Who’s the Bigger Fraud?

From the AP:

The numbers suggest that the legitimate votes rejected by the [Voter ID] laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent. Thousands more votes could be in jeopardy for this November, when more states with larger populations are looking to have similar rules in place.

So… doesn’t that indicate that Voter ID laws in fact perpetrate greater fraud than the “fraud” they’re supposedly fixing? Isn’t preventing someone from voting some sort of crime?

Just some thoughts.

Also from the article:

A Republican leader in Pennsylvania said recently that the state’s new ID law would allow Romney to win the state over President Barack Obama.


Return of the ‘Welfare Queen’

John Blake has something insightful to say about racially-coded language in presidential campaigns at CNN.

He discusses Reagan’s “welfare queen” myth and how subsequent presidents and president-wannabes have used language that is “colorblind” on the surface – insofar as it doesn’t explicitly refer to people by the name of their race – but yet uses commonly understood code-words for race. So politicians can still appeal to that (rather large) racist vote while still reserving plausible deniability for the not-so-racist vote.

By the 80s, it was pretty hard to be an electable candidate for major office and still be openly racist. So racists or racist-panderers had to find some sort of middle ground. And that ground was first broken by the “welfare queen” image, what Blake describes as the “lazy African-American woman who refuses to get a job and keeps having kids”.

Several Republican presidential wannabes have gone right back to tread this well-worn ground, still depending on the false but commonly-held notion that the majority of public assistance recipients are black. Both Santorum and Romney have criticized people who depend on “entitlements” or “somebody else’s money”. Of course, clearly Gingrich has taken it to the max with his “food stamp president” comment and his talk of abolishing child labor laws and putting “poor” children to work in the schools that they should rather be attending.

Other people have already analyzed this well. Check out:

The Crunk Feminist Collective

Jason Eastman at Sociological Images

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite at the Washington Post

Equality Does Not End at Gay Marriage

Kenyon Farrow, ex-Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice, wrote an amazing article recently. It dives more deeply into the meanings of New York’s passage of marriage equality and its effects on future politics.

He points out that, “[m]any progressive queer activists have long argued that the marriage equality movement is fundamentally a conservative movement,” and goes on to write:

If the same-sex marriage advocates, straight or queer, can use a family values framework, then what is to stop large-scale incorporation of gay and lesbian identity into social conservative logics, especially if LGBT people who desire to have their relationships (which is to say, sexuality) defined by the norms of the mainstream, can continue to demonize people whose bodies and sexualities have always been seen as deviant (black people, street-based urban queer communities, non-monogamous couples, transgender and gender nonconforming people, etc.)? Many of the gay donors who raise money, even for LGBT equality organizations, are “progressives” only because of marriage, and actually do not support most of what the rest of us would call a left agenda (single-payer health care system, collective bargaining, public education, and end to massive imprisonment, reproductive justice, etc.).

Farrow also asks the question: “What does it mean when so-called progressives celebrate a victory in large part won by GOP-supporting hedge fund managers, Tea Party funders and corporate conglomerates—the oft-spoken enemies of progressive causes?”

I’ve been wondering myself. The day after the passage of New York’s marriage equality legislation, the New York Times ran this photo:

NY gay marriage signing

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a same-sex marriage bill into law late Friday in his office at the State Capitol. Photo by Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times.

Not the most progressive-looking crowd. And the accompanying article was quite illuminating.
“[T]he billionaire Paul Singer, whose son is gay, joined by the hedge fund managers Cliff Asness and Daniel Loeb” were successfully lobbied by Governor Cuomo’s aids to “cut six-figure checks to the lobbying campaign that eventually totaled more than $1 million.”

The article adds:

[B]ehind the scenes, [legalizing same-sex marriage] was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition.

When it comes to brass tacks, I personally do not trust financiers, social or fiscal conservatives, or the organizations of wealthy white gays to have my interests at heart. For a host of reasons, in this specific instance, and as Farrow points out, a specifically conservative instance, our goals may match. But I can imagine few other times they will. I think plenty of non-marriage relationships are valid and should not be treated as less-than because they do not involve 2 married individuals. I think everyone should have access to things like health care, not just the spouses of well-off gay workers. I think single parent households still deserve community approval and support. And I think trans and gender non-conforming people need more support in combating discrimination and archaic laws that prevent their access to basic human needs such as housing, health care, and dignified work.

I don’t want the government to define acceptable relationships and genders. I want the freedom to be me, I want to contribute usefully to society, and in return I want society to protect me from indigence should American capitalism fail me.

There Is Only One Party in the US, and It Has Two Right Wings

Still loving that old Gore Vidal quote:

There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party…and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.

Holla that.

Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies

I’m too upset to write my own post, so I’ll let the AP do it for me! (FYI as of the posting of this piece, Governor Jan Brewer has neither signed nor vetoed this bill.)

[HB 2281] targets an ethnic studies program from a Tucson school district. It would prohibit classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily for students of a particular race or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group.

The Tucson Unified School District program allows students to take history and literature courses that include information about the influence of a particular ethnic group.

Arizona Superintendent Tom Horne…Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Republican Tom Horne — who’s running for attorney general — has been trying for years to pass a bill limiting the program after learning that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta told Tucson high school students in 2006 that “Republicans hate Latinos.”

Horne said he believes the district’s Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people. Public schools should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race, he said.

“A fundamental American value is that we’re all individuals, and what race we were born into is not relevant,” Horne said.

What I like about this scenario is that Mr. Horne, a white Republican, is pissed off that a particular school district is teaching classes that challenge his racial superiority, and even once had a speaker who criticized Republicans! Being obviously disinterested, Mr. Horne, a white Republican, lobbies aggressively for a bill that will ban ethnic studies for the whole state, just to shut down a particular program that he doesn’t like because it challenges his prejudices. But his not liking it had nothing to do with this sensible, racially-neutral law, I’m sure. You know what else I’m sure of? That this has nothing to do with Mr. Horne’s search for more personal power as he runs for AZ attorney general. He is definitely not pandering to the obviously large segment of the white population who is racist.

What’s weird(ish) here is that the language of HB2281 isn’t, on the surface, too controversial. The bill bans classes that:

• Promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.

• Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.

• Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.

• Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treating pupils as individuals

But apparently Arizonans in the know are well aware of Mr. Horne’s true intentions. Something to do with comments about ethnic studies promoting “ethnic chauvinism” or that Mexican-American studies at Tuscon Unified School District promote “racial warfare“. Also, it seems Mr. Horne has made it rather clear that he is punishing TUSD for “a defiant finger gesture“, i.e. continuing to have Mexican-American studies inspite of the fact that Mr. Horne has a personal problem with such classes. You know what I see here? Good governance.

So what we’ve learned here is:
A) Arizona is particularly good at re-proving that race is “not relevant”. To anything.
A.1) …and therefore Arizona wins the post-racial prize.
B) White makes right.
B.1) History focusing on the accomplishments of whites is nonracial and truly American.
B.2) History focusing on the accomplishments of latin@s promotes racial resentment and anti-Americanism.


Global Comment puts it this way:

Observing Arizona right now is like looking into America’s future after the next terrorist attack, should reactionary parties prevail and the police state completely take over. The state possesses a radically right-wing agenda that is openly hostile to gays, women, and ethnic minorities. A rogue sheriff has set up a camp tent city for prisoners, leaving them to bake in 110 °F weather. Police are permitted to harass citizens on the suspicion they might be illegal immigrants, even though the governor herself admitted she has no idea what an illegal immigrant looks like.

Take a gander at the Tuscon Civil Rights Coalition call to action.

Oh, and here’s two more post-racial actions going on in Arizona government. SB 1097 would establish mechanisms for denying school funding for non-citizen students. Also, “The Arizona Department of Education recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English.” Guess who’s in charge of the DOE!

Quote of the Day

Implausibly, Michael Steele was supposed to be like a pied piper to black people, leading them to the Republican Party by… being black himself, I suppose. I guess he was hoping on a kind of “What’s the Matter with Kansas” effect.

Apparently, blacks and other voters of color have failed to materialize for the Repubs. In 2008, before Michael Steele was elected to lead the RNC, 28% of “non-white voters” viewed the Republican Party favorably. Now that number is 23%. Good work, Michael.

So here’s the quote of the day, à la Perry Bacon Jr. and Krissah Thompson of the Washington Post:

Beyond a handful of speeches by Steele before minority audiences, there is little evidence the GOP has launched an “off the hook” public relations offensive that would take the party to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings,” as Steele promised in an interview with the Washington Times shortly after taking the RNC reins.


Another tidbit of interest from the same article:

It remains likely that, after this year’s elections, the number of black Republican members of Congress will remain the same as it has been since Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) retired from the House in 2003: zero.

I’m not trying to make the point that voting Democrat rather than Republican is the way to advance racial equality. The parties are very similar in most crucial matters, such as being in the pocket of big business, bowing to Christian theocrats, promoting war, perpetuating social inequalities, believing in American exceptionalism, and worshiping the Invisible Hand. No non-affluent person could truly act in their own interest by voting for either major party.

However, it is clear that Republicans are more open in their disregard for people of color, and are willing to publicly promote policies that disproportionately harm communities of color. Democrats are similarly uncaring towards POC, but they have the decency to understand their actions are despicable and at least try to cover their intentions with respectful language. If that does it for you.

Ah, Michael Steele. Look what happens if I reflect on him for even five minutes. I turn into a seething revolutionary anarchist… or something.

Cao: My Constituents Are Poor

Louisiana Representative Anh (Joseph) Cao was the only Republican to vote for the health care bill:

“I have a constitutional duty to make the right decision for my district whether or not the decision was popular. I had to make a decision of conscience based on the needs of the people of my district. A lot of my constituents are uninsured, a lot of them are poor.”

Anh Joseph CaoNYT:Louisiana Republican Breaks Ranks on Health Bill

LA Times: Cantor: No retaliation planned against Cao, only Republican to vote for health care bill

CNN: Update: Lone GOP vote came after call from President Obama

Think Progress: GOP Threatens Retribution Against Cao For Health Care Vote

The Washington Independent: The War on Joseph Cao

Fox News: White House Spent ‘Weeks’ Courting Lone GOP Vote on Health Care Bill

Washington Post: A vote to make or break a career
Lone House Republican backed health bill after abortion was limited

Politico: Shenanigans: Get to Know Rep. Anh ‘Joseph’ Cao

Michelle Malkin: What GOP Rep. Joseph Cao got from Obama

TPM: Cao To Steele: Come And Get Me — Just Remember You Need My District

Quotes of the Day

“The rich, giving part of their enormous earnings [to create universities], became known as philanthropists. These educational institutions did not encourage dissent; they trained the middlemen in the American system—the teachers, doctors, lawyers, administrators, engineers, technicians, politicians—those who would be paid to keep the system going, to be loyal buffers against trouble.”

-Howard Zinn
A People’s History of the United States

“Just a reminder that the year is 2009, and white people talking to black people is still a controversial issue in the Republican party.”


The Exciting Times V.4

Just another anti-gay hate crime.

From the Queens Chronicle:

[Jack Price] went to a 24-hour deli on College Point Boulevard and 18th Avenue around 3 a.m. to buy cigarettes. He told police two Hispanic men made reference to his homosexuality, calling him “faggot” and other names.
Police said Daniel Aleman, 26, and an accomplice, Daniel Rodriguez, both of College Point, beat Price after he left the store. Price was able to crawl home 10 blocks away and call police.
…[T]he NYPD says he suffered collapsed lungs, all his ribs broken and he underwent surgery on his spleen and had a metal plate placed in his jaw.

Fun drinking game: take a shot of something fruity every time this article uses the phrase “openly gay”.

A beauty pageant that requires plastic surgery.

From Deutsche Welle:

[G]oing under the knife was a requirement for the 50 contestants of Miss Plastic Hungary 2009.
…The competition was the first beauty show requiring substantial plastic surgery in order to qualify.
…The cosmetic surgeons of the top three contestants also received prizes for their work.

“I think this competition was long overdue,” photographer and jury member Marton Sizpal told the Associated Press.

“It is time for Hungarian women to care more about their appearance,” he said.

In-f’in-credible. I really don’t know how to respond to news like this. Your response?

Republicans defend Sen. Jim DeMint by saying he’s like Jews who “take care of the pennies.”

From Gawker:

Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer wrote the Orangeburg Times and Democrat to defend DeMint in a newspaper editorial Sunday that said he was not funneling enough funds to local projects.

“There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves. By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation’s pennies and trying to preserve our country’s wealth and our economy.”

Wow, Jim, you’ve got some great friends. And the votes of antisemites everywhere. Well, at least the ones in South Carolina. Edwin Merwin, huh? For a guy with “win” twice in his name, he’s awful full of fail.

Roger EbertRoger Ebert is so goddamn awesome.

I am naive enough to think that universal care is obviously good.

…The fallacy of the free enterprise argument is that it assumes corporations are motivated to bring about the public good. Corporations are motivated to maximize profits for shareholders.

I highly recommend you read the whole post. Via Kate Harding.

Republicans For Rape

Republicans for Rape

This grand new website contains “the list of thirty legislators who were brave enough to stand up in defense of rape and vote against Senator Al Franken’s anti-rape amendment to the 2009 Defense Appropriations bill.  We applaud these courageous men!  Roll over the portraits with your mouse to see the Senator’s phone number, or click on a portrait to visit the Senator’s contact page.   We encourage you to send your kind words to these gentlemen!”

Good to see my old pal Sam Brownback of Kansas up there, as well as both reps from Oklahoma (see previous post).

H/t to Bint Alshamsa.

Yes, That White Justice of the Peace Who Won’t Marry Interracial Couples Is a Turd

Thanks to all the hot tippers out there who brought this item to my attention. Anyone who can read and does so regularly must now know of the idiocy of Mr. Keith Bardwell of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.

Just so’s we all know what we’re dealing with here:

Bardwell, a Republican, has served as justice of peace for 34 years. He said he has run without opposition each time, but had decided earlier not to run again. His current term expires Dec. 31, 2014.

That’s the caliber of the voters in Tangipahoe Parish. Additionally, a local newspaper’s poll shows that 30% of its readers don’t think he should resign. Seems like Blackwell isn’t so unusual for his community.

Keith BardwellBlackwell has been media-shy, but he did give an interview to a local newspaper, the Hammond Daily Star. He said:
“I’m not a racist. I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children.”

Another charming bit further clarifying the “I’m not a racist” statement:

Bardwell said from his experience, “99 percent of the time” the interracial couple consists of a black man and white woman.

“I find that rather confusing,” he said.

He also told a local TV station:

“I don’t regret what I did and if it ever came up again, I’d have to do the same thing. I don’t feel right by putting some innocent person that has nothing to do with the marriage in that position, and that’s my only reason.”

Other bloggers have already whipped out nuanced responses to this farce, so I will just leave you with a quote from one of my personal heroes, Bill Quigley, of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice.

“Perhaps he’s worried the kids will grow up and be president.”

Tea Party Protesters Inadvertently Protest for More & Better Government Services

Hang em HighReally, this headline could sum up much of what Tea Partiers are about. They want “government” to stay away from government programs like Medicaid. They want the government to pave the planet for their cars, to police our borders, to hunt down “illegals”, to provide fire protection, to respond to disasters, to keep paying their SSI, to pay for foreign wars, and etc. Just so long as poor people, “illegals”, non-English speakers, and non-whites don’t accrue any benefits.

In a microcosm of their ideological incoherence, some Tea Partiers (do you see how I use the nice term? I am so big-hearted.) who were in DC for the big 9/12 protest are angry that the government didn’t provide them with enough publicly-funded transit for them to effectively protest publicly-funded health care and the like.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Texas Republican on Wednesday released a letter he sent to Washington’s Metro system complaining that the taxpayer-funded subway system was unable to properly transport protesters to the rally to protest government spending and expansion.“These individuals came all the way from Southeast Texas to protest the excessive spending and growing government intrusion by the 111th Congress and the new Obama administration,” [Rep. Kevin] Brady [of Texas] wrote.

“These participants, whose tax dollars were used to create and maintain this public Kevin Bradytransit system, were frustrated and disappointed that our nation’s capital did not make a great effort to simply provide a basic level of transit for them.”

Just like the government should, um, not make a great effort to provide a basic level of something even more basic to life – health care? I don’t get it.

And here’s a precious kicker. Brady is upset that some of the most vulnerable members of the group, when provided insufficient help by the government, were forced to turn to expensive private market alternatives they could barely afford… i.e. taxis.

Brady says in his letter to Metro that overcrowding forced an 80-year-old woman and elderly veterans in wheelchairs to pay for cabs.

THIS IS KILLING ME! I mean, what is government funding for, if not to fund conservatives’ crusade against government funding?

My brain hurts.

Right Wing Exremist

Amazing yet true pictures from the DC Tea Party protest found by googling.

What Happens When We Stand Up For Ourselves

Henrietta HughesWhat happens when we stand up for our own human rights to the government? Lately we’ve had some interesting examples of how powerful people respond to we commoners when we stand up to advocate for ourselves.

Case study 1: Henrietta Hughes, an elderly black woman living out of her car, spoke up at an Obama rally in Florida about her unmet housing needs. Donors and government officials, including the wife of Republican State Rep Nick Thompson, stepped in and she now has a roof over her head.

Ty'sheoma BetheaCase study 2: Ty’Sheoma Bethea wrote a letter to lawmakers about the wretched and shameful condition of her school. It eventually made it to the Oval Office, and Obama invited Ty-Sheoma to his “state of the nation” address to Congress in February.

More details from CNN:

…Mark Sanford, announced he wouldn’t use his share of the stimulus money on projects like rebuilding her school. “It’s easy to fall into the trap of we need to fix this one school,” said Sanford, a Republican.

…Taking a stand against government spending, Sanford said he would be willing to use the $700 million in the stimulus bill only if he believes he has discretion to control paying down the state’s debt.

That means Ty’Sheoma’s community is left with its school, whose condition is astonishing.

“The auditorium is condemned,” she said on the tour through the crumbling structure. “They use the stage for storage.”

She looked around and said the walls are peeling off and debris has fallen from the ceiling. The gymnasium is in such bad shape, the basketball coach has to cancel games when it rains.

…Many classes are taught in trailers on the school grounds. But the walls are so thin, teachers have to pause when trains roll by, which happens about five times a day.

The school lies in what’s been called the Corridor of Shame, a stretch of highway with enormously poor neighborhoods that are mostly African-American. Some critics say the state doesn’t want to spend money on black kids.

Ty’sheoma’s got something important to advocate for here. Her basic right to quality education is clearly going unmet. Yet Sanford doesn’t care, because he finds it more politically expedient to stick to his amoral conservative ideology. What does government exist for if not to guarantee the rights of the public? For people like Sanford to get and keep power?

What do you notice about these photos? These two individuals advocating for themselves and others like them, Americans who lack access to reasonable housing and education, are both black women. They are ridiculed and rebuffed by plenty on the right, but yet they risk that to raise their voices against injustice. It isn’t surprising that black women would be the ones to step out and take the lead here. Black women have a long history of advocating for human rights, and feel very acutely the lack thereof. Here are two more such women coming forward and speaking out to power.

I’m glad Obama is listening.

Promiscuous Women Should Be Punished with HIV+ Babies

SchultheisRepublican Colorado State Senators are really working hard to outstrip Utah State Senator Chris Buttars on the mind-boggling ignorant bigotry.

Colorado State Senator Dave Schultheis had some choice words about a bill that would require HIV testing for pregnant women. Obviously, he is against this bill.

The Colorado Independent reports:

Schultheis said he planned to vote against a bill to require HIV tests for pregnant women because the disease “stems from sexual promiscuity” and he didn’t think the Legislature should “remove the negative consequences that take place from poor behavior and unacceptable behavior.”

Listen to some of his words here.

He went on to say: “What I’m hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that. The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior.”

This is a state senator who believes that expectant mothers should not be tested for an incurable disease that could effect their child for life, because it is his opinion that HIV is contracted through “promiscuity” and therefore an HIV+ baby is the proper punishment for such a woman.

Let’s leave aside Schultheis’ obviously problematic belief that HIV is the result of promiscuity. Let’s think about the baby here. Schultheis is a Republican with warped beliefs about sex, so I’d say it’s a good bet that he is familiar with the “Culture of Life” bullshit and the anti-abortion movement. Purportedly, people who are fans of these movements care about the baybeez. Per usual, when it comes down to protecting children or shaming sluts, it appears that Schultheis would rather see babies born with HIV than allow a slut to get away with her slutty ways without being punished with a terminally ill child. An inspiring ideology, really.

But Wait! That’s not all that’s going down in Colorado! Oh no, it gets better (or worse, depending on your perspective.) Continue reading

Screw the Poor

When did it become part of our culture to try and screw our neighbors and to openly despise the poor?

I cannot remember a time in my life during which contempt for the less fortunate was as celebrated as it is now. It’s practically a badge of dignified self-respect to publicly castigate anyone having a rough time. At least on the MSM.

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe on the 20th, the talking heads discussed the stimulus package. Of particular contention were the funds intended to prevent foreclosures. As I have heard several times recently, everyone on the show seemed to fret that the money would go to unworthy recipients who are poor due to some personal fault, or greedy people who should never have dreamed of owning a home in the first place. They played a clip of Rick Santelli’s antics, whose recent rant struck a chord with poor-shamers. His “raise your hand if you want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage” got a chorus of boos from the floor of the stock exchange. The guys around him were livid at the thought.

Mary Kate Cary wrote an approving opinion piece in US News as a reaction. Basically, her point is that those lucky enough not to be touched by the recession- those who have kept their jobs and houses- are upset that the tax revenue from their good fortune will be used to help those less fortunate. They are angry that part of their tax dollars will help the poor and/or those facing loss of their home moreso now that we are facing an economic crisis as a nation.

For me, that draws a huge HUH?

What the hell is wrong with people? This “I’ve got mine- screw you” attitude is a national shame.

The Republican party seems to relish shaming the poor during the recession. The mass vote against the stimulus. The various governors talking like they don’t need and won’t take the money. It seems like they are happy to leave people in poverty in order to prove an ideological point.

The gloating, the schadenfreude, the utter lack of compassion… I think this is a really ugly way to react to those Americans suffering most during a national crisis, and it is not reserved to any party.

Why are we unwilling to help a neighbor? Why do we assume we deserve our home and our amenities, but call those facing foreclosure “greedy”? What better use for our tax dollars than to help those hit worst by a national crisis? Why has the thought of helping out the less fortunate become so viscerally repugnant to so many Americans?

When worst comes to worst, would Americans rather leave their compatriots out in the cold as punishment for their poverty because helping them out is too similar to the scary scary S-word: Socialism?

I haven’t seen a single TV discussion of the stimulus that included commentary from a person facing unemployment, foreclosure, or poverty. While they are being mocked in newspapers and on television screens around the country, they have not even been invited to speak on their own behalf. Their many voices apparently do not deserve the amplification accorded to the small circle of comfortable, employed and adequately housed pundits and politicians who bash them. Hardly a fair fight.

I guess I’m hoping that all of these writers, pundits and politicians simply do not speak for the majority of Americans. It’s just hard to believe that because somebody is reading their columns, listening to their radio shows and watching them on television.