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Tilting at Windmills

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October 3, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

DIVERSITY vs. ECONOMIC JUSTICE....Walter Benn Michaels thinks that liberals have become too obsessed with "diversity." Why? Because, he says, "celebrating diversity" is easy and makes us feel good we're fighting racism! and sexism! and homophobia! while doing what we should be doing is hard and makes us feel tired.

And what is it that we should be doing? Reducing income inequality and helping the poor:

The last few decades, as The Economist puts it, have seen a huge increase in inequality in America. The rich are different from you and me, and one of the ways theyre different is that theyre getting richer and were not. And while its not surprising that most of the rich and their apologists on the intellectual right are unperturbed by this development, it is at least a little surprising that the intellectual left has managed to remain almost equally unperturbed. Giving priority to issues like affirmative action and committing itself to the celebration of difference, the intellectual left has responded to the increase in economic inequality by insisting on the importance of cultural identity.

So for 30 years, while the gap between the rich and the poor has grown larger, weve been urged to respect peoples identities as if the problem of poverty would be solved if we just appreciated the poor. From the economic standpoint, however, what poor people want is not to contribute to diversity but to minimize their contribution to it they want to stop being poor. Celebrating the diversity of American life has become the American lefts way of accepting their poverty, of accepting inequality.

I have a certain amount of sympathy for this point of view. Partly, no doubt, this is because I'm a straight, middle-class white guy and have never had to personally worry about issues of race or gender or sexual orientation. However, despite the fact that in calmer moments I realize that $10 billion the number Michaels quotes as the size of the "diversity industry" is actually a fairly modest figure, it's also true that it's dispiritingly easy to dig up stories about the excesses of identity politics that are either absurd or horrifying, depending on your temperament, and I confess that I sometimes find them absurd and horrifying.

That said, though, the main reason I sympathize with Michaels is not that I'm seriously bent out of shape about identity politics. It's because, like him, I'm pretty intensely convinced that our economic system has recently gotten way out of whack: for the past 30 years the American economy has grown robustly, but the fruits of that growth have been directed by the well-off almost exclusively to themselves. If we had done nothing more over the past three decades than simply grow everyone's income at roughly the same rate, then the rich would be richer, the middle class would be richer, and the poor would be considerably less poor. Instead, the rich have gotten fantastically richer and everyone else has had to make do with flat-screen TVs and Lipitor. In a country with an economy as healthy as ours, the poor and the middle class should be getting richer, but they aren't.

So I have some appreciation for Michaels' thesis. Despite that, though, I have to confess that I don't really see much evidence for his main point: that the reason liberals aren't fighting very hard for economic justice these days is because we're directing all our energy instead to promoting diversity. There are other reasons for this lack of attention (post-60s exhaustion, the fact that the middle class has stagnated at a pretty comfortable income level, and the "boiling frog" nature of increases in income inequality, to name a few), and I very much doubt that mere distraction has much to do with it. After all, liberals have managed to continue fighting a lot of other battles just fine during this time.

But hey I could be wrong. Maybe identity politics really has distracted us from economic issues. Over at The Valve they're going to be discussing Michaels all week, so if you're interested in this kind of thing go check it out. Next Monday I expect to see a complete game plan for putting income inequality back at the forefront of liberal politics.

Kevin Drum 7:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (213)

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Comments

One more diagnosis and prescription for liberals' current dire state. By another liberal of course.

Perhaps chest beating Liberal Pundits should as a group be placed in Atrios' Wankers' Hall of Fame. Or perhaps they should be given chains to bloody their chests with.

Posted by: gregor on October 3, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Two new reports this week served to highlight the central role of the housing market in the U.S. economy and in driving the living standards of Americans. Coming on the same day the Dow reached an all-time high, the housing data is not good.

For the story, see:
"New Reports Highlight Housing Market Woes."

Posted by: AvengingAngel on October 3, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

so now we start to get to the heart of the problem.

we are working harder yet making less in terms of real gain while we watch paris hilton traipse about our t.v.s secure in the knowledge that our representatives in D.C. are doing their best to protect her inheritance from evil welfare queens.

Posted by: dontcallmefrancis on October 3, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Why on earth does Michaels think American "intellectual left" hasn't been concerned about growing income inequality over the last 30 years? Paul Krugman goes on at great length about the subject in books written beween 1985 and 1996, Bennet Harrison and Barry Blustone wrote several books about it (especially The Great U-Turn) in the early 1990s, Mike Davis made the issue the central thrust of at least two books, James K. Galbraith, Rebecca Blank, and a whole slew of other have documented increasing inequality, pointed to its many causes, and recommended solutions.

Now, mind you, not very much of this translated into actual substantial political change over the past 30 years, but its ridiculous to suggest that this is the result of liberals being distracted by identity politics: this has been a function of liberals being on the outs in government. That's the problem, not celebrating diversity.

Posted by: Rich C on October 3, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe identity politics really has distracted us from economic issues.

Err...no. What has distracted our body politic from economic issues is the new opiate of the masses.

To wit: There is no price to pay, no social contract, in order to participate in our capitalist paradise. You don't have to build infrastructure, help the sick and poor, provide adequate supplies, pay and pensions for the military. Paying taxes is for pussies.

Posted by: Keith G on October 3, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

While I agree that Corporate and Republican America have completely abandoned their fiduciary responsibilities to the middle class . . . liberals have as well due to . . . "post '60s exhaustion?" I mean, come on.

Posted by: jf on October 3, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

this is a pretty stupid post all around. republicans have made a living for a generation assailing democrats and the left for "stealing" everyone's money to fund big government.

unlike the right, people on the left can walk and chew gum at the same time. Accordingly, tehy've been fighting for a living wage and diversityh these past 30 years. B ut maybe the problem is that so many can't process a multifaceted message - instead hearing only what they want to hear, and more often than not only hearing lies and misrepresentations fostered by the right against the left.

kevin, you and Walter Benn Michaels need to get the shit out of your ears, and do a little hard work beyond making untruths about the left.
.

Posted by: pluege on October 3, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

You know, every time progressive make some tiny gain in the public consciousness, we're told we should have been concentrating on something else. Good people are working for very some rewards on many fronts, and then it turns out that it's just a silly waste of time to do the right thing. And we're so far along now, we can just make fun of everything pro-human as being overly PC. (Cue eye-rolls here.)

Meanwhile, where's the outrage about those smirking gangsters on the other side gaming every part of the system to rob the public coffers, destroy the environment, and hollow out our economies, both moral and otherwise? Shouldn't we, you know, be concentrating on what THEY are doing wrong?

Or is that target simply too big?

Posted by: Kenji on October 3, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Walter Benn Michaels thinks that liberals have become too obsessed with "diversity." Why? Because, he says, "celebrating diversity" is easy and makes us feel good we're fighting racism! and sexism! and homophobia! while doing what we should be doing is hard and makes us feel tired.

This liberal fetishization of "diversity" just makes me want to puke. You've got it right that it certainly makes liberals feel good, for they get to posture to all around them until the cows come home that they are enlightened and progressive and they are so unlike those throwback conservatives. Yet they rightly attack the social conservatives who swoon about how morally upright they are compared to the godless liberals. Both of these tactics of appealing to moral superiority (conservatives) and enlightened attitudes (liberals) are simply very cheap forms of conspicious consumption - it costs the practitioners nothing to bleat and posture and buys them points with those whom they wish to impress but otherwise is pretty worthless.

This whole liberal attitude to diversity reminds me of Jonathon Yardley's review of Cynthia Carr's book Our Town published in the Washington Post:

n certain precincts occupied by certain members of the American intelligentsia, it has for some time been quite the fashion to ferret out racists in one's familial woodpile and then to write books about them. The ostensible purpose of these books is to provide intimate, confessional evidence of the degree to which racial prejudice has infiltrated every conceivable corner of American life. Their obvious if unstated purpose is to show how the (white) author has triumphed over his or her sordid ancestral inheritance to become a person of impeccable credentials on matters racial. Though all due modesty and claims of imperfection are expressed, the reader is expected to stand and cheer as, at book's end, the author's heroic achievement is revealed in full.

[ . . . ]

Perhaps so, but one does quickly tire of Carr's insistence on inserting her own opinions -- most of them banal and gratuitous -- at every turn. When she blurts out, at one point, "This is the unbearable part -- facing the fact that my grandparents went along with it," it's all the reader (OK: this reader) can do not to throw the book across the room and shout, "Get off it!" Self-righteousness is everywhere, and invariably it's self-serving. As was true previously of Ball and McWhorter, Cynthia Carr has written a book not about the subject ostensibly at hand but about herself.

Everything is me, me, me. Carr fusses over "what it would mean for me to truly witness, to truly own the history of my family and my Marion, and to take in the impact racism had had," and then, after splitting those infinitives, she bleats: "If I encountered something uncomfortable, I would have to stay with the discomfort. No guilt-tripping. No distancing." Like too many other journalists writing books these days, Carr is under the impression that how she got her story and how she feels about it are more interesting (and, implicitly, more important) than the story itself. She could not be more wrong.


As for the mindless mantra of diveristy everywhere, all the liberals are doing is wiping out diversity. If every organization, every school, every company, etc must be diverse, then the endgame results in no oganization, no school, and no company being distinctive. The internal diversity that liberals so crave is killing all external diversity. Hello blandness, thy future is a liberal creation.

but the fruits of that growth have been directed by the well-off almost exclusively to themselves.

Been directed by whom? If you and I freely enter into a mutually beneficial exchange and I reap more value from the exchange than you has anyone directed that I should benefit moreso than you? Aren't you free to try to transact the same exchange with another participant so that you can increase the value that flows to you?

The problem here is that both capital and talent have been able to command larger rewards from the marketplace compared to commoditized labor. An employer will more handsomely reward an employee with a unique skill set, that is hard to either replace, or replicate, compared to an employee who produces value that is easily substitutable by others.

There is no grand conspiracy at work where the value of economic exchange is directed by some hidden gnomes.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 3, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

no need to wait until monday...just go to www.brookings.edu, click on economic studies and read just about anything there.

The Hmailton Project is a good place to start.

or try www.cbpp.org

Posted by: fatinspanish on October 3, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

I am sure more than $10 billion is being spent to try to turn my wittle Ally-kins gay!

Oh, how he struggles every day!

Posted by: Al's Mommy on October 3, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

If every organization, every school, every company, etc must be diverse, then the endgame results in no oganization, no school, and no company being distinctive.

Do you mean there will be no disproportionately white organization? Is that your qualm? That's kinda of what it sounds like. Otherwise that's a very amusing sentence to ponder. Of course, this sentence is false.

Posted by: gq on October 3, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe everyone could start Eating the Rich or the Poor or both because they're going to start killing each other pretty soon!

Posted by: R.L. on October 3, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Economic Justice = Forced Wealth Redistribution.

Actually, it's kind of amazing how many different nice-sounding euphemisms there are for this.

Posted by: hayek on October 3, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't read the book so it may not be so bad, but why blame liberals for the widening economic diversity because they've been so obsessed with identity politics? Why not blame conservatives who after all have been obsessed with widening the ecomonic gap in the first place?

The ultimate PC notion in this country is that only the left is PC and only the left is interested in identity politics. Anyone who's seen how the Republican Party and the conservative movement has bowed to the religious right should disabuse themselves of the notion that the right doesn't have its own PC/identity politics obsession. The Republican Party's interest in promoting anty-gay marriage amendments, prayer in the school, anti-abortion laws, etc. doesn't seem to have blunted its economic message too much, so why go around blaming the Democratic Party's ties to "identity politics" for the growing economic gap.

Posted by: guscat on October 3, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

The rich are different from you and me, and one of the ways theyre different is that theyre getting richer and were not.

That's pretty rich, indeed. WBM makes well more than the median--if not the upper 1%, then well into the upper 5%. He has done pretty well for himself writing on the gold standard and income inequality.

But like Stanley Fish, who made his money in a similar way, WBM's view of the world has been a bit warped by spending too many decades in the weird land of university politics. That's probably the *only* place diversity is even remotely close enough to the top of the list of things that need doing that it could displace anything else.

Posted by: Stu32 on October 3, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, this is the strange-looking glass world of university politics. The one where an investigation into demographics requires an extensive analysis of the work of some random Iranian filmmake.

Posted by: Adam on October 3, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

As a White gay male in a bi-national relationship with a Japanese male, I think that economic issues are at the VERY HEART of diversity issues. Fighting homophobia, fighting for immigration equity, fighting for integration and against racism is about giving everyone an share of the economic pie. My fellow activists are not just involved with diversity issues, but unionization, living wage, access to quality health care issues as well.

It is true that the party leadership might not be interested in these things, which is why so many of my fellow activists are so disillusioned with party politics. And then they go shoot-yourself-in-the-foot stupid things like voting for Green party candidates. The pseudo populism of the candidates doesn't help either. Only John Edwards, in '04, new at least how to talk about economic issues and not sound like an Upper East Side liberal with some horrible burden to lift.

Posted by: DC1974 on October 3, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

*arrghh, tearing hair out* ...

Kevin, I'm sure you couldn't help but notice but there's a cultural war going on. And who are the targets of all that incoming? The very groups you claim are obsessing over diversity. Wingnut cultural warriors tell us that gay rights is "special rights," women's equality is dangerously against basic human nature and that our wonderful civilization is at risk of veritably collapsing at the hands of evil alien Muslim fundamentalists.

It's not that the struggles to push this back (the postive side of which is embracing diversity) and the struggles for income equality are somehow two different things. The struggle is one and the same; it's for a reasonably equitable society. The folks who'd like to emphasize nuts-and-bolts economic reform over the other cultural stuff react this way, at least in part, because of their own cultural positions. It's nice to get nostalgic about how the immediate postwar era set up a Pax Americana economic boom where the differential between the earnings of CEOs and workers was 40:1, not 700:1 -- but do you really think that all segments of American society in that allegedly golden age reflected what you see on Nick at Nite?

Some of this is merely a function of misplaced nostalgia, for a time when we had a strong labor movement and not much international competition in manufacturing and trade. That horse is out of the barn; we can't go back.

So what happens is some of the more superficial goals of diversity/identity politics get trumpeted because they're easy, and they appeal to the basic American moral value of fairness for all. And yes -- liberals are entirely too self-congratulatory about it when the real festering problem, income inequality, is so intransigent and so dependent on new economic factors that would give John Maynard Keynes a migraine. So liberals take what they get and try to smile about it.

And conservatives fight back tooth and nail because even these small, superficial gains threaten the hell out of them ...

So let's not blame the victim here, Kevin. The struggles are ultimately for two sides of the same social coinage.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on October 3, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

I know a wealthy lesbian of african american and native american heritage recently hired at a midwest university who is sure Michaels is wrong.

Posted by: B on October 3, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

fighting for immigration equity

What kind of Orwellian phrase is this, and what meaning could it possibly convey? Have you been hanging out at the language lab that devised the phrase "compassionate conservative" for it seems that you, like they, are out to make a mockery of language.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 3, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that gap between rich and poor is critical. The problem is, our liberal leaders (in congress, at least) tend to stinking rich, just like the Republicans.

Posted by: city on October 3, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

The economic inequality issue has a natural undertow dragging it back from greatness as a political issue in America: technology.

The poor may not be getting richer, but damn they can buy some fancy electronics these days, and their kids are as fat as ever, and TV gets better every year. This isn't a bad thing: being fat used to be a luxury of the rich, and now everyone can afford it. Your dollar buys you better and more interesting anything than it did a year ago, and next year the products will be better still.

So don't even waste time trying to stir the pot. Joe Sixpack knows damn well that the poor people he's supposed to feel sorry for have got it better than 80% of humanity, and even the poor don't feel bad enough off to revolt.

Bread and circuses, baby! Excuse me, I'm off to eat Pizza Hut and watch "Law & Order".

Posted by: Orkon on October 3, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

And oh, the poor in America don't hate the rich, they admire and seek to emulate them. Rich people are totally respected in this country, which I don't have a problem with.

I saw Bono on Oprah (shit what an admission) and he said something like, "In the U.S. people look up at the mansion on the hill and say, 'that could be someday.' In Ireland people look up at the mansion on the hill and say, 'I'm gonna get that sonofabitch.'"

Posted by: Orkon on October 3, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

The truth is that since Reagan became President the Republicans have been winning the general political debate and the economy has been sliding their way.

They've been able to distract with "moral" issues while they reshape the economy in their own image. Low government interference or oversight, oligopolistic markets, tax exceptions and changes to benefit corporations and rich, and, most particularly, the deterioration in (city) public education.

Don't have to worry about the pesky populace asking for more money if they don't have the skills to claim it.

The Republicans have built an edifice where corporate giving rolls into their coffers while they improve the corporate climate. As long as people vote for them they can strengthen this circle, so propaganda, newspeak, lies, "moral" issues while pursuing the almighty short-term dollar, whatever the cost.

When the Democrats regain investigative power, the illegal, corrupt, immoral and gravy-train politics need to be washed in public and reform pushed.

Government of the people, by the people, for the people. Please.

Posted by: notthere on October 3, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

But Kevin - adjusted for inflation, I am richer, taller, better looking and much better in bed. Or that's what they tell me...

Posted by: craigie on October 3, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Are the poor really as poor as they were 30 years ago?

I ask because, as measured by the Census Bureau and other various studies, it appears that the poor have access to a number of items, large and small, that they didn't have back then.

For example, a greater percentage of the poor own a home today compared to 30 years ago. Ditto for cars. Ditto for access to health care (thanks to Medicaid). One can walk a list of major items that matter (I'm not discussing color TVs here) and see that the poor are less poor compared to the past.

Now if one plays the percentages game (and no one does that better than you progressive types), the poor are still poor compared to the rich. No doubt. But the poor have a life that is, I would suggest, substantially less harsh than it was before. Some of that is due to government programs. Some of that is due to lower unemployment. And some of it is due to that fact that some of the poor back then are not poor today.

Indeed, remove recent immigrants (legal and illegal) from the tabulations of the poor, and we have some fewer poor today.

If you want to make this argument work, you have to acknowledge the point (as is made somewhat more bluntly by Orkon). Then you might be able to figure out what matters to the poor and near-poor the most and work to help them. Just a thought.

Posted by: Steve White on October 3, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

If DEMS spoke of income inequality in those terms, other terms like income redistribution and SOCIALISM.

There must be another way to go at this same topic and that is what we have to figure out.

But really, right now we just have to rip the government out of the hands of these criminals, which is more important.

Posted by: lilybart on October 3, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Orkon writes, This isn't a bad thing: being fat used to be a luxury of the rich, and now everyone can afford it.

Remember when capitalism was accused of starving everyone? Now it's accused of making everyone fat. This is progress.

Posted by: Steve White on October 3, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Notthere writes, Low government interference or oversight, oligopolistic markets, tax exceptions and changes to benefit corporations and rich, and, most particularly, the deterioration in (city) public education.

While we Repubs can admit guilt to wanting less government interference and oversight, the rest is an equal opportunity crime.

Deterioration of city public education is as much a liberal failure as a conservative one. Most of the big cities are led by Democratic mayors and school boards. Almost all of the unions are in bed with the Democrats. Federal funding is a small percentage of the total pot, and every time the Feds spend more (i.e., every year) the money is pissed away.

I live in Chicago. We haven't had a Republican near the city schools in 50 years. Those are Democrats oppressing those poor kids.

Likewise, 'tax exceptions and changes to benefit corporations and rich' is as much a liberal game as a conservative one. Rep. Murtha is in the news lately as an acknowledged master of the earmarking, log-rolling, tax-exempting porkmeister. The public understands that both sides are equally guilty on that one.

And all of that hurts the poor (see, I'm getting back to Kevin's point!). Lousy inner-city schools hurt the poor first and foremost. But allowing Democratic mayors, school boards and unions to continue to play the same games they've been playing won't fix the problem. It's not a matter of money.

And allowing Dems and Repubs together to play the pork game keeps us from focusing on the basics that would help the poor. Let's see the progressive movement work on that one.

Posted by: Steve White on October 3, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

As far as I can tell, diversity is the softer side of segregation. I would prefer that people identify with their achievements, not inherited traits. And rather than push income inequality as the greatest ill we face, how about social mobility instead? There are so many entrenched interests (starting with education) that discourage individuals from exploiting their natural talents, most of us have to rely upon personal connections to get ahead.

The other thing, concentrating on wealth misses the fact that most people, while financially comfortable, are not happy with their life style. We work too much and take too little vacations. Our kids are more and more vulnerable, not to our teachings, but to advertisements instead. Our society is raising not happy, healthy people, but avid sleepless stressed out consumers. With some innovation and energy, this is something government can work on.

Posted by: Pothique on October 3, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with nearly everyone else responding, ie. we can't support both deversity and income equality?! Really! It's silly to say such a thing. By-the-way Kevin, If we ever got face to face you'd think you were looking in a mirror, except I'm grayer.

Posted by: dennisS on October 3, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

DC1974 -
Wrap your brain around this;
If homosexuality didn't matter, and sex did - then homosexual (male) couples would be, statistically, much better off than hetero couples, because two working males, with fewer children, will earn and save far more money. (as long as they aren't discriminated against in the workforce).

That would be an interesting study. . .

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on October 3, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

- then homosexual (male) couples would be, statistically, much better off than hetero couples, because two working males, with fewer children, will earn and save far more money.

Exactly the opposite occurs.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 3, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: I'm concerned about growing income inequality. But "free" trade and "globalization" are great! Bill Clinton and the DLC told me so. Oh, both theory and practice say that it will increase income inequality. [Puts head in sand]. Ignore that man behind the curtain!

Posted by: alex on October 3, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

The obesidy epidemic is sociocultural. There is no denying that. I have a cousin who is a disabled former postal worker. She is 53 and her income is definitely fixed. Her daughter is struggling with her weight, so she asked me to go to the market with her recently and was critiquing her choices. "Don't get the canned peas, get frozen" and "Buy the leaner ground beef, not that stuff." and "Buy whole grain bread, not white."

About half-way through she said "I can't afford to eat like you do. I wish I could. I would love to make a meatloaf out of bison, and I would love to buy organic vegetables from the farmers market, but I just can't afford it."

That was a wake-up call for me.

In my state, the Publican governor immediately eliminated the vouchers that those on assistance were given for use at farmers markets - that was a really good idea...You can't buy snacky-cakes and cheesy-poofs at the farmers market. It benefited the consumers and the farmers, but they are not Matt Blunt's base.

We would be well served as a society to mandate nutrition classes for USDA assistance recipients and we would do well to put strict limits on what can be purchased. This would be very easy to enforce, since the system now operates on a debit-card platform. The epidemic of diabetes that is heading down the pike is going to cost us billions if we don't take decisive action now. I used to work in the hospital that has the highest incidence of type II diabetes in the entire nation. I have been called out of my blood bank to chemistry to verify a critical glucose of 800 when I was the supervisor on duty (that's the kind of thing that you call the doctor at three a.m. about)

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 3, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

I was eating lunch at a food court in DC that's popular with federal employees. I'm right next to a table of fat women in their 40s who are all dressed in pastel colors and there's exactly one of every major racial classification. It was like an ad for Affirmative Action! or one of those other Soviet-esque diversity posters or something.

So the white woman in the group, responding to something another woman said that I didn't hear, says really loud and proud, "Oh, and you just know they're gonna stock it with white males." And the last two words were kind of sneered.

Her diverse group of friends all laughed, and she was SOOOOO proud of herself, I could tell.

Posted by: Orkon on October 3, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

One obvious cause of the growth of inequality is the enormous amount of illegal immigration. But Kevin doesn't ever want to think about that because immigration has been turned into an identity politics issue by people who can profit from more immigration, and as a straight white guy he's not allowed to hold an opinion on the subject if he wants to remain respectable.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on October 3, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

statistically, 20% of Americans think they're in the top wealthiest 10% of all Americans and the next 20% think they'll get there. right wing marketed fuzzy math: 40% = 10%.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Americans - stupidest people in the world.
.

Posted by: 98 on October 3, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Conversation between Global Citizen and George Orwell, upon Orwell's cryogenic unfreezing in 2006:

ORWELL: What do people do in 2006?

GLOBAL CITIZEN: We tell each other what to eat.

ORWELL: Really? You tell people what they can put in their own mouths? And it's law.

GLOBAL CITIZEN: Correct, and I approve of The Law. The Law is good for all citizens.

ORWELL: Why couldn't I have come up with that one?

Posted by: Orkon on October 3, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

I must be missing something...

I seem to remember just a couple of years ago that income inequality was arguably THE central theme of a certain democratic presidential primary candidate/vp nominee (remember that whole two Americas thing). And isn't the whole "rich getting richer" theme a staple of democratic campaigns, or is that just a misperception caused by the constant republican carping about class warfare?

Posted by: cramer on October 3, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

There was an excellent article at tompaine.com on 9/22/06 called 'The Globalization Excuse' making a pretty decent case for the idea that this growing income disparity is not being caused by globalisation. It's all just a matter of greed.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on October 3, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of "boiling frog," he could have also said "incrementally lugubrious," which was also Global Citizen's nickname in college (Florida State).

Posted by: Orkon on October 3, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Orkon - read the fucking post again - she asked me to go with her because I am a trained medical professional and my mom is a dietician. I did not interject myself into her shopping trip.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 3, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

And if I am buying someones groceries with my taxes, then yeah, we can put limits on sugar and other empty calories just like we don't allow wine and beer to be purchased with foodstamps. the WIC program is a really good model to look at. "Course, I don't know anything. never worked in public health or nuthin. Never seen the effects myself.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 3, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen,

I would guess that Orkon is taking issue with your statement "We would be well served as a society to mandate nutrition classes for USDA assistance recipients and we would do well to put strict limits on what can be purchased."

You know, the Nanny State and all. The gov't teaching people the proper way to eat because the people are too stupid to make their own choices.

This type of thinking can lead to well-intentioned do-gooders advocating that the stupid shouldn't be allowed to vote (because no one has taught them how to think about the issues and which side to vote for) or how to spend their money (beautifully illustrated in the last Canadian election, when IIRC, the Conservative leader wanted to send child care money directly to parents and the Liberal campaign director objected that that would only lead to parents buying beer and popcorn with the money - far better to send the money to child-care "professionals" who knew better how to use the funds.)

Posted by: TangoMan on October 3, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

ORWELL: Why couldn't I have come up with that one?
Posted by: Orkon on October 3, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Because that would have been stolen directly from the book of Leviticus.

You know - the same book that Republican wingnuts use to justify their gay-bashing. The same book that uses the same language to discuss how evil and abominable it is to eat shellfish.

So no, I don't see how Liberals have the market cornered on "nanny state" politics.

At least there would be demonstratable benefits to me, if my countrymen would take better care of their health - as opposed to whether or not I can tell them how and with whom they can consent to have sex.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on October 3, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

The pseudo-populism of the candidates doesn't help either. Only John Edwards, in '04, knew at least how to talk about economic issues and not sound like an Upper East Side liberal with some horrible burden to lift.

Posted by: DC1974 on October 3, 2006 at 8:50 PM

Edwards gets it, which is probably why many of the Democratic party bosses, trying to placate the corporate crowd for fundraising purposes, are uncomfortable with him as the nominee in 2008. However, I sense their number are declining as Dems and progressives increasingly realize that to win the White House, the party needs to appeal to more than the usual mix of blacks and coastal elites. Edwards has the real populism (in a progressive, not demagogic, sense) that Hillary, Gore and Kerry could never genuinely claim, and I sense that he'd have a better chance of winning those "flyover" states that lean slightly red than any other potential nominee. He's in the Truman/Humphrey midwest progressive tradition, only with a southern accent (an advantage, given the demographic shifts since the sixties).

As the other Clinton said in '92, it's the economy, stupid. Democrats should avoid the culture traps set by the GOP and ignore abortion, gay marriage, etc.

Posted by: Vincent on October 3, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White & other selfish libertarians,

Whether or not the poor are better off than they were in the 60's is irrelevant. The problem is that the wealthy are keeping the benefits of economic growth to themselves.

The economic growth of the last thirty years is mostly due to increases in productivity. The folks who actually are working harder are getting the same or less after inflation while the owners of the capital they need to get the job done have horded essentially of the benefit mostly due to the massive deregulation that has taken place since Regan first got into office.
An honest person would call it legalized embezzelment. Wealth accumulated through the use of power to serve greed is not earned and the jackasses who now posses it have no just right to keep it. Redistribution is the ONLY path to economic justice.
All benefits MUST be equitably distributed to all who contributed to success not horded by a self-selected elete.

Posted by: joe on October 3, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with identity politics is that it defines people by their differences, not their common bonds, and that approach will always divide, not unite. What ever happened to out of many, one? We will always be many, homogenation of humans is more difficult than just sharing a few t.v hows or mass culture restaurants. I think this is one reason the Democrats are having so much trouble...they have chosen to define themselves by their differences. (I should say "we" as I am a life-long Democrat. )
Much of the very ridiculous stuff I have noticed since my kids started school.....that they can no longer sing Christmas carols or the pathetic efforts of elite secondary schools and colleges to engage in "diversity" by enrolling the children of ethnic professionals or celebrities and then photographing them for their catalogues.
time to wake up and re-read Free Speech for Me But Not for Thee by Matt Hentoff!

Posted by: meffie on October 3, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Random incident that has stayed with me: I had a business dinner some years back with some corporate types from HP. The conversation turned to Iceland. I repeated a comment made by a friend from Iceland that in Iceland they cared about poverty because it was so small. Everyone is related--your family included the poor as well as the rich.

During the HP dinner, I wondered what it would be like to live in such a small homogeneous country (the population of Iceland is the same as that of St. Paul). I thought it might be nice. You'd know your neighbors.

But the reaction of the HP people amazed me: They squirmed. They were uncomfortable. I had evidently violated a corporate taboo. The HP executive class had been socialized carefully: Diversity is always preferable.

I mention this because the evidence is starting to accumulate that diversity and social capital are inversely related--that is, the more diverse a society is, the less people are willing to volunteer, participate in social groups or give resources to the poor.

So what a conundrum! We live in a crowded world. The corporate class is dependent on an increasingly diverse workforce. But most people, though conforming to the demands of a diverse workplace, will pick up their marbles and vote for tax cuts that make the rich even richer.

So I conclude that liberals will find it difficult to address income disparity because it may require them to give their dream of a multi-cultural society.

Posted by: PTate in MN on October 3, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Tangoman,

Considering the tone of the self-rightous blithering by yourself and other Libertarians lately maybe it would be more accurate to call yourselves Aristocrats instead.

Posted by: joe on October 3, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen
...was critiquing her choices. "Don't get the canned peas, get frozen" and "Buy the leaner ground beef, not that stuff." and "Buy whole grain bread, not white."...About half-way through she said "I can't afford to eat like you do. I wish I could. I would love to make a meatloaf out of bison, and I would love to buy organic vegetables from the farmers market, but I just can't afford it."

Making meatloaf out of bison instead of cow, or buying organic veggies or frozen peas instead of canned, won't fix your friend's problems. Not buying preprocessed sugared-up fatted-up polyunsaturated foods and eating less and exercising more will.

I think it is easier and cheaper to eat healthy (small portions of meat, green leafy veggies, fruits, nuts, minimal extra carbs) than to eat unhealthy. The unhealthy stuff costs more money. Except for mac & cheese, but college students have to live too.

Posted by: Red State Mike on October 3, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Joe illustrates the conundrum of our times - "how is it that "Progessives" claim the label of progress while ignorantly chanting disgarded and disasterous economic viewpoints?" If accuracy, rather than framing, reflected the objectives underlying the naming of a movement, the "Progressives" should really call themselves the "Regressives." I realize that "Progressives" find solace in Marxian fantasies, but there's nothing progressive about failed economic and political systems.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 3, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

The gov't teaching people the proper way to eat because the people are too stupid to make their own choices.

The embarrassing, non-PC truth here is that sometime people ARE very stupid. Human beings consistently make unwise, uninformed choices that have disastrous results. And if "conservatives" didn't think this was true they wouldn't be trying to eliminate the theory of evolution from textbooks, regulate naughty material on television, and if they were TRUE believers in the wisdom of the individual they sure as hell wouldn't be attempting to suppress inner city voter turnout or jamming Democrats' phone lines.

What it boils down to is people with competing worldviews try to imposse what they think is best on the great unwashed masses. This is a pressure that exists in any society. And it's not that there's anything necessarily wrong with it as long as it doesn't infringe on constitutional rights, but we should be honest and admit that we all do it or tactily support some form of it.

Posted by: lep on October 3, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan: You know, the Nanny State and all. The gov't teaching people the proper way to eat because the people are too stupid to make their own choices.

This type of thinking can lead to well-intentioned do-gooders advocating that the stupid shouldn't be allowed to vote (because no one has taught them how to think about the issues and which side to vote for) or how to spend their money...

I think your conflating a couple of different situations in how you summarized things. It's one thing to complain about a government inserting itself into people's lives where it's not needed or wanted (like in people's bedrooms), but that doesn't equate with a situation where people have already sought the government's assistance. The latter is the situation that Global Citizen is discussing. You want government assistance with paying your gorcery bills? Fine, but we're going to put some parameters around that.

All of which is very different from putting a poll quiz/tax in place.

Posted by: cyntax on October 3, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

PTate in MN: the evidence is starting to accumulate that diversity and social capital are inversely related--that is, the more diverse a society is, the less people are willing to volunteer, participate in social groups or give resources to the poor.

Other than your anecdote, where is that evidence? (seriously, no snark).

So I conclude that liberals will find it difficult to address income disparity because it may require them to give their dream of a multi-cultural society.

rmck1 has repeatedly pointed out that we don't have, nor I suspect do many people want, a multicultural society here in the US. What we have, and have always had to some extent, is pluralism. It's been working so far.

Moreover, the changes of the Progressive era and the Depression took place when the the US was just as diverse as it is today.

Posted by: alex on October 3, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think it is easier and cheaper to eat healthy (small portions of meat, green leafy veggies, fruits, nuts, minimal extra carbs) than to eat unhealthy. The unhealthy stuff costs more money. Except for mac & cheese, but college students have to live too.

Posted by: Red State Mike

Not in my experience. Can you make a hamburger for as cheap as MacDonalds? I can't. How much does organic beef cost per pound? Something like $10.00 a pound, I think. I mean there's a reason everyone calls WholeFoods WholePaycheck.

The bad thing is that buying and eating healthy food is more expensive and more time consuming than eating unhealthy food.

Posted by: cyntax on October 3, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

In a country with an economy as healthy as ours, the poor and the middle class should be getting richer, but they aren't.

Think for a while of the years 1946, 1956, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, and 2006. All things considered, in which year would you rather be living and earning a median income? In which year would you rather be earning an income in the bottom quartile? I think the answer is that 2006 is the best year in which to be earning a median income, or an income in the bottom quartile.

Even lately, from 1996 to 2006, the poor and middle class got richer.

There are aspects of diversity that interfere with becoming wealthier. On the whole, kids who party, play with drugs, or emphasize athletics instead of doing required homework damage their adult earning potential. No matter how you arrange society, observant Buddhists and mystics (other than some charlatans) just are not going to earn as much money as accountants, scientists, and engineers.

Posted by: papago on October 3, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

They say a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.

I am a liberal who has seen the effects of piss-poor nutrition among the poor up close and personal.

And the reality is, it's going to cost us dearly if we con't reverse course.

We stopped teaching home-ec in schools, and I would venture a guess that there is a correlation to the obesity epidemic and that reality. And we outsourced the lunchrooms to McDonalds. That's another problem.

Not PC, but reality isn't always.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 3, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Avenging Angel: Coming on the same day the Dow reached an all-time high, the housing data is not good.

That's the effect of millions of Americans rebalancing their investment portfolios to take advantage of the record corporation profits. Sooner or later the p/e ratios will rise again, and then housing prices will start to rise again.

Posted by: papago on October 3, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax,

I don't necessrily disagree with your point within certain circumscribed boundaries, but where do we draw the boundaries? You wrote:

You want government assistance with paying your gorcery bills? Fine, but we're going to put some parameters around that.

How about this?

You want government assistance with paying your medical bills, or retirement? Fine, but we're going to put some parameters around that. As a senior on S.S. and Medicare we require that you not eat the following, that you report to your neighborhood fitness coordinator every morning at 8 a.m. for the 5 mile walk, furthermore etc. etc.

I can certainly make a case that we could lower our medicare costs if all, or most, seniors in our nation followed some strict regimen. They are getting gov't money, afterall. Why though do we draw the line at for permitting Nanny-State intrusiveness at the feet of the poor and not for students who receive student-aid (no partying, be in bed no later than 11 pm, study 7 hours a day) or academics benefitting from research grants (do not research the following X, Y, Z, teach your class in such and such a manner.)

BTW, I do agree that many of the people in receipt of welfare aid are indeed stupid and do need guidance in life, but then why not extend that guidance to all areas of their lives, so that they refrain from having kids until they are prepared to look after them without the State's assistance, or mandate that they change their social circle for such personal associations often exert strong influences on life outcomes.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 3, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax
Not in my experience. Can you make a hamburger for as cheap as MacDonalds? I can't.

Really? Ever look at how little meat is on their hamburger? Get rid of the bun (unneeded carbs) and you have a drink coaster.

How much does organic beef cost per pound? Something like $10.00 a pound, I think. I mean there's a reason everyone calls WholeFoods WholePaycheck.

So don't eat organic beef. Eat the hormone and antibiotic-fed cows. That is still better than chips and soda.

The bad thing is that buying and eating healthy food is more expensive and more time consuming than eating unhealthy food.

I think you are unfamiliar with just how unhealthy the unhealthy people eat. Go to the grocery store and hang out and look in the basket of some fat person towing around their fat kids. Chips and soda, packaged cookies, etc. Lack of portion control.

I agree with whoever said education is necessary.

Posted by: Red State Mike on October 3, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

papago: Think for a while of the years 1946, 1956, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, and 2006. All things considered, in which year would you rather be living and earning a median income?

Regardless of the answer to that question, the real point is "where's my share of the pie?". Let's say the median is 5% better off, but the top 1% is 100% better off. It's entirely reasonable for the median to be pissed. Do you think that if the median were 100% better off and the top 1% were 5% better off, they wouldn't be screaming bloody murder?

There are aspects of diversity that interfere with becoming wealthier. On the whole, kids who party, play with drugs, or emphasize athletics instead of doing required homework damage their adult earning potential.

That's funny, George W. Bush is doing ok. I guess the rules don't apply if you're born with a silver spoon up you nose.

No matter how you arrange society, observant Buddhists and mystics (other than some charlatans) just are not going to earn as much money as accountants, scientists, and engineers.

What percentage of the population are "observant Buddhists and mystics"? Doesn't sound like the most significant factor to me.

Posted by: alex on October 3, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals need to be working for justice.

Most Americans don't understand the difference between charity and justice - let me explain:

Charity is easy to do, provides immediate gratification, is relatively safe and makes you feel good.

Justice is difficult, may take years to provide gratification, can be very dangerous and can get you killed (e.g. MLK) and is often very painful.

A short parable: A rich man had gardens in his backyard, with a stream that ran through the back. He loved working in the garden, tending his flowers. One day, he noticed a body floating down the stream. It was a man, barely alive, who the rich man took into his home and nursed back to health until he could leave on his own. The next week, the rich man noticed two bodies floating down the stream.

An act of charity would be for the rich man to fish the floaters out and nurse them back to health. An act of justice would be to look upstream and find out the cause of them washing downstream in the first place.

Recognizing and celebrating diversity and working towards equal treament for all races, religions and genders is an act of justice.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 3, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan: BTW, I do agree that many of the people in receipt of welfare aid are indeed stupid and do need guidance in life, but then why not extend that guidance to all areas of their lives, so that they refrain from having kids until they are prepared to look after them without the State's assistance, or mandate that they change their social circle for such personal associations often exert strong influences on life outcomes.

Look I really think you're making a strawman out of this thing. We don't need to advise people on every aspect of their lives. If you really believe that some sort of educational program around nutrition is the top end of a slippery slope leading to telling people when they can have children... well, that's obviously your opinion and you're welcome to it. I really believe it isn't.

Posted by: cyntax on October 3, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Mike - that was me. We are on the same page enough that I can claim consensus with reasonable conservatives. Thank you for that too.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 3, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think you are unfamiliar with just how unhealthy the unhealthy people eat. Go to the grocery store and hang out and look in the basket of some fat person towing around their fat kids. Chips and soda, packaged cookies, etc. Lack of portion control.

I agree with whoever said education is necessary.

Posted by: Red State Mike

I don't know RSM. I go to farmers' markets and grocery stores and farmers' markets are more expensive. Fast food is cheap. You're right part of the issue is portion control, but part of the issue is that a fast food chain has much better scales of economy and very efficient supply chains so they can make cheap food. When you're poor it can be hard to resist the cheap alternative, particularly if you don't know all that much about nutrition and the effects on your health of bad nutrition.

And I'm with you and GC that education would be good.

Posted by: cyntax on October 3, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Recognizing and celebrating diversity...
Posted by: The Conservative Deflator

People have been killing each other forever for reasons of diversity, using whatever differences they can find to justify dehumanizing each other. It is so common in our past that I would say it is ingrained, and therefore what you are trying to do in celebrating diversity is to directly fight human nature. And guess which will win?

I work at a major university, and see the opposite of diversity. I see student groups that naturally segregate into diverse groups of identical looking people that don't really interact until they see each other's floats during homecoming parade. All in the name of "celebrating diversity". It reminds me of how palestinian women were supposedly "glad" and celebrating that their children had martyred themselves. A million years of evolution and history says bullshit.

We should celebrate commonality. All the things we share in spite of our differences. Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc. Better life for kids, a search for spirituality. Or as mundane as sports clubs, science clubs, etc.

The military is as close as we get to a race-blind meritocracy in our society because it celebrates the common, not the different. Not saying everyone needs to enlist, but there is something there to be pondered.

Posted by: Red State Mike on October 3, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax
You're right part of the issue is portion control, but part of the issue is that a fast food chain has much better scales of economy and very efficient supply chains so they can make cheap food.

I'll buy that, but a salad at Wendy's is cheaper than the mongo-burger. Problem is, who wants salad?

Posted by: Red State Mike on October 3, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Not sure how the discussion turned to food, but keep in mind the prefix mal- in malnutrition is French for bad or evil. Many poor people are malnourished, which doesn't necessarily mean they don't get enough to eat. It can also mean they make very poor selections in their choice of food.

NPR did a series on malnutrition recently that talked about poor, rural Mississippians whose biggest health issue now is not lack of food, but obesity from eating the wrong kinds of food.

By the way, great post TCD!

Posted by: A Cynic's Cynic on October 3, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'll buy that, but a salad at Wendy's is cheaper than the mongo-burger. Problem is, who wants salad?

Yeah and you can't live on salad. But all of the fast food chains have begun to add items (like salad) that are a little more "healthy." Not enough to get me to eat there, but if their customers were to skew further towards healthy alternatives, that might convince the fast food chains to change their menus further. But eating healthy takes more time and effort than not.

Posted by: cyntax on October 3, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

When I was playing around in the social sciences for a few minutes I took a grad level sociology class called "Racism and Discrimination." Part of the core curriculum was the "Eyes on the Prize" documentary series. This was a small Mormon liberal arts school (close to base) where the mose rhetorical question was to ask one of the 30 or so black students if they were on an athletic scholarship. This did not stop the professor from tilting at that windmill.

In that class, the three black kids sat together in one group, the four malaysian students grouped up, the mormon kids grouped up in three or four student clusters and the non-mormons like me comprised the remaining group. We grouped together with our own kind, even though we were grad students taking a course called "Racism and Discrimination!"

And I realized about half-way through the semester that all the good intent in the world doesn't necessarily overcome our basic core instincts.

Another non-PC reality. If I don't watch it my liberal cred is going to be questioned.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 3, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah and you can't live on salad.
Posted by: cyntax

Have you seen the stuff they are living on? Not exactly the food pyramid. :)

Global sez...
And I realized about half-way through the semester that all the good intent in the world doesn't necessarily overcome our basic core instincts.

I often reflect on Brown's Human universals when I find myself thinking too much about the differences.

Posted by: Red State Mike on October 3, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

It is my fault we are on the food topic. It is a necessary element of any discussion about socioeconomic justice, because are facing a looming crisis with the potential to break the back of our potemkin-village healthcare system in the form of diabetes and the related disorders. It causes blindness, renal failure, heart disease, stroke, neuropathy. And it is a socioeconomic disease. It is about three or four times as prevalent on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. Not many type II's are middle class or wealthy. It is a lifestyle disease of the poor.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 3, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax:

Red State Mike is right up to a point. Most of healthy eating is being selective among similarly-priced options, and moderation in all things.

That being said, some lower income people do have problems that aren't entirely of their own making. A single parent may not always be able to spend as much time in the kitchen as needed to make something from scratch. Add to that the lack of decent grocery places in some low-income neighborhoods. The local corner 7-11 does not carry much in the way of fresh food. I don't mind my taxes going to food stamps that could be used at a farmer's market. Why not? Encourages good eating AND small farmers.

I have seen a LOT of improvement in both grocery stores and fast food places in recent years. It's now possible to get a pretty good healthy meal, like a salad with broiled chicken, even at McDonalds, and most Safeways and other grocery chains have a lot more produce and healthy choices than I remember from years ago.

You don't have to eat buffalo. You can spend a small amount extra to get hamburger with 10 percent fat instead of 20. Or you can drain it after you cook it up, which actually helps a lot (my mom does this for my dad). Eat one burger instead of two, and hold the mayo and the fries. A baked potato is good, and less fatty than fries. Cheap, too.

Our kid's school just scrapped the soda pop machines. Yeah!

Most of good eating, like most health things, is just using your head.

Posted by: harry on October 3, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: I took a class called "Magic, Witchcraft and Religion" at Wichita State in 1994 with a terrific anthro instructor named Clay Robarchek. Great guy. Actually stood in a lecture hall and called Erich Von Donnegan an idiot the first time I took a class from him in 1985. He won me over that very moment.

That list of Browns could have been the course outline for that class.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 3, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

And I realized about half-way through the semester that all the good intent in the world doesn't necessarily overcome our basic core instincts.

Another non-PC reality. If I don't watch it my liberal cred is going to be questioned.

Yes, be very careful for you're treading on the boundaries of liberal orthodoxies, and so too is PTate. Did you catch my comment on the Progressive's Dilemma to one of Kevin's posts a few weeks ago?

Posted by: TangoMan on October 3, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Have you seen the stuff they are living on? Not exactly the food pyramid. :)

Yeah, not even close. Speaking of which I'm gonna get a bit outside the pyramid myself with some California barley and hops.

PS: as a vet, good comments on the meritocracy of the military.

Posted by: cyntax on October 3, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Tango - That was probably about the time the semester started, and I'm teaching and taking, so I was so busy I got out the door without my shadow a couple of times in late August and I missed it. If you could email me the permalink I would be glad to give it a read.

As for treading on orthodoxy, eh, whatever.

Sacred cows make the best burgers.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 3, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Tango - That was probably about the time the semester started, and I'm teaching and taking, so I was so busy I got out the door without my shadow a couple of times in late August and I missed it. I'll go give it a read.

As for treading on orthodoxy, eh, whatever.

Sacred cows make the best burgers.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 3, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

How the hell did that happen? I edited the post and it threw up both versions? how come no "malicious content" message when fuckups like that happen?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen:

A lot of the health problems of the poor might also be related to factors like alcohol, smoking, or work conditions. Don't forget access to routine health care (a whole new thread).

I also have a theory that the work environment of the lower classes has changed over the past decades. My grandparents routinely ate a diet that would jam the arteries of a bull elephant. The difference is that they went out afterwards and spent the day lifting cows, or hauling bales of hay. More lower-class people used to routinely work at the docks, or at some other heavy labor. Most of them work in cities, now, doing a lot less physical labor. Even my garbageman sits in his truck while a robot arm dumps the cans.

And unlike wealthier people with more time, they don't hit the gym.

Wealthy people who eat like pigs and don't exercise probably have the exact same health problems as poor people who eat like pigs and don't exercise. They can just afford to get liposuction and bypasses.

Posted by: harry on October 4, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

The local corner 7-11 does not carry much in the way of fresh food. I don't mind my taxes going to food stamps that could be used at a farmer's market. Why not? Encourages good eating AND small farmers.

Harry, good points. And I like the idea of steering food stamp dollars towards small farmers as well. A friend of a friend is doing an interesting project with google maps that invloves using the mapping technology to figure out the distribution/availability of grocery stores in low income areas. Then they try to financially incentivise local stores to carry more produce. Kinda cool.

Posted by: cyntax on October 4, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Actually stood in a lecture hall and called Erich Von Donnegan an idiot the first time I took a class from him in 1985. He won me over that very moment.

That's outrageous. The space aliens who improved our gene pool and built the pyramids with their vastly superior ships clearly wanted us to eat nutritious, tasty foods.

In the Urabamba Valley in Peru there is a rock carving of a spaceman handing a farmer a smoked turkey wrap that proves it.

Posted by: lep on October 4, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Oh without a doubt, Harry. The lifestyle of the damned for sure. It isn't just the nutrition factor. Smoking, alcohol, substance abuse all take their toll. I have worked enough years in public health that I can give directions for a urine clean catch in more languages than I can number off the top of my head.

I have also served the affluent in toney suburban med centers ("Madame, you will have to take your arm out of that mink coat if I'm going to set this IV") and the prevalence of the lifestyle disorders is far greater among the poor.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

thanks for the chuckle, lep.:)

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

The lifestyle of the damned for sure. It isn't just the nutrition factor. Smoking, alcohol, substance abuse all take their toll.

Which brings me back to my point - why not advocate that the State intervene and enforce upon the poor conditions and behavioral changes which reduce the risk of smoking, drinking, substance abuse, etc? Why just enforce regulations on food intake?

Posted by: TangoMan on October 4, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Then we get into the fair market and infringements thereon. In Kansas City, there are no Italian residents between Troost and Manchester Blvds, but every three blocks that is a liquor store owned by one. It would require reigning in predatory businesses, and nobody is going to do that. And yes, people who operate liquor stores in the hood - and cash checks without ID for high fees at a secure cage in the back - and go home to gated communities at night are operating predatory businesses and benefiting from and perpetuating social pathologies.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

What I want to know is, how do you explain to the poor that when you redistribute income toward them, you are not taking away their future income when they win the lottery?

Posted by: KathyF on October 4, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Why just enforce regulations on food intake?

Bottom line here is enforcability. We have no control over what is purchased with someones meager cash budget. But some restrictions already apply to nutrition programs, so the appication of the restrictions is more practically possible.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

well this time when I screwed up the tag it italicized everything. Usually I cut part of a sentence...

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Tangoman,
"Joe illustrates the conundrum of our times - "how is it that "Progessives" claim the label of progress while ignorantly chanting disgarded and disasterous economic viewpoints?" If accuracy, rather than framing, reflected the objectives underlying the naming of a movement, the "Progressives" should really call themselves the "Regressives." I realize that "Progressives" find solace in Marxian fantasies, but there's nothing progressive about failed economic and political systems."

That boat won't sail. Protections against corperate abuses cannot be conflated with a communist command economy. It's nothing more red-scare bullshit. You libertarians with your "I got mine so fuck everyone else BS" make me sick. That is precisely the rhetoric that the Regan administration used to cut taxes and protections and run the highest deficits up to his time while starting the current 30 year expansion of the income gap between the rich and the poor.
As I said above, a libertarian without social responsibility is no better than an aristocrat who believes his economic advantages are a birthright.

Posted by: joe on October 4, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

That boat won't sail.

Joe shared with us this vision of how the economy functions:

The economic growth of the last thirty years is mostly due to increases in productivity. The folks who actually are working harder are getting the same or less after inflation while the owners of the capital they need to get the job done have horded essentially of the benefit mostly due to the massive deregulation that has taken place since Regan first got into office. An honest person would call it legalized embezzelment. Wealth accumulated through the use of power to serve greed is not earned and the jackasses who now posses it have no just right to keep it. Redistribution is the ONLY path to economic justice.

All benefits MUST be equitably distributed to all who contributed to success not horded by a self-selected elete.

Economic growth fueled by productivity increases is predominantly attributable to increased utilization of tools and labor-enhancing devices, like computers, not to workers toiling harder every year. Today's ditch-digger isn't digging twice the length of ditches using only a shovel that his father dug 30 years ago. The ditch-digger's increased productivity comes from using a back-hoe and other equipment which is provided by the employer. Why should the worker reap the benefit from the increased productivity which the employer's capital provided?

Your modeling of hoarding behavior by the owners of capital needs further elaboration. How are they effecting this hoarding? Why doesn't the employee offer their skill to an employer who hoards the productivity gains just a wee bit less than their present employer? Surely if the work they offer is valuable then another employer will benefit by hiring such a worker.

I particularly enjoyed your Marxist rants on how restribution MUST take place. Yup, you're a progressive of some sorts what with your regressive notions of economics and all.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 4, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

alex: "Other than your anecdote, where is that evidence? (seriously, no snark)."

A classic work on the topic is Bowling Alone, by sociologist Robert Putnam.

You'll need access to University libraries, for this one:
SOCIAL NETWORKS AND THE PERFORMANCE OF INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS , By: Sparrowe, Raymond T., Liden, Robert C., Wayne, Sandy J., Kraimer, Maria L., Academy of Management Journal, 0001-4273, April 1, 2001, Vol. 44, Issue 2

A source on social capital is the social capital gateway. One link takes you to a page of resources on "the challenges of multiculturalism." It's a complex issue and you can read both sides for yourself.

This article,"Social Capital in a multicultural society:the case of Canada," addresses it.

Here's another one: "Civic Engagement and Community Heterogeneity: An Economist's Perspective."

Unfortunately I can't remember source of my favorite study. The authors looked at desertion rates and rates of re-enlistment in the Union army during the US Civil War. Diversity was defined as regional and age--The authors found that individuals in units that were mostly about the same age and from the same town--instead of having a range of ages and men from a wider geographic area--were much more likely to reup and not desert.

Posted by: PTate in MN on October 4, 2006 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

I've gotta tell you folks that your discussion of putting restrictions on what foods can be purchased with welfare monies is just absolutely blowing my mind. I'm really quite outraged. Why one unlucky segment of the population should be have a 'controlled' diet based on the most recent health fads and info is just totally Orwellian.
Why not just ban all 'unhealthy' food from the market country-wide? Only the poor have no choice? There is a strong genetic factor in diabetes, and Global Citizen, you can be sure that plenty of middle-class folks suffer from Type II diabetes. Meanwhile, my grandparents lived on meat and gravy and potatoes and desserts.
One was fat and one was lean. Neither exercised.
Both lived into their mid-eighties in good health.
My God, if the government can 'legislate' what we eat, then why not what we read, how long we sleep, how much we exercise we get, what we 'think.' All of those have an effect on how we view our health, what we want from our lives, etc. Hope you give this all a long second thought.

Posted by: nepeta on October 4, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

No one is saying that, nepeta. I said limit. If the budget is $350 a month, limit the amount of soda and cookies and chips. Give vouchers for farmers markets and teach nutrition classes to the recipients.

I am aware that type II exists among the middle class. But the percentages spike in the poor. I stated earlier that before going to grad school I was a lab supervisor at Research Med Center in KC - the zip-code with the highest incidence of Type II in the nation, and one of the lowerst per capita urban incomes.

If we don't do something soon, it will collapse the health care system. Bank on it. It is already taking it's toll in charity care and write offs and under-compensated medicare and medicade reimbursements, and private insurers squeezing out every last dime on both ends.

Nobody said one word about legislating oreos off the shelf. I said if they are buying their groceries on my dime, then the options should be limited like they already are in the WIC program. Big difference.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't even say don't allow any purchases of treats. But the whole busget should not be blown on cheetos either, and as RSM pointed out above, the poor disproportionately buy processed and high fat food. The reasons are complex, but the reality remains. When you crossmatch the units for the surgery to amputate a 16 year olds gangrenous foot, perhaps you will give consideration to what I am saying. And I have never seen a teenager with type II so bad a limb is lost in middleclass settings, but I have seen it more times than I can count in poor neighborhoods.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Steve White --

Was away for a while, but hey:

Where exactly is there equal opportunity?

It was Reagan who said that the "rising tide would lift all boats", which it signally did not do then or under GHWB. The majority of the country benefitted under Clinton without any detriment to income growth in the top decile. GWB has continuously told us that we are all benefitting ["pro-growth economic policies are working for all Americans" (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4992284.stm)], which is patently untrue and an indication of his delusion.

The Bush tax cuts were regressive, benefitted the bottom half little or not at all, and did not kickstart the economy or contribute significantly to GDP growth. (See Brookings, CBPP, and GSA, or was it the CBO?, and others.)

As to city education, the flight of wealth to the 'burbs, the dramatic reshaping of industry from the late 70s on, and loss of major businesses with well-paying jobs with all the knock-on effects have all contributed greatly to K-12 education problems in all the Eastern and Central "old" cities that I know. It is precisly because of the way that schools are financed that there is de facto class/wealth and, effectively, racial segregation, uneven resource distribution that leads to continuing and worsening nature/nurture IQ results, and, so, a worsening poverty trap for all except the most fortunate caught in those systems.

And what are the actual figures on poverty, un- or underemployment, health insurance?

There are studies out there about the stability of countries with higher wealth/income ratios, corruption, crime and other unwelcome effects, particularly in communicable disease. And the US is now rated worse then some European coutries in mobility, job and social.

But it is the notion that a good proportion of youth in this country are not getting a fair shake or anything like equal opportunity that not only does them a disservice, but the US in lost opportunity.

So many Hollywood myths.

It's the short-sighted, me-first mentality that is becoming endemic, and then ensured by the enacted policies of the elite.

I, for one, am not looking to deaden entrepreneurship, but we've already seen what unfettered capitalism brings in its wake and Teddy Roosevelt, for another, did not like its ugliness.

And it is getting ugly unequal.

Posted by: notthere on October 4, 2006 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

No, I disagree mostly with the 'on my dime' part. There's something unpalatable about that.
No pun intended. (gr) It's just way too authoritarian for me. And quite honestly I'm a bit suspicious of the 'research' that implies eating habits lead to diabetes. It can only be 'one' factor. The disease is notoriously genetic. In any case, I refuse to either 'blame' the victims of disease for their illnesses or to deny anyone (period) a freedom to live in the way they prefer, regardless of whose dime it's on or at what cost to the 'system.' Do you have any idea what percentage of health care cost is attributable to diabetes? If patients don't receive adequate care and instruction once they develop the disease then, as you said, all sorts of complications can develop. How much of the cost is primary to the disease and how much is due to inadequate medical attention in the first place?

Posted by: nepeta on October 4, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

Thought I'd chip in on the food debate.

It just seems like the Repugnuts love people to be as ignorant as possible (in all spheres but it seems to include themselves) and not even have the chance of improving their health and life quality.

We subsidize less healthful foods to a high degree and, because of the way the FDA and USDA are set up, don't think twice about the chemicals and pharmaceuticals we put in them. Not only may people eat poorly at home, we give them crap at school. Remember when Reagan's administration started counting ketchup as a vegetable? The poor quality fast foods not only don't satisfy appetite, but the larger portions look like a bargain.

With ignorance comes the inability to make better choices or to know how to make quick, healthy, satisfying fast meals or food to go.

Lastly, over the last 30 years not only have eating habits declined, so has energy expenditure, whether at work or play. People do not feel bad about doing nothing except sit in front of the TV, playstation, whatever. Frankly they should.

The human body works badly without use, even if moderate.

Yeah, there are some who have genetic of chemical propensity to put on weight, but, unless their incidence is multiplying, historical evidence says that is not many. It is mostly a learned problem and that's poor education which ever way you cut it.

Posted by: notthere on October 4, 2006 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

I respect your opinion, and reasonable people can disagree.

I am a little hard kline about it, because "On my dime" also becomes "on my time" and I have had administration tell me to tell my people - the most highly trained and technical personnel in the entire hospital, that the raises would be withheld again this year because charity care write offs - mostly due to diabetes treatment - I can't klegally source internal hospital documents - but I have seen them - so "on my dime" has a dual meaning.

I pay taxes, and I don't get raises because of the strain on the system. We have to do something to avert a healthcare collapse. I would guess that it will happen within 15 years if current trends continue.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

No, I disagree mostly with the 'on my dime' part.

It is on our dime. I realize that the sense of entitlement in some areas of our country has blown way out of proportion, but if someone is eating off the taxpayer then having some strings attached is not "authoritarianism." It's authoritarianism when the state starts telling people who earn their own money that they can't eat transfats. Right now, food stamp rules are pretty reasonable.

While national health care sounds appealing, one concern I have is that once the state pays all the bills, by the same rationale as above they could legitimately exercise a LOT of control over anything you do related to health. Think "helmet laws" times a hundred.

Posted by: harry on October 4, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen:

Here's an idea. How about modifying the "workfare" rules in place now so that work credit could be given for education in things like nutrition and job skills that would improve the life of someone who needed food stamps or other assistance?

I don't know much about how it works right now, so I don't know if this is feasible.

Posted by: harry on October 4, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen,

My grandfather lost both of his legs to Type II diabetes, as did my uncle. My mother is now taking anti-diabetic drugs at the age of 85. Isn't Type II predominantly associated with the elderly? That's always been my understanding.
I also have two friends, both with Type II, and both with a parent who had it.

Posted by: nepeta on October 4, 2006 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

unless their incidence is multiplying

The obese and diabetic commonly have reproductive problems; in sperm motility, the inability of women to become pregnant and if they do become pregnant stay that way and have a healthy outcome. I've seen newborns weigh in at 13 pounds and come into the world with a glucose over 600. Diabetic mom with uncontrolled diabetes. Of course the baby is born via C-section, so the hospital bills are three to five times higher, if there are no complications - and that is rare. It's a rabbit hole we are heading down. The collapse of out already inefficient healthcare system is a reality worth fearing.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

Dont worry too much about the causes of our plight. With the Republicans committing incremental suicide, with the coming sweep of the elections and Obama to lead us in the next four year period, things will be back to normal: Democrats fighting among themselves over the policies that will lead the country.

Of course well still be bedeviled by the deficits, the new supreme court righties and Bushs legacy deficits, but who said life was easy?

Posted by: James of DC on October 4, 2006 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

You're right, Global Citizen, we can agree to disagree. I always value your comments. The whole 'health fad' thing of the last twenty years is one of my pet peeves. I'm notoriously irrational on the topic.

Posted by: nepeta on October 4, 2006 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

harry --

it is a common misconception put around by I couldn't guess who, that if you had a single payer or a national health system, or whatever, that there could not be a private system running in parallel. If people want to pay for extra services or insure themselves for a "de luxe" coverage, go ahead. But everyone deserves access to decent health care and there are cheaper ways of doing it than we are.

Global Citizen --

if the health system goes on for another 15 years like it has, it will eat up 30% of the economy, there will be hardly any emergency rooms open in the cities, there will be 55 million uninsured, maybe more, and we'll be short thousands more medical staff and beds.

Posted by: notthere on October 4, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

Before I go to bed -

Nepeta, that is how it used to be. But in the last decade we are seeing more and more teenagers with type II - a phenomenon virtually unheard of ten years ago. In the last year I know of four teenagers who lost limbs to type II.

There is a lot of real hard-science research on it, and diabetes educator nurses are running around with their hair on fire, trying to reach a population that sits in the class talking on cell phones and ignoring the instructions.

My husband is in medical school (at 52!) and the first week of classes, he was told that diabetes would be the number one health issue that the physicians he is training with will face. Me and the educating RN's aren't the only ones with our hair on fire.

And the insurance companies are culpable to. They won't pay the ten grand for the preventive care and education to save a limb, but they will pay fifty grand to lop it off.

You heard it from my fevered brain on Political Animal on this very day - Diabetes will be the ruination of American healthcare, and it is imminently preventable.

If I post about this in detail tomorrow, I will forward you the link.:)

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

notthere - okay - this is my last comment before bed...

Did you see the threads a couple of weeks ago about the heaalthcare economy? If not check them out - I should have brought this up over there ages ago.

The healthcare system is heading toward unsustainability - it's a potemkin village today - but the demise is speeded by lifestyle diseases - of which Type II is the most prevalent, and it has reached it's tentacles into unknown populations in the last ten years.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 4, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

As a democratic whole, we are such a complacent, self-satisfied, delusional, ignorant group. The edifice is crumbling, corruption is everywhere, the center cannot hold. And just when we thought we were the world hegemonic power! The thousand year . . . .

Damn! I hate when that happens!

Posted by: notthere on October 4, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen,

I just did some googling on diabetes. Strangely enough, the diabetes epidemic appears to be global, with East Asia and India leading the pack.
Very strange. A McDonald's on every corner?

I also read about the insurance companies much preferring to pay for an amputation rather than early medical intervention. Also, information as you suggested earlier on the whole disease complex for the poor. It's not only diet but also stress, depression, etc. which makes preventing or managing the disease so overwhelming.

Posted by: nepeta on October 4, 2006 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Tangoman,

Your forgetting how the average work week has steadily lenthened and especially the enormous amount of unpaid overtime that is now being done thanks to computers and the internet. You also are disregarding the movement of labor to the largely non-unionized service industry and the explosion in the proportion of temporary contract employment in the work force. Changes that have worsened income prospects for the bottom half of the working nation and were made much worse by the deregulation of the 80's.

Go ahead and keep screaming "commie-commie-commie". It shows that you really have nothing to support your position but name-calling.

Posted by: joe on October 4, 2006 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

Joe,

Stop digging.

Go ahead and keep screaming "commie-commie-commie". It shows that you really have nothing to support your position but name-calling.

I'm not screaming commie. I'm simply pointing out that "progressive" notions on economics are quite regressive. Here is what you wrote about wealth:

the jackasses who now posses it have no just right to keep it. Redistribution is the ONLY path to economic justice.

People who have wealth are jackasses and they have no right to keep their wealth and we should all depend on "Progressives" like you to fix the problem by confiscating people's wealth and redistributing it according to "Progressive" notions of equity and efficiency. Whatever you say, comrade.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 4, 2006 at 3:35 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Diversity is such a problem.

...Because when you have a diverse workplace, suddenly you don't have income inequity broken up by race. People don't have to worry about being blindsided by irrational racism, sexism, or whatever.

Being fired from a job for some irrational reason like this - or worse, merely being harassed - is a source of income inequity.

Next, though, we need to focus on the bigger picture - we're fighting for who gets hired at minimum wage while CEOs are looting companies. It doesn't matter if the workplace is diverse - the owners, the old boys, they're still there, and they aren't diverse.

Posted by: Crissa on October 4, 2006 at 4:15 AM | PERMALINK

How can we even think about income equality while the ultimate 'diversity' issue has been voted upon:

That all aren't made equal, and don't deserve equal rights.

The US has always treated alien and citizen the same in our legal system... Because all people are created with inalienable rights...

...Right?

Posted by: Crissa on October 4, 2006 at 4:24 AM | PERMALINK

Diversity is such a problem.

First off, legal mandates on diversity infringe on the rights of freedom of association. Secondly, they impose an inefficiency cost when less qualified people are hired over more qualified simply to meet management diversity targets. Yeah, diversity, when it is mandated rather than freely chosen is a probelm.

we're fighting for who gets hired at minimum wage while CEOs are looting companies

Let's compare - I'll take the position that there are more instances of employees embezzeling from companies than there are CEOs doing the same and you can stick to your position that CEOs are the greatest threat to our nation's economic infrastructure. I wonder whose position has the most evidence behind it.

It doesn't matter if the workplace is diverse - the owners, the old boys, they're still there, and they aren't diverse.

Wow, that's a very racist and classist accusation. You come off like a race, gender and class warrior.

That all aren't made equal, and don't deserve equal rights.

WHO do you propose has the power to make people equal? Who has proposed that people don't have equal rights? Or are you proposing that equal distribution of income and wealth, regardless of effort, talent, intelligence and luck is now a "right", and if so, where can I find this "right"
codified?

Posted by: TangoMan on October 4, 2006 at 4:47 AM | PERMALINK

Liberals think they can fix everything,solve all the problems with money and programs. The money has been confiscated from the many and funneled down to few.It makes them feel good and all warm and fuzzie feeling. On the other hand if you understand that it for sure isnt working and will never work they are non accepting of failure.We see programs ran by people whos agenda has been to get more money for next years budget.Layers of paper and mountains of crap to wade through both offend and frustrate the giver (us) and the poor sap who is on the receiving end. These Programs are usually ran by people who lack the capability to compete in real Job Markets or participate in Capitolism in general. These types are a burden to Society because they are brain washed into beleiving that the Country owes the needy or the druggie or the whatever. When opsticales are put in their way or they meet opposition to THE CAUSE all seems lost. Very few have the ability to see their way past the stumbling blocks put in place by politicians or Society.After 50 years of hand outs and Welfare and this Program and free Transportation this and that it is Failure at its best.Only done by yours truly the U S Government sponserd by YOUR MONEY.Desire,drive and Work ethics cannot be added to peoples mind set. It must be taught by example at an early age. Work is Human nature but so is being lazy.People must be Hungry to succeed not trained to starve. No Program or Liberal idea can teach that.

Posted by: Glyn Lockhart on October 4, 2006 at 5:36 AM | PERMALINK

...I'm simply pointing out that "progressive" notions on economics are quite regressive....

Posted by: TangoMan on October 4, 2006 at 3:35 AM | PERMALINK

As opposed to the contradiction of the "compassionate conservatives" who hold all the federal reins of power who are, you know it, neither compassionate, nor conservative. Not even efficient at what they do, but generally corrupt and cronyism oriented.

Just as "legal mandates on diversity infringe on the rights of freedom of association. Secondly, they impose an inefficiency cost when less qualified people are hired over more qualified simply to meet management diversity targets" in your not so humble opinion, so it could be argued that not allowing those deprived individuals to reach their potential is a lost opportunity cost to the nation and infringes their rights to the unhindered pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In fact, the racism that you might be surprised to learn is still rampant in this nation acts as an inefficient brake on the economy and spreads a lot of unhappiness. And one only has to look at the legacy students at the nations leading academic establishments to know that ability has nothing to do with it.

George W. Bush being a very clear example.

So don't smokescreen about less able people having to be recruited to at least flatten the field somewhat.

What you actually condone is the preservation of privilige.

And, since we only have to look at the board membership of the Fortune 500, and research done on pay and promotion to know that it is still a sexist, racist world out there, tilted toward the white male, I don't think you should be accusing others of classism or racism.

You know: stones, glasshouses.

Posted by: notthere on October 4, 2006 at 6:41 AM | PERMALINK

Mr.(or is it Ms.?) Lockhart:

Your inarticulate rant above is so laden with false assumptions that it isn't really worth responding to, but I wanted to make a couple of points:

- Liberals don't think they can solve all social ills.
- How would we know whether we can solve problems by "throwing money at them", since we never really have?
- I am a Christian before I am an American. Christ tells me to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and heal the sick. I follow his Word, not that of George W. Bush or Rush Limbaugh.
- This country spends more money on corporate welfare than on welfare for needy people. Why aren't you incensed about that?

When your brethren are suffering, we are all diminished - or do you believe that you are an island on to yourself?

Posted by: A Religious Leftist on October 4, 2006 at 7:09 AM | PERMALINK

I thouight for a moment that you were going to be brave and question the core left assumptions. Pity you backed off.
Polarization has occured on both sides. For Monica there was an equally inappropriate Anita.
The president of Harvard was ridden out of town on a rail for questioning the core PC assumption. And the Left was as dismissive of scientific evidence as any Creationist.
And I could go on and on. It is long since that psychology has known that authoritarianism can be on the right or left. Correctism (to coin a phrase)is no less authoritarian then Evangelicism.
If we do indeed learn from history, then we can see in Wiemar that Sparicism preceeded Nazism and gave it something to feed on.
Bushism, I fear is much a response to the lockstep of Correctism.
Bob Woodard has this hope that somehowIraq will force Bush to blink and to invite the Democrats into a gov't of Bipartisan Unity. I have my doubts about the Lefts response.

Posted by: aeolius on October 4, 2006 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it's not too amazing that there would be a diversity crisis. By the early 60s almost everyone had been ruled out for participation in the American Dream. And the handwriting on the wall said automation would result in fewer jobs, translating into perpetual poverty for anyone who wasn't a white male with an Anglo-Saxon name.

For some people, like some gay people, it was worth it to give up a huge amount of earnings to simply be who they were. However, considering many of them were extremely talented people, natually they insisted we'd all be better off if we celebrated diversity rather than discouraging it.

In the first half of the 20th century, the Japanese and Chinese were excluded, the Germans were demonized, the peoples of Eastern Europe were excluded, the Italians and Hispanics were demonized, the Blacks got no support for integration, the Japanese and Germans were demonized again, and anybody who remained obdurate was swept up in a grab bag of 'Anti-Americanism' or accused of being a 'fellow-traveller'.

There was a lot of remedial work that needed, and still needs, to be done. You can't always stop doing one job just because you think you need to do another.

Posted by: serial catowner on October 4, 2006 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

...Bushism, I fear is much a response to the lockstep of Correctism.
Bob Woodard has this hope that somehowIraq will force Bush to blink and to invite the Democrats into a gov't of Bipartisan Unity. I have my doubts about the Lefts response.

Posted by: aeolius on October 4, 2006 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

There are just too many isms for me to make sense of. I think I missed the "lockstep of Correctism"; please expand. But I'm fascinated as to what "Bushism" is.

My interpretaion would be that is is to tell anybody anything that might get you into power where you then do anything you think you can get away with, including abusing your oath to uphold the laws and the constitution, your fiduciary duty to the nation, while practising rampant cronyism, enrichment of your favorites, and having no conscience about waste of life and treasure in pursuit of a chimerical adventure ungrounded in reality, disgusting the world with your wilful disregard of human rights and individual protections under law, while simultaeously ignoring your responsibilities to the nation, its people, and its security.

Of course, I haven't given it a lot of thought yet, so I probably missed quite a lot of Bush's legacy achievements.

And with that record and his demonstrated singular resistance to act cooperatively with anyone who will not fawn to him, I'd judge the man to trust him a fool.

Posted by: notthere on October 4, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

If the citizenry would recognize that Bush's egomania is acting out a national illness, we would all be saner. If the US could integrate the "shadow" which Bush projects upon "the axis of evil," perhaps we could achieve world peace and start to solve our global problem. Carol S. Wolman, MD,

I agree with Dr. Wolman about the national disease. But that it infects both right and left. Ok so say there is a law that a person can be accused and face punishment based on one other persons testimony. Once accused the defendant is presumed guilty.
A Bush law?? No the sexual harassment law.

Again. A comapny can be found guilty if it does not have a certain percentage of workers with certain attributes. Of course affirmative action.
In the professions forget that for whatever reason there are less say blacks and women who get that degree. Does the law suggest that say 5% of dental school grads are black that hospital X should have 5% of black dentists. No actually often the figure is compared to the %age of blacks in the total population. So hospitals scramble around to find any say black dentists regardless of ability. Who profits from this?Do the patients at hospital X benefit from this? A few marginal black dentists will, but how is this functionally different then the cronyism you decry on the right. In both cases an inferior candidate is given a job.

Posted by: aeolius on October 4, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Over at the Chicano Veterans Organization, we have the solutions that will lead to the demise of the White Boys Opportunity Club, in that "identity politics" is constantly being charged and yet none is being practiced by 'racial and ethnics'. Just ask us? As such, the Steele campaign in Maryland should be indicative that the value inherent in the issues trumps the worth of 'blackness'of an African American, the "brown' of a Chicano, or even the 'red' of a Native American, but getting the WBOC to agree and see the same, is like a dentist pulling teeth, it's not gonna happen excepting in an Emergency, and the emergency is slowly arriving in the form of demographics as the GOP is now realizing and to their eventual detriment.

Perhaps, a more precise view is necessary, in that the neo-conservatives are married to the neo-liberals, and thus, America is now a nation of Neo-Liberators. And speaking of Neo-Liberators, other than 'racial and ethnics', none of our fellow citizens residing in and advocating for the WHOC insisted on a Declaration of War and the requisite Military Draft in the run-up to our War of Liberation in Iraq, or is it still an "invasion"?

To wit, if you want to join the armed forces, we are available to help you lace up the combat boots and strap on the body armor. No takers? That's not unusual in that the American Mantra is "Let's let Miguelito do it!" Morevoer, if you want to have a viable and universal health care program, let's use a "roll-over" and put it into the Systemic for Medical and Hospital Care at the Veterans Administration. Is that too much for you? Yup, complaining is worthwhile if you have no willingness to solve the 'health care' issue that is high on America's list of "things to do". If you want to solve the "immigration" issue, how about "trans-national technology centers". Never heard of it? That's par for the course in that WBOC's Cultural Americana is indicative that the WBOC does not take the time to 'hear' let alone 'listen'. But bitching is easier to advocate as opposed to an advocacy for "accommplishment" premised on ambition and opportunity. Thus, WBOC members speak among themselves of Hope but only from their perspective of self-interest and the 'rest of us' are required to fend for ourselves. So, failing to listen to 25% of America's population, is still the standard of the WBOC, and we, as military veterans well-understand this dynamic. We will do the heavy lifting, and you can still do your constant bitching, and to us, that's Freedom of Speech...just don't regulate our speaking out while disliking what we have to say. Needless to say, you have given the President the authority to designate "enemy combatants" and that description is not restricted to geographics. And such "doing good!" is reminiscent of sheer stupidity as practiced by the WBOC.

In summary, the eventual implementation of an "academic-military draft" will see fruition in the years ahead for use as an economic development tool in order to improve the availability of George Washingtons among America's low income, and the middle class won't have the faintest clue as to supporting such a notional out of their particularized self-interest, and all for having listened to the WBOC. And until then, continue to paint me as an "aggressive" Moderate where Common Sense resides.

Posted by: Jaango on October 4, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK
Despite that, though, I have to confess that I don't really see much evidence for his main point: that the reason liberals aren't fighting very hard for economic justice these days is because we're directing all our energy instead to promoting diversity.

While you rather critically mistate the thesis, which I'll get to below, I think the connection is pretty clear and obvious. Don't get me wrong, I think diversity per se, and far more importantly nondiscrimination, are both important. But when you sell a message on social justice that highlights those alone, and increasing the first more than the second, you implicitly devalue economic justice. And I think its plenty clear that much of the left has been increasingly doing just that for decades, and that attention to economic justice from the left has declined.

There are other reasons for this lack of attention (post-60s exhaustion, the fact that the middle class has stagnated at a pretty comfortable income level, and the "boiling frog" nature of increases in income inequality, to name a few),

Yes, sure, those are all part of the mix. In some degree they are direct causes, and in some degree they are contributors to the cause Michaels suggest, but the fact that there are other contributing factors does not undermine Michaels' thesis: which, as noted above, you have badly mistated. It is not, as you suggest, that the focus on diversity is the reason the left has neglected economic justice, but that it is the way the left has done so. Michaels is not saying that the focus on diversity appeared ex nihilo and caused the left to abandon economic justice, but rather that the left has substituted a focus on diversity for the focus on economic justice. Now, there is a feedback mechanism here in that once that policy and message focus is established, the reduced advocacy for economic justice makes economic justice less and less important in people's minds, which drives further focus on other areas (primarily "diversity" in terms of the left's advocacy for social justice), which makes economic justice less important, &c. But he doesn't seem to be claiming, as your simplistic dismissal of his supposed thesis suggests, that focus on diversity is the sole root cause, rather that it is both a manifestation of the decreasing interest in economic justice on the left and a factor that accelerates that spreading disinterest.


Posted by: cmdicely on October 4, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

DOW sets new record high.

Wow, no wonder there were so many smiling faces on those celebrating "Mothers' Day" yesterday. As the accounts of Oregon Trail and the similar Washington food stamp program, as well as WIC, were "flooded" with extra cash for the month of October, the recipients were merrily shopping for "luxury food items" yesterday. Noticed a lot of high fives when they the USA Today headline proclaiming the surge of the DOW. Gave me a thrill just listening to so many of them singing "Movin' on up".

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 4, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Ok so say there is a law that a person can be accused and face punishment based on one other persons testimony. Once accused the defendant is presumed guilty.
A Bush law?? No the sexual harassment law.

No, a made up law. While, for any law (except, under the Constitution, treason), the testimony of one witness may be enough to convince a jury, there is no special lower legal standard of proof or legal presumption of guilt in sexual harrassment law.

Again. A comapny can be found guilty if it does not have a certain percentage of workers with certain attributes. Of course affirmative action.

Again, false. While this is a popular right-wing lie about affirmative action, this isn't at all the truth.

In the professions forget that for whatever reason there are less say blacks and women who get that degree. Does the law suggest that say 5% of dental school grads are black that hospital X should have 5% of black dentists.

No, it doesn't require any percentage at all, whether based on the pool of licensed people, the pool of applicants, or the pool of the general population. Your statement to the contrary is either grossly misinformed or dishonest.


Posted by: cmdicely on October 4, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

It's true! We need to be focusing on income inequality as well as poverty. So what our GDP is increasing, we still have 30 million Americans living in poverty!! That's 10% of the the most prosperous nation in the world. Additionally, even though the size of the pie is increasing, the allocation of those resources grows more and more polarized leaving those who need it most with less. Real income and real wages are decreasing! How about another thought though? Poverty worldwide = 3 billion people live in poverty. That is half of the entire world living on less than $2USD a day. Can you imagine?? Not only should be focusing internally at our own people but we need to address the Millennium Goals! This is the plan to end world hunger and extreme poverty (living under less than $1 a day) that has been agreed to by 189 nations minus the US and S Africa. The rest of the world wants to end global poverty and give humankind a future but the US just wants tax breaks and profits. Ending poverty will double the amount of consumers worldwide, it will allow 3 billion more people to purchase and make economic choices in addition to fulfilling their most basic human right to life!! The question we have to ask our politicians goes further than cultural diversity. It needs to be 'how can you sit back and watch half of humanity die of starvation, preventable diseases and dehydration? What are you going to do about that problem?'

For more information about what you can do to address the UN Millennium Goals, check out:

http://www.borgenproject.org

Posted by: flagrl118 on October 4, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

A comapny can be found guilty if it does not have a certain percentage of workers with certain attributes. Of course affirmative action.

Again, false. While this is a popular right-wing lie about affirmative action, this isn't at all the truth.

Actully it is the truth and it is the practice. It is also the practice in academia where AA and the qouta system is alive and well. One of the problems for liberals today is that anyone who has passed throught the college entrance system, especially is they were less than sure locks, understands that the deck has been grotesquely stacked. Everyone understands minorities start out with a lead an then once in college keeps a huge advantage.

We can at least agree no place on earth is more politically correct than the college campus and no place on the campus than on the faculty. Many professors will automatically start off a minority student with an A to offset the presumed lifelong disadvantage they've suffered as a result of racism.

I am sure you are aware of the series of bizarre affirmation action rulings by O'Connor and the rest of the court. There isn't a child who graduated from high school the last 3 years who isn't aware that Affirmation Action is designed for Govt to place people in positions they would not have earned otherwise.

Sandra is off the court and has been replaced by Samuel Alito. The end of reverse discrimination is near an end.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK
We can at least agree no place on earth is more politically correct than the college campus

No, we can't.

I am sure you are aware of the series of bizarre affirmation action rulings by O'Connor and the rest of the court.

I am aware of a number of rulings relating to the issue, none of which that I can think of are "bizarre" in any way.

There isn't a child who graduated from high school the last 3 years who isn't aware that Affirmation Action is designed for Govt to place people in positions they would not have earned otherwise.

Well, certainly there is none that hasn't been exposed to this propaganda, in quite a longer time than three years. But without using tendentious and circular definitions of "earned otherwise", I don't think you'll find that all those people agree with it.

Sandra is off the court and has been replaced by Samuel Alito.

Wow. An actual fact. Good job.

The end of reverse discrimination is near an end.

So, the new court will usher in a new era of reverse discrimination?


Posted by: cmdicely on October 4, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of those weekends in front of the W-M store in western Washington state. Uncle Tom Ward Connerly had hooked up with John Carlson of Seattle to change the Affirmative Action law in Washington - Yes, they were successful - However, on those weekends one of their paid ilk would attempt to gather signatures to qualify for the election. Time and again, he would say "Help the white man get his jobs back". This was in a largely white area of high unemployment due to cutbacks in fishing and logging. Heard on three occasions, someone would say to the guy, "Yeah, I'm really tired of (either the N word or a slur against Hispanics) getting all the jobs" - He would respond, "Yeah, this will stop it" - He had no trouble getting his sheets filled with signatures.
Yeah, Ward Connerly and John Carlson, truly color blind.
Now, the same crapola is being tried in Michigan.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 4, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

There isn't a child who graduated from high school the last 3 DECADES who isn't aware that Affirmation Action is designed for Govt to place people in positions they would not have earned otherwise.

I don't think you'll find that all those people agree with it.

Actually a great majority do agree with it because they live it. It's very frustrating for the family of any child to be denied admission to college after playing by all the rules and working hard because they are the wrong color. You have designed a system whereby Julius Ervings daughter can get into the University of Pennslvania much easier than the daughter of the average philly cop ONLY because she's the daughter of julius and for no other reason.

It's a grotesque system you've forced on this generation because of your sins. They know it. It's obvious.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

So, the new court will usher in a new era of reverse discrimination

This court will end Govt supported race based discrimination. There will be key hearings the next session with a ruling by next spring.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Well, certainly there is none that hasn't been exposed to this propaganda

That's a silly term to apply to the law of the land for the last 30 years. An equally insidious aspect of this is the fact the process is demeaning to those minorities who've succeeded on merit rather than based on the color of their skin. They know when people look at them they question if they've earned their accomplishments or if it's the result of a Govt mandate. They know people would never say anything but they also know they've been marginalized.

AA is a lot like socialism. It's a failure matter which way you look at it.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK
You have designed a system whereby Julius Ervings daughter can get into the University of Pennslvania much easier than the daughter of the average philly cop ONLY because she's the daughter of julius and for no other reason.

Systems which make it easier for the children of the wealthy to get into schools simply because of their parents identity are not the result of "affirmative action", and indeed long predate it.

Nice try, though.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 4, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

3rd PAUL,

So you think Washington and Michigan are filled with white racists? That's refreshingly candid of you. Most liberals act as if all the racists are from the South. I think you are being hard on those two states but if your general point is that there are more racists in the blue state North you would be correct.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, 3rd paul, GC.

I bit offtrack but a great point well put regarding the future of Europe: From NRO

******************************
Wars of the Cousins [Mark Steyn]

I agree with Derb's take below on "European wars." However, he's wrong to lump in Serbs vs Kosovars with the Irish vs Irish as part of the fag end of Euro-warmongering ("fag end" is Britspeak, nothing to do with current Beltway preoccupations, I hasten to add). As I point out in my soon to be forthcoming book whose title escapes me, the Balkan collapse of the Nineties was a warm-up for the civilizational showdown:

Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in Europe since World War Two? In the 30 years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 per cent to 31 per cent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 per cent to 44 per cent. In a democratic age, you cant buck demography - except through civil war. The Serbs figured that out as other Continentals will in the years ahead: If you cant outbreed the enemy, cull em. The problem Europe faces is that Bosnias demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.

So there'll still be plenty of war in Europe, just not between ethnic Europeans
**************************************

War of the cousins refers to the wars between White Europeans in the years prior to WWII.

The key statistic here of course is what the demographics in Bosnia led to. Is it the model for Western Europe?

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Geez, Uncle Paul, and you told me that Brown v. The Board of Education was from a Southern State - You never told me that it was from Topeka, Kansas.

You never told me that African-Americans and even Native Americans were not allowed into bars in Lawrence, Kansas in the 50s.

Last KKK meeting in Kansas was in a field where Harmon High School stands today.

Last KKK conclave in the Pacific Northwest was in Astoria, Oregon, the end of the Lewis and Clark trail.

Racists live in every state, city and village and ward.- Even John Carlson and Ward Connerly qualify.

Posted by: stupid git on October 4, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK
That's a silly term to apply to the law of the land for the last 30 years.

I'm not applying the term "propaganda" to the law of the land. I'm applying it to your propaganda about the law of the land.

See the difference?

An equally insidious aspect of this is the fact the process is demeaning to those minorities who've succeeded on merit rather than based on the color of their skin.

This is a popular claim of people who aren't minorities and are opposed to AA, and by minorities whose own prominence despite their rather lackluster personal merits is driven by being a token minority spokesperson for particular political positions, its not something I've heard a lot from minorites who have succeeded on merit.

They know when people look at them they question if they've earned their accomplishments or if it's the result of a Govt mandate.

You know, I don't even think that, and if I did think it about a particular observer, it would be a statement about how shallow I thought the person looking at me was. But, even then, I wouldn't care.

I know what my skills (and limitations) are, and how they've contributed to where I am. If other people want to make ignorant assumptions, well, so what?

They know people would never say anything

Uh, no, we know that plenty of ignorant bigots will, in fact, say things all the time.

but they also know they've been marginalized.

Insofar as successful minorities are marginalized at all, its by simple bigotry, not by Affirmative Action. Though, of course, deliberate lies like those you spread about affirmative action help feed bigotry.

AA is a lot like socialism.

In that their opponents principal criticisms of both are based on particular extreme forms of each that are (in the case of socialism) far from the only forms or (in the case of AA) long rejected even by supporters, I would agree there is a degree of similarity.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 4, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quotes Walter Benn Michaels:

So for 30 years, while the gap between the rich and the poor has grown larger, weve been urged to respect peoples identities as if the problem of poverty would be solved if we just appreciated the poor.

That seems to me a non sequitur. As far as I know, "respecting people's identities" has not been offered as a solution to "the problem of poverty" but as a liberal value in its own right.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 4, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Insofar as successful minorities are marginalized at all, its by simple bigotry, not by Affirmative Action. Though, of course, deliberate lies like those you spread about affirmative action help feed bigotry.

Facts are not bigotry. AA quota programs are insidious programs designed to give one group of students a place in an institution based soley on race. By definition it's a place they did not earn on merit or there would not be quota programs. The problem is because it's all a big secret no one knows if some is in an instituion based on merit or based on their parents.

This is a fact of life in modern education.

To make it even worse there are an entire class of kids who have been rejected from a school with no idea if they missed on merit or if a less deserving student took a spot they earned but were denied because they were the wrong color.

My family has been quite fortunate but my kids know of some sharp students who have been rejected from good schools they appear to have been fully qualified for. Human nature being what it is people tend to blame the 'system'. In this case it's an easy mark. Obviously your kids have never been rejected. But it's an awful and it creates a grat deal of resentment not just by the student but even moreso the parents and family. In most cases they were rejected for the right reasons but who knows?


There's not a shred of racism. It's anger properly directed toward a cruel and unjust
system.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

"rdw" is a parody. He's clowning around to make fun of Republicans. No real Republican could be as stupid and ignorant as "rdw" pretends to be. That's how you can detect the parody clowns.

Posted by: Clown Detector on October 4, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

In that their opponents principal criticisms of both are based on particular extreme forms of each that are (in the case of socialism) far from the only forms or (in the case of AA) long rejected even by supporters, I would agree there is a degree of similarity

I'm not sure why you are suggesting the criticism of socialism is based on extreme 'forms'. Socialism in all of it's forms is extreme. Unless you are one of those libs trying to use Sweden as an example of socialism lite. Highly regulated and highly taxed does not equate to socialism. Socialism has everywhere been a total disaster and has typically included the worst examples of human depravity in all of history.

BTW: just read a report Fidels eden is quite liberally falling apart. Buildings are no maintained and are starting to collapse.

AA still has its supporters but most have seen it does more harm than good. It's a typical liberal program.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree with "Clown Detector". rdw is exactly what he appears to be: a right-wing extremist, racist bigot. He is so deeply bigoted that he cannot even see how his bigotry screams from every comment he posts.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 4, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Facts are not bigotry.

Facts have little relation to what you post, too.

AA quota programs are insidious programs designed to give one group of students a place in an institution based soley on race.

Quota programs are expressly unconstitutional and not part of legal AA programs. Sure, sometimes they are implemented, and usually fairly quickly challenged and struck down, and rightly so.

Among the dishonest parts of your presentation is equating AA programs with quota programs.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 4, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

SA,

Except you can't point out a single example. Referring to conservatives as bigots is an old, silly and useless exercise. It's part of the reason you are the minority party and will remain the minority party.

Have you see the recent polling data on Rudy and Hillary many of the righty blogs are so gaga over? Allow me to give you the short version. Hello President Rudy! The details of the report are especially good for Rudy and notso good for McCain and even worse for Hillary.

The good news for Hillary is this. She is unstoppable. There is no competition. The bad news for democrats is this. She is unstoppable.

She gets crushed in the general election probably losing NY but definitely losing PA and OH. It is really a bad turn of events. You are also aware the 2010 census will tranfer 5 to 8 seats from the blue North to the Red South and the 2012 electoral college gets much uglier.

Your party has one shot at survival. You must become conservative.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Among the dishonest parts of your presentation is equating AA programs with quota programs.

For most of it's history AA programs were quota programs and many are continued under a different name. It was only last year O'Connor shot down one quota program at a state undergraduate program (could have been U of Mich) and allowed an almost identical quota program at a law school.

There will be a new case up before the court this year many are hoping will end even the possibility of quota programs and many eliminate race as a consideration.

There wasn't anything even remotely dishonest in my posts. You were the one being PC.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Quota programs are expressly unconstitutional and not part of legal AA programs. Sure, sometimes they are implemented, and usually fairly quickly challenged and struck down, and rightly so

There are now 3 votes, if not 4, on the court for quota programs. The 60's lib never give up. Socialism just hasn't had the right managers yet and Che really wasn't a serial killer.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "Referring to conservatives as bigots is an old, silly and useless exercise."

I didn't refer to "conservatives" as bigots. I didn't say anything at all about "conservatives." Why in the world would I say anything about "conservatives" in a comment about you? You are not a "conservative", you are a clown. ("Clown Detector" was right about that much.)

I referred to you as a bigot. Evidence? Your constant referring to affirmative action programs as "quota" programs, which is a lie. Just a plain old bald-faced lie, one that is told over and over again by right-wing extremist racist bigots like you.

Your comments on this thread are nothing but incoherent babble, even more so than usual.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 4, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Your constant referring to affirmative action programs as "quota" programs, which is a lie. Just a plain old bald-faced lie, one that is told over and over again by right-wing extremist racist bigots like you

Not true. Affirmative Action programs have historically been and often remain quota programs. AA is a just another of a long list of liberal disasters for the 60's crowd. You are right in suggesting this Supreme Court will put an end to them and may in fact prevent all aspects of race based admissions programs as obviously discriminatory.

I am quite proud to say I am not, have never been and never will be politically correct. Like all conservatives I ahbor those creatures. They are a creation of the 60's and will die with that version of liberalism. You are done. It's all over. I love hearing this babbling about income equality because it just reminds me of how dominate the liberal majority was pre-Reagan.

Ronnie ended that debate. It exist only on campus where it's been banished with the rest of the socialist fools. There's simply too much wealth and opportunity to waste time talking about that nonsense. The only people talking about wealth distrivution are those incapable of making any. Who wants to associate with them? Suppose it's contageous?

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "Affirmative Action programs have historically been and often remain quota programs."

This is an example of what I wrote earlier. "rdw" is a parody, posting silly, exaggerated, clownish charicatures of Republican talking points, to make fun of Republicans.

No real Republican would post the silly, stupid things that "rdw" posts.

People like "SecularAnimist" and "cmdicely" should lighten up. Don't take "rdw" seriously. He's just a silly joker, clowning around.

Posted by: Clown Detector on October 4, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Diversity as a "Wedge" issue = concern troll.

Rdw - quick question:

What do you feel is the "right" racial make up of a society? Do you want to "Celebrate" diversity or not?

If you try to limit the scope of this discussion to not answer, then you are a concern troll.

My view of liberalism is that we CELEBRATE our differences and try to work together to solve problems (though that's hard to do w/o funding).

Posted by: Woo Jae on October 4, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

What do you feel is the "right" racial make up of a society? Do you want to "Celebrate" diversity or not?

Why would anyone ask such a question? It pre-supposes racial makeup is something to be managed as if humans are no different than farm animals and races are something to be culled periodically.

I celebrate freedom and liberty and what happens as a result of freedom and liberty. I've never been sure what diversity is supposed to mean but my experience has been it's often used in extremely superficial and shallow ways. Freedom and liberty are real. Diversity is most often merely political correctness.

The United States isn't the greatest nation in the history of civilization because we are diverse. We are the greatest because we are free. We are diverse because we are free. diversity is the natural result of freedom.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

My view of liberalism is that we CELEBRATE our differences and try to work together to solve problems

You are the product of the TV age. This is extremely superficial and shallow. Are you also in favor of motherhood and apple pie? What a guy!!!!!

Can I be like you?

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

What rdw says and how to interpret the ravings of a blithering idiot:

To make it even worse there are an entire class of kids who have been rejected from a school with no idea if they missed on merit or if a less deserving student took a spot they earned but were denied because they were the wrong color.

[snip]

There's not a shred of racism. It's anger properly directed toward a cruel and unjust
system.

It's "cruel and unjust" that they are "the wrong color?"

Do you think before you spread your buttcheeks and post?

The question is not whether or not you're a "racist." We've pretty much established that you are, in fact, just mad as hell that someone who has spent the last few hundred years having every possible disadvantage and roadblock thrown in their way has gotten the opportunity--and that's all this is, an OPPORTUNITY--to go to school. Okay, not a handout--a chance to go to school. You think that's a handout.

See, if you let someone go to school in order to help them better themselves, that's not handing them a free ride on the happy fun money machine. It's called affirmative action because all it is is trying to do something positive for someone who is part of a group that has had a lot of negatives thrown at them.

Just admit it--you're a racist, you hate the fact that someone is getting an opportunity to do something with their life, you're mad at the size of your little man's penis, you just seethe with hate. You're boiling with it. Your little eyebrows are dancing around, angry and on fire. It's gotta just drive you nuts, rdw.

And that handsome dude? With your daughter? Don't look now...he's a charming African American man and he even has a job! Oh, God Forbid, screams rdw, as he wheels himself in circles in his little man's chair in his rumpus room.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 4, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

See, if you let someone go to school in order to help them better themselves, that's not handing them a free ride on the happy fun money machine. It's called affirmative action because all it is is trying to do something positive for someone who is part of a group that has had a lot of negatives thrown at them.

That's just terrific Pale Rider. Give yourself a nice pat on the back. I love liberals. What other people give themselves so much credit for doing, ... well what actually did you do? Oh I remember, absolutely nothing!!!

Here's a question. You are absolutely wonderful for getting a couple, few hundred thousand minorities a spot in college they would not have earned except for having the right parents.

By definition you denied a few hundred thousand innocents a spot in college they DID earn except they had the wrong parents.

So what about them? How many pats on the back do you give yourself for them?

They of course were not born when the assh*les designed this racist system. They of course had every reason to feel quilty. They were quilty. But why did someone else, an entire generation we know for a fact was innocent, have to pay the price for your sins?

The good news here is of course is that history washes everything out in the end. AA was a classic liberal f*ck-up. An obvious attempt by older liberals to atone for their own racism by making someone else pay the price. That is absolutely classic liberalism. And those who were supposed to benefit were marginalized.

Everyone knows when a minority is admitted to college there's a good chance it was because they received an unfair advantage. We all know this. The 'fact' you or cmdicely might claim "not me" is classic politically correct pandering. It's an obvious fraud. Of course you'll say that. As if you have a choice.

There were and still are 1,000 better ways to help minorities. Liberals do what liberals always do. Shallow and superficial always beats real.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

And that handsome dude? With your daughter

You are the dumbest of the dumb. I am the smartest of the smart. I am the extremely proud conservative parent of conservative daughters. I am the son of proud conservative parents who luck would have it were registered Democrats. They are what we call pre-68 Democrats. Meaning I inherited my contempt for Teddy Kennedy liberal Democrats from them. Mommy and Daddy were JFK tax-cutting bear any burden for liberty Democrats. We call then Reagan Republicans today.

Our gene pool is doing just fine. We can at least all agree Darwin knew his stuff. Demographics don't like. Libs are disappearing. The gene pool demands it.

Posted by: rdw on October 4, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

I am the son of proud conservative parents who luck would have it were registered Democrats.

And I'll bet they were decent people who wouldn't recognize you now.

The fact is, you can't handle the idea that someone would get an opportunity. You can't figure that out, can you? There's a vast difference between a handout and the opportunity to go to school. Figure that out, and then come back and speak intelligently to the subject. You have a fevered, hateful mind and no one--no one should get an opportunity YOU don't agree with. That's what it is.

Poor Wooten--he just shits his pants and howls out the window at the notion that someone would take that opportunity and turn it into something good. That just kind of blows everything else out of the water, doesn't it?

And please--your current Secretary of State and one of your Supreme Court Justices wouldn't have the education they have right now without Affirmative Action. And all they've done is help empower racist fools like yourself.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 4, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

There were and still are 1,000 better ways to help minorities.

And you can't name a single one, can you? Because the ones you would name have no possibility of being a substantive, real attempt to give someone a specific opportunity. Not a hand out, not free money, not a free pass--an opportunity. A diploma does not accompany the opportunity to go to college--whoever goes to that school has to actually earn the diploma. But that's also true of the sons and daughters of alumni from Harvard, isn't it?

It's "racist" to give someone of color the opportunity to go to a good school.

It's "tradition" when the idiot kid of a Harvard grad gets admitted with a waiver.

Oh, I'm sure you want to help minorities--so long as they don't forget their place, eh?

rdw, rdw, rdw--you haven't changed a bit.

Just call it for what it is. Your hate is what keeps you afloat.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 4, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

Your hate is what keeps you afloat.


No hatred here. Contempt for stupidity and cowardice is not hatred. I've been blessed to be part of this fantastic experiment in self-rule and there's not a day that goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars.

I'm an American. What could be better?

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

And please--your current Secretary of State and one of your Supreme Court Justices wouldn't have the education they have right now without Affirmative Action.

Weren't you just saying you never look at minorities and see them as affimative action overrides?

What a fraud!

The arrogance in suggesting minorities could never advance without your helping hand is egregiously racist and so typically condescending of liberals. Minorities were successful long before 68 liberalism reared it's brainless head and in fact we more successful regarding education.

Condi Rice and Clarence Thomas and millions of other minorities are successful because they are smart and hard working. They are not successgful
because of liberalism but in spite of it.

Claiming minorities could never be successful if liberals didn't create Affirmative Action is insultingly stupid and industrial strength bigotry.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

rdw --

It's not a question of never being successful. It's a question of statistical variation.

There is no actual reason to believe that people of all races within our culture would be too measurably different in intellectual achievement on average given equal social and academic access.

The fact that social mobility in the US is low from all poorer sections, but particulalry from black US poor after over 140 years of supposed equality is message enough.

Your and others' prejudice is enough to satisfy the argument that the US has failed to level the field and wish to maintain that disparity.

Posted by: notthere on October 5, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that social mobility in the US is low from all poorer sections, but particulalry from black US poor after over 140 years of supposed equality is message enough.

There's never been a dispute racism exists and has had a devastating impact or even that govt needed to play a leading role. My argument is that liberalism has been a total disaster and a strong case can be made in many cases that minorities, especially blacks, are even worse off today than in the 50's regarding education.

A better name for Urban education would be educational genocide. Less than 50% of the minority population in Philadelphia graduates from High School and a majority of those who do cannot do college level work. Minority education at the elementary and high schools levels was vastly superior in thr 40's, 50's and 60's before liberals got involved.

What we have today in big cities is a tradegy. Liberals have failed the last two generations of minorities and will fail a third. Phila is finally embracing charter schools and the school district is starting to set up smaller high schools with entrance requirements to better serve performance oriented students.

BTW: Social mobility is not low. Using phila as the example the city has lost over 50% of it's population as it's citizens have moved from the high tax, high crime, rowhouse environment to the spacey and very green burbs. I lived in a rowhouse and my high school track was a cement pavement. Now I live in a great burb and tonite watched my daughter play soccer in the high school football stadium which has an artificial turf field lined for football and soccer surrounded by a beautiful 8 lane tartan track. This is a public high school.

The social mobility in moving from West philadephia to the burbs is tremendous and it is a minority event as well. I don't have specific data but the population of the greater philadelphia region is 4x's 1955 levels. Phila is about 1/2 it's former size. That's called moving on up. Social mobility had been tremendous.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

...My argument is that liberalism has been a total disaster and a strong case can be made in many cases that minorities, especially blacks, are even worse off today than in the 50's regarding education....

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I' m tired and going to bed. This is not exactlly what I was looking for, but it's a start. Do your own reseearch before spewing crap.

http://neweconomist.blogs.com/new_economist/2006/04/robin_naylor.html

As ever, you are so intellectually lazy. You live in the Hollywood drawn myths of a USofA that only exists in imagination. Cite your minority education, please. The definition of social mobility is not moving house.

I don't know if you are white, but the flight to the suburbs has not been black so your argument drives little point. Here in the twin cities, in the '50-60s, we destroyed a stable black neighborhood with embedded middle class businesses to build the Federal highway. The black community hasn't recovered yet.

See my earlier post about education, cities and opportunity. Mostly it comes down to exactly the white and monied flight from cities that has led again to greater wealth and race segregation and unequal educational resources.

Your middle class ignorance and smugness shines through!

Posted by: notthere on October 5, 2006 at 3:28 AM | PERMALINK

I've been blessed to be part of this fantastic experiment in self-rule and there's not a day that goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars.

This experiment has given us "heckuva job Brownie" and a Republican House leadership that is fiddling while Rome burns. Things aren't looking good for the Republic--guess we better let the adults run things for a while.

You've had six years and what have you done? You've grown the stock market by about 6% and you've brought us debt, war, strife and incompetence.

And you made my point exactly--by giving Rice and Thomas the OPPORTUNITY to go to school, they took that helping hand and made something out of themselves. You can have all the hard work in the world, but what good is it if you can't work hard in a good school? And that's why you have to have affirmative action.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Here in the twin cities, in the '50-60s, we destroyed a stable black neighborhood with embedded middle class businesses to build the Federal highway. The black community hasn't recovered yet.

I know these areas well--primarily, it's Lake Street in Minneapolis that was devastated. In the late 1980's, the delayed impact of tearing up the neighborhoods to create the I-35 corridor manifested itself into more drugs, more crime and a community that didn't have the resources to deal with it.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Argg, it looks like Wooten has crapped all over another thread.

Shame, too. This was one really excellent discussion for awhile. Found all the stuff on food pretty interesting.

alex: Thanks for the props. The great irony here is that "celebrating diversity" is an idea more out of pluralism than it is multiculturalism -- that it was proposed as an antidote to the hardwired tribalism PTate cites in her studies in the name of the cultural values we all share. It's the idea of *welcoming* people of diverse backgrounds into the things we all share as Americans. How it came to be understood as devolving into part of the zero-sum game of identity politics is as much a GOP meme as it reflects reality, and I'm a little disappointed in Kevin for not sniffing this out.

As many PC "horror stories" as he can find of Affirmative Action going too far or college students self-segregating in the name of "diversity" -- you can find quiet successes all through our culture because people have refused to simply accept many of the gut notions of ethnic/racial/sectarian tribalism.

The notion of celebrating diversity arose as a quintessentially liberal antidote to 60s identity-politics notions like Black Power and radical "gender" feminism. It was all about creating a level playing field -- not setting one group against another. But the human inclination to segregate and self-glorify is not an easy notion to dispel. We should be proud of how far we've managed to come in this regard -- not obsessing over examples of having not gone far enough.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on October 5, 2006 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know if you are white, but the flight to the suburbs has not been black so your argument drives little point.

You need to get out of the house. Blacks are just as mobile was whites and they have moved to the burbs in very large numbers.

Mostly it comes down to exactly the white and monied flight from cities that has led again to greater wealth and race segregation and unequal educational resources.

This is pure myth. America spends a fortune on education with one of the higher per capita districts in the country in Washington D.C. The liberal disaster in the classroom has nothing to do with spending and everything to do with lowering standards and an inability to enforce them.

I grew up in West Phila. My public HS would have been Overbrook HS (home of Wilt Chamberlain) which was a huge school and considered one of the best in the city. They had 5,000 students and graduation rates over 85% with a solid college placement. I looked up their stats 2 years ago and was stunned at what a disaster it's become. They have less than 1,800 students and that's largely because > 45% drop out BEFORE senior year.

That's educational genocide.

My burb just opened it's 3rd HS and in each case the facilities are better than what I had at Drexel University in 1973. My daughter plays soccer and I've been to 4 other regional districts and it's the same thing.

The primary problem in the modern age and it's not just minorities is single parent familites. Juan Williams of PBS and Fox just wrote a book of the failed black leadership of race hustlers like Jackson and Sharpton who refuse to deal with black failures and focus on victimization. The pathology in the black community now is that a staggering 70% of black babies are born into a home without a father living under the same roof.

That is without question a staggering failure and it tells us life in the black community is going to get worse over the next two decades before it can hope to get any better. Kids, especially males, born into a fatherless household in cities like Philly with a rotten school district have little hope for success.

The failure is liberalism, Jessi Jackson, Al Sharpton, Bill Clinton and everyone else who ever preached victimhood and argued against personal responsibility. This is a disaster and it is a disaster entirely of your own making. Walter Williams and a school of black intellectuals have collected the data proving black achievement in education was vastly higher in the 40's and 50's versus today as well as reams of other social statistics heaping scorn on liberals. Juan Williams and Bill Cosby know of what they speak.

History will not be kind. One look at the eductional data on the web site of the Phila school district all by itself destroys post-68 liberalism. You are a grotesque failure.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

We should be proud of how far we've managed to come in this regard

bob, you are such a total fraud.

Exactly what is it you have done? 99% of the time those claiming to have promoted diversity have done abolutely nothing aside from spouting some PC approved bromides that are as shallow as they are meaningless.

Ask a liberal where they live and 99% of the time it's in a 98% white community. Ask them why and they's blather something about, "well I didn't know my neighbors where all white until after I moved in. We drove around but I just never pay attention to those things (liar). Then they'll give the classic, "We wanted a 'good' school district." Well gee, no one knows what that means. They're only the most famous code words in the USA today.


What is this 'we' crap. You've done nothing and your party has made it all worse. We are more, not less segregated today because of frauds like you.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

In the late 1980's, the delayed impact of tearing up the neighborhoods to create the I-35 corridor manifested itself into more drugs, more crime and a community that didn't have the resources to deal with it

Liberals are such chumps. Cry me a river. My parents grew up during the depression with nothing and they never did drugs nor did their parents become alcoholics nor did they turn to crime and violence. That was a far, far more devastating period and the entire neighborhood made it. They had one great blessing. Liberals hadn't been invented yet. They didn't realize how badly victimized they were or it was everyone else's responsibility to take care of them.

My parents grew up with this weird notion they were responsible for their own actions. Go figure!

This garbage is why your party loses. This is why Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry and now Hillary all deny they are liberals and make up terms like "new" democrat and run on things like welfare reform, balanced budgets and middle class tax cuts.

Kevin's bitching about how no one talks about income inequality. Classic lib. He's friggin useless. Like Bob he confuses babbling with action. Sorry bubs but Reagan changed the world. You can sit on your ass and babble away or go out and make a buck. The good news is this is america and that is your right. The better news is no one has to listen to your crap. Which explains why libs are crying a rive over the fairness doctrine. You're so friggin old and boring no one can take the constant crying so you have to force people to listen.

Guess what? The fairness doctrine ain't coming back but it'll be fun ridiculing the crybabies promoting it.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

The definition of social mobility is not moving house.

Yes it is. You do remember the jeffersons. Moving to ther burbs is the definition of moving up. Better schools, lower crime, bigger house, yard, garage, etc.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Rdw:

If you don't want to be labelled by your "Actions" on this board, then act as if stuff means something to you and be honest about it. There is a line in the bible that I believe Jesus uttered, regarding judge a person by their actions.

Me? Of the TV generation? What does that mean? I don't even watch much TV anymore as not much good stuff is on except for cspan and thirteen/public TV. As a thirtysomething young male Asian professional living on a temp job I beg to differ.

My point is simply that you want affirmation/agreement with your views, and that you don't want to promote discussion - in fact you want to quell it (as is evidenced by your combative tone and dismissive way of not even addressing my post).

There is a difference between being PC and then using that as a slur to quell speech you know?

It all depends on what you think diversity will accomplish. I feel diversity can become a wellspring of ideas and camraderie beyond the small existing cliques that seem to repeat the same stuff to each other over and over again.

And your use of "Liberal" as some sort of broad defamatory category suggests you are dismissive of other progressive ideas - other possible constructions of society w.r.t. race at the minimum.

"Liberals are such chumps." - you can't have it both ways you know. Honestly discuss your views/problems instead of resorting to name calling and ad hominem attacks. There are principled people out there who are at least trying.

What king of society do you want, RDW? I don't want to go back to a society for just the haves and none for the have nots. I want there to be an effort to recognize that even with two incomes, living is hard and difficult. I want a "community" that cares about its young and old and poor. I guess that is too much to ask.

One thing I want is accountability and some degree of openness of government by the current executives in power. The degree of power the executive has now is no different than that of a King or a monarch. This isn't how I envisioned our democracy to work - at least not from my history and civics courses.

Let me also say that the current crop of "conservatives" are wolves in sheep's clothing. They have debased the FABRIC of our nation in ways people don't yet realize. By making

Posted by: woojae on October 5, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

the trade off of SECURITY for RIGHTS, they've destroyed the inherent character of hte nation.

Right Wing Conservatives, not liberals, have brought culture and religion into areas that used to be just for "discussion" and mobilized them into social entities used to ridicule, ostracize and demean others based on their political views.

Posted by: woojae on October 5, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Liberals are such chumps. Cry me a river. My parents grew up during the depression with nothing and they never did drugs nor did their parents become alcoholics nor did they turn to crime and violence. That was a far, far more devastating period and the entire neighborhood made it. They had one great blessing. Liberals hadn't been invented yet. They didn't realize how badly victimized they were or it was everyone else's responsibility to take care of them.

And yet, you miss the point. They built the Interstate highway system AFTER the Depression. And it changed many, many communities for the better, and some for the worse.

Drexel Hill's most distinguished grad swings and whiffs again...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

I don't want to go back to a society for just the haves and none for the have nots. I want there to be an effort to recognize that even with two incomes, living is hard and difficult. I want a "community" that cares about its young and old and poor. I guess that is too much to ask.

You are a lightweight. Do you really want a community that cares about it's young? Wow! Aren't you special? That is just so rare. Most people prefer to eat their young.

Don't feed me this empty-headed nonsense as if it's supposed to represent some level of intelligence. It's too stupid to reach snarky or condescending. I'm sooo glad you care. Only liberals care about their kids and their parents. That's why you are soooo special.

You are also the reason George Clooney has as
his life mission to restore respect to the term 'liberal'. Nice thought George. But when your last 4 Presidential Candidates run away from the term it means you ain't got a prayer.

And somthing else, living is dramatically easier today than it's ever been. My parents grew up in the depression. Hard living today is a dead cell phone battery.

Come back to me when you get over yourself and your pain. You are a clueless twit.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

And yet, you miss the point. They built the Interstate highway system AFTER the Depression. And it changed many, many communities for the better, and some for the worse.

And yet you miss the point. Liberals are crybabies. No communities are worse than during the depression. Not a one. The point is liberalism is victimization. Liberalism is 'woe is me'. Liberalism is 'I am helpless'. liberalism is "someone has to take care of me'.

STFU!

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Right Wing Conservatives, not liberals, have brought culture and religion into areas that used to be just for "discussion" and mobilized them into social entities used to ridicule, ostracize and demean others based on their political views.

Hate to tell you crybaby but we live in a free country and that's the entire point now isn't it? I get to say whatever I want to say whenever I want to say it. If you don't like it don't listen.

I'd recommend you start to like it. There's a reason why Kerry and Edwards made regular stops at churches while campaigning and slick willie posed with his bible in his hands so often. And it's going to get worse. Religious folk have kids. Secularists don't. The real horror of course is religious folk vote.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Also completely wrong, Kevin, is your use of the word "economic".

The word you are looking for is "fiscal". You want Fiscal Equality.

Economic Justice would be like Karma.

Posted by: aaron on October 5, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

No-Go Zones in France? [Andrew Stuttaford]

Daily Telegraph:

Radical Muslims in France's housing estates are waging an undeclared "intifada" against the police, with violent clashes injuring an average of 14 officers each day.As the interior ministry said that nearly 2,500 officers had been wounded this year, a police union declared that its members were "in a state of civil war" with Muslims in the most depressed "banlieue" estates which are heavily populated by unemployed youths of north African origin. It said the situation was so grave that it had asked the government to provide police with armoured cars to protect officers in the estates, which are becoming no-go zones.


Europe knows how to celebrate diversity!

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

RDW:

So would you let your daughter work in congress as a page?

Posted by: woojae on October 5, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

"rdw" is a parody, posting silly, exaggerated, clownish charicatures of Republican talking points, to make fun of Republicans.

No real Republican would post the silly, stupid things that "rdw" posts.

You folks who have been "arguing" with rdw need to tune up your senses of humor and your Clown Detectors. He's not serious. He's just a joker, mocking Republicans. He's pretty hilarious, really. As funny as Stephen Colbert, for my money.

Just enjoy the fun and have a good laugh at his silly clown act.

Posted by: Clown Detector on October 5, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

So would you let your daughter work in congress as a page?

This would not change my thinking one iota any more than the thought of slick willie hitting on interns. In fact one of my daughters did an internship in the Justice Dept and was in the capital building on 9/11. She lived in DC for a full year and it was a terrific experience. She got to meet the fabulous Ken Starr who does a fair amount of pro bono work on Death penalty appeals using them as an opportunity to 'mentor' top law school graduates. Obviously this being Mr. Starr we're not talking about mentoring in the Clintonian sense.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

And yet you miss the point. Liberals are crybabies. No communities are worse than during the depression. Not a one. The point is liberalism is victimization. Liberalism is 'woe is me'. Liberalism is 'I am helpless'. liberalism is "someone has to take care of me'.

Ha!

And you fail to mention poor Republicans, begging for tax cuts and loopholes and exemptions and a free ride on the gravy train! You fail to mention the core component of conservatism--which is, "I got mine, too bad about you, but if someone takes mine away, I'll sue your ass and pay someone to make a law to protect me."

Poor Trent Lott is a perfect example. Spent years denigrating trial lawyers, screaming about tort reform and friviolous lawsuits. And yet, when State Farm told him they wouldn't pay his claim, Lott turned into what he is--a hypocrite. He lawyered up and threatened State Farm--hello, he's playing the part of the staunch conservative by screaming about being victimized by a company, isn't he? What, and State Farm doesn't have the right to stay in business? Who do you support--the company or the disgruntled whiner who doesn't like the way his policy has been interpreted?

Show me a conservative who actually believes in this shit you're spewing about self-reliance (why are so many of them second and third generation rich kids who never worked a day in their life, BTW?) and you might have a point.

Your own guy--GWB--bailed out time and again when his business deals went belly up. Daddy's money was always there to grease the wheels and make the landing soft for GWB and hard for the guy who didn't have daddy to back him up.

Liberalism is about accountability, and conservatives shit themselves at the thought that they might be held responsible for the crap they claim to believe in.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "I am the smartest of the smart."

You are a dumbass. You are a weak-minded, ignorant, know-nothing dupe who doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground.

You are a mental slave of the Republican Fascist Party who is unable to do anything but slavishly regurgitate scripted bullshit right-wing extremist propaganda.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 5, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

And you fail to mention poor Republicans,begging for tax cuts and loopholes and exemptions and a free ride on the gravy train

Poor republicans were not begging for tax cuts. They were demanding, and getting, tax cuts. I'm rather shocked you'd want to debate liberalism on tax policy given how thoroughly crushed you've been. Reagan promised tax rates lower tha 70% and delivered 28%. He's now a legend. GHWB raised taxes and became a one-termer. WJC campaigned on middle class tax cuts and after raising them suffered the worst electorial defeat of the last 100 years.

We now argue over tax rates of 35%. This is 1/2 the levels Ronnie inherited. He's a legend because he changed the world. We're all supply-siders now.

BTW: It's exceptionally stupid to call lower taxes a free ride. Those cops and nurses who were once part of the liberal base are now married and making $125K a year. Please, Please tell them they're just looking for a free ride.

There's a reason Bill clinton refused to be called a liberal.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Daddy's money was always there to grease the wheels and make the landing soft for GWB and hard for the guy who didn't have daddy to back him up.


Except it wasn't! These bonehead stupid liberal lies are why GWB upset the great Ann Richards, a legend in Democratic circles for insulting GHWB. Of course she's a bigger legend in the GOP for being such a good loser!

It will be fun when historians review the political campaigning of both 2000 and 2004 in light of the failed liberal tactic of positioning GWB as a sheltered rich boy. Of course Historians will quickly note he ran against Albert little lord flaunteroy Gore, the Senators son from Tennessee who grew up in a luxury hotel in DC and traveled via limo every day to tony St, Albans academy from the 1st grade on.

Oh yeah while the Bush kids were going to public schools in Midland Texas. There's a name for the people who thought this one up. They're called simple bastards.

The comparisons with John 'I summer in southern France and own 14 cars and 8 houses' kerry are not a lot better.

Here's a hint morons. If you want to trash the GOP candadate for begin wealthy DON'T nominate people with 3x's as much money.

I'm feeling generous so I'll give you twits another free hint: We all know GWB is dumb while both John Kerry and Al Gore are exceptionally bright. Who can forget Howell Raims, the Editor-in-whief of the NYTs proclaiming on TV, "Is there really any doubt John Kerry is much smarter that GWB?"

Well, yes. If you want to make a declarative statement make sure you have a clue. GWB had better grades at YALE than Kerry AND Gore and had higher SAT scores.

There's a reason Howell was fired. He's a moron.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

RDW

I am glad that your daughter had a great experience in Washington.

That said, doing pro bono work doesn't excuse the millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on Whitewater, "Foster"gate, Travelgate or even *gasp* Lewinsky-gate. Never mind that Ken Starr spent YOUR tax payer money to harass a sitting president into submission and make congress a mockery of itself whilst ignoring important legislative work in favor of "impeachment".

"Wouldn't bother me one iota." "Like Clinton hitting on interns." Wow. Makes me wonder what kind of workplace you'd promote if you were a boss.

The kind of secrecy, coverup, and lack of accountantabilty by the party of the candidate that promised to clean out Washington is indeed shameful and criminal.

Stupidest thing I've ever heard. Nevermind the failed coverup by an ex-aide that protected Foley for years. Have you even READ the emails and IMs? I assure you that if you had, you too would be revolted as I was.

Maybe I am giving you too much credit to have some compassion and decency..

Posted by: woojae on October 5, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah while the Bush kids were going to public schools in Midland Texas.

Oh? And Bush never set foot at Andover?

How could you be so stupid? The man went to Andover for high school.

YOU'RE the one believing the campaign hype, for crying out loud.

That's just a priceless rdw comment: that Bush went to public school in Midland Texas. No, sorry, he went to high school at a prestigious and elite BOARDING school in Andover, Massachucetts!

Priceless!

And guess what, fucko:

Here's where the WHEELS fly off your tardwagon.

Andover Student Body composition:

Average class size: 13
Student/teacher ratio: 5 to 1

Student demographics
States and territories represented: 46
International students: 97 from 24 countries
*Students of color: 34% (Asian/Asian-American, 19.3%; Black, 9.2%; Hispanic/Latino, 5%; Native American, .5%)

[Affirmative Action! Affirmative Action!]

You can't make this up--rdw says Bush went to public school when in fact he went to an elite private school that practices affirmative action!

Ha ha ha ha! I'm laughing so hard I have to stop and use the bathroom....


Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

GWB had better grades at YALE than Kerry AND Gore and had higher SAT scores.

You fucking Drexel Hill Dimwit!

SAT Verbal Score
SAT Math Score

Bush at Yale
566 (of 800)
625 (of 800)

Gore at Harvard
640 (of 800)
730 (of 800)

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and rdw?

Yeah shithead, I'm talking to you:

Bush was a cheerleader.

Nuff said.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

That said, doing pro bono work doesn't excuse the millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on Whitewater

They are two different things for which Ken will be fondly remembered. His prosecution of Clinton was brilliant. Slick Willie will have as line one on his bio impeachment, suspended law license and a certain blue dress.

His pro-bono work doesn't even scratch the surface of what this highly sucessful, well-connected and wealthty DC lawyer does for conservative causes. We have a small army of conservative law school grads in the mold of John Roberts and Sam Alito receiving mentoring from top Washington Lawyers from this man and other's. As a serious christian Ken Starr isn't the type to get mad. He gets even.

He will be the most famous lawyer of his generation.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

that Bush went to public school in Midland Texas. No, sorry, he went to high school at a prestigious and elite BOARDING school in Andover, Massachucetts!

He's a clue moron. We don't start school in the 9th grade.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Bush was a cheerleader

He wasn't just a cheerleader. He was also the head of the keg commmittee at his frat house and rumor has it he was very good at it. I wonder id it was standing by the keg he figured out how to kick Al Gore out of the WH?

When you think about it that probably was unfair. Here's GWB being the partyboy while Al was inventing the internet. Remind me again, George really did beat Al in 2000?

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

We don't start school in the 9th grade.

Way to move the goalposts! You said he went to public school, I published the contradicting info that says otherwise; DEAL WITH IT, FUCKO!!! And the fact that your sorry ass and the sorry asses of all your kids couldn't imagine going to Andover and leading the same kind of life of privilege just drives you MORE batshit insane, doesn't it? You envy blacks who get to go to a good school because you think you're better than they are; but it just doesn't dawn on you that you should really envy the people like GWB who get everything handed to them and then spend the rest of their lives tricking simple minded fucks like you into voting for them and giving them a pass. Because the option of NOT having the emotion of envy doesn't exist--you KNOW you're a piece of shit so you might as well hate people of color instead of the people who put you where you are today.

There you go again--in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, you cling to your skewed vision of reality in order to keep your head from exploding with the contradictions that terrify you.

But just keep moving the goal posts! Rah, rah! Go team! Yay! We got school spirit, how about you? We got school spirit, how about you?

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

He was also the head of the keg commmittee at his frat house and rumor has it he was very good at it.

Yes, Bush is a recovering alcoholic. Are you going to brag about that as well?

Simple minded fuck that you are, it's probably NOT a good idea to remind people that Bush is a recovering alcoholic with a DUI on his record.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Way to move the goalposts! You said he went to public school, I published the contradicting info that says otherwise

Not quite. I said the Bushes went to public school in midland texas and they did. George, Jeb and Neil went to public elementary schools. They didn't do prep school until hs.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

PR,

I think you need some valuim or at least back off the coffee.

I know you are unappy GWB is in the 6th year of an 8-yr term but you have to accept it. Al Gore will never be president. John Kerry will never be President. Hillary Clinton will never be President. GWB was President for 8 years and look at all he's accomplished.

I'll bet union memberhip is down over 25%. The newspapers and networks are getting killed. The NYTs has had it's worst 4 years ever and think about Dan Rather. He was Mr. NetworkNews and he ended up slinking off in disgrace. And he's got 2 more years.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Barbra Streisand opened her first U.S. tour in 12 years on Wednesday with a show that ridiculed her political nemesis, President George W. Bush.

Before a capacity crowd of some 16,000 people at South Philadelphia's Wachovia Center, Streisand gave assured renditions of standards from her long career as a singer and actress including "Funny Girl," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Love Soft as an Easy Chair," and "Somewhere."

The show also featured a skit where an actor playing Bush uttered such lines as, "I'm concerned about the national debt, so I'm selling Canada," and "If I cared about the polls I would have run for president of Poland."

Streisand, 64, a longtime liberal activist, said she was coming out of retirement to raise money for her foundation, which supports a range of causes related to the environment, education
*****************************************

I love it. Liberals in agony.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

They didn't do prep school until hs.

Andover, rdw. It's called Andover. And it's not your average, run of the mill little 'prep' school.

GWB was President for 8 years and look at all he's accomplished.

Yeah, how's that war in Iraq going?

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Bush is a recovering alcoholic. Are you going to brag about that as well

Of course not. But he does get Kudo's for overcoming his addiction and becoming the President of the USA. You can at leat agree he's a great example of what we can do when we overcome our weaknesses?

From what I understand GWB has been dry for 25 years and I can honestly say I respect him for recognizing he had a problem and for assuming responsibiity for the problem and working so hard to solve it.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

From what I understand GWB has been dry for 25 years and I can honestly say I respect him for recognizing he had a problem and for assuming responsibiity for the problem and working so hard to solve it.

Or not.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, how's that war in Iraq going?

Mixed. We've got a terrific result in Kurdistan where 5M Kurds live in safety and security amid a powerful economic boom. They started their boom 3 years agoand it's continuing unabated. The kurds might one day become as powerful as Israel and their 5M population could easily swell to 10M as 18M Kurds in the region search for a homeland.

These are the people who we abandoned after desert storm and were brutalized by Saddam We owe them and we're repaying our debt.


Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

RDW

It's obvious that since I am not siding with the "winners" (conservatives), my ideas don't merit much attention.

Further, you seem to believe that "might makes right" and "winning is everything" (your citation of why liberals are "losers").

So it's to folks like you I blame the lack of honest debate and discussion of policy alternatives. You refuse to even acknowledge the criminal and predatory acts of your political breathren, conferring on them a legitimacy ill deserved.

I can't say that you even know or understand how debased the current political climate is, as you are a winner and there for you must be right.

Do you know what the declaration of independence and the constitution even say? Do you know that that is the basis of our democracy? Do you know and understand that the protection of the rights of the LEAST of us uplifts us all?

I would guess what I wrote above is "liberal pablum" to you, and has no meaning.

And that is a sad sad thing.

Posted by: woojae on October 5, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, how's that war in Iraq going?

Mixed.

Oh, I can't help but laugh and laugh and laugh. You are one seriously demented bastard, Wooten. I salute you for being consistent.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 5, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote to Pale Rider: "I think you need some valuim or at least back off the coffee."

That's what you always say when someone kicks your ass, right before you change the subject and start whining about Barbara Streisand.

You are an ignorant dumbass. Every time you post here you get your ass handed to you for your ignorant and dishonest ravings.

Your so-called "conservative" politics has no content except your hatred of so-called "liberals". That is literally the only subject you ever write about. Regardless of the subject matter of any given discussion thread, the only subject you ever write about is your hatred of liberals.

You are nothing but a sad, pathetic, demented old crank who has suffered irrversible brain damage from spending far too much time watching Fox News.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 5, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

my ideas don't merit much attention.

If you want attention say something serious. Don't spit out this nonsense you support mom and apple pie. You want to take care of kids. Well Gee! Ain't that special!

I don't think might makes right. I enjoy taunting people who have pretensions of intellectual superiority while losing election after election. People who lose elections and blame the votes ARE losers.

As far as holding congressmen responsible for their actions I like to know what their actions are 1st. Foley was dumped immediately. He's a pig and should have been but it's not yet clear if he even committed a crime. We did just find out the ABC report the key text message in question to a 16-yr old was in fact to an 18-yr old. Foley is still a pig but for those defending Slick Willie for sex with an adult this talking with an adult. What's the charge?

You have meaning it's just that it's stupid.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

start whining about Barbara Streisand

I love Babs. I love all of hollywood. Call me the next time they get something right. Follow the money in 2007. They have been major contributors to Hillary's Senate campaign and will spend 10's of millions in 2007/2008.

These are the most clueless people on the planet. You just know Hillary has no shot. She is perfect. She's too strong to lose the primary but too weak to win nationally.

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "for the past 30 years the American economy has grown robustly, but the fruits of that growth have been directed by the well-off almost exclusively to themselves." This is wrong for a couple of reasons. The reason that the American economy has grown so robustly is because the voters regjected the "equality first/ economic growth second" model of the Democratic Party. That model eventually resulted in the wonderful years of Jimmy Carter's presidency. The voters decided then that economic growth was more important than equality. We have seen the results over the past two and a half decades. The fact that income inequality increased by some measures over this period has nothing to do with the well off directing anything to themselves. It's the inevitable consequence of the kinds of policies that promote economic growth - lower marginal income tax rates, lower capital gains tax rates, lower regulatory burdens, etc., etc . If you do away with those reforms, you can certainly reduce income inequality but that will be at the expense of economic growth, i.e., jobs.

The American public might some day put class envy ahead of jobs and opportunity.

Posted by: DBL on October 5, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

The American public might some day put class envy ahead of jobs and opportunity.

But it won't be anytime soon.

Nice post!

Posted by: rdw on October 5, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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