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The culture of poverty does not exist

The importance of the culture-of-poverty approach is that it allows for recognition of the accumulated history of racism and inequality, but posits the ongoing effects of these as mediated through black cultural pathologies. It therefore permits American liberals to identify with opposition to racism while pushing them towards policy solutions geared towards the transformation of black people, and not American society.
With every crisis in Black America the same pathologies the Black community supposedly suffers from -- veneration of the criminal lifestyle, lack of proper family structures, abhorrence of education as acting white -- are trotted out as an explanation, by conservative commentators as that's just how those people are, by supposed liberals as the unfortunate end product of Black history in America. There's just one problem: they're lies. The culture of poverty does not exist.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 17, 2014 - 76 comments

The politics of black aspiration

"A number of liberals reacted harshly to Ryan. I'm not sure why. What Ryan said here is not very far from what Bill Cosby, Michael Nutter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama said before him. The idea that poor people living in the inner city, and particularly black men, are "not holding up their end of the deal" as Cosby put it, is not terribly original or even, these days, right-wing. From the president on down there is an accepted belief in America—black and white—that African-American people, and African-American men, in particular, are lacking in the virtues in family, hard work, and citizenship:
If Cousin Pookie would vote, if Uncle Jethro would get off the couch and stop watching SportsCenter and go register some folks and go to the polls, we might have a different kind of politics.
Cousin Pookie and Uncle Jethro voted at higher rates than any other ethnic group in the country. They voted for Barack Obama. Our politics have not changed. Neither has Barack Obama's rhetoric. Facts can only get in the way of a good story. It was sort of stunning to see the president give a speech on the fate of young black boys and not mention the word racism once. It was sort of stunning to see the president salute the father of Trayvon Martin and the father of Jordan Davis and then claim, "Nothing keeps a young man out of trouble like a father who takes an active role in his son’s life." [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Mar 23, 2014 - 76 comments

Basically, the more anglosaxon, the more Republican

"There are 274,165 registered voters named Martin, making it the 181st most common name. Compared to other voters, 30.3 % have a more Democratic name than Martin. Probability that voters named Martin:
have a gun in their house: 48.1%
Attend religious services weekly: 49.6%
Have a college degree: 54.0%."
How Democratic or Republican is your first name?
posted by MartinWisse on Mar 4, 2014 - 189 comments

In the shadows

Where Have All the Lobbyists Gone? (SL The Nation). Daschle, a “policy adviser” to a range of corporate interests and a close confidant of many top Democrats, has become one of the most famous unregistered lobbyists in the city. In fact, his escapades as a consigliere and go-between for business leaders and politicians, including President Obama, are so well known that among ethics watchdogs, the technicality in the law that allows lobbyists to evade registration has become known as the “Daschle Loophole.”
posted by spamandkimchi on Mar 3, 2014 - 11 comments

Are you a bad enough dude to be the President?

The Campaign Trail - Can you win the US presidential elections of 2012, 1968, and 1896?
posted by rollick on Feb 23, 2014 - 53 comments

They don't like it up them

But the wrath is not solely reserved for Needham; his employer now inspires plenty of disgust among conservatives, too. Increasingly in Washington, “Heritage” has come to denote not the foundation or the think tank, but Heritage Action, Needham’s sharp-elbowed operation. Instead of fleshing out conservative positions, says one Republican Senate staffer, “now they’re running around trying to get Republicans voted out of office. It’s a purely ideological crusade that’s utterly divorced from the research side.” (“If Nancy Pelosi could write an anonymous check to Heritage Action,” adds the House aide bitterly, “she would.”) -- Julia Ioffe on how the Heritage Foundation's new leadership is tearing the think tank apart. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 2, 2013 - 47 comments

The farm bill

"So, that brings me to the Farm Bill. Which the fucking Republicans want to pass without Food Stamps. A lot of very intelligent commentary has been written on how the Farm Bill has always been a compromise bill, wherein Food Stamps are traded for support for agribusiness, and how this compromise is breaking down. But you know, I don't feel intelligent or reasoned or informative on the topic. What I feel is fury and betrayal. I know, first hand, real live personal, how utterly and vastly important being able to eat can be.
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 21, 2013 - 130 comments

postmodern attack ads don't always shoot where you point 'em

What rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes? [more inside]
posted by threeants on Jul 24, 2013 - 106 comments

You may say that I'm a Dreamer

"The success of the campaign made the three activists wonder: Could they replicate it on a grand scale by getting themselves detained on purpose? Inside immigration detention facilities, they would surely find dozens, if not hundreds, of low-priority detainees like de los Santos whom they could help. At the same time, they could publicize the fact that it wasn’t just criminals who were being deported, as the Obama administration kept insisting. “We realized we could be more effective if we just went straight to the source,” Abdollahi says. Doing so would flip the script on immigration agents; the activists would be taking advantage of their undocumented status and thus could be detained and deported. Deportation was unlikely, because they were Dreamers without serious criminal records. Even so, this would make the risk they’d taken in Charlotte look like nothing. But Saavedra, Abdollahi, and Martinez had been growing more fearless, and more radical, since they’d met." -- Los Infiltradores: How three young undocumented activists risked everything to expose the injustices of immigrant detention—and invented a new form of protest.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 29, 2013 - 56 comments

One of my poems goes: The next one and a half pages are redacted.

The Guantánamo Memoirs of Mohamedou Ould Slahi For nearly 11 years, Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been a prisoner in Guantánamo. In 2005, he began to write his memoirs of his time in captivity. His handwritten 466-page manuscript is a harrowing account of his detention, interrogation, and abuse. Although his abuse has been corroborated by U.S. government officials, declassified documents, and independent investigators, Slahi tells his story with the detail and perspective that could only be known by himself and the people who have kept him captive. It is impossible for us to meet with him or independently verify his account. Until now, it has been impossible for him to tell his story. [ht homunculus]
posted by jaduncan on May 1, 2013 - 16 comments

The thirst for urine can be traced to the military’s 1971 Operation Gold

"Settling into an upholstered chair across from his mom, 50-year-old Marc Taulé laughs nervously, recalling the last time his mom made him hand over his urine—last year. To everyone’s surprise, he tested positive for cocaine. He’s not a cocaine user; he had been prescribed a painkiller called Lidocaine after minor surgery. “I love them, and just don’t want to see them in trouble,” Elaine Taulé explains." -- For The Nation, Isabel MacDonald looks at the history of drug testing and some of the characters who want every school child in America to pee in a cup.
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 13, 2013 - 22 comments

How American wrestling is more honest than American politics

"Professional wrestling fans, we who are "smart marks" especially, are in many ways more sophisticated than the political junkies who populate political blogs and web sites (what are really fan boy and fan girl mark hangouts) like the Free Republic or The Daily Kos.
They know that professional wrestling is a work and a game.
Do the Obamabots, Tea Party zealots, and true believers on either the Right or the Left realize that politics is much the same thing?"
posted by MartinWisse on Mar 20, 2013 - 84 comments

We don't have teleology in this country, but we do have television.

In 2003 blogger Billmon (previously) exhaustively outlined a dialectical history of U.S. politics [gif] in two parts. Now, he asks whether the Obama presidency represents the beginning of a new political cycle:
My analysis starts with the observation that there are some striking similarities between the current political cycle (the Age of Reagan) and the previous one (the Age of Roosevelt). I realize that probably doesn’t go down well with the Obama fans out there, so let me add immediately that it isn’t meant to be taken literally. Nixon really was a sociopath, if not a psychopath—a criminal of monstrous dimensions (See: Hanoi, 1972 Christmas bombing of). And that’s not even bringing Watergate into the discussion. Unless Michelle Bachmann’s paranoid fantasies about Solyndra are actually true, or the drone program is much worse than we now know, Obama isn’t even close to being in Nixon’s league. He actually seems to be a pretty good guy, for an Emperor. But in the current political cycle, Obama sits right there in Tricky Dick’s spot—after the Democratic Eisenhower (Clinton) but before the Democratic Reagan, i.e. the one who will free the Matrix and bring balance to the force.

posted by ennui.bz on Feb 14, 2013 - 40 comments

Is America ready for a white, male Secretary of State?

Erin Gloria Ryan asks: Is America ready for a white, male Secretary of State? She's not the only one satirically contemplating this question - John Norris over at Foreign Policy magazine has also wondered: Is America ready for a male Secretary of State? [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 13, 2012 - 46 comments

A jigsaw of disunity

The League of Dangerous Mapmakers. The byzantine trade of redistricting was long dominated by brainy eccentrics like Hofeller and his Democratic counterparts. But that began to change in the 1990s, when the availability of mapping software and block-by-block census data for the whole country opened up the field to a waiting world of political geeks. The democratization of redistricting is a lovely thing, perhaps. But as one redistricting veteran told me, “There’s an old saying: Give a child a hammer, and the world becomes a nail. Give the chairman of a state redistricting committee a powerful enough computer and block-level census data, so that he suddenly discovers he can draw really weird and aggressive districts—and he will.”
posted by Sebmojo on Oct 7, 2012 - 20 comments

Fear of a Black President

Fear of a Black President. 'As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America’s original sin, slavery. But as our first black president, he has avoided mention of race almost entirely. In having to be “twice as good” and “half as black,” Obama reveals the false promise and double standard of integration.' An article by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
posted by Spinneret on Aug 23, 2012 - 134 comments

Winner: creepiest use of a child in politics.

Republican candidate for the US Senate Barry Hinckley doesn't mind using his cute five year old son on the campaign trail. But things got a little weird when father and son were interviewed on Fox News.
posted by wilful on Mar 4, 2012 - 64 comments

Fictional characters, real voters.

Being a charismatic young leader himself, gifted in bringing together animals from all walks of life (some had even called him the first zebra king), Mufasa related to Clinton’s first term. Like the Clintons, Mufasa was also a passionate advocate for universal healthcare since witnessing the positive impact of Rafiki’s healing powers for the animal kingdom.
How Would They Vote is a US/Australia focused blog tracing the political awakenings and inclinations of characters from popular culture. Find out about Optimus Prime's anti-environmentalism, which of The Breakfast Club voted Dukakis, and what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles really think of Herman Cain.
posted by rollick on Dec 11, 2011 - 10 comments

Who works for congress?

Although much has been said about the demographic composition of the United States Congress, much less has been said about the thousands of staffers who work behind the scenes, drafting legislation, interacting with constituents, and advising their congressperson. The National Journal has created two infographics that attempt to describe this silent, but influential workforce.
posted by schmod on Jun 20, 2011 - 19 comments

Of books and other MN Presidential politics.

So, last year Target set off a mini bruhaha by donating a wad of cash to fund advertisments for MN Republican Govonor candidate Tom Emmer. The Tea Party favorite subsequently went on to lose the race (narrowly) in one of the few bright spots for Democrats this past election season. Coincidentally, Target now is the recipient of (former) MN Governor, Tim Pawlenty's (R) new book (Courage to Stand) and released it a week early, trumping all other sellers. Although Pawlenty hasn't yet officially announced his candidacy the book tour is running through the early nomination states, despite his being near the bottom of the pack in GOP contenders. Mind you, he is not the only Minnesotan looking to make a run at the top seat. [more inside]
posted by edgeways on Jan 6, 2011 - 25 comments

whither US action on climate change?

With half of the new GOP Congressmen affirmed climate science deniers,and facing opposition even within his own party, President Obama has acknowledged that "cap and trade" legislation on US carbon emissions is dead. Regulation of emissions by the EPA appears to be the only way forward. Republicans are seeking to nobble that option, while Karl Rove thinks that "climate is gone" from the political landscape. Thankfully, according to John Shimkus, God has promised no more climate change, so we're all right then.
posted by wilful on Nov 9, 2010 - 155 comments

The truth about the "public option".

According to Tom Daschle, the "public option" for healthcare reform was never really on the table.
posted by jhandey on Oct 6, 2010 - 232 comments

We are Super Rich.

Earning $250,000 Does Not Make You Rich, Not in My Town. A controversial blog post from a University of Chicago Law professor makes its way around the web as the debates about president Obama's tax plan get louder. "Our combined income exceeds the $250,000 threshold for the super rich...The problem is, we can’t afford it. Here is why." [more inside]
posted by windbox on Sep 21, 2010 - 373 comments

Yes, Glenn Beck is #1

The Buffalo Beast has finally posted its list of the 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2009. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 3, 2010 - 85 comments

Can't pirate, the IP Czar will eat me

The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act has added a whole other dimension to the term "copyright infringement." Sponsored by the US entertainment industry, it allows seizure of assets before the accused is found guilty and the creation of a new executive branch led by an "Intellectual Property Czar" who would report directly to the President on IP crimes--similar to the Drug Czar of the War on Drugs. Financial penalties for copyright crimes have increased dramatically. More information here, and a summary of critiques here. Is this a useful addition to the War On Copyright Infringement or just more bureaucratic red tape?
posted by schroedinger on Oct 14, 2008 - 45 comments

The story of the Democratic primaries so far, boiled down to seven minutes.

The Democratic Primary Season in 7 Minutes.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on May 6, 2008 - 63 comments

Oh, Senator!

This little news story might be slightly damaging to John McCain's campaign. You know how the press lets stuff like this slide. uno dos tres cuatro cinco sex?
posted by chuckdarwin on Feb 21, 2008 - 250 comments

The 5 Biggest Pricks in Congress

The 5 Biggest Pricks in Congress. via
posted by jonson on Jun 22, 2007 - 83 comments

Is that Constitution still living? Slap it a few times to make sure.

"Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so. So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes. ... I don't care about holding people. I really don't." Justice Scalia on 24 and torture. 24 and torture previously.
posted by ibmcginty on Jun 19, 2007 - 94 comments

fact checkers out there in the factosphere

"Tired of the LIBERAL BIAS every time you search on Google and a Wikipedia page appears?" At Conservapedia, a "conservative encyclopedia you can trust," you can learn that "faith" is a concept "exclusive to Christianity," and about how Wikipedia is biased in matters such as its description of the Bell Trade Act of 1946, its gossipy treatment of the private life of NPR reporter Nina Totenberg, and its seeming acceptance of evolution. The Wikipedia bias entry also complains of a "rant" against the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a group for which Conservapedia founder (and son of conservative gadfly Phyllis Schafly) Andrew Schlafly has worked. Signups are here; its take on evolution is criticized here.
posted by ibmcginty on Feb 23, 2007 - 153 comments

20 questions for 20 politicians.

Let's play 20 questions. 20 candidates for President, 20 personalized questions.
posted by Sticherbeast on Feb 16, 2007 - 19 comments

"Democracy's Valiant Vulgarians" meet the great unwashed

Time magazine recently launched a new politics blog, Swampland. The blog is, to this point, most interesting for its confrontations between the commenters and the bloggers. [m.i.]
posted by ibmcginty on Jan 26, 2007 - 26 comments

Scooter throws Turd Blossom under the bus

Politics/PlameFilter: In opening arguments today in the Plame investigation perjury case against Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, the prosecutor portrayed Libby as an agent of a Cheney-driven media offensive. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came from Libby's attorney, who portrayed his client as a White House-chosen scapegoat for Karl Rove's misdeeds. A conservative reporter saw in Libby's emerging defense a "dramatic split inside the Bush White House." An MSNBC host asked whether this hullabaloo could lead to Cheney's resignation. Background on the case. Liveblogging of today's arguments from an anti-administration perspective.
posted by ibmcginty on Jan 23, 2007 - 16 comments

Naughty politicians

Should a politician's "artistic endeavors" come into play when voters go to the polls? George Allen thinks that parts of his opponent, Jim Webb's, novels are demeaning to women and contain depictions of incest. Also, Republican candidate for Texas Comptroller, Susan Combs, is being accused of writing porngraphy because of excerpts like these from a romance novel she wrote 15 years ago. And they're not the only politicians who've written naughty things.
posted by eunoia on Nov 4, 2006 - 40 comments

God's Next Army - a documentation about an evangelical College

God's Next Army a british documentation about the Patrick Henry College. It's only goal: to train more soldiers for God and the evangelical agenda in US politics. Shouldn't there be a separation of education and ruthless fundamentalist indoctrination? (FPP)
posted by homodigitalis on Jul 5, 2006 - 32 comments

Murray Waas is the new Bob Woodward

Murray Waas is the new Bob Woodward. An opposing view. Wuh-duh-yuh-bet most Americans will be much more interested in this story?
posted by spock on Apr 10, 2006 - 28 comments

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

You are the President. It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
posted by five fresh fish on Jan 17, 2006 - 44 comments

Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights Advocate

Beyond the Playing Field: Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights Advocate. (more inside)
posted by matteo on Jan 16, 2006 - 12 comments

These are not the Reditioned Canadiens your looking for

What you get when a Cars Salesman is your Ambassador Do you get the idea that this whole administration is new to this whole diplomacy thing It seems the only way the truth is admitted is under glaring pressure by our allies.
posted by Elim on Dec 27, 2005 - 48 comments

MacGuyver for president

The solution?
posted by threehundredandsixty on Oct 13, 2005 - 29 comments

Viva La Revolution

Unleash the Resistance. Karen Kwiatowski worked in the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans prior to the Iraqi invasion. She is now calling on us to resist its government, in the name of liberty and in the spirit of the Iraqi insurgents. Posted on From the Wilderness, which offers insight on Kwiatowski's essay from other radicals.
posted by Candide on Jun 18, 2005 - 53 comments

Beyond Red and Blue, Republican and Democrat

Understanding elections beyond the red and blue axis. Since 1987, the Pew Research center has been conducting a political survey that divides voters into various typologies based on core beliefs-- upbeats and disaffected, enterprisers and bystanders -- and tracking political opinions and votes. The biggest trends have been the rise of disadvantaged pro-government conservatives and the shift of the middle to the right. Fortunately, there is a survey that will determine your type. Where does the typical MeFi visitor fit? (Hint from the typology: "Liberals- Affluent and highly secular...ideologically consistent on social issues, foreign policy and the role of government..nearly four-in-10 cite the Internet as their main source of news.")
posted by blahblahblah on May 11, 2005 - 41 comments

Talabangilists have taken over the GOP

Republicans; defending the rights of rapists to sue since 2005. Did you just impregnate your 13 year old daughter? Never fear, the GOP is here! They'll defend your right to keep your "little secret" from crossing state lines.
posted by EmoChild on Apr 27, 2005 - 54 comments

New Poll: Public Would Significantly Alter Administration's Budget

A new poll finds that the American public would significantly alter the Bush administration’s recently proposed federal budget. Presented a breakdown of the major areas of the proposed discretionary budget and given the opportunity to redistribute it, respondents made major changes. The most dramatic changes were deep cuts in defense spending, a significant reallocation toward deficit reduction, and increases in spending on education, job training, reducing reliance on oil, and veterans. These changes were favored by both Republicans and Democrats, though the changes were generally greater for Democrats.
What America Gets Right (pdf) via The Gadflyer
posted by y2karl on Mar 8, 2005 - 49 comments

The 50 Most Loathsome People of 2004

The 50 Most Loathsome People of 2004 Funnier than The NYP 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers. And you're in it, to boot.
posted by Space Coyote on Jan 20, 2005 - 41 comments

Congressman Matsui (D-CA) Dies of Rare Disease

Congressman dies of rare disease Congressman Bob Matsui, who was recently elected to a 14th term in Congress, has died due to a rare stem cell disease. Matsui, who was one of the leading opponents of President Bush's plan to eliminate Social Security, was the ranking Democrat on the Congressional subcommittee on Social Security.
posted by expriest on Jan 2, 2005 - 26 comments

Lies, Damn lies, and everything looks like a nail

We conclude that the study is entirely without merit and its “results” are meaningless. Remember Florida and those electronic voting machines? Remember those plucky Berkeley grad students who proved something was wrong with the evoting counties? It turns out they were completely wrong.
posted by allan on Dec 7, 2004 - 29 comments

Was it Lakoff, or the Trytophan ?

Lakoff say - mellow frames sooth savage Thanksgiving : The guru of framing offers a handy free excerpt from his all-the-rage book, just in time to defuse tense Thanksgiving dinner situations ( All fall asleep - Lakoff or the turkey ? ). Says Penny Kolb, on the practical magic of Lakoff's approach : "....By last night, the chat room was civil. An amazing (to me) number of posters turned off their capitalization and we were actually having conversations."
posted by troutfishing on Nov 23, 2004 - 19 comments

CaliFilter

AmendforArnold&Jen
Founded by a libertarian-turned RINO and a member of the Green Party
posted by magullo on Nov 18, 2004 - 63 comments

Your Reaction to the 2004 Presidential Election, Uncensored

Your Reaction to the 2004 Presidential Election, Uncensored. nothing you say here will be edited in any way whatsoever. please respect that, and your fellow contributors to this open discussion.
posted by b1tr0t on Nov 4, 2004 - 32 comments

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