Glenn Beck and Goldline, Visualized

The good people over at Ritholtz.com have produced this beauty:

It is, as you can see, quite huge.  Click on it to get the full version.  It's both informative and funny.


Fox News and the Southern Strategy

John Chait on Fox News' renewed attempts to stir the Southern Strategy.  Keep in mind that this was written before the further validating example of Shirley Sherrod.
One of the very few impressive things about conservatives over the last few years is that their opposition to President Obama, though frequently unhinged, misinformed, hypocritical, or outright dishonest, has generally lacked much in the way of racial animus. Obviously you can find some exceptions -- Rush Limbaugh is a notable one, casting health care as "reparations" and trying to make his listeners fear that "in Obama's America," black kids can beat up white kids with impunity. Limbaugh has largely been an exception against the general trend of de-racialized nuttiness on the right.

What you're starting to see from Fox News now, though, is the most widespread and mainstream right-wing effort to exploit racial fears against Obama. The putative issue is the claim that the Obama Justice Department is failing to prosecute a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. If you're interested in the merits of the case, which are extremely flimsy, a good rundown can be found at Fourth Branch. Even if the conservative interpretation of this event were actually true, it's obviously a tiny matter. Nobody has produced a voter who even claims to have been intimidated -- the voters at the polling station were virtually all black anyway -- nor is there any credible claim of anything remotely approaching a systematic attempt to intimidate white voters at the polls.
It's a well made case.  Worth the read.

Southern Strategy, Alive and Well

From The Hill:
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have requested a hearing to investigate alleged racial bias within the Department of Justice, according to a letter sent Friday to committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

The request came in relation to a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party that was first prosecuted as a civil action in January 2009, then dismissed for two of the three defendants the following May. An injunction was issued for the last defendant.

House Judiciary Republicans also moved for further investigation on Thursday, urging President Obama in a letter to direct Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor for the case.
Remember, two of the last three RNC Chairmen admitted to using the Southern Strategy. The current RNC Chairman has said the GOP has been pursuing the strategy for "the last 40-plus years." Looks like it's sticking around.

Also, keep in mind that the New Black Panther story is completely made up.  So sayeth honest conservatives.


A Liar Freaks Out

Ahhhh, good old Breitbart. Can we stop paying him any attention now?


Final Word on New Black Panthers

Steve Bennen references the events in the items I posted earlier, then concludes with this, which I will quote to the end:

That should be the end of it, but in some Republican circles, this exceedingly dull story is being treated as a major scandal (at least, they're pretending to consider it a scandal, in the hopes of generating racial tensions before the midterm elections). In just the last few weeks, Fox News has aired 95 segments -- that's not a typo -- about the issue. Megyn Kelly, the hyper-partisan activist/anchor, not only aired 45 segments in 15 days, she lashed out at a conservative guest who dismissed the relevance of the story.
To his credit, Politico's Ben Smith ran a piece late yesterday that effectively ends the "controversy."
A scholar whom President George W. Bush appointed as vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Abigail Thernstrom has a reputation as a tough conservative critic of affirmative action and politically correct positions on race.

But when it comes to the investigation that the Republican-dominated commission is now conducting into the Justice Department's handling of an alleged incident of voter intimidation involving the New Black Panther Party -- a controversy that has consumed conservative media in recent months -- Thernstrom has made a dramatic break from her usual allies.

"This doesn't have to do with the Black Panthers; this has to do with their fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the [Obama] administration," said Thernstrom, who said members of the commission voiced their political aims "in the initial discussions" of the Panther case last year.

"My fellow conservatives on the commission had this wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president," Thernstrom said in an interview with POLITICO.
Those pushing this garbage aren't exactly subtle in their intentions. Why hyperventilate about a two-year-old story that Bush's own Justice Department found too insignificant to care about? Because some Republicans hope to generate racial animus before the elections, trying to get white voters angry with the Obama administration.

Jon Chait explained this week, "What you're starting to see from Fox News now, though, is the most widespread and mainstream right-wing effort to exploit racial fears against Obama.... There has been a great deal of right-wing insanity unleashed over the last year and a half, but this is the first time that the fear has an explicitly racial cast. You now have the largest organ of movement conservatism promoting Limbaugh's idee fixe that the Obama administration represents black America's historical revenge against whites."

It's as disgusting as anything we've seen from the right in the past 18 months.


Bobby Jindal, Tool

Not only has Bobby Jindal refused to call up the full allotment of National Guard Troops Obama has put at his disposal, but he's also the main guy that pushed for the barrier islands.  "We could have had blah blah blah miles of islands constructed already, but the federal government wont let us!"  That's right, Bobby, technocrats who actually care how well a policy works, and not how much noise you can make about it on TV, consulted scientists and found the idea to be almost totally without merit.  Only a few barrier islands were allowed to be built... this is why:

Those pictures were taken on June 25, July 2, and July 7.  Brilliant.  In the course of  two weeks, those thousands of truckloads of precious sand washed away.  And they're not good at protecting marshes even if they weren't washing away so quickly.  From Discovery.com:
The trouble is, building such ramparts could choke off the marshes by impeding the natural ebb and flow of the tides. Fish and wildlife may not be able to access the fertile estuaries, which they use as breeding ground. And the whole delta is sinking anyway (while sea level rises), making it just a matter of time before the levees are over-topped by a strong storm.

"Building what they call 'the Louisiana wall' makes sense at first, but the science doesn't support it," Bahr said. "The science should be leading this issue, but it isn't. It never has."

Unfortunately, the berms project has charged ahead in this vein, seeking to build (and spend hundreds of millions of dollars) first, and ask questions later.
That's right, because Republicans don't give a damn about Science.  It's always telling them things they don't want to hear.  This is another case of deciding on the conclusion, then picking your argument to fit that conclusion.  This is how you twist yourself into a pretzel, and you get nonsense policy as a result.


CNBC on the Jones Act

Wow.  You don't see this every day, but I wish to god we did:

What a beatdown.


Re: Apologetics

This is the quote I've been thinking about for months, describing the process of religious apologetics:
When looking at the bible one must first assume god inspired the authors and preserved them from error and mistake.  The reader must start the process of inquiry by assuming a certain outcome - don't look for the most likely hypothesis suggested by the evidence, nor the one that is most likely straightforward or reasonable.  Start by believing that a certain conclusion is true and examine the evidence through the lens of that conclusion.  Ask yourself,  "what explanations or interpretations can I come up with that would allow me to maintain my belief that these texts are not contradictory."  If you can find any at all then you have succeeded in your task.  By implication, if you cannot, then the problem lays with you and not the text.
This is exactly the point I've been trying to make in regards to politics.  Too many people work backwards from the conclusion, with evidence be damned, and in the process are forced to contort themselves into partisan pretzels.

Deficit Reminder

Just a reminder from the Wall Street Journal about who is to blame for the deficit.

What was I thinking posting these facts?  We all know it's Obama's Debt!

Palin's Mama Grizzlies and Race

I wont link to the contentless, argument-free trash.  You've no doubt seen it.

The striking thing to me is the departure from what I've come to expect from GOP promo videos.  You need to have those strategically placed minority faces in order to try to fool some of them into thinking you're not the Party of Racists.  (Not elusively racist, of course, but if you're a Racist, you're almost certainly a Republican.)  Remember George W. Bush's Compassionate Conservatism Gallery at the White House?  Of the 21 photos, 19 were of President Bush talking to the blacks.

Anyway, I was struck by the distinct lack of non-white faces in that 2 minute Palin video.  At first I thought there weren't any minorities in the video, but I figured that couldn't be right.  So I went back scene by scene and counted, without recounting people from the same event twice.  I also didn't count Sarah every time she appeared.  I also didn't count white people that weren't clearly visible.  Of 340 people shown in that video, only four were nonwhite.  Two of those were security guards, and one of them only had a hand flash through the corner of the frame.  The remaining two brown people were both women, but both were part of the background of the scene, away from the focus of attention.

That's amazing.  It's like they're not even trying to hide it anymore.  Obama has driven them mad.

Rep Inglis(R) Is Now Free To Speak

Republican Representative Bob Inglis has been making a splash lately.  He lost his GOP primary because he had the gall to try to lead his constituents away from the fever swamps by telling them to "Turn turn the television off when Glenn Beck comes on."  Remember, Inglis was a 1994 Republican Revolutionary, and no moderate.  Of course, Rep. Inglis lost to his Tea Partying opponent.  There is no room in the Republican Party for anything but the most hard core conservatives.

Luckily for us, now that he's not beholden to his crazy-ass voters he's giving "straight-talk" to the AP:
Inglis, 50, who calls himself a Jack Kemp disciple because he has emphasized outreach to minorities as the late Republican congressman did, thinks racism is a part of the vitriol directed at President Barack Obama.

"I love the South. I'm a Southerner. But I can feel it," he said.
Racism. It's the Teapartiers, my friends.  When your spiritual leader is someone that's convinced Obama is ruining the economy on purpose in order to give him the chance to make reparations to the blacks for slavery, then Racism is par for the course.
"There were no death panels in the bill ... and to encourage that kind of fear is just the lowest form of political leadership. It's not leadership. It's demagoguery," said Inglis, one of three Republican incumbents who have lost their seats in Congress to primary and state party convention challengers this year.

Inglis said voters eventually will discover that you're "preying on their fears" and turn away.
Ahhh, honesty. Refreshing.
"I think we have a lot of leaders that are following those (television and talk radio) personalities and not leading," he said. "What it takes to lead is to say, 'You know, that's just not right.'"

Inglis said the rhetoric also distracts from the real problems that politicians should be trying to resolve, such as budget deficits and energy security.

"It's a real concern, because I think what we're doing is dividing the country into partisan camps that really look a lot like Shia and Sunni," he said, referring to the two predominant Islamic denominations that have feuded for centuries. "It's very difficult to come together to find solutions."
Very nice, Rep Inglis. Way to Lead.  Better late than never.

Brown People Are Bad Risks

The short version of that chart is that the rich are defaulting at a way-higher rate than the lower classes.  I'm sure some libertarian apologetic will come out about how it was only the "forced lending to bad credit risks that Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton and their ilk forced the banks into with the CRA" that lead to the housing bubble, and that without the bubble, The Rich wouldn't default.

Apologetics... all that matters if if you can find a seemingly plausible series of steps from A to B.  Of course, the Apologists never see the contradictions their contortions force them into.


Certainty and the New Black Panthers

I had a wonderful discussion today about the Black Panther voter intimidation with one of my conservative friends, and although I presented ample evidence and argument, his ultimate response was along the lines of "Well, I've got my interpretation and I'm sticking to it."  He would like to believe that Bush Administration lawyers acted to incorrectly protect the Black Panthers from an election tampering charge on the day Obama was elected, so he does.  It would require so many people acting against their political interests that it strains credulity, but he sticks to it.

Doesn't that strike you as religious thinking?

Well, here's another data point, from the conservative bastion National Review, making my case:
Forget about the New Black Panther Party case; it is very small potatoes. Perhaps the Panthers should have been prosecuted under section 11 (b) of the Voting Rights Act for their actions of November 2008, but the legal standards that must be met to prove voter intimidation -- the charge -- are very high.

In the 45 years since the act was passed, there have been a total of three successful prosecutions. The incident involved only three Panthers at a single majority-black precinct in Philadelphia. So far -- after months of hearings, testimony and investigation -- no one has produced actual evidence that any voters were too scared to cast their ballots. Too much overheated rhetoric filled with insinuations and unsubstantiated charges has been devoted to this case.

A number of conservatives have charged that the Philadelphia Black Panther decision demonstrates that attorneys in the Civil Rights Division have racial double standards. How many attorneys in what positions? A pervasive culture that affected the handling of this case? No direct quotations or other evidence substantiate the charge.

Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, makes a perfectly plausible argument: Different lawyers read this barely litigated statutory provision differently.
There you have it. As I said to my friend, the evidence just wasn't there for a conviction, so they left it at civil charges rather than criminal. The Obama Administration then went on to slap the baton-wielder with the maximum penalty still available.  How does that count as the Black President giving special favors to Blacks?

Oh wait, I forgot the rule: the National Review is probably a liberal plant!

GOP on the Side of BP, AGAIN

After the Barton appology to BP for Obama jawboning them into paying claims rather than dividends, we thought they had learned their lesson.

But now we find that the GOP has been blocking the extension of subpoena power to the commission investigating Deepwater Horizon and offshore drilling. Once again, they act to protect BP. Despicable.


Boortz Call - Oil Leak Rebuttals

Neal just loves leaving out relevant facts.  Here I am adding some of those back into the discussion on the BP Oil Leak:

Specifically, he's been making flagrantly wrong accusations about the Jones Act and the US refusing help from other countries because they don't meet the EPA regulations.  It's just wrong.  (Of course, I flubbed the Jones Act regulation - I meant "inside 3 miles" instead of "outside 3 miles")

While I was at it, I threw in some information on the underutilization of National Guard troops.

He sure does love burning through my time with nonsense interruptions, doesn't he?

Mitt on START

Kaplan has a comprehensive takedown of Mitt Romney's critique on the new START treaty.

Senator Lugar(R) went to town on him as well.  Here's a quick quote:
Governor Mitt Romney's hyperbolic attack on the New START Treaty in the July 6 edition of The Washington Post repeats discredited objections and appears unaware of arms control history and context. In advancing these arguments, he rejects the Treaty's unequivocal endorsement by the Defense Department led by Secretary Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also distances himself from prominent Republican national security leaders, including Jim Schlesinger, Henry Kissinger, James Baker, and Brent Scowcroft, who have backed the Treaty after thoughtful analysis.

Boortz Call - Israeli Flotilla

Here I am calling in and giving Neal Boortz the business over the Flotilla incident.  I think I did well.  I even had enough time to set up the audience and deal with his attempts to burn through my airtime.

(I barely avoided badmouthing Florida's diving... they've got enough to deal with without someone on national radio talking down their tourist draws.)

Tax Foundation on Health Care Reform

From those horrible lefties over at the Tax Foundation:
If the Medicare cuts in the health care bill are to be believed and CBO's estimates pertaining to the health care bill are to be believed, President Obama has already done more to reduce in magnitude the long-term budget problems for the U.S. than the previous administration, who undoubtedly made the problem worse. That's true despite the amount added to the deficit from the stimulus bill and the costly coverage provisions in the health care bill


Black Panthers Followup

Just to debunk the constant lies and manufactured outrage, here's some perspective on the whole "Black Panther Billy Club" incident. It is not that the Obama Administration treated them with kid gloves because "No black president is going to prosecute the black panthers." It is, in fact, that the Bush Administration decided to only file civil charges against the Black Panthers, rather than criminal charges.

Here are the citations:
Bush administration chose to file civil complaint, not criminal "charges," against Panthers
Before President Bush left office, the Department of Justice filed a civil complaint asking for an injunction against the New Black Panther Party and some of its members. In a January 19 editorial,The Washington Times reported: "Career lawyers at the Justice Department decided as early as Dec. 22, 2008, to seek a complaint against the two Black Panthers onsite as well as Black Panther National Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz and the New Black Panther Party as a whole. Mr. Shabazz and the party were charged with having 'managed, directed and endorsed the behavior, actions and statements' of the other two. The Justice Department formally filed the civil action on Jan. 7, 2009, with approval at the highest levels of the department."
DOJ "sought and obtained" "maximum penalty" against one of the individuals
In December 3 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Department of Justice assistant attorney general Tom Perez testifiedthat "[t]he case was not dismissed," and that the attorneys who reviewed the case "made the determination that, based on the law of the Third Circuit, that the case against the person who wielded the stick, that we should indeed seek the maximum penalty, and that maximum penalty was sought and obtained, and the case against the other defendant should be dismissed, and the case against the national party should also be dismissed."
It's good stuff.  Reality almost always diasgrees with what the Murdoch Space presents as the narrative.