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The Morning Grumpy – 9/5/12

5 Sep

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. Yesterday, Cory Booker gave the platform speech at the Democratic National Convention and he absolutely knocked it out of the park.

2. Not only are Republicans recycling terrible policy ideas in this election, they’re recycling old campaign slogans. They are re-purposing Ronald Reagan’s question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” from 1980. Problem is, we are collectively better off then we were when George Bush left office in 2008.

While the economy is recovering slowly, the trend lines when it comes to jobs, wealth, and the success of American business are all moving in the right direction

Pity those poor corporations who just can’t seem to get ahead in this era of Obama socialism, right? While they sit on trillions in cash, stash even more trillions overseas, and enjoy soaring stock prices, they’re enjoying a very beneficial tax structure here in America. Things are getting better, and they’d get better quicker if corporations would spend some of those record profits and expand their workforces to create demand for their goods and services.

3. Companies are forcing their employees to do “more with less” and the great speedup continues unabated. It must be tough for American corporations to witness all of this happening, if only they had some operating capital, they might be able to help fix this mess, right?

Still waiting for that glorious trickle-down effect.

4. An epic article from Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic, “Fear of a Black President“. 

Despite his sloganeering for change and progress, Obama is a conservative revolutionary, and nowhere is his conservative character revealed more than in the very sphere where he holds singular gravity—race.

The irony of Barack Obama is this: he has become the most successful black politician in American history by avoiding the radioactive racial issues of yesteryear, by being “clean” (as Joe Biden once labeled him)—and yet his indelible blackness irradiates everything he touches. This irony is rooted in the greater ironies of the country he leads. For most of American history, our political system was premised on two conflicting facts—one, an oft-stated love of democracy; the other, an undemocratic white supremacy inscribed at every level of government.

Before Barack Obama, the “black president” lived in the African American imagination as a kind of cosmic joke, a phantom of all that could never be. White folks, whatever their talk of freedom and liberty, would not allow a black president. They could not tolerate Emmett’s boyish gaze. Dr. King turned the other cheek, and they blew it off. White folks shot Lincoln over “nigger equality,” ran Ida Wells out of Memphis, beat Freedom Riders over bus seats, slaughtered Medgar in his driveway like a dog. The comedian Dave Chappelle joked that the first black president would need a “Vice President Santiago”—because the only thing that would ensure his life in the White House was a Hispanic president-­in-waiting. A black president signing a bill into law might as well sign his own death certificate.

“The thing is, a black man can’t be president in America, given the racial aversion and history that’s still out there,” Cornell Belcher, a pollster for Obama, told the journalist Gwen Ifill after the 2008 election. “However, an extraordinary, gifted, and talented young man who happens to be black can be president.”

Racial tension is the subtext to our greater political tension, this article by Coates is one of the more interesting explorations of the issue I’ve read in some time.

5. The confederacy rises again. Eight of the Eleven confederate states have passed the most restrictive voting restrictions in decades. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, not a coordinated plan to deny black democrats access to the polls. Right?

Among baby boomers aged 55–64, the South is 72 percent white. Among kids 15 or under, the South is 51 percent white, 22 percent Hispanic, 21 percent African-American and 6 percent other (which includes Asian-Americans and Native-Americans). In North Carolina, people of color accounted for 61 percent of the 1.5 million new residents the state gained over the past decade. Since 2008, the black and Hispanic share of eligible voters in North Carolina has grown by 2.5 percent, while the percentage of the white vote has decreased by a similar margin. This increasing diversity allowed Obama to win the Southern states of Florida, North Carolina and Virginia in 2008—all of which are competitive again in 2012.

The region’s changing demographics are a “ticking time bomb for Republicans,” said Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center. The Southern GOP is 88 percent white. The Southern Democratic Party is 50 percent white, 36 percent African-American, 9 percent Hispanic and 5 percent other. The GOP’s dominance among white voters—who favor Romney over Obama by 26 points in the region—has allowed Republicans to control most of the region politically. But that will only be the case for so long if demographic trends continue to accelerate.

In conjunction with these new voting restrictions, Republicans all across the South used their control of state legislatures following 2010 to pass redistricting maps that will lead to a re-segregation of Southern politics, placing as many Democratic lawmakers into as few “majority minority” districts as possible as a way to maximize the number of Republican seats. “Their goal is to make the Republican Party a solidly white party and to make the Democratic Party a majority African-American one,” says Kareem Crayton, professor of law at UNC-Chapel Hill and an expert on voting rights in the South.

Race matters and Republicans can no longer win on ideas, so it’s time to rig the game.

 

Fact Of The Day: In order to pour the perfect amount of brandy into a brandy glass, you tip it on its side on a table and fill to the lip.

Quote Of The Day: “There are only two things in this world. Knowledge and ignorance. One comes from feeling you have only one of these. Another comes from accepting you have both.” – Max Ulfsparre

Cartoon Of The Day: “Donald’s Tire Trouble”

Song Of The Day: “Blue, Red and Grey” – The Who

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chris@artvoice.com

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