Drew’s Collection of Things to Read on the Interwebs

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Where can you find thousands of dollars being poured out a window, birthday parties, hidden cameras, blood-stealing laws, out-of-control bureaucrats and the guy who voiced Darth Vader? In these links:

  • A “Code Enforcement Official” in Columbia County, Georgia, broke into the house of a sleeping woman and yelled at her for not mowing her lawn.
  • In Tennessee, a new law required eight drivers to give blood samples against their will last week because they were suspected of drinking and driving.
  • Text messages sent to friends and family are not private, according to a recent Washington state court ruling.
  • If you want birthday cake and guns at the same place, head to Texas.
  • Political candidates are getting a little creepy in their efforts to record their opponents’ daily lives.
  • In case you missed it last week, a (particularly dopey) subgroup of the Occupy Seattle movement protested campaign finance laws by throwing $5,000 out of a hotel room window. The bills had statements stamped on them. Apparently the protesters were unaware that copies at Kinko’s are only nine cents.
  • A lot of the folks who like James Earl Jones‘ corny movies like The Sandlot, Patriot Games and Field of Dreams are probably Tea Party types, but he still thinks they’re racists, anyway

Now that was a thoughtful and enjoyable way to kill a few minutes, wasn’t it?

-Drew Johnson

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65 Responses to “Drew’s Collection of Things to Read on the Interwebs”

  1. #1 |  UCrawford | 

    Outside of a rather interesting story he once told about eating snakes while in Ranger School on commentary for the “Conan The Barbarian” DVD James Earl Jones’ opinions on anything except acting hold about the same weight for me as any other celebrity’s…zero. His opinion is only offensive if one chooses to listen to it. Otherwise, it might as well be Kim Kardashian talking about CDOs or Paris Hilton discussing the finer points of counterinsurgency strategy.

  2. #2 |  UCrawford | 

    Re: Washington state text ruling…the lesson here is to never send incriminating text messages to someone too lazy to put a password lock on their phone.

  3. #3 |  Rob | 

    A “Code Enforcement Official” in Columbia County, Georgia, broke into the house of a sleeping woman and yelled at her for not mowing her lawn.

    He’s lucky he didn’t get shot.

  4. #4 |  Linda | 

    Code Violation Guy-OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5 |  buzz | 

    I like the comments on code violation guy. Telling others that they shouldn’t shoot the stranger in their bedroom until they get both sides to the story. As a local angle to the story, in my hometown our local serial killer, BTK was a code enforcement guy.

  6. #6 |  Other Sean | 

    Begging your pardon, Lord Vader…

    You said: “My grandmother was part Indian, part black, she hated everybody and she taught all of her children…to be racist, to hate white people and to distrust black people.”

    As a technical matter, don’t you need to have positive feelings about at least one race to be considered racist?

  7. #7 |  Scooby | 

    Code Enforcement Guy has someone claiming to be his stepdaughter sticking up for him on the comments.

    I guess he’s just warming up to become a BTK copycat.

  8. #8 |  Dave | 

    Awww, come on Drew, which would you take the time to pick up, an occupy tract printed at Kinko’s for 9 cents, or a piece of money with a tract on it?

  9. #9 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    I hardly think James Earl Jones said anything that bad. He mentioned the Tea Party and racism in the same sentence, then shared the fact that his part-Indian, part-black grandmother was a racist. IOW, that people of color can be racists, too. I didn’t really hear him say the Tea Party is racist.

  10. #10 |  EH | 

    Code Enforcement Guy had resigned from the police force, admitting he stole a laptop.

  11. #11 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced the results from the state’s first-ever “No Refusal” DUI enforcement effort which took place in five counties over the July Fourth holiday period…”

    Awesome, just as we celebrate our Independence from the tyrannical
    Crown gov’t vampires will now take your blood by force. Glad to see
    Homeland Security forces involves in the process too. I worry
    they get bored with no more 911 attacks and might need something to do.

  12. #12 |  RT | 

    While the books they were loosely based on were great, every Clancy movie was a steaming pile of donkey offal.

  13. #13 |  Marty | 

    sexting just became a little more interesting in Washington…

  14. #14 |  Marty | 

    I can’t believe the woman isn’t pressing charges against the code nazi who broke the law trying to force her to comply with the law. The irony is mind-blowing.

  15. #15 |  Bob | 

    In case you missed it last week, a (particularly dopey) subgroup of the Occupy Seattle movement protested campaign finance laws by throwing $5,000 out of a hotel room window. The bills had statements stamped on them. Apparently the protesters were unaware that copies at Kinko’s are only nine cents.

    It may seem kooky, but think about it… it cost them almost nothing to pull this stunt. The cash was donated, and it was only 5K to begin with. They stamped messages on them, and chucked them out the window.

    This means the money goes into circulation and gets seen. The video and news reports also serve that end. (I now know about it… I didn’t before.)

    Hell, it would have probably cost them MORE to get the copies at Kinko’s (They would have had to pay for them.) And the message would have been lessened (The printed sheets would be litter, and have been thrown away.)

  16. #16 |  Clued In | 

    Particularly dopey…? To want to put an end to Citizens United and Corporate personhood? To get corrupt lobbyists and bought/sold politicians out of the government? Hmmm….that doesn’t sound dopey. Sounds smart as heLL.
    And for the record, when have you EVER seen a measely $5,000 buy as much global press coverage? I can’t name a single political campaign that has been able to get their message across as well as this MicCheckWallStreet group did! Smart, smart, smart!

  17. #17 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Not only was the protest effective for the reasons Bob gives, but you helped it along, Drew. Thanks!

  18. #18 |  Lefty | 

    BTK was a code enforcement guy. Gotta watch out for petty dictators. There’s a well of hate a mile deep.

  19. #19 |  el coronado | 

    Aw, c’mon, #12, ‘Red October’ wasn’t half bad. Easily the most true to the book of any of the movies, yes? And as an added bonus, we got to see Alec Baldwin pretend to be all gung-ho & patriotic & shit; as well as seeing Connery identifying himself as the Lithuanian (?) “Marko Ramiush, shkipper of thish veshell.”

  20. #20 |  Other Sean | 

    Bob,

    Even as one who disagrees completely with the message, I can admire the tactic. It’s not exactly sustainable, but publicity stunts rarely are. The whole Occupy movement hasn’t been getting much action of late, so they kind of had to do something new.

    Now, if they had invited a student loan collections agent to the spot and filmed him chasing some dollars in the wind, that would have been funny.

  21. #21 |  John C. Randolph | 

    As a technical matter, don’t you need to have positive feelings about at least one race to be considered racist?

    I wouldn’t say so. Racism is just the belief that certain characteristics apply to all of the members of some arbitrary group, whether positive or negative.

    -jcr

  22. #22 |  JLA | 

    Re: Code Enforcment Guy

    Hmmmm. I find it quite curious that a woman who doesn’t feel the need to lock her door while she sleeps does feel the need to have her home outfitted with a security camera system. I know it’s only speculation but I’m thinking that maybe this guy was set up by his own agency (quite possibly because they may have already received several complaints about him doing this very same thing and they needed evidence to discipline him for it?).

    Whatever the case, the guy doesn’t deserve to be working in any line of work that has the word “enforcement” in it.

  23. #23 |  JLA | 

    Re: Code Enforcement Guy

    It appears he’s already been fired. And he also lied about the incident. As Radley always says, “But for video.”

    http://www.ajc.com/news/code-enforcement-officer-fired-1475784.html

  24. #24 |  Robert | 

    #19: OK, HfRO was less of a pile than the others. However, Patriot Games almost made me completely lose it when I saw it in the theater.

  25. #25 |  KristenS | 

    I was also gonna say – BTK was just like that Georgia Code Enforcement guy.

  26. #26 |  Other Sean | 

    John C.,

    “Racism is just the belief that certain characteristics apply to all of the members of some arbitrary group, whether positive or negative.”

    I know what you mean of course, and I personally agree with that definition, but a lot of people now define racism as “any assertion that group differences exist beyond the obvious physical characteristics used to define groups” or perhaps “any assertion that group differences exist where such assertions may be offensive to certain protected groups.”

    A lot of arguments you see here on the subject of race, actually come down to one faction using the more narrow definition while another uses the expanded version. It makes for much confusion and rancor between them.

    In this particular case, it just seemed like the best word to describe Lord Vader’s grandma would have been “misanthrope” rather than “racist”. She did, as he put it, hate everybody.

  27. #27 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Gun range parties (and dates) are pretty awesome. Everyone’s a critic, but when the zombie outbreak comes, my kids will be able to take out a walker at 30 yards while driving by in one of their dozen or so Ferraris.

  28. #28 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Code Enforcement Guy: If we have Lawn Inspectors, it’s a sure sign that we’re never going to actually address the whole debt thing. I mean, some budget cuts just must be too difficult to make. Just keep spending and growing government. Note that the video shows part of the lawn looks pretty short.

  29. #29 |  capn_amurka | 

    “The ‘No Refusal’ law, enacted this year by the General Assembly, allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers.”

    I’m sure this law has been attacked as an invasive search. Even if it is a proper search I think there is another issue here.

    That is, I wonder if anyone has considered attacking such laws as an illegal deprivation of property. If the state says they want to take and test my blood, it’s *my* blood. Even if the test itself is legal, how do I get it back after they’re done testing it?? If I can’t get it back, that seems like a taking and would raise a separate issue under the 4th amendment.

  30. #30 |  HoldingTheFire | 

    So you’re linking to far right rags now that are actually using the old trope of the illogical, emotional progressives and cries of reverse racism?

    Calling white people racist is not racist itself. Besides, a lot of the tea party is racist, or at least denying the racism in society.

  31. #31 |  nigmalg | 

    Re: text message privacy

    officer searched through the text messages on Lee’s iPhone, found some suspicious messages from a “Z-Jon” and texted from Lee’s phone to ask if Z-Jon “needed more.”

    I certainly hope the defense cited entrapment. You’ve got the textbook definition right there.

    But the Washington Court of Appeals disagreed and said that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy with text messages just as there isn’t with voice messages left on an answering machine that could be overheard by anyone. The court also said that Roden had implicitly given his consent to the use of the text messages because he understood that they are automatically recorded and stored on the device

    Wow. There’s a terrifying lack of logic in that conclusion.

  32. #32 |  Other Sean | 

    John C.,

    Check out HoldingTheFire’s post for an example of what I was talking about earlier. He writes: “Besides, a lot of the tea party is racist, or at least denying the racism in society.”

    A great example of how the practical definition has changed in recent years.

    You can be racist by being racist, but you can also be suspect merely because you don’t denounce racism enough. In effect that means anyone who is not actively identified as a progressive can be smeared at any time. The word “racist” now has a political function similar to that of the word “fascist” in the old left (see Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language”). It is a general term of abuse, to be used against political opponents with no need for specific fit.

    So if you’re keeping score: “Any who runs…, anyone who stands still…”

  33. #33 |  Mattocracy | 

    “Besides, a lot of the tea party is racist, or at least denying the racism in society.”

    This kind of blanket smear is just as bad as the “Liberals use emotion and don’t use logic” smear that conservatives use. These are just prejudices based on indentity politics.

  34. #34 |  Mo | 

    “In case you missed it last week, a (particularly dopey) subgroup of the Occupy Seattle movement protested campaign finance laws by throwing $5,000 out of a hotel room window. The bills had statements stamped on them. Apparently the protesters were unaware that copies at Kinko’s are only nine cents.

    As a few other people mentioned, the amount of press this got is well worth the $5,000. In addition, if people see something stamped on money, there’s a greater tendency to read it. A flyer from Kinko’s will get thrown in the trash. Not to mention, one stamped bill will likely be seen and read by at least a half dozen people. Much more bang for your buck.

    Some guy at BBDO is stealing that idea right now.

  35. #35 |  Random Texan | 

    Re: Gun Range – awesome, I may just swing by for a visit after they open! However, I’m not going to wait until my son is 8 to start teaching him how to respect and be careful around guns.

  36. #36 |  Max | 

    As soon as I hear racism, I tune out; it means nothing except someone has dared to disagree with a liberal.

  37. #37 |  Bill Poser | 

    In some places people just don’t lock their doors, even when they go away from home. And some people leave their doors unlocked because they have health problems and want people coming to assist them to be able to get in quickly.

  38. #38 |  Jim | 

    Drew, you are a either a deeply confused person, or a troll. The other day you post a truly vile, hate-filled diatribe against people – Jenny McCarthy in particular – resisting the tyranny of state-imposed vaccinations on their infants and children in the face of an exponential explosion of post-vaccination mental disorders, and now you’re serving up links of abusive state agents. So State good – when it suits you – and State bad – when it suits you. Looking forward to the end of your guest shot here.

  39. #39 |  Robert | 

    And Jenny completely deserved it to.

  40. #40 |  capn_amurka | 

    @Jim:

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over.

    You seem to find “So State good – when it suits you – and State bad – when it suits you” a difficult concept to understand.

    I’ll grant it is the kind of nuanced concept that requires post-pubescent thinking so I’ll provide an example for you.

    For example, a knife can be used to threaten innocent people (knife bad) or used to cut food during a meal (knife good). A knife can have both good and bad character depending on application, the power of the state can have both good and bad character depending on application, and reasonable people can differ over how to parse those divisions out.

  41. #41 |  HoldingTheFire | 

    “This kind of blanket smear is just as bad as the “Liberals use emotion and don’t use logic” smear that conservatives use. These are just prejudices based on indentity politics.”

    The tea party, and many right libertarians for that matter, always tout the “pull yourself up by you bootstraps” mentality which ignores the historic and ongoing structural inequalities in society. They denigrate minorities and the poor as lazy or unintelligent while holding their accomplishments up as reflections of their upstanding characters. All while completely ignoring the advantages and privileged they received.

    Also for more examples of racism, just look at the Lew Rockwell/Ron Paul news letters. Even if Ron Paul didn’t write them (so he was just incompetent, not racist) someone in the libertarian right does think that way.

  42. #42 |  Mattocracy | 

    “They denigrate minorities and the poor as lazy or unintelligent while holding their accomplishments up as reflections of their upstanding characters.”

    Another sweeping generalization. It’s the ‘All of you people feel/think this way’ mentality. It’s this kind of mentality that creates blind partisanship. Lumping everyone into a group and then applying a negative stereotype to them is the most ineffective means of dialogue. It’s also prejudicial, the very thing you’re accusing others of.

    “someone in the libertarian right does think that way.” Someone does not equal all or majority. Someone equals someone.

    And yes, a lot of self proclaimed liberals/conservatives/libertarians say things that contradict the values of liberals/conservatives/libertarians. And lots of people cherry pick those contradictions as proof of wide spread hipocrisy of those ‘other people.’ It’s a tactic that is as old and futile as time itself.

  43. #43 |  Personanongrata | 

    A “Code Enforcement Official” in Columbia County, Georgia, broke into the house of a sleeping woman and yelled at her for not mowing her lawn.

    Ah, yes, the hallmark of living in a “free” nation as a “free” man is to have a tax feeding parasite whose entire existence is predicated on you paying taxes on your earnings and property enter into your home to ticket you for not cutting your grass.

    Now thats freedom.

  44. #44 |  HoldingTheFire | 

    You can play the “few bad apples” game all you want, but at some point you have to identify the motivation of the majority of the people in some movement: http://uwnews.washington.edu/ni/article.asp?articleID=56877

  45. #45 |  Other Sean | 

    HoldingTheFire,

    Are you familiar with the fallacy known as “bulverism”? Sometimes it’s also described as “psychologizing”. Works like this:

    Mr. A puts forth an argument. Mr. B disagrees with the argument. In fact, Mr. B disagrees so strongly and so pre-reflexively, it seems impossible to him that Mr. A is actually making such an argument.

    So instead of answering it, Mr. B decides he can skip to the next step and start constructing an explanation as to why Mr. A might be saying such strange and off-putting things. Ultimately, he presents the triumphant conclusion that Mr. A’s argument is really just a sublimated manifestation of his ____________.”

    Racism works great, of course, but in principle the blank can be filled in with anything that is impossible to disprove (e.g., oedipus complex, generational angst, class anxiety…they all work equally well.)

    The survey you cited is just an example of that.

  46. #46 |  JLA | 

    @ 36

    I’m very well aware that some people don’t lock their doors for various reasons (particularly because I’m one of them). That’s not the point I was making. The point was that of those that don’t lock their doors, very, very few of them have multi-camera security systems. It seems a little too coincidental that the one house in a rather nondescript neighborhood that this officer decides to enter uninvited is the one house that has an (1) unlocked door, (2) a lawn in violation of the civic code he enforces, AND (3) a multi-camera security system set up at just the correct angles to video record said entry. As I pointed out in my previous post, it seems to me that someone had more than an inkling that this guy would make an unlawful entry.

    And if it was a set up, then I’m very happy he got caught. The taxpayers of Columbia County, GA should also be happy and express to this woman their gratitude for exposing a lying government official who had no respect for anyone’s Fourth Amendment rights.

  47. #47 |  JLA | 

    My apologies. I addressed my previous post to post #37 not #36.

  48. #48 |  HoldingTheFire | 

    Other Sean,

    The argument was whether or not the tea party was racist. I gave you a link showing their opinions. Calling it racism isn’t “psychologizing”, it’s the argument itself.

  49. #49 |  Cyto | 

    Wow Jim… way to blow your credibility. There’s nothing about state imposed tyranny in Jennifer McCarthy’s nutty and fully debunked campaign against vaccinations. The anti-vaccination campaign is against vaccines, period. McCarthy and her ex are actually huge fans of state power and wealth redistribution (just not their millions. somebody else’s).

    The foundation of the “vaccination is the cause of autism” is a study that has been proven to be completely wrong. The lead investigator has been completely discredited. Follow-up studies have utterly debunked any notion that vaccines are associated with autism. Anyone still carrying water for those nutters is clearly not credible.

    They are in the same camp as the “power lines are controlling my mind” nutters. Only these nutters are not just damaging their own health and the health of their children, they are putting everyone else at risk. There’s got to be an apt pejorative term for them…. I just can’t come up with it at the moment.

  50. #50 |  Other Sean | 

    HoldingTheFire,

    Ah, but the survey itself was occasioned by the researcher’s suspicion that the Tea Party couldn’t possibly be just a protest movement for limited government and against excessive spending. That’s what started him on his project in the first place: a sense of disbelief that people could really get so upset over an issue that he doesn’t care about or understand. The parsimonious explanation would have been to take the movement at its word, and ask questions from there. He did the opposite. He began by assuming the movement couldn’t really be about its demonstrated goals.

    Plus, his methods were shit. Opposition to affirmative action is not the same thing as racism. Presumably all racists would oppose affirmative action, but not all who oppose affirmative action are racists. Despite this, he used opposition to affirmative action as a positive marker for racism. If a self-identified Tea Partier said he disliked affirmative action in the survey, by that virtue alone he was counted as a specimen of racist influence in the movement.

    Not a sound method at all. People who believe in property and contract rights often oppose affirmative action for exactly that reason, and of course many Tea Partiers believe in property and contract rights. The UW researcher clearly isn’t familiar with (or is choosing to ignore) the way those pieces fit together in small government ideology. That’s where the bulverism come into play. He goes out looking for an explanation to something that is already explained.

  51. #51 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Other Sean, did you actually read anything about that survey? Because it looks like they responded to your variety of obfuscation:

    http://depts.washington.edu/uwiser/racepolitics.html

    Multivariate Analysis of Racial Resentment and Selected Civil Liberties Among Whites

    Since the public has become aware of the data, several people have come forward to challenge our initial findings, specifically, that supporters of the Tea Party appear racially intolerant. A principal charge, one not without intellectual merit, is that the observed relationship between support for the Tea Party and racial resentment is more about the relatively conservative politics of Tea Partiers than racism. Indeed, conservatives tend to believe in a small government, one that doesn’t do much to help people who, they believe, should make an effort to do for themselves. This is certainly a legitimate view; it’s one to which many Americans have adhered from the beginning of the Republic. In short, some of our critics charge that, instead of the racism we observe associated with support for the Tea Party, we’re merely observing Tea Partiers’ conservatism at work. In other words, support for the Tea Party, they suggest, is simply a proxy for conservatism.

    To address this issue, we turn to regression, a statistical technique that allows analysts to tease out how one variable affects another. This is important because it permits us to account for the presence of other variables that may also affect the outcome while isolating the impact of the effect of the variable of interest on the result. So, in this case, if support for the Tea Party is truly a proxy for conservatism, the relationship between racial resentment and support for the Tea Party should evaporate once we control for conservatism. Otherwise, there’s something else going on with support for the Tea Party; it’s not just conservatism. To make things a little easier, we combined all of the items (questions) that comprise racial resentment, making them into a scale.

    As the figure shows, even as we account for conservatism and partisanship, support for the Tea Party remains a valid predictor of racial resentment. We’re not saying that ideology isn’t important, because it is: as people become more conservative, it increases by 23 percent the chance that they’re racially resentful. Also, Democrats are 15 percent less likely than Republicans to be racially resentful. Even so, support for the Tea Party makes one 25 percent more likely to be racially resentful than those who don’t support the Tea Party.

    Similar results obtain for racial profiling and the ability for authorities to detain people without putting them on trial. Again, controlling for ideology (conservatism) and partisanship, support for the Tea Party increases the probability that individuals agree that it’s okay to “racially profile someone on account of their race or religion” by approximately 27 percent. Support for the Tea Party also increases the probability, by 28 percent, that the authorities should have ability to detain individuals without being charged, for as long as authorities like. Of course, in both cases, conservatism also matters: increasing the likelihood that people will agree with racial profiling and indefinite detention by 30 and 33 percent, respectively.

  52. #52 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher,

    Just listen to yourself (or rather, listen to the source from which you pasted that).

    They say things like “after controlling for ideology…”, and they speak in terms of factors that increase by “23 percent the chance that [respondents] are racially resentful.” If only such things could be measured. If only such variables could be controlled. Then the cargo cult that is social scientism would actually be social science!

    Here’s just one example of what happened when they tried to quantify racism and measure ideology. The survey asked respondents if they would disagree with the following statement: “Over the past few years blacks have gotten less than they deserve.” If you disagreed, you were listed as “racially resentful”, presumably because you think blacks got as much or more than they deserve.

    So what you end up with is a massive equivocation:

    1) Racism (defined in common parlance as the systemic oppression of a group based on stereotypes attributed to all members of that group) is bad.

    2) Many members of the Tea Party oppose affirmative action, believe blacks are getting about what they deserve from politics in recent years, and are willing to allow racial and religious profiling at airports.

    3) Many members of the Tea Party are racist (defined as people who oppose affirmative action, believe blacks are getting about what they deserve from politics in recent years, and are willing to allow racial and religious profiling at airports).

    The definition of racism changed drastically between 1) and 3). Naturally the people who conducted that survey are aware that few people will ever read its methods description. They know the results will be mentioned in brief, and pasted around the web. They also know that a typical reader will swap in the common parlance definition of racism and thereby reach the conclusion that:

    4) Many members of the Tea Party are racist (defined as people who support the systemic oppression of a group based on stereotypes attributed to all members of that group).

    But the survey doesn’t show that at all. Nothing was published in those results to meet the burden of supporting the assertion in statement 4).

    Don’t you think that’s just a bit misleading?

  53. #53 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Other Sean:

    So basically you hadn’t read that before, and instead of admitting what you were wrong when you tried to bullshit us about knowing his methodology, you go on to demonstrate you just don’t understand statistics.

    Cool story, bro.

  54. #54 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher,

    If I was mistaken in describing the survey’s methods, tell me where.

    I didn’t really make any points that hinged on an understanding of statistics, but if you think I’ve made an error in that respect, tell me where.

  55. #55 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Other Sean – You said:

    “If a self-identified Tea Partier said he disliked affirmative action in the survey, by that virtue alone he was counted as a specimen of racist influence in the movement.”

    Oops. It wasn’t just one thing. “To make things a little easier, we combined all of the items (questions) that comprise racial resentment, making them into a scale.” (this has links at the original.) Never mind the list of other questions at the end of the snippet I posted.

    What the fuck, OS? You think you can lie to us in your previous comment and we’ll forget all about it when you spin more bullshit after you’re called on it? And then demand to be shown where you were wrong when it’s right there to be read? GTFO.

  56. #56 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher,

    Well…that’s about one notch better than accusing me of a spelling error. Of course I know the survey had multiple questions. I never suggested otherwise. If I thought there was only one question, I wouldn’t have been using the word “survey” all this time. As long as these comments already are, we can’t afford to go listing entire questionnaires, now can we?

    The phrase “by that virtue alone” means just what it said. If a person said he opposed affirmative action, that response was considered racist without need for further evidence on that point. Meaning: they did not ask respondents why they opposed affirmative action, they just asked if, and when a respondent said yes, the answer was deemed racist “by that virtue alone”. Meaning: no more than a yes answer was required for the response to count as racist.

    I suppose I could have begun that paragraph with the words “to name just one example…”, but I didn’t. I could have also ended the paragraph by saying “and a similar problem applies to the other questions as well”, but I didn’t, because …frankly no one could have mistaken my meaning unless he were engaged in a desperate search for some trivial error to derail the discussion away from its main line of travel. Which reminds me:

    All the survey questions in the “measuring racism” silo are subject to the same criticism I directed toward the affirmative action question. None of the survey questions managed to measure racism directly or with selectivity. They all hinged on the assumption that certain political positions are racist inherently (or, as one might say, racist “by that virtue alone”).

    All my key criticisms remain unanswered. You haven’t defended the study, you’ve just accused me of miscounting the number of questions, and I didn’t even do that.

    But if that’s what you’re down to, if you have no more than that to say, then why are you so enthusiastically committed to your position?

    I’m not some troll who wandered in off the street. If you have a proper defense, I’d love to hear it, and I’d give it my most careful attention. Sadly, it seems you are not interested in testing that promise.

  57. #57 |  c andrew | 

    Thank you, Other Sean.

  58. #58 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Of course I know the survey had multiple questions. I never suggested otherwise.”

    No, you just said, AGAIN:

    “If a self-identified Tea Partier said he disliked affirmative action in the survey, by that virtue alone he was counted as a specimen of racist influence in the movement.”

    *You said only one question determined if someone was racist or not in the survey.*

    That’s a hell of a lot more than a spelling error.

    And now you’re just trying to change your answer; which is still discounted by the researcher’s response to it. *Because you still don’t understand statistical regression.* Which would answer your “criticism,” if you were smart enough to understand it.

  59. #59 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher,

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”? If the questions in the survey fail to isolate the variable they’re supposed to measure, then it doesn’t matter what statistical methods you use after that. Your results will be meaningless.

    In this case, all the regression proved was that there are two types of what the authors call “conservatives”: A) those who stayed at home in 2010, and gave more moderate answers to the survey questions, and B) those who took to the streets as Tea Partiers in 2010, and gave less moderate answers.

    But who needed a survey to tell them that? Of course people who identified themselves with the Tea Party were going to give a more ideologically robust set of answers from those of mainstream conservatives. That’s the whole point of the Tea Party: it was a rebellion against the political center and the two party consensus that unites the Mitch McConnells with the Claire McCaskills.

    So when the researchers claim to have used “regression analysis to control for conservatism and party affiliation”, it boils down to that. They discovered an extremely banal fact that everyone already knows: Tea Partiers are often more outspoken in their opinions than Paleo or Neo Conservatives. No Shit?

    But really, I should stop using the term “researchers” at all, because that’s not an accurate descriptor. What we have here are a couple of guys who set out with their conclusion already in hand, and then added a veneer of pseudo-science to make it look like academic inquiry. What John Stewart says with humor, what Keith Olbermann says with solemnity, they are saying with tables and graphs. But there is nothing behind those tables and graphs save for a long list of insufficiently selective questions.

    I’ve probably been way too generous so far, in letting you pretend that survey was anything other than a political opinion piece parading around in the cloak of scholarly research.

    Let your mind wander back to the origins of this discussion. If Mr. Holding The Fire had simply said: “I think the Tea Party is racist, but damn, I can’t prove it”, that would have been one thing. I don’t happen to agree with that statement, but because the opinion is presented as an opinion, I would not feel compelled to reply.

    I don’t know you, but it seems very likely that you do believe the Tea Party is racist, for reasons best known to you. But why pretend this “research” is one of those reasons? We both know its not, because people just don’t form opinions that way. No one sits around, neutral, waiting for the “U.W. Institute of Race & Gender Studies” to tell them what to think about the Tea Party. They decide on their own, based on a priori considerations, and refine their opinion as it goes.

    They only turn to scientism when an argument breaks out, thinking “Aha! Now here I have a silver bullet. This survey, so carefully designed to RESEMBLE the type of hard science one might find in The Lancet, this will win the argument for me. This will make my opinions look, sound, and smell like the product of dispassionate research.”

    But why bother with all that? I’m sure you have some real reasons for thinking the Tea Party is racist, and I’m sure they are more interesting than that survey with its shoddy methods and its pre-ordained results. Why not just offer those reasons up for discussion, and see what happens?

  60. #60 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Other Sean: Do you really think throwing more words at it will make it better? Now you’re just making *excuses*. And attacking the source; and I’m afraid I’m still going to trust them more than random libertarian commenter on the internet. Is your Asperger’s flaring up so badly again that you can’t concede that maybe this study and other information might have something to them?

    Dude, let it go.

    Now (speaking of libertarian cluelessness) for real entertainment, we can turn from the tea people to this gem:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_ngQgcRJxI

    Racist? No. Funny? YES. And it’s not so much funny because you have two middle-aged white guys haplessly trying to explain why there are so few non-white libertarians. It’s funny because they could have decided to make that video any time they wanted, with any preparation they wished. And yet they apparently couldn’t find any non-white libertarians to talk to or include in the video. Or hell, apparently non-white people *period.* XD

  61. #61 |  Other Sean | 

    Chris,

    “I’m still going to trust them more than random libertarian commenter on the internet.”

    Actually, you should distrust both equally. When it comes to information, the idea of “trust” always implies something dangerous: a claim that some people should be exempted from criticism or scrutiny because of who they are, where they work, how long they stayed in school, what jargon they use, etc.

    As for that video, I’ll tell you what I saw: a couple of guys coming to grips with a pretty obvious and unpleasant truth, and admitting that they can’t quite explain it (though Welch had an interesting theory).

    You know, the fact the 95% of black America votes with clockwork reliability for the Democratic party is not a good thing for black Americans. It gives them very little bargaining power in the electorate. They are roughly equivalent to the anti-abortion element on the Republican side. Candidates court them good and hard in the primaries, then hide them away during the general, and after the election they get nothing but rhetoric…because hey, where are they going to go? Meanwhile, white middle class swing voters and the elderly are getting paid off.

    Imagine what could have happened if politicians had to COMPETE for the black vote between 1968 and now. Do you really think things would still be this bad?

  62. #62 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Other Sean:

    “Actually, you should distrust both equally.”

    Hahahahahhahahahaa

    “As for that video, I’ll tell you what I saw: a couple of guys coming to grips with a pretty obvious and unpleasant truth, and admitting that they can’t quite explain it.”

    Of course, you don’t get it either, which is also funny. :D

  63. #63 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher,

    It’s interesting that you think Gillespie and Welch should have dug up a token black libertarian for the sake of putting a false face on their movement. Why not applaud them for answering the question honestly? Since we’ve all rolled our eyes at it a thousand times, shouldn’t they both be commended for NOT resorting to the “some of my best friends…” argument?

    What they said about the Nader faction is true: almost no blacks to be found there. The same probably goes for the readership of this website. The Occupy Movement has a very small contingent of blacks, given what one would expect from its claims to represent the indebted and the unemployed. A few months back I went to an ACLU conference on the analysis of racial profiling data, and the only black person in a room with 35 people was a cop sent (no doubt with some thought for strategy) to speak for his department.

    I don’t know why it should be so, but you just don’t find significant numbers of black people taking part in ideological movements or politically driven fads.

    When a shop opens up in the inner city with a sign reading “Organic Fair Trade Coffee and Vegan Desserts”, everyone knows straight away that they are seeing a symptom of white blight and gentrification. The same goes for hybrid cars, bicycle sharing programs, you name it.

    If you want be fair, you need to apply that same criticism to all sides, because evidently libertarians, conservatives, and movement progressives are all alike in doing something that chronically alienates 16% of the American public.

    And it raises an interesting question, because no one seems to know quite what that something is.

  64. #64 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Other Sean:

    “It’s interesting that you think Gillespie and Welch should have dug up a token black libertarian for the sake of putting a false face on their movement.”

    Never said any such thing.

    Of course, you *still* don’t get it, but you can hardly be expected to.

  65. #65 |  Other Sean | 

    Chris,

    You got me there. I’ve forgotten how to parry the “you just don’t get it” attack. It’s been so many years since middle school…

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