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January 26, 2012


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jeanne marie

And the audacity to call those who want a fair paying stable job, a decent home, and financial security ENVIOUS of the obscenely rich is, well, obscene.

Not quite parallel, but close. I remember being told I had "penis envy" because I demanded to be treated the same as my male co-workers (circa 1981). As if . . . ha!

big bad wolf

steve jobs was beautiful, man. he was, like, so into design and, like, beauty, and like if you got it, you had, you know, like, a sense of beauty, cause a lot of people don't and they'll buy any old thing and you were cool if you bought beauty. well, i mean you still are cause you're not dead, like steve. that's too bad, but it happens. someday there'll be an app to prevent that, probably one that kills a worker in an overseas apple plant so that you, the kind of person, who appreciates, like, beauty and cool stuff and fake zoos and buildings and plays vocabulary games even when some authority figure is laying a trip on you, can live forever, which is what a person with enough sense to appreciate, for a price, beauty should be able able to do. apple is beautiful and you know old industry, they were ugly and made boxy things and stuff no one wanted like steel and appliances and made pollution near us instead of near other people who don't mind it cause, well, they don't get beauty. plus steve jobs helped pixar and that's really cool. cause if those movies weren't animated (and they are beautifully animated) they'd be really hokey and we'd make fun of them for, like, being schlocky and sentimental, which is way uncool in real people, but like in fish or rats is great.

so lay off steve

Sir Charles


It's those teachers making $50,000 a year and wanting health benefits and pensions who are the greedy ones. And yet also envious.


Ha! (I felt guilty listening to my ipod tonight while walking the dog -- but I listened to McMurtry, so it counteracted that.)


'The hero of the Democratic Party is and should be the ordinary guy who turns a wrench every day to support his family, the nurse pulling a twelve hour shift to care for the ill, the union organizer working to bring voice and dignity to those who toil, the cop on the beat, the teacher in the classroom.'



This was wonderfully well said. Thank you.

Lance Mannion linked to your blog a little while ago, and I've very much enjoyed reading it every day. Keep up the good work, I'm very much in sympathy with your point of view on things, and you're a fine writer.

Sir Charles


Thank you. And welcome.

big bad wolf

the ways in which we are implicated and in which we implicate ourselves are deeply troubling. to me, the technology of the ipod is worth paying full price for. bring that work home. since they won't i may have to revert entirely to vinyl and cds. we screw ourselves over and over and over and the walmarts (tacky) and apples (cool), though we pretend they are wildly different take full advantage of that.

jeanne marie

bbw - yes, sadly

sc - the issue at its core is about power

Paula B

There's nothing simple about the simple life. In fact, it's not possible to live a simple life in this country, even up here in the woods where people raise their own food, make their own music, live off the grid with thousands of dollars invested in equipment sitting on their roofs so they don't have to give that money to the electric company. That simple life is the stuff of dreams, the bill of goods the libertarians and the Ron Pauls are trying to sell. It's bunk. Attractive, nostalgic bunk but bogus, nonetheless. Even worse, the right wing is selling it to the masses for all the wrong reasons.
BBW, we ARE implicated and you're right, we should be troubled.

kathy a.

it's about power. and it's about money. BBW, excellent rant(s) above.

low-tech cyclist

We need a party for those who work for a living, a party that will shape policies that honor that work and don't view it as a disposable commodity.

Too bad we can't tattoo that on the arms of every Democratic legislator in this country. Too many of 'em seem to forget that, forget that this is what it used to mean to be a Democrat, and damned well should still mean, if the party is to mean anything.

Because the other party can at a minimum give lip service to the causes they used to be against, like equal rights for blacks and women, and they'll eventually get around to forgetting they were ever the party that fought, tooth and nail, equal rights for gays.

But they - or, more pointedly, the relative handful of people whose interests the other party is all about serving - will always, at heart, be about treating the American workers, the American consumers, the American homeowners and householders, as disposable commodities. They don't give a shit about us except to the extent that we serve to make them richer and more powerful, and when we no longer serve to advance their aims, they'd be perfectly happy to see us put on an ice floe and shoved out to sea.

So we can rejoice in the progress that minorities and women and gays have made in this country, but we should remember that that only happens because it only threatens the 0.1%'s useful idiots in the other party, and not the movers and shakers themselves. We can be allowed those gains. In lieu of gains that would mean a more equitable distribution of wealth and power - because the two always go hand in hand - between them and the rest of us.

The essential task of any movement that would call itself 'progressive' is to fight the battle to ensure that the balance of power is such that working men and women are on something at least within shouting distance of an even footing with the corporations and the exceedingly wealthy people who can, as things stand now, buy and sell legislators by the gross.

I remember when a Democratic Presidential candidate said this:

"For too long, those who play by the rules and keep the faith have gotten the shaft, and those who cut corners and cut deals have been rewarded. People are working harder than ever, spending less time with their children, working nights and weekends at their jobs instead of gong to PTA and Little League or Scouts, and their incomes are still going down. Their taxes are going up, and the costs of health care, housing and education are going through the roof. Meanwhile, more and more of our best people are falling into poverty -- even when they work forty hours a week.

"Our people are pleading for change, but government is in the way. It has been hijacked by privileged, private interests."

Even though he won, and was President for eight years, those words are even more true now than they were then. That's the scary part.

It is the duty of those of us who consider ourselves progressives to turn that around somehow. We don't know how, but we have to figure it out, to find a way and ultimately make it happen.


I was driving home yesterday with one of my best friends at work (a pediatrician), a very honorable man who works very hard to do the best he can by his patients. He also has personally seen the ugly side of our underfunded, poorly coordinated and often demeaning mental health system recently for reasons I won't go into. We were talking about the upcoming election, and his comment was that this election represents a choice point for what we're going to be as a society, that we need to decide if "we're going to take care of each other, or just let people struggle and suffer," (those weren't his exact words, I was busy trying to keep us from getting killed by rush hour traffic on I-5, but that's close), and I agreed. That really is what this election is about.

paula b

Thank you, l-tc! You too, SC and BBW. In spite of all the crap going down in tonight's debate, I'll go to sleep inspired by your words.?

kathy a.

i'm re-reading some molly. this time, bushwacked. but pick up any molly book, or pull up a random column of hers -- chances are she was beating the drum on an issue of relevance.

just because she didn't live to see her work done, that doesn't mean we are without substance to carry forward. we just have to keep moving. every one of us can do that.


My comments seems to be accepted but then dissappear.

This is a simple test to see if it happens again.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

KN: Copy your comment -- keep it in memory, and once your comment is seemingly accepted, hit f5. If it is still there, relax, if not, close the site, reopen it, and paste your original comment. It doesn;t always work, but at least 2 out of 3 times it will.

If not, 'Lather, rinse, repeat.'


I'm trying to remember which pol coined the term "ownership society," 'cause I think that's when the scam really began. Corporations used the phrase to cancel pensions and replace them with 401(k) programs, everyone would be a shareholder, and we'd all live happily ever after.

And it's continued. But that only got the professional class's money, so now, since their pensions are already gone, it manifests as "privatize Social Security" in order to put the working class's bucks into the financial sector's pockets. Then it can securitize even more esoteric things and destroy the world entirely next time around.

Phil Perspective

I remember back in 1984 when Gary Hart tried to make the case that it was the entrepreneur who was the hero of the Democratic Party and I remember thinking fuck no, it isn't.

Was Gary Hart an early DLC'er?

Who said that? I hope it wasn't Clinton.


I'm trying to remember which pol coined the term "ownership society,"

I don't know who coined it, but Shrub, Cheney, and others from that administration were fond of using it.

Privatizing Social Security is an idea that's been knocking around since sometime before 1994. I can remember Speaker-To-Be Gingrich musing aloud about doing a partial version of that during the autumn of '94 (during a press conference not long after the election where they finally won a majority in the House for the first time in 40+ years).

Yes, Gary Hart was an early DLC'er.

Sir Charles

I am down in Knoxville Tennessee getting ready to go speak a union membership about why their future pension benefits had to be cut -- pretty much because of the wizards on Wall Street who want to have a shot at their Social Security benefits too.

It would be hard to overstate how violent my opposition to Social Security privatization is. And the loss of real pensions for most workers is one of the great wealth grabs of all time. The 401(k) is for most people a bill of goods.

kathy a.

yes yes yes. and molly was talking about the loss of 401(k) funds in the context of enron, early in the shrub reign, well before the financial collapse we are currently enduring.

kathy a.

privatizing is code for "let's just take that off your hands the fast way."

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Y'know kathy, I think we are lucky that Molly came along before the blogosphere. She had to put her columns out for all to see, to challenge, to think about. It earned her hate mail and agita sure, but it also meant she could be influential -- because there's nothing influential about convincing people what they already believe -- no, it;s nice to give them someone who speaks their thoughts so eloquently, it's encouraging to have her there. But in the blogosphere -- these days -- you don't get read by your opponents unless they are there for attack purposes.

Sie Charles is, rightfully and righteously angry at the very thought of SS privatization, something I don't see anyone here arguing with. If he included mention in it to his union audience, maybe they understood why the parallel was so strong.

But those voters out there who hear about the idea, hear it presented plausibly, they don't know what we know, what Sir Charles knows, what those union guys may have realized. They simply aren't being 'greedy hypocritical bastards out to steal from the workingman.' They aren't trying to screw anyone, or 'serve their corporate masters' -- who they may hate as much as we do. And even if they identify them differently and wrongly. they know somebody is out there trying to screw them.

Now this has, for some weird reason become a difficult concept, but they are not going to hear the idea -- espoused by someone they (sadly and wrongly) trust -- sit down, apply serious analysis based on facts they either don't have or don't see as relevant, and understand its flaws, and reject it. (If they had the knowledge and the critical thinking skills to do that on their own, they never would have fallen for it in the first place.)

No, they'll hear the original argument, nod, "That sounds like it makes sense," not challenge it -- and don't look down on them, everyone of us does the same from time to time -- but begin parroting the original argument to their friends -- who accept it because the friends accept them as 'people who know what they are talking about.'

They will, that is, unless they are led, firmly, intelligently, simply (but not consdescendingly) through just why it is so awful an idea. We have writers in the blogosphere who can do that, who can touch both their minds and their emotions, making them not just know but feel how bad it is -- and hopefully getting them so angry at the person who gave them the idea that they'll bdegin questioning other things he's said and they've taken for granted.

Only they aren't coming here to find their answers -- and if they tried, they might run into a discussion like this, where everybody knows everybody else has the facts and arguments down pat, so we can just state how awful it is. Right for us, not helpful for a genuine, undecided lurker.

So if we're going to reach them, we've got to 'think outside the box' and I mean that literally, outside the box we are reading these words on. I've got a way, a way in which a couple of us, at least can be useful -- and, even before we see if we can actually get it going, I'll have an 'assignment' for each of you to help me gather the information that will be needed to get started -- for whoever takes it over.

But that's for another post -- later tonight, if possible.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

[Okay, let me start by repeating something. If this begins to move one millimeter off the idea and information-gathering stage, someone else will have to take it over. I'm not shy, will gladly take credit -- by name -- for the idea, will work as an unpaid consultant -- hey, someone wants to get me something on my wish list, I won't complain -- or even as a volunteer clerical worker if I can do it from here. But nobody wants me anywhere near the helm once the boat is moving, those skills I lack, and I can't even afford to be involved with the money -- even if someone trusted me, I'm honest, just incompetent and sloppy -- and confuse a Medicaid office that kicked us off once because a friend has her checking account 'in trust for' Emily -- meaning Em gets it if the friend dies -- and they counted it as an asset we had. No need to confuse them even more.]

Okay, so here's my plan. It's simple, but it is the most expensive of the four plans I'll be rolling out over the next few days or so. This one needs outside backing -- and the lawyers can tell me what legal hoops would be needed to create an entity behind which this will be done.

I want to find four bloggers with the following characteristics: they are good writers, they are capable of doing the explanations necessary rather than assuming their audience knows more than they actually do -- and who can treat the audience with respect while 'correcting' them, who can be counted on to meet deadlines and stay within word limits. Oh, and who can write knowledgably and interestingly on sports as well as politics.

Okay, we set up an entity, "Bloggers for Economic Justice' or whatever. That entity buys -- and pays for in advance, which is why we need some pretty big start-up funding -- one year's worth of quarter- or half-page weekly ads in the sports section of small newspapers throughout the country -- and I'd hope we'd start with a number in 3 figures to create a buzz.

Each ad would be a column -- an idea that once was very popular but which has gone out of style -- divided approximately 2/3 politics, 1/3 sports. The four bloggers would rotate -- yes, I'd love the ads to be daily, but that makes the start-up even more scary -- and each one would be encouraged to make his column as factual, but also as witty and personal as he can make it. That's not a universal trait, but there's a DC lawyer who can do a great job of it -- and even his crowded schedule might be able to fit in one column a month. (Well?)

We'd set up a web site where the columns would be stored -- and where there would be specific informatio and discussion related to the topic, not linked to but actually readable on-site. (And there would be the same for the sports commentary.) And we'd offer a place for bloggers to pitch in -- but let's not act like a PBS station that last day of fundraising, always about to go under. We'll tell them we have the funding at least to keep us going, but that their contributions would help us expand to more papers -- and would give them a chance to be part of this.

Okay, what do you think?

And I said i have an assignment for you. As soon as it is convenient, I'd like any of you who are willing to call and simply get the price for such an ad -- weekly for a year, sports page or pages -- or near if necessary -- and paid for in advance. Let's find out what we're looking at in terms of money.

I have some ideas for other possible bloggers -- in some case I have no idea if they know sports at all -- including David Safier or AzBlueMeanie (from Blog for Arizona), YellowDog (from Blue in the Bluegrass) and even Roy Edroso -- if his professional duties didn't prohibit him from taking part. I'd love to get Desert Beacon -- and have a possible contact to her -- but besides the question of sports, she tends to be at her best in posts longer than my comments. Don't know if she could do her magic in confined spaces.

Again, well?


Wow Prup. That was rapid-response spam. But you know, maybe it demonstrates the point. Times are tough and folks are in a world of hurt. Maybe 'home repair seattle' has an underwater mortgage, no work lined up in the near future and a kid who'd like to register for classes spring quarter and has used up his part-time job savings.

And if you've a plan to pull political action out of the blogosphere, I'm all ears. Frankly, I figure if corporations are people, so could be blogs. One might run a virtual campaign, get put on the ballot and govern without ever needing to go out and press the flesh. I say, a PAC for you and Sir C. Why not?

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

By now you've seen it. 3 more coming.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Before wheeling those out (again, I introduced them in the 'It's Mittens!" thread), I want to make two preliminary comments.

First, forget there's a Presidential race happening.

Seriously. The professionals should have hat well in hand, and, barring some total catastrophe that we can't plan for or prevent, or an act of incredible stupidity on Obama's part, he should be planing his second inauguration already, and rightly so.

In fact, this will work against us. As soon as it becomes obvious that it will be a blowaway Goldwater-type trouncing, people are going to start wondering if they need to go to the polls. (We're already facing a much more severe drop off from 2008 of people -- white and black -- who wouldn't ordinarily have voted but who wanted to be part of the 'election of America's first black President' -- than we seem to expect.) This is going to hurt us down-ballot, unless we can give these people other reasons to vote. And that means attacking Congressional Candidates and the Republican Party as a whole.

And don't expect 'coattails.' Every Democratic Presidential Candidate since at least Dukakis ran away from his party -- or vice versa. Why will this change?

Then leave the whole economy to the pros, or other bloggers with solid credentials.

Why give Republicans the chance to ask 'why do you know so much more about it than...'? We have an issue we are much better suited to fight for, and one we know our conflict-avoiding 'Prince of Post-Partisanship' won't go near, nor will the Party pros or most of their backers. Fortunately these are mostly inexpensive or even free of financial costs.

Our issue is the bigotry of the Republican Party, the homophobia, the racism, the anti-Hispanic bigotry (not anti-illegal immigrant, these people don;t give a damn about Irish or Russian or even Japanese illegal immigrants, just the ones whose name ends in z -- and if they've been in the country for generations, well, that's what they claim, let 'em prove it) etc.

And no, because the Congressmembers keep on getting reelected, that doesn't mean their constituents go along with their bigotry. Even in rural districts most people cast their votes without knowing specifics of their Representative's record, usually, just because of the letter after his name. At least some of them will be so shocked they'll either stay home or even consider voting for the Democrat -- I'd argue, even more if he's a true Democrat and not a crypto-Republican.

More later, but I promised Em a tv show before supper -- we have a weird schedule, pinned to Kittenz' insulin shots.


Oh Sir C. Ya threw the poor guy/gal into the spam bin. He/she should have waited 'til the wee hours to drop in. :)

Prup. I cross posted so I missed round 2. But since it's Friday night...until morn.


Thanks for the tip Prup, I'll see if I can make it work.

Your idea expressed above is kind of interesting but why newspapers? There are plenty of guerilla marketing strategies that might work better. And be a lot cheaper. The standard method involves a URL in a signature line like we can invoke here if we want.

I get the sports connection and would gladly volunteer to submit an occasional coumn but the only sport I know anything about (which is not actually a sport at all) is mountaineering, rock climbing, and alpinism.

SC - I can't guess how many of the proletariat are actually aware of the way this crisis was engineered or how many have any clear concept of who is actually responsible. The simple fact is that it is extremely tempting to resort to demagogary to get the point across and perhaps, that would be the right thing to do under the circumstances. Fight fire with fire so to speak.

But I am not entirely convinced. One would think that with the right rhetoric, it would be possible to convince union members to vote en-bloc on one or several issues. But that is just a surmise, I have no direct knowledge.

Of one thing I am fairly sure, imbalances of the degree we see today are not sustainable. That implies a number of different possibilities that are difficult to assess. Except perhaps for one. The ultra rich have come to think of themselves as totally immune from the effects of the greater world's tribulations. But I am reminded of the adage, you don't have to be smart to be rich. The ultra rich, by virtue of their hubris are actually hastening their own downfall in the context of issues such as global warming and peak oil. From my perspective, both of those issues are alread beyond redemtion. When the chaotic results occur, the moneyed elites will know retribution.

To a certain extent I am a proponent of the philosophy of sooner rather than later. That is to say, if you have a parasite living in your foot, it is more practical to have it carved out than to wait until it has a chance to colonize your brain or liver.

I think I just suggested a rightful coinage, not original in any sense but not recently used. Parasite is apt when applied to the 1%.

Now let's see if this works....

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

[My comments' turn as TP's Early Morning snack. Let me try splitting it -- the italicized cat story -- which took place an hour ago -- and then the response to KN.]
[Pause to catch my breath, but I just helped with Kittenz' shot and lactulose squirt. The guy may be 16 years, 18 lbs, and diabetic, but he's still a cat and Em hasn't stopped laughing at the games he put me through. She calls him my 'personal trainer.' Sometimes he just comes for his shot, sometimes... His favorite trick is to get me to carry him to Em's bed -- shot taking place -- and just as I put him down and am swinging myself next to him -- once just as I was crossing my legs -- he zooms off the bed, and then begins to saunter out of the room. He moves slowly, casually until I get off the bed and get about a foot behind him, then he switches to trot and its off to the races. He has to get to either of two boxes before I pick him up. Sometimes I let him win, but this time I was determined I'd get to him.

He's a cat.

I lost.


Oh, and he actually defeated himself. This is a cat who loves rituals and demands them. One of them is that I sing "Eh, Cumpari' to him between his squirt and the shot, while Em is filling the needle -- I don't know why he decided it was 'his song' first time I sang it. I'm supposed to get four verses in, at least, and I;ve even written a seventh, "zooma,zooma bass viola" that I use sometimes. But tonight getting him back took so long there was no time for the song. Oh well, he'll get it at bedtime, when he begins by sharing my pillow.]

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

[it worked!! Another trick to try, even if the p-ost isn't that long.]
Anyway, whenever I think about a campaign involving politics, issues, ideas, or changing people's minds, I think print. Print is the only medium that produces things, actual objects you can carry with you, that you can discover on an empty seat at a bus station and read (because "you have nothing better to do"), that you can hand to your seatmate or carpool mate -- or mate -- and see the reaction, discuss it, even actually point to a line on the page to make your point.

You can't fast forward it, you don't have to click on a mouse or open a browser, or even turn on your computer to read it. It doesn't get dismissed like an ad from 'the other side' on the net -- how many people actually bought Jim DeMint's book because they saw an ad on Steve Benen's site -- or like an e-mail from a stranger on the other side.

Most of all it's familiar, comfortable for almost anybody. You aren't looking for 'style points' or for admiration from your peers at your use of new techniques -- you are trying to actually reach people, to give them a chance to hear what you have to say.

And print -- newspapers, pamphlets, handbills, inserts, posters -- does that like no other medium.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Okay, let's introduce the second campaign -- and if any of you did actually check out the "It's Mittens!" thread, you'll see I've flip-flopped the order of the first two listed there. But this one involves more direct involvement by people throughout the blogosphere, actually taking part and not only 'talking it up.' So...

CAMPAIGN 2 "Aren't you ashamed..."

This is basically very simple -- and hopefully will remain so after I finish explaining it in too much detail. It invlves creating pamphlets -- we'll discuss format and design later -- compiling Republican positions on specific groups (or issues pertaining to that group) and distributing them ourselves, mostly by convincing businesses and social groups catering to the relevant clientele to display them and provide copies for clients to take home.

(I have a feeling even, say, a gay bar owner who is himself Republican might be willing to display them if he'd just read them first and be as shocked as his clients will.)

They would be standardized in format and would have a minimum of 'editorializing' or 'comment' -- though in the immigration ones I'd like to make note of the fact that when Republicans say 'illegal immigrant' they mean 'illegal Hispanic (or sometimes Muslim) immigrant.'

They'd all have a front cover with the title "What Republicans Think About [the Relevant Group]" and an author or group author name.

Each one would have an inside cover saying, briefly, that the pamphlet has been compiled from official Republican Party Documents as well as from statements by Republican officials, officeholders and candidates. The final page(s) contain statements from commentators who are not officially party spokesmen but who are considered to be the most influential in Republican and Conservative circles, and point out that some of them speak from 'clerical cover.' [Personally I hope -- and if I am involved in the final product editing will insist -- that we be very selective here and only use names that can be tied directly to Republicans -- Rush, maybe Savage and Ingraham yes, but not Glenn Beck (who will draw too much attention that will distract from the theme of "Republicans in general"); Bryan Fisher (who has many Republican officeholders as guests) and Pat Robertson but not Cindy Jacobs, GOD TV, or obscure local preachers -- and NOT Fred Phelps or Orly Taitz, or someone else so easy for Republicans to disclaim.]

A second paragraph would state that we have been careful to use only issued statements for the Republicans, and not offhand remarks or 'overheard' comments, and would state that, to prove we have not taken them out of context or doctored them, the full transcripts, documents, and statements are available at the project websites.

The entire interior of the document would be the quotes mentioned, always in a particular order. First would be 'official statements' from the most recent Republican National and State Platforms -- I expect they'll all need new editions after the convention -- and positions of the RNC and various state parties.

The next pages are quotes from Republican Congressmembers, ideally from the Congressional RECORD or official statements from their offices. Then statements from Governors or state legislators or officeholders. [In many cases the difficulty will be picking from such a wide assortment of choices, but we have to keep the quotes short and the sections small. I would think the ideal pamphlet would run 12 pages -- counting the covers, with 8 pages of quotes -- but that can be discussed later. In any case, the web site would include many more examples of similar statements that got crowded out.]

The final two pages would be the 'commentators' I've already discussed.

The inside back cover would repeat the statement about full documentation of each quote -- with audio or video if available -- being available on site and would add the part about the ones 'we didn't have room for.' A second paragraph would give both an e-mail address and a snail-mail P.O. Box for comments, suggestions for statements to go into a second edition, and where people can write to get copies they could help distribute.

[Question: Should we provide a printer-ready copy of the pamphlet and allow people to run off copies themselves?]

The backcover reads as follows -- on all editions of all variations for all groups. [I wish TP allowed graphics and font and size changes. The key line should be twice the font of the parenthesis, and should be bold, with my bolds being double-bolds]

Aren't you ashamed you even CONSIDERED voting Republican?

(And if you say "My candidate doesn't share these views" ask yourself, then ask him, why he stays in a pary that does.)


I can see specific pamphlets for gays, Hispanics, Muslims, seniors in general, specifically for Social Security dependees, athiests. I can even see one focused on women's sexual rights and sexuality that might be distributed through ob-gyns. And there's got to be a place to circulate two on science, one on global warming and one on their creationism and anti-science attitudes in general. (Should we include mention of the existence of the other pamphlets on the inside back cover? I tend towards yes, but am not sure -- mostly because the idea just hit me. Why not reach people who share two or more of the target characteristics, since they might have different circles to pass them around.)

More details later, if people are interested. (Probably after my nap.)

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

I didn't mention it, but I have to say we need a small line stating -- accurately -- that, while almost all the creators of the pamphlet are Democrats, these are entirely independent and received no financial support from, creative input by, or permission of any Democratic official, candidate, or campaign committee.

Paula B

Prup -- I don't feel like going into all the details, but I've been researching for a series of posts along the same lines, planned for my blog. If all goes well, I expect to start posting next month and run right through summer. Face it, my idea -- and yours -- is not unusual, and we should expect to see it repeated until we're sick to death of all the reasons people should vote for Democrats, by election time. And, that's a good thing. Although I, too, love the feel of paper, print media no longer reaches the people who need the message most. Ask any newspaper/magazine.


bbw -- well, they don't get beauty. plus steve jobs helped pixar and that's really cool. cause if those movies weren't animated (and they are beautifully animated) they'd be really hokey and we'd make fun of them

Pre pixar beauty and humor. Not groucho, but...classic

Jack. 'I always feel better if I count my cheese before I go out for the evening.'


Prup and Paula. Wouldn't the community weeklies be a natural for these ideas. The circulation of the free weekly here is the deepest market penetration in the country and of course, ad space is reasonably affordable. I can imagine inserts, although Prup, I'm not so sure about the 'aren't you ashamed' tactic. I've shown several graphs, wordlessly, to the uninvolved and the case is made. People get defensive so easily, and if they aren't watching their congresscritters closely, can always figure out ways to defend them, if that's where their vote has been invested, over and over.

Our issue is the bigotry of the Republican Party, the homophobia, the racism, the anti-Hispanic bigotry.

Prup -- I think you're underestimating how this platform still sells silently, especially in white suburbs where people are losing their grip. They don't rub elbows voluntarily with people unlike themselves and are vulnerable to Fox bombardment. So how do you propose to counter that? I promise you they want nothing to do with any pamphleteering which would be seen as aggressive and intrusive librul condescension. And most of the groups you refer to aren't going to be inclined toward the GOP. Seniors excluded. Your pamphlets might work with them. Especially senior women.

kittenz and you and the shots. :) indoor cats always win don't they?

Also -- above You-tube embedded at full-screen which was not my intention. Hit the title and it will shrinken where the animation is better appreciated.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

[Sorry for the passion, but this hit so many of the points I was trying to make. It was written before I saw Nancy's response but I'll have to get back here later for that.]


"print media no longer reaches the people who need the message most."

Paula, I respect you as a friend and for your writing and your kindness, and most of all for your personal experiences. It is that respect that keeps me from starting this response with some of the most insulting language I've ever used on the net. Because you are wrong, and worse, the attitude you express is precisely the demonstration of why we are in trouble this year -- except for the Presidency -- and why I fear a repeat of the disaster of 2010.

When i was finally able to afford broadband and get back to the net, in 2005 or 2006, I got involved in the political blogosphere some tme after I started with the skeptical blogosphere. And the first thing I noticed was the difference in the two when it came to reaching people. In the Skep, occasionally, very occasionally, you would actually see a post along the lines of "I came here to argue with you, but I've read the posts and the comments, checked them out, and now I'm with you guys."

I have never seen this in the political blogosphere. I have never seen anyone say or state that they crossed over because of what they read. They might have changed their mind on a specific issue, an important one like Iraq -- I changed my position on gun control, being more tolerant of the arguments of 'gun-owning liberals' than I ever thought I would be. But actually changing parties or major positions, well, there was the guy from LGF, but it wasn't arguments on the net that convinced him.

But all of this is really irrelevant. If there were a hundred popular blogs on the net like OBSIDIAN WINGS in its hayday, where intelligent liberals and conservatives could come to diiscuss matters with mutual respect, and where a person could conceivably walk in and change his mind before he left -- they wouldn't matter much.

Let me simply say what I have been trying to for months:

The Internet is utterly useless for reaching the intelligent voters we need and want to reach, the uninvolved, the unconcerned, the ones who don't think politics matters directly to them, the ones who might listen to an hour of political news in a month, or maybe gets opinions from half-listened to snatches of talk radio. The internet doesn't reach them -- because the last thing they are likely to click on on the web is a political site.

Don't get me wrong. The Internet is a great place to swap political info and stories with your friends. It's a great place to mobilize already convinced people.

But the funny thing about 'already convinced' people is that they are already convinced. They know their own minds, they actually use their minds on politics -- and they hang out with like minded people, period.

Sure, since there are differences on specific issues, there are clashes, and people may slowly move their positions slightly over long times. but even then the trigger is as likely to be outside events rather than the brilliant, witty, and scintilating commentary he reads on blodgs that express positions he at first opposes.

Damnit, in 2009 or so we made a very dangerous discovery -- just how good it feels to hang out wit 'people on our level.' The conversation is better, faster and easier. We don't have to explain things again and again, we don't need to worry about explaining our references, we can even make obscure jokes and know somebody else will have the reference and will, by his response, clue in the rest.

And the praise, the wonderful praise -- and it is womderful to come up with a line and get cheers and laughter from the rest of you -- and it must feel the same on any political blog, wherever on the spectrum. And my ego can get tender, and getting a word of notice feels almost healing. I live for the day when a line or nickname of mine makes it enough out of wherever I write it that it gets quoted back.

It's wonderful, it feels vitally important to my ego and all that, but it is so dangerous a feeling. We get -- here and elsewhere -- so convinced that everybody knows what we do -- after all, everybody we talk to does -- that we assume those who don't vote the way we do are idiots, or disguised racists or greedy bastards or...

Damnit, why does a gay man vote Republican -- when the entire Republican party has taken such homophobic positions? Why does any Hispanic vote for the party of fences, 'self-deportation,' SB1070 and Joe Arpaio and Kurt Kobach? Because they are fools, right? Or just blind to their own interests? Or so greedy that they will gladly take the slight economic benefits the Republicans claim to offer even if it means 'betraying their own kind'?

Or are we blaming the victim? We've been having so much fucking fun talking among ourselves, we totally forgot about them. We think they just naturally understand what, in fact, it took us a lifetime of experiences and interactions -- fueled by an interest in politics that may have started in or before adolescence -- to learn to understand in depth. They'll understand, just by looking around them, by feeling how politics effects every asoect of our lives -- only they don't. They need to be shown -- and the only voices they do hear are Rush and Beck and Savage, and BillO -- while we worry about Brooks, Friedman and Douthat, who they think is a singing group or sumptin. Maybe, just maybe they catch Stewart and Colbert, and even possibly Maddow, but they drown in the commentary from the radio -- and from people who themselves have only the radio to guide them -- because we gave up on the guiding business a few years ago.

I could staff an Ivy League-level University with the people I've met and read on the net. I could out together a best-seller out of the funniest political commentary of the year on the net. But all our brilliance can't reach the people we are trying to reach, not on the net, where people have to come to you for 'enlightenment.'

The net can't reach these people, but old-fashioned print can.

Sir Charles

Hey guys. Back in action.

I've been working on a post, but it's going to take a little bit longer. In the meantime, why don't we continue this on an open thread I will post.


I spent two hours talking to union members in Knoxville, TN last night about reductions that had to be made to their pension plan. I tried to, without being overly political or didactic, point out to them that the problems we were facing were almost all attributable to the two melt downs on Wall Street during the last decade and that the Republicans were proposing to deregulate the markets even more radically and why they should fear such a thing. I think people got it.

paula b

Yikes! The people I was talking about were the young, the ones who live on cell phones, who text, tweet and get their movies streamed onto their flatscreen via Roku. The ones who support OWS, even if they don't take the time to participate. I think young people are key to this election, like they were in 2008. But it's just a hunch. You could be right. Don't shoot!


Prup@ 11:08 -- I've been harping about this on-line elsewhere to not much avail. The blogosphere is a club where people find their buds and stay in the stream. That's ok, and stimulating, but then, we get sidetracked and lose stupid shitty little elections where finally some clown gets to decide to go ahead and wreck a neighborhood by tearing out a historic building or push the urban growth boundary out to where his (mostly always his) cronies have made investments.

Thus *progress*. In that sense, the liberals I know, are actually the 'conservatives'. As in look, 'let's think carefully before proceeding' with the destruction of what we value, or could or probably should value, which will never be duplicated, for the next generation. Most folks don't see that invisible relentless march because they're busy trying to keep the wolf at bay, grandma's med's filled and family relationships from fracturing under pressure.

Enough from me at the moment. (One reason I adore Lance Mannion is he stays on that beat from a solidly liberal perspective -- and writes and describes those small efforts and losses beautifully. And of course he moves from there to fiction, plays, cultural and political commentary and then back again, in prose and a voice that makes me feel a more hopeful and wakeful 'modern' citizen'. Not to mention he's the neighbor I'd choose along with you folks if we decided to cluster one day). :-)


Missed that end of thread announcement, Sir C.

I can't imagine delivering those bad news messages at what must have been a very difficult set of meetings. Hope you get a respite.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Oh my, lots to respond to. Sir Charles, I am sure they got it. That's why I did everything but say your name as the first blogger I'd want for my rotating column -- only more in the Sir Charles persona -- without the profanity -- than the lawyerly one. The audience we are aiming at would like the aggressive ballsy tone of Sir C quite well, I think.

(Btw, I'd hope that the columnists would come from different areas and root for different teams -- even like different sports. Some crosstalk and 'friendly feuds' in the sports section of the column would lend continuity and build readership without muddling the politics.)

Paula, the gun isn't loaded, it juast makes loud noises. I'm not mad, but you give me a chance -- regrettably -- to make my points off of yours.

Some of that generation will already be into politics and come looking for us -- but they, we hope, would have known enough beforehand not to need convincing, just 'mobilizing' and equipping with more information.

But most of the group you menion have exactly the same characteristics I mentioned above. They aren't interested in politics, they don't see it as relevant to their lives, they don't even connect up the broken window in school, the increase in college tuition, with the governor's budget cutting -- and won't unless someone tells them. We can't text the country, and Twitter might have its uses -- though I worry about people who think ideas can be expressed in 140 characters -- but they aren't following political tweets unless their favorite band is also political. For some of them the only exposure they have to politics is at the Rev's sermons every Sunday -- and even if they don't still 'believe' they are still surrounded by concepts they can't help absorbing, cstch phrases from the right -- and nothing from us to serve as an antidote.

So I'm sorry, but yet again, even if print does a por job at reaching them, it does better than any progressive source on the net, which they are unlikely to encounter -- if they don't start as politically aware.

You also make a mistake that nancy does that gives me -- again, regrettably -- a chance to explain one of the concepts I've been using, "Republican control of the discourse' and how it has even affected the two of you quite unconsciously.

But that's for the next comment -- after cat feeding. Fortunately I have more time than usual to write tonight. (Ain't you lucky!

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

nancy:I realized after posting that it seemed like I didn't realize the support you gave me, or wasn't grateful. I did and was, and would suggest a better comparison -- no, the overall situations and the probable result aren't comparable -- was to the salons of Weimar, where the brightest of the intelligentsia, the upper crust and upper class, and the kindly rich all gathered to discuss the horrors taking place in the streets outside. They would all tell themselves how horrible and ugly it was, and how stupid the fools were for wearing brownshirts -- or communist caps -- but how they weren't really worried. After all, it was obvious, it was common knowledge that the Jews were a small, relatively powerlesss minority, that the war was lost without any need for a stab in the back.

And since this was obvious with only a little research, or even question of people in the know, the marchers -- not the leaders but those who followed -- must be either hopelessly unreachable idiots or hopelessly corrupt hypocrites, equally unreachable. But not to worry, by holding these metteings, we were doing everything we could to stop the rffians and barbarians.

Luckily there is no group that sinister waiting to exploit the opening given, no leader capable of welding the barbarians that are appearing more and more into a single force. But what we are encouraging by the salon attitude is bad enough. We have survived a year of a non-functioning government, but could we stand six -- especially if we had only the President to stand against a unified Republican Party in control of both Houses? (Which has never happened before since traditionally both parties split and overlapped enough for bi-partisanship. But the Gingrich Revolution of making the Republicans a Parliamentary Party -- and supporters of Liberal Republicans finally replacing them with real Democrats -- has put an end to that possibility.)

Republicans ruled by blackmail in the last year, but the imp-ending election at least emboldened President Obama. But even if he has more substance than I see, more determination, how many times will he need to make horrible concessions just because the government needs to function?

We've got to hold the Senate, to win back the House -- but I don't see us understanding the stakes this time, any more than in 2010. (I'd really feel better if someone had discussed the blunders that occurred and the mistaken tactics, instead of brushing it off as 'inevitable.')

But i still need to discuss what i 'threatened.' Next comment, so I don't have to fight too much with TP.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Now to the main point. I've spoken many times about our 'losing control of the dialogue' to the Republicans. They've framed the conversation so well that even though we see and avoid a great many of their traps -- and *ahem* think everyone else has -- we and the Democratc Party act as if we have unconsciously absorbed other parts of their whole lying structure, that we have to 'play by their rules' and that in some cases their rules are justified.

Two quick examples: How many of us, when we see the word "Christian" -- at least in any sort of political context -- immediately translate it to mean 'Right Wing Evangelical Protestant -- or worse.' The Republicans want that response, but it doesn't have much to do with the facts of hundreds of branches of Christianity scattered all over the political and theological spectra.

Or abortion. Maybe we know better, but our candidates still speak -- perhaps because they believe that it is only 'safe' to speak -- as if abortions were things to be bestowed on poor innocent girls whose pregnancy was the result of rape, incest, or at best, ignorance. (Which, of course, confirms, to Republicans and fence straddlers alike that we 'really in our hearts' know abortion is wrong, but we insist that compassion -- really softheaded 'touchy-feelyness' -- forces us to make this exception.)

When has a candidate simply stated that abortion is a right. That women have all manner of justifiable reasons for seeking abortions. That there is nothing wrong in deciding to abort a child -- even a planned one -- if we realize that this would dilute the other children's standard of living or college chances too far. Et-bloody-cetera. (At least to a general audience and not behind a closed door NARAL meeting.)

If we controlled the dialogue, we'd convince the undecided and confused to challenge the Republican absurdity, would be able to discuss the topic in the terms and context inherent in Roe v Wade and not in the context of last Sunday's sermon. (Speaking of which, when was the last time you heard a Democratic candidate --at least in a district that was less than 80% liberal Democratic -- simply state he or she believed Roe was 'rightly decided'?)

But you've, unconsciously fallen -- as shown by your comments -- for another Republican 'myth structure,' and don't feel insulted, because the whole Democratic strategy in this area is based on the same myth structure.

They desperately want us to believe -- and act on -- the following statements -- all of which are lies:

1) Minorities mostly 'flock in bunches' like pigeons, that almost all of them are to be found in special neighborhoods called 'ghettos,' 'barrios,' 'gentrified neighborhoods' and the like -- except for atheists who live on college campuses mostly.

2) Outside these neighborhoods, these ghettos -- and maybe some liberal urban areas near them -- the vast majority of whites are bigots who hate any and all minorities and anyone who defends them.

3) The best way for Democrats to keep their numbers up among minorities is for them to run candidates sgaring the minority's 'special characteristic' in ghettoes -- and to try and avoid any mention of minority concerns anywhere else unless they are unavoidable. (If they must be discussed, the candidate must defend them -- or threaten the Party's influence if they find out in the ghetto -- but the candidate should use the weakest, most pity-relying, nuanced defense possible to avod stirring up the bigoted whites.

4) Democrats should never go on the offensive in any of these areas or attack Republican bigotry because it can only hurt them.

5) Attacking a bigot who can quote scripture to defend his bigotry is suicidal.

(I'm sure you recognize some of those myths as similar to ones you had to fight against during your own experiences -- and remember that even as compassionate and liberal -- and wise -- a man as C. Vann Woodward said, in 1976 iirc, that it might take a hundred years for even whites who were trying to avoid bigotry to learn to combat the visceral response to "Would you want your sister to marry one?" Today, tv is filled with such couples and the reverse, so is real life, and the 'visceral response' is confined to a relatively small group of blatant and open racists -- some, sadly, black.)

Now throw in the other myth always so tempting to political theorists, that people have only one identity, or, in the weaker and slightly more realistic version, that of their possible identities, they will choose the one you want them to choose. (A workingman who is an evangelical, of course we can reach him by appealing to his financial interests -- even though his 'salvation' is so important that he tithes his already small salary. And if he doesn't hear our appeal 'it's his own damn fault.')

Don't you see, nancy, how you have, in your response, internalized these myths, just like the Republicans hoped you would -- and the segregationists before them, but somehow we were smarter then?

First, in almost all cases the majority of a minority group lives outside the ghettoes of the group -- and many of them have delierately rejected the culture and ideas of the ghettoes. It would be an exaggeration -- but not much of a one -- to say that most minorities are themselves suburbanites, and tend initially to think like their neighbors -- which isn't as bad as it sounds, wait. They don;t identify with the ghettoes, so the fact that Democrats run gay candidates there doesn't mean much if they even know about it.

But they retain a 'group pride.' Gay parades are an outward expression of one form, but take Hispanics. They might have been in this country as long as Sir Charles' family has, or even longer -- sometimes in the Southwest they stayed put and the country changed under them. They may reject the ghettoness of a Puerto Rican Day Parade, but they are as proud of the Hispanicness of their heritage in the same way as Sir Charles will always be 'Irish.'

And white suburbanites are not as bigoted -- or as isolated -- as Republicans pray every night you will believe. Suburbanites interact with their neigbors, and their neighbors in almost any suburb include blacks, Hispanics, not infrequently open gays, 'orientals' from East or South Asia -- some of whom are Muslims or Buddhists or other unusual religions. (Good Lord, even 12000 of the 600000 North Dakotans are self-described Hispanics.) And, for the overwhelming majority, they interact as well as do whites with their white neighbors. I am sure that even the gays have straight accepting friends, and that those throngs that line the sidewalks at gay parades, they aren't gawkers, haters, or gays that are afraid to come out of the closet. Mostly, they are straight supporters. Imagine if they got a copy of my 'ashamed' pamphlet aimed at gays at the march -- and read it and used it against a homophobic neighbor.

And, btw, even bigoted Suburbanites like their bigotry subtle and disguised -- sometimes so much that even the bigot is fooled. "I'm not being racist when I talk about 'welfare queens' some whites are on welfare too, and they probably abuse it as often as blacks do." Or "I don't hate Hispanics, just illegal aliens -- all of whom are Hispanics, of course."

This type of bigot is as disgusted by open, blatant naked bigotry, particularly when combined with violence as we are. Plenty of buigots were shocked at the death of Matthew Shaparg, like plenty of Norther whites with their own racism barfed at the sight of Bull Connor's dogs.

All of which leads back to my main points. Attacking bigotry will win, not lose us votes -- especially if it is the more obvious and ugly kind. And we'll continue to make blunders and lose votes as long as we let Republicans control the discourse.

And damnit, the only force in the Democratic Party that can and would be willing to work to do that is us, the Left blogosphere.

Enough. Even Kittenz is yelling at me to go to sleep.


You also make a mistake that nancy does that gives me -- again, regrettably -- a chance to explain one of the concepts I've been using, "Republican control of the discourse' and how it has even affected the two of you quite unconsciously.

But you've, unconsciously fallen -- as shown by your comments -- for another Republican 'myth structure,' and don't feel insulted, because the whole Democratic strategy in this area is based on the same myth structure.

Don't you see, nancy, how you have, in your response, internalized these myths, just like the Republicans hoped you would -- and the segregationists before them, but somehow we were smarter then?

Gee Prup. I don't even know where to start so I guess I won't.

Paula B

Yeah, don't even start. A few posts earlier than these he said it was only his respect for me that kept him from “starting this response with some of the most insulting language [he’d] ever used on the net.” Further, I am “wrong, and worse, the attitude [I] express is precisely the demonstration of why we are in trouble this year -- except for the Presidency -- and why I fear a repeat of the disaster of 2010.”

I guess that makes me to blame for the Democrats losing the mid-term?

According to Prup, you and I have “unconsciously fallen” for the Republican myth structure, internalizing “these myths, just like the Republicans hoped you would -- and the segregationists before them, but somehow we were smarter then?”

All this for not applauding loud enough for Prup’s proposed media blitz?

Wtf? When and why did civility vanish from cogblog?

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Good Lord,NO!!!I know I can be an excruciatingly foggy writer, but I at least tried to avoid triggering that reaction by two of ny best friends here, who -- and this was my point -- just happened to hold up ideas I was looking for the chance to shoot down. Almost everyone here has expressed similar ideas -- I'm sure I've done it myself -- but you just happened to state them, and I blasted the ideas, not you two wonderful people.

Maybe I can make an analogy -- at the risk of trivializing the importance i see in the ideas. Imagine we are all at a big party, and I've been sounding off about the problems of women's fashions, that they are frequently sexist, sometimes even dangerous. I'm just about to make an extremely important point about high-heeled shoes, and the injuries they cause and the stress on their ankles. Just before I can say it, each of you walk in, a few seconds apart, wearing high heels. Now maybe most of the women there have been wearing them, maybe some others are wearing them now, but you two just happen to open the door then. And I turn to you, paula, first, and I say "If I didn't know you were as smart as you were, I'd call you as stupid as the stupidest Stepford Wife for wearing those heels." Before I can go on, in, you walk, paula, and you give me a chance to point out that -- like every woman there, perhaps -- you have fallen for the same sexist propaganda that has resulted in a fortune for ankle specialists and podiatrists.

In neither case was the comment meant as a personal remark, but -- as I tried to make clear -- a springboard to attacking the wearing of high heels.

In fact and quite honestly, it is the fact that you have -- and deserve -- the respect you do that made my comments more powerful. I had hoped you'd read them as 'if this gets two people as smart as you know I think you are, it's really dangerous.' If an ian, a ballgame, a Mandos -- who's better than the others but... -- or a litbrit had made similar comments, they wouldn't have made so handy a springboard to point out and attack the ideas. And I'm sorry, but the ideas I targeted -- ideas which have held us Democrats back since at least 1974 -- needed attacking.

I DO understand why you took my comments as 'incivility' and apologize for giving you the chance to -- which was my fault -- but I assure you both they were meant as anything but.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

In fact, let me go back and in a couple of not too complex (for me) sentences explain just what i was attacking in your original comments -- and you'll see I could have used almost anyone for my 'horrible example.' In fact, I have, not so bluntly, argued with Sir Charles about the first one as well.


my idea -- and yours -- is not unusual, and we should expect to see it repeated until we're sick to death of all the reasons people should vote for Democrats, by election time. And, that's a good thing. Although I, too, love the feel of paper, print media no longer reaches the people who need the message most. Ask any newspaper/magazine. Emphasis mine.

My point was double, that it doesn't matter what 'we' hear -- because we are convinced already, but too many people think 'talking among ourselves' will somehow 'leak out' and affect the world outside the Salon. It's the same point I've been making about posts about 'the blimp' and particularly Ross Douthat -- that these people really have no influence outside their own circle of readers -- who already know what to expect. (I even used the example in this thread of Molly ivins -- who I respect as much as you do -- coming along after the blogosphere, and writing for it, instead of for newspapers, and how she would have been as brilliant and as funny, but wouldn't have had nearly the imoact she did. (One additional point I've overlooked -- the people we are trying to reach are frequently the sort that think 'it's gotta be so because I saw it in a book or newspaper,' one step above those who go 'it's gotta be true because I saw it on the net.' Those people might be unreachable.)

And nancy, what I was referring to was this:

Prup -- I think you're underestimating how this platform still sells silently, especially in white suburbs where people are losing their grip. They don't rub elbows voluntarily with people unlike themselves and are vulnerable to Fox bombardment.

My point was simply that Republicans have bamboozled us for years -- and the segregationists tried and failed before them -- into believing we should be very cautious in defending the rights of minorities because 'whites are all bigots deep down' and we'll lose them if we take strong positions. But the segregationists were wrong. Even then Northern whites -- even ones who would later show racism when the movement moved North -- supported Martin, supported Brown and wept for Viola Liuzzo and the three Mississippi martyrs.

Now, fifty years later, the suburbs aren't 'all-white' in many places. The suburbs segregate themselves, yes, but by (gawdelpus, now I'm using the term) 'class.' They want to meet people like themselves yes, but that has to do with an economic lifestyle. Blacks, hispanics, gays, are also in the same suburbs and are as 'moddle class' as the whites and, sadly, may listen to Fox as well. (And they don't like 'people unlike themselves' any better even if they share the same minority characteristic -- unless they can have their 'ethnic pride' buttons pushed, or either group can have their 'fairness' buttons pushed.)

But if I criticized that attitude in you, I criticized it in the whole Democratic party, and used as my example someone I respect on the same level I do Molly, C. Vann Woodward.



Hey Prup. Pax.

That said, I think you're all wet about the suburbs, at least as I've experienced them. 'Suburb' is a term that needs more categories and differentiation, for sure .( NW Spokane WA ain't McLean, VA which ain't Florence, KY which ain't Bellbrook,OH...). What I meant when I said white suburbs where 'people are losing their grip' was losing their grip economically. And losing one's grip economically always makes people look around for various ways to explain away uncertain futures. Fox has answered the question for many unfortunately and Fox is permanently on the remote there I'm afraid.

I suggest that your Baltimore/Brooklyn understanding of the suburbs is simply different from mine. Raised a midwesterner, and now a long-time PNW/Rocky Mountain Westerner, my experience of urban (such as it is -- pretty low density) and suburban (five minutes in my car past the newly-situated library into those places with no need for sidewalks -- so they have never been built) is simply very different than what you may be familar with. btw, our Hmong and Russian refugee population which is larger than any other ethnic group in the region is not suburban at all. I just think you're way over-counting suburban integration, at least in many parts of the country, one of which would be mine.

As I've said, those suburban voters who live with lots of new mini-mega-church wannabe structures to practically light their way on the roads to home, changed my city government last election. No pamphlet will ever change that vote. Sorry. There is no diversity there waiting for the right approach from Democrats. Which means I'm stuck with my sorry congresswoman (now on the Romney re-elect team somehow) for years. No Dem will even oppose her sadly.

So I hope we've just talked past one another. I'll leave Paula to sort through her understanding of what you had to say. Go take care of kittenz.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

nancy: to carry on the discussion, which is a good one. I agree that there are different types of suburbs, and that my experience is not universal, any more than yours is. And on one specific point, you state the Russian and Hmong are not suburban -- but twenty years ago I could have said the same about NYC's Indo-Pak population. Now most of it is suburban -- particularly the Indians, who are, overall, in a higher economic level. Some are in 'enclaves' but more are simply scattered through the suburban populace. This has always been the pattern, intense urbanization followed -- after different amounts of time -- by suburbanization and 'integration.'

Now there are exceptions, the old 'sundown towns' and the Militia areas, but I think that if you drive around specifically looking for minorities, you'd be surprised how many 'faded into the background' and were unnoticed. Japanese, Chinese, Indo-pak, black and mixed race couples, I bet there are a few of each around, getting along with their neighbors. And you can't know without careful investigation if the single man or woman, or the same-sex couples are gay or simply unmarried -- the couples being roommates. And maybe there are no 'stereotypically recognizable' Hispanics -- the stereotype usually includes 'lower-class' -- but I bet there are a few Gomezes and Hernandezes and Oroscos, some 'second generation' and some from families as long established as is Sir Charles' -- and who are Hispanic in the same way he is Irish.

And I think I can argue that even if you are right and the campaigns couldn't do any good, the situation you describe is already so bad that it couldn't hurt either.

Don't forget, even the campaigns targeted at specific Congressmen are not designed to defeat them -- though it would be nice if it happened in one or two -- but to start a conversation that would go nationwide -- maybe with some nudging in the right places to make sure it gets covered. A conversation about Republican bigotry -- and one where we're on the offensive and they are desperately defending themselves for a change.

I still think that in the most uptight of suburbs there are still some percentage of people who are reachable by an appeal to fairness, who aren't bgots -- but who may be Republicans because they don't know how bigoted the party is as a whole. I think they might respond favorably to the campaigns, pamphlets, ads, etc. Maybe not enough to change parties, but enough so they can serve as a counterweight to the crazies. And damnit, if the craziness is so infectious, maybe sanity can be too, and it can spread out from bubbles created by the conjunction of the campaigns and the realization by some suburbanites that they have minority neighbors who are 'the same' as the victims of discrimination.

And beyond that (talk about 'delusions of grandeur') I even have hopes that these campaigns could help embolden Democrats to 'reclaim the discourse' and to begin to wage authentically Progressive campaigns again without shaking in their boots and fearing a potential backlash. (And yes, the backlash will come, years down the road, and it is likely it can be managed to where progress is slowed, not reversed.)

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Btw, if you think my idea is too much of a pipe dream, think back to 2006 and 2008. We made a big difference in those elections, both in directing money and attention to candidates that would have been ignored without us (and Howard Dean), and in getting people to actually participate in the GOTV activities.

And it may be a stretch to give us too much credit for the Presidential race, it is true that McCain was closing fast after he'd been battered by the economic collapse, and we git a lot of protection from having Sarah Palin on the ticket. Now some of her madness was obvious from her speeches, but there was a lot of background on her that proved vital in bursting the Palin Bubble -- and a hell of a lot of that came originally from MUDFLATS and other Alaskan blogs.

If we'd kept that momentum, we might very well have been, by now, the force in the Democratic party I suggest we can become -- and in a much better political environment. But four things happened:

1) Tim Kaine replaced Howard Dean. He had no understanding of the blogosphere, and he seems never to overcome the myth that the 2008 vote could be taken as the expected standard we could expect -- and a lot of people in the party and on the Blimp still act like they believe it. They all forget how big a factor at getting the usual non-voter to the polls that time was the chance to be a part of electing America's First Black President, and discount the likelihood that they will -- as they did -- stay home this time without that impetus, or a suitable other impetus.

2) Obama showed that he really believed in 'bipartisanship' and 'post-partisanship' -- and kept believing in it far too long -- and his old advisors who had worked with us weren't as visible if they were still there. His new men -- and he himself -- saw no need to stir up the partisanship that we provided when Obama was trying to damp it down.

3) The Blimp and the Salonization began occuring, and I've said enough about those for now.

4) Some leftwing bloggers began attacking Obama as falsely and absurdly as FOX was only warming up to reach. "Obama is worse than Bush," "Obama is the new Nixon," "Obama is really a homophone selling out the gays to placate his black base." All these we heard before February 2009. And they only confirmed the Center-Center-Left (think wind thats SSW) in their belief -- that I haven't gotten around to discussing -- that 'the Left' (meaning the Center Left and the Left Center Left) was an untrustworthy, futile (to absurdity) and unnecessary ally.

We're still suffering the consequences, but I don't see that the momentum is gone forever.

Sir Charles


I agree with most of this analysis -- especially the failure to recognize that the Republicans had no desire to accommodate the President in any form or fashion. It played into the Republican attempt to show that government action was futile.

The original sin it seems to me was still the failing of Summers and Co. to recognize the depths of the economic crisis. And the failure to extract a sufficient price from the banks in return for the bailout. These things, along with the protracted health care debate, and an inexplicable sense of urgency on the part of the President and his team really robbed us of all momentum by 2010.


Bill Moyers has a new series on PBS for this election series. It's named "Moyers & Company" and he's covering some of this in interviews with journalists who are closely covering it, as well as with knowledgeable players & experts. Yesterday I watched an episode where he spent almost 40 mins. talking at length with the former chairman of Citibank, one John S. Reed.

I recommend it to you all.

Paula B

Backing up to Saturday night/Sunday afternoon:

If Sir Charles will permit me, I’d like to offer these suggestions:

1. We’re here to analyze and dissect (or trash) trends, candidates and pundits who make gobs of money for their golden words, but not each other. So, if you must ridicule, humiliate, insult or attack someone, choose a public figure or literary character. If one of your friends/readers says something you don’t like or agree with, go after the idea, not the person. (Naming names, calling names and finger pointing might be fun to do but are considered bad form, notes Gov. Jan Brewer, R-AZ.)

2. We work from our own dictionaries. Our education and life experience determine how we define the labels we use, so one person’s suburb is another’s downtown. Unlike cogblog, my blog is not political, so if I use it to push a political agenda, my reach will extend beyond the confines of the choir. I should have said that, I know now.

3. Scale is important. If you must break Rule #1 because the Pulitzer Committee has added a category for Best Political Analogy on a Blog and you think you have a shot at the prize, please keep it small and simple. Fleeting image of someone’s weakness, okay; block-long, four-color interactive mural, no.

Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

First, to Paula, I cannot explain my intentions better than I did in the analogy above. I honetly believed my introduction made it plain that my response was tied to my personal respect for you. I was surprised you saw it as a personal attack, and saddened that you apparently still do.

May I ask if you would have reacted the same if I had abandoned the 'angry' rhetoric and merely said, "I can't believe that you, Paula, of all people, said what you did." Because that was how I had hoped it would come across, and how it was meant.

I can't apologize to you for attacking you, because I wasn't. I can and do apologize for writing so poorly that you, and perhaps other people thought that that was what I had done.

(Besides, and I realize now this was my mind out-subtling itself, I thought people would realize I wouldn' really be attacking the first two people who had commented, and commented sympathetically, about my ideas.)

Anyway, all I can say again is, "I'm sorry. Peace?"

Sir Charles

Paula and Jim,

I am sorry that I didn't notice anything acrimonious in the exchanges as I was really pressed for time at the end of last week and over the weekend.

We have an awfully good group of commenters here. I think that a lively back and forth is desirable and that can include disagreement that may get a bit sharp at times. But I urge everyone to try and avoid personalizing the debate or attacking anyone else. (Unless we are beset upon by trolls, which does not seem to happen much anymore.)

I'd like to think we are all friends, even when we do not see things exactly eye to eye.

Paula B

Thanks, SC. About an hour ago, I though I posted this to Prup, but I don't see it. Let me try to reconstruct:

Peace, Prup. Thanks for all your kind words. Frankly, I never spotted the underlying analogy, but that's the problem with being subtle in cyberspace. Often, the same words we'd use successfully face to face, don't work in a blog comment. And, yes, I would have understood what you said above. One of the things I love about cogblog is that it is a high intensity locus, which means emotions can easily spiral out of control. Maybe I was a little too sensitive, but mention of Nazis and the very idea of unconsciously absorbing Republican thought! Yech! Feh!!!
The hatchet is buried. On to the next issue. Cheers...


Back to Steve Jobs for a moment. Here's an interview with Neil on the man and music. bbw, Steve wanted to put vinyl back in your hands.

he was, like, so into design and, like, beauty, and like if you got it, you had, you know, like, a sense of beauty, cause a lot of people don't and they'll buy any old thing and you were cool if you bought beauty.

Maybe there's hope 'cause as we all know, everything old becomes new again (or something like that). Several nights ago out of the recesses of the room in our home where one could draw the conclusion that a hoarder is in residence, my son unearthed a set of huge clunky headphones probably circa '65. A found treasure, they are now in his room hooked up to a turntable/mixing board. He's thrilled. And they couldn't be less design positive -- not a thing of beauty. Form following function and quite ugly. :)


Back then if you wanted it to be beautiful it most certainly was not going to be portable. :)

big bad wolf

nancy, i'm never not going to be doubtful of steve jobs. if he really cared, he'd have paid people good wages to make ipods and ipads. if he really cared, he'd have spent as much time on the compression and loss of sound quality as on his little dial. perhaps i am unfair, but he and the cult of apple bug me, as useful as his products are. i know useful would wound him if he wren't dead. :)


bbw -- maybe a bit of hope here?

Steve might not have led the way, but maybe Apple now can. One can hope.

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