James's blog

Making the progressive case

Stand back. Little Johnny Hood (John Locke Foundation) is thinking again . . . which means some kind of cranial explosion or meltdown is imminent. And you definitely don't want to get slimed when it happens.

Today's musings start with a sweeping reconstruction of modern American history to assert that:

There was little progressive about Progressivism, not really much new in the New Deal (it was warmed-over European collectivism), and certainly nothing great about the Great Society.

Hood's predictability as a wingnut reactionary would be funny if it weren't so sad. Because when all is said and done, he continually reveals the rightwing agenda for what it is: an all out assault on the very notion of common good.

Old Reliable & Alito

Every morning I schlep to the curb to pick up the N&O and the New York Times.

The Times I read almost cover-to-cover.

With the N&O, I usually scan the front page for grammatical errors before I slip to the City/State section in hope of finding something of substance. Mostly I'm disappointed, though Under the Dome continues to have worthy tidbits from time to time.

In occasional moments of weakness, I'll also look at the N&O's editoral pages. If there's a Rick Martinez column, I close the paper. My life is tedious enough without having to endure his predictable nonsense.
re
For a fully insufficient reason, I read the N&O's editorial on ScAlito this weekend. Here's the part that took my breath away:

War on Stupidity

When things get slow in blogland, I often find my mind drifting from here to there and back again, settling on the meta-issues, thinking big thoughts (or so they seem). My thoughts lately have gotten stuck on the idea of stupidity, which I take to mean an amalgam of ignorance, bad judgment and self-defeating decisions.

My wife hates the word. Using it, she argues, implies a kind of intellectual elitism and arrogance that is off-putting. That is to say, stupid people don't like being considered stupid.

Point taken.

One real cost of stupidity is the largely free reign it gives to those who profit from exploiting others . . . others who may be less able, less informed, less comfortable with complexity, or just flat out more gullible.

Extremism

I've been around market research for 25 years and often think in terms of scales.

How often do you think in terms of scales?

Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 means you never think in terms of scales and and 7 means you always do.

See what I mean.

Extremism

My scale of interest today is extremism . . . because I've been wondering lately whether I am one (an extremist) or not.

There's no doubt I'm an extremist to somebody.

This question got raised when I snarked at Targator about being so reasonable. And just to be clear, I adore reasonableness . . . and Targator is as good as reasonable gets.

Media-ocrity

As a J-school grad, I have a special interest and growing disdain for the so-called mainstream media. Under self-imposed pressures for higher profits, most media outlets have become parodies of real news organizations . . . especially local television news.

According to an N&O story today, nearly 20% of Triangle residents actually watch local tv news each week, and 42% of everyone watching television at ll pm are spending their time with the local news shows.

This is really sad.

I confess to watching local television news only once or twice a month, mostly to remind myself how pathetic and trivial local news has become. I can only hope people aren't really watching this trash for the real news, but rather to find out whether they'll need an umbrella the next morning.

John the Hood must be smokin' crack

I stop by the Carolina Urinal regularly to see what our local wingnuts are up to . . . and as usual, they're out of their frigging minds. This little paragraph was especially amusing:

So, if you haven’t attended a John Locke Foundation event lately, or at all, now is the time to seize the opportunity. Whatever your tastes and location, it’s likely you’ll find something to your liking – just check the online event calendar regularly for upcoming dates.

Whatever your tastes you'll find something to your liking? My tastes are for intellectual honesty, integrity, personal freedom, reverence for the common good.

Lying liars and the lies they lie about

If you haven't read Al Franken's book about the tsunami of lies coming from the so called mainstream media, don't bother. It's certainly on point, but it's woefully outdated. Because in the brief period since its publication, the miasma of lies spread by wingers, media monopolies, the Republican congressional leadership and little King George has completely eclipsed anything examined and reported in Al's book.

Free speech flare up

Wonder of wonders. The Pope-a-Dope Center has sponsored a new poll that finds free speech restricted on UNC campuses. These wingnuts are so predictable it's like deja vu over and over and over again.

Aren't these the same jerks who plant students in classes to snitch on faculty that may be contaminating virgin minds with the horrors of progressive thought? Aren't these the same people who single out faculty members they disagree with for ridicule and harrassment?

The center goes on to say:

“UNC should treat this report the same way it would treat a report saying that there were hazardous conditions at many campuses,” Leef said. “It should act now, rather than waiting for trouble to develop.”

Competition cure-all?

I never expect much thoughtfulness from North Carolina's business publications, and the Triad Business Journal is no exception. But this lame analysis about the role of competition in driving down healthcare costs is laughable. Like much shallow thinking, it starts with self-serving generalizations, which it then stretches to ludicrous proportions.

Employers and insurers are increasingly pushing "consumerism" as a possible solution to high health care costs. They argue that consumer-driven health plans will lead individuals to be more cost conscious when seeing a doctor or going to a hospital.

Good for bidness

Jack Betts does a nice job today in his Charlotte Observer column on the 1898 Wilmington Race riots . . . highlighting the business-led conspiracy campaign for white supremacy in North Carolina.

In December, the Wilmington Race Riot Commission -- created by the 2000 legislature -- produced a 600-page draft report that documents how white business leaders and Democratic Party officials launched a duplicitous campaign to throw blacks out of office in Wilmington and replace them with whites.

When it was over, the federal government had done nothing to stop the violent overthrow of a legally elected Republican municipal government. Nor did it bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of an unknown number of black citizens, wounding of many others, burning of a black newspaper, firing of black workers or the running out of town of a number of black leaders. Barely a year later, the state adopted a new voting law that effectively disenfranchised most black voters and many poor whites as well, depriving a major portion of the state's population of the right to vote for much of the 20th century.

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