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April 27, 2010


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minstrel hussain boy

palast gets to the heart of the issue here. he has a knack for that.

one of the very ugly things about arizona, is that in the midst of heart stopping natural beauty, bog simple human ugliness has flourished. arizona has a long history of "sundown" towns, where it simply wasn't safe for anyone not white, and preferably mormon to be after dark.

and, as usual, when dealing with issues of race and politics, what they are complaining about is not what the issue is.

along with all the other things, there are multiple investigations of maricopa county sherriff joe arpaio that run the gamut from garden variety graft and corruption to things where people have ended up dead.

his reaction to the investigations has been to arm more heavily and do what ever it takes to increase his local base of violent power.

it is also the case, and has been since reconstruction, (during the civil war arizona was as divided as the nation, the northern end of the state and the white mountain apache were union, the southern end of the state and the chiricauhua were rebels) it is about disenfranchisement of voters who don't vote with the power elites.

now, in a normal democracy the power elites might think "hey, i can't get these people to vote for me, maybe i should reconsider some of my cherished positions..."

nope. that would cause headaches and stuff. instead, figure out ways to keep them from voting.

hate that folks ended slavery? rather than fucking deal, pass a whole bunch of bullshit laws to get folks arrested (which has the added benefit of disenfranchisement) and start yourself up a prison farm.

when i was a little bitty baby my mama done rocked me in dat cradle
in dem ol' cotton fields back home...

white people miss them fields. the rest of us don't.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Palast makes some valuable points, but like most political commentary, he's just perceiving 'part of the elephant.' (I am always suspicious of "simple rational explanations" for complex problems. I get enough of these from the right.) His idea of 'simple political advantage' is probably a factor for some people -- and Brewer's fear of being Scozzafevaed is also a big factor. But for another slant, you should check in on Dave Neiwert's recent coverage -- and particularly today's profile of Russell Pearce. Neiwert is always one of the reliable reporters out there, and particularly on this end of the Far Right.

Without blockquoting a sample, I'll just mention that Pearce has a history of sending out e-mails from the National Alliance -- the same group that produced THE TURNER DIARIES -- that he is shown in several pictures 'working the crowd' with J.T. Ready, a prominent neo-Nazi who is shown in another picture in full Swastikaed 'glory,' and [okay, one quick quote]

Pearce's political career has been built on an obsessive effort to demonize, scapegoat, and attack Latino immigrants. One of his more noteworthy previous efforts was an effort to eliminate Hispanic outreach programs in Arizona schools, predicated on the phony "MEChA is racist" meme. He's also proclaimed that illegal immigrants have no rights under the Constitution

Given this history, this involves something a little more than just 'disenfranchising Hispanics because they might vote Democratic.' That's part of it too, yes, just not all of it.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

For another angle, the NYT SCOTUS Correspondent has an unusually, byt deservedly angry comment. Sample:

And in case the phrase “lawful contact” makes it appear as if the police are authorized to act only if they observe an undocumented-looking person actually committing a crime, another section strips the statute of even that fig leaf of reassurance. “A person is guilty of trespassing,” the law provides, by being “present on any public or private land in this state” while lacking authorization to be in the United States — a new crime of breathing while undocumented. The intent, according to the State Legislature, is “attrition through enforcement.”

And then there's Gene Robinson who is scathing.

Activists for Latino and immigrant rights -- and supporters of sane governance -- held weekend rallies denouncing the new law and vowing to do everything they can to overturn it. But where was the Tea Party crowd? Isn't the whole premise of the Tea Party movement that overreaching government poses a grave threat to individual freedom? It seems to me that a law allowing individuals to be detained and interrogated on a whim -- and requiring legal residents to carry identification documents, as in a police state -- would send the Tea Partyers into apoplexy. Or is there some kind of exception if the people whose freedoms are being taken away happen to have brown skin and might speak Spanish?

This might be just the wedge to really split the sane Republicans from the Tea Partiers.

Sir Charles

The GOP is making a bad, bad bet. It might work for an election cycle or two, but after that the deluge.

Inspirational quote from one of my clients today --"sure those Mexican guys work their asses off now -- but make them citizens and they'll be just as useless as the rest of us."

big bad wolf

not as useless as me. i guarantee it


Sir C, that's effing hilarious. Sad, terribly true, and hilarious (she tapped onto her laptop while leaning back on down pillows and sipping her tea).

Prup, obviously it's a complex situation and this is not the sole story--that's what I said right up front, in my criticism of the media--but I think the GOP's history with voter disenfranchisement speaks for itself. And the numbers involved in the Florida voter purge alone were staggering. The good news is that they really are circling the drain, as C points out, and while they may pull a few victories out of the midterms, I have a feeling we're going to see a rapid decline in Hispanic Republicans. I know we have in Florida. The Cuban block was reliably conservative, back in the day; now, not so much. Seriously not so much.

bbw, I promise: I am more useless than you. The only things more useless than I--this past few days, anyway--are lying on their backs at the bottoms of ponds.


Prup--this: This might be just the wedge to really split the sane Republicans from the Tea Partiers is spot-on.

You want to say to them, Wow, are you guys *that* stupid as to alienate (ha!) the fastest-growing demographic in America?

But then you realize the smartest thing to do when someone is busily slicing himself to ribbons is to shut up and stand out of the way of those flailing knives.

big bad wolf

D. someday we should have a useless contest.

i lost the drinking contest to SC, but i didn't know going in that he was 6'8'' and had a hollow leg

Sir Charles


Of course we have to blame Obama -- if he didn't appoint Napolitano to DHS, this piece of crap would never have become law. (I kid, but I am afraid a couple of his cabinet appointments have been politically disadvantageous in the extreme.)


You should have seen me in Vegas. I was pretending the drinks were animals and my stomach was Noah's Ark -- two old fashioneds, two glasses of merlot, two beers, two caipirinhas, two vodka martinis, two glasses of champagne -- I started at 6:30 PM and ended at 6:30 AM. All in all, truly scary for a man of my tender years.

I was pretty useless on Sunday!

kathy a.

george will is out of his pinched little mind.

big bad wolf

SC because of your night to day work neither shall cease. as was said three or more days ago vegas it's business people


Holy shit, Sir C, just reading your cocktail lineup made my stomach lurch, and it's only got coffee in it right now.

That combination would have rendered me dead, or wishing for death. More than two glasses of wine, these days, and I'm pathetically slow-moving and queasy the next day.

Yeah, George Will is insane. I can't even listen to him speak, he's so proudly oblivious and stunningly wrongheaded.

generic viagra

Although some object that this infringes on states' rights, the Supreme Court has upheld the practice as a permissible

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Although some object that this infringes on states' rights, the Supreme Court has upheld the practice as a permissible

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

First, can someone block our pathetic little content spammer with the hiccups? (Or at least remind him that viagra does no good if you haven't reached puberty yet.)

On more important matters, Steve Benen has a great piece today on Republican reaction to the Arizona law. Several notable Republicans have criticized it, including Tom Ridge, Jeb Bush, Meg Whitman, and even Tom Tacredo!! But, as Steve points out, they are all currently out of office.

Only two current Republican office holders have, so far, come out publicly against the law, Lindsey Graham and Lincoln Diaz-Balart. ( is keeping track of the various responses, and some of the comments from such as Bilbray, Booehner, Inhofe and Issa should be circulated through any community that cares about civil liberties.

In fact, there is a great piece in Politico detailing the Republican dilemma and ducking the issue. (Even Mad Michelle has been uncharacteristically quiet on it, and for the first time concedes that 'not having sudied something' is reason to shut up about it.)

And Brewer's opponent was leading her by 20 points among Hispanics. He now leads her by 46 points.

Can someone put up a video of the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" in honor of the Republicans?


Marco Rubio has also expressed reservations about the law (carefully ensconced within robust criticism of the Obama administration's inaction on immigration, of course).


And Brewer's opponent was leading her by 20 points among Hispanics. He now leads her by 46 points.

I guess she's/they're just going to have to double down, or quadruple down, on their efforts to get those brown-skinned people kicked off the voting lists.

kathy a.

oddjob, fabulous link!

i'm actually all set for a trip to AZ, since i haven't gotten around to taking my passport out of its secret pocket in my purse. but darn, i've also advised arizona that i won't be visiting anytime soon -- only wish i'd thought to include "je ne sais quoi" in my note.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

And Arizona goes on. Rather than link to it, I'm quotig the heart of a Think Progress piece:

Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Arizona Department of Education “recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English”:

State education officials say the move is intended to ensure that students with limited English have teachers who speak the language flawlessly. But some school principals and administrators say the department is imposing arbitrary fluency standards that could undermine students by thinning the ranks of experienced educators. [...]

“This is just one more indication of the incredible anti-immigrant sentiment in the state,” said Bruce Merrill, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University who conducts public-opinion research.

But many schools in the state still have a significant number of teachers who are native Spanish speakers. At one school, state auditors complained that teachers pronounced “words such as violet as ‘biolet,’ think as ‘tink’ and swallow the ending sounds of words, as they sometimes do in Spanish.” The principal at that school acknowledged that teachers “should speak grammatically correct English” but said they shouldn’t be punished for having an accent.

Teachers that aren’t up to par “may take classes or other steps to improve their English,” and if they still aren’t fluent enough for the state, they will be fired or reassigned.

Adding insult to injury, the Arizona legislature passed a bill yesterday outlawing ethnic studies programs:

HB 2281 would make it illegal for a school district to have any courses or classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity “instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

It also would ban classes that “promote resentment toward a race or class of people.”

The measure is directed at the Tuscon Unified School District’s popular Mexican-American studies department, which school officials say provides only “historical information” — not “ethnic chauvanism” as the state school superintendent has alleged. One state lawmaker tried to show how ridiculous the legislation is by proposing that schools be barred from teaching about 9/11 because it would result in hatred toward Arab-Americans; the measure failed.

Words fail me.

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