Politics postsTuesday December 23, 2014
The Laziest Likely to Succeed
Which is why, while doing background for†my review of “Foxcatcher,” this graf in The Washington Post's obit of John E. Du Pont,†the heir to the Du Pont fortune and the movie's ostensible villain, stopped me:
John Eleuthere du Pont, who was born in November 1938, was one of four children raised on the same Pennsylvania estate where he lived as an adult. He grew up mostly with his mother after his parents divorced when he was young. He was voted both “laziest” and “most likely to succeed” at the private Haverford School near Philadelphia.
Laziest†and†Most Likely to Succeed? For the rich, certainly. For the poor, they just get castigated on Fox News.
Candice Dyer's Handy Decoder for Whitespeak, Post-Ferguson
Freelance writer extraordinaire Candice Dyer of Georgia wrote the following today on Facebook about some of her post-Ferguson social media conversations. It seems pretty spot-on:
Having read the same arguments, ad nauseum, over the past couple of days ... here's a handy decoder-translator for whitespeak:
- When you preface a sentence with “I'm not a racist, but ...” That means you're a racist.
- When you say “This is not about race at all” ... That means it's exactly about race.
- When you say “This is all about Sharpton and Jackson playing the race card” ... That means you are the one playing the race card ... as a racist.
- When you say “We still have the best criminal justice system in the world even if it's flawed” ... That means that black people shouldn't complain about it, but you can, when it affects you or your child.
- When you bring up O.J. in this context ... guess what?
- Same goes for any talk of Obama “stirring the pot.”
- Same goes for defaming the dead as a “thug.”
And so on. And so on.
I should add, in all honesty, that my own social media conversations have gone the other way. I came home Monday night to the Twitterverse excoriating Pres. Obama for the “split-screen shot”: he was urging calm while on the other side, smoke, fighting and rioting were going on in the streets of Ferguson. Some said, a bit quickly, that it “defined” his presidency, but I never understood what he should have said or how he should have acted. Should he have not been calm? Should he have urged violence?†What he said, and how he acted, seemed proper to me. What he said the next day seemed proper to me, too. He'll get excoriated from the right for that. No winning for the middle in America.
Here's Bob Staake's New Yorker cover for next week:
Election 2014: Voters Tired of Obstructionists in Congress, Vote for More Obstructionists in Congress
Every day I get an email from the New York Times with its various headlines, along with extras. Often they have a quote of the day. This was today's:
QUOTATION OF THE DAY
ďAll they do is fight between each other and don't get anything done. So we - and I - need something different in there. Everything needs to change.Ē
-- JOHN MILLER, an independent in Iowa voting in the midterm election.
So it worked. The Republicans obstructed, and the voters, too stupid to realize who to blame, blaming instead the tired, all-encompassing scapegoat of “Washington,” gave us more obstructionists. Or the same ones.†
Mr. Miller's quote is from this article: “To Angry Voters, Washington Comes Out the Biggest Loser.”†Many of the people interviewed say the same things. Washington just fights, things aren't going well, we need a change. Ergo yesterday.
Was in inevitable? The battleground states tended red, the Dems in office there were swept in in 2008 after eight years of Bush, and now they're being swept out after six year of FOX News propaganda and GOP obstructionism. Not to mention Dems not willing to stand up for what they believe in.†
The headline should begin, “To Angry and Stupid Voters ... ”
Quote of the Day
“Politics is about more than mathematics. It is also a matter of will. Polite Georgetown insiders didnít like to admit this. Sometimes they willfully ignored itómoderates could be as oblivious to evidence that didnít confirm their biases as any conspiracy-mongering extremist. Rabid partisans beat moderates all the time, precisely by dint of the very passion that sometimes blinds them.”
-- Rick Perlstein in “The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan,” writing about the 1976 Republican convention but with a message for any time. Certainly for the 2014 mid-terms.†
Washington State Supreme Court Cites Washington State Legislature for Contempt
The Washington state Supreme Court is holding the Legislature in contempt for not making enough progress toward fully funding public education but, for now, is holding off on sanctions.
Here's some background on the contempt charge. Article IX, Section 1 of the Washington State Constitution reads: “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.” The paramount duty. Washington's is one of only two state constitutions to use the word “paramount” in this regard, and the other, Florida, declares it “a paramount duty,” not the paramount duty.
However, the Washington Legislature is still not making it its paramount duty to fund education despite supreme court decisions in 1978 and 2012 to do just that. Two years ago, I interviewed Thomas Ahearne, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the more recent case, McCleary v. State of Washington, who has an amused side when it comes to himself and a combative side when it comes to almost everything else. This case is part of his combative side.
The new today made me read over the piece. I'd forgotten how colorful he is. He has great stories.
More, I seemed to remember a prediction he made about whether or not the Legislature would live up to its paramount duty. This is how the piece ends:
“Our Supreme Court has ordered our Legislature to do something that’s hard, very hard, with their public schools, and we’ll see if they do it promptly or if they drag their feet and stall,” Ahearne says. He smiles but his eyes remain combative. “I have a good guess as to what they’re going to do.”
He sounds more optimistic in the Seattle Times' link above.