Lunch Links

Monday, July 12th, 2010
  • So it turns out that when conservative celebrities start spouting off about politics, they’re just as insightful, interesting, and valuable to the public debate as liberal celebrities. Which is to say not at all. (I realize I may be stretching the definition of celebrity, here.)
  • John Stagliano’s federal obscenity trial begins in D.C.
  • Photo essay from a Real Doll factory. Bizarre.
  • The Black Panther voter fraud case was actually downgraded during the Bush administration. There’s so much material over which to legitimately criticize Obama. Why waste time and credibility on this “he’s secretly racist” nonsense?
  • Minority groups much less likely than whites to support California’s ballot initiative to legalize marijuana. Not sure what to make of that.
  • United Farm Workers invites American citizens to apply for field jobs usually staffed by immigrants. They aren’t getting many takers.
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44 Responses to “Lunch Links”

  1. #1 |  Sam Wilkinson | 

    Hrm…maybe it’s that those people hating Obama are willing to believe anything about him so long as it fits into a rubric that they long ago decided on regarding the man and his race.

  2. #2 |  Nando | 

    Wow, obscenity trials in the 21st century. How sad.

  3. #3 |  Nate | 

    I used to work in a small Bank in Oakland. It gave me a little time to converse with people on BART and some of the buses. I found that many minorities didn’t see the racism in the laws, just in the police. And furthermore, were very likely to identify drugs as “destroying their neighborhood” rather than the prohibition. I’m sure my sample is super biased, and that these same attitudes are probably prevalent amongst whites as well. What happens when those numbers are adjusted for education level or socio-economic status?

  4. #4 |  Rhayader | 

    This Prop 19 stuff is becoming pretty ominous. Absent some major event that galvanizes the reformers between now and November, I just don’t see it happening. Which is a damn shame.

  5. #5 |  Mattocracy | 

    Victoria Jackson would have more credibility if it wasn’t for the fact that the Tea Partiers aren’t the most freedom oriented people either.

    If you’re critisizing Obama, I think it’s important to mention that Bush blew for a lot of the same reasons as BHO. Otherwise, it’s just perceived as political hackery.

  6. #6 |  Jon Gray | 

    @Nate

    Good point. IIRC, and this is purely anecdotal, some of the biggest proponents of harsh crack cocaine sentencing guidelines were black community leaders.

  7. #7 |  InMD | 

    At #3

    It isn’t unusual for minorities to support hard knuckle drug prohibition (or at least within their political leadership). This is in no way to say that white politicians haven’t been more than willing to use prohibition as a sort of stealth means of harassing minority groups but you do find a lot of black inner city leaders who support the war on drugs precisely because they witness first hand the nastiness of addiction and particularly the violence. However I don’t think the political leadership in those areas have come around to the idea that it isn’t so much the drugs as the prohibition of drugs that unleashes the violence and makes the social/medical consequences so much more difficult to deal with. This can’t be too surprising since I don’t think many white political leaders realize it either.

  8. #8 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Obama is certainly not “secretly racist”. Like most of the Radical Left in this country he is explicitly Racist in all the current Politically Correct ways, but nobody is supposed to notice.

  9. #9 |  Mattocracy | 

    I’m probably going to get a lot of negative karma here, but honkies are fairly socially liberal people. Go ask 10 hispanics in Texas or 10 black people in Alabama how they feel about gay marriage and compare their reactions to 10 white people. Ask the same groups how they feel about Jews and tell me which demographic gives you better responses.

  10. #10 |  Michael Chaney | 

    The Black Panther voter fraud case was actually downgraded during the Bush administration. There’s so much material over which to legitimately criticize Obama. Why waste time and credibility on this “he’s secretly racist” nonsense.

    It might have been downgraded during Bush’s term, but it was outright *dropped after winning a conviction* during Obama’s term. We know it happened, as one of the lawyers has quit in disgust and is now telling all. Sorry, but it’s caught on video and it’s a serious case of voter intimidation and is exactly what the law is supposed to fix.

    What’s even more sad about the situation is that there are reports that the NAACP actually lobbied for the case to be dropped. I have no idea what they have to gain from that.

    Anyway, this is something that should be taken seriously.

  11. #11 |  André | 

    Just an FYI, the California chapter of the NAACP offered its support to the ballot initiative.

    “It is time for them to stop using my community to populate the prison systems on such minor offenses as having a joint.”

    http://www.capradio.org/articles/articledetail.aspx?articleid=8447

    (Subscribe to NORML’s weekly newsletter!)

  12. #12 |  flukebucket | 

    I wish I could stretch my dick as far as you stretched the definition of celebrity.

  13. #13 |  JS | 

    Nate ” I found that many minorities didn’t see the racism in the laws, just in the police. And furthermore, were very likely to identify drugs as “destroying their neighborhood” rather than the prohibition.”

    Wow, that’s a really great observation. That’s exactly how it is. Not just among minorities or whatever but among a lot of people.

  14. #14 |  Rhayader | 

    I found that many minorities didn’t see the racism in the laws, just in the police. And furthermore, were very likely to identify drugs as “destroying their neighborhood” rather than the prohibition.

    Yeah that sounds right to me (young white male that I am). I also think that minority communities tend to be more strongly religious, and that organized religion tends to de-emphasize individualism and pragmatism in favor of “morality” and groupthink. There’s a good reason that alcohol prohibition was given life by the Christian temperance movement.

  15. #15 |  George in AZ | 

    Re the Panthers: Perez testified the case was dropped pre-Obama. Perez would benefit from that if true. Perez was caught in other lies, so I would think it would be prudent to confirm the truth of what he testified to. I saw nothing in here that confirms his statement. Did I miss that, or are you just taking him at his word?

  16. #16 |  CTD | 

    #10

    Just so. I don’t know what the Think Progress article thinks it’s proving. The outrage isn’t that the case was downgraded from a criminal prosecution to a civil suit (I actually agree that the conduct didn’t warrant criminal prosecution.), it’s that Obama’s DoJ won the suit against these thugs, then dropped it for no apparent reason.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with racism, just political correctness. The suit never would have been dropped had they been two hooded klansmen armed with billy clubs going on about white power.

  17. #17 |  BSK | 

    “It might have been downgraded during Bush’s term, but it was outright *dropped after winning a conviction* during Obama’s term. We know it happened, as one of the lawyers has quit in disgust and is now telling all. Sorry, but it’s caught on video and it’s a serious case of voter intimidation and is exactly what the law is supposed to fix.”

    A conviction was only “won” because the defendants refused to show up and a default judgment was handed down. If the case had gone to trial, most legal experts have said it would have been hard for the prosecution to convict. The lawyer who quite also said that he was instructed by Holder to only prosecute whites violating the civil rights of blacks… though offers no corrobaration of this statement.

    The politicization of the Civil Rights Commission started with Bush. Obama and Holder have sought to UNDO that, and in doing so, are being criticized of not just politicization, but racially based politicization.

    The DoJ initially sought an injunction against not just the individual who was at the polling station with a baton/billy club, but also against another individual who was with him and had no weapon AND the NBPP as a whole. They sought to bar any member of the NBPP from being on the premises at a polling station, which was ridiculously excessive and would have been a further violation of rights. The individual with the weapon was rightfully banned from polling stations for 4 years.

    So, the narrative that the NBPP as a whole was guilty of blatant, widespread voter intimidation and were let of the hook by Obama/Holder because they favor blacks is just nonsense. The only video relating to the matter shows the individuals interacting with a fellow poll watcher who gets in their face with a video camera and with the police. There were no complaints of voter intimidation except by GOP poll watchers, but no actual voters. A lot of the argument in favor of the men “intimidating” folks has to do with their dress, which has been described as “battle uniforms” or “military issue” and other such terms, despite the fact that they were simply wearing all black with insignias identifying them as members of the NBPP. One individual did have a weapon (the billy club/baton) which should have been confiscated and for which he has been rightly punished (perhaps a harsher punishment was justified, I will concede that).

    So, again, there is little to no evidence that any intimidation took place, though there was certainly the potential for that given the possession by ONE MAN of a weapon. A guilty verdict was reached only after defendants refused to participate in the proceedings and was not predicated upon the evidence supporting their conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. This conviction extended not only to a man who did not have a weapon, but also to the NBPP as a whole, who denounced the tactic taken by the individual in question and internally punished him as well.

  18. #18 |  Marty | 

    great post, Nate- I’d love to see the breakdown on the vote after the election. it’d be a shame if legalization fails because of lack of education…

  19. #19 |  Upgrayyed | 

    Re United Farm Workers- cute story but not realistic. Food is cheap- if the price supported the market value of ‘legal’ workers there would be applicants, and soon after technology to replace them…

  20. #20 |  dsp | 

    I actually had to google Victoria Jackson; and I’m 45 years old…

  21. #21 |  MikeZ | 

    So the farm workers are paid below minimum wage and have no worker’s comp. What exactly does its Union do? Sounds like the crappiest union of all time.

  22. #22 |  MikeZ | 

    I’d also second what Upgrayyed said, If they really can’t get any legal workers to fill the positions that says the wages especially with this economy, it sortof points more towards a pay discrepency, In the short term at least I suspect there would be higher wages for farm workers had to be citizens.

    Long term it would probably just mean we get all our crops from Mexico. So stopping illegal immigration probably wouldn’t solve anything.

  23. #23 |  Joel | 

    Bill Bennet (author Book of Virtues) was on CSPAN book TV. He is a good speaker.

    He talked about how when he goes to inner city, he does not hear at all people wanting to see drug laws repealed. They want government to get the dangerous dealers off the streets. They have seen many lives in the neighborhood fall to addiction.

    But he also said every time he goes to college campuses 80% of the questions he hears is about getting drug laws repealed.

    So the stats make a lot of sense from the observations he made on that show.

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/id/226075

    (about 1 hr 32 min)

  24. #24 |  scott | 

    #17,

    “So, again, there is little to no evidence that any intimidation took place,”

    Except for the dude with the billy club in his NBPP “uniform”.

    Equivocate all you want but it doesn’t erase the fact that a member of the NBPP, a group which has some verifiable history of bombastic and racially-charged rhetoric, might reasonably be construed as trying to intimidate voters when he stands outside a flippin’ polling station while brandishing a weapon.

    And perhaps the whole DOJ-handling-of-the-case kerfluffle is overblown and misdirected. But then I see this from Deputy Asst. AG Julie Fernandes in re: to enforcing voter list integrity… “We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it” (http://tinyurl.com/29ndq9a) and I feel oddly compelled to wonder if there isn’t really something shady going on at the DOJ.

  25. #25 |  Jeff | 

    I was discussing the immigration issue with my dad and he was telling me about a friend he has who is a farmer. The friend, who owns his land in Idaho, uses undocumented workers all the time. A while ago he decided he should obey the law and hire legal workers, so he let them all go. Within a week, most of the new workers had quit and he had to fire the rest of the because they were so lazy. Without immigrants, and specifically Mexican immigrants, my dad’s friend says he would be unable to operate his farm.

  26. #26 |  Michael Chaney | 

    So, again, there is little to no evidence that any intimidation took place, though there was certainly the potential for that given the possession by ONE MAN of a weapon.

    I guess you missed the video?

  27. #27 |  Marty | 

    ‘The politicization of the Civil Rights Commission started with Bush.’

    The commission did a great job in the 50s/early 60s of exposing (which is what it was set up to do) racial injustice. Now, it’s very politicized with multiple issues, including ADA. The politicization of any govt agency starts when it’s created…

  28. #28 |  Tom Barkwell | 

    So there is conflicting testimony on the Black Panther intimidation case. But the civil rights commission seeks further testimony and evidence for clarification, yet is being stonewalled in its effort at truth seeking by DOJ officials. Doesn’t that pique your curiosity? Why would you automatically side with the Obama propagandists?

    Citizens need to know that their civil rights will be protected regardless of race and political considerations. It’s not an insignificant matter.

  29. #29 |  Deoxy | 

    Of course the farm workers aren’t get any takers – the current situation for farm workers vs citizens would make it STUPID to do so in almost every case – willingness to work is not even part of the equation.
    -as a citizen, I will be paying taxes on what I am paid, meaning that the already amazingly low pay is even lower
    -unemployment benefits are better than the wages even before the point above, and they’ve been extended ridiculously
    -welfare and other government assistance is at least as good as the pay, even before considering the first point

    So, we set up a system where the wages are below what we give citizens just for breathing, then claim that we need illegal workers because citizens won’t take the job…. Duh? Remove illegal workers from the equation (even a guest worker program that made them pay the same taxes a citizen would pay would be sufficient), reduce the ridiculous levels of government assistance, and then try this again.

    Also, I have to agree with #15, above. You are taking Perez at his word over the word of Adams and a few other important things. Why? Because based on the video and the other public and documented things going on with the DoJ (as also mentioned above by #24), the explicitly racist angle is a much simpler and more believable explanation.

  30. #30 |  David Chesler | 

    “Most applicants quickly lose interest once the reality sinks in that these are back-breaking jobs in triple-digit temperatures that pay minimum wage, usually without benefits, according to the union.”
    Agreed with Upgrayyed @ 19, MikeZ @ 21 and Deoxy @ 28.
    This does not demonstrate that Americans are not willing to do the jobs; it demonstrates that immigrants are willing to do the job at lower wages than Americans are. Sounds exactly like what stealing our jobs would sound like. You can argue it’s not stealing, you can argue it’s economically more efficient, but please don’t lie and say Americans aren’t willing to do it.

  31. #31 |  BSK | 

    Scott-

    You are conflating the potential for intimidation with actual intimidation. If no one was intimidated, did intimidation take place? NOPE! That being said, obviously, we want to limit the potential for intimidation and, as such, the weapon was rightfully confiscated and the man punished.

    I like how, as soon as you’ve lost the argument, you changed the topic.

    I’m curious, since we’re on a libertarian website… where do you stand with regards to gun ownership? One of the biggest hypocrisies of the NBPP case is that many of the same folks who want the most lax weapons laws in the land are suddenly outraged that this man possessed a weapon (one far less threatening than a gun). Maybe he was holding it for self-defense? Maybe he anticipated being intimidated himself? Given that the weapon stayed at his side and he spoke only to folks who spoke to him, I struggle to see how you can maintain that intimidation took place. The primary video being circulated shows a white man walk right between the two NBPPs. Not exactly the most intimidating presence, eh?

    And given that these two specific individuals made no comments, how can we construe intimidation? Exactly what agenda were they pushing? We don’t now, because they said nothing. We can assume based on their affiliation with the NBPP that they supported Obama, but given that they had no direct contact with voters, again, how did actual intimidation take place?

  32. #32 |  Tsiroth | 

    David: Lie? I think you’re being disingenuous, here. When people say “Americans aren’t willing,” to do a given job, it’s implied and understood that what is meant is, “Americans aren’t willing to do a given job, ‘at the prevailing wage.'” Seriously, no one is “lying.” They are just failing to state explicitly what should be obvious.

  33. #33 |  RWW | 

    What is this strange belief that low-paid illegal immigrants are cheating the system by not paying taxes? As far as I know, no citizen at that income level actually pays taxes. Heck, I barely pay any income taxes, and I make quite a bit more than them.

  34. #34 |  Charlie O | 

    I doubt many (if any) here have actually done farm work. I have. When I was 17, I rode a Greyhound from Stockton, CA to Madera, CA and spent a weekend picking grapes. Compared to the Mexicans that I worked alongside, I was terrible at it. Thus, I made lousy money. It IS back breaking, hard work. And kudos to anyone who will do it. All you who claim that US citizens would do the work at a “prevailing” wage have no clue what you’re talking about. For the money that you’d have to pay me, or most “gringos” do pick fruit, there would be riots at the grocery stores for the price hikes on US grown produce. What we need is a guest worker program. Let Mexicans or any others in to the country to the work that American can’t afford at the grocery store.

  35. #35 |  RWW | 

    (Not that I believe for a moment that avoiding taxes is “cheating,” or that, in the name of fairness, others should be subjected to the same burdens that I am, if they can get out of them…)

  36. #36 |  Upgrayyed | 

    Re-#33- I would go out on a limb and say that fruit and vegetable purchasers in the US are not the rioting type. And as was said in #22, if Americans are truly unwilling to do the work then production can move to Mexico.

    I am unwilling to accept the argument that a business is only profitable if using illegal means of production as being valid.

  37. #37 |  Tsiroth | 

    Charlie, I agree with your overall point, but the pedant in me has to add:

    “Prevailing: 1. Most frequent or common; predominant.
    2. Generally current; widespread.

  38. #38 |  RWW | 

    What we need is a guest worker program.

    What we need is a return to some semblance of property rights and freedom of association.

    …if Americans are truly unwilling to do the work then production can move to Mexico.

    Why not just let people be free? Why do you feel this need to control them? On what basis do you claim the right to subvert the free market in this way?

  39. #39 |  David Chesler | 

    Tsiroth, what about on the H-1B side. When companies say “Americans can’t do math, and that’s why we need to import workers” is it understood that they mean “Americans won’t do software as cheaply as these workers”? I don’t think so, because they keep talking about “the best and the brightest” even though they are generally hiring run-of-the-mill workers.

    People who are willing to do the job for less, whether it’s picking grapes or writing software, depress the price of labor. That’s good if you’re an employer or a consumer, bad if you’re a competing laborer.

  40. #40 |  Tsiroth | 

    David: It’s understood that they mean something on the order of: Americans willing to do this job for $15/hour can’t do math, but there are foreigners with the necessary skills who will work for that wage. As for your “best and brightest” comment, I honestly have no idea what you are talking about or what it has to do with your argument.

    (BTW, I think you’ll find that competing laborers are also consumers.)

  41. #41 |  Deoxy | 

    RWW – ever heard of FICA? SS taxes? Everyone who is not paid under the table pays some kind of taxes. The lowest portion of the population gets it all back at the end, but they still pay it and have to live on less in the mean time.
    This isn’t about “controlling people” vs “the free market”. It’s about “who lives in this house and lives by its rules, and who doesn’t”, which is important when it comes to the rules in question. It’s about having a level playing field, among other things.

    As to the the “Bush administration downgraded it” thing, try this:
    http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZTA4M2NmNzY5N2FkZGEyMGI4ODkwNjYyNzgxYTAzMDQ=

    Summary: yes, they probably did, and yes, that makes a lot more sense and works a lot better for several reasons. Go read it and see. It doesn’t absolve anyone.

  42. #42 |  David Chesler | 

    So are employers also consumers.
    If you make 100% of your income from picking or coding, but only 5% of your purchases are grapes or software, a drop in the wage level paid to pickers or coders hurts you more than it helps you.

    And I disagree with your assertion, Tsiroth, that people (including those in Congress) understand “There is a shortage of programmers” or “Americans can’t do math” to mean what it _does_ mean, that we can’t find Americans who are able to do this work who are willing to do it for $15/hour. Casting the argument in terms of “We’d like to pay less for our coders and our laboratory scut-workers” is not at all the same as casting it in terms of “We need the brilliance of non-Americans to keep America innovative and competitive”.

  43. #43 |  markm | 

    It looks to me like both the Bush and Obama administrations scrood the pooch. That video looks like a clear criminal case against the *individuals* involved, but I see no evidence that it was a NBPP sanctioned action rather than just the stupid idea of a few members. The individuals could have rightfully been sent to the gray bar inn, or possibly by threatening them with prison, their testimony against the NBPP could have been obtained. Yet the Bushies left a leftist in a high position in the (In)Justice Dept., and failed to prevent him from dismissing the criminal charges against the individuals.

    Then the Obamaites accidentally won the civil case – which in any event only meant they could get an injunction against breaking the law again – and threw even that away.

    Bushies: Incompetent and Corrupt
    Obamaites: Racist and Corrupt

  44. #44 |  RWW | 

    The lowest portion of the population gets it all back at the end, but they still pay it and have to live on less in the mean time.

    So? Punish everyone equally, is that it?

    This isn’t about “controlling people” vs “the free market”. It’s about “who lives in this house and lives by its rules, and who doesn’t”, which is important when it comes to the rules in question.

    This house? What abject collectivist nonsense.

    It’s about having a level playing field, among other things.

    Right — punishing everyone equally, like I said.

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