of hipster racism, AJ Plaid attributes the term to Carmen Van Kerckhove, and defines the phenomenon as "ideas, speech, and action meant to denigrate [another person's] race or ethnicity under the guise of being urbane, witty (meaning 'ironic' nowadays), educated, liberal, and/or trendy."

Plaid's definition fits a lot of hip, sardonic, or otherwise supposedly witty approaches to race, but I think it can be refined. For one thing, while most white practitioners of hipster racism do mean on the surface to denigrate another's race or ethnicity, their ultimate, ironic intent is to show that they don't really mean it, and thus, that they themselves are anything but racist. This seems to be how the upcoming Pauly Shore movie that I wrote about recently works, and as the clip below illustrates, it's sometimes how "The Daily Show" works.

The following skit, with John Oliver "traveling" to Kenya, is a good example. The segment begins as a trip meant to inform ignorant American viewers about the country that helped produce Barack Obama. When Oliver sits down with Zachary Muburi-Muita, the Kenyan Ambassador to the United Nations, the skit devolves instead into a sad instance of hipster racism, with Oliver playing a British moron who has no sense of what was wrong with England's racist colonial rule of Kenya.

As you watch, notice how at one point, when Muburi-Muita tells him that what's he's saying is "not funny," Oliver keeps going. In effect, a non-white voice of protest goes ignored and disrespected. Viewers hear Muburi-Muita's protest, but in the context of the skit, they're invited to laugh at it, and thus disrespect the person delivering it--"He can't even see that Oliver's joking! Look how far Oliver is willing to push this joke!"

As with other forms of satire, this type of humor goes wrong when it goes too far. In terms of race, one way that hipster humorists can go too far is by using people of color, who may or may not be in on the joke, as mere props in their own performance. By pretending to ignore the Kenyan ambassador's indignant response to a mock colonialist attitude, John Oliver demonstrates this failure. Whether the ambassador is in on the joke or not, the skit invites viewers to disregard and laugh at his perspective. That perspective is also trivialized because it's being used in a skit that's all about the performance of the white person at the center.

Self-reflecting irony of this sort is a crucial element of the hipster attitude, and as I understand it, hipster racism often arises in attempts at ironic humor. As Oliver demonstrates, this type of humor consists of acting like some sort of clueless, offensive bigot--be it a racist, a sexist, or a homophobe--for an audience that's supposed to know that you yourself are not really a bigot. You tell racist jokes or say and do racist things, but you're really making fun of bigots, so the humor is a supposedly legitimate form of satire.

White hipster humor about race is often meant to point out racism, but not in order to fight against it; the goal instead is ultimately narcissistic. The performance is an effort to get laughs, but it's also the comedians' self-centered effort to show that underneath it all, they themselves are not racists. This form of humor thus does little to dislodge the obstinate centrality of whiteness, because again, it's really all about the supposedly non-racist white performer, and not about the abuses endured by the targets of racism.

White people have a long history of defining themselves in opposition to the supposed inherent qualities of other races. When white people defined non-white people as savages, or as hypersexual, unintelligent or enslaved, they also defined themselves as the superior opposite--as civilized, restrained, intelligent, and free. In the same way, many white interactions with non-white people continue to be narcissistic, because they use non-white people to reflect back in a self-defining way on themselves.

When white hipster humorists perform a racial identity that involves interaction with non-white people, it's often all about the white person at the center. Using people of color so that you can pretend to be a racist in order to get laughs because you're mocking racists is not a genuinely respectful and anti-racist form of racial interaction. Instead, it's a way of acting in an ultimately racist manner, by using overt racism to suggest covertly, but falsely, that you yourself would never do anything racist. And since it's all really about you, and you're just using people of color for your own self-defining purposes, it amounts to little more than white self-centeredness all over again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lord, the Lies! - CBO Report & Other News

I was reading through the comments session of a blog in The Nation by John Nichols, "Obama: 'Send Me A Bill That Creates or Saves 4 Million Jobs'," when I came across this comment:

Even "more better"...ask BO how all their massive government spending helped end Japan's 1990s recession...(hint: it's a trick question)

And then ask why he continues to promote this massive spending when his own CBO believes we'll be out of this recession by the 2nd half of 2009 if we do NOTHING...and ths bill will make our economy WORSE in the long run...

I can't let it go. A number of things are wrong. First, the reason Japan lost a decade is because they never did enough. All their tries at a stimulus plan were too small. Or, at least I think that's what the president or the economic advisor to the vice president said. Something like that.

Okay, so anyway, I read the most recent CBO report, an "analysis is based on an average of the effects of two versions of H.R. 1—as passed by the House and as passed by the Senate. (The economic effects of those two bills are broadly similar.)" (pdf). The closest thing it says that resembles what Republicans are apparently saying about it is this:

In contrast to its positive near-term macroeconomic effects, the legislation would reduce output slightly in the long run, CBO estimates, as would other similar proposals. The principal channel for this effect is that the legislation would result in an increase in government debt.
Yeah. Slightly. And correct me if I'm wrong, but won't a plan full of tax cuts do the same? And the report does not say that we'll be better of doing nothing. In fact, if I'm reading correctly, and I'd like to think that I am, in every year, the worst expectations of the plan is better than doing nothing.

You should read the rest of the CBO report for yourself. To my understanding, the stimulus plans would have a positive short-term impact. In the long run, the economy will even out. They expect no negative growth, just a decline in wages. I'm not happy about the potential for a decline in wages, but anything we can do right now to boost the economy might be worth it. I'm not an economist or anything, but a decline in wages seems reasonable if we have more people working, you know?

Now, to other news. It was Smart Pants's birthday today, so I called her. As soon as I said, "Hey!" she told me it was her birthday. She had cake and pizza. I asked if it was fun. Answer, "Yes." Lauren and Jamie already bought her tricycle - I may have spilled the beans about that before my aunt and uncle actually gave Smart Pants the tricycle, though. And Lauren ordered the cake from overseas. As she explained to me, she couldn't help it.

Things are okay for Lauren and Dee for now. She told me it was like her regular training, but that other people on the bases were warning that things would get worse as soon as the weather got warmer. Which seems about right if I remember correctly from past summers. I can't lie. Right now, I'm kinda scared for my cousin. Sadly enough, I haven't heard anyone suggest that Pres. Obama had a genius plan for getting us out of Afghanistan.

I can't imagine how other military families deal with this. This is just my cousin who's been living in the Northeast for the past 4 or 5 years. She's only been here to visit every year or so, and there were some visits when I didn't get a chance to see her. And yet, the next 11 months can't go by fast enough.

Stimulus "Deal"

An agreement was reached. I don't think the $789 billion is nearly enough. I may have more thoughts later.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Audacity of Whiteness: Framing Barack Obama

Hat tip Macon D, Stuff White People Do

After you read this article via The Huffington Post, please read my post Oh, Wow! Please Read and Discuss.

The Audacity of Whiteness: Framing Barack Obama
by Jill Nelson

"This country cannot be the country we want it to be if its story is told by only one group of citizens. Our goal is to give all Americans front-door access to the truth." -- Robert C. Maynard (Maynard was one of the founders of the 30-year-old Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, which works to increase diversity in staffing, content and business operations of American media.)

I know its bad form to mention race and upset the new post-racial apple cart, the one that doesn't even have a black chauffer like the genial Hoke to drive Miss Daisy around. Nope, in this post-racial world Hoke's been laid off or taken the buy-out. (At least 300 black journalists left the print media in 2007, and there's every indication that 2008 was worse. Richard Prince's Journal-isms column at is an ongoing record of attrition.) In this brave new world the playing field's level, Dr. King's dream's been realized, and it's all about the meritocracy. Yet a look at the unbearably white American media reminds us that even with a black president little has changed in terms of who frames the issues. With the exception of CNN, which probably employs more black people than BET and definitely has more news coverage, for the most part media looks like a meeting of the White Citizens Council, circa 1956. As determined to retain control of the dialogue as those racists were to maintain the Southern way of life.

Why is it okay for George Will to have President Obama to dinner with conservative journalists with not a black face in the room? How many journalists attended parties in Washington during the inauguration where there were no journalists of color present? Isn't it disturbing to the journalistic establishment that the vast majority of journalists, commentators, talking heads, pundits, and experts discussing the new president and his administration are white? In 2009 can anyone seriously argue that aren't more than a handful of black, Latino, Asian, or Native Americans who fit these categories? Is this time for change we can believe in, or is it still time for black to get back?

For two years I'd managed, along with most black people, to go along with one of the unspoken shibboleths to the election of Barack Obama and kept my mouth closed about racial issues, fearing that such a discussion would be harmful to Obama. This in spite of Bill Clinton showing his ass in South Carolina; Hillary's absurd suggestion that Obama wouldn't know what to do when the phone rang at 3 AM; and John McCain's barely veiled white supremacist campaign. Yet the failure of much of the media to recognize the words of the Negro National Anthem as the first words of Reverend Joseph Lowery's benediction at the inauguration was truly pitiful. That, followed by the general incomprehension of the rhyme at the end of Lowery's remarks -- "When black will not be asked to get in back/When brown can stick around..." -- and then its erroneous attribution by a CNN employee to a civil rights song, rather than rooted in African American folk and oral tradition and the dozens -- a game of verbal insult and one-upmanship -- made it impossible to maintain silence.

It's profoundly dishonest and morally wrong that media coverage of Barack Obama and his presidency is framed by an almost exclusively white press corp. Not just the White House press corps, whose unbearable whiteness Sam Fulwood III wrote eloquently about on in December, 2008. Turn on the television. Most of the reporters -- the ones with shows of their own, steady jobs and influence - are white. Is there no other journalist of color in America besides Gwen Ifill of PBS' Washington Week (fabulous as she is) who could host a news show? (Sorry, CNN, the comedian D.L. Hughley doesn't count.) Apparently not, since when Ifill takes the occasional Friday off her show often becomes segregated.

The absence of African Americans is appalling in light of the plethora of white people from someplace else, especially England, getting paid to frame, spin and explain Barack Obama to Americans. I doubt that I could get a job parsing Gordon Brown to the Brits. At the "serious" magazines, the situation is dismal. Years ago, an editor at The New Yorker told me the reason there weren't more black writers at the magazine was that they didn't understand the publication's "zeitgeist."

What's really changed if the American media continues to view this new administration, and a world that is overwhelmingly populated by black, brown, and yellow people, through white eyes? In this same old world but with a new name, a Black man is president of the United States, but it takes a white man to play him on Saturday Night Live. Arrogance and privilege by another name?

Call me a retro, angry black woman -- or Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress, as Juan Williams, one of the few journalists of color white journalists deign to recognize, called Michelle Obama last weekend -- but why is it that whenever the impact of race is analyzed the role that white privilege plays is absent? In journalism, the result is always the same: white people who are granted the role of analyzing everything and everyone, including African Americans, who are as likely as not to be dismissed, overlooked, or spoken for by white expert opinion.

In reality, this post-modern, post-racial apple cart is for whites only, a dishonest and opportunistic effort to pretend race no longer matters now that Americans have elected Barack Obama president. Post racial is nothing but segregation under a kinder, gentler name, yet another effort to further enshrine white privilege and white supremacy.

What a waste, in this time of profound crisis and the possibilities Barack Obama's presidency presents, to have those possibilities identified and interpreted by whites only. Filtered through the tired lens of whiteness in a twenty-first century in which the attacks of 9/11, American failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the implosion of the markets and the collapse of capitalism are signposts along the road of the dying white culture.

In this auspicious moment, media organizations should be seeking out journalists of color and youth. Instead it's the same old white guys, many of whom seem to verge on apoplexy as they struggle to "explain" Obama. It's as if he, like Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still, fell from the sky, ahistorical, exceptionalist, and, I fear, soon to be, like Oprah or Michael Jordan, conveniently de-raced. This inability to fathom Barack Obama doesn't come as a surprise. For the most part these media heads have managed to live lives absent any serious engagement with black people or black culture. If they had, they would be familiar with the existence of the black middle class, a long-established group of overachievers whose mantra is that you have to work harder, smarter, and be better than your white counterparts to achieve the same results.

Barack Obama is neither an anomaly nor an aberration. He is simply the most successful member of this class of overachievers. His election lays to rest the myth of the meritocracy. Perhaps more amazing than the election of Barack Obama is that someone of his intellect and limitless possibility even wanted the job. Be clear: Barack Obama is part of a continuum. Now that he's broken the glass ceiling it's time for whites to step up their game. Stay tuned.

As candidate and President Obama has made clear, change we need requires sacrifice from all of us. It's not just about black kids pulling up their pants, or working harder in school, or more parental involvement. Nor is it just the overt racists and skinheads who need to get it together. The less obvious and likely more difficult change must come from the chattering class, many of them entrenched liberals and progressives to whom it has never occurred that they are the beneficiaries of white skin privilege.

There are countless black journalists and other journalists of color who can add skill, knowledge, cultural context and depth to covering America's first black president, as part of the White House press corps and in every area of journalism. They should be hired. Post-racial, bah humbug! Meritocracy, ha! I know the road to white privilege when I see it, Miss Daisy, whatever you want to call it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oh, Wow! Please, Read and Discuss

I can across this article in my inbox via Portside. It's practically a gift-wrapped blog post for me! It discusses the economic stimulus and its racial implications.

But, before I paste it, I would like to mention another issue attached to the stimulus: the future. Watching CNN, a saw a few comments concerning the stimulus plan. (You know, CNN twitters now.) A couple of them were by guys in their mid20s complaining of the tax implications for them in the future. One surmised we'd be experiencing another recession 20 years from now due to the spending in today's package.

Now, I thought of a couple of responses to these assertions. First off was how incredibly selfish these two and anyone like them are to whine and complain about their future taxes when people are hurting right now. The second one is more for those who profess to be Christians. I wanted to remind them Jesus teaches us not to worry about tomorrow as today has enough problems of its own. But then, as I was writing this, it suddenly occured to me how illogical the arguments were. Are the mistakes of one generation paid by their children? Yes. But a recession due to taxes? I'm not sure that's ever happened so I really doubt it ever will.

But, yes, tomorrow's generation will pay for what we do or don't do today. I think it's best if we do something. Don't you? Cause seriously. If we don't get a handle on the situation, those of us in our mid20s may not have incomes to pay taxes on 20 years from now.

Selfish bastards.

So anyway, here an article by Dean Baker.
Spending Versus Tax Cuts: Who Pays the Cost of Political
Center for Economic and Policy Research
January 2009

President Obama and the Democratic leadership will
undoubtedly have to make some political compromises in
order to get a stimulus package through Congress.
However, it is important to keep in mind that there will
be real costs associated with these compromises insofar
as they result in a less effective stimulus package. A
less effective package will mean less economic growth,
which will, in turn, mean that fewer people will have

This paper calculates how the costs of a less effective
stimulus package will be borne. Relying on estimates of
the multipliers from various spending and tax measures
from Moody's, this paper projects the impact
on overall job growth and employment, as well as on job
growth and employment for African Americans and
Hispanics, of political compromises that lead to less
effective stimulus.

Table 1 below [moderator: please go to original article
to view tables] compares the projected impact of
spending increases to a temporary rebate of the payroll
tax or to a cut in corporate taxes. The assumed
multiplier for spending increases is 1.5, which is
approximately the average multiplier for the various
types of spending from Moody's The
multiplier for a payroll tax holiday was estimated as
1.29. The multiplier for cuts in corporate tax cuts used
in the table is 0.3. This is the estimated multiplier
for a cut in corporate income tax rates. This figure
might be a reasonable approximation for some of the
corporate tax cuts that the administration is reportedly
considering, however, it almost certainly overstates the
multiplier for one tax cut supposedly under

According to several reports, President Obama is
considering a measure that will allow firms to write off
losses in 2008 and 2009 against five years of past
profits, instead of the two years allowed under current
law. This change in the tax code would only help a
relatively small number of firms, disproportionately
banks and builders, who have very large losses. Unlike a
cut in the corporate income tax, which changes firm's
incentives going forward, this tax cut simply hands
firms money, without changing their incentives going

Therefore, there is little reason to believe that this
particular tax cut would lead to any noticeable increase
in investment. For this reason, a multiplier of 0.3
likely overstates the impact of this proposed tax cuts.

The table shows that $100 billion of additional
government spending will lead to an increase in GDP of
approximately $150 billion (about 1 percent of GDP at
current levels). Following the analysis presented by
President-elect Obama's staff, the table assumes that an
increase in GDP of 1 percent leads to an increase in
employment of 1 million workers. This means that $100
billion of additional spending will lead to 1 million
additional jobs, while a temporary cut in payroll taxes
will generate 860,000 jobs. By contrast, a $100 billion
cut in corporate taxes will lead to just 200,000 new

Using the assumption that a 2.0 percent increase in GDP
leads to a 1.0 percentage point drop in the unemployment
rate (Okun's Law), we can project that a $100 billion
increase in spending will cause the overall unemployment
rate to drop by 0.5 percentage points. A reduction in
the payroll tax of the same size will lead to a 0.4
percentage point drop in the unemployment rate, while
the same cut in corporate taxes will cause the
unemployment rate to fall by just 0.1 percent.

African Americans and Hispanics feel the effects of a
downturn (and upturn) disproportionately. Assuming that
unemployment for these groups tracks the overall
unemployment in the same way as it did in the last two
downturns,3 the $100 billion increase in spending can be
expected to reduce unemployment among African Americans
by 0.71 percentage points and among Hispanics by 0.67
percentage points. The payroll tax rebate lowers the
unemployment rate amongst these groups by 0.57
percentage points and 0.53 percentage points,
respectively. By contrast, the corporate tax cut will
lead to drops of just 0.14 percentage points and 0.13
percentage points, respectively.

Finally, the same comparisons can be made with
employment. The $100 billion increase in spending leads
to a 0.7 percentage point increase in total employment.
The payroll tax rebate increases employment by 0.6
percentage points, while the corporate tax cut leads to
an increase in employment of just 0.14 percentage
points. The effects of the employment of both African
Americans and Hispanics are 1.5 times as large.

This means that a $100 billion increase in spending will
lead to 1.05 percentage point increase in employment for
African Americans and Hispanics, while a corporate tax
cut of the same size will increase employment for these
groups by just 0.21 percentage points.

These projections indicate that insofar as tax cuts are
substituted for government spending, there will be fewer
jobs created by the stimulus and that African Americans
and Hispanics will feel this effect disproportionately.
Insofar as corporate tax cuts are substituted for
spending, the impact of a given amount of stimulus will
be only one-fifth as great. This sort of substitution
could lead to considerably higher rates of unemployment
for African Americans and Hispanics.

I Forgot to Mention . . .

The House version of the stimulus bill wasn't going to help states balance their budgets. It would help cover just 45% of the budget shortfull between what states need and what states have. The Senate version, where Republicans managed to get 48% of the package turned into tax cuts, would not even help that much.

Hat tip to

Make no mistake about it, the longer this goes on, the more convinced I become that congressional Republicans are either heartless or sheer idiots or both - sheer heartless idiots. Even Republican governors support Pres. Obama's stimulus plans. The good news is that it seems like Americans are starting to wake up a little. The Republican base is shrinking. Maybe, hopefully, come 2010, the Republicans will lose even more seats. I'll be ecstatic to vote for the Democratic challenger, whomever he or she may be, for the Senate seat currently held by a Republican.

Now, to my new readers - welcome to my blog! I should warn you though, this current pace of postings is unusual. I have chronic fatigue syndrome, which sometimes causes me to miss up to a month of blogging. But, you have my word that as much as I can, I'm going to give you the best I got.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pork in the Stimulus Package?

Update (2/8 3:28p): more Michael Steele inanity.

One of the things Republicans have been complaining about is the money supposedly earmarked for ACORN. Some of the angst is due to their false allegations last fall that ACORN was involved in voter fraud. Well. Not only was ACORN not involved in voter fraud, there is not money earmarked for ACORN.

Now, I bring this up for a few reasons, the most important of which I'll lay out last.

But first, in the weekly Republican address, Michael Steele question if power had gone to the Democrats head. His complaints are that congressional Democrats fashioned the stimulus bill without Republican ideas and that the bill is full of spending. Well. The past 8 years, if not 2 decades, has proven that Republicans ideas are bankrupt, both figuratively and literally. And as Pres. Obama has recently made clear, as far as spending, "that's the point!" Most economists across the political spectrum agree that their should be more spending in the package than tax cuts. But still, or rather, Steele, the Republicans insist on opposing the package? Even John McCain found the gall to talk smack after having his behind gift-wrapped to him this past November.

Let me remind Republicans, "bi-partisanship" does not mean you get your way.

Then we have former Vice President Dick Cheney getting chesty about the war on terror. I mean, with the mess we've created in the Middle East, Gitmo being used as recruitment material for terror groups, you'd think he'd go somewhere and hide. But no. So. If you didn't already think little to nothing of Cheney, let me inform you that KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton where Cheney was CEO until 2000, has been charged with bribing the Nigerian government for defence contracts.

But now, for the coup de grace. I opened this post with ACORN and the stimulus bill for the particular purpose of distributing information I've just received that tells a story of ACORN helping a family buy property they had been renting that had been foreclosed on. Yeah. The Republicans are despicable.


A Startling Statistic & an Appeal from ACORN


Fifteen percent of all houses and apartments in the
United States stood empty at the end of 2008 - a record
19 million homes - according to data released this week
by the U.S. Census Bureau. Vacant housing units in the
fourth quarter increased nearly 7 percent compared with
the same period in 2007, largely because of bank
foreclosures and owners who abandoned their

San Francisco Chronicle
February 5, 2009


ACORN: Starting the Recovery - Ending Foreclosures

ACORN February 6, 2009

Dear friends,

I have an amazing story to share with you - a story of
a community coming together and, through collective
action and civil disobedience, saving the home of a
family of renters in Oakland caught up in the
foreclosure crisis. And not just save the home, but
help them buy it from their foreclosed landlord!

The reason I'm sharing this with you is because we are
going to be doing this exact same thing in cities
around the country and I wanted to invite you to join
in the fight to end the financial crisis and save the
homes of individuals caught in the storm.

But first, here's the story of Eddie and Martha Daniels
of Oakland, California.:

At 6:00 am on Wednesday, February 4, more than 30
members of ACORN gathered at the home of Eddie and
Martha Daniels in West Oakland, armed with prayers,
cell phones, and the hope that Wednesday would not be a
day in which yet another family who had done no wrong
was claimed as a victim of the raging foreclosure

Since 2006, the Daniels had paid their rent each month
to their landlord, who had not told them that he was
not, in turn, paying the mortgage on time. The
landlord's lender had foreclosed on the property and
terminated the lease, and on Wednesday the sheriff was
scheduled to come to their home and evict the Daniels,
a family on the verge becoming another statistic in the
national economic catastrophe.

ACORN members rallied their neighbors, spoke with local
media, including one radio station that broadcast live
from the home, and flooded the sheriff's office with
calls urging compassion and forbearance of the
scheduled eviction. At the same time, ACORN Housing
Corporation was working furiously behind the scenes
with the lender to negotiate a stay on the eviction,
which successfully came through.

This alone would have saved their home, but what
happened next was uniq ue: ACORN Housing Corporation
was able to counsel the Daniels and help them apply for
a VA loan that would enable them to purchase the very
property from which they were almost evicted earlier
that day!

Maud Hurd, ACORN's President, said, "This shows the
power of communities coming together to fight back
against the foreclosures that are taking our homes and
ruining our neighborhoods."

Amen. And that's why I wanted to write to you. Today
ACORN is launching a national effort modeled on what
happened yesterday in Oakland: the ACORN Home
Defenders. The Home Defenders gives everyone an
opportunity to stand in solidarity with families like
the Daniels as they face the economic maelstrom
engulfing our country. It is designed to help keep
families in their homes and put pressure on our elected
officials to address this root cause of the economic

The Home Defenders program links members of local
communities with families who have taken the bold step
of refusing to cooperate with the foreclosure process.
It responds to the desperate calls for help found in
the grim foreclosure statistics (2.3 million families
faced foreclosure in 2008) and echoes the sentiments of
leaders like Toledo,=2 0Ohio-area Congresswoman Marcy
Kaptur who recently said, "Stay in your homes. If the
American people, anybody out there is being foreclosed,
don't leave."

The urgency of this crisis demands immediate action. So
the Home Defenders program is rolling out in two
stages. The first stage will include eight "Tier 1"
metro areas: Baltimore, MD; Contra Costa County, CA;
Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Oakland,
CA; Orlando, FL and Tucson, AZ. Initial trainings for
people located in these metro areas will take place
during the second week in February, with kick-off
events scheduled to occur during the 3rd week of the

The second stage will include 16 "Tier 2" metro areas:
Albany, NY; Boston, MA; Bridgeport, CT; Broward County,
FL; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver,
CO; Detroit, MI; Durham, NC; Flint, MI; Minneapolis,
MN; Pittsburgh, PA; Raleigh, NC; San Mateo County, CA;
and Wilmington, DE. Trainings and kick-off events will
occur a few weeks after those in the Tier 1 cities.

New cities are continuing to join this campaign, so if
you do not live near any of the metro areas listed
above, you can still participate in actions to save the
homes of families in your community as they come on-
board. For people who live in areas that will not have
local organizers helping drive this program, ACORN is
creating Home Defender Tool-Kits that help you fight=2
0back against the crisis in your neighborhood.

I urge you to take this step in helping local families
fight back against the crisis caused by reckless
financiers who made billions in bonuses in equity-
stripping schemes designed to set homebuyers up for

By showing that communities are refusing to participate
in their own decimation, we will force elected
officials to finally shift their emphasis from bailing
out Wall Street to bailing out Main Street.

Join with me.

In strength and solidarity,

Bertha Lewis ACORN CEO and Chief Organizer

Urgent Message from President Obama

After you watch the video, watch Gov. Tim Kaine answer questions from ordinary citizens about the plan and share your story about the economic crisis.


Yes, that's for, "What would Jesus do?"

Now, I know there is a wall separating the Church and State. But you can't separate personal faith from active politics. Personal faith drove the abolition movement, women's rights, civil rights, etc. Don't get me wrong, I know people of faith were the ones supporting slavery, women's subordination, segregation, etc. But these people weren't acting in faith, they were acting in fear and greed.

So my point is this. The Republicans have made a big deal the past few decades over their moral virtue. It was moral virtue that excused their impeachment of Bill Clinton. It's their moral virtue that informs their "pro-life" stance. It's their moral virtue that has funded their abstinence-only sex education.

And where is their moral virtue now? Jesus instructed his followers to look out for the poor, the orphaned, the widow. They were trained in healing the sick, giving sight, giving hearing, giving speech, ect and so on. They were told not to trust wealth. "How hard it is for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:23 NIV). "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God's love" (Luke 11:42 Message).

So, where's your moral virtue, Jon Kyl? Mitch McConnell? What do you think Jesus would do if he were designing this stimulus bill? Do you think he'd block a good plan just to put a black eye on Caesar? Do you think he'd look out for the Herods of the day . . . or the carpenters?

Senate Negotiators Agree to Cut Education

I found this CNN article via Huffington Post

Essentially, billions of money marked for school construction was cut from the stimulus plan. I guess because building and improving schools doesn't provide jobs. But I could be wrong. About why the money was cut.

I am very disappointed in the Republicans for having played politics with children's education. I consider myself fairly informed about the current state of public schools in America, and I wonder what Republicans senators like Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are going to say to parents and students of white poor, rural schools. I mean, yes, there're black poor, urban schools, but these parents and children voted overwhelmingly for the Democrats. But if it's one thing I've always figured about well-to-do whites, it's that they'll screw poor whites over if it means keeping an extra buck for themselves, then pull a Rush Limbaugh move and encourage poor whites to blame their problems on people of color.

Anyway, this whole thing sucks. I just wanted to give you the latest info since I was up and am feeling okay. Hopefully tomorrow, I'll be back to ignoring politics and on to subjects I find not as depressing.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Not Just Cuts to Taxes, Unfortunately

Hat Tip to Jack and Jill Politics

Huffington Post obtained a memo of Senator Ben Nelson's proposed cuts to the stimulus bill (pdf).

While his spokesperson, Jack Thompson, is apparently arguing that the list is unimportant because it's days old and negotiations are ongoing, I do think it important to note where politicians head when looking to shave money from the budget.

Total Reductions: $80 billion
Head Start, Education for the Disadvantaged, School improvement, Child Nutrition, Firefighters, Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Prisons, COPS Hiring, Violence Against Women, NASA, NSF, Western Area Power Administration, CDC, Food Stamps
Public Transit $3.4 billion, School Construction $60 billion
Increases: Defense operations and procurement, STAG Grants, Brownfields, Additional transportation funding

Yeah. We can't shave our overbloated military budget, which, by the way, gives tons of money to projects politicians know are a waste. We can't possibly ask the wealthy to be their brothers' keeper. No. Let's target the people who can't defend themselves.

Contact your Congresspeople. I am.

Tax Cuts?! Tax Cuts?!

I am fed up with the Republicans. They have to be the stupidest bunch in politics around the world. And to make matters worse, they have a healthy dose a pure evil, too.

After all this time and whining and complaining, they finally get something they should be happy with. Something they should be thrilled with in my opinion. A Senate stimulus plan that is 58% spending and 42% of the same tax cuts that got us in the mess in the first place. And David Vitter, who won his seat after castigating Bill Clinton for dishonoring the Oval then turned around a slept with a couple of prostitutes at least, is leading the Republican delegation who is asking for "time" to look things over. They wanna read exactly what's in the 42% of tax cuts.

Now, on one hand, you can't blame them. They don't want "tax cuts" that are targeted to workers. They especially don't want "tax cuts" that really aren't "tax cuts" at all that are targeted to the working poor, those who work but don't make enough to pay income tax. No. Even though these are the people who're really hurting, the people who haven't caused this whole mess, god forbid they get some help.

Not to mention, the unemployed, whose numbers keep growing by the day, don't pay taxes and therefore can't receive any tax relief.

Really. The Republicans are just putting on this whole show just to make sure President Obama fails. This isn't about the stimulus. This isn't about doing what's "right" for America. Economists across the ideological spectrum all agree Washington is gone have to turn the spigots wide open. So it's not the economics of the bill. Not the tax cuts, not the amount of spending, none of that. They just want Pres. Obama to fail, pure and simple.

The past 8 years have demonstrated that Republicans neither care nor know what's best for American citizens. Yet, they have the gall, the unmitigated audacity to get self-righteous over this?

You, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and all the other Congressional conservatives should be mortality ashamed of yourselves. Really.

You know what I hope? I hope Pres. Obama burns them Monday, and the final bill has everything the House Democrats wanted in the first place. The family planning spending, the National Mall grass, and everything. And if the Republicans want to filibuster, for once, make them stand and talk and explain to everybody why they want this recession to become worse.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This Is Solidarity

This is what solidarity is about. Make no mistake about it, the union knows this simple act isn't enough for peace. But the immediate objective isn't peace, it's solidarity. And I'm a little insulted that the Israeli leader is making sarcastic comments suggesting otherwise. Don't get me wrong, I'm not for murder. If for only my faith, I'm for nonviolent protest. But knowing what Israel is doing to Palestine . . . eh . . . - No1KState

South African Dock Workers Won't Unload Israeli Goods

Associated Press
February 4, 2009


South African dock workers won't unload ships carrying
goods from Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians,
a union leader said Wednesday.

Randall Howard, general secretary of the South African
Transport and Allied Workers Union, said it appeared a
ship carrying goods from Israel was nearing Durban's
port. If once the ship docks its cargo is determined to
be Israeli, he said, union workers won't unload it.

"We will make that contribution," he said. "The
historic and heroic struggle of the Palestinian people
for self-determination ... is a struggle that SATAWU

Last year, South African dock and freight workers
refused to unload a ship carrying weapons for Zimbabwe
to protest Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's rule of
the neighboring country. In the case of Israeli goods,
Howard said, it did not matter whether they were
weapons of vegetables.

"If it's an Israeli product, we're going to boycott
it, plain and simple," he said.

In Israel, Foreign Minister spokesman Yigal Palmor
said: "If these people think that by refusing to
unload shipments from Israel they are promoting peace
they should go back to school because they have misread
the situation in the Middle East big time."

Israel's three-week military offensive against Gaza,
which killed hundreds of civilians before ending last
month, sparked protests in South Africa. Israel says
the operation was aimed at halting Hamas rocket fire
from Gaza.

Howard, decrying Palestinian as well as Israeli
violence, says Israeli attacks were "extremely

Strong South Africa-Israel ties cultivated by the white
government in the apartheid era have been maintained
since the onset of majority rule. South Africa also has
a close relationship with Palestinians, thanks to long-
standing connections between the governing African
National Congress and the Palestinian Liberation

Monday, February 2, 2009

Febuary: Black History Month

Here's what I have to say about Black History Month: Carter G Woodson had a great idea several decades ago. And in the absence of a more inclusive national history, Black History Month remains pivotal. We celebrate "white" history all 12 months, so anyone complaining that there's no White History Month needs to catch a clue. Now, I believe it is important to note that much of black history involves white people, just as much of "white" history involves black people. So, there is some inherent danger in the separate notion of "black" history to the extent that it can engender the idea that black people suffered at the hands of some mysterious force and not the white people with whom they share citizenship and/or this country. But, again, in the absence of a more comprehensive history, I think it necessary to take the risk. Also, I would like to be part of a movement that has the teaching of a more comprehensive history in our schools as its goal. In fact, let me look into that and get back to you. Since I celebrate and discuss black history all year no matter the month, that's about all I'll be saying in regards to Black History Month. Anything else will be along these same lines.

Now. In other news, I just saw Lauren's kids yesterday. They're doing okay. They are scary smart. And I mean that seriously. I saw some of the work they produced in daycare and was frightened. I'm waiting for one of them to explain e=mc2 to me. The youngest, who I'll call Babygirl, sneezed in my face. Luckily, I'm pretty sure that was a regular, "clearing the system" sneeze and not a flu sneeze. The middle child, who I'll call Sasha cause I think both she and the youngest Obama daughter are clowns, did a lot of laughing and giggling. The oldest, who I'll call Smart Pants, insisted on answering "Lauren" when I asked her what my name was. Her older cousins kept telling her "No1KState," so I'm pretty sure Smart Pants kept saying "Lauren" just to be funny. I asked her, "Why are you messing with me?" She just smiled.

And me? I'm good. One of my great-aunts is making me some yum-yums! It's a baked desert with pecans. I'm not a cook, so that's all I can tell you about it. The interesting thing, though, is that she's my maternal grandmother's sister. (Well, this particular great aunt. I have several.) And it occurred to me that while my grandmother had four daughters (Living at least. We know she and Grandpa had a child before they got married who died as a baby or was stillborn. We thought it was a boy, but I saw some other info that it may have been a girl.), only one of them had a daughter by birth - and that daughter of a daughter is me. If we were Amerindians, it would be my son who would become chief. Plus, I don't know, every time I think about that, I feel some added pressure to make good on my grandmother's genes. You know? There is another daughter of a daughter, but she was adopted. And I'm the older of the two of us, anyway. But don't get it twisted, I love her like a sister. Hurt her and I'll cut you.

Lastly, let me thank my new readers. I'll do my best to give you accurate info with some great thinking behind it.

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But Don't Jack My Genuis