Politics of Racial Division Coming to Indianapolis Permanently?

"Reverend" Al Sharpton

That collective groan you may have heard in the Indianapolis area the other day likely emanated from the city’s conservative community and hopefully every other rationally-minded citizen who cares about real racism.

In case you missed it, Reverend Al Sharpton, in town on Wednesday to protest alleged police brutality in the Brandon Johnson case, used the opportunity to announce his plans to open a headquarters for his National Action Network. This is supposedly a shot across the bow of Republican Mayor Greg Ballard, whom Sharpton has critized for his reluctance to meet with a local ministerial group on this issue of police brutality.

Admittedly, race relations in the Indianapolis area between the IMPD and the community aren’t exactly making folks feel all warm and cozy with each other. There have been several high profile incidents in the last year, including the Johnson case and a fake fight staged to bait an unknowing police officer. These and other incidents have apparently cemented the notion by some that an organization like NAN belongs here. I beg to differ.

First, why would something like this even be deemed necessary, considering the existence of groups like the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis? Shouldn’t they be taking the lead on this instead of relying on a nationally known and controversial figure like Sharpton? Could it be because the Concerned Clergy hasn’t exactly seemed up to the task?

Secondly, NAN’s history of alleged shady financial dealings doesn’t inspire my confidence. There’ve been allegations in the past, in the style of compatriot Jesse Jackson, that Sharpton has engaged in soliciting “donations” from some of the very corporations against which he’s threatened boycotts and protests. NAN has also been investigated for tax payment irregularities, though related charges were dropped in 2008.

Lastly, why do we want the controversy that seemingly flows from Sharpton like cops coming out of a donut shop? In my opinion, the only thing that Sharpton and his National Action Network are really all that good at is generating a little bit of cheap cash for themselves. Actually, now that I think about it, they might not even be all that successful at that, either. If recent news is anywhere near accurate, this situation may take care of itself.

I asked local talk radio host, WXNT‘s own Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, about his take on Sharpton’s organization possibly coming to town and he pretty much summed up what I was thinking. “The good thing about the NAN coming to town is that they will be paying rent.”


Loser Family First to Camp Out for Black Friday

Davenport Central

In a classic preemptive move, the Davenport family of St. Pete, Florida, have outmaneuvered the local populace to become the honorary “First Family of Black Friday”, as presented to them by the manager of the Best Buy store outside of which the ten-member family started camping on Wednesday at 10 a.m. There are currently more than 1000 Best Buy stores in the United States. Shockingly, no one else has yet been dumb enough to put themselves in the running for the prestigious award.

In a riveting and exclusive interview, Lorie Davenport was quoted as saying “We’re here really early this year because we’ve always been second, third and fourth and down the line. We’re tired of not being first and we figured we’ve put in six years, we want to be first.” Thank heavens that SOMEONE is putting forth the effort to pursue excellence in this day and age where that quality is seriously lacking in our society.

The family even had the foresight to plan ahead for including quality family time, showering, and eating. “So we’re rotating shifts according to work schedules and family time and when they need to shower and eat.” Thank heavens, because there’s nothing worse than being caught in a tent outside of a Best Buy after you’ve ingested a sack of cheeseless sliders from Krystal.

When asked about their plans for the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the Davenport clan was overheard saying that “Thanksgiving is a crap holiday. We’ve instead decided to celebrate by worshiping at the feet of the Consumerism gods.”

Unconfirmed rumors from the Davenport camp indicate the family has been approached with a lucrative endorsement deal from the makers of The Snuggie ®.

Failure Is an Option

Remember when Rush Limbaugh said the following?

I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.”  Somebody’s gotta say it.

The mainstream media, always salivating for a chance to excoriate the king of conservative talk radio, jumped on this statement like a politician on a stack of lobbyist cash. For what seemed like weeks, you couldn’t listen to the news or late night talk shows without hearing some pointed jest at the expense of Limbaugh or those associated with his cause. Why, Limbaugh of course had now joined the ranks of the unpatriotic, hadn’t he? It was a chance for all those leftists, once again, to use a quote by a well-known conservative to show just how un-American those neocons really are. After all, we know they really don’t want the best for America anyway.

Of course, what was actually said didn’t seem to matter. Put in its proper context, here’s more of what Limbaugh said (the transcript of the entire segment on his show is available here).

Before he was inaugurated the search-and-destroy mission had begun.  I’m not talking about search-and-destroy, but I’ve been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don’t want them to succeed.

Unsurprisingly, this part was mostly ignored. Limbaugh was not saying that he wanted our country to fail, suffer economic problems, experience setbacks in the war on terror, etc. What he was saying was that he hoped liberal policies, policies that he opposes and thinks are bad for the long term interests and welfare of America, to fail. This is something that all people who hold to certain political beliefs have in common. For instance, if I think drastically changing economic policy is going to be bad for us in the long run, I’m going to oppose that policy. It’s really not all that complicated a logical leap. Sure, there are some issues where there can be some middle ground and you can hope that those holding a slightly different view are correct but, on the bigger issues, there often isn’t a whole lot of wiggle room.

Now Senator Lisa Murkowski (Republican-AK) has put on her trusty pair of hip waders and put herself in the middle of the anti-context folks…

I will tell you, I am not one of those who wants Obama to fail. If he does well, that means the country’s doing well. We don’t have time as a nation to spend all of what we do blocking. We have got to figure out how we get to a point where we can be sitting around the table and talking about these difficult problems and advancing some solutions.

While I agree that we definitely need to be working with those who believe differently from us as conservatives, that doesn’t mean those of us who want liberal policies to fail want them to do so to cause harm to the country. We want the policies to fail because we strongly believe, with every fiber of our beings, that they are bad for the long term health of our great nation. On those things, we’ll fight tooth and nail for what we believe is right.

As far as “blocking” goes, since the Republicans now hold a strong majority in the House of Representatives, if something comes down the pike from the Democrats that I think is bad for the country then, yes, I want it blocked. Gridlock, as it’s often called, isn’t always bad. Divided government sometimes works out for the best of the country. We, as a people, need to be united in purpose and direction, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to oppose an ideology that you think is wrong and harmful.

Lastly, I question where some of these folks who complained about Limbaugh’s comments were when then President Bush was being raked over the coals on nearly a daily basis during much of his eight years in office? I think we already know the answer to that one.

Honor, Sanity, Fear, and the Continued Descent of CBS News

Earlier this year, after Glenn Beck held his Restoring Honor rally in Washington D.C. on 8/28, most media outlets estimated the crowd as being one of the largest gatherings in the area’s history. NBC News estimated the event drew 300,000. Others like Joe Scarborough of MSNBC and Sky News reported that the event may have been attended by as many as 500,000. The New York Post’s estimate was 300,000, while ABC News said it attracted more than 100,000. Others like NPR just said that the crowd was too large to estimate but that it was a “massive turnout”.

Jon Stewart / Stephen Colbert

On October 30th, comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held their counter-rally called “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear”. The estimates for this rally also proved it to be a rather large rally. Estimates ranged around 200,000 for the most part, with NPR, the New York Times, and the AP all estimating “tens of thousands” to the 200,000 figure. The AP was quoted as saying Stewart and Colbert “appeared to rival Beck’s rally in attendance.”

The photo at the top shows aerial pictures taken of both rallies, with Beck’s rally on the left and Stewart’s and Colbert’s on the right. The crowd size looks fairly close to me, though it’s possible the Stewart/Colbert rally had a slightly larger attendance. However, the number I really wanted to discuss was the CBS News estimate for both gatherings. For Beck’s rally, CBS lowballed it and claimed an analysis of the aerial photos showed only about 87,000 with a margin of error of 9,000. Out of the major news networks, theirs was by far the lowest estimate. However, their analysis of the photos taken from the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear came out to 215,000.

CBS News has a longstanding liberal bias, in my opinion, so it’s no wonder they lowballed the Beck rally numbers while inflating those for Stewart’s and Colbert’s rally. To be fair, though, I would have to say that the crowd size is close enough to warrant being considered a tie. Not that the two rallies were competing against one another. Well, Stewart’s and Colbert’s was certainly done as a counter-measure regardless of what they say but they still drew an extremely large crowd.

The descent of CBS News began, for me, during the 1988 Presidential campaign between Republican nominee George H.W. Bush and Democrat nominee Michael Dukakis. CBS News anchor Dan Rather attempted to ambush then Vice President Bush in a live interview on the CBS Evening News. Then, of course, Rather tried to subterfuge George W. Bush’s reelection bid in 2004 through the use of fake documents. Fortunately, he failed in both attempts and his career with CBS News came to a fairly abrupt end.

All this is to say, how can CBS News possibly be taken seriously with their crowd estimates from these two rallies, considering their history of bias against Republican or conservative politicians and pundits? Fortunately for all, their descent continues on a near daily basis as their evening newscast is perpetually the lowest or near lowest rated among the evening news broadcasts of the major networks. I’m thinking they should just replace Katie Couric with a talking monkey.

Note: A reader brought to my attention that the original photo at the top of this post may not have been correct, so I’ve replaced it with an updated photo.

You, the Voter: Lying or Misinformed?

Unemployment is better, the deficit is better, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or misinformed.

This is a quote from the husband of an acquaintance of mine on Facebook. During my discussion with the individuals involved in that thread, it became apparent that the intended inference from this quote is that anyone voting Republican is either purposely misleading other voters or just plain ignorant. While I agree that a large portion of voters don’t put much thought into their choices on election day, one thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that people are MORE informed than ever about who they are voting for. Yes, there are still the party loyalists who pull the proverbial lever for their party of choice, but it’s becoming more and more common to vote a split ticket and, in my opinion, that’s a good thing.

The fact of the matter is, both of the major parties have a standard caricature of a typical voter. The left often pictures a southern, uneducated white male, pulling the lever for the Republicans because of their racist, homophobic, and general hatemongering attitude. Then the “neocons” view the typical Democratic voter as being an inner city dwelling, Welfare collecting, military hating sissy. Neither extreme comes anywhere near approaching reality.

This comment and its ensuing discussion centered around an article from that bastion of unbiased sources, the Daily Kos.

Point number one is as follows:

Q: What was the average monthly private sector job growth in 2008, the final year of the Bush presidency, and what has it been so far in 2010?

A: In 2008, we lost an average of 317,250 private sector jobs per month. In 2010, we have gained an average of 95,888 private sector jobs per month. (Source) That’s a difference of nearly five million jobs between Bush’s last year in office and President Obama’s second year.

My guess is this is connected, in one way or another, with CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee’s recent White House presentation on the supposed resurgence of the job market here in the U.S. Unfortunately for leftists, it doesn’t quite tell the whole story, as usual. Notice that the numbers cited by the Daily Kos don’t include public sector numbers. Keith Hennessey, former White House economic adviser to President Bush, has put together an informative presentation of his own showing the other side of the story.

Regardless of whether you follow the numbers the Daily Kos would have you believe or Hennessey’s, unemployment is still basically hovering around the 10% mark and has been for nearly a year now. I’ve stated a few times recently and have heard several times in the media that I follow that unemployment is likely to remain at or near that level for the foreseeable future. This is confirmed by yet another source over at The Huffington Post, not my typical fountain of trusted information. Not only that but this same article also states that the unemployment numbers from the last two months have now been adjusted downward.

Q: What was the Federal deficit for the last fiscal year of the Bush presidency, and what was it for the first full fiscal year of the Obama presidency?

A: In FY2009, which began on September 1, 2008 and represents the Bush Administration’s final budget, the budget deficit was $1.416 trillion. In FY2010, the first budget of the Obama Administration, the budget deficit was $1.291 trillion, a decline of $125 billion. (Source) Yes, that means President Obama has cut the deficit — there’s a long way to go, but we’re in better shape now than we were under Bush and the GOP.

While this looks like good news on the surface, and it is if that number holds true, what they fail to tell you is that these numbers are often adjusted up, which means the number could be worse than at first glance. Considering the linked article above from The Huffington Post, this could be a real possibility if the numbers continue to head in the direction they indicate they are. That being said, if the slight reduction in the budget deficit holds, kudos to President Obama and his advisers. However, there’s a lot more work to be done and things certainly aren’t as rosy as they would have you believe.

Q: What was the stock market at on the last day of the Bush presidency? What is it at today?

A: On Bush’s final day in office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 closed at 7,949, 1,440, and 805, respectively. Today, as of 10:15AM Pacific, they are at 11,108, 2,512, and 1,183. That means since President Obama took office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 have increased 40%, 74%, and 47%, respectively.

As I argued in the Facebook discussion, I no longer hold out much hope that the stock market numbers really reflect the actual health of the economy in general. If we’ve learned anything over the last 15 years or so, it’s that all the “bubbles” are just waiting to deflate any real progress made by the market. Rumor has it that the housing bubble isn’t quite through with all its nastiness, either, so hold on to your hats.

Q: Which party’s candidate for speaker will campaign this weekend with a Nazi reenactor who dressed up in a SS uniform?

A: The Republican Party, whose candidate for speaker, John Boehner, will campaign with Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott this weekend. If you need an explanation why this is offensive, you are a lost cause.

I guess I’m a lost cause because I have trouble understanding why someone who is interested in engaging in historical reenactments should be a problem. If you’re going to be historically accurate in your reenactment, doesn’t someone have to play the part of the bad guy?

First off, what does this have to do with the first three points of the author’s article? It’s  got absolutely nothing to do with it other than having a chance to try to sucker-punch the opposition. I’m guessing the author is just grasping at straws, frustrated at his party’s likely impending doom on Tuesday and penchant for tossing that handy race card on the table at every opportunity. After all, why put forth the effort to simultaneously use more than two brain cells, when you can use that worn-out card and ungracefully back out of the discussion?

What say you, the voter?