May 5, 2010

Walter Williams: ‘Why So Hostile To Principles Of Liberty?’

A belated happy 74th birthday to Walter Williams, the brilliant George Mason University econ professor and occasional “black by popular demand” guest host on Rush Limbaugh’s show.

Though by no means absent from it, African-Americans are underrepresented in the Tea Party movement. In his syndicated column, Williams explains why African-Americans should be leading the charge:

… the unique history of black Americans should make us, above all other Americans, most suspicious of any encroachment on personal liberty and most distrustful of government.

… The heroic civil rights movement, culminating with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, put an end to the grossest abuses of personal liberties, but government evolved into a subtler enemy. Visit any major city and one would find the overwhelmingly law-abiding members of the black community living in constant fear of robbery, assault and murder.

In fact, 52% of U.S. homicides are committed by blacks, 49% of homicide victims are black, and 93% of them were murdered by fellow blacks. The level of crime in black communities is the result of government’s failure to perform its most basic function, namely the protection of its citizens.

The level of criminal activity not only puts residents in physical jeopardy but represents a heavy tax on the people least able to bear it.

… Then there’s the grossly fraudulent education delivered by the government schools that serve most black communities. The average black high school senior has a sixth- or seventh-grade achievement level, and most of those who manage to graduate have what’s no less than a fraudulent diploma, one that certifies a 12th-grade level of achievement when in fact the youngster might not have half that.

If the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan wanted to sabotage black academic excellence, he could not find a more effective means to do so than the government school system in most cities.

… Tragically, most Americans, including black people whose ancestors suffered from the gross injustices of slavery, think it quite proper for government to forcibly use one person to serve the purposes of another. That’s precisely what income redistribution is: the practice of forcibly taking the fruits of one person’s labor for the benefit of another. That’s also what theft is, and the practice differs from slavery only in degree but not kind.

What about blacks who cherish liberty and limited government and joined in the Tea Party movement, or blacks who are members of organizations such as the Lincoln Institute, Frederick Douglass Foundation and Project 21? They’ve been maligned as Oreos, Uncle Toms and traitors to their race. To make such a charge borders on stupidity, possibly racism.

I have to respectfully disagree with Dr. Williams’s last excerpted sentence.

To malign blacks “as Oreos, Uncle Toms and traitors to their race” isn’t just “possibly racism.” It is bigotry (“stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.”), and it is based on race. Therefore, it is racism.

Uh, This ‘Oversight’ Isn’t BP’s Fault

From John Fund at the Wall Street Journal (bolds are mine):

The Obama Administration has tirelessly pushed the line that it has employed every available tool to fight the Gulf oil spill from “Day One.” Well, it’s certainly true that every media resource is being deployed to squelch comparisons with the slow-footed 2005 Bush administration response to Hurricane Katrina.

But as for having actual oil-spill fighting technology on hand before the crisis, as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 requires, the administration was clearly caught unprepared.

After the Transocean rig blew up two weeks ago, it turns out the federal government didn’t have a single fire boom on hand in the Gulf to enable a controlled burn of the oil slick, according to The Press-Register of Mobile, Alabama. Instead, the government quickly purchased the only fire boom that an Illinois-based manufacturer had in stock, and then asked the company to call its customers around the world to see if the U.S. government could borrow their booms.

… Another factor may also have played a role in the failure to properly prepare. Certain environmental groups have long opposed the 1994 federal response plan for the Gulf region that called for burning any oil spill right away.

… I’d say there was a far bigger downside to both humans and animal life from allowing an oil slick that now measures some 130 miles by 70 miles to continue to grow.

That’s 9,100 square miles (70×130), or more than 20 times the size of Hamilton County, Ohio’s 413 square miles, and larger than all of New Jersey’s 8,729 square miles.

Note that it isn’t BP or Transocean that is required to have “actual oil-spill fighting technology on hand.” It’s the federal government.

They Don’t Believe in Anything … Except Their Entitlement to Power

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:51 am

Let’s be clear. There’s probably nothing unlawful about the unprecedented slate card handout campaign conducted by ORPINO (Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) apparatchiks at Ohio polling locations yesterday — even with what appears to have been substantial out-of-state help.

While it’s not illegal, it’s certainly revealing.

The “revealing” part is that ORPINO can no longer pretend to claim to trust its own voters. No; Ohio GOP voters must be told, and told, and told, and told how to vote, through endorsements in contested races and an emptying of the Party’s treasury if necessary to ensure that its favored candidates drown out any opposition — especially principled opposition.

The Party has also set a precedent that the other major party may strive to imitate in the general election. ORPINO complaints about SEIU and Organizing For America thugs hanging out in Democrat-heavy and swing precincts, if that’s what comes to pass in November, will ring pretty hollow given the poll-sitting exercise witnessed yesterday.

ORPINO has proven that it deserves the acronym I gave it last fall. It is an organization that is all about its own power … and absolutely, nothing, else. As it currently conducts its operations, its claim to any belief in sensible conservative principles — or even ethics, given its dedication to the political career of Impostor Jon Husted — is a convenient pose, and nothing more.

It would be one thing if this authoritarian organization had something to show Ohio for the way it does business. It does not. It gave us Bob Taft. It gave us Tom Noe. It refused to lift a finger to remove Taft from office. It marginalized primary opposition to Mike DeWine in 2006, when anyone could see he was a sitting duck, and when DeWine would have benefitted from having to get out and defend himself in a contested primary. Also in 2006, it sat by and failed to adequately support primary winners who had beaten candidates they liked better. They’d rather lose than do that (John Kasich, note well).

Now it has declared and “successfully” carried out an all-out war against its center-right activist base, and, in Husted and Attorney General candidate Mike DeWine, given sensible conservative voters (actually, all voters) two completely unacceptable candidates in statewide races. It has sucked any semblance of enthusiasm out of the people it expects to show up for get-out-the-vote efforts in October and November.

Meanwhile, Ohio’s economy slouches towards Mississippi — and we’re not too far from the point where that’s perhaps being unfair to Mississippians. Anyone who thinks ORPINO as currently constituted really cares is kidding themselves.

The Party’s only hope this year is that what launched Mike DeWine’s Senate career in 1994 with Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America happens again — a national wave that is so strong that it drags Ohio Republicans across the finish line (DeWine got only 53% of the vote against pathetic opposition that year). Any success ORPINO has in November will be despite and not because of what it has done, assisted by what the Democratic establishment has done to alienate its own base.

Legitimate sensible conservatives John Kasich, Mary Taylor, and Josh Mandel had better be watching their backs.

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UPDATE: Apathy wins — This year by 77.7% not voting vs. a 22.3% turnout. Four years ago, it was 24.28%. In 1994, it was 33.0%. So much for early voting improving turnout. From here, it seems that the two major parties mostly don’t mind; a smaller electorate is easier to control.

Positivity: In Box Jelly Fish Attack, Rachel Shardlow’s Survival a ‘Medical Miracle’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:40 am

From Australia:

April 28th, 2010

Ten year old Rachel Shardlow of Australia was attacked by a deadly box jellyfish in December. Box jellies are considered to be one of the most venomous creatures in the world. A single sting can be deadly, and Rachel wasn’t just stung. According to CNN, she was completely enveloped by the box jellyfish’s deadly tentacles until she lost consciousness.

Which is why doctors and scientists are shocked that several months later she’s relatively fine.

In and interview with Australia’s ABC news, zoology professor Jamie Seymour called Rachel’s injuries “horrific.” He continued to say, “usually when you see people who have been stung by box jellyfish with that number of tentacle contacts on their body, it’s usually in the morgue.”

According to Seymour, “[he doesn't] know of anybody in the entire literature where we’ve studied this where someone has had such an extensive sting that has survived.” In short, Rachel is a medical mystery, and more than a bit of a miracle.

Go here for the rest of the story. …

Silver Linings Dept.

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:42 am

My unofficial count has Tea Party-sympathetic candidates (based on a cross-reference to the MCFAN list) winning 21 of 66 State Central Committee races, though a couple may be too close to call.

The legitimate conservatism and backbone of several of those 21 is questionable, either because of their own questionable pasts or their current actions. Nonetheless, Kevin DeWine et al will have to deal with a vocal minority they won’t be able to totally ignore — a minority that will also more than likely shed a little light on previously blacked-out deliberations.

A second silver lining may be the relatively high percentage of independent voters who turned out. That’s only anecdotal at the moment (e.g., precincts running out of independent ballots while still having plenty of Dem and GOP ballots), and will need further investigation.

Nobody said regaining a legitimate Republican Party, instead of the one we have in Ohio that is In Name Only, will be easy.

Line of the night, from an e-mail:

I’ve not seen Republicans work that hard against democrats.”

Nor have I.

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UPDATE, May 5: Given yesterday’s unprecedented financially wasteful authoritarian tactics, the State Central Committee’s Tea Party minority will not be in the best of moods going in.

UPDATE, May 5, Afternoon: I’ve gone over the SCC races again, and though a couple of races have switched, the Tea Party-sympathetic total is still at 21. I count 12 women and 9 men. You go, girls and guys.