Saturday, April 7, 2012

No Defense Of The Indefensible, Once Again

Last week, the National Review's Racist Emeritus, John Derbyshire, posted yet another one of his lovely little screeds on why "the blacks" are simply inferior and how to avoid dealing with their infantile grunting posing as language couched in a series of "rules of engagement" written to his sons.  ABL completely demolishes Derbyshire here at ABLC, as does Freddie de Boer here at Balloon Juice, and there's many, many reasons as to why the Derb is full of completely racist garbage.

My problem is with the people defending him.  This is where the real battle lies, apparently.  The Wingers are mounting the Defense Of The Derb in various forms and guises, with various levels of gusto.  Vox Day goes all in, calling out the National Review crew rapidly distancing itself from Derb:

Apparently these various National Review writers want Americans to remain trapped in the same clueless, post-racial, Orwellian delusion they have inhabited for the last fifty years. And yet, John Derbyshire's article that has inspired such rabid ritual denunciation is little more than a calm and perfectly reasonable collection of observable realities of race in America.

Dan Riehl too wonders what the big deal is.  After all, what's the point of getting upset over racism?

It may not be pretty to read, or come close to some ideal, but how much of what Derbyshire wrote is mostly true in a still too significant portion of America's population, black, or white? And why is the left intent on only dealing with it by screaming and freaking out, when only a calmer, more sensible conversation over time is the only positive way in which to deal with it? It's as if the left, not the right, is absolutely determined to ensure that racial division will always exist in America? Why is that?

Robert Stacy McCain also doesn't understand what all the fuss is about, compared to the Trayvon Martin case.

What you might not notice is that this is a skirmish on the fringes of the Trayvon Martin controversy, which has turned into a stalemate, so that now frustrated people are in scalp-taking mode. The NBC producer got taken out by conservatives and now, for some strange reason, NR‘s John Derbyshire just volunteers himself as a target for the Left?

And speaking of Trayvon, Tom Maguire ties himself into knots trying to say Derb was wrong and right at the same time.

Groan.  I consider these race/IQ arguments to be the intellectual equivalent of a World War I battlefield on the Western Front - lots of noise and craters, many bodies piled up, but little intellectual progress in either direction.

Yeah, you see, Derb may be wrong but there's of course the "kernel of truth" there.  It's why Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom just can't see any reason to fire Derb at all.

So. First, let me say this: Derb’s article is “controversial” in the same way Juan Williams’ noting that he gets a bit frightened on a plane when he sees Arabs in the row in front of him tugging at their vests was controversial. Meaning, it was honest — and as such, it was not sufficiently filtered for a media climate where political correctness still provides the parameters for what is and isn’t acceptable.

Goldstein especially goes on to say that in effect anyone who is upset over this doesn't want to engage in a conversation on race, because what Derbyshire said is what wingnuts mean when they say they want to have a conversation about race:  Why are black people such a blight on our white society?

And to varying degrees all of these guys think they're in the right here, because the Left is "shouting this down" and it means they are closed-minded and don't want to address the awful honest truth about "the Blacks".  After all, Derbyshire was simply making an observation and he's entitled to his opinion.  How can anyone be a racist doing that?

Funny thing is, my opinion is that Derbyshire is clearly a racist, as are the people defending him, and the honest truth is that there are plenty of folks who don't want to talk about race because they can only start from the position that pretty much everything in America went wrong once the South lost the Civil War.  If your conversation has to be framed in terms that I am genetically, intellectually, socially or emotionally inferior to you because I'm not white, then no, we're not having a "conversation on race", we're having a conversation on why you're a racist.

Over at the conservative blog RedState, diarist Leon Wolf notes that in a 2003 interview, the National Review’s resident racist John Derbyshire proudly proclaimed his lack of tolerance for African-Americans:
I am not very careful about what I say, having grown up in the era before Political Correctness, and never having internalized the necessary restraints. I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one, and those things are going to be illegal pretty soon, the way we are going.

But that's a conversation worth having, actually.  And it's one these assholes don't want to hear.  Certainly Derb's employers don't want to talk about it too much, but Rich Lowry canned him anyway.

Anyone who has read Derb in our pages knows he’s a deeply literate, funny, and incisive writer. I direct anyone who doubts his talents to his delightful first novel, “Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream,” or any one of his “Straggler” columns in the books section of NR. Derb is also maddening, outrageous, cranky, and provocative. His latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways. Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation. It’s a free country, and Derb can write whatever he wants, wherever he wants. Just not in the pages of NR or NRO, or as someone associated with NR any longer.

And yet for years Derb was happy to have these views, and the National Review was glad to employ him.  That's another uncomfortable conversation the right doesn't wish to engage in, why it took this long for Derb to get the axe and why they condoned his racist views up until now as the nation's "premier" conservative publication of ideas.

So yes, the whole Derbtastrophe is actually very illuminating as to why there's not a larger conversation about race in America.  One that the right has been avoiding for a very, very long time.

Painter Of Light No More

Thomas Kinkade died today in California Friday at age 54.  He was both beloved and despised for his style, depending on which side of the fence you were on.  Fans loved his brilliant colors and fearless cheerfulness, critics often pooh-poohed his work as too repetitive (another bridge, really??) or surreal to the point of losing points.  It appears some folks can look at too many charming cottages and thoughtful waterfalls.

As for me, I loved the guy.  I thought his choice in colors were bold and dangerous in the hands of an amateur, and there was a constant theme in his paintings that I saw as a solid foundation, not a security blanket.  To each their own though, that's what makes art so darned neat.

He will certainly be missed, and as for saying he just wanted to make people happy... I think we can all agree he did that very well.

Dear America:

"This President is awful.  I mean really, really, really awful.  If you vote for him in November, it means you're stupid because you've bought his awful argument that Big Oil, Wall Street and Republicans actually have anything to do with how awful the country is right now, and you're not stupid, are you?"

--Jay Cost, Weekly Standard

Bonus Verbatim Stupid:

If Obama is reelected with such terrible feelings about the national condition, it will be unprecedented in the history of public opinion polling. Obviously, that would be no little feat, so what this president is doing is a classic case of misdirection. 

The country needs a bad guy to blame for its problems, so day in and day out Obama is providing them with a smorgasbord of villains from which to choose: Wall Street, Big Oil, the Tea Party, Paul Ryan, Rush Limbaugh, the Supreme Court, the Catholic Church, and so on. In fact, virtually everything that comes out of this president’s mouth is about redirecting blame onto some straw man.

Super Bonus Complete Takedown, courtesy of BooMan:

He says these are straw men. But, ask yourself, how have these groups been comporting themselves? Do we have any reasons to be critical of Wall Street? Big Oil? The Tea Party? Paul Ryan? The Supreme Court? The Catholic Church? 

It's telling that BooMan can eradicate Cost's 1500 word tirade with a single paragraph.   Most of all, we need better conservatives.  Just because the entire conservative argument is "No, YOU'RE the ones who are destroying the country!" doesn't make it true.

Cat House... Not What You Think

Continuing the animal news, Japan has enjoyed long-lasting success with "pet houses" where stressed clients come pay to pet cats.

It's no secret that pets reduce stress, but there is so much more benefit than just lowered blood pressure.  Many cannot afford pets or don't want the everyday responsibility and can now enjoy time sharing affection that is both pure and good for the soul.

The house rules include not waking any cat that is sleeping, holding a cat that is clearly unhappy and no flash photography because it irritates their eyes.  The cats are living a good life, and the people who come through leave happier than when they came in.

For a bonus bit of happy, there is the story of Poldi, the cat who was reunited with his former owner... after sixteen years living in the wild.  Thanks to a registry and marking the animals, he is now home with his family.

Take A Michigander At This

Liberal bloggers are still reeling from the very real prospect of the GOP's unconstitutional legislative gains in Michigan.  Rachel Maddow broke the story Thursday night:

In a nutshell, the story is that the Michigan Constitution requires that bills wait until the end of the session -- essentially, the end of the calendar year -- plus 90 days before becoming law. You can, however, put a bill into effect immediately, provided you have a two-thirds majority in both chambers. Republicans have that super-majority in the Senate, but not in the House. Yet they appear to have given nearly every bill since they took over in January 2010 immediate effect.

Michigan Republicans have applied immediate effect even to legislation Democrats have opposed in a block, from taking away domestic partner benefits (pdf) to blocking the expansion of union rights (pdf) to the souped-up emergency manager law (pdf) that lets the state replace elected officials with managers who have unilateral control. As you can see in the clip above, the Republican speaker calls for a rising vote, waits a blink, and then gavels in his party's super-majority.

Michigan Democrats have begun using their numbers to demand a record roll call vote, as a means of trying to make Republicans prove they have the super-majorities they claim to have. They say Republicans are denying them roll call votes, and last week,  they sued the House (and specifically Republican House leadership) over it. On Monday, a county judge ruled for the Democrats. Issuing a temporary injunction, he ordered the House leadership to grant the roll call votes; he also put on hold several recent bills passed improperly.

The reality of this comes into shocking view when you consider that Michigan Republicans want to pass a voter suppression law that would immediately go into effect under this scam in order to try to steal the state for the GOP in November.

These people are lawless cowards.  My good friend Chris Savage, Michigan blogger extraordinaire at the unparalleled Eclectablog, has been all over this story since it broke.

As Rachel Maddow points out, if Public Act 4 had not been passed in this way, it would only have gone into effect in the past few weeks, 90 days after the last legislative session. Think about that for minute. Think about how much has been done to, using Maddow’s phrase, “rout democracy” in our state under that law in the year that it has been on the books. Think about how it could have been different if they hadn’t used immediate effect.

Maddow then went on to show just how illegal this is. It’s something that I pointed out in my piece yesterday titled “Michigan GOP appeals ruling preventing them from violating the state constitution”. It’s the fact that immediate effect can only happen if 2/3 of the members of the House vote for it. But Republicans do not HAVE 2/3 of the House. The entire reason that they have been avoiding using roll call votes is because they did not have the votes to make the laws immediate effect. In other words, over 96% of the laws passed by the Republicans since January 2011 have been illegal in their implementation.

Illegal.  Think about that.  Nearly all of the laws passed in Michigan since 2011 have been done so illegally and in clear violation of the state's Constitution.  It's a crisis and it has to be addressed.  Now.  You'd better believe Chris and the ABLC crew will continue to be all over this.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

This may be the greatest idea in the history of truly horrendous, awful, hideously bad ideas.  Ever.  Of all time.  Charles Johnson:

You know all that rhetoric about “race war” that’s showing up at and many other right wing sites these days? It’s not just rhetoric. There are some people in Sanford, Florida right now who are taking it very seriously indeed: Armed Neo-Nazis Now Patrolling Sanford, Say They Are ‘Prepared’ for Post-Trayvon Martin Violence.

Oh now what could possibly go awry in this scenario?

The patrols are comprised of between 10 and 20 locals and “volunteers” from across the state, including some from Miami, he added. He couldn’t go into specifics on what kind of firepower, exactly, the patrols had with them.

“In Arizona the guys can walk around with assault weapons and that’s totally legal,” Schoep said, referring to the group’s patrols of the US-Mexico border. “What I can tell you is that any patrols that we are doing now in Florida are totally within the law.”

Asked if the patrols wouldn’t just make things worse — spark a race riot, for instance — Schoep insisted they were simply a “show of solidarity with the white community down there” and “wouldn’t intimidate anybody.”

“Whenever there is one of these racially charged events, Al Sharpton goes wherever blacks need him,” Schoep said. “We do similar things. We are a white civil rights organization.”

They're like the non-violent NAACP.  Only with craploads of firearms, which of course was the main reason my Trayvon died in the first place.  Awesome.

StupidiNews, Easter Weekend Edition!

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