Site Meter

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Joe the Plumber speaking in Racial Code

Here's an excerpt from an interview that Joe Wurzenbacher gave after his encounter with Obama, but before the debate made him famous.

All right, boys and girls, put your listening ears on, and see if you can pick out any "revealing" thoughts and phrases re: Ol' Joe's racial views.

Interviewer: Do you fear this is the possibility of America turning more down the socialist road if Obama does become elected and if he is able to implement these policies?

Joe: Very much so. You start giving people stuff, and then they start expecting it – and that scares me. A lot of people expect it now. They get upset when their check’s late, they get upset when they don’t get as many benefits as they used to, or when different government agencies are cut or spending is cut here and there for whatever reason – people get upset at that. And that’s because they’re used to getting it and they want more. I mean, everyone’s always gonna want more. People work the system left and right to get more out of welfare, to get more out of state assistance, federal assistance. And if government’s there for them, they’re gonna keep on trying to manipulate it to get more out of it. You got people that come along and say, “Hey, I wanna help you people,” I mean, they’re all ears! They’re like, “Hey, you can help me more, I don’t have to work as hard, I don’t have to do as much, and you’re gonna give me this? Man, that’s great, you’re a good guy.”


Cross Burning "for Halloween"--yeah, right...

According to the Associated Press, a Canton, Ohio man arrested for burning a cross in front of his home was just trying to make his Halloween yard display "more it would look more weathered."

So that explain why the white Shane Helton continued to (as the police report) spray lighter fluid on the wood after authorities arrived. Uh, huh.

And what a coincidence that, just next door resides a married couple, the wife white, the husband black, and the wife, Stephanie Blankenship, says, according to the AP, "they have had problems with Helson and his roommate before." Hmmmm....

You can read the AP article at

It' s also noteworthy that the Zanesville, Ohio newspaper headline reads, "Alleged Cross-Burning was for Halloween." Not "Cross-Burning was Allegedly for Halloween." The latter calls into question the excuse, while the former expresses doubt about the criminal charge. Oops! Simple mistake, I'm sure....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe the Plumber: tapdancing around racial codetalk

Joe the Plumber said near the end of his interview with Katie Couric last night after the debate that Barack Obama tap-danced around the questions he asked, "almost as good as Sammy Davis, Jr." It sounds innocent enough on tape. Not real wise to pick a black man representative of a racial stereotype (black=good dancer) in comparing Obama, a black man. Still, I might give him a pass on it. Then I heard, though, that in an interview today (enjoying his fame while it lasts) Joe said he was from the South, then went back and corrected that, saying he though most of his life that he had roots in the South, but then (to his disappointment?) found that all his roots were in Ohio. What kind of person from the Midwest fantasizes about being from the South. I can't psychoanalyze the guy, but it would seem he was a Southern sympathizer--in the Civil War relived; in the Jim Crow/Civil Rights struggle, etc. I don't know. I just don't know.

I do know this. Joe the plumber, with or without racial problems, is not near enough to help McCain make up the deficit he's facing. Go Obama!

Right Wingers Still Blaming Blacks for Economy

But this time,the National Review dude (Byron York--BY) gets his comeuppance but good in a live chat with the Atlantic's Matt Taibbi (MT). Read it:

Matt Taibbi sons Byron York
16 Oct 2008 08:56 am

Sorry guys, this begs to be quoted at length:

B.Y.: I think that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also major factors. And I believe that many of the problems in the mortgage area can be attributed to the confluence of Democratic and Republican priorities: the Democrats' desire to give mortgages to people, particularly minorities, who could not afford them, and the Republicans' desire to achieve an "ownership society," in part by giving mortgages to people who could not afford them. Again, I believe that if you are suggesting that the financial crisis is a Republican creation, or even more specifically a McCain creation, I think you're on pretty shaky ground.

M.T.: Oh, come on. Tell me you're not ashamed to put this gigantic international financial Krakatoa at the feet of a bunch of poor black people who missed their mortgage payments. The CDS market, this market for credit default swaps that was created in 2000 by Phil Gramm's Commodities Future Modernization Act, this is now a $62 trillion market, up from $900 billion in 2000. That's like five times the size of the holdings in the NYSE. And it's all speculation by Wall Street traders. It's a classic bubble/Ponzi scheme. The effort of people like you to pin this whole thing on minorities, when in fact this whole thing has been caused by greedy traders dealing in unregulated markets, is despicable.

B.Y.: I was struck by the recent Senate testimony of James Lockhart, who is head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, about the sheer recklessness of Fannie in recent years. Despite "repeated warnings about credit risk," Lockhart testified, Fannie became more reckless in 2006 and 2007 than they had been in the scandal-ridden tenure of Franklin Raines (who departed in 2004). In 2005, Lockhart said, 14 percent of Fannie's new business was in risky loans. In the first half of 2007, it was 33 percent. So something terribly wrong was going on there, and it became a significant part of the present problem.

M.T.: What a surprise that you mention Franklin Raines. Do you even know how a CDS works? Can you explain your conception of how these derivatives work? Because I get the feeling you don't understand. Or do you actually think that it was a few tiny homeowner defaults that sank gigantic companies like AIG and Lehman and Bear Stearns? Explain to me how these default swaps work, I'm interested to hear.

Because what we're talking about here is the difference between one homeowner defaulting and forty, four hundred, four thousand traders betting back and forth on the viability of his loan. Which do you think has a bigger effect on the economy?

B.Y.: Are you suggesting that critics of Fannie and Freddie are talking about the default of a single homeowner?

M.T.: No. That is what you call a figure of speech. I'm saying that you're talking about individual homeowners defaulting. But these massive companies aren't going under because of individual homeowner defaults. They're going under because of the myriad derivatives trades that go on in connection with each piece of debt, whether it be a homeowner loan or a corporate bond. I'm still waiting to hear what your idea is of how these trades work. I'm guessing you've never even heard of them.

I mean really. You honestly think a company like AIG tanks because a bunch of minorities couldn't pay off their mortgages?

B.Y.: When you refer to "Phil Gramm's Commodities Future Modernization Act," are you referring to S.3283, co-sponsored by Gramm, along with Senators Tom Harkin and Tim Johnson?

M.T.: In point of fact I'm talking about the 262-page amendment Gramm tacked on to that bill that deregulated the trade of credit default swaps.

Tick tick tick. Hilarious sitting here while you frantically search the Internet to learn about the cause of the financial crisis -- in the middle of a live chat interview.

B.Y.: Look, you can keep trying to make this a specifically partisan and specifically Gramm-McCain thing, but it simply isn't. We've gone on for fifteen minutes longer than scheduled, and that's enough. Thanks.

M.T.: Thanks. Note, folks, that the esteemed representative of the New Republic has no idea what the hell a credit default swap is. But he sure knows what a minority homeowner looks like.

B.Y.: It's National Review.

That will leave a mark. It takes great intellectual cowardice, and frankly moral cowardice, to push the discredited "Teh Blacks and Mexicans caused the economic crisis" theory. In that sense, this was much deserved. The worst part is that York doesn't even defend the theory--he just hopes we'll buy this package marked "Blame The Niggers and Spics." But he has no idea what's inside the box.

It's amazing to me that these guys continue this strategy, even as it's clear that the demographics aren't on their side--the country isn't getting any whiter. But that's small potatoes. The bigger question is philisophical. Where is the principle in this? What is "conservative" about this argument, except that it's just anti-government? Here is the conservativism that York is peddling--"personal responsibility" for Harlem and Washington Heights, but none for Wall Street and Midtown.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Eminem: Best Rapper Alive?

Yahoo News had an intriguing headline: "Best rapper alive? Eminem wins Vibe magazine's Best Rapper Alive contest, sparking a heated debate." I follwed the link to a Y! Music blog entry by Billy Johnson, Jr. There's a picture of Billy. He's a black man. The one thing missing from the entire entry ( race. Once again, it's the elephant in the living room: the Subject which Must not be Named. I mean, come on, eminem is a white man performing in the dominant musical field of the African American Community. He followed in the footsteps of jokes like Vanilla Ice and the Beasty Boys in "white rap." Unlike them, Eminem achieved a level of acceptance and street cred in teh black community. But for him to be crowned the best (excluding of course Tupac and others no longer living)? I agree something seems astray. Is Vibe Magazine controlled by whites? If so, one could wonder if the bracketing was manipulated in Eminem's favor. How does Vibe's readership break down by race? Do they sell more copies with a popular white (rather than black) rapper on the cover? THese would be interesting questions. But the blogger tip toes all around race, with the implication of its central role thick in the air, but never spoken. Strange.

Johnson ends his entry with these words: "I consider Eminem to be one of the greatest MCs to have ever rhymed. He has an undeniable gift of storytelling. He can freestyle. He's passionate, and is one of the few who is blessed with the ability to simultaneously go straight mega pop and still reach the heads. He's top 10 without question.

I'm in one of those moods and can go and on about this as if it was something important. So I'll stop and let some of my favorites conclude my argument. Check out their videos."

Then he provides links to videos by the artists he presumably thinks should have outpolled Eminem. Kinda seems like a copout to me. I mean, name names, man! Take down the license plates and report them! Easy for me to say, I know. Justing pointing out the strange way we [don't] deal with race in this country, including in popular culture.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

McCain, Race, and the 2nd Debate

McCain said, "But you know, they're the ones that, with the encouragement of Sen. Obama and his cronies and his friends in Washington, that went out and made all these risky loans, gave them to people that could never afford to pay back." Kinda sounds like the blame the victim, blame the black folks, argument put forward by some from the right.

He also said to this questioner, an African American man, " of the real catalysts, really the match that lit this fire was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I'll bet you, you may never even have heard of them before this crisis."
As a network pundit pointed out last night, it's kind of patronizing to assume that a questioner never heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the past couple of months. And to assume it about a black man, well, lets just say it's not reassuring.

Then there's this: the first question was from a white man named Allen. The second from a black man named Oliver. McCain called him Oliver when he started his answer, but later said, "... and we're going to have to stabilize home values, and that way, Americans, like Alan, can realize the American dream and stay in their home." Was he still talking to/about Oliver, and just got the name wrong? Or did he slip back to Alan, "an American" whom he's concerned about? I'm just saying...

Finally, of course, there's the line everyone is talking about: McCain's distainful reference to Obama as "that one," as if the man isn't even human. You can read whatever you want into that, but it certainly makes me wonder what racist hatred is buried in the heart, or should I say spleen, of John McCain. This is, after all, a man who still recently, unashamedly referred to his torturers as "gooks."

What do you all think? Anyone out there reading?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blacks and Baseball: Looking Up?

The decline of African Americans in major league baseball has been a concern of late (although lots of Latin American players of African ancestry remain). Seems, though, that teams in the playoffs this year have more than their share of blacks.;_ylt=AlV0El2_b.7.yxLFIpOcFPARvLYF?urn=top,112211

African-Americans double up during postseason
By Roy S. Johnson / Y! Sports Blogs

Is baseball's black glass half empty … or just empty?

The diminishing number of African-American ballplayers has been well-chronicled. This season, only 8.2 percent of major league players were African-American, according to Richard Lapchick, the director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, who has long chronicled and graded diversity trends. That's the lowest it has been in decades.

But look around. Something intriguing has manifested during baseball's World Series chase. On the rosters of the eight teams that qualified for the postseason, there are 30 black players – a rate (15 percent) almost double that of baseball overall.

Here's the list :

Brewers, 7; Angels, 6; Dodgers, 5; White Sox, 4; Rays, 3; Phillies, 2; Cubs, 2; Red Sox, 1.

It's interesting that a team from a small-market, middle-America city (Milwaukee) has the most color on its roster, including the most dominating player in all of baseball during the stretch run, CC Sabathia, who seemed to pitch every inning every day during the final crucial month.

And it isn't surprising that the only team with a majority owner of color (Los Angeles Angels, owned by Latino billionaire Arte Moreno) is diverse as well. Nor the team that was the "favorite" for every black baseball fan in my parents' generation, simply because of the signing of Jackie Robinson.

(It's also not surprising that the last team to sign a black player is at the bottom of the list. But that's a blog for another day.)

What does it mean?

For one, while baseball is still not attracting a preponderance of black players (and never will), the current black major leaguers are disproportionately among the game's elite -- players who help their teams win.

That may be a bit of a generalization, but not much. For a while now, the black players who reached The Show were typically among the best players on their teams, going all the way back to Little League. I've long said baseball could do better at attracting black journeymen players -- black Tim Teufels, I used to call them (look him up). But the game is still attracting athletes.

It's also a bit of a salute to RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), baseball's nearly decade-old program created to provide more playing opportunities to the nation's urban youth, whose areas are usually devoid of baseball leagues and teams. Eight players in the current posteason are RBI alumni.

Will the trend continue? Depends on which trend you're talking about -- the high representation of elite black players (half-full) or the diminishing number of black players overall (half-empty).

Perhaps one clue: Earlier this year, eight RBI players were chosen in the June draft of first-year players, led by second-rounders Xavier Avery (Orioles) and Joseph Austin (Astros).

Maybe there are at least a few Tim Teufels among them.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Perpetrators of OR Obama cutout hanging Caught

A followup to the 9/24 posting. Looks like the ignoramuses are getting what they deserve.
Oregon school says 4 confessed to Obama effigy

NEWBERG, Ore. (AP) — A Christian university in Oregon said Tuesday it has punished four students who confessed to hanging a likeness of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama from a tree on campus.

George Fox University broke the news to students and staff Tuesday afternoon at an all-campus meeting. About 1,000 people attended, said Rob Felton, a university spokesman.

A statement from the school said the penalties against the four students were "immediate long-term suspension and public service." The school cited federal privacy rules in not disclosing more about the students or their punishment.

The FBI is investigating whether any civil rights were violated.

"A criminal investigation is much more rigorous than an academic one, obviously," said Beth Anne Steele, an FBI spokeswoman. She couldn't say when the investigation would be complete.

Felton said the university's own investigation led to the four students. "To the best of our knowledge these are the only people involved," he said. "We're not pursuing it any further."

The commercially produced cardboard cutout of Obama was hung from a tree last week with fishing line around the neck.

A message taped to the cutout read, "Act Six reject." That refers to a scholarship and leadership program for minority and low-income student leaders at Christian colleges primarily located in the Northwest.

Felton wouldn't comment on the students' motive. Instead he cited a statement from Brad Lau, the university's vice president of student life.

"Regardless of the students' intent, the image of a black man hung from a tree is one of the most hurtful symbols of racism in American history," Lau said in the statement. "Displays such as this have no place on a campus that is dedicated to living out the teachings of Jesus."