Friday, November 30, 2007

Is Gallup THAT Unimaginative???

Via TPM I found this.

Repubs of all demographic breakdowns self report higher mental health than independents or democrats and all that Gallup comes up with is, "The reason the relationship exists between being a Republican and more positive mental health is unknown, and one cannot say whether something about being a Republican causes a person to be more mentally healthy, or whether something about being mentally healthy causes a person to choose to become a Republican (or whether some third variable is responsible for causing both to be parallel)."

Allow me to gently suggest that these nimrods have missed an obvious possibility in SELF-REPORTED mental health. Conservatives who deny the validity of mental health problems might JUST be more inclined than others to deny that they have mental health issues.

Just sayin'.

Elijah And The Bear

Your Bible In Action:

All Your Base Are Belong To SATAN!

Via Kevin Drum I find this from Joe Klein at Swampland. Normally I hold Joe in a kind of "dupe of the power structure" regard for his false equivalency columns when comparing Repubs and Democrats. But lately his blog posts show the behind the scenes horror he feels about Bush and the Repubs. May have felt all along but didn't write, don't know. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Presuming you don't click the link, it concerns Klein at an undecideds Repub focus group during the most recent debate, and he highlights two things he called "really distressing". As you read this, I want you to understand that focus groups are carefully selected to be AS REPRESENTATIVE AS POSSIBLE of the population it is selected this case Repubs, likely to vote in primary type, i.e., "the base".

First, when Mike Huckabee said that financial aid should be available to the children of illegal immigrants because we are all Children of God his score went into the 30s. For those of you not in the focus group biz, 1 to 100 dial scoring has a sliding scale of inaccuracy the farther you get from 50 (neutral). Scores in the low twenties are kind of the theoretical minimum, statistically indistinguishable from "1" or Total Universal Disagreement by the group. So all but a few Repubs at large agree that US Citizens should be isolated from even the OPPORTUNITY of college because of what their parents did and fuck this "children of God"/Christianity bullshit...bring on the Old Testament, Sins Of The Father God.

Then John McCain weighed in on Waterboarding As Torture. HIS scores went into the twenties. Yes. Repubs universally approve of torturing prisoners of war. Words fail me. I knew it was bad, but UNIVERSAL DISAPPROVAL of the guy telling you what you want to do with the non-Christian brown people is TORTURE for fuck's sake? What the fuck do these people want to do to ME and my latte sipping ways? Jail? Concentration Camps? A Final Solution?

I really DID waste my time in the Army, didn't I? I should have spent it accumulating assets held in Swiss Banks for the moment I have to pack up and run for the border 'cause the brownshirts are after me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Well, If THIS Isn't Depressing...

Over at Yglesias' site I find this tidbit and link. Basically, it turns out that Gresham's Law applies to political discourse; over time bad discourse will drive out good. As it happens, if someone has a position about a candidate's favorability, and then adverse information, real or made up, becomes known to that person it will negatively impact their favorability. If the information later turns out to be false or incomplete, the favorability improves, but not all the way back to the point it was at before.

Also, how much your opinion moves depends on your position in the partisan spectrum. Informed that Hillary Clinton is a man-hating power hungry dyke moves Repubs much further towards disliking her than it moves Democrats. The converse, being told that Mitt Romney is a goat fucker, moves Dems further away than Repubs (many of whom have probably fucked a goat or two in their time, so who would want to cast the first stone).

So what does that mean? Counter punching in response is, over time, a losing move. Obama's campaign has made much of the fact that they have not initiated any of the Clinton/Obama tiffs, but they have not stood aside when it's happened...that they counter punch. I had thought that that was more than adequate. What this study shows is that I was wrong and that isn't good enough. Over time, your positives inexorably erode relative to your goat fucking opponent, whom you have not been adequately slurring. It's why negative campaigns work.

So, it's not enough to simply stand up and fight back (and it's DISASTROUS to "not stoop to their level" as the Kerry campaign incompetently did in 2004). Your ass has to be down in the mud, slinging fast and furious, frequently and with vicious glee. You already see the narrative that the Rovian Repubs are getting ready to trot out; "Hillary is a man-hating, ultra-liberal, vagina dentata destroyer of American Virtue (who had Vince Foster killed)", "Barack Obama is a closet Muslim, trained in radical Madrassahs who will willingly invite jihadis to rape good Christian women", and "John Edwards is a closet fag".

It's going to happen. It is happening, it has happened, it will continue to happen. If we love our country (and with all the torture and human rights violations the Repub Party is "OK" with, I'm beginning to think my four years in the Army were an UTTER waste of my time) we can't just fight back, we have to get down and dirty. We have to say things about our goat fucking opponents FIRST, with two goals; first, to raise their negatives so swayable undecideds go for our guys (or gal), second, (and more importantly) so tar the Repub candidate with nastiness that many Repub voters simply stay home.

That second point provides some degree of Schadenfreude, at least in the anticipation. Because to get Repub voters to sit down, we have to sling slurs at them such as "Rudy is a closet fag." In other words, kill the candidates with the prejudices they've spent 30 years perfecting. Say, "Mitt Romney is a Christian hating cultist," or "Fred Thompson is a Hollywood slut who hops beds with the frequency of a cheap ham radio."

Mike Huckabee is the hardest to get in this way, so I propose that in the (unlikely but possible) event that he receives the nomination, we go the other way. He's a Christo-fanatic who wants to take away birth control, let alone abortion, and who believes the world is 6000 years old. For the Repub base, these are ADVANTAGES. But he's a damn likable guy, so lets just strip off every independent or moderate Repub (presuming there IS such a creature) even marginally concerned about their kids growing up in the Republic of Gilead.

All we have to do is record him speaking, pull out some Young Earth Creationist zaniness, and imply strongly that maybe falling waaaaayyyy behind in technology, science and knowledge isn't exactly the way to go about global competition. We could probably pull every state in the Intermountain West, other than Montana (State Motto: "At least our cows aren't gun toting loons!") and maybe Wyoming.

But...make NO MISTAKE...we have to actually DO it. You might not like "stooping to their level." Tough. I'd rather respect my country than respect myself in the morning. After eight years of Bush, we can't AFFORD ethics. It is indeed time to get nasty.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Racism in America (or) Posting Again

Sorry for the long delay. Been spending waaay too much time in Warcraft. My main made 70, got a flying mount and has been socking away money at a high rate of speed. In fact one of my friends has been 70 almost as long and has about 50G...I have 950G...and the guy in question is into me for 50 large. Big L wants his money, AND the vig. I'm turning into the Shylock of Azeroth.

Which, bwah-ha-ha, leads me into the topic I need to write about...racism. Yes. The favorite topic of many a blogger (not). That minefield and morass into which many soul has wandered, never to be seen again.

The Lovely and Talented Mrs. Pedant teaches at inner city schools, so the issue of racism is one that we don't really have the luxury of sticking in the back of an unused kitchen drawer and thinking about only when we see a news report on the Jena 6 or something. It seems to me that one of the reasons this subject is so fraught is that people, or at least the people who speak about racism, fall into one of the two categories...the "Reverse Discrimination" crowd or the "Everything bad comes from the White Man" crowd.

Mrs. Pedant has a saying after 5 years of inner-city teaching: "We load the gun, and then they shoot themselves in the foot with it."

Which is to say, both sides of the racial divide have some work to do. So let's take a look, shall we?

On the "Whitey is the root of all evil," front, there's lots of posts refuting it. Whitey is, like everyone else chained to the great wheel, both good and bad, perpetrator and healer. Blaming Whitey for every inner-city problem ignores that fact that black on black violence is on the rise. Gangs exist not because "The Man" is deliberately keeping inner city kids from having a viable social net of family and community, but because in the absence of viable families and communities, for whatever reason, the kids in the inner city will make those social groups for themselves.

And because they're conceived by and run by children the social groups will rapidly descend, Lord Of the Flies-like, into tribalism with all the attendant paranoia regarding anyone in the "out group". They shoot each other not because "Whitey makes them," but because the only family they really know expects it. Because the people at the other end are from another tribe, because in some way they aren't really human.

This isn't happening because some white dude in a corporate board room wants it. But, and here is where the power structure ISN'T off the hook, it IS happening because the white dude in the corporate board room doesn't CARE enough to be active in STOPPING it. Why? Because in many cases, he thinks discrimination is sooooo last century. He listened to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. He reads the words and somehow he convinces himself that we're already there.

Yes. Really. That's what anyone who talks about "Reverse Discrimination" about affirmative action is saying. They may ADMIT to YOU that there's still discrimination but, in the immortal words of John Roberts, "The way to end discrimination is to end discrimination." But you know what campers? If right after you say that you make it harder to PROVE discrimination, if your only contact with affirmative action seems to looking for ways to tear it down, and other than that you spend NO TIME dealing with the problems of discrimination, then you aren't saying "The only way to end discrimination," (against blacks and Latinos and native Americans), "is to end," (all forms of), "discrimination," you are ACTUALLY saying, "The only way to end discrimination," (once and for all), "is to end discrimination," (against whites, which the only remaining form of discrimination).

Look, if to disadvantage whites in the hiring process or the admissions process is "discrimination," the clear corollary is that non-whites are not suffering discrimination. Because if non-whites ARE suffering discrimination then affirmative action is STILL fulfilling it's original function: to level the playing field between whites and others with regard to schools attended or jobs filled.

So, if as everyone knows and has proved with scientific studies, hiring and admissions bias DOES still exist how could one POSSIBLY believe that affirmative action is discrimination? The only method I can see is defining discrimination down. What can we point to as an absolute 100% success in the last 50 years against discrimination?

Strange Fruit.

It's been a long time since a black community woke up to find one of their own hung from a tree for the crime of: looking at a white woman funny, sassing a white man, drinking from the wrong fountain, etc. What an accomplishment! We should give ourselves a round of applause that white men can no longer kill black men with impunity, certain that a jury of THEIR peers would never convict.

This is where the fainting violets amongst you might want to avert your eyes.

What a fucking GREAT accomplishment; "We don't do the shooting ourselves." Give yourself a pat on the back!

So, apropos of my comparison that in the conservative mind "Being made to look at a Democrat's placard equals Rosa Park's being told to go to the back of the bus," we can NOW add, "My kid not getting into law school because that slot went to a black kid equals that same black kid getting strung up in a tree and fucking LYNCHED."

Jesus Christ On A Crutch, what the FUCK is wrong with these people? How unbelievably self-centered do you have to be to not notice how unequal that equation is??

If you think affirmative action should be ended, I had better see some MAJOR equality work, Mother Teresa level work, or you're just a goddamn bigot.

OK, all safe for your tender virgin eyes again.

All told, racism in this country is alive and well and arguments to the contrary are woefully misled at best and deliberately disingenuous at worst. Affirmative action is necessary because Mrs. Pedant's students are far less likely to get into a good school or get a good job than the Wee Pedant (To Be Named Later), and she's not even born yet. If you're white, you are still enjoying the fruits of the racism of your forebears. You ain't off the hook yet, Skippy.

Bad grammar and gratuitous commas removed. I need an editor.