As the long-term readers here are aware, I become scarce about this time of year, and remain that way until November. My work takes me out into the field for the next several months, and my time, opportunity, and inclination to write blog posts takes a major hit. A week from now, that cycle is going to start again. Besides the usual workload, I am once again breaking in a new assistant, which means even less time. Now, on to the other stuff.
If anyone wanted to know why “real conservatives” talk about “moochers on the government dole” is blatant hypocrisy, one has only to look at the recent standoff at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. Yes, he was going to “defend his land” and “his rights.” Except for the fact that he didn’t own the land he was grazing cattle on, the federal government did. In other words, us. Even more, he’d given up his lease to it years earlier in a fit of pique, had refused to pay a much-reduced fee to graze his cattle on the land, and ignored several court orders. So, let’s see, we have someone using government land without paying for it, and even if he had, it would have been a subsidized fee he would have been paying. Sounds like “mooching” and “expecting free stuff” to me. Lots of “brave” people showed up to help this “real American” who was protecting his property rights. How brave were they? Well, they waved lots of guns around, and planned on … standing behind women if it came to a firefight. One might note that apparently no one there asked the women about that. Personally, if I were one of those men, I wouldn’t be sleeping in the same bedroom with my wife/girlfriend after this came out. They’ve already demonstrated their “courage,” so I doubt they want to be sleeping with someone who might be taking exception to their plan.
I’ve spent a lot of time here talking about the importance of voting. That’s why this story from early this month infuriates me:
RALEIGH, N.C. — In November 2008, students from two of the historically black universities here, Shaw and St. Augustine’s, were so jubilant about the election of Barack Obama that many poured forth from campus and into the streets of downtown Raleigh, reveling with the Democratic organizers who had been watching the returns from a nearby hotel.
(snip)But don’t expect the same jubilation this November in Raleigh, Stubbs said. With the first African-American president re-elected — his place in history secure — Stubbs and many of his peers are significantly less enthused about participating this year.
The 21-year-old had only a vague notion that there was an election in 2014 and no idea who was on the ballot.
This is a case of “we didn’t see change, so we’re just going to sit out.” What they also seem to be missing is that the state they’re living in, North Carolina, has been busily trying to take their right to vote away from them!
Even before it passed, opponents had taken to calling it the Monster Law.
But the 56-page bill that ultimately cleared the GOP-controlled General Assembly here last summer and was signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in August was, if possible, worse than what they had imagined.
Freed from having to clear election law changes with the Justice Department after the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, North Carolina lawmakers enacted what is considered by many the toughest voting restrictions in the United States.
“That was the opening for the Senate to then say, ‘OK, we can do anything. We can make this in our view the best’ — or in Common Cause’s view … the worst — ‘proposal in the land,’” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause, a nonpartisan citizens’ advocacy group. “We have the worst overall elections laws in the country and the most onerous voter ID in the land.”
So these young black voters who are going to sit out? They’re in for a rude shock in a very short time if they do. It won’t matter if they choose to sit out, they won’t have a choice in the matter. So for all their complaining about politicians not caring, they’re demonstrating quite nicely that politicians have every reason not to care about them. They’ll complain a lot though, when it turns out that what will happen most definitely not be what they think will happen.
Moving on, sometimes progress is marked by the absence of news coverage. Sound strange? Think about this. If you look at the sports pages, you’ll see a lot of press about the NBA playoffs. One of the teams – the
fifth sixth seed – is the Brooklyn Nets. You’ll see lots of discussion about their season’s second-half winning, their chances in the playoff, whether their payroll was worth it, and so on. All the things that you see about any NBA team. What you don’t see? Constant, unremitting coverage by the press about Jason Collins. He’s the first openly gay player to sign with a major sports league team. For the next two weeks after that, he was the focus of news stories, obsessive coverage, had to give news conferences before and after games, and in many ways it turned into a media circus. Then, after signing for the rest of the season, the coverage faded away. No one is paying attention to it anymore. It’s “not news.” Any mention of him in the sports pages relates to his role as a back-up center, someone who was brought in to give them some quality minutes on defense and help teach the younger players. That’s what I mean about progress. No one is obsessing about “the gay player,” all they’re talking about is the player. That will be the future for Michael Sam when he reaches the NFL, or any other player who comes out. It’ll be news for a couple of weeks, and then … no one cares anymore.