Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Carpetbagging Illinois

Is there anythinig more pathetic than the Illinois Republican Party's nomination of one Mr. Alan Keyes to run against Mighty Barrack Obama? Keyes is not from Illinois. Keyes is from Maryland. Keyes is a person who sees no hypocrisy in the fact that he accused Hillary Clinton of carpetbagging in her Senate run in New York. But that aside, what chance does this idiot have of winning?

I guess the plan is to get a black guy republican so that maybe, just maybe people will confuse the two....(they all look alike, right?)....and vote for the republican black guy. Also Keyes is a freaking idiot Uncle Tom who has blamed the black poor for their situation and has said that the federal income tax is unconstitutional. Sigh. GO BARRACK. GO OBAMA!


Blogger Kevin said...

Keyes has a lot of good ideas on the future of taxation in America. "Freaking idiot Uncle Tom" - there's a productive way of framing a debate, huh? The fact remains that many, many poor people, black or not, deserve the blame for their situation.

I love how self-proclaimed "progressives" are the ones who revert back to names like "Uncle Tom" to basically mudsling political candidates and other successful black Americans. I don't know what America you want to see us progress towards, but please count me out.

August 10, 2004 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Peter Parker said...

"The fact remains that many, many poor people, black or not, deserve the blame for their situation."

Yes, i am sure you understand poverty and blame, Kevin. Im sure you run into thousands of underprivleged people at Lehigh and truly understand their self-inflicted plight. But for those of us who are not so fortunate (to intimately know the unfortunate) the next time you bring out a sweeping generality like the above lets have some evidence. There are always people that cuase thier own disasters, but the tradgedies are of the people that have no means to rise out of the disasters they did not inflict upon themselves. The poor people of this country have not been given adequate opportunity nor assistance to better their standing. The ones that have risen from poverty are but exceptions to the rule as are those that cause their own poverty. Prove that wrong.

"I love how self-proclaimed "progressives" are the ones who revert back to names like "Uncle Tom" to basically mudsling political candidates and other successful black Americans."

Yes, progressives totally always revert to name-calling and mud-slinging i mean look at the the last, well damn, 3 presidential elections and perhaps 2002's off-year congressional elections. Thats your proof right there. G.H.W. Bush totally didnt revert to calling Clinton names and spreading lies about Clinton's past...oh wiat yeah he did, Newt Gingrich totally didnt call his democratic opponent a anti-christian bigot.....oh wiat yeah he did, Karl Rove didnt call John McCain a Manchurain Candidate right or tell South Carolinans that McCain had a black baby? oh waith yeah he did, Saxby Chamblis totally didnt call Max Cleland a friend of Saddam and Osama right? wrong again.

And progressives totally call succesful black people names, like all the time. Like that progressive that called Donovan McNabb a worthless quarterback whose only skill was being a black quarterback...i think his name was Rush Something...

"I don't know what America you want to see us progress towards, but please count me out."

I plan to. Just kidding, you can come to the party too. Vote Kerry '04.

August 10, 2004 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Let's get some things straight...

"I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,'' Limbaugh said. "There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

Those were the exact comments by McNabb, a far cry from your claims. As a Steelers fan who hates the Eagles and the Philadelphia media - I tend to agree with Rush. I never thought McNabb was that good, nor I might add did the city of Philadelphia on draft day when they booed McNabb! (just evidence of how Philadelphia is a terrible city)

Next, my reference to progressives resorting to name-calling etc. deserved more of an answer than pointing a finger at Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove. What I wanted was a defense of your characterization of Alan Keyes.

Finally, I reject the mindset that you have to be poor to "understand" their plight. How about the fact that I am "literate" and "aware" (setting you up to hammer me about something I'm sure). How about the fact that as a 20 year old I don't already have 3 kids. How about the fact that I choose to abstain from things that, though they feel good, would ultimately harm me. What about the ability to speak above a 3rd grade level, with clarity and purpose. You can't deny there is a gap in America with clear and distinct boundaries, one which is an absolute good and one which is an absolute wrong, can you? Were some people born into these lives? Yes. Is it their fault then? Perhaps not. Should other Americans "give" them the means to better themselves? To an extent. But how do we go about this? I would say drugs and alcohol play a large role, but progressives don't want to crack down on that, do they? They say the drug war has failed, and I agree, but I want to reform it and make it stronger, while many other "fortunate" people still want to be able to get their drugs easily.

I'm as close to 100% against welfare as you can get, but there are some ways we can create jobs and ALLOW the opportunity for many, many people to improve their lives. America's cities need to vastly improve infrastructure - roads, sewers, school buildings, even perhaps monorails... construction of which creates jobs, as does its future operation. The form of taxation I favor would give the government much more income, but I only favor this if it is put to good use. For the record, fighting war after war is not a good way to spend the money. Either is a welfare state. Improving infrastructure is a good use, as is medical research. The point is, we just can't be in the business of government hand-outs because honestly, has anything in that realm actually improved since FDR?

I've written enough, and unfortunately I doubt much of what I want to see happen will ever happen.

August 12, 2004 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger eigenwill said...

Keyes will be demolished. I suspect, as with his presidential campaigns, he's really running to improve his radio show ratings. The choice of Keyes is a little odd -- it suggests a desperate IL GOP leadership thought "we need a black d00d" and realized its options from within the state (e.g. Grubb) were unpalatable. This sort of tokenism is fairly common in the GOP, as with the strategic placement of minorities during the 2000 convention.

As for Mr. Kevin's comments: Firstly, welfare-as-economic millstone is a common meme, and the spread of such seemingly plausible memes/narrative frameworks without substantiating data is partially what has me increasingly disillusioned with political discourse. That said, it'd be nice to have some data, especially as I'd think mild redistribution would be stimulating due to marginal propensity to consume decreasing with income.

The dynamics of black poverty is far too complicated to address in a comment and deserves a series of posts. However, I note your concern with underclass culture, and note that it's not an ultimate, single cause of black poverty, and to consider it as such would be both fatalistic and naive. Both symptom and cause, perhaps, it's not the most readily addressable, either. Structural problems are more easily remedied.

August 15, 2004 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger eigenwill said...

Gah! Blogspot changed my zeroes in d-0-0-d to O's. Don't correct my parodic l33t-speak.

August 15, 2004 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Okay, everybody! Here I am, making my first remark on this blog! Mostly I just prefer to read, but I felt compelled to join in on this one, because I can't let comments like "many, many poor people, black or not, deserve the blame for their situation" slide on by me.

For Kevin, and anyone else who doesn't know: I've worked for Jumpstart, an AmeriCorps program, for the past two years. This program sends college students into urban, low-income areas to tutor neighborhood preschoolers. For anyone familiar with the Pittsburgh area, I spent my first year in Homewood, my second in the Hill District. In both preschools, 85% of the children I taught fell below the poverty line.

If the past two years have taught me anything, it is that the social, economic, and psychological factors contributing to an impoverished lifestyle begin very, very early. So early, in fact, that I find it entirely unfair to place blame squarely on the shoulders of the poor. As stated in eigenwill's post, this is a terribly complex issue, and I'm certainly not going to try for a full-scale dissertation here. Instead, I'll just address the issues that Kevin himself brings up.

"Finally, I reject the mindset that you have to be poor to "understand" their plight. How about the fact that I am "literate" and "aware"..."

I wouldn't say that your literacy skills equip you with a true understanding of low-income struggles. That's like my saying that because I read People magazine, I know exactly what it's like to be a rich and fabulous celebrity. I don't. And just because you read the newspaper, it doesn't mean that you really understand what it's like to be poor. You don't. And I don't either. But I do have more experience working with poor families than you seem to, so I'm going to go on.

"How about the fact that as a 20 year old I don't already have 3 kids."

Firstly, I have never once met a 20-year-old mother of three.
Secondly, it is true that poor mothers are also often young mothers. Poor teen parents are, generally, unprepared for and unskilled at the monumental task of raising a baby. As a result, that child grows up without the positive parental support (and, of course, without the good nutrition, clothing, and shelter that poor teens are unable to provide) that is crucial to healthy development. Well-adjusted, well-educated, well-raised teenagers don't just go around thinking, "Here I am, a competent, productive citizen of this country. I think I'll squander that by getting myself knocked up." No, that kind of mistake (especially amongst poor teens) is made by a person with a lifelong history of poor influences. A child with poor life skills (and, I might add, with the myopic sex "education" currently presented in public schools) is much more likely to make poor, uninformed decisions, and end up--you guessed it!--a teen parent.

"How about the fact that I choose to abstain from things that, though they feel good, would ultimately harm me."

What things? Sunbathing? Manicures (they're quite harmful to your nail bed)? Or are we talking about things like drinking, or drugs? In any case, poor people (and, yes, even poor people who are also addicts) are not simple, hedonistic creatures. They do not do things simply because they feel good with absolutely no regard for the consequences. We are not talking about a different and inferior species here. Come on.

"What about the ability to speak above a 3rd grade level, with clarity and purpose."

Actually, Kevin, your third grade education has little to no bearing on your vocabulary. A 1995 study by Betty Hart and Todd Risley showed that an average child in a low-income household hears one-half to one-third as many spoken words as an average child in a middle- to high-income household. This means that by the age of six, the low-income child will have a vocabulary of approximately three thousand words, while the high-income child will have learned twenty thousand words. Considering the brain's language acquisition skills peak around age six, there is already a huge gap in the scholastic capabilities of poor children versus higher-income children. The study goes on to prove that this gap grows greater and becomes more difficult to make up as time goes on.
In other words: in terms of academic readiness, poor kids are pretty much screwed from the get-go. You got lucky.

"...there are some ways we can create jobs...America's cities need to vastly improve infrastructure - roads, sewers, school buildings, even perhaps monorails..."

There are close to 35 million people living below the poverty line in the United States. Exactly how many roads do you think we need?

I hope I've been able to clarify my original point a bit, which is that poverty is not a simple problem with a simple solution caused by the simple people who live it. It is huge and complex. And, yes, impoverished adults sometimes make stupid decisions and do stupid things. But so do middle-class adults. And so do rich adults. Everybody does stupid, stupid things. The thing is, these stupid decisions tend to have much graver consequences for poor adults than for middle-class adults.

But, okay. Say you still think those poor adults made their own beds and they just refuse to stop lying in them. What about the children of those adults? Do you expect a preschooler to make it through eighteen years of hunger, ill-fitting hand-me-downs, violent environments, terrible schools, peer pressure, low self-esteem, and few to zero positive role models (to name a few factors) unscathed, let alone alive? Do you expect them to emerge as competent, well-adjusted, proactive adults? Or, worse, do you actually believe that that preschooler deserves to turn out the way he eventually will? That a four-year-old "deserves the blame" for showing up at school hungry, cold, mistreated, and misguided? I hope not. I don't. Not now, not ever.

Okay. This has gotten very long, and I've said what I needed to say, which is absolutely nothing about the topic of the original post written by everybody's favorite jolly brown giant, Aru--er--Peter Parker. If you made it this far, thanks for listening. Cheers!

August 15, 2004 at 11:12 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Disclaimer: Kevin is a long-time friend, and, of course, he very well knows that I think some of his beliefs are downright insane. He extends me the same courtesy. Indeed, our friendship is built upon these shared reciprocal beliefs.

Anyway. Kevin has posted at The Inner Circle that, at the very least, Peter Parker, Eigenwill, and Carrie, are "liberal word twisters and truth ignorers." Now, I'm not here to jump into this particular debate, but to announce the creation of a new LINKS section entitled "Crazy People." The Inner Circle will be the first one there. Unfortunately, they don't have comments, because some of the things they say (and Kevin is ten times saner than his comrades (haha Communist joke)) definitely need a reality check.

August 16, 2004 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


August 16, 2004 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger eigenwill said...

Sister Carrie's comment is ace! Interesting info on childhood cognitive development.

(Thankfully I have yet to be pillored for "pretentious" language here. In one paragraph, I used two bits of jargon -- Keynesian econ and comm/rhetoric/Richard Dawkins! -- that serve as convenient shorthand and aren't meant to snow Kevin or anyone else at all.)

Kevin suggests "privatization and vouchers." It's fairly common to believe that liberals/government/teachers' unions/insert obstructionists here are all that block the introduction of free market measures that would sweepingly defeat poverty. Consult textbook, introduce market features, watch invisible hand at work. Lather, rinse, repeat. If only it were that simple. I'm no kneejerk opponent of markets -- no, I'm quite appreciative of their information-aggregating abilities, and thought the terrorism futures market was a pretty neat idea. However, I'm highly skeptical that a solution that can be summarized in a single line (apparently) would sweep away so complex a problem, and a "conservative" should be as well.

However, I should note that I'm fairly open-minded (though still healthily skeptical) with regard to vouchers.

Interestingly, the NY Times today carries an article concerning the poor performance of charter schools relative to ordinary public schools.

August 17, 2004 at 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah there are def. some words or phrases I didn't know, but thanks to the handy-dandy dictionary.com any joe can make sense of a politicized blog. surgeon general's warning against reading blogs in the chrunched-over position with your eyes scanning back and forth across the screen 2-feet from your face for more than 15 minutues. can't you guys get out a newsletter via pony express or something? good discourse on all accounts, tho Arun taking shots at someone for going to Lehigh b/c he won't see the socially/economically downtrodden or ethnic minorities is a little below the belt. given ALL of our backgrounds (i'm guessing there are no rags-to-riches tales among the writers of these pieces, even if there are, we're still in the USA, where our poor are well-off in comparison to say...SUDAN) I think we could all count ourselves among the materially blessed of the world who all have a lot to learn concerning the current state of affairs in poor and minority communities. personal attacks never result in intelligent discourse. that's why i'll refrain from doing the same to certain undisclosed parties.

August 19, 2004 at 6:41 AM  
Blogger Amish said...

Sadly, national control of the Senate has overshadowed what matters most in the Obama-Keyes race - the interests of the people of Illinois. As an Illinoian, I wish the national leadership of the Republican Party would realize that Illinois is not Alabama. We don't want rich millionaries like Oberweis who spew anti-Latino hatred every time they go on air. We don't want neo-cons, like Keyes, who scream that their opponents "have a slave-holder mentality" for being pro-choice. (By the way, only 30% of Illinoians believe abortion is a critical issue in our society according to most polls.) We want a person from Illinois to represent Illinois. Obama is leading by 40 points in the latest Chicago Tribune poll and he will win on election day because the Illinois Republican party has shot down moderate Republicans like former governors Jim Edgar and Jim Thompson and replaced them with Henry Hyde-conservatives who think that spewing rhetoric is more important than focusing on Chicago's appalling drug situation, expanding O'Hare airport to make Chicago more competitive, bringing in more assistance to struggling Boeing (Chicago's newest big business company), and helping downsouth industrial workers who can't compete with workers in St. Louis and Nashville. Alan Keyes lost twice for Senate in Maryland; he'll lose even worse in Illinois.

September 1, 2004 at 9:38 PM  

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