Re: Is There Any Possible Justification For Not Giving Shirley Sherrod's Job Back?

1

Vilsack should resign. He's obviously not smart enough to run a Cabinet department. I don't know WTF is wrong with the NAACP that they gave this even a moment's credibility. Everybody knows what Andrew Breitbart is.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/the-breitbart-circus/60137/


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:16 AM
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Is There Any Possible Justification For Not Giving Shirley Sherrod's Job Back?

No.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:26 AM
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The only justification would be if they offered her the position of Secretary of Agriculture.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:27 AM
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Vilsack should resign

I was this close to saying the same thing in the post, but the irony of calling for anyone to lose their job in context kept me from doing it. But I can't imagine what he was thinking. Someone says an employee of yours is a serial killer, you at least check it out before demanding they resign.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:29 AM
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Maybe his boss doesn't provide coffee at work and he was sleepy?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:30 AM
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Maybe his boss doesn't provide coffee at work and he was sleepy?

IIRC, his boss doesn't drink coffee, he asks for OJ. So it's all his fault.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:34 AM
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A possible justification is he was unhappy with her performance and this was just the final straw. Not saying this is likely but it is possible.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:36 AM
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7: She's black, after all.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:37 AM
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6: I see you've read Beverage Preference of U.S. Cabinet Members: 1965 to 2010.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:38 AM
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Vilsack should resign

I put that in my e-mail to him yesterday afternoon. Probably not the most effective tactic, but I was quite fired up*. First time I've ever e-mailed a cabinet member. The address I used was agsec@usda.gov (from a DailyKos thread so caveat emptor).

*This coming after the ACORN BS (which has never gotten any kind of correction in the press**) is inexcusable.

**I am sure most people would still think O'Keefe went into the ACORN offices wearing the "pimp" outfit and/or represented himself as a pimp. Neither is true.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:44 AM
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... And Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, idiotically demanded that she resign without waiting to look at the unedited speech.

And in partial defense of Visack, wasn't he just following the lead of the NAACP?

This episode is useful in that it shows how damaging even false accusations of racism can be.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:46 AM
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Maybe she was standing near his locker?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:50 AM
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wasn't he just following the lead of the NAACP?

He shouldn't be doing that either. He should be standing up for his employees and finding out what actually happened before making personnel decisions.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:54 AM
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Via Digby an interesting twist on this story (and one that I suspect will end up being part of the dialogue before this is over) is that Shirley and Charles Sherrod are part of a settlement against the very USDA stemming back to the early '80s for a black farming cooperative they are part of.

The cash award acknowledges racial discrimination on the part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the years 1981-85. (President Reagan abolished the USDA Office of Civil Rights when he became President in 1981.) New Communities is due to receive approximately $13 million ($8,247,560 for loss of land and $4,241,602 for loss of income; plus $150,000 each to Shirley and Charles for pain and suffering).

Watch this come back as "reparations" in some manner.

Sherrod also indicated this morning that, understandably, she might not want to come back to the job.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:58 AM
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I wouldn't come back to work for Vilsack if I were in her position.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:01 AM
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It would be awesome if Vilsack got fired.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:03 AM
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This episode is useful in that it shows how damaging even false accusations of racism can be.

Maybe this Breitbart fellow can become the first non-black person ever to be called a "shakedown artist".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:08 AM
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10: I wrote a whole series of lunatic emails about this yesterday, one of which was to Vilsack (others to Carolyn Maloney and any name I could scrounge out of my email from Obama for America, etc.).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:09 AM
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Another possible justification, perhaps just by giving the speech (particularly since it apparently discussed an actual case) Sherrod was violating some government regulation.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:10 AM
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19: Mid-1980s dude, she was *not* a USDA or government employee at the time. But yeah, maybe, after all Vilsack is white so he probably had a good reason.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:14 AM
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7 and 19 are both right. Another possible justification is that Sherrod was sleeping with Vilsack's wife. Another possible justification is that Sherrod is a cocaine addict. Another possible justification is that Sherrod has paralyzing halitosis. The possibilities are endless.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:14 AM
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Sherrod once shot Vilsack's dog, just to watch it die.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:16 AM
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Sherrod once held Vilsack's wife's hand in a jar of acid at a party.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:17 AM
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How about -- she shouldn't get her job back because the fact that she was so quick to resign shows she not tough enough for the job? Or that she doesn't value it enough.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:18 AM
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13

He shouldn't be doing that either. He should be standing up for his employees and finding out what actually happened before making personnel decisions.

I said it was a "partial" defense.

As for standing up for your employees, Vilsack isn't an union leader, he also has an obligation to the public. Suspension with pay pending review is a common way with dealing with such situations.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:19 AM
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She shouldn't get her job back until she defeats Andrew Breitbart in single combat.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:19 AM
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I love that Breitbart is saying it was never about Sherrod, but rather the supposed murmurs of approval issued by the audience while she details her "racism."

I also love the deranged cynicism of the National Review, Glenn Beck etc. crowd who quickly denounced the administration's firing of this poor woman, whom Obama personally victimized.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:24 AM
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26. How about if Vilsack and Breitbart are locked in a pit with a knife and fork and a jar of French mustard, so people can bet on who eats whom? Profits to go to Sherrod's healthcare insurance in case she's no longer covered.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:24 AM
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he also has an obligation to the public

The obligation to the public is to run his department fairly and efficiently. Asking "how high" when the professional race-baiters at Breitbart and Fox News tell him to jump is most definitely not part of that obligation.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:32 AM
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27.2: Yep, and of course if they had not forced her to resign they could play it the other way.

And the WaPo article on this is pretty wankerific.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:34 AM
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30.2: good god, that's outrageous. Were the first half and the last half of that article written by two different people?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:37 AM
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You know, the Bradley administration in Los Angeles was in power for my entire childhood. Perhaps it was the innocence of youth, but I don't remember a "larger, sinister narrative" about how his employees wouldn't help the white man. In retrospect, I'm lucky I survived.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:38 AM
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Or, I guess it's more likely that the article was written in real-time, and the journalist just didn't know all the facts when he wrote the first half of the article, and only learned them about halfway in.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:39 AM
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10.penultimate&last: For instance from the NY Times story on this: The video was spotlighted by Andrew Breitbart, a conservative blogger known for promoting videos that emerged last year and ultimately brought down Acorn, the community organizing group. Would it not be more informative to the public to point out that those tapes were also edited in a highly misleading way, and that the Times and many others were absolutely snookered in that instance as well. Could there possibly maybe be A PATTERN HERE??


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:43 AM
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The full text of her speech has:

I assumed the Department of Agriculture had sent him to me, either that or the -- or the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

I suspect she was an activist at the time, doing nothing governmental; I'm trying to find out more.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:47 AM
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Working with him made me see that it's really about those who have versus those who don't.

Quote from Shirley Sherrod's speech -- now we understand why she had to go -- she's promoting class warfare.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:47 AM
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34: In retrospect, I'm lucky I survived.

Between all that and the lack of water, I should say so.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:49 AM
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Oops. 37 to 32, not 34.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:49 AM
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36 has it

Gotta be in one of those links the WH statement that Obama was fully informed and supports the firing 100%.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:50 AM
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I suspect she was an activist at the time, doing nothing governmental

She was working for a non-profit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:50 AM
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Neither Shirley Sherrod nor the DoA were the real targets here. The NAACP was. Breitbart's game is to target and try to discredit black organizations, then discredit the Obama administration by association because, you know, black guy in the White House and the right wing "wants their country back".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:53 AM
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The whole thing leaves me sputtering and wanting to go back to bed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:53 AM
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36, 39: My bait worked!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:53 AM
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40: This non-profit, specifically.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:59 AM
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35: I liked the Faceless Bureaucrat's response, not least for his good bureaucratic instincts. 'Why, that program wasn't the size they claim!' I would totally do that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:59 AM
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Calling people racist used to be cool, but now everybody does it.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:05 AM
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I wrote to Obama today telling him that this pattern of caving to right wing extremists, on top of his pattern of preemptive compromise, is costing him my support. I gave money last election cycle, but if he wants my money next time he'll have to grow a spine.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:06 AM
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14: And you begin to see that the pivot to a conspiracy involving their role in the settlement (in addition to the general NAACP & Obama bashing):

Here are just a few questions about Ms. Sherrod that deserve answers:
* Was Ms. Sherrod's USDA appointment an unspoken condition of her organization's settlement?
* How much "debt forgiveness" is involved in USDA's settlement with New Communities?
* Why were the Sherrods so deserving of a combined $300,000 in "pain and suffering" payments -- amounts that far exceed the average payout thus far to everyone else? ($1.15 billion divided by 16,000 is about $72,000)?
* Given that New Communities wound down its operations so long ago (it appears that this occurred sometime during the late 1980s), what is really being done with that $13 million in settlement money?
And actually, I would not be surprised if it turns out that in some way this aspect did influence Vilsack.



Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:12 AM
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Oliver Willis joins the crowd of irrational Obama haters.

Shirley Sherrod, the USDA's former director of rural development in Georgia, said USDA deputy undersecretary Cheryl Cook called her Monday and said the White House wanted her to resign, the Associated Press reports.

The initial WH involvement here is being kept secret, and someone very very high is being protected by Cook and Vilsack.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:13 AM
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The initial WH involvement here is being kept secret, and someone very very high is being protected by Cook and Vilsack.

Most likely, but that doesn't mean that the very very high person knew what they were doing or wanted to be protected in that fashion.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:21 AM
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Shirley Sherrod, the USDA's former director of rural development in Georgia, said USDA deputy undersecretary Cheryl Cook called her Monday and said the White House wanted her to resign, the Associated Press reports.

Since Sherrod knew the tape was grotesquely edited and the charges very unjust; since she was defending herself within her own office and department;exactly what could be said by Cook to get an instant resignation without review or a chance by Sherrod to talk to someone first?

"Shirley, the White House cook wants you to resign."
"Hey, I'm at the typewriter."

Sherrod's at fighter, no, a hero. She's gonna let that damn fool Rahm Emanuel destroy her reputation and career? I. Don't. Think. So.

Only one name could have gotten such a quick resignation.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:37 AM
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Or, I guess it's more likely that the article was written in real-time, and the journalist just didn't know all the facts when he wrote the first half of the article, and only learned them about halfway in.

The Post specializes in burying the lead in the last few paragraphs of an article. Drives me effing crazy.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:38 AM
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Only one name could have gotten such a quick resignation.

Bob McManus! Dum-dum-dum...


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:39 AM
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And Vilsack was in front of the cameras very very quickly taking "full responsibility." Too quickly


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:40 AM
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51: Or, you know, maybe by the third call, she went, "Oh yeah, well fuck you people, I quit. And we'll just see whose reputation and career gets ruined."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:41 AM
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I am sure most people would still think O'Keefe went into the ACORN offices wearing the "pimp" outfit and/or represented himself as a pimp. Neither is true.

Wait, what?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:41 AM
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You know, when I worked at my college paper, a prestigious one, all of the traditional journalism students would poo-poo the lessons I brought from my film studies coursework. "Why do you always have to make everything about politics [sic], Natilo?" they would ask, ideologically. And yet it seems like most of the corporate media (to give the most charitable reading to their actions) could really benefit by taking a Film 101 class where they learned a little bit about editing.

The other thing that frosts my goat here, is that whenever there's a video of white policemen beating up or killing a black man, the corporate media uncritically reports the officers' assertions that the "full video" (a term they also use uncritically) shows a completely different chain of events. I mean, Rodney King was almost 20 years ago, and yet they still don't view film critically. Sigh.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:43 AM
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57 was me, obvs.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:45 AM
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57 was me. Natilo was my name before I changed it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:47 AM
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How about if Vilsack McManus and Breitbart Shearer are locked in a pit with a knife and fork and a jar of French mustard, so people can bet on who eats whom chainsaws?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:47 AM
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56: He only wore the outfit outside, never in the offices. Dressed casually, O'Keefe represented himself as Giles' boyfriend trying to protect her from her abusive pimp (I think there may have been other narratives they used).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:47 AM
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Sherrod told CNN on Tuesday that she was told repeatedly to resign Monday afternoon after the clip surfaced.

"They harassed me," she said. "I got three calls from the White House. At one point they asked me to pull over to the side of the road and do it because you are going to be on Glenn Beck tonight."

C'mon, c'mon, give us names and titles. How is this stuff really done? "This is Rahm Emanuel's office calling"?

RE's fileclerk:"I take full responsiblity. Mr E had no idea."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:49 AM
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56: You missed that? Yeah, he went in dressed normally, and in at least some of the interactions represented himself as trying to get his girlfriend away from her pimp. The pimp outfit was edited in after the fact. (I'm not perfectly on top of the details -- there were some interactions where he did represent himself as interested in pimping. In at least some of those, the ACORN employee shined him on during the conversation, and called the police afterwards.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:49 AM
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Can Sherrod sue for libel? I know there is a high bar for libel in the US (and generally I like that fact) but Briebert was deliberately deceptive and cost her her job. That seems straightforward.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:03 AM
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61, 63: Damn MSM pulled the wool over my eyes.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:04 AM
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Certainly worth a shot. Breitbart claims not to have seen the full video until after he released the clip, which would be one issue; proving he was deliberately deceptive (although obvious) might be tricky.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:06 AM
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61, 63: An interesting recent development is that one of the ACORN workers in San Diego has sued (one who was fired, but who had called the police afterward) for videotaping their confidential conversation (illegal in California, they got immunity from criminal prosecution when they turned over the tapes to the California DA). Here is an article about that which includes a good Rachel Maddow clip explaining that development in addition to some good background.

At one point, Clark Hoyt from the NYTimes astonishingly defended their reporting on the whole story by claiming "The story says O'Keefe dressed up as a pimp and trained his hidden camera on Acorn counselors. It does not say he did those two things at the same time"; so it is hardly shocking that people are still confused on that point.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:08 AM
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65: Sucks, doesn't it? Even when you think you're being suspicious, you're not being suspicious enough.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:08 AM
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66: Breitbart claims not to have seen the full video until after he released the clip

But so far he is protecting his source, and in a way it is almost more damning (but maybe not legally) that he went with it on that basis.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:10 AM
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It does not say he did those two things at the same time

Jesus H. Christ.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:13 AM
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Oh, the rights and wrongs are obvious, but defamation is tricky enough (and is usually state-law, so variable from place to place) that I don't have a strong opinion offhand about whether a defamation suit would be an easy win. If someone came up with the money to fund it, it'd be worth doing for the discovery and for making Breitbart's life difficult.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:13 AM
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The problem is not Breitbart, and it pains me even to write the name. There will always be such people around, and if you slap this one down, another will pop up to take his place. What, we are going to shame Fox and Glenn Beck? Keep fighting the lies, and eventually the liars will stop? What country do you live in? The ratfuckers don't even deserve refutation. I'm telling you, if we pretend Republicans don't exist, eventually, somehow, they will disappear.

The problem is with people, supposedly on our side, who listen and respond to Republicans at all, at any time, in any way.

These are the ones who need to be shamed.

Jess Jackson is calling for a public humiliation at the White House, with Sherrod, the white farming couple, Vilsack, and Obama gathering for tea.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:13 AM
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70: You missed that? It was the worst ombudsman performance I've ever seen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:14 AM
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66: she wouldn't have to prove he was deliberately deceptive, only that he published the story with reckless disregard reckless of whether or not it was false. That still may be difficult, of course.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:15 AM
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72: Seriously? Whatever we should do about the people on our side, we also need to shoot one of the ratfuckers in the head, pour encourager les autres.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:16 AM
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67: The headline is shite, though: "ACORN May Get Last Laugh." ACORN has been destroyed.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:16 AM
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67: The headline is shite, though: "ACORN May Get Last Laugh." ACORN has been destroyed.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:16 AM
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72.1: Slap down enough of them and the new ones will be cowed the way the mainstream and left media have been cowed by the repeated scalp-collecting of the right wing noise machine. Even if they are not cowed, there is at least some merit in hurting the interests of evil men.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:17 AM
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77: Yeah, I really was just trying to find the Maddow clip which I had seen somewhere else and that article popped up and it at least gave the basic facts.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:18 AM
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74: I'm also not quite sure what 'false' means in the context of an actual clip from a speech. I think there's a good chance he's safe in the combination of the speech being real, and what he said about it being opinion -- publishing the selected clip without context is evil, but I don't know if you can call it false, and saying that "I think this demonstrates that Sherrod is racist" is opinion, so not defamatory. But I haven't seen the initial story -- maybe he's got some clean false statements of fact.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:19 AM
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ACORN has been destroyed.

And now they are going after the NAACP. This isn't about policies for them, it's about the total annihilation of any and all organizations that might resist their agenda.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:23 AM
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Actually, this looks good enough to support a defamation claim to me:

In her meandering speech to what appears to be an all-black audience, this federally appointed executive bureaucrat lays out in stark detail, that her federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:23 AM
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80: if you take someone's quote and alter it in a misleading way (including by truncation), and publish that altered quote, that's generally considered making a false statement about the person (the implicit statement that "individual y said x," when they didn't really say x at all.) There's probably real law on this (of which I'm ignorant), but I would imagine edited video clips would be treated similarly.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:25 AM
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Yeah, while I've done defamation cases, they were all years ago, and I'm unclear on the subtleties. I can spot enough issues to say that I wouldn't jump either way (it's obviously defamation or it's obviously not actionable); this is stuff I'd need to brief before I was sure what I thought.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:28 AM
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82: Will there be additional damages for comma abuse?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:28 AM
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82: well, that wouldn't really be false (and would probably be protected opinion) if Breitbart had really only seen the edited tape, and believed that to be the whole thing. I think the difficult part of the case would be proving that he in fact knew more, or, if he was really ignorant, that his ignorance constituted reckless disregard of the truth. Of course, it's possible that discovery could turn up things that would make this part of the case not very difficult at all.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:29 AM
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73 It was the worst ombudsman performance I've ever seen.

Isn't this what one expects an ombudsman to do? Admittedly, I don't pay attention to this very often, but on every story that's pissed me off enough that I have, the ombudsman has just tried to cover for the newspaper and avoided accountability, at best making vague gestures at how the newspaper might have been clearer on some tangential issue.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:30 AM
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75:I have been watching this shit since (very late) McCarthyism.

There are lots of things here, like the Overton Window, solidarity, framing.

They will, want to, have us waste our time.

The obvious question to NAACP, Vilsack, whoever:"Why would you pay any attention to this jerk."

Ignore the right. Attack the center. Defend the left.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:30 AM
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||
But how much money did she give him to bust up her chifforobe?
|>


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:33 AM
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86: If it's not opinion (which is a close call, but it's not phrased as opinion) wouldn't making the statement on the basis of a short clip of a speech be at least reckless? I'm not sure, but it seems like it'd be worth a try.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:34 AM
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This is BS, but the fact that the Democrats are renewing unemployment benefits for millions of people today is still a whole hell of a lot more important.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:35 AM
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USDA will reconsider firing


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:36 AM
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90: I guess it might be worth a try, in the sense that Breitbart is a bad person and I wouldn't mind him being harrassed fairly or unfairly, and I don't have a great sense of whether it might be a successful argument, but that particular argument seems awfully close to liabilty for an opinion, and as a generally 1st amendment matter, I wouldn't actually want to law to be that close on that issue.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:39 AM
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92: It's something, but I'd like the review to culminate in a noisy public apology.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:39 AM
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FDL

1st comment:

This is not a minor incident and it is part of a much more serious problem facing progressives and all of our political discourse. The problem is the power and impact of the right wing smear machine to distort and distract from the important issues of the day. As long as the Drudges and Breitbarts of this world are able to interject their poison into our national discourse we will always be playing defensive. The Shirly Sherrod affair is a rare opportunity to effectively bring this evil rightwing tactic into the light of day.

Well, smart til the last line.

Oh yeah, we weakened the smear machine when we cleared up the lie about Muskie's brainwashing. Or Willie Horton. Or Vince Foster. Or WMD's. Or birth certificates. Everytime some wingnut spouts nonsense we must spend hours and days and weeks getting the truth out.

And they will stop. We will never stop the lies.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:43 AM
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While his other efforts are different, in this all Breitbart did was release a video and sit back. If that can function as a "smear machine", things are pretty fucked up. Sure, it was bad journalism, but not the kind that is supposed to fool anybody with an actual brain, let alone a position in the cabinet. This is about as close to straight forward self-destruction as you get.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:50 AM
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The weak-regulation enforcing Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has not yet had a head nominated. Obama should put up Warren so that the people opposed have to publicly speak against her rather than muttering that they want someone esle. WHat is the most effective way to communicate this sentiment to the White House?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:50 AM
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Oh yeah, we weakened the smear machine when we

Remind me what happened when Kerry and Gore decided they weren't going to dignify the smears with responses?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:51 AM
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98: Profit!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:52 AM
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Jess Jackson is calling for a public humiliation at the White House, with Sherrod, the white farming couple, Vilsack, and Obama gathering for tea.

Be nice if they took this opportunity to announce that ACORN would be getting a $100M in annual grants so long as Breitbart keeps going.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:54 AM
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98:That is a framing and narrative from someone who thinks smears are determinative. The "defensive crouch" gang gives all their power to the right.

I don't buy that history, and think other more important factors were involved in those losses.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 9:58 AM
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Hey Bob, I heard Obama is keeping more promises and making the world a better place. Is this true?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:00 AM
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89: Jesus Christ.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:02 AM
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95: I don't think pushing back will work miracles, but you have to fight back. The lies will keep coming because lying is an effective tactic. But an unanswered lie is even-more effective tactic, because it means lies will eventually convince people who'd be inclined be skeptical. There was a point in 2000 where I was convinced that Gore was a serial exaggerator, because I'd heard all of the lies, and none of the rebuttals.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:03 AM
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102:Obama may be keeping some promises.

"Better?"

Better for some, worse for others.

Better than it could be? No.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:05 AM
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It's something, but I'd like the review to culminate in a noisy public apologydisemboweling.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:06 AM
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Wait, you're saying that everything isn't for the best in the best of all possible worlds?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:07 AM
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No, no, I specifically heard that Obama was empowering the disempowered and downtrodden while enforcing consequences on abusers of power and redistributing their wealth. Is this true?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:08 AM
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105.4 is nonsense.

No, the world has not become a better place since Nov 2008, nor have the prospects improved. I really believe the opposite is true.

The only declines in unemployment are due to people dropping out of the labour force.

You can always find someone whose life is better.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:15 AM
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I wonder if the right calling Obama a socialist is going to rehabilitate the reputation of socialism among the general public -- linking the two will push the Overton Window back to the left.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:18 AM
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Vilsack very clearly explained why it might not be appropriate to rehire Sherrod:

"The controversy surrounding her comments would create situations where her decisions, rightly or wrongly, would be called into question making it difficult for her to bring jobs to Georgia."

Rightly or wrongly.

Per Vilsack, her ability to do her job has been hampered by this smear campaign. Attempting to fight back against the smear would be counterproductive - and not really even relevant to Vilsack's concerns.

This is the modern Democratic Party.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:20 AM
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89, 103: I'm pretty sure He would be convicted, too.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:22 AM
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I don't mean to be flippant dismissive, but calls for "shaming," etc., in this case and similar seem to rely on the erroneous assumption that we live in feudal Japan. The judgments of politicians and their toadies advisers may occasionally produce a grudging, casuistical word of regret, but an orgy of Maoist self-criticism on the part of the DofA/White House seems unlikely.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:22 AM
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90. 93, IMO, the statement in 82 is not enough to support a claim for defamation. The Milkovich standard is, roughly, no defamation suits for statements on matters of public concern unless the statement is proveable or disproveable as false, and the 82 language isn't there, though it's not too far off. It might also be protected by the Falwell line of cases that, basically, protect hyperbole.

On the other hand, if there was evidence that the clip was deliberately edited with Breitbart's knowledge to produce a misleading impression, that definitely would be enough. So I agree with Brock that the toughest part of the suit would be establishing Breitbart's knowlede of the bogus editing, or reckless disregard of the editing. That's going to be a pretty fact-intensive issue.

There's also a separate question, which varies from state to state, as to how much information you can get from Breitbart about the source.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:23 AM
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I'm sure Israel will apply the "fucking under false pretenses" rule even-handedly.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:24 AM
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113: Maoist Japan?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:26 AM
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116: No one wants to read the first draft of your crazy alternative history novel about Yukio Mishima becoming an LDP warlord in the Golden Triangle, Moby.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:28 AM
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Wow, the links in this thread are amazing.

The WaPo story linked in 30 is unbelievable.

The Israeli you-can-sue-for-rape-if-your-date-pretends-to-be-Jewish is unbelievable. If the courts there start applying that rule even handedly and allows suit for all sex on false premises (uh, sure), then I think I might move to Israel and set up a trial practice in which I sue every man who has had sex ever.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:30 AM
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an orgy of Maoist self-criticism

Just when I thought I was out . . . .


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:31 AM
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Come on, Robert. He said "Maoist", not "Mao". Maoism is awesome, even though Mao sucked. Just like how heavy metal is awesome, even though Led Zeppelin sucks.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:33 AM
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Just like how heavy metal is awesome

Maötörhead fucking rules!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:36 AM
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117: What if I made it a graphic novel and replaced kimonos with very, very sheer kimonos?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:37 AM
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Well, I am pro self criticism, and it probably would have been fun to hang out with the folks pictured in late-60s Godard movies, so maybe you're right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:39 AM
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an orgy of Maoist self-criticism
Really the only legally safe way to do these things.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:42 AM
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Maoist Japan?

The Great Bow Forward?
The Gang of Geishas?
The Anime Revolution?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:44 AM
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an orgy of Maoist self-criticism

Sorry it took me so long, but I masturbated a lot as a kid. Okay, who's next?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:44 AM
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122: I don't think Mishima was really into sheer kimonos, if you know what I mean and I think you do while I cough and nod meaningfully towards one of the many images of him trussed up like a Thanksgiving Saint Sebastian.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:45 AM
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125: Kitty Number 1.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:48 AM
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...sue every man person who has had sex ever.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:51 AM
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I'm pretty sure girls don't lie when they have sex, togolosh.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:54 AM
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I'm going to need to take on a partner if we're going to go after the women, too.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:57 AM
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130: True - some prefer to have sex standing up.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:01 AM
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The problem is with people, supposedly on our side, who listen and respond to Republicans at all, at any time, in any way.
These are the ones who need to be shamed.

Bob's right, you know. What the hell were people (the media, Vilsack etc) doing dancing to Breitbart's tune, especially after the ACORN clusterfuck? Breitbart's a ratfucker. He's going to keep on doing it regardless. And if he stops, someone else will do it instead. The solution to ratfucking is to have some fucking genitals.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:23 AM
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I hesitate to phrase that as Bob's being right. Of course the problem is that Vilsack (or an underling? I'm not sure) treated Breitbart as remotely credible (and I'm kind of surprised that the NAACP fell for it as well). But that doesn't mean you don't respond, just that you don't obey.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:27 AM
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The case actually does have as precedent several incidents in which people in Israel were convicted of obtaining sex under false pretenses (I think there was one where the guy said he was a pilot, and one guy who claimed to be a neurosurgeon). The shift to rape in this case, though, is pretty obviously due to racism. I also thought the first cases were kind of silly, but I guess at least those are debatable.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:38 AM
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135: I don't know. I do think polite criticisms of the Breitbarts of the world are probably counterproductive. They're wholly immune to that sort of criticism, and in many cases are even strengthened by it. They need instead to be completely delegitimized. And the way for that to happen is for the "center"/mainstream to treat them as illegitimate. And there are plenty of people in the "center"/mainstream who are open to persuasion, and could be influenced by criticism (unlike the Breitbarts of the world). So, that's how you get Bob's "Ignore the right. Attack the center. Defend the left."

And, also, it doesn't seem to me that an aggressive response attacking mainstream institutions for their credible reporting of the Sherrod controversy would be perceived as ignoring the controversy, or failing to respond to it. So I'm not sure the Kerry and Gore comparisons are apt.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:44 AM
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136 to 134.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:45 AM
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135: Yeah, I realized that reading this Haaretz article. The "neurosurgeon" was convicted of fraud. I think Halford should totally set up his practice!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:54 AM
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I'm going to need to take on a partner if we're going to go after the women, too.

Because I'm a feminist.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:55 AM
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The real question, of course, is what you get for a neg. Community service?


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:58 AM
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The Plum Line:

Check out this nugget in an interview that Shirley Sherrod did with Joe Strupp, in which she comes right out and claims Fox News is using her as a "pawn" in a racist plot to undo the gains African Americans have made:

She said Fox showed no professionalism in continuing to bother her for an interview, but failing to correct their coverage.

"I think they should but they won't. They intended exactly what they did. They were looking for the result they got yesterday," she said of Fox. "I am just a pawn. I was just here. They are after a bigger thing, they would love to take us back to where we were many years ago. Back to where black people were looking down, not looking white folks in the face, not being able to compete for a job out there and not be a whole person."

This is pretty incendiary stuff. Sherrod is clearly not going away, and now she appears determined to force a larger conversation about the Breitbart-Fox News axis's broader efforts to stoke white resentment towards the nation's first African American president.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:00 PM
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Holy shit! According to that Haaretz article, the Israeli Legal rule is that it's rape if person "does not tell the truth regarding critical matters to a reasonable woman, and as a result of the misrepresntation" there's sex.

Israeli law practice here we come. People of the world, you are on notice.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:11 PM
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and not be a whole person

I was thinking about a narrow piece of that, and obviously from here on out, I am only guessing about her life and projecing about her motives.

But I was thinking about what happened, that a speech that a bureaucrat gave (likely?) in an unofficial capacity was linked back to her job. (Possible she was on the clock and it was a speech that had been requested from her agency, in which case wouldn't a PR staff or manager have looked at it, which would be the procedure here at my agency. But then they wouldn't have been so blindsided, so I am guessing it was a speech that she gave as a citizen and not as someone from USDA.) Right, so she's giving a speech as a different function, and I suppose you could say "well, if the speeches a bureaucrat gives in some other function illustrate how they do her job, they're fair game." So my first thought was, well, maybe those bureaucrats shouldn't be out talking about race*, which is so horribly loaded and fraught. But then I thought, what if she thinks about Race the way I think about Water (and the capitalization shows that I mean the whole collective policy field, which is how we say it to each other. "Oh, you're in Water? Where do you work?") Then, taking Race off the table as too scary for speeches means that she shouldn't go to any public venues to discuss what may be the biggest thing that has lodged in her thoughts. Which is probably one of the more minor bad aspects of how she has been treated, but still leaves her as less than a whole person. So maybe she had some of the same reasoning.

*Or, rather than "shouldn't", something about "been aware of what could happen if one were taped and maliciously edited", which already shows why my thought process was cowardly bullshit.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:23 PM
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Since it's off the front page, this is for Halford from yesterday

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/07/13/rspb.2010.0890.abstract

Abstract on China:
we demonstrate that war frequency, price of rice, locust plague, drought frequency, flood frequency and temperature in China show two predominant periodic bands around 160 and 320 years where they interact significantly with each other.

Blame the weather!


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:24 PM
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Of all the people who "should be ashamed', Sherrod is not one of them. She told a story of how her initial reluctance was overcome by her recognition of common humanity, which was the point. She was hinting to the NAACP that it is time to move on. Apparently not.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:29 PM
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Are you fucking kidding me? Are you still claiming the NAACP wasn't legitimately responding to actual racism in the Tea Party movement?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:35 PM
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No, I am claiming that the NAACP, the Department of Agriculture and the White House over reacted.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:38 PM
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Are you still claiming the NAACP wasn't legitimately responding to actual racism in the Tea Party movement?


Mr. Blandings, After rereading my first comment I don't see where you got that. I await enlightenment.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:42 PM
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Putting those reactions in the same class is still fucking nuts. The NAACP was reacting to a genuinely racist screed from a Tea Party leader. The Department of Agriculture was reacting to slander. The DoA didn't 'overreact' to a real but minor offense, they reacted to an offense that didn't happen, on the basis of false information from a known liar. This has nothing to do with the NAACP's reaction to a genuine racist screed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:42 PM
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149: The NAACP also reacted to the original edited video of Sherrod.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:45 PM
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150 crossed with 149, but addresses it. By saying that the DoA's reaction -- firing someone for giving a 'racist' speech that in fact wasn't racist -- was the same sort of overreaction as the NAACP's reaction to whatsisname's genuinely racist letter to Lincoln, you're directly implying that the NAACP was just as wrong about the presence of actual racism as the DoA was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:46 PM
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148: She was hinting to the NAACP that it is time to move on.

Enlightenment arrives!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:47 PM
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You were suggesting that the NAACP should "move on", which I read, I think reasonably, to imply that their response to the Tea Party had been disproportionate/inappropriate/illegitimate in some way. And you had earlier minimized the Tea Party issues as stemming merely from "uncertainties about race", rather than, you know, racism.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:49 PM
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151: No, I'm referring to the NAACP's original reaction to the Sherrod video-- which they have since apologized for.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:49 PM
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150: I can't make that make sense in light of 145 -- "hinting to the NAACP that it is time to move on". If Leech was talking about the NAACP's reaction to Sherrod's speech (which was mistakenly hasty, but they didn't actually do anything harmful), then sure, but where does 145 fit in?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:50 PM
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Plus the NAACP already has moved on from that overreaction.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:51 PM
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Something went weird with my comment references in 151: I was talking about my 149 and saying that it crossed with TLL's 148.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 12:54 PM
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Oh, I see. In fact I was not referring to the specific Tea Party/ NAACP kerfuffle, but the entire concept of race based politics. I could have been more specific, but I also thought that Sherrod's speech was given before the whole Tea Party flap anyway, so as not to be confused. She wasn't talking about the Tea Party, and neither was I.

And I still think that the "Tea Party" which is not a national organization but a series of local and regional organizations is more about spending than race, which is not to say that there are not individuals who harbor racist thoughts. The NAACP was trying to diffuse some of the growing power of this grass roots organization by playing the race card, which is what they do.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:00 PM
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The NAACP was trying to diffuse some of the growing power of this grass roots organization by playing the race card, which is what they do.

Oh for Christ's sake. Condemning actually racist people for being racist is not "playing the race card".


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:04 PM
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158: This is not even wrong. What does 'race based politics' mean to you, that an organization devoted to opposing racism is a bad thing?

What do you mean 'playing the race card'? Opposing racism? Pointing it out where it exists, and identifying it as a problem?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:04 PM
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159: Quit typing faster than I do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:06 PM
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As far as that goes, Williams is out. So the NAACP accomplished its mission of calling out a genuine racist who was in a position of leadership. That doesn't make the Tea Party a bunch of racists.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:06 PM
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this grass roots organization

We have fundamentally different conceptions of the organization. I don't see any evidence that it's anything more than the right wing of the Republican Party.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:07 PM
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I still think that the "Tea Party" ... is more about spending than race

I thought the Tea Party was about the fact that 30% of the population is fucking nuts and goes apeshit every time a Democrat is elected President?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:07 PM
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And the "Tea Party" per se may not be racist, but you can't look at what's-her-name on Fox News flipping out about the New Black Panthers and not conclude that she and her cheerleading section are motivated by some kind of sublimated racial panic.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:11 PM
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That doesn't make the Tea Party a bunch of racists

The NAACP didn't say that it was. A few commenters here have said that, but the NAACP was careful not to.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:11 PM
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That doesn't make the Tea Party a bunch of racists.

That's just one piece of the puzzle.

From the last link there:

This week, April 7, 2010, Professor Christopher Parker of the WISER Institute, at the University of Washington, released the results of a political science poll studying racism in American politics. Here is an excerpt from the report: "America is definitely not beyond race. For instance, the Tea Party, the incipient movement that claims to be committed to reining in what they perceive as big government, appears to be motivated by more than partisanship and ideology. Approximately 45% of Whites either strongly or somewhat approve of the movement. Of those, only 35% believe Blacks to be hardworking, only 45 % believe Blacks are intelligent, and only 41% think that Blacks are trustworthy. Perceptions of Latinos aren't much different. While 54% of White Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be hardworking, only 44% think them intelligent, and even fewer, 42% of Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be trustworthy ..." The report reveals that Tea Party members are 36 percent more likely to be racially resentful than non-Tea Party supporters. According to Professor Parker, "While it's clear that the tea party in one sense is about limited government, it's also clear from the data that people who want limited government don't want certain services for certain kinds of people. Those services include health care."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:14 PM
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that an organization devoted to opposing racism is a bad thing

No. But addressing the causes of poverty regardless of skin color was what Sherrod was talking about in her speech, or at least the parts that I was paying attention to. I think that the NAACP has outlived its usefulness, worthy as it has been in the past. But there are obviously still racists among us.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:15 PM
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168: Is there any reason that addressing the causes of poverty is precluded by also continuing to oppose racism? I can't see why there would be. I would also note that Sherrod was speaking at an NAACP event, and she wasn't telling them to shut down and stop worrying about racism.

Back to your 158: race based politics... playing the race card

I really dislike this kind of rhetoric. What it does is equate politics based on racism with politics based on opposing racism as if they were versions of the same thing. They're not. Racist politics are bad, anti-racist politics are good, and lumping them together as "race based politics" is incoherent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:19 PM
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I would say that I don't think that the NAACP hasn't been particularly effective as an organization for at least a decade now, but that's entirely different from saying that the organization has outlived its usefulness.

So what you're saying is that there are "still racists among us," but the institutionalized racism isn;t a problem anymore. If so that's wrong and willfully ignorant.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:20 PM
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a genuine racist who was in a position of leadership. That doesn't make the Tea Party a bunch of racists.

No, of course that doesn't make the Tea Partyright-wing Republicans a bunch of racists, or make the Tea Partythe right-wing of the Republican party a "racist organization". I agree, for example, that it's not a reaction to Obama's race, but his political party. (I don't agree that it's an innocent reaction to "federal spending".)

It is true, however, that the Tea Partythe right-wing of the Republican party houses a disproportionately large number of people who are, personally, racist. Would you at least agree with that?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:23 PM
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From the report Apo linked:

A principal charge, one not without intellectual merit, is that the observed relationship between support for the Tea Party and racial resentment is more about the relatively conservative politics of Tea Partiers than racism. Indeed, conservatives tend to believe in a small government, one that doesn't do much to help people who, they believe, should make an effort to do for themselves. This is certainly a legitimate view; it's one to which many Americans have adhered from the beginning of the Republic.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:27 PM
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White House Press Secretary apologizes to Sherrold. That's something. I'd like one from Vilsack, and I'd like her job back, but it's something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:27 PM
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171. a disproportionately large number of people who are, personally, racist

Yes.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:29 PM
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I agree, for example, that it's not a reaction to Obama's race, but his political party.
It might not be primarily about his race, but a bunch of old, white people repeating fears that their country is being taken away from them is hard to view as race-neutral.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:30 PM
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Is there any reason that addressing the causes of poverty is precluded by also continuing to oppose racism?

I would say in fact that they are complementary, that "addressing the causes of poverty regardless of skin color" is rendered more difficult by the persistence of racism in America. To the extent that opposition to programs that would provide assistance to all poor people stems from concerns that a big chunk of the money will be going to black people, reducing racism will make it easier to put those programs in place.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:31 PM
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repeating fears that their country is being taken away from them

Well, there was a lot of this rhetoric in the Clinton years as well (big government liberalism, decline in morality and family values, complaints about affirmative action and reverse discrimination, a ruling class of liberal "elites", etc.). Throw in the fact that, as 174 acknowledges, there're are a number of real racists in that segment of the population, some of whom have been given microphones (literally or figuratively), and whose rhetoric sounds broadly similar but actually is overtly or impliedly racist, and I can see how it would be easy to dismiss the whole thing as just a bunch of racists. But I think that's probably lumping two different sentiments together unfairly. Some of them are crazy racists; others are just crazy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:37 PM
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To the extent that opposition to programs that would provide assistance to all poor people stems from concerns that a big chunk of the money will be going to black people

There are more non Hispanic white people under the federal poverty line than blacks. There are a higher percentage of blacks under the poverty line than their relative proportion of the population, and more Hispanic whites than either.

http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:39 PM
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Some of them are crazy racists; others are just crazy.
Comity!
I don't know how one could possibly compare current crazification with Clinton era and hope to isolate any variables. My personal feeling is that there is much more energy now, and the only reasons we haven't seen as much militia activity and violence is that they're older and they expect success through electoral means.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:43 PM
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178: Are you offering that as evidence that opposition to social welfare programs isn't in large part race-based?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:45 PM
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the only reasons we haven't seen as much militia activity

Oh please. Was there a lot of militia activity before? Tim McVeigh notwithstanding.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:46 PM
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I am aware of the numbers. I know that money under a color-blind program going to all people under the poverty line would go to blacks in excess of their proportion of the general population. I'm not saying that people who complain about that are necessarily wrong in their beliefs about who would get what share of the money, I'm seeing racism in their finding that aspect objectionable.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:47 PM
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180. No. just a factoid that the "racists" actually "hurt" more of their own kind, if you will.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:51 PM
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People who didn't bat an eye at the Bush tax cuts, the Medicare expansion, or the war in Iraq can't be taken seriously as proponents of small government, or concerned primarily with spending.

I don't remember any 'I want my country back' under Clinton. Plenty of crazy shit, to be sure, but not that.

I was at the Wingnut Woodstock on the Mall last September -- and am convinced that race is a much bigger part of this movement than it's apologists would like to think.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:53 PM
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According to NPR just now this has "briefly overshadowed" BHO's triumph in getting financial reform passed. They seem to assume that because Sherrod has said something gracious about the official apologies it's all over. We shall see.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:58 PM
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People who didn't bat an eye at the Bush tax cuts, the Medicare expansion, or the war in Iraq

See, I think the Tea Party is a bunch of eye batting. There were a lot of Republicans under Bush who saw the ballooning deficit and figured "We didn't sign up for this", Iraq war excluded.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:58 PM
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Yglesias twitters The real story in this Sherrod thing is that the White House has the backbone of a chocolate eclair.

Chocolate eclair?????

Racist.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:58 PM
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The only reasons we haven't seen as much militia activity and violence is that they're older and they expect success through electoral means.

Weren't the Republicans in a pretty similar electoral situation in 1993-94 as they are today? (Stronger, in retrospect, since it seems they are extremely unlikely to take control of both houses of Congress.)


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 1:59 PM
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186: They didn't sign up for the tax cuts that caused the deficit to balloon?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:00 PM
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186 -- Bullshit. The only Bush spending this movement complains about is TARP. It's candidates openly back extension of the Bush tax cuts. There's no movement within the TP to cut Medicare -- only to exclude the young from access to it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:02 PM
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183
180. No. just a factoid that the "racists" actually "hurt" more of their own kind, if you will.

So what you're saying is, it was just a red herring, then? A jackalope to distract people from the actual point? Not like I know what that is either.

Please let us know in advance what you're saying is just a red herring and what you actually think matters. I imagine it would save people who actually want to argue with you a lot of time and energy.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:04 PM
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They didn't sign up for the tax cuts that caused the deficit to balloon?

Tax cuts, yes, but with accompanying spending cuts, which didn't happen. Don't ask me to identify specific spending cuts, because they are always "fraud waste and abuse" as well as "stuff we don't like". Turns out there isn't any stuff they don't like.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:05 PM
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186
There were a lot of Republicans under Bush who saw the ballooning deficit and figured "We didn't sign up for this", Iraq war excluded.

First of all, "Iraq war excluded" is one hell of an arbitrary exception. I don't understand why or how any honest analysis of anything in this general topic* can just ignore it. Secondly, Bush still got reelected, so either your "lot of Republicans" is a "lot" in absolute terms but a tiny minority in terms of the total number of voters, or they "figured" they didn't sign up for it but don't really care about it much. So why bring them up?

* That is, to forestall tendentious nitpicking, American electoral politics circa 2002-present, focusing on center-to-right-wing thought, as they relate to budget issues and the role of government on a macro level, etc.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:12 PM
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LB @ 169, re: "playing the race card":

I really dislike this kind of rhetoric. What it does is equate politics based on racism with politics based on opposing racism as if they were versions of the same thing. They're not. Racist politics are bad, anti-racist politics are good, and lumping them together as "race based politics" is incoherent.

THIS. 1000 TIMES THIS.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:13 PM
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o hai, still here, just lurking until i can't stand it sometimes!


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:13 PM
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Vilsack is holding a press conference in about 20 minutes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:15 PM
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188: I was thinking the presence of a likely powerful political organization branded as a third party was helping to defuse some of that activity, but I'm having trouble finding documentation that the current activity level is any less.
192: Of course they're not happy with the Republican politicians, but they didn't get organized until the GOP lost.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:15 PM
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192
Tax cuts, yes, but with accompanying spending cuts, which didn't happen. Don't ask me to identify specific spending cuts, because they are always "fraud waste and abuse" as well as "stuff we don't like". Turns out there isn't any stuff they don't like.

So you're saying they signed up for tax cuts without spending cuts. As it happens, I agree. But I hope you haven't argued recently that they signed up for budget-reduction or something like that (honestly don't remember, and not going back to check), because that combined with this would be confusing.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:15 PM
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196:

From TPM:

What form of abject apology, hair shirt, or ritual suicide Vilsack will unveil remains unclear.

Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:15 PM
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I've put up with Vilsack as AgSec because he's said some of the right things on food policy, but I'm definitely in the "hey hey, ho ho, Tommy V has got to go" camp today.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:17 PM
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192: So, they want tax cuts accompanied in reductions in spending in no areas whatsoever. Isn't that what happened? What didn't they sign up for?

Also, Tim McVeigh notwithstanding is another hell of an exclusion. I could say, "American terrorism is an exclusively right-wing phenomenon, Weathermen notwithstanding" and it would be more true than 181.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:18 PM
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A jackalope to distract people from the actual point

No. The point is that there are more "white people" under the federal poverty line than "black people". The "white people" aren't even seen, because they are a smaller proportion of the overall "white" population. People who oppose social spending on racial grounds are hurting more of their own race.

So what you're saying is that there are "still racists among us," but the institutionalized racism isn't a problem anymore

The President went to Punaho, Oxy, Columbia and Harvard. The First Lady went to Princeton. Race probably helped, rather than hurt their chances for admission. How many token does it take before they are no longer tokens?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:18 PM
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It turns out the question is now settled: "New GOP caucus defends tea party, says it is not racist":

A group of two dozen House Republicans, led by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), officially launched the congressional Tea Party Caucus . . . repeatedly insisting it does not have racist motives.
. . . members of Congress aggressively tried to show the diversity of the movement, at a time when it is battling accusations of racism. After Bachmann spoke, the next four speakers were all activists who had come to Capitol Hill for the event. None was white.

D'ya hear that? Four non-white people in a row!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:20 PM
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The President went to Punaho, Oxy, Columbia and Harvard. The First Lady went to Princeton. Race probably helped, rather than hurt their chances for admission. How many token does it take before they are no longer tokens?

Aaaaaaaalrighty then.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:22 PM
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201. McVeigh was a terrorist, no doubt. But he wasn't part of a larger movement. Militia groups are pretty small potatoes.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:22 PM
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The President went to Punaho, Oxy, Columbia and Harvard. The First Lady went to Princeton. Race probably helped, rather than hurt their chances for admission. How many token does it take before they are no longer tokens?

Wow.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:23 PM
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||

Inflation was less of a concern, Mr Bernanke also told the committee, with the Fed expecting inflation to remain "subdued over the next several years".

The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 2.7% in the first quarter of the year, having emerged from recession last year.
But high unemployment and a slowdown in manufacturing have raised concerns that the recovery is faltering.
Mr Bernanke said that although the Fed would "review its options" if the recovery weakened further, no specific measures were currently being considered for the short-term.
"In short, it look likes our economy is in need of additional help," remarked the head of the committee, Senator Chris Dodd.
Investors on Wall Street reacted negatively to the comments, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 1.3%.
I honestly conclude they're all barking mad.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:24 PM
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People who didn't bat an eye at the Bush tax cuts, the Medicare expansion, or the war in Iraq can't be taken seriously as proponents of small government, or concerned primarily with spending.

I'm being sincere when I say that I think you're vastly overrating their level of intelligence, or general awareness of events. They didn't bat an eye at those things because there wasn't anyone around (whom they trusted) denouncing those things as excessive spending. And 192 is basically right. Bush's reeelction isn't responsive, because there wasn't any reason (credible to them) to believe that Kerry would have been better about shrinking the government than Bush was.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:25 PM
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If you took all the racists out of the Tea Party, all you'd be left with is a few people sadly ignorant about basic Keynesian economics, the sort that everyone but the Cato institute accepts.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:27 PM
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They didn't bat an eye at those things because there wasn't anyone around (whom they trusted) denouncing those things as excessive spending.

And this isn't even really right. A lot of conservatives did complain at the time. It was just done with a sense that the Democrats would be even worse about these things.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:28 PM
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Also, Jim Messina needs to go. Clearly I'm in a firin' mood.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:31 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:32 PM
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sadly ignorant about basic Keynesian economics, the sort that everyone but the Cato institute and the legion of Nobel Prize winners at the U of C accepts.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:32 PM
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I would be very interested in some evidence that a lot of conservatives were complaining about the tax cuts and the Iraq war.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:34 PM
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Brock, that brings us back around to the question of why the Tea Party didn't start in Bush's first term, if all these people had no place to turn politically and felt at all strongly on the issue.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:34 PM
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214: Who said they were?

I think a few did complain about prescription drug coverage though.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:35 PM
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Sorry to chime in late with this, but the mere act of using the phrase "the race card" tends to indicate a disinterest in unpacking the issue being discussed. The phrase is condescending, dismissive. It implies, by virtue of its origin and persistence in American political discourse and of the most concrete imagery of the phrase, that the argument being made is invalid and negligible. Along with some things like "drink the Kool-aid," it's a phrase I'd love to have heard the end of.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:35 PM
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202: OK, we've passed the point where I can take you at all seriously.

Also 205 demonstrates an inability to distinguish between the words "large" and "larger."


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:37 PM
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And for the last goddamn time, O'Keefe didn't dress up "like a pimp". He dressed like a bad cross between some cartoonish Halloween "pimp" costume you'd buy at the mall, and a suburban white teenager's fantasy of what a pimp might look like based on some rap videos he'd seen on MTV.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:38 PM
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214: Me too, and I doubt they actually were. But, if you voted for Obama in '12 and we were still in Iraq, would that necessarily mean you endorsed the continued occupation? You'd have good reason to believe the Republicans would be worse, and even if you didn't you could be honestly mistaken.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:38 PM
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217: I was with until the last sentence. I actually like "drink the Kool-Aid"!


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:38 PM
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||

207:

Has ECRI Blown Recession Call? Insider and wonky from Rittholz. ECRI -10.0 is certain recession, they are at -9.8 and calling a "slowdown" Michael Shedlock calls bullshit.

The second dip will not go to -0.1% and hover. As confidence fails, we will probably fall a couple points GDP, up a couple unemployment, down 10% on equities, and then...I can't see any possible upside forces. When the bulls can't see any upsides...

Chinese bubbles are crashing.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:38 PM
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184: I don't remember any 'I want my country back' under Clinton. Plenty of crazy shit, to be sure, but not that.

I hadn't thought about it that way, but I think you are right. In many ways it ultimately got crazier ("the Clintons murdered dozens in Arkansas!*") but in general it was a more personalized attack against Clinton and associates (like Janet Reno) than the whole framework of government (the economy being on the rise probably helped shape it that way).

*And "mainstream" crazy at that; Chris Matthews had Gennifer Flowers for a whole half-hour when she was helping push crap like that. See Somerby for details ad nauseum.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:39 PM
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219: Brock knows how a true pimp dresses. He jsut has to look in the mirror.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:39 PM
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216: Brock, in 208+210.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:40 PM
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218: Don't break the troll; it's a relatively good one.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:40 PM
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214/216: arguably I did say that, actually, but I didn't really mean it. I meant complaints about prescription drug coverage, and about increased federal spending generally.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:40 PM
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186: See, I think the Tea Party is a bunch of eye batting. There were a lot of Republicans under Bush who saw the ballooning deficit and figured "We didn't sign up for this", Iraq war excluded.

And yet, they were oddly silent. Why might this be?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:41 PM
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Don't break the troll

This is just like those chain letters/emails that I always screw up for everyone, isn't it?


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:44 PM
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And I think generally 193 is just a misreading of TLL's comment. Conservatives did sign up for the Iraq war, and therefore didn't complain about increased federal spending for its prosecution. They did, however, complain about increased domestic spending. That's what TLL meant by "Iraq war excepted".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:44 PM
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206. Too far? Ok then. What I am trying to say is what does victory look like? I take it as a given that one can never regulate thought, so racists will always be with us. But many, if not most people don't consider themselves racist in their day to day lives because they treat the people they know fairly, even if they cross the street to avoid the scary black teenagers.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:45 PM
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228: 3 possibilities

a) Bush's a Republican, so we have to support him even though he sucks, because a Democrat would be worse.

b) The nation is at war and we need to support our President even if we don't agree with everything he does.

c) Bush is white.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:45 PM
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Right on, Mister Smearcase in 217.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:46 PM
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221: During the last presidential campaign people used it casually to mean "you like the candidate I don't like." I occasionally reminded people that it's a reference to mass suicide. Maybe I'm being uptight, but this, to me, indicates a blurring of perspective worth avoiding.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:46 PM
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220
But, if you voted for Obama in '12 and we were still in Iraq, would that necessarily mean you endorsed the continued occupation? You'd have good reason to believe the Republicans would be worse, and even if you didn't you could be honestly mistaken.

Interesting point, but the analogy seems to be missing something. Republicans got us into Iraq and remain proud of it - "proud of it" is inexact phrasing, but I'd stand by the basic idea - so that seems like a good, concrete reason to believe that they actually would be worse than Obama. By contrast, if you thought circa 2002-2006 that the Republicans were fiscally irresponsible and warmongering, there really is no reason that I can see to think that Democrats would have been worse.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:48 PM
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234: I think the term denotes a common phenomenon for which there is no better term, and that the context is what makes it vaguely amusing.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:48 PM
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The problem is that the Tea Partiers' policy desires are completely incoherent. Some of them are racist, and that at least solves the incoherence -- you can explain the "Deficits are the worst thing ever except for raising taxes or cutting spending on anything but foreign aid and waste/fraud/abuse" insanity by reading it all as a cover for "I hate having a black man running the country, and any stick is good enough to beat him with." So that's evil, but not insane -- the insanity is cover for something that at least makes internal sense.

For those Tea Partiers who aren't racists, there just doesn't seem to be any way to make their positions hang together.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:49 PM
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237 was sort of to 228 -- the conversation's kind of drifted into how incoherent the Tea Party positions are, and I was trying to say that their incoherence doesn't mean that they're all racist. Just that the racists are the only ones where I understand what they're doing out there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:52 PM
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2234. It's more than just "like the candidate I don't like" I think it means believe in something/ someone so much that you are willfully ignoring things that should bother you. Like racists in the Tea Party.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:54 PM
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For those Tea Partiers who aren't racists, there just doesn't seem to be any way to make their positions hang together.

They oppose "wasteful" federal spending, and are uneducated enough to believe that's a significant enough component of federal spending that we could drastically cut the federal budget (and cut taxes! and eliminate the deficit! all at once!) without taking away anything useful the government provides (like sweet precious Medicare). This is deeply misinformed, but not incoherent.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:54 PM
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234: I don't believe that *is* how it was used in the last election (although of course I was not present when it was used in your hearing, so YMMV). I think that nifty "Kool-Aid" line was actually being deployed to make a more subtle critique of supporters of then-Senator Obama: that they were mindless followers of a messianic figure who (1) would lead them to political suicide in November (as used by Clinton supporters in the primary), or (2) had dark intentions of which they were not aware or to which they turned a blind eye (as used by some supporters of McCain in the general election).

As said in 236, it is a useful shorthand. But I do think that it should not be used by anyone who doesn't understand the source of the phrase.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:56 PM
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I think there are both good theoretical ("drank the koolaid" like "interpellation" or "false consciousness" doesn't explain a damn thing) and discrusive (I know too much about People Temple and the massacre at Jonestown, which was mass murder-suicide, to be anything but humorless about it) reasons to shun the term.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:56 PM
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I have these conversations with my dad fairly frequently. Whenever you try to pin him down on what exactly he wants to cut out, he starts talking about $700 toilet seats at the Pentagon*, and other such nonsense.

* But of course, he's not interested in cutting the defense budget... that's just an example.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:56 PM
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240: Polls always show that people think the U.S. spends a ton on aid to foreign countries. Therefore they think the deficit can be cut drastically just by getting rid of that.

I'm not sure where that idea comes from.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:58 PM
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240: Fair enough -- if their beliefs are that far from reality, you can make them hang together. But they have to be really, really confused about the facts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:58 PM
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For those Tea Partiers who aren't racists, there just doesn't seem to be any way to make their positions hang together.

What about a huge helping of CHANGEBAD, with the reasoning that what is happening now is BAD (because I am poorer) and it must be because of CHANGES (because I was richer before) and therefore all changes are bad.

Half of me thinks they're a bunch of racist fucks, and half of me thinks they're overcrowded rats and their tiny hindbrains understand that they are poorer and life is getting more expensive and competitive and frankly they don't have good prospects*, and there must be a reason and it is probably anything the black president proposes.

*Yet somehow, they have an beautiful Vietnamese dentist, so OTHER PEOPLE must be doing all right.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:58 PM
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241 should read "some Clinton supporters" lest I tar all right-thinking fans of the former Senator from the great state of New York with the same stinky brush.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:59 PM
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||

Artisanal pencil sharpening from David Rees of Get Your War on.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 2:59 PM
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I'm not sure where that idea comes from.

Yeah, me neither. It couldn't be hangover from the Marshall Plan, maybe? That's a long time to hold onto something, but there was a period when we were spending a noticeable amount on foreign aid, during the lifetime of people who are still around?

But that seems farfetched.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:01 PM
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Polls always show that people think the U.S. spends a ton on aid to foreign countries.... I'm not sure where that idea comes from.

I haven't seen those polls, but if I had to guess as to the source of the idea, it's general basic innumeracy combined with an inability to concepitalize large numbers. People hear "billions of dollars", and don't really grasp anything other than "really, really, really large".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:01 PM
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"concepitalize" s/b "sonceptializt"


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:01 PM
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Sorry: "conceptualize".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:02 PM
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Artisanal pencil sharpening, dammit!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:02 PM
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GAH Vilsack used the phrase "teachable moment" in his press conference. Speaking of turns of phrase that need to DIAF.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:05 PM
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But they have to be really, really confused about the facts.

Watch Fox News for a few hours (really: any few hours of any day will do, feel free to choose at random), and then imagine it was your primary source of news, and I think you'll understand. This is the sort of thing that's repeated there ad nauseum.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:05 PM
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254: If he meant that he needed to learn not to listen to known hoaxsters before firing people, then good. If he was doing a 'we all learned something here', then he should die.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:06 PM
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Federal Budget piepie


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:07 PM
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I'm not sure where that idea comes from.

Really? It comes from not giving a shit about foreigners, particularly the kind that need aid. Americans routinely overestimate how much we spend on welfare as well. People believe what they want to.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:08 PM
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256: No, no, AgSec shouldn't DIAF -- the phrase "teachable moment" should DIAF.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:09 PM
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Seems as if he said "a teachable moment for me". He can live.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:12 PM
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Wait a minute. That artisanal pencil-sharpening guy was photographed using one of those small hand-held pencil-sharpeners! If I'm going to pay someone else to sharpen my pencils, that fucker had better be using a giant knife (made of folded Spanish steel!).


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:12 PM
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And he's apparently offered her either her job, or a different job, back. I am slightly mollified.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:13 PM
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In support of 255, how often is a discussion of foreign aid presented in the popular press in the form: "last year, the US sent [tiny fractional x]% of the federal budget to [poor country] last year", vs. "the US sent 3 BILLION dollars (of your personal tax money) to [poor country] last year"? Because I see the latter much more than the former.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:13 PM
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People hear "billions of dollars"

This. Thank you, Sen. Everett Dirksen.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:15 PM
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Vilsack denied there was any pressure from the White House to ask Sherrod to resign

Christ, I would hope that the White House had had better things to do that afternoon, but eight years under Bush really did teach me that it's usually worse and pettier than it seems at first.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:15 PM
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262: It appears that he offered her a "civil rights job," which, what the fuck? Isn't she an agricultural policy official?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:16 PM
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You know, maybe if you are a senior person who doesn't read blogs and keep track of daily news churn, and if you mostly read the Farm Press and the crop review and get briefed by people as you travel between speech after speech, it would be possible not to know about Breitbart and ACORN. He should still back his people pending a review, but I don't know how much of the non-blogreading world knows that Breitbart is lying scum off the top of their heads.

But since he seems to be admitting that he had to learn about Breitbart, maybe he had to learn about Breitbart.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:17 PM
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267: It's still screwy to fire people half-cocked like that, without waiting to figure out what's going on.

Pure speculation, but I wonder if there was some leftover Bush appointee or career person inside USDA who pushed it up to him with an "OMG this is the worstest most racist thing ever she must be fired NOW NOW NOW NOW."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:20 PM
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(263 in support of 250, not 255.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:22 PM
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Are you surprised that there are civil rights jobs within agriculture, jms?

There are huge unresolved civil rights issues in agriculture. She came up working on the Pigford cases (I believe), in which black farmers arbitrarily didn't get their crop subsidies. More locally, the civil rights issues out this way are about heat deaths, van safety for farm laborers, pesticide exposures and overtime hours. Even my own department has people who work with disadvantaged communities and the Tribes. I bet most departments have offices with interesting work for someone with a civil rights background.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:24 PM
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234: Correction - it wasn't merely mass suicide, it was also mass murder. Many of the people who died from drinking the Kool-Aid (it also wasn't Kool-Aid, but wev) did so with guns pointed at their heads.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:24 PM
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268: USDA who pushed it up to him with an "OMG this is the worstest most racist thing ever she must be fired NOW NOW NOW NOW."

If only someone had a video of that ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:24 PM
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272: Yeah, I don't have any reason to believe it's true other than that the speed of the firing was weird. I'd believe Vilsack had no idea what a liar Breitbart is, but that doesn't explain the high-speed reaction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:26 PM
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I liked this quote from Yglesias:

At some point conservatives need to ask themselves about the larger meaning of this kind of conduct--and Andrew Breitbart's--for their movement. Beyond the ethics of lying and smear one's opponents, I would think conservatives would worry about the fact that a large portion of conservative media is dedicated to lying to conservatives. They regard their audience as marks to be misled and exploited, not as customers to be served with useful information.

You raise people on a diet of this stuff, and that's how you end up with mobs of angry citizens thinking the government's budget can be trimmed by 50% just by cutting out unnecessary "waste". Are establishment conservatives worried about this? So far, they don't seem to be--they're still trying to co-opt it (and are largely being successful in that). But some more extreme candidates have won primary races this year than the party establishment would have preferred. If that happens too often (and if those people lose at the polls--a big "if", unfortunately), they'll start to worry.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:31 PM
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She came up working on the Pigford cases

More than that. Sherrod herself was a claimant, and got the biggest settlement.

http://www.agri-pulse.com/uploaded/20100527%20Pigford.pdf


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:32 PM
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273: Yes, I was surprised as well. If I had to choose some conspiratorial aspect, I'd go with some tentacle of Pigford v. Vilsack. Actually, I just wanted to type "Pigford v. Vilsack".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:33 PM
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276 without seeing 275. See my quote from Digby way back in 14.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:35 PM
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I am sure that, after Jeremiah Wright (and probably even beforehand), the Obama political staffers are incredibly sensitive to purging anything that appears like anti-white or radical speech from African-Americans in the administration.

My guess is that some political operative in the "White House" -- which just means the Obama political operation, not necessarily a high-ranking figure, and probably some mid-level type with responsibility handling the political aspects of the Ag Dept -- saw this meme, saw that the NAACP had condemned her, talked to Vilsack, and everyone did what all their crisis management people are always telling them to do, which is to respond quickly and decisively and end the story. Hence the very rapid firing/request for a resignation. That never should have happened, but it's somewhat understandable.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:35 PM
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274, or several of my prior comments really, should have included a link to this gallup poll.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:38 PM
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279: Or this result.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:41 PM
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278: Yeah, the rapid NAACP response probably had a big influence. One might have even mistakenly thought it was based on some more real information since the speech was at an NAACP event.

Gah, tired of this one. To me Breitbart's not being outed as a lying clown was one of the key oversights. Someone in the MSM really should go back now and do a reassessment of his ACORN stuff while this one is still in the spotlight.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:46 PM
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The deficit is a non-issue for Tea Partiers, except as rhetoric. Kerry (like Clinton and Bush I) was much more likely to be a deficit hawk than Bush II or Reagan. The Tea Party types knew this, and that's why those types supported Reagan and Bush II and hated Bush I nearly as much as they hated Clinton and Kerry.

This really isn't complicated.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 3:57 PM
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...and 242 pwned my 271, proving once again the hazards of working while trying to procrastinate. Focus!

The outstanding NPR piece on People's Temple is available online here. I recommend it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:00 PM
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I'm not sure where that idea comes from.

Was this sarcasm? It really isn't too hard to draw a line from racial resentment to wild-eyed resentment of foreign aid.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:08 PM
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You raise people on a diet of this stuff, and that's how you end up with mobs of angry citizens thinking the government's budget can be trimmed by 50% just by cutting out unnecessary "waste".

I'm not sure if it's your intent, but you can't exonerate the Tea Partiers of racism this way. The fact that they take all of their political guidance from overt racists hardly excuses them of racism. It's racists all the way down.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:15 PM
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||

"[Jodorowsky] not only wrote, directed, and scored El Topo, but also appeared on screen in virtually every scene as a character none too subtly identified with Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and the Magnificent Seven. Later, the filmmaker revealed that El Topo had been shot in sequence and that he'd worn throughout special under shorts with holes for his testicles and a green circle stiched around his anus 'to make sure I wouldn't act like John Wayne'." (The Dream Life: Movies, Media and the Mythology of the Sixties, J. Hoberman)

|>


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:15 PM
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Not the resentment, the idea that we spend "a lot" on foreign aide. which we do, in absolute terms. Just not as a percentage of the Federal budget or of GDP.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:16 PM
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In fairness, I must say that this Karen Tumulty-headed analysis piece in the WaPo is certainly an improvement over their earlier work on this.

Also, Vilsack did bring up the fact that she had been a claimant against USDA when he talked about the "unique" position he had offered her. I'm going to predict that at some point over the next week-and-a-half Pigford v. Vilsack will be the prominent repeated story on FoxNews (possibly only tangentially tied with Sherrod).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:16 PM
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286: and if you've seen it, it's just as weird as that makes it sound, although The Holy Mountain might be even stranger.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:16 PM
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which we do, in absolute terms.

What does "in absolute terms" mean? Like, compared to the income of an individual? Compared to the GDP of Vanuatu? Compared to the cost of a cup of coffee?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:17 PM
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I'm not sure if it's your intent, but you can't exonerate the Tea Partiers of racism this way. The fact that they take all of their political guidance from overt racists hardly excuses them of racism. It's racists all the way down.

I'm not sure I understand your claim, or what you're accusing me of. I'm sure you don't think that the political energy of every single "tea partier" is primarily driven by racism. I've already stated that a disproportionately large number of them are. So where are you disagreeing with me?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:20 PM
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What does "in absolute terms" mean? Like, compared to the income of an individual? Compared to the GDP of Vanuatu? Compared to the cost of a cup of coffee?

Yes. In fact, send half of the foreign aide dollars spent in any given month to me and I will be a happy camper.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:20 PM
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I'm sure you don't think that the political energy of every single "tea partier" is primarily driven by racism. I've already stated that a disproportionately large number of them are. So where are you disagreeing with me?

Maybe I'm not. My point is that all of the key aspects of Tea Partyism are heavily tied up with racism, including the example that you cite: People taking their guidance on these matters from Fox News. It is not some kind of weird coincidence that foreign aid - rather than, say, Medicare - is the budget item that gets wildly exaggerated.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:24 PM
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What does "in absolute terms" mean?

Compared to numbers that normally sound big. Probably something that ends in "illion."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:24 PM
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Here Sifu. Just for you.

http://www.globalissues.org/article/35/foreign-aid-development-assistance


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:25 PM
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293: I'd have to think about that. I suspect the Fox News agenda is driven more by conservative business interests than by racism, but I could be wrong.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:29 PM
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First poisoned by Bubbles, then by Breitbart, Sherrod gets new ag job.


Posted by: Econolicious, a well regulated economist | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:30 PM
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we do, in absolute terms [spend a lot on foreign aid]. Just not as a percentage of the Federal budget or of GDP.

What about as a percentage of GFP? Or, better, %GDP in foreign aid as compared to other OECD countries?

P.S. "Foreign aide" refers to the swarthy guy who gets you coffee.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:32 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:37 PM
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It's OK as long as they don't give the foreign aid away for free.

</Terry Savage>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:39 PM
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The link in 297 makes me vomit.

Days before the video was released, the NAACP had denounced racist elements in the Tea Party.
In an interview with NPR on Monday, Andrew Breitbart, who runs BigGovernment.com, railed against what he regards as unfounded allegations of racism within the Tea Party.
"What is American is innocent until proven guilty," he said. "What is un-American is guilty until proven innocent, and in this particular instance with the left media, they will not even give you the platform to prove your innocence, and that is what the Tea Party is so upset about."

They didn't bother to get the opinion of anyone Breitbart on this particular issue? No one from the NAACP? No analysis from NPR itself?

More:

In the past year and a half, there has been a pattern of conservative activists blurring the line between journalism and advocacy, and doing it with striking success.
An earlier Breitbart project led to the downfall of the community activist organization ACORN, and conservative activists helped remove White House adviser Van Jones from his "green jobs" post.
"What's happening now is that bloggers are starting to become reporters," Breitbart told NPR on Monday. "They've said to the New York Times: If you're not going to report stories, we're going to report stories."
"Blurring the line between journalism and advocacy"? Are you fucking kidding me? No mention at all of the fact that the ACORN affair was a giant fraud? (No mention of that fact w/r/t Sherrod, either, in fact, just the note that the full video explains the context of her remarks.) And again, we don't need to hear the input of anyone other than Breitbart on this matter? Because his opinion is so likely to be fair and balanced?
Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:41 PM
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I suspect the Fox News agenda is driven more by conservative business interests than by racism

The two things aren't mutually exclusive. Something can be both racist and appeal to conservative business interests. But when the two conflict - well, take a look at Fox's coverage of immigration. They definitely aren't taking the line of conservative business interests there.

Anyway, it might not be helpful to talk about Fox's motivation. I'm not claiming that Fox's racist motivations express themselves in subtle ways in their coverage. My claim is that Fox is overtly racist.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:43 PM
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"Foreign aide" refers to the swarthy guy who gets you coffee

This guy ?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:46 PM
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Or, better, %GDP in foreign aid as compared to other OECD countries?

See the link in 295. US still way ahead. the article goes on to talk about private contributions as well.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 4:51 PM
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296: Motivated by conservative business interests; cravenly exploiting racism in service of those interests.


Posted by: DK | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:15 PM
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304

What link are you reading? I see the US in 19th place overall as a percentage of GNI (roughly equivalent to GDP).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:25 PM
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And, of course, how do those numbers fare when you take out aid to Israel and Egypt?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:32 PM
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I see the US in 19th place overall as a percentage of GNI (roughly equivalent to GDP)

Just not as a percentage of the Federal budget or of GDP

That's what I said!


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:35 PM
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And, of course, how do those numbers fare when you take out aid to Israel and Egypt

Why stop there? Take out Iraq and Afghanistan, too. And which Article of the Constitution was about direct foreign aid, anyway?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:38 PM
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But the thing is, TLL, talking about it in "absolute" (which is to say, dollars-to-dollars with other countries) is not very meaningful. I mean, the US has the fourth highest GNI per capita and by far the largest economy in the world. If our foreign aid in real dollar terms was anything other than far and away the largest in the world then something would be deeply strange. The fact that we're 19th in aid by GNI (especially since such a huge percentage goes to one country) is still thought-provoking, and of course all of this is utterly irrelevant to any questions about the way the US allocates its budget.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:40 PM
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Whatever happened to noblesse oblige? It may have been horribly condescending, but at least it did some good compared to "screw you, I've got mine".


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:43 PM
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Whatever happened to noblesse oblige? It may have been horribly condescending, but at least it did some good compared to "screw you, I've got mine".

Vietnam.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:51 PM
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310. I thought the concluding paragraphs were more interesting:

Turning this debate of foreign aid from an issue of amount given (input and quantity) into one about aid effectiveness (outcome and quality) raises some different questions. For example,

* Would filling the $3.6 trillion shortfall help if aid comes with all the above-criticized strings still attached?
* Could far more be achieved with far less aid dollars if there was a change in approach with less top-down and more bottom-up


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:52 PM
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310. Further, the US spends more on pet food than foreign aid. Is that wrong? Or is it a series of individual choices based on proximity?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:58 PM
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Completely OT:

This post, while long, is by far the most interesting thing on Elena Kagan I've read. I don't really trust Paul Campos, and his sourcing is anonymous, but the story he tells is really interesting if you're interested in this kind of thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 5:59 PM
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315. From the link This:

Indeed, Obama's nomination of Kagan suggests that, for all his talk of "change," he is himself at heart a comfortable denizen of Establishment America - that place where people with the right sorts of resumes rotate profitably between Wall Street, Washington, and the Ivy League, while praising each other for having "good judgment," and being "reasonable" and "non-partisan."

is a better way of saying what I was trying to say @ 202


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 6:25 PM
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what I was trying to say @ 202

That Obama is a comfortable denizen of establishment America is not particularly controversial, I don't think. What your 202.last -- regarding affirmative action -- adds to anything remains a bit mysterious to me; but I acknowledge that I wasn't following the thread closely today, and your comments have been oblique.

I honestly didn't realize that your point was something like what you quote in 316. That idea is that any widespread objection to Obama's administration has to do with class, not race?

Sorry to (try to) put things so plainly, but this thread has been a little mystifying.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:13 PM
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315,316:Meritocracy, my butt.

Please tell why I can't hate these privileged incestuous assholes, who don't even have any attributes that would make them interesting as an elite class. Bland Bureaucrats who think themselves nobility.

The articles turns me against people I might have liked before, like Tribe. If they get along in that crowd, they must be terminally boring and self-interested.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:19 PM
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That idea is that any widespread objection to Obama's administration has to do with class, not race?

Christ, parsi

I keep meaning to write my book on the New Keynesians, those moderate liberal economists who had to find a way to survive in the Ivy League in the Reagan years. A synthesis of the left-center and right center!

The University of Chicago was particularly useful for Kagan and Obama, as reassurance to their center-right mentors and patrons. It's all calculation, with nothing at all left over.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:25 PM
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This is all clearly Obama and the NAACP worrying that we might think that they're worried that we might think that they're racists. I love it! A foolish debacle of this kind would be impossible without the childish meta-meta-racism-sensitivity that everyone has. Even to say the word "race" makes one a suspected racist. I have no idea how the Thought Police can keep up with all of it.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if the people that broke this story (the Teabaggers, who btw really lift my luggage) were making a point about our nonsensical hypersensitivity about race, rather than actually accusing anyone of being a racist. If that's what happened, it worked brilliantly. We must look ridiculous to civilized, sober "people"... if any of them are watching. (From their spaceships.)


Posted by: cassanthropy | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:32 PM
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Sirota called it decadent today. Decadence.

Things is, it isn't as if we actually have a ruling class. Waltons, Gates, Buffet, old Mellons these people have a little influence, but no romantic craziness. Maybe the Sauds. Umm, Veblen's 2nd book.

It is all courtiers and functionaries without a King. Empty bourgeois self-regarding self-refuting empty mirrors. A machine that has forgotten its purpose. Wall-E.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 7:33 PM
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Christ, parsi

I was asking for clarification from TLL, not you, bob.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:02 PM
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many, if not most people don't consider themselves racist in their day to day lives because they treat the people they know fairly, even if they cross the street to avoid the scary black teenagers.

Gosh, it's almost like there might need to be an organization or two to address the dangerously wrong perception that racism consists of individual actions in isolation, rather than acts committed within a larger social and legal structure.

I wonder what we could call such an organization?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:06 PM
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323.last: FoXNEWS.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:08 PM
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A synthesis of the left-center and right center!

It's been a strange time, these recent decades. If you'd told me 30 years ago that a guy with views like Paul Krugman's would someday be considered a noteworthy liberal, I wouldn't have believed you.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:16 PM
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323: Someone on one of the Sunday talk shows this past weekend referred to the NAACP as "our national conscience on race," and remarked that we should probably listen. The characterization was striking to me.

That said, the NAACP messed up over the Sherrod thing. They don't own the field, of course, on these and related matters.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:17 PM
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Michael Hudson (chapter length)

It therefore seems somewhat ironic that, on an economy-wide scale, the oligarchy depleted the home market. Its members stripped away much of the land from the community through debt foreclosure, reduced the population to bondage, and brought commerce and even the money economy to an end, leading to Western Europe's Dark Age.

The oligarchic ethic preferred seizing wealth abroad to creating it at home. The major ways to make fortunes were by conquest, raiding and piracy, slave capture and slave dealing, money-lending, tax farming and kindred activities more predatory than entrepreneurial. Gaining wealth by extracting it from others was deemed to be at least as noble (if not more so) than doing so commercially, which was deemed to be equally exploitative without the exercise of personal bravery.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:29 PM
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A foolish debacle of this kind would be impossible without the childish meta-meta-racism-sensitivity that everyone has.

When I said earlier that Fox News is overtly racist, I was being intentionally provocative in exactly this context.

Everybody knows that Fox News is overtly racist (that's what the word "overt" means: everybody knows it). Everybody understands that this is a big part of the appeal of Fox News - but there's a certain political correctness that makes people want to paper over this fact, the same way they want to deny the racist underpinnings of Tea Partyism. Obama, in particular, is terrified of pointing this out.

God bless Ms. Sherrod. She really seems interested in a dialog about American racism, and doesn't seem to care about the tender feelings of Roger Ailes. I wonder if the U.S. is ready for the discussion she wants to have.

(Your idea that the Tea Partiers have some grasp of meta-meta racism seems unlikely to me. Hell, they don't even have a firm grip on plain old racism.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:30 PM
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||

I admit that when it's getting late and I'm tired, I enjoy reading Balloon Juice. That is all.

Oh. Never mind the comments there. Just the post.

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 8:36 PM
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Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk? Huh.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:05 PM
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And why is it so freaking hot, even at midnight? Maybe I'm running a fever. I have felt mildly ill for the last few days.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:08 PM
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It is all courtiers and functionaries without a King. Empty bourgeois self-regarding self-refuting empty mirrors.

Bob is nostalgic for a king. At least the aristocrats weren't bourgeois.

many, if not most people don't consider themselves racist in their day to day lives because they treat the people they know fairly, even if they cross the street to avoid the scary black teenagers.

I will freely admit to crossing the street to avoid the scary black (male) teenagers -- actually, guys in their 20s too -- when out walking late at night. Strikes me as fairly rational behavior where I live. May also be racist.

Treating all the people you know fairly is a demanding standard and anyone who accomplishes it consistently deserves all kinds of credit no matter their street-crossing habits.

If you'd told me 30 years ago that a guy with views like Paul Krugman's would someday be considered a noteworthy liberal, I wouldn't have believed you.

I think Krugman today is a genuine liberal, would qualify in any period. Krugman in the 90s, not so much. Bush radicalized him.



Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:10 PM
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Record lows predicted for tonight.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:14 PM
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Punaho

Punahou. Apparently TLL is Cokie Roberts.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:22 PM
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315: Kagan always struck me as a careerist ass, but it seems to me that post has more smoke than fire. It's a plausible narrative but it's spun out of almost no evidence...just reinterpretations of ordinary career events and cites to anonymous sources.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:24 PM
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In Dallas, currently 86 with heat index of 91. Humidity will go up overnight and we will hit as low of 78 with HI of 85 at 7 AM. It is just very very steady. Every day after day the same, high 97 HI 103.

I was surprised that this was the third hottest June in Dallas history, because there haven't been many 105s+ Just steady. The humidity and dewpoint makes it level

1980 (I think) was hot. Heat Index never dropped below 90 for three months. That meant of course, 100 heat indexes at midnight. For three months. That was hot.

Phoenix is hotter.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 10:57 PM
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In fact, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if the people that broke this story (the Teabaggers, who btw really lift my luggage) were making a point about our nonsensical hypersensitivity about race, rather than actually accusing anyone of being a racist.

Like, whoa. I hadn't thought of that. And then maybe hidden within their subtle hidden social commentary there's an even deeper commentary on the postmodern condition in a globalized society, and then within that point is, like, the real point about the whole nature of reality itself... duuuude...

I've never heard the term "lift my luggage". I assume you mean they're obnoxious, rather than helpful?


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:03 PM
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I thought "lift my luggage" was a euphemism for prostitution now.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:05 PM
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315, 335: References to career reversals and the loss of a faculty position make you expect something other than a tenure case that resulted in tenure and a choice to leave the faculty when the school would not grant an extension to what was already a two-year leave. Is there any (more) substance to that post? It doesn't seem worth reading any further.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:07 PM
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Lifting luggage.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:08 PM
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335:I bought it completely.

I have been wondering why Obama for years. He had really done nothing in Illinois. It is all connections and smooth networking.

Summers is an exception, with a brilliant creative youth.

I shouldn't hate pure salesmen and schmoozers and players but they all seem like con-artists to me. My problem, I suppose, is with people who make a living by talking instead of thinking or doing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:09 PM
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I'd like someone to carry my luggage the length of the Appalachian trail.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:15 PM
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339:Look she became fucking Dean of Harvard Law because Summers and Tribe were her buddies and no other reason. That is, according to the article, who she is, and all she is.

Maybe you don't find that shocking or unreasonable. Maybe that is the world you live in and are comfortable.

I am appalled.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:16 PM
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I find Campos' story convincing, but I don't think it's particularly condemnatory of Kagan (to the extent he's trying to turn it into a condemnation, particularly in the HLS deanship section I agree it's more smoke than fire). Really, though, it's completely ordinary for judges in the US to have networking as a primary skill; they are political appointees, after all. It's just interesting to see the details up close.

Personally, I could care less about whether Kagan was granted tenure based on her excellent legal scholarship, because I view the legal academy (except for maybe 10% who could make it in other fields) as a complete and utter joke. Which is what happens when you have no PhD requirement, non-peer reviewed journals, and intellectual domination of the curriculum by a bad and demonstrably false or incoherent version of Chicago-school economics. So I'm just fine with a talented, smart excecllen small-group politician parking herself in the legal academy as a means to rising elsewhere.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:50 PM
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In other words, yes, Bob is right about the world being driven by connections, and no, I am not shocked, just interested.

Which is quite different than saying Kagan shouldn't be on the Court -- I think she's plenty qualified, and I'd much rather have her, with some pragmatic skills, than most law professors.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-21-10 11:55 PM
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Law professors can become full professors without a Ph. D.? I didn't think any faculty did that, although I would have guessed business might. (Maybe they do too.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 12:02 AM
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For the record, I have no strong objection to Kagan getting confirmed, and even a little hope based on her very early leftist background.

I was wrong about Obama of course.
And the Clintons.

And that to me what was most interesting in Campos, how the groupthink requirements limit who gets access and opportunities (read the section on legal theory) and I believe, how the socialization process seems to turn liberals into conservatives (meant broadly) or moderates. Golf with bankers, eventually you will think like a banker. Play pool with dockworkers, and you won't be President or on SCOTUS.

And of course, the tens of thousands of brilliant lawyers who won't get a chance because they aren't Ivies. Scott Lemieux?

Marty Lederman has quit the OLC. Very good news. I liked Lederman


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 12:16 AM
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Scott Lemieux

SINAL.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 12:31 AM
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332:I will freely admit to crossing the street to avoid the scary black (male) teenagers -- actually, guys in their 20s too -- when out walking late at night. Strikes me as fairly rational behavior where I live. May also be racist.

It's rational racism. I'm inclined to let the irrational non-racists continue on the side they were on, that reduces my own risk.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 12:51 AM
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My understanding is that business professors cannot become full professors without a Ph.D. If a business school wants to bring in someone with outside expertise, they hire them as a "clinical professor", which is a non-tenure-track job that pays boatloads of money.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 12:53 AM
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So, is anyone suing Fatbeard the Trivial yet? It strikes me as a goal of policy to crush him like a bug.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:22 AM
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Also, this from Fatbeard is ridiculous: "What's happening now is that bloggers are starting to become reporters," Breitbart told NPR on Monday. "They've said to the New York Times: If you're not going to report stories, we're going to report stories."

Party like it's 2003! (Does that mean we get Billmon and Media Whores Online back?)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:25 AM
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I think Krugman today is a genuine liberal, would qualify in any period. Krugman in the 90s, not so much. Bush radicalized him.

Say rather that Bush radicalized the country, while Krugman stood still.

Okay, that's over-simple. Krugman has drifted leftward on free trade, and he's had occasion to express liberal views on other issues (war, for instance) that he had no occasion to comment on before.

I'm just stunned at what passes for liberalism nowadays. Are you opposed to government-sponsored torture or openly targeting citizens for assassination? You're a liberal!


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:41 AM
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353: I felt Krugman had also drifted markedly leftward regarding income inequality, including its causes and remedies.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:49 AM
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Does that mean we get Billmon and Media Whores Online back?

I thought Billmon posted at Kos these days. I don't read Kos, so I'm only going on what I've seen around.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:50 AM
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Krugman appears to be a Keynsian these days; Keynes was a member of the Liberal Party; Does that make Krugman a liberal?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:53 AM
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349: I get why crossing to the other side of the street may be rational; I don't get why this should lend rationality to any racism underlying that move.


Posted by: DK | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:35 AM
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I think Krugman's radicalization began in the 90s when he noticed that Japan was experiencing a Great-Depression type event and current macroeconomics could not explain it. Then he started moving back to reexamine and retheorize Keynes. (Keynes is a pretty radical thinker by tepid neoliberal standards). Then he figured out what the Republicans were really about. THe combination of those things really blows away the notion of economic policy as neoliberal tinkering around the edges.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:59 AM
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346 -- I had one prof with an SJD. Everyone else just a JD.

Only in the last 5 years have I met any law school faculty members I'd like to have on my side in a case. And not even all of them at that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:03 AM
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Krugman was always a Keynesian in the style of Samuelson and Solow. If you read his 80s-era books, he concedes the few good points made by Milton Friedman, and rejects everything that comes after in macroeconomics. I think it wasn't until the Japanese experience that he realized how few people were still old-school Keynesian. He was probably fooled because he shared an office suite with Samuelson and Solow.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:06 AM
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h/t Corrente, this old Sara Robinson post is terrific. Old = Jan 22. Of course, I would think so. Samples. (Numbers mark old realities that are no longer true.)

"Even so, we progressives still harbor a sweet, naive faith in technocrats and wonks -- in cool reason and hard science. But while these people will always have an essential place in the movement, this will not be their moment. This new territory is far more welcoming to rabble-rousers, shit-stirrers, and fiery populists -- the kind we last saw nearly a century ago."

"Right now, in this climate, any solution that involves legislation is a total non-starter.

Congress is so corrupt and so paralyzed that it's absolutely incapable of doing anything effective to extricate us from any of our current messes. (And again -- with unlimited corporate money, that will only get worse."

"5. The eternal battle is liberals v. conservatives.

This was true for a lot of the fights we fought in the last century, but it's not true now. At this moment, the defining fight over America's future is the one between the people and the corporations."

"7. Black and brown folks will always be part of our caucus.

It may come as news to white progressives, but many African-Americans and Hispanics hold themselves at some distance from our movement. A series of interviews done last year by the Progressive Ideas Network found that many black and brown movement leaders don't even think of themselves as progressive"
...
Now, Robinson 6th still points to 60s back-to-nature liberalism, which may be forced on us by the end of oil, but is not a utopia/arcadia we should work for. Got this link to an analysis of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower...never mind, I suppose. Never mind. Never mind.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 9:12 AM
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360:Yes, Japan, and then the Bush war budgets. Not the Iraq war itself, but cutting taxes in time of war convinced Krugman that we live in a revolutionary period.

359:Too much focus on academic lawyers. I didn't poost it, because I felt it might be construed as personal, but I had a flash yesterday that Lizardbreath's insistence that the opposition's arguments must be aggressively countered was a mark of a lawyer's mindset. That is lawyer 101, isn't it? That every one of the opposition's points must be responded to? But it is defensive and reactive, and presumes an impartial rational adjudicator.

I also wondered why politics is so considered the domain of lawyers, by lawyers for lawyers. This isn't anything radically new, but for every Cicero, we also used to have an Crassus or Octavian.

If politics is by and for lawyers, of course all our discourse will look like a courtroom or classroom. Very civilized, articulate, respectful. "My honorable opponent..."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 9:26 AM
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see Robinson above.

In this new world, the purpose and method of politics is no longer to write law. Law is fail.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 9:29 AM
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360: there's a difference between thinking Keynes is sensible in the abstract and realizing liquidity traps or something like them are a real danger in a modern economy. The prevailing wisdom in the 80s and 90s was that a modern central bank could always avoid a liquidity trap using monetary policy, and that asset bubbles were not a serious risk. (There you need your Minsky-ized Keynes).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 10:21 AM
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The prevailing wisdom in the 80s and 90s was that a modern central bank could always avoid a liquidity trap

Part of my history of economics will involve a sense of dispair among liberal economists in the Age of Thatcher and Reagan about democracy's ability to manage the economy. Thus a reliance on central bankers. Maybe we had to rely on CB's to avoid contractions because the legislatures had become so corrupt and reactionary that adequate fiscal policy would be unavailable? Hmmm? Bells ringing?

Wasn't all careerism for New Keynesians..


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 10:49 AM
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I am shocked, shocked! that people prefer to hire known quantities.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 11:19 AM
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John Boehner supports Shirley Sherrod . This incident has turned out very well and in some ways it's good that it happened -- very rare to see a political price paid for overreacting to conservative propaganda BS.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 11:44 AM
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Top Ten Racist Incidents of the Week


Posted by: David Letterman | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 11:55 AM
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God, I love Rachel Maddow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 12:11 PM
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Yeah, I appreciated her exposing the unifying theme. Way to do research and have a grasp of events beyond the minute, Ms. Maddow. (I was also impressed that she could deliver that lecture in what looks like mostly unprompted speech. But I figure that should be one of her professional skills.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 12:34 PM
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369: Yes, she has been really good on this kind of thing and is about the only one who has followed up on the ACORN stuff and is actively linking this Breitbart event to that one.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 12:43 PM
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White House Unveils "Teachable Precious Moments" Porcelain Collectibles; $29.95 Figurines Will Be Mandatory in FY 2011

Stolen from Iowahawk.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 1:02 PM
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How repugnant is the mainstream media? Here's that prick Howard Kurtz trying to minimize the malfeasance of Fox News and Breitbart.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:03 PM
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Here's Kurtz's description of Breitbart's ACORN scam:

Similarly, Mr. Breitbart used edited videos to go after Acorn, the community organizing group.

Edited videos! The horror! I wonder if it ever even occurred to Kurtz to discuss the nature of the editing.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:08 PM
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Whoops - pardon - Kurtz was quoting the NYT. Here's Kurtz:

Breitbart has worked closely with Fox opinion hosts in the past, most notably when he posted videos of two young activists ostensibly posing as a pimp and prostitute and seeking help from ACORN offices. Breitbart promoted those tapes on Sean Hannity's Fox program and the network gave them heavy play.

The word "ostensibly" carries a heavy, heavy load in that sentence. And that's it. Nothing to see here. Move along.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:11 PM
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The speed of the decision tree is what is unsettling to me. Now USDA had just settled Pigford, and Sherrod was a claimant, so Vilsac may have been overly sensitive.

Prior to the blogosphere, it would have taken weeks for a scandal like this to break eg Watergate. Cooler heads can not prevail in a rush to judgment. Digital lynch mobs, if I may use an unfortunate term. The ability to find a critical mass of like minded people at warp speed hasn't been assimilated by the culture. I don't think it ends well.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:23 PM
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357: If it's the rational to cross the street to avoid a group of kids and "black" + "FBI crime stats" were part of the triggering mechanism, then it's at least partially rational racism, the same way a doc looking for a sickle cell problem is employing rational racism.

It's probably never pure, there are almost always other stimuli such as dress, body language, the glint of metal in hands, the sound of a slide chambering a cartridge, etc.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:42 PM
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Now USDA had just settled Pigford, and Sherrod was a claimant, so Vilsac may have been overly sensitive.

You've said this a few times -- what about the Pigford settlement would make Vilsack on a hair-trigger for firing Sherrod?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:45 PM
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376: I think there's no way a Republican administration would have made this mistake. Hopefully the Democrats have learned not to make it as well.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:51 PM
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the Pigford settlement would make Vilsack on a hair-trigger for firing Sherrod?

There are a bunch of "conspiracy" theories out there. I do not support any of them, but will link one for edification.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:55 PM
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Digital lynch mobs, if I may use an unfortunate term.

TLL is Lee Siegel?


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:58 PM
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TLL is one of the finest and most articulate commenters at Unfogged. Many of you don't agree with him simply because you are not intelligent or well-educated enough to understand what he is saying.


Posted by: Sprezzatura | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:04 PM
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I keep my socks on my feet, thankyouverymuch.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:14 PM
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How about this for a conspiracy theory? Vilsack and the WH knew the full story all along but made the calculation that by swiftly firing Sherrod and taking the heat they could more effectively draw attention to the right wing lie machine than if they'd just gone on the talk show circuit to explain how the comments were out of context.


Posted by: DK | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:34 PM
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378: To be fair to TLL, I mentioned it as well. And not necessarily that conspiratorial either, but there has been a struggle to get all of the Pigford money released by Congress (I'm not sure if Sherrod's settlement is one that is being held up), so Vilsack may have been aware or briefed on the issue. From a review piece at TPM:

Harry Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley, said it "remains unclear" whether the bill [war supplemental] could pass with the settlement attached. The money was also included in the unemployment insurance extension; but the Pigford settlement, and other funds, had to be stripped in order to break a filibuster.
Conservatives immediately jumped on the Sherrod video -- issued by Breitbart in the wake of Reid's promise to bring the war supplemental (including the Pigford settlement money) to a vote -- to condemn the Pigford case.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), for example, tweeted immediately on Tuesday morning, after the Sherrod case hit the news, that many Pigford claims amount to fraud:
Shirley Sharrod fired by Vilsack 4 racism in her USDA position. America needs to know that, not all, but billion$ of Pigford Farms is fraud.
Limbaugh has been on it too, describing the settlements as reparations.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:54 PM
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What the fuck -- how many people have watched the unedited speech? I just watched it for the first time. What an amazing story. Anyone who watches that speech and goes ahead to smear that woman is a disgusting pig. This incident is just so totally repulsive. Shirley Sherrod represents everything that's best about the civil rights tradition. Shirley Sherrod vs. Andrew Breitbart....jesus.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:50 AM
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Oh look.... another racist.


Posted by: Cassanthropy | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 9:16 AM
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I honestly can't tell if you are being sarcastic in your description of him as racist.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 10:18 AM
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Once you get past the embarassing "Mad Men" segue, Frank Rich has a well-written and hard where it needs to be essay on this whole mess.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:49 AM
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