AmSpec Blog: A Challenge To TNR’s Christopher Orr

AmSpec Blog

A Challenge To TNR’s Christopher Orr


Lefty Racial Obsessions

Enough is enough is enough is way too much. I don’t know Christoper Orr of The New Republic, and he may be a perfectly nice guy, but to me he has just entered the realm of the smearmongering loonies a-feared of the boogeyman — in this case, the boogeyman of the secret racist who supposedly lives inside every white conservative. I swear, what is WRONG with these lefties who see EVERYTHING through the prism of race?!?

For the record, and especially for people like Orr who seem too dim to get it unless it is repeated multiple times: Culture and race are not one and the same. Culture and race are not one and the same. Criticisms of a black man for being radical have nothing to do with him being black. Criticisms of a black man for being radical have nothing to do with him being black. Conservatives do not dislike candidates just because they are “dark-skinned [men] with a foreign-sounding name.” Conservatives do not dislike candidates just because they are “dark-skinned [men] with a foreign-sounding name.”

Okay, enough with the repetition. If, pray tell, conservatives don’t like dark-skinned men, how in the Lord’s name did we elect Jindal in the first place? And why is Jindal one of the most popular people in all of conservative politics.

For the record, it was a white conservative, Bob Livingston, who provided the crucial support for Jindal in 2003 in a field full of other Republicans. It was a white conservative, Jim McCrery, who first recognized Jindal’s talent and pushed him for state-level Cabinet office in 1995, with Livingston immediately joining in support.

What people like Orr can’t seem to get through their thick heads is that most conservatives, and certainly the overwhelmingly vast majority of conservative activists, don’t care one bit about race. It is not an added benefit when assessing somebody, nor is it a detractor. It just doesn’t matter. We’re colorblind.


SepiaMutiny: Happy Birthday, Piyush


Happy Birthday, Piyush


Today, June 10th, is Governor Jindal of Luisiana’s 37th birthday. We’re squeaking in just before the witching hour, but I just noticed it on The Page and wanted to acknowledge the Youngest Governor’s Ever’s special day.

Louisiana’s leader spends part of his 37th birthday on Fox News, promoting McCain’s economic plan and the Bayou State’s turnaround. Seeks to bat away VP questions, but declines to give a “Shermanesque” response like Strickland, saying it would be “presumptuous” to reject a job he hasn’t been offered. link

We’ve discussed Bobby Jindal at length on this blog, and I know each mutineer has wildly varying yet equally complicated thoughts on the man. For now, I’d like to highlight the issue of his name:

Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, the first child of Indian immigrants. Bobby is a self-ascribed nickname. Jindal says he adopted it when he was 4 years old and a fan of the puckish youngest boy on “The Brady Bunch” TV show. His legal name remains Piyush, but even his family, he said, calls him Bobby. link

The above quote is from a great article in The Times Picayune, “Name game can have racial tinge”. Right now, much is made of the right-wing attack machine’s use of Barack Obama’s middle name, Hussein, to alienate those blue-collar, hard-working Americans from this dark-skinned “other”. But what of the fact that Dems are using Bobby’s Indian name in referring to him? Is it equally innocuous/vile? I can’t say I support the Governor, so would it be disparaging of me to use his birth name? 

Times-Picayune: Name game can have racial tinge


Name game can have racial tinge


Mention the name “Bobby” in Louisiana political circles these days and most everyone will assume you are talking about Bobby Jindal, the popular second-term congressman now running at the top of the polls for governor.

But some Democrats would like to remind voters that Bobby Jindal has another name: Piyush.

In news releases, interviews and small talk, they frequently refer to Jindal by his Indian, given first name. Last week, “Piyush” popped out of the mouth of former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., who briefly considered running for governor.

Democrats say it’s a way of throwing back the curtain on what they say is a “manufactured candidate” who has carefully crafted a public image that doesn’t measure up to reality.

Jindal brushes it off as a “silly schoolyard tactic.” Others, however, say it is a blatantly racist appeal that seeks to score political points by stoking biases many had hoped were on the wane in the Deep South.

“It’s making fun of someone’s name with a veiled reference to race,” pollster Bernie Pinsonat said. “Republicans have played games with this. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen Democrats resort to it.”

Political name-calling is not new. Louisiana icons Huey and Earl Long were famous for making up obnoxious nicknames for opponents, usually dealing with their physical appearance or the clothes they wore.

On a more subliminal level, former Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1987 famously called Republican presidential rival Pete du Pont by his given name, Pierre, creating an elite, French-sounding sobriquet. In 1969, Democrats in Virginia reminded voters that the Republican A. Linwood Holton’s name was Abner. And just as Democrats labeled President Richard Nixon “Tricky Dick,” a generation later Republicans came up with “Slick Willy” for President Bill Clinton.

Currently, conservative commentators like to remind voters that the middle name of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is Hussein.

They defend it by saying Hussein is part of the candidate’s legal name. But Democrats and civil rights groups have been quick to criticize it as a racist attempt to leave the impression that there is somet


Louisiana Weekly: A choice of colors

Louisiana Weekly

A choice of colors

“If you had a choice of colors, which one would you choose, my brothers?”

* Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions, 

* “Choice ofColors”
This just in…A new poll conducted by The Associated Press/Yahoo News in association with Stanford University discovered that there is still a wide racial gulf between Black and white Americans.  Alert the media!!!
I mean, who knew?
Most of the Black people who live in the United States do. 
It would be extremely difficult to go about your day and not see, feel and experience the racial animosity that still characterizes the color line in the 21st century. 

The study found that a significant number of white Americans still have negative feelings about Blacks.  Not surprisingly, many of those white Americans who admitted their feelings about Blacks believe that Blacks should bear most of the blame for the nation’s inability to move beyond race and discrimination. 

LaBruzzo, like former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, hails from Louisiana State University and represents the same Louisiana district that sent Duke and Sen.  David Vitter to Baton Rouge. A college education did very little to enhance LaBruzzo’s understanding of the history of U.S. race relations or the world in which he lives. Instead, his upbringing and education prepared him to take on his role as the colonizer of the world and a peg in the machine that is the white power structure.
Most whites don’t spend a great deal of time pondering the benefits they receive as a result of their membership in the whiteness club. But talk about it or not, membership has its privileges.
Most whites may not feel the need to talk about race because they can depend on the John LaBruzzos and David Dukes of the world to do their bidding.

Booker Rising: Alveda King: “Louisiana Legislator’s Sterilization Proposal Fights Poverty With Moral Bankruptcy”

Booker Rising: Alveda King

“Louisiana Legislator’s Sterilization Proposal Fights Poverty With Moral Bankruptcy”

Alveda King, pastoral associate of Priests for Life and conservative niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has issued a media statement about Louisiana State Representative John LaBruzzo’s (R-Metarie) proposal to offer taxpayer money to poor women and men to be sterilized and to offer tax incentives to higher income people to produce more children.

“The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, used to say, ‘More children from the fit, less from the unfit,'” said Ms. King. “A eugenicist to the core, she would have loved this idea of the government bribing poor people into sterilization. Aside from its being reprehensible, though, we have already seen that this type of plan doesn’t eliminate poverty.”
“For 35 years, we have offered the poor, especially inner city African Americans, abortion as a solution to their poverty,” she added. “Can anyone seriously claim that aborting one-third of the current African American population has left blacks better off? You can’t improve the present by killing the future. Sterilizing the poor is fighting economic poverty with moral bankruptcy.”

Booker Rising: The Grand Plan?

Booker Rising

The Grand Plan?

Ave Tooley discusses a Louisiana state representative who proposes tubal ligation to decrease the welfare burden on taxpayers. Critics charge racism and genocide. The politician responds that the program would be voluntary and participants would be paid $1,000. The black moderate-conservative blogger writes: “I think what’s most interesting to me, aside from the ‘how-close-can-we-flirt-with-government-sponsored-sterilization-and-get-away-with-it’ element is something my old Women’s Studies professor would probably be impressed that I had noticed. That is, why isn’t this aimed primarily at men and vasectomies?…If men were the targets of this legislation, most of the charges of -ism would be negated. More importantly, it wouldn’t represent a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

He adds: “I could be wrong, but I don’t think very many people actually aspire to go on welfare as soon as they can. I absolutely believe that poor choices send them back to welfare, but I don’t think the woman necessarily lays down with the intent and purpose of getting pregnant and going on welfare. Those are consequences of a poor choice, not evidence of a poor strategy. It’s important to note the difference. I point that out because while tubal ligation would necessarily eliminate the possibility of a woman getting pregnant, one externality of that might be that her window of opportunity would be extended. I’m fairly convinced that it’s not just one or two young women whose dreams and plans were interrupted by an unplanned pregnancy and their lives never recovered. For them, a temporary means of birth control might actually serve them we


Washington Monthly


Roll Call’s Stuart Rothenberg has a column this week that’s drawn some attention, and for good reason. He makes one of the less persuasive arguments I’ve seen in a while.

I have a hunch Rothenberg didn’t quite think this one though before submitting it for publication.

Cravins, he says, isn’t getting a fair shot because of racism is southwest Louisiana. This is comparable to labeling a John McCain presidency as Bush’s third term because, well, Rothenberg just thinks so.

First, part of the problem with Rothenberg’s argument is that he’s debating a strawman. No one is saying McCain would be a third Bush term because of their shared party affiliation — people are saying McCain would be a third Bush term because McCain agrees with Bush on every substantive policy issue on the national (and international) landscape. Indeed, that’s why we’ve seen and heard all the ads about McCain voting with Bush 95% of the time — it’s about record, not partisanship.

Second, Rothenberg’s comparison is largely backwards. If voters were to give Cravins more of a chance, and look at the substantive policy details, they might like what they see. On the other hand, if voters were to give McCain a closer look, and look at the substantive policy details, they’d see his agenda is, for all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from Bush’s. In other words, upon closer scrutiny, Cravins would dispel preconceived ideas about him being the same as other African-American Democrats. Meanwhile, upon closer scrutiny, McCain would reinforce preconceived ideas about his similarities to conservative Republicans. These are disparate, not comparable, observations.

ThinkProgress: Lousiana Lawmaker Faults Media For Focusing Attention On His Eugenics Proposal»

ThinkProgress (9/25/08)

Lousiana Lawmaker Faults Media For Focusing Attention On His Eugenics Proposal

Louisiana State Rep. John LaBruzzo (R) recently stirred controversy by advocating a form of eugenics to decrease the number of poor. “I realized that all these people were in Louisiana’s care and what a massive financial responsibility that is to the state,” he said. “I said, ‘I wonder if it might be a good idea to pay some of these people to get sterilized.’” His plan would also give tax incentives to the rich to encourage procreation.

Appearing on CNN today, LaBruzzo defended his proposal by arguing that “the taxpayers of America are kind of getting fed up” with supporting welfare programs. He cited the “totally reliant” residents who relied on government evacuations during Hurricane Katrina. When CNN’s Kyra Phillips asked why he couldn’t invest in education and poverty-reduction programs, LaBruzzo faulted the media for focusing too much attention on his eugenics program:

Every one of the ideas you brought up were talked about in the brainstorming session. Obviously the media thought this was the one they could get some ratings out of. We talked about getting involved in the community. … We talked about a lot of those issues. This is one that the media grabbed hold of because it gets ratings.

He also blamed the “tremendous influx of illegal aliens” for “bringing down the economy even more.” Watch it:

ThinkProgress: Lousiana lawmaker advocates eugenics: Sterilize poor women, encourage rich to procreate.

ThinkProgress (9/24/08)

Lousiana lawmaker advocates eugenics: Sterilize poor women, encourage rich to procreate.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that state Rep. John LaBruzzo (R) said yesterday that “he is studying a plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied.” LaBruzzo worries that people receiving food and housing assistance “are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated residents”:

He said he is gathering statistics now. … “What I’m really studying is any and all possibilities that we can reduce the number of people that are going from generational welfare to generational welfare,” he said.

He said his program would be voluntary. It could involve tubal ligation, encouraging other forms of birth control or, to avoid charges of gender discrimination, vasectomies for men. It also could include tax incentives for college-educated, higher-income people to have more children, he said.

UpdateLaBruzzo’s district is the same one that sent white supremacist and former leader of the KKK David Duke to the state legislature in 1989.

USA Today: Election hinges on identity, life experience in Jena, La.

USA Today (9/19/08)

Election hinges on identity, life experience in Jena, La.

Main Street buzz has turned from racial politics to presidential politics in the year since the “Jena Six” legal battles and civil rights protests.

Residents gathered outside the La Salle Parish courthouse in Jena, La., on Sept. 11 to reflect on community values and how the presidential election might play here, a parish of about 14,000 residents, heavily invested in oil, timber and conservative values.

Cleveland Riser Jr., a retired educator who invested 29 years in the local school system, said he sees identity as a pressure point this year. The parish is 85.6% white and 12% black.

“Can they overcome the fact that when they see him they are going to see a darker face?” asked Riser, a black man with Native American and white heritage.

Riser, who supports Obama, said he believes race will factor into voters’ decisions but that it was not the most important issue to him.

Age made more of a difference. Riser, a veteran, admires McCain’s military service but thinks a 72-year-old candidate lacks the energy for the job. Instead, he was inspired by the vivacity and enthusiasm of Obama, 47.