The Occasional Tendown March 4 2012

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dear Internet:

I'm late.  Son of a bitch.

151 is here. This is Tendown 152

1. Racial Entitlement

The weird part of this.

I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.

is less the "why isn't there a White History Month?  Huh?  Huh?" quality of it, it's the idea that legislatures are afraid of harming African-Americans. It's the idea that in the universe of possibilities, the place where the Supreme Court sees fit to take judicial notice of democratic breakdown it's where blacks just get too much of a legislative break.  When will someone break the chokehold that African-Americans have over power in this country?

Just this week came this.

Broockman and Skovron find that legislators consistently believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are. This includes Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. But conservative legislators generally overestimate the conservatism of their constituents by 20 points. “This difference is so large that nearly half of conservative politicians appear to believe that they represent a district that is more conservative on these issues than is the most conservative district in the entire country,” Broockman and Skovron write. This finding held up across a range of issues.

That's a study discussing how legislators vastly overestimate how conservative their constituents are.

And last week was this.

New research shows the dramatic gap in household wealth that now exists along racial lines in the United States cannot solely be attributed to personal ambition and behavioral choices, but rather reflects policies and institutional practices that create different opportunities for whites and African-Americans.

So powerful are these government policies and institutional practices that for typical families, a $1 increase in average income over the 25-year study period generates just $0.69 in additional wealth for an African-American household compared with $5.19 for a white household. Part of this equation results from black households having fewer opportunities to grow their savings beyond what's needed for emergencies.

"Public policies play a major role in widening the already massive racial wealth gap, and they must play a role in closing it," said Dr. Thomas Shapiro, director of the IASP and a principal author of the report "We should be investing in prosperity and equity, instead we are advancing toxic inequality. A U-turn is needed."

That's a study that the increasing wealth divide between whites and blacks (increasing?  Weird that legislatures would allow that kind of thing) is too vast to not include as a significant cause policies designed to discriminate.

That's just since the last Tendown.  Took me 15 minutes to find without a Lexis account.

2. Boobs

Here's what's frustrating.  I've been blogging pretty much consistently since 2006 and writing online on and off for a decade before that.  My most viewed pieces are in this space, but my most commented on piece was this, over here, this week. About sports?  Nah - just a pretty easy to locate essay about the Oscars, which, somehow, managed to avoid asking the question "why am I watching a reunion of a musical I didn't see a decade ago?"

Anyway, I took the "it was sexist" view, which was pretty much a slam dunk, and you can also see that expressed here.  My favorite counter-response has been that somehow it was "satire" - that the Oscars were making meta-critical commentary on the sexism of the film business.  Which seems so much like the Oscars, always doing show long industry criticism.  It wasn't the glorification of Chicago, it was a commentary on how incestuous and insular show business is, that the producers of Chicago when handed the Oscars would use it to celebrate their own old movie is so nakedly self celebratory "hey billion people, you know what you want to see, Catherine Zeta Jones" is so crazy that it can't actually be happening on the square - the Oscars must have, despite 85 years of precedent, gone totally hipster.  They aren't really wearing that sexist t-shirt, they're wearing it ironically.  Duh.

I got Argo right.  I still like Anne Hathaway.

3. Dear Malaysian Government
I'll do it for half that.

4. Actual Laws Proposed!
I almost never use this space to talk about the laws right wing state legislators propose - to that end leads madness.  But in just February alone, you had this.

1. Let corporations vote!
2. Criminalize gun control!
3. Birth control is poison
4. Read Ayn Rand or stay in high school
5. Meanwhile, make the teachers question science

5. And just one more...

Want a minimum wage in Mississippi - too bad.

6. The Best (short) Pieces I Read This Week.
The Court isn't interested in racial difference between North and South.  How about economic ones?

Southernomics is radically different.  The purpose of the age-old economic development strategy of the Southern states has never been to allow them to compete with other states or countries on the basis of superior innovation or living standards.  Instead, for generations Southern economic policymakers have sought to secure a lucrative second-tier role for the South in the national and world economies, as a supplier of commodities like cotton and oil and gas and a source of cheap labor for footloose corporations.  This strategy of specializing in commodities and cheap labor is intended to enrich the Southern oligarchy.  It doesn’t enrich the majority of Southerners, white, black or brown, but it is not intended to.
Contrary to what is often said, the “original sin” of the South is not slavery, or even racism.  It is cheap, powerless labor.

Hear about Pete Domenici fathering a child with Paul Laxalt's daughter?

Just salacious?

How about when you add his impeachment speech when the kid was 15?

Truthfulness is the first pillar of good character in the Character Counts program of which I have been part of establishing in New Mexico. Many of you in this chamber have joined me in declaring the annual "Character Counts Weeks." This program teaches grade school youngsters throughout America about six pillars of good character. Public and private schools in every corner of my state teach children that character counts; character makes a difference; indeed, character makes all the difference.

Guess which one of these pillars comes first? Trustworthiness.
7. Meanwhile, In Florida...
When the Tea Party runs your state.
Scott didn't get everything he wanted, but the final budget approved by the Legislature was $4.6 billion smaller than it had been in 2006, even though the state's population had grown by more than 700,000. And Scott vetoed a record $615 million worth of spending for, among other things: homeless veteransmeals for seniors, whooping-cough vaccines for low-income mothers, an independent living center for the developmentally disabled, and, of course, public radio.
The effects were felt almost immediately, from the state level—nearly 4,500 state jobs were eliminated—to local governments. In Broward County, the school system laid off 2,400 employees, mostly teachers. The Polk County school district sacked all of its college advisers, a move that prompted the wife of a tea party congressman, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), tospearhead a fundraising effort to try to save them. (In the end, Cindy Ross, a member of a local high school's booster club, wasn't able to preserve the jobs, which had previously been protected by the 2009 stimulus—a measure her husband ran against.)
Florida already had a 10.6 percent unemployment rate and one of the stingiest unemployment benefits in the country—recipients max out at $275 a week. After Scott's cuts, the percentage of unemployed people who received benefits fell from 17 to 15 percent—far below the national average of 27 percent. One reason: Florida now requires the jobless to take a 45-minute online math and reading test before even applying for benefits, a move the National Employment Law Project calls an "unnecessary burden" that may violate federal law. "Nowhere in the country is it this hard to get help when you lose a job," said Valory Greenfield, a staff attorney at Florida Legal Services.

One of my alma maters is Florida Atlantic University - maybe you heard about this.

8. The documentary you should watch this week

As good a legal documentary as there has ever been gets a two hour postscript on Sundance over the next two weeks.  It's an update on The Staircase and you should go out of your way to watch.
I've also watched some 4 star wrestling since we last spoke - WWE had its best TV match in almost a decade, a 4 1/4 star match between Punk and Cena, and in January, ROH had a four star four way with Steen v. Elgin v. Edwards v. Strong, on the top of a card with the first 4 1/2 star match I've seen this year, Richards v. O'Reilly.  
9. Hey, Baseball's Back
All my various spring training related posts are still to come - but here's an unsettling fact about my World Champion Giants - no African-American players in camp.  I wonder what Scalia's response would be.
10. Bowling for Abortions
That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...
Your pal,

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