Staten Island, Ferguson, and the Democrats

policeWhen Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the funeral of slain New York City police officers, thousands of officers in attendance turned their back on him. Since then they have engaged in a series of work stoppages.

Their grievance? The mayor, in the wake of the Garner case, expressed sympathy toward protestors concerned about police violence. New York police, and more specifically the police officers’ union, is threatening to compromise public safety over the mere suggestion that they be subject to additional oversight by the people they serve.

Police brutality is not the central issue at stake in the wave of demonstrations in New York and elsewhere. Dig deeper and you find a core disagreement about the accountability of our public servants and the unassailable power of public employee unions. Substitute teachers for police officers and this problem has exactly the same contours, featuring the same political alignments and the same exploited victims.

Republicans are being handed the kind of wedge issue that comes along once in a generation and they are utterly oblivious to the gift. The last great Democratic Party constituency, African-Americans, is pitted against the party’s last great organizational bulwark, public employee unions. The waves of protests over police brutality that ignited nationwide over the killing of Michael Brown have focused on race. Protestors so far have failed to appreciate why police, like so many other public employees, are consistently shielded from accountability to the people they serve.

No one seems to have thought to combine the protests over an unaccountable police force with the protests by some of the same people in some of the very same neighborhoods, over the failure to provide a decent public education to poor and minority communities. Both problems have the same root cause – unions that shield their members from accountability.

Media narratives have simplified these protests to fit stereotypical party alignments. Republicans are seen taking their usual law-and-order stance alongside the police while Democrats advocate for social justice and civil rights. That divide is not so clear on the ground.

All of the major officials involved in the Ferguson case, from the Governor down to the local DA are Democrats. The officials investigating the Tamir Rice case in Cleveland (keep an eye on that one) are Democrats. Only in the Staten Island case are there any Republicans in decision-making roles.

Debates over urban access to effective public safety or effective public education are exclusively intraparty fights among Democrats. Despite the black community’s importance as a Democratic voting bloc, African-Americans always lose that fight with the unions. Every. Single. Time.

When the Democratic Party is faced with a conflict between a public employee union and a black urban population desperate to gain access to the public services that union is supposed to deliver, the union wins. This is the civil rights logjam that has blocked black communities from access to the prosperity that they deserve. Republicans do not own this problem and they should not help perpetuate it.

Unions provide workers with higher incomes and job security. They impose costs not only in wages, but in inertia, making it difficult for a unionized industry to adapt to changing conditions and serve its customers. A union collectivizes power, but along the way it also collectivizes accountability, creating an inherent incentive toward mediocrity and shielding the worst actors from the consequences of their actions. It is very hard to fire a worker who is protected by a union.

In an old-fashioned labor union for coalminers or steel workers, the costs of a union are born by wealthy capital owners. The benefits flow to lower income workers who otherwise have little access to power and limited opportunities to support their families. That’s an outdated vision of a union’s mission which died a long time ago.

Now turn those conditions around. What happens when the beneficiaries of the union are college educated, white professionals and the people bearing the cost of unionization are politically powerless and economically exploited? Try to fire an incompetent or crooked police officer and watch what happens.

An institution that collectivizes the benefits and accountability of factory workers imposes some moderate, but generally tolerable costs. An institution that collectivizes the pay and accountability of police officers gets people killed.

African-Americans and other low-income, under-represented constituencies find themselves on the losing end of a carefully structured racket. More-affluent white citizens can flee to suburbs that have been structured to limit the power of public employee unions. Smaller municipalities and school districts combined with well-connected, well-educated voting population help level the playing field for white suburbanites with money. Meanwhile back in the city center, those most in need of public services to enable upward mobility find themselves at the mercy of institutions with far more political muscle than they can match.

This is an historic opening for Republicans to profit by doing the right thing. We could defend the basic civil rights of an oppressed community. Along the way we could we undermine a policy we generally loathe, mandatory unionization of public employees. In the process we would further our goal to broaden the opportunity for all to seize opportunities in a market economy. We haven’t been able to recognize, much less exploit this opportunity due to some very serious problems we are unlikely to address.

Louisiana Republican Congressman Steve Scalise made news over the holidays when his deep, old ties to white supremacist organizations surfaced. This is important because it is the rest of the story.

We are all supposed to pretend that the Republicans won the South because Southerners coincidentally discovered some fresh interest in low taxes and “liberty” at the same time that the Federal government started enforcing Civil Rights legislation. It’s a lie and everyone knows it’s a lie, but it has taken on a Santa Claus quality as a sort of public myth necessary to maintain the basic legitimacy of our political order.

Republicans now control Congress, something that eluded us across most of the 20th century. Almost half of that majority comes from Dixie. Sixty percent of it comes from places that failed to outlaw slavery prior to Lincoln. None of it comes from a major urban area. The party isn’t going to do anything substantive about Steve Scalise because it lacks the leverage to free itself from white supremacist ideology. And that brings us back to our problem.

There are too few Republicans who possess even the most distant understanding of the concerns of the black community to even recognize the shape of this opportunity. And if they did, it would be monumentally difficult to muster a core political bloc inside the GOP that cared. For Republicans, white supremacy will not pay the bills forever. Somehow the party will have to find a broader base on which to build a political appeal. Despite the sugar-high of the 2014 election, the clock is ticking and the outlook is miserable.

An opportunity exists and there are a few Republicans in the North with some potential to tackle it. New Gov. Bruce Rauner in Illinois could be particularly well-positioned to win on this issue if he has the insight to even recognize it. That remains to be seen. Most Republicans seem content to respond this historic political opening by keeping their backs turned.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Civil Rights, Neo-Confederate, Race, Republican Party
278 comments on “Staten Island, Ferguson, and the Democrats
  1. M Simon says:

    So what about Drug Prohibition – the main excuse for “Stop and Frisk” ?

  2. flypusher says:

    Now here is some excellent police work!

    http://abc13.com/news/suspects-jump-from-freeway-during-chase/467000/

    Notice that once they got their hands on the suspects, there was no unnescessary punching or gratuitous kicking. Well done, HPD!!!

  3. kabuzz61 says:

    This is for the liberals racists on this site. You know who you are.

    Aren’t we, as white people, so glad we can lunge at an officer without fear of getting shot? Aren’t we glad we as white people do not have to obey officers commands if they stop us on the street? Are we so glad as white people that if we resist arrest or go on a high speed chace officers will not treat us roughly when caught? Aren’t we so glad as white people that we never experience racism, bias or bigotry aimed at us? Aren’t we glad that as white people, things are handed to us automatically. We go to the front of the line? We don’t have to worry about getting a loan. We can buy whatever we want when we want it. We can go anywhere we want in this country and feel perfectly safe.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      As a straight, White, middle-aged male…I got to admit, it is pretty sweet.

      • Crogged says:

        I’ve raised teenagers for multiple years now and is doesn’t begin to touch the amount of whining self involvement in this one paragraph. White people and Christians in America ‘experiening’ racism, bias and bigotry–STFU.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Ah! Someone who is not up to speed on the topic. Crogged you can do much better if you give yourself a chance.

        By your logic, miniorities are whining also?

      • Crogged says:

        In comparison to you the Farrakhan’s and Sharpton’s are beacons of light and all that is good in the world. It’s your point of view that is way over represented in what is described as the “Tea Party”. Somehow all the changes since the Civil War and especially since those terrible days of the 1960’s are to the detriment of ‘whites’ and ‘Christians’ and public morals. Your freedom is under attack if someone unlike you gets a taste of it.

        Turn off your television, quit reading those stupid paranoid emails from your brethren and actually experience with your five senses how fucking lucky you are to whine about this baffling world where whites and Christians are under attack from ‘race baiting’. Quit wasting your life, write more books-but not about the subjects you think you explore here.

      • flypusher says:

        Poor buzzy, he was born way too late. Oh to have been a Christian in the days of Nero- now THERE was some iron-clad oppression cred!!!!

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Actually, kabuzz, there are recent news stories (the college pumpkin riots, the guy sassing police officers while open-carrying his rifle, the woman driving her car while shooting out of it) who pretty clearly demonstrate the “White privilege” at which you ignorantly laugh.

      • flypusher says:

        White people experiencing racial discrimination is the equivalent of the “man bites dog” story.

    • johngalt says:

      Sadly, Buzz thinks he’s being sarcastic.

    • dowripple says:

      When, oh when Lord, will it be the Christian white man’s time? For far too long, Buzz has struggled under the privileged minority manicured thumb. Buzz toils in the field for bread crumbs whilst atheists/non-Christians, gays, non-whites and women profit from his labors, all the while flaunting their superiority.

      Poor guy! It’s time we started a group to help advance the Christian white male. I suggest the NAADB…

      • Turtles Run says:

        Buzzy believes the move “White Man’s Burden” is a documentary.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Man%27s_Burden_%28film%29

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        My pasty White Christian brothers…please come together and join hands in opposition to the oppression we have faced through the years…everybody now:

        We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
        We shall overcome someday;
        Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
        We shall overcome someday.

        The Lord will see us through, The Lord will see us through,
        The Lord will see us through someday;
        Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
        We shall overcome someday.

      • dowripple says:

        (LMAO!)

        Buzzy has a dream, but I think it has something to do with being “more equal”.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      First, they came wanting to vote…and we let them, but we made it hard and then we gerrymandered the process to dilute their impact

      They came wanting to not be hung from trees, and we slowed down hanging them from trees, even though it hurt the White owned rope businesses.

      Then they wanted to eat in the same restaurants…and we let them, even though there are still some folks who believe it should be legal to refuse service to Black folks.

      Then they wanted their children to go to good schools, so we let them, but then we had to move to the suburbs to leave a decaying set of poor schools for them.

      Then they wanted to get good jobs with the same opportunities, and we’ve kind of dug our heels in on that so that a White dude with a conviction has about the same chance as a Black dude with a clean record.

      Then they wanted to stop getting sent to prison for minor offenses that rarely result in prison time for White folks, but come, we have to have lots of folks in our for-profit jails.

      Every step of the way, the White man gets more and more oppressed. Wanting to take away our jobs, our voting power, and our right to eat in a public restaurant without seeing Black people who are doing anything other than serving our food. Oppression I tell you.

      • dowripple says:

        …and guess what the common rallying cry was against all those evil “progressive” changes?

        “States’ Rights!”

        Sounds awfully familiar.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Maybe the the libs are keeping him out because he is a Christian? Yes, I am sure that is it.

    • desperado says:

      There’s no whining in baseball, Schill. Johnson, Martinez, and Smoltz just had better numbers. Smoltz endorsed Ralph Reed for Lt. Gov. of Georgia fer cryin’ out loud, so I kinda doubt it’s political.

      • Turtles Run says:

        I agree, being an arsehole with mediocre numbers doesn’t help. Oh and I am sure it was the media’s fault too (bunch of commies the lot of them).

  4. Turtles Run says:

    Seems like the Texas Task Force has released their health care report supporting Medicaid expansion within the state.

    “Shine said the health-care industry, government officials and business organizations, including chambers of commerce, “are in favor of Texas trying to do something. We continue to be the state with the highest rate of uninsured.””

    Expanding Medicaid within the state of Texas would save the state money and create jobs. Funny, it make no mention of lost freedoms or the destruction of our health care system that would occur if such an expansion occurs.

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/medical/article/State-task-force-releases-health-care-report-5998927.php

    • CaptSternn says:

      Expanding Medicaid would cost Texas money, not save money.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Frankly, I am surprised you were not leading the panel since you are the leading expert on every topic on earth.

        /snark

      • johngalt says:

        No, it wouldn’t. That is what the report concluded. Currently, Texans pay tax money to the feds to subsidize medicaid expansions in other states. We also pay tax money to local hospital districts to support indigent and uninsured care. We pay city and county taxes that provide emergency services that are over utilized by uninsured people who wait until crisis sets in to seek care. We also pay premiums on our insurance bills that cover charity care provided by doctors and hospitals (in other words, our cost of care is higher than it needs to be because we all subsidize free riders). Expanding medicaid would save money in the long run for all of us, so refusing to expand is really cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

        The Daily Show had an interview with the Salt Lake City (a very conservative place) director of human resources, or some such title. They were finding that it was cheaper, far cheaper, to place homeless people in furnished efficiency apartments than it was to provide emergency support on the streets, roughly half the cost. With a stable place to live, it was easier to get them into jobs or into substance abuse or mental health counseling. It sounds like a give-away to moochers? Maybe, but it was much less expensive (like half as much) than the status quo and more effective to boot.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        For some reason, Tea Partisans don’t understand the concept of investment, or of paying now to save more later.

        I guess it’s a matter of inadequate math skills, on par with their lack of ability in science, history, economics, grammar….

  5. johnofgaunt75 says:

    Off topic but think it is appropriate given what happened today:

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Absolutely: religious fundamentalists of *any* stripe who enforce their faith on others are dangerous. France’s Muslims may react violently, but so have some of America’s Christians, when sufficiently incited by those would-be-theocrats who believe that our government is morally illegitimate and that homosexuals, or abortion providers, or other hated classes should be destroyed.

    • johngalt says:

      How ignorant must one be of their own religion to think that murdering people who believe otherwise is the will of their god?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        How ignorant and stupid must one be to equate beheadings, shooting of many unarmed citizens and bombing office buildings that result in 3000+ dead with Christians who are against homosexuality and abortion. The Birdie has jointed Rosie O’Donnell both emotionally and intellectually.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Does it really matter, kabuzz, whether Dr. George Tiller was beheaded or merely shot in his own church?

        Apparently, according to your own fatuous standards about religious and political affiliation, you’re to blame for his death.

      • johngalt says:

        Cross burnings, the Irish troubles, the Atlanta Olympic bombing, the Oslo massacre. Terrorism in the name of the Christian god is not exactly unheard of.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        So you too equate Christianity with terrorism JG?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Don’t be an ass, kabuzz. *Equating* Christianity with terrorism would be exactly as bone-headed as equating Islam with terrorism.

        You don’t know anyone who does that, do you?

        Folks are merely pointing out that religious *extremists*, whether Muslim or Christian, occasionally perform terrorist acts.

        Would you disagree with that? Or are you just being surly for practice?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Christianity terrorism is so pervasive, our government had to create a new department to keep us safe from them. The Department of Homeland Security will now keep us safe from those evil Christian terrorists. You liberals are such boneheads at times. Especially Rosie O’Donnell here.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Did they need to create a new department to protect us from religious terrorists? No, we didn’t. That was was an unneeded growth of government born out of a fearful reaction to an attack on this nation. I am sure it was the Democrats that were behind this unprecedented growth in government, not the party of small government.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “Christianity terrorism is so pervasive….”

        kabuzz, would that be terrorism *against* Christianity, or is this yet another of your Lady Malaprop fumblings for the simple formulation of “Christian terrorism” as terrorism *by* Christians?

        Honestly, as god-awful as your prose is, maybe we *should* start calling you Lady Malaprop.

    • flypusher says:

      A cancer on civilization

    • flypusher says:

      Some cartoonists speak out:

      http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/01/07/375622835/united-in-grief-cartoonists-show-solidarity-with-charlie-hebdo

      I especially like Michael Shaw’s & David Pope’s takes.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Great piece, Crogged. Thanks for sharing. I wonder whether kabuzz will be able to make it all the way through?

      • flypusher says:

        2nd-ed. The howling forces of ignorance have only themselves to blame that they drummed up a lot more readers for Satanic Verses. I and a number of my friends read that as a big FU to those scumbags.

        But I think Shalimar the Clown was better. Very disturbing to read, but a better novel IMO.

  6. kabuzz61 says:

    Here is the true story about race relations and why they are like they are. Only left wing nuts refuse to see the problem.

    http://nypost.com/2015/01/04/how-sharpton-gets-paid-to-not-cry-racism-at-corporations/

    DiBlassio had Sharpton by his side in equal setting with the Police Commissioner. Racism is a big money maker.

    • flypusher says:

      Who here has ever defended Sharpton?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Plus, Sharpton is a avid democratic campaigner, and that would be your side.

      • flypusher says:

        Still can’t see anything other than black & white, can you? I have zero respect for Sharpton and his ilk, but that’s too complicated for you to grok.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        David Duke has been an avid Republican campaigner, kabuzz.

        I guess that means you give him your whole-hearted and unthinking support, too.

        Or is this yet another example of your hypocritical lack of thinking?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I see no official republican holding press conferences with Duke by their side. Do you??? Can’t say that for the dem’s. Or is this yet another example of your hypocritical lack of thinking?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        House Majority Whip Steve Scalise speaking at a white supremacist conference hosted by David Duke doesn’t count? Even when he specifically describes himself as ““like David Duke without the baggage”?

        kabuzz, you should try thinking, at least sometimes.

      • CaptSternn says:

        When did KKK leader and recruiter Robert Byrd leave democrats and become a republican?

        Oh, right, never.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Byrd apologized for his acts, and was a solid Democrat through the evolution of the party into today’s guardian of human rights.

        Strom Thurmond, who ran away from the party as it changed, to become a stalwart Republican supported by his similarly unchanging constituents, never did.

        It’s clear which side Sternn supports. Why, as said of Thurmond by Republican Trent Lott (who started his political career as administrative assistant to House Rules Committee chairman, and Democrat, William M. Colmer, before fleeing the Democrats to follow his true racist convictions among the Republicans), “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.”

        Own it, Sternn.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Thurmond was only one of over 20 democrats to join the Dixiecrats, then one of three that switched parties. The rest stayed with the democrats. Own it, bird.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I see you were too inept to get the partisan transition I included for Trent Lott — and he was not unique.

        The Republican Party has become a rural White wasteland of racist radicals and revisionists. And you, Sternn, are Exhibit A.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        The Rosie O’Donnell birdie doesn’t know the 12 year old story about Scalise has been debunked but yet she goes back 50 years to find something, anything to almost make her point.

        The liberals are and always have been the most racist thinking group ever. The sad part is they don’t even know it.

      • Turtles Run says:

        “The Rosie O’Donnell birdie doesn’t know the 12 year old story about Scalise has been debunked but yet she goes back 50 years to find something, anything to almost make her point.”

        Debunked??? He admits to speaking to this group. Are you saying Scalise is lying? Is he a liberal plant?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        kabuzz just lies when it’s convenient.

        Which is, at least, better than Sternn’s schedule of all of the time.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Fly, the continued race problem will not go away until the race baiters go away.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        There was a bomb at a NAACP building in Colorado today.

        Yet, there are those people here who are locked into the unwavering belief that the problem with racism today is that too damn many people point out the racism that is going on today.

        As though the problems would be solved if people stopped talking about it.

        You know whose problems would be solved by people not talking about racism? Racist folks. They would not have to keep getting their fee-fees hurt by hearing about how racist they are.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      • flypusher says:

        Poor naive Homer, that bomb was obviously planted by the lefty race baiters because they think black people are inferior.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        As always Gruber…er…HT, your comedy needs work. First of all, your thesis seems to be that racism is only a white problem. That is a stumbling block. As long as there are Sharptons who profit hugely using race division, how can anyone move forward. All we have is a monologue on race mostly from the race baiters. When it is time for a dialogue, it will happen, but not as long as the race baiters have the national stage. You and your party should ask him to cease the provacations.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        The bomb was planted by a hateful citizen as were the looters in Furguson and the citizen that killed two cops in NYC. Again, stop the race baiting haters.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…that is a wonderfully comfortable position you have staked out for yourself.

        A. I am not racist
        B. Race baitors are the real problem
        C. Until race baitors stop baiting race, no progress will be made
        D. There will always be race baitors
        .
        .
        .
        Z. I don’t have to do a damn thing because racism isn’t a problem for me.

        It has to be a wonderfully blissful existence to live in a world where you are not part of any of the problems, and all the difficulties are due to other people.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Whatever HT, whatever. Yada-Yada. Same old.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Isn’t it amazing how frantically many Tea Party bots avoid any degree of personal responsibility or inconvenience?

        One might almost come to believe that it’s a political philosophy grown entirely out of selfishness and greed mixed with ignorance and spite.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Owl – Personal responsibility is not a modern conservative trait. An unhealthy dose of victim mentality is though.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        What is very funny is liberals (chuckling) saying conservatives do not practice personal responsibilty. BWAHH!

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Really, kabuzz? Please offer your evidence for that statement.

        Oh, right. You’re a fucked-up coward. You’ll just run away instead.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        More fun facts about Steven Scalise’s legislative career:

        He voted—in 2004!—against making Martin Luther King Day a state holiday: one of six out of 104 legislators to vote that way. Similarly as a state legislator, Scalise was one of just two to vote against making Juneteenth a “special day.” He was part of a more substantial minority in voting against hate crimes legislation in 1997. He voted against naming a post office for the first African-American judge in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. And something tells me kabuzz would have agreed with him all along the way.

        Of course, he and kabuzz aren’t really “race baiters.”

        They’re just racists.

      • flypusher says:

        Does Juneteenth have meaning in LA? My recollections are that was when TX slaves found out about the Emancipation Proclamation, but of course this is from TX history classes and TX based media.

      • Crogged says:

        Racism affords Sharpton and other opportunists their livelihood. Your article begins with the premise of the executive at Sony saying things which could be interpreted as racist, the bad results from such action include dealing with Mr. Sharpton.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Apparently Juneteenth has been widely celebrated as an African American Emancipation Day, even outside of Texas.

        Now, perhaps Steve Scalise was a hearty proponent of instead designating every September 22 as “Emancipation Proclamation Day”, or every December 18 as “Thirteenth Amendment Day”.

        But somehow I very much doubt that.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Racism affords Sharpton and other opportunists their livelihood.” – Crogged

        That’s why the left, people like Sharpton, Q-X and others keep pushing racism.

        “You know whose problems would be solved by people not talking about racism? Racist folks. They would not have to keep getting their fee-fees hurt by hearing about how racist they are.” – HT

        See Sharpton, Q-X and many on the left that keep pushing racism and fanning the flames. So rather it is just the opposite, not talking about it would actually hurt the racists. Not pushing racism would hurt the racists that “keep getting their fee-fees hurt by hearing about how racist they are.”

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sharpton and Quannell X are overblown hyperbolists, to be sure.

        But is it your contention, Sternn, that there is NO racism or racial disparity in American society, and that those activists thus have NO basis for complaint?

        Or is this the typical “I’m so stupid I don’t understand” schtick that has become your forte because it allows your rhetorical personality to resemble your actual one?

      • CaptSternn says:

        “But is it your contention, Sternn, that there is NO racism or racial disparity in American society, and that those activists thus have NO basis for complaint?”

        No, there is much racism in the States. It comes from people like Sharpton, Q-X, Jackson, and even people like you and Lifer as well as many in the MSM and the DNC. Y’all need it, thrive on it, depend on it.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So, Sternn, you’re claiming that there is no anti-Black prejudice, in the entire United States, except where it’s been created out of whole cloth by left-wing political partisans?

        How, then, do you explain the carefully balanced academic studies which find differences in the non-political world, in the prospects for jobs, housing, or justice, between White and Black citizens?

        Or do you even bother to make any effort to deal with such inconvenient obstacles that reality might present to your navel-gazing?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Right, just navel-gazing by brainless Tea Partisan hacks. Silence speaks volumes.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Quannel X defused a situation yesterday regarding a fatal shooting by a police officer against a Black male. QX spoke with police officials and then publicly declared it was a legitimate and justified shooting. The family members even agreed after QX’s public announcement.

        Just troublemaking and absolutely heinous. Never heard that eh buzzy and Cappy? Selective factual input syndrome? Again?

  7. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Regarding lack of accountability from Fly’s link of January 6, 2015 at 8:33 am:

    “It’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence. What evidence? In attempting to collect this information, I was lied to and delayed by the FBI, even when I was only trying to find out the addresses of police departments to make public records requests. The government collects millions of bits of data annually about law enforcement in its Uniform Crime Report, but it doesn’t collect information about the most consequential act a law enforcer can do.

    I’ve been lied to and delayed by state, county and local law enforcement agencies—almost every time. They’ve blatantly broken public records laws, and then thumbed their authoritarian noses at the temerity of a citizen asking for information that might embarrass the agency. And these are the people in charge of enforcing the law.”

    Public unions are no match for government agencies.

    • flypusher says:

      Bobo, that was the one thing that truly shocked me in the wake of Ferguson. I had no idea that the record keeping on this was so haphazard. Only in light of CYA does it have any logic.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Sort of like Obama’s claim of total transparentcy. But that doesn’t seem to bother anyone?

      • flypusher says:

        Dem bashing non sequitur; you are in such a deep rut, grumpy kitty.

      • flypusher says:

        Also, before kitty gets his dander up, I am old enough to have seen several changes in the party holding the White House. The incoming Administration (regardless of party affiliation) always says that WE are going to do things BETTER than the guys we’re replacing. WE are going to be more open, WE are going to be more accountable, WE are going to reach across the aisle, yada, yada, yada. It’s as much a ritual as the Inaugural Balls. And of course all such good-intentioned promises fall quickly by the wayside. At this point, anyone who puts any stock in them is either new to politics, optimistic to the point of naivety, or indulging in some cherry-picked partisan gotchas.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Reading will be your friend. “I was lied to and delayed by the FBI, even when I was only trying to find out the addresses of police departments to make public records requests”-

        That is the relevent portion for my comment.

        I love how the far left wing makes excuses. “They always do this”. Not an excuse. Two wrongs never make a right.

      • flypusher says:

        “Reading will be your friend. ”

        At this rate I’ll be overdosed on irony before the week is done.

        ‘ “I was lied to and delayed by the FBI, even when I was only trying to find out the addresses of police departments to make public records requests”-

        That is the relevent portion for my comment. ‘

        So what’s your point? You obviously don’t believe the guy, but what evidence do you have that he’s not correct. Did you try to get similar info from the FBI and found them to be courteous and cooperative?

        “I love how the far left wing makes excuses. “They always do this”. Not an excuse. Two wrongs never make a right.”

        Please spare us your sanctimonious whining. You almost never complain about such things unless you can pin them on Dems. I think it would be a fine thing to see a new President actually keep such promises. But I’m smart enough to know not to hold my breath while waiting.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Fly, your desperate attempt to save yourself is failing. I have always stated the problems of our government are equally both sides. It is you and your echo chamber that think the problem is one sided. So don’t all of a sudden act like you always knew the problems were there. Cheesh, you amaze me sometimes. Every day is like a new day to you.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “I have always stated the problems of our government are equally both sides.”

        Well, yes, kabuzz, but then you proceed to only bash Democrats and defend only Republicans.

        In other words, you’re lying. As usual.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Let’s see whether I can figure out this image attachment trick:

    • flypusher says:

      “Fly, your desperate attempt to save yourself is failing. I have always stated the problems of our government are equally both sides.”

      Yet pretty much anything specific you cite is Dem-bashing. You are fooling no one here. I haven’t forgotten that you have yet to answer for your insinuations about the author’s claim of FBI stonewalling. Do you even have a shred of integrity here? Or will you keep tossing the non sequiturs?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        He’ll run away and forget the issue when it becomes too hard for his feeble brain, or too difficult for his stone-cold heart.

  8. Steven Houston says:

    First off, contrary to Chris’ assertion, there is NO real opportunity for the GOP to use this topic as a wedge. Very few low income blacks see the GOP as a valid choice at the polling booth even if your mileage may vary as members achieve a modicum of financial success. Suggesting such displays a great deal of ignorance of the party platform as well as greatly exaggerates the strength of unions. Some would even point out that most grand jurors, in Texas at least, seem to be lifetime members of the GOP so the claim police lack accountability is curious too, the levels of scrutiny modern police are under defies claims to the contrary by populist types catering to the under educated masses.

    In Texas, police and teachers are fired at will all the time. These firings typically have nothing to do with competence or the actions of the employee so much as the autocratic power principals and police chiefs enjoy. Go to small town Texas and watch what happens when the at will officer writes a ticket to a friend of the mayor then refuses to publicly apologize or watch how fast a constable in an HOA contract gets the boot when he dares to displease someone on the neighborhood board, either when asked to do the impossible or asked to give preferential treatment to some. And teachers are typically at the whim of outspoken parents or school board officials when a controversy arises, often having nothing to do with a conscious decision made by the employee.

    No, to someone on the right that complains about unions protecting “bad apples”, it is typically a case of their general hatred of unions and the belief that due process only applies to someone else. The fact is, teachers and officers are fired all the time but what some don’t like is that officials have to prove misconduct, typically taking a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” approach rather than cold, hard facts. In Ferguson, many would have summarily executed the officer based on nothing more than gossip, lies told by the media, and blind racism since some hold that all cops are guilty of racist views (and act accordingly). Mob justice requires no proof, no reason or logic, just a twisted form of “accountability to the public” unlike those that have some form of civil service protection built into a union based situation. If it is so “hard” to fire an employee, might it not be because the employee was not at fault, either made a convenient scapegoat for managerial policies or the just as the latest sacrificial lamb?

    That unions provide lawyers seems to be what bothers some, the idea that most employees would not fight accusations if they had to on their own dime. which gives more power to those in charge or those with affluence. Houston lived that version of things and things were not as swell as some of you seem to think. But serious, if a city has such a great case against an officer there are several venues for removing the employee and if it doesn’t, the officials complain and start pointing fingers. In Ferguson, a brute robbed a store and attacked an officer which led to his demise. The officer no longer works for the city though he was no billed by a grand jury who heard ALL the facts, not the whispered gossip and embellishments of agenda driven poverty pimps and their ilk.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Please site Texas’ ability to fire any teacher at any time. You are really making it up.

      Missouri, total democrat’s. From Governor to DA to Grand Jury. THAT is the real story of how racism is quietly going on in the dem party.

      • flypusher says:

        You know the party affiliations of the grand jury, a group of people that is supposed to be anonymous??? Well, you better have covered you tracks well grumpy kitty, because you couldn’t know that without doing something quite illegal.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        They released the names and primary voting is public.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I know several Texas Democrats who participate in the Republican primary but then vote for the Democratic candidate in the general election. But apparently even that simple sort of situation is too complex for your feeble brain to contemplate.

      • flypusher says:

        Oh really buzzy? “They” released the names of the members of grand grand jury, did they, even though SOP is that such info is NOT publicly disclosed. In that case, you should be able to name those people, or at least give us a link to those names.

        MY primary voting record would show a 50-50 split.

  9. Bobo Amerigo says:

    I think this post inflates the power of public unions. Doing so gives the Rs a talking point, I suppose, but not much more. Even though the NYC police union seems to be a jerk.

    Public unions may try to deflect accountability, but they are feeble dwarfs compared to a corporation’s public relations and legal departments, as well as the same departments in big school districts and congressional offices.

    I think unions can lose their way. But I also feel teachers need someone on their side. Cops, too. They both have worthy goals that are controlled by public opinion and political winds.

    As a former HISD volunteer, I recall a meeting with a PhD administrator who was clearly mad. By mad, I mean crazy. I don’t mean innovative. I don’t mean disruptive in the way disruptive is used these days. I mean crazy.

    Because the school district saw a doctoral degree as a incontrovertible qualification for giving orders and because the school district wasn’t dealing with the administrator’s mental issues, the principal and a handful of teachers were forced to try to implement actions that were in conflict with one another.

    Who wouldn’t need a union rep in that type of situation, some codified way of getting out of a destructive situation?

    (My experience with teachers’ unions is personal and favorable. My teacher friend found it difficult to get way from his job in an HISD school for medical appointments because getting a substitute seemed to throw the principal’s office into disarray. It was difficult. When he had to have surgery, the union rep, who earlier had consulted with him on some workplace issue, was there before the operation. The union rep was also there after the operation. The union rep was there at his funeral.)

  10. Anse says:

    I’ll never understand how one can question government authority without ever questioning the government’s enforcers. You cannot be seriously “small government” (whatever that means) and give automatic and near-unquestioning credibility to the police. It is simply illogical.

    My dad was a cop for 28 years, a Texas DPS trooper. I’m well acquainted with the difficulties and dangers of the occupation. I have had very positive encounters with police, both in the DPS and with Houston and Austin city police officers. I’ve also seen relatively benign situations blow up into full crises only after the cops showed up and decided everybody was a potential suspect.

    The debate about cops is often similar to what we hear about troops. Lots of love and broad platitudes, but very little that is serious. Expressing unquestioning adoration for what they do isn’t really respect for what they do, even if it is sincere. Being a cop can be tough. But public scrutiny is part of it. One thing police need to accept is continuous oversight. Civilians are becoming more bold with the video function on their smartphones. If the government can conduct surveillance of the public, then it stands to reason that the public will and should surveil them in return.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      Completely agree.

      I have heard of laws in certain jurisdictions that attempt to make it a crime to record the actions of a police officer. Leaving aside constitutional arguments (and I think these are clearly unconstitutional), I just don’t understand how such a law can be defended. I have no right to avoid being photographed or videotaped while I am walking down a public sidewalk, so why should a police officer, who is arresting someone on a public sidewalk somehow be treated any different?

    • CaptSternn says:

      Constitutionally limited government, limited to the powers granted the different levels by constitutions and charters.

      The police officers do not write and pass legislation, their job is to enforce the laws passed by different levels of government. We come down on politicians because of the laws they pass and we try to vote certain ones out and others in according to what we want and value. That is not the same as resisting arrest or attacking police officers and trying to kill them. I really don’t get how you can suggest one is the same as the other. About the only way that would actually be a comparison is when somebody attacks and tries to kill a politician. We do not condone nor accept such behavior.

      The police are subjected to oversight, and lots of it. They are human beings, they make mistakes, some are even criminals. There is none of this “unquestioning adoration” you speak of. Not for the troops and not for police officers. We want them held accountable when they screw up, disciplined, maybe fired and even prosecuted.

      The problem is that the left is suddenly convinced that the police officers doing their jobs, and being justified in what they do and how they do it, are now guilty of everything under the sun. Guilty until proven innocent, and even when proven innocent they are still guilty. That everything they do is based on the fact that they are all racists. That is not only wrong, it is shallow thinking based on emotion and ignorance.

      And there are a lot of people, people on the left, that are working really hard at fanning the flames of racism. We see it in the media just about every day, we see it on blogs like Lifer’s. The left has been pushing racism for a long time, but it escalated when Obama won the presidency, and they have been pushing it more and more as time goes by. That is not questioning authority, that is not distrust of the government, that is an attempt to incite a race war, to incite violence, to incite rioting, looting, burning, assault, resisting arrest and even murder. And for what? Well, the answer to that question is easy, for power and control.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Tell me more. I know that we sometimes have different ideas about political terms, so could you define “the left” as you see them? Are they synonymous with the Democratic party or fringier than that? Any overlap? Are they mainly white or mainly black? Is their only political goal to incite a race war at this time?

      • Anse says:

        Captain, the problem is that I do not see this desire for real accountability among folks like you. We focus too much on police killing civilians and don’t talk enough about the routine brutality and abuse that police mete out on a regular basis. Go to Youtube and search “police beatings”; you’ll get about a million videos. It’s like they’re actually trained to get a few punches and kicks in after cuffing the suspect.

        Racism is a part of the discussion, but it need not be the sole or even dominant focus, if it weren’t for the fact that whites simply do not experience this with cops, which is why white conservatives don’t take it seriously.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        My definition of the left is the current congress of democrats. Left wing nuts go for policies and restrictions without thought of the costs to taxpayers. Left wing nuts think people need total guidance from government. Left wing nuts believe minorities are inferior and do not possess the ability to achieve on their own without the help of white people. They cannot meet standards in their view so they have to lower the standards. Left wing nuts think sports teams should not keep score and all players earn trophies regardless of ability. Left wing nuts do not care for the military or what it stands for.

      • flypusher says:

        Anse, do you remember the Chad Holley incident? Some of the cops couldn’t get away with their bad behavior because there was video. I understand that the fool tried to evade arrest. I understand that the cops chasing him had their adrenaline up. But when a suspect is face down on the ground with his hands above his head, visible and clearly empty, and the cops outnumber him 5 or 6 to one, there is zero excuse to start beating on him. You cuff him, search him for weapons, and put him in the back of the police car. That’s it.

      • flypusher says:

        Awwwwww, little kitty playing with his favorite Strawman toy. Isn’t it soooooo cute!

      • johngalt says:

        Unarmed – don’t listen to Kabuzz. The definition he and Sternn use for “the left” is anyone to the left of them. Ronald Reagan was a RINO to them, as were every other GOP president in history. Their world view reminds me of those posters that used to be popular years ago titled “How a fill-in-the-blank sees the world.” The New Yorker saw all the boroughs and the neighborhoods, then the Hudson, then vaguely defined New Jersey, then the Pacific Ocean. One is either a tried and true, Ted Cruz burn the house down conservative, or belongs to the “left.”

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I am a huge Ronald Reagan fan so I guess your opinion JG is pure bullshit.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Thanks for your reply Kabuzz. Do you also believe that the left wants a race war? The left, as you describe them, don’t seem the type to want such a thing. You describe them as noncompetitive, sympathetic, peaceniks. And, as you put it, wanting to help those they consider wrongly the inferior. That doesn’t seem to fit the world as I have experienced it. But I could be wrong.

        I’m trying to imagine how it would work. Do the Black members of congress know about this race war that the left is fomenting?

        Wonder if the capt agrees with you in most respects.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Please tell us, kabuzz, which actions of Reagan make you a “huge fan” and how you excuse his actions that are at sharp variance with current Tea Party orthodoxy.

        Or run away from difficult questions, as is your wont.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Unarmed, I do not believe the left wants a race war intentionally but actions do cause such things to happen. Making excuses for bad behavior or illegal activity it like giving permission to keep those actions happening. I do believe the fringe left has control of the democratic party aparatice and this time. I hope it changes. Regardless of what those on this site may claim, I am strongly conservative on fiscal issues. All issues. Because our government has proven they can’t be trusted with managing departments which leak profusely from corruption, fraud and waste.

        On abortion, I err on the side of life always.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Observe the cowardly and feckless kabuzz failing, yet again, to answer a direct question, because he knows it would expose him as an even greater fool than he’s already demonstrated.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        OK kabuzz. It seems you and the capt disagree on this point. Haven’t heard from him yet but he may have other things to keep him busy. Looking forward to hearing his response.

        As an evolving liberal, what I see in myself I used to believe was fiscal conservatism, works out to be essentially the same as you. I want government to do its job effectively and with as little waste as possible. You don’t think that fraud waste and abuse is limited to the federal government, do you? I’m sure you see the same in state and local governments. I read stories about local town officials raiding the treasury all the time. Sometime I hear stories about the mom that absconds with the GS cookie money.

        At any rate, if we are after the same fiscal responsibility, maybe you are not as conservative as you think.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The left is made up of democrats, progressives, liberals, greens, etc.. Some republicans fit the mold as well. The left is made of people that call the U.S. Constitution a “living document”, people that do not see it as law but just more of a “suggestion”. The left is made up of people that want to get all up in our personal business with things like prohibition and the PPACA. The left is made up of people that want to force their morals on the rest of us, then complain about legislating morality.

        The left is made up of people that want to compare same-sex marriage to civil rights, to interracial marriages when people were stripped of their citizenship and sent to prison. The left is made of people that fear the right to keep and bear arms, that fear people with a CHL carrying weapons in public, that want gun registration, background checks for private sales, “assault weapons” bans and speak of things like “gun show loopholes”.

        The left is made of people that want more government spending, expansion of Medicaid that will cost states more money, subsidies for “green technology”. The left is made of people that want inflation in order to destroy wealth of the middle-class and force more people to be dependent on the federal government.

        The left is made of people that believe human beings control the global climate and call for things like a “carbon tax”. The left is made of people that call for a minimum income for all people, working or not, so they can all live comfortably.

        The left is made of people that think being fiscally responsible means higher taxes rather than less spending, that complain about “income inequality”, that support things like Affirmative Action, set-asides and lower standards for some people because of the color of their skin or ethnic background. The left sees people that are not white males as being inferior, so they focus on race.

        The left is made of people that think the 2003 invasion of Iraq is separate from the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, that think the 2003 invasion was all about WMD. The left thinks the 2003 invasion of Iraq was over the 2001 attacks by al Qaeda, that claim “Bush invaded the wrong country”.

        The left believe that some human beings are not really human beings, but a sub-species at best, to be treated as property, denied their humanity and basic human rights and disposed of if found to be inconvenient in order to avoid responsibility for their own actions.

        I could go on for quite a bit more, but that should give the general picture, or at least a start.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Haven’t heard from him yet but he may have other things to keep him busy.”

        I generally do not post from work other than an occasional iPhone comment, which is never going to be much because it is from an iPhone. There is a reason for that, and that is all I will say about the matter.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Capt, I assumed you might be busy during the day.

        You really do not mind putting time in at the keyboard. Your description of the left was lengthy and I believe you could have gone on.

        I won’t comment on each point individually. Most of them I’ve heard since the 50’s. Some are new. I am only surprised that you consider the left to be such a large group. Some points have come out of my mouth at some point in my life. Before I started my research into which side was lying to me. Not saying anybody here is lying, because I don’t know anyone on this board. And besides, if you believe something is true it isn’t a lie.

        From your description of the left it is probably ~65 percent of the population. This would include most of the political active Blacks and a good percentage of Whites. I thought you might be thinking of a smaller radical fringe group. I do know there are groups on the right that … Not going to finish that thought.

        So do you really believe that a large group of people are purposely inciting a race war?

      • CaptSternn says:

        “So do you really believe that a large group of people are purposely inciting a race war?”

        Small group, big influence.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        I’m sorry capt, but you did say “the left”. You didn’t say a small group. Can you be more specific now.

  11. BigWilly says:

    And it takes off now.

    The local cops need some additional training in oaf handling. Six shots. A veritable hail of gunfire. What can I say?

    The kids need to be taught how to respect another person’s space. I think they are all equally inviolable, but an armed individual even more so.

    That this assumes scale is mad.

  12. johnofgaunt75 says:

    On a more positive note, here is local evidence of a police department admitting when their officer was wrong and holding the officer accountable:

    http://abc13.com/news/officer-caught-on-dash-cam-using-taser-during-traffic-stop-fired/462850/

    This further convinces me of the need for dash cameras and body cameras on all police officers.

    • flypusher says:

      This sadly isn’t the first time I’ve heard of a cop using a taser on an elder. It sounds like a possible “contempt of cop” story, LEO thinks he’s getting disrespected, and cracks down hard.

  13. CaptSternn says:

    Almost three times as many white people are killed by police than blacks, but that is not mentioned or recognized here. It doesn’t fit in with the agenda of division by race and income.

    Reading comments here when none of us conservatives are being active really shows the mindset of the left. It shows just how ignorant the left is. The belief that conservatives are anarchists except wanting a police state and control over the personal lives of people. Yet reality is the left is all up in everybody’s personal lives.

    Anybody not to the left of Stalin is a “Neo-Conservative”.

    Then again, a constitutionally limited government would probably appear to be anarchy to the socialists. And the left has no clue of the difference between a small government and a constitutionally limited government.

    Facts and reality are not friends of the left. Either Gruber was right about the left, or some of you think most people are like the people Gruber was describing, which tend to be those on the left. Those of us on the right never fell for the lies.

    Whatever.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      There are far more White people than Black people, which makes numerical rather than proportional comparisons the tool of a statistical asshat.

      Racial bias exists, even (or perhaps particularly) when you’re unconscious of it. And it’s not a large jump (except, perhaps, for the incorrigibly clueless) to see how that phenomenon could have unjust but deadly consequences.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/upshot/the-measuring-sticks-of-racial-bias-.html

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Racial bias exists …”

        That is your own admission. Nothing new from the left.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Actually, it’s the result of careful, scholarly work from a number of educated professionals.

        Just the kind of people whose perspectives you hate and fear, because of your own inadequacies.

    • Doug says:

      “There are far more White people than Black people, which makes numerical rather than proportional comparisons the tool of a statistical asshat.”

      OK, how about this: Numerically, blacks commit more murders and robberies than whites. Proportionately, blacks commit more then five times as many murders as whites. Also more rape, robbery, and a host of other crimes. Check out the the FBI crime stats…you have to get down to alcohol-related offenses before whites clearly excel. I find it astounding that more whites than blacks are killed by police. Clearly cops hate drunks more than they hate blacks.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Well, first of all, you’re lying. According to the FBI spreadsheet Tracy posted, Whites committed 2,755 murders, and Blacks 2,698.

        Does that mean that murders are *disproportionately* committed by Blacks? Yes. But we also know that poverty affects Blacks disproportionately, too. So do “they” kill because they’re Black or because they’re poor? Seizing upon the first answer does, most would agree, indicate a certain world-view, and not a very savory one.

        Meanwhile, *men* commit a vast majority of most crimes! particularly the violent kinds. But, for some reason, we don’t hear anyone ranting about *that* danger to society.

      • Doug says:

        Mine came from here: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-3 (Murder offenders by age, sex, race) White: 4129, Black: 5486

        It was from 2011 (can’t find anything later), but I find it hard to believe homicide down by 50% in two years. Something doesn’t make sense.

      • Doug, the table I posted below is the 2013 version of your 2011 table. Homicide rates (and violent crime rates in general) are indeed dropping over time. Some attribute this to demographic trends, others to the concomitant rise in CCLs. (Crime becomes a less attractive career choice when the percentage of invisibly armed “victims” rises.) I suspect a combination of these factors.

        As for the owl, the bird is all wet and knows it. Hence the descent to profanity and name calling. Curious that Chris tolerates it, don’t you think?

      • johngalt says:

        “…others to the concomitant rise in CCLs. (Crime becomes a less attractive career choice when the percentage of invisibly armed “victims” rises.)”

        There has been, as you said, a long-term decline in violent crime. The data that any of this is due to increased numbers of CCL licensees is murky, at best. You’d be just as successful in claiming that it was due to legalized abortion (as Steven Levitt attempted), less lead in paint, or more effective policing. If you really wanted to reduce violent crime, then the single best way to do that would be to legalize drugs.

      • JG, as a person who stands for individual liberty (and personal responsibility), I agree with you in principle on drug legalization. One troubling aspect of recent marijuana legalization laws in several states is a lack of balance between liberty and public safety.

        In a truly civil society we are free to exercise our liberties only to the extent that we do not harm our neighbors or place our neighbors in jeopardy as a result of the *irresponsible* exercise of said liberties. When it come to alcohol consumption we have objective means of measuring intoxication (blood alcohol content) and harsh penalties (DWI laws) for those convicted of endangering the public while intoxicated. No such objective measures or penalties have been devised for marijuana intoxication or intoxication by other drugs. No good will come of this.

        As for the link between increasing CCL numbers and decreasing crime, entire tomes have been penned on the subject. I refer you to John Lott’s excellent book, “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws (Third Edition): http://www.amazon.com/More-Guns-Less-Crime-Understanding/dp/0226493660/

      • johngalt says:

        Then develop them. This is an engineering problem that should not override personal liberties. Though, to be honest, I’m a lot less concerned about stoned drivers (from pot, at least) than the soccer mom yammering on her cell phone while trying to retrieve Junior’s sippy cup from the floor of the back seat.

        Lott’s conclusions, as outlined in that book, are the subject of a great deal of debate with many believing that his limited sample size led to misleading conclusions. Other studies have concluded that increases in CCL numbers have had no effect. There appears to be no strong correlation between numbers of CCL holders in any given state and the violent crime rate, NRA ravings about the murder rate in Chicago notwithstanding.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Tracy crows, “JG, as a person who stands for individual liberty (and personal responsibility)…”

        …except, of course, in the case of collective punishment for other people, such as indiscriminate bombing of civilian population centers.

      • “Then develop them.” Not exactly my area of expertise, JG, although I will certainly lobby and agitate for it when the issue comes to Texas. Sadly, we are already seeing incidents of marijuana intoxication leading to tragic results. See for instance:

        http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_25475533/denver-coroner-man-fell-death-after-eating-marijuana

        Imagine this person behind the wheel of a vehicle.

        As is so often the case with “progressive” governance, “progress” is promulgated with little or no thought given to potential negative consequences. One wonders how many will lose their lives before appropriate prudence is brought to the mix.

        With respect to Lott’s work, the number of studies addressed in the third edition is ~75; I’m not sure how many more you might require. As you note, some show no positive correlation, but many do. No study has effectively demonstrated a negative correlation (more guns, more crime) and every time one is published purporting to do so it fails to survive scrutiny.

        This correlates with common sense. Criminals do not purposely expose themselves to injury or death at the hands of armed victims; they go after the easy targets. This is precisely why soft targets are so popular with the perpetrators of mass shootings. Interestingly, the rate of “hot burglaries” (where home owners at present in the home) in Britain is about five times higher than in the U.S. British criminals *know* homeowners are unarmed; for U.S. criminals home entry is much more of a gamble.

      • flypusher says:

        “Current Colorado law prohibits edible products sold at recreational marijuana stores from containing more than 10 milligrams of THC, the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, per serving. The law allows one individually packaged product — for instance, a single marijuana-infused brownie — to contain up to 10 servings, or 100 milligrams of THC.”

        Seems to me that solving this problem isn’t rocket science. Change the law so that each individually packaged product is no more than one serving, with no more than 10mg THC per package.

        And like JG, I’m far more worried about the idiots paying more attention to their phones than their driving. I’ve had a number of near misses with those types.

      • johngalt says:

        Well, of course I was not suggesting that you develop the testing personally, Tracy. I was merely suggesting that doing so was inherently a bioengineering problem. The blood chemistry of a person actively high on pot must be different in some way than those who last used the drug a few days before. Otherwise, why would you be high? Identifying what these changes are and developing a test for it should not be rocket science.

        For every negative incident – car crash, accidental death, or whatever – you can attribute to marijuana, I can find thousands associated with alcohol, which is a legal product. I can probably find dozens associated with prescription narcotics, which are legal in at least some circumstances. This is not an argument for perpetual criminalization. Even when it comes to harder drugs with more serious consequences, the experiences of places that have largely decriminalized them suggests the sky will not fall in. In contrast, we know exactly what the toll of the war on drugs has been.

        Certainly all actions should be thought through before being taken, especially by governments. That they often are not is certainly not unique to the “progressives” you sneer at, or would you like to discuss the neocon planning of the second gulf war (amongst a long list of myopic actions).

      • bubbabobcat says:

        TThor, how do you explain NYC’s downard trend in just about all categories of crime “despite” the historically strictest gun control laws in the country?

        http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-New-York-New-York.html

        Ask Plaxico Burress how tough it is to own a gun in NYC.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “And note where the gun that killed the two NYC police officers originated from.”

        Well, since it is a Taurus it is obvious that it originated from this company …

        http://www.taurususa.com/

        Was there a point you were trying to make, Bubba? Your link shows that it was last purchased from a licensed dealer in 1996, back when the federal AWB was in effect.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Obtuseness as an art form. You have it down pat Cappy.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Soooo … there was no point. Got it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        TThor and John, we already have roadside sobriety tests. Those apply to all forms of intoxication and do not rely on blood levels of certain substances. I can’t take OTC cold or allergy medications because of the effect they have on me, they cause me to walk into walls and stuff. The substances are legal, I am not intoxicated on alcohol, but you wouldn’t want me driving and I would never pass a roadside sobriety test while under the influence of the cold or allergy medication. The DWI/DUI laws apply to such circumstances.

        There is also the fact that some substances, taken in small amounts but enough to affect the person’s mental stated, actually improves a person’s motor skills, reflexes, decision making and awareness. I have heard people express the opinion that this is the reason we should not rely on things like roadside sobriety tests. Go figure.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        That’s the problem with wallowing in your own sensory deprivation isolation chamber Cappy. You think you are being so clever.

        And yes we are all laughing AT you.

      • johngalt says:

        Field sobriety checks are not particularly useful in detecting drivers who are stoned. Those tests were designed to test for physical signs indicating alcoholic intoxication. That’s not to say there couldn’t be variants for people who appear stoned, but they are not in use in the field today. Plus, if field sobriety tests were sufficient evidence, the cops wouldn’t use breathalyzers and blood test.

      • Cap, roadside sobriety tests are subjective. With marijuana physical impairment is not an issue, impairment of judgement is. A field sobriety test is next to useless for determining marijuana intoxication.

        Bubba, I already posited that an increasingly armed citizenry was only one of a variety of factors contributing to decreased crime rates. As for Brinsley’s firearm, it was clearly obtained illegally; Brinsley would not have passed a NICS check. The article notes that the last legal transfer of that gun occurred back in ’96. You will note that despite New York’s strict gun laws Brinsley had no trouble obtaining a gun. This is merely another illustration of the fact that strict gun laws do nothing to deter criminals. Rather, they serve only to harass, inconvenience and disarm law abiding citizens.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        TThor, my point is that an armed citizenry is a non factor in NYC and the crime rate still has gone done in multiple categories.

        And as for the shooter’s gun, I see you are only for securing the borders when it deals with brown skinned people and not with anything really detrimental to our society and citizenry. The gun did not originate from, nor was it obtained in NYC or NY state. It originated in a wingnut state that wants to revive the Wild West of 2 centuries ago. Canada has UNIFORMLY strict gun control laws throughout the country and does not have even close to the magnitude of gun violence or deaths the US has. The evidence is there. You are apparently no different from Cappy in dealing with reality.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Bubba, so many times you prove yourself just plain stupid. You think you make a point but all you do is make us laugh at you. You let your emotion, rage, hate take over and you sputter out inane BS trying to wrap it up as fact. My advice: Go back on your meds and continue your therapy. Put the bottle down and don’t take illegal drugs. Something is off about you.

      • johngalt says:

        Brinsley may not have obtained his weapon in NYC. He did time in Georgia (near the disputed pawn shop where the gun was last legally purchased) in one case after using a stolen weapon in a crime. It’s not too hard to imagine that he obtained the gun used here before moving to NYC. Of course, I don’t doubt that he could have found someone in greater NY to sell him a gun (or stolen one).

        I’d like to see a system that tracks gun sales more closely and includes all transfers, whether “private” or through shops or dealers. Who bought that gun in 1996 and how did it end up in the hands of a mentally ill felon? Many criminals obtain guns through straw purchasers who can legally buy them. Those straw purchasers should bear liability for the guns they buy until they register that they have been sold (and to whom) or stolen. You have to do this with automobiles and real estate, why not guns? The prospect of men in dark suits knocking on one’s door asking where serial number xxxx is might deter some of the transactions that put guns in the hands of people like Brinsley.

      • flypusher says:

        “Those straw purchasers should bear liability for the guns they buy until they register that they have been sold (and to whom) or stolen. You have to do this with automobiles and real estate, why not guns? ”

        A very sensible idea, which dooms it to failure for the foreseeable future. I’ve heard the “cars and real estate” aren’t in the Bill of Rights” rebuttal more times than I can count. It’s total bullshit, as no right stated in the Bill of Rights is free of restrictions. Bearing arms is the one Constitutional right that can directly kill another person. Not having more accountability for exercising that right is insane.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Since many of the population are morbidly obese and die prematurely I think our government should register/license forks and knives and spoons to see how these utencils get into the hands of those that may kill themselves.

      • flypusher says:

        “Since many of the population are morbidly obese and die prematurely I think our government should register/license forks and knives and spoons to see how these utencils get into the hands of those that may kill themselves.”

        Riiiiiigggghht, someone choosing to dig their grave with their teeth is the same thing as a criminal using gaps / lack of enforcement in the laws to get a gun and murder people.

        The next time you actually think before you post will be the first.

      • johngalt says:

        The next time someone force feeds an innocent person into death-by-obesity, we can talk about registering forks or other nonsense, Buzz. Until then your pathetic attempt at an analogy is, quite literally, like comparing apples and handguns.

      • CaptSternn says:

        John, we only have to register a vehicle if it is to be driven on public roads. Driving a vehicle on public roads is a privilege, not a right. Learn the difference already.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        kabuzz61 says:
        January 7, 2015 at 8:33 am
        “Bubba, so many times you prove yourself just plain stupid. You think you make a point but all you do is make us laugh at you. You let your emotion, rage, hate take over and you sputter out inane BS trying to wrap it up as fact. My advice: Go back on your meds and continue your therapy. Put the bottle down and don’t take illegal drugs. Something is off about you.”

        So in other words buzzy, you have no legitimate, intelligent, or rational response or comeback to the facts I presented. Par for the course in buzzy world. Do you ever tire of making a fool of yourself? That was a rhetorical question by the way.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Captain, when the NYPD was told to not enforce the protests they were in fact told not to enforce the law. The protests got out of hand and chanted “we want cops killed”. Then two officers were murdered. And now the liberals (Chris Ladd) blame the police officers.

      Missouri is a strong democrat state from Governor all the way to the DA that handled the Grand Jury. It seems to reason why racism was involved as the left only sees color.

      Rest assured, the left has been rejected by mainstream america this past election, so they are only huffing and puffing to each other. Let them crow. No ones listening.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Actually, kabuzz, they never chanted that; although the deceptive and obvious editing by a FOX News station might easily fool those who prefer comfortable fantasy rather than actually finding out about reality. Again, you’ve demonstrated how cloistered you are in your little partisan bubble, safely away from actual events.

        Or perhaps you’re talking about a different event, which is clearly demonstrated to be well away from any sort of mass protest, and must be the work of isolated extremists no more representative of the whole than the Westboro Baptist Church is of the Republican Party:

        http://www.msnbc.com/the-reid-report/the-truth-about-the-dead-cops-chant

      • flypusher says:

        ” The protests got out of hand and chanted “we want cops killed”. Then two officers were murdered.”

        Speaking of correlation is NOT causation…………

  14. “oppressed community”? Interesting way of putting it. In other news, those racist bigots at the WSJ point out that police officers are on average *six* times more likely to be killed *by* a member of the African-American community than they are to kill an African-American civilian:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/kent-osband-what-statistics-say-about-policing-america-1420411320

    Gee, I wonder if Al Sharpton could be counted on to speak out against the violent oppression of our nation’s police forces by the African-American communities they serve?

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Yes, an “oppressed community”. You can lie about it all you like, Tracy, trying to make yourself sound Solomonic rather than just moronic.

      But a 2002 study in the American Journal of Public Health, for example, found that the death rate due to “legal intervention” was more than three times higher for blacks than for whites in the period from 1988 to 1997. And, as many works of history and political science have demonstrated, there’s a long history of systemic, institutional and social oppression at work to create those statistics. For example, ever since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping data in 1954, African-Americans nationwide have been and are more likely to be unemployed than Whites. Read the rest of Chris’ commentary on the topic, or the plentiful work of others — assuming that actual facts rather than comfortable eyes don’t cause your eyes and ears to bleed.

      Just because you ignore reality doesn’t mean it’s not ripe to bite you in your plump ass.

      • Oh, owl. Got anything besides your typical risible ad hominem nonsense? In this case I’m not the liar; you’ll have to lay that at the feet of the FBI. Facts are ever so pesky: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_6_murder_race_and_sex_of_vicitm_by_race_and_sex_of_offender_2013.xls

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        No doubt your solution is just to indiscriminately bomb inner cities, asshole.

      • No, owl, I’m not a proponent of bombing inner cities; the inhabitants thereof seem quite capable of reducing extant infrastructure to rubble on their own. I am a proponent of addressing the real problem in this situation: To the extent that such communities are “oppressed” they are oppressed not by the police, but rather by an extra-ordinarily violent criminal subset of the community itself. Those are the people protesters should be protesting, not the police.

        BTW, do you figure your puerile, compulsive, potty-mouth profanity and name-calling furthers your position? Newsflash: Not so much. It does serve well to illustrate for all and sundry the quality of your character.

      • flypusher says:

        “To the extent that such communities are “oppressed” they are oppressed not by the police, but rather by an extra-ordinarily violent criminal subset of the community itself. Those are the people protesters should be protesting, not the police.”

        I see that as a giant red herring. You are talking about 2 separate problems here. The problem of high criminal activity in such places does not negate the problem of whether socially sanctioned use of deadly force is being used properly or whether our justice system is giving misuse a pass.

        With the problem of the criminal element, you can at least see much more of an effort to indict and try and punish the offenders.

        Also I have higher expectations of protests directed towards a gov’t of/by/for the people to have an effect, rather than any directed at the criminal element who does give a $&£# for anything other than themselves.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “BTW, do you figure your puerile, compulsive, potty-mouth profanity and name-calling furthers your position? Newsflash: Not so much. It does serve well to illustrate for all and sundry the quality of your character.”

        heh

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Tracy, I really don’t care under what arbitrary, venal, and self-supporting standards you judge my character. Yours is already pretty clear to me, when viewed by its support for truth, fairness, empathy, or any other interpersonal virtues. And that’s why I have no concerns in pasting you with properly deserved profanity, even as I treat others in this forum with the respect they’ve earned.

    • flypusher says:

      Don’t have a subscription, but how can the article make that claim when the records on police shootings aren’t complete? You have to know both numbers to claim a ratio.

    • johngalt says:

      The Osband op-ed reminds me of Twain’s immortal quote about “Lies, damned lies, and statistics,” which, in this case, are twisted beyond any shadow of meaning to get that police officers are far more likely to be killed by an African-American than they are to kill one.

      • flypusher says:

        Most people don’t have clue one about statistics. Witness Homer’s patient explanations to the statistically challenged about using means vs. medians a few posts back. Can’t remember where, but I recently heard/read a bit of a debate about whether high schools should take some of the focus and effort off teaching kids algebra, and shift it to statistics.

        I personally find both very useful, but it’s a valid point to consider- it you had to pick one for the average non-STEM person, which would serve them better?

      • johngalt says:

        I took calculus, differential equations, multivariable calc; in all, five semesters of college math. I would trade every minute of it for a really good probability and statistics course. I’ve taught myself some of it, but even most scientists (biologists at least) aren’t very good with stats. For most high schoolers, basic stats would be more useful than algebra, but I don’t see why you couldn’t give them a sample of both. I taught my 7 year old how to solve simple equations for an unknown variable in an hour.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        We all would be far better consumers of information and far better at recognizing BS with more fundamental statistics education.

        I have all kinds of love for advanced algebra, trig, calculus, etc., but 90% of folks do not utilize those things on a regular basis.

        Everyone encounters summarized data, and the interpretations and misinterpretations of those data are astounding.

        I had the unenviable task of teaching intro stats at A&M for a few semesters, and it could make you weep. However, it did hone my understanding of the concepts. There is a saying along the lines of you never really know a subject until you have to teach it. Teaching intro stats to uninterested and unprepared 19 year olds will greatly stretch your understanding of the topic.

        I will say, however, it was fun when you could see the light bulb go on for someone, and you could see them finally understanding how the sample size, mean, and variance impact your faith in a single number as being representative of anything meaningful.

        That light bulb needs to be turned on in high school (along with basic finances and interest rates).

        Sadly, in my first Research Methods classes, I warned the class that if I read anything suggesting that a correlation means “X caused Y”, they were going to fail the final paper. I probably said some variation of, “correlation does not mean causation” 150 times over the course of the semester.

        I had to back off my threat failing them because easily 50% of the class would have failed on that issue alone, and the Department Head would not let me fail that many students when other sections of the class did not have such harsh criteria.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I took math through calculus in high school, proceeding through differential equations and multivariable calculus in college. But statistics was only ever presented as part of science class. That’s a fine place for it, but I agree it wouldn’t hurt to let it get multiple exposures (particularly in the standard, public-school curriculum, which wasn’t my high-school experience).

        In early 1980s San Diego, where I attended public junior-high school, seventh graders took an odd class called “Reading 400”, a mélange of lots of stuff young people were apparently intended to know: distinguishing opinion from fact, interpreting political cartoons, filling out employment applications and tax returns, taking notes, outlining and composing a research paper, and probably other activities I’ve forgotten because they seem so second-nature.

        I could easily see basic consumer economics (checkbook balancing, loan rates, amortization, etc.) being added into such a course. Basic macro-economics (supply and demand, etc.) gets abused so often by those who believe a freshman course in theory adequately describes a complex universe in practice, but there might be a place for that with a few caveats. And it would be an excellent place to handle “consumer-grade” statistics sufficient to understand product packaging and important news stories.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I think exposure to LOGIC would be helpful in high school.

      • johngalt says:

        Checkbook balancing? You’re dating yourself, Owl!

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Better to date yourself than have to depend on the kindness of others.

      • flypusher says:

        I had a chance to take a biostats course my last semester of undergrad, and that was easily one of the most useful courses I ever took. I’ve referred back to the textbook quite a few times in my work. If I were doing my coursework over again I would have taken a bit more diffy-q, as that would have made p-chem less of an ordeal, but the last time I even needed calculus or anything higher was my 2nd year of grade school. I chose genetics/ molecular biology for my specialties, which don’t require that sort of math. But I don’t see learning math I don’t use now as a waste, and if I were to need it again memory refreshing is easier than learning it the first time.

        Back when I was in 6th grade, our math classes spent a whole lot of time learning a thing called “casting out 9’s”. I consider that to have been a complete waste of time, as I never ever used it outside of 6th grade math class. An intro to stats or algebra would have been better IMO. I don’t know how math classes are structured now, but I hope students don’t have to endure casting out 9’s anymore.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        (grin) Fair enough, johngalt! I should have said “budgeting”.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Fly – one of my first mentors after grad school was a double majored geneticist/statistician. Through the years, he drifted away from genetics and into consulting around statistics, and he was easily the most brilliant folks I’ve ever met. Plus, he had the ability to explain statistics to attorneys and judges.

        Had a bit of a gift for kind of counting cards too.

      • flypusher says:

        “Plus, he had the ability to explain statistics to attorneys and judges.”

        That guy needs to be cloned!

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        I needed a tutor to get through a graduate statistics course. I’d read the assignments, go to class, take notes and then take the whole mess to the tutor, who would explain it to me.

        The poorly written textbook was a huge distraction for me. I can easily get off track if the textbook is poorly written.

        In contrast, an accounting course was taught by a guy who specialized in statistics for genetics applications. (He said there wasn’t a huge demand for his specialty.) He was as much an outsider to accounting as I was. I think that’s why he was such a good teacher.

        At the end of one semester, we were prepared to take the CPA exam. I didn’t take it (poor decision on my part; it could be a good back up source of income) but I’ve heard it typically takes about 4 semesters to get ready for it.

  15. Owl of Bellaire says:

    Good post, Chris, and it speaks to the inherent contradictions present in municipal unions.

    As you’ve pointed out, municipal unions often reverse the expected socio-economic benefits of such membership and end up penalizing minorities and the poor.

    But unions were formed to attempt to create some sort of balance of power between the undefended, isolated, individual worker and the vast wealth, power, and attention of an industrial employer (or even a conglomerate, monopoly, or “trust”). And governments tend to be *inherent* monopolies, with vast power and attention that can be all too easily misused, and “corporate” executive who can turn over rapidly, have little or no connection or experience with the concerns of lower levels in the organization, and have all too much incentive to prosper with the electorate by fiscally putting the screws to the little guys in their own organizations.

    It may be that we’ve come to expect too much from unions, formed in a simpler time with greater and more obvious abuses and less interest in feathering their own nests and covering their own byzantine webs of power.

    What if municipal officials were legally prohibited from having retirement benefits (assessed per year of service rather than as absolutes) better than those of rank-and-file municipal employees? What if laws restricted the combined hourly pay and benefits of municipal officials (and, while we’re at it, of corporate executives) from a sum greater than 500 times that of the lowest-paid employee in the group or its domestic contractors? There are loopholes in those kinds of balancing measures, as well, but they’re also less opaque and abusable than the powers conferred by union membership.

  16. johngalt says:

    Chris, you suggest an opportunity here for the GOP to reach out to the powerless who are often victimized. But if there is a single group of unionized public employees that – in general – has the support of conservatives it is the police. This is part of the bipolar nature of all “big tent” political movements: in this case conservatives favor small government, except when it comes to law enforcement (and defense). What you suggest is that conservatives ditch their very long standing law-and-order platform in favor of minority outreach. Actually, what you propose is even harder than that – that they make a subtle but important change in the law-and-order plank to subject police officers to increased scrutiny to make sure they themselves obey the law. There isn’t a nationally recognizable candidate (on either side) capable of making this argument effectively.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      It also has a lot of racial overtones which makes the issue even harder for Republicans who depend on the political support of the South (which we all know has a long and dark history of racial animosity). They essentially have a similar problem the Democratic Party had in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.

      Don’t believe me? Go read about what some conservative white political leaders in the South were saying during the civil rights marches of the 1960’s. Many outwardly claimed to not be racist or hold racist views (for example they often cited groups like the KKK was the “real” racists) but at the same time they supported the actions of police like Bull Connor in the name of “keeping the peace” or “stopping rioters.” It’s hard to argue that some white conservatives in today’s South don’t use the same dodge.

    • goplifer says:

      Actually there might be two of them.

      The first is Rand Paul. He is the only major Republican political figure who has shown some twinkling of a possibility of separating Libertarian values from their Neo-Confederate straightjacket. To clarify, Neo-Confederates are for little or no government with the exception of a very robust police/military state that regulates nearly every aspect of personal/sexual choices. Paul might be capable of breaking with that tradition from a philosophical, if not a practical perspective.

      The other one is Bruce Rauner and the opportunity there is practical, not philosophical. Illinois Republicans have very little support to lose among the unionized police force. Rauner is starting out his term cornered into a battle with the public employee unions over their almost unlimited looting of the state’s treasury. Republicans may have no philosophical issue with police accountability in Chicago, but practical matters are setting them up for a battle with the police and other public unions that cannot be avoided.

      Apart from the two of them, no, I don’t even see the slightest awareness on the right of the shape of this opportunity.

      • johngalt says:

        Having seen Paul’s effort at Howard University a year or so ago, I have little confidence in his ability to reach out to minority voters. I suppose he got some kudos for just making the attempt, but it was so ham-handed that he didn’t win any minds that day. You have written in the past about the libertarian philosophy being off-putting to those who are at the mercy of local authority, where the federal government was the only thing protecting them from the Bull Connor’s. It will be a delicate ballet for Paul to dance and I don’t think he’s up to it.

        I don’t know much about Rauner beyond what you’ve posted but I think there is a risk at elevating into national prominence someone whose election could have been as much a protest at an historically dysfunctional Democratic government as it was an endorsement of his particular personality or positions. Rayner might not have much to lose with the police unions, but he has a lot to lose from the public if he (or anyone) is seen to be demonizing the officers themselves. We’ll see how well he dances.

  17. goplifer says:

    As a follow up, does anyone find it strange that these incidents of racially-tinged police violence seem to happen so frequently in places outside the South? Oakland, LA, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia…

    Is that Houston and Atlanta police officers are so racially enlightened, or could the frequency of these incidents have something to do with the level of accountability and oversight that’s possible in places where the power of public employee unions is more modest.

    Houston PD has a union, but the city is not forced to engage in collective bargaining with the union and new recruits are not forced to join. The organization plays an important role as an institutional representative of the officers, but it isn’t powerful enough to wag the dog.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      I can’t comment on Atlanta, but police beatings and shootings happen a lot in Houston. I distinctly remember a Houston police officer shooting an unarmed, elderly disabled man in a wheelchair (who I believe did not have any legs) because the police officer felt “threatened.” The man was on his front porch if I remember correctly. Despite some initial outrage, it was quickly brushed under the carpet.

      I think the difference is that, one, cities like Houston and Atlanta, despite being big cities, are not as important and do not gain as much national attention as the bigger cities and metro areas like New York, LA, Chicago, etc. Second, they are much more conservative cities and thus generally there is not the public support to really investigate and go after police officers who are reckless (or worse). Local prosecutors are overwhelmingly conservative Republicans who really don’t much concern for the poor, the disabled and minority groups who are often the victim of these outrages. So, it gets ignored.

    • stephen says:

      In Orlando Florida we use to have more police violence towards minorities. But being a minority majority county now many of the positions of power are held by minorities who were elected by a mix of voters of different ethnic backgrounds.Sheriff Demings is African American for instance. We use to be red as red could be but are now blue. I tried to get the local Republican Executive Committee to start reaching out to minorities several decades ago as the trend was apparent. The Democrats recognized this and by checking abuses and taking care of all constituents have been taking over local government as white voting power has been diluted. We could of and could still tilt the county to purple but we have to recognize and take care of minority issues to do so. We have always had weak public employee unions.I think poltical power more broadly shared is the key to fix the abuses you are talking about. And that is going to happen as you have been pointing out. The question is will the GOP be part of this brave new world?

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Very interesting post Chris. Had to think on this one for a while before responding and I’m still a little on the fence. I obviously support unions to empower the little people against the “Mr. Potters” of the world. Civil servant and particularly law enforcement unions are quite a different animal from unions in the commercial business world. Yet I still believe they are needed for those critical segments also. Though I disagree with their (police) opposition to NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio. It’s not a simple black and white (no pun intended) you’re either for or against us. Perhaps a more nuanced, less binary outlook could have defused the tragic shooting in Ferguson (not in the North, by the way), MO.

      JG75 and Stephen already noted what I would have responded with so I won’t waste any more electrons rehashing that. But I would note that the riots and looting did not occur in NYC and you would think that would be a likely scenario there. Perhaps Mayor DeBlasio’s nuanced outlook may have defused the tensions enough to avoid that?

      • goplifer says:

        Remember, the problem isn’t unions, per se. The problem is accountability. Houston police, teachers, firefighters etc all have union representation. The difference is that the union is not powerful enough to completely shield them from accountability.

        The fight in NYC is not really about race as such. The unions are fighting against the possibility of being held more accountable. The reason that race is at issue is that the weakest political forces in the city, poor minority residents, are the ones most at the mercy of an unaccountable government force.

        And yes, I think de Blasio has a lot to do with why this hasn’t escalated further, at least not yet. Also, minority residents of New York City have a lot more power than minority residents of the miserable St Louis suburbs. People don’t generally riot until all their other options are exhausted.

        Or until white college students run out of liquor, http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/19/us/new-hampshire-pumpkin-festival-riot/

      • bubbabobcat says:

        You have a good point Chris. NYC minorities (across the spectrum) are definitely more empowered than in Ferguson. Question is why? Larger numbers? More minority diversirty? Larger participation in the political process? Larger participation in the police force? I have my theories, but they would be a “knee jerk Liberal perspective”.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        First off Chris, I do want to note I am duly impressed and obviously agree with your excellent observations that, “The reason that race is at issue is that the weakest political forces in the city, poor minority residents, are the ones most at the mercy of an unaccountable government force” and more notably, “People don’t generally riot until all their other options are exhausted.” Speaking strictly for the oppressed of course. Not condoning it, but it is akin to lashing out blindly in anger when you become frustrated with your powerlessness and impotence when dealt with a severe injustice with no other recourse or measure of redress. We’ve all felt it and most of us have responded in the same context to different degrees, whether you admit it or not. It’s called a tantrum.

        As for “union omnipotence”, my only rejoinder would be don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater as your only option as the Scott Walker Republicans have already slashed and burned indiscriminately. It is the political animal nature to knee jerk the extreme self interest defensive positions on both sides. It’s not whether which extreme gets the upper hand in a zero sum death battle embrace, but want can be agreed upon in the middle with concessions from both sides.

      • goplifer says:

        The only bathwater that really needs to be thrown out is:

        1) statutorily forcing municipalities to engage in collective bargaining

        2) granted public employee unions the same right to strike that we give coalminers or steel workers.

        Thats it. Having government employees, especially teachers and cops, a form of institutional political influence is extremely valuable.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        A bit conflicted here Chris. I understand the concerns with government workers providing critical services going on strike but without the ability or threat of a strike, what real leverage do they have in negotiations? And I still resent Reagan firing all the air traffic controllers fighting for better pay and working conditions in a very high stress and critical job. So how is 100% turnover and putting managers who haven’t done the job in years and recent trainees or whatever he found on the streets to replace the fired controllers any safer or better than the controllers going out on strike?

        Speaking of Scott Walker, you reap what you sow, Scotty. Now he can’t control the anti-union monster he created. Just as he conveniently backs away from his former stance as he now has higher ambitions than cater to just the wingnuts of one state. Sadly it will work as you can fool enough of the people all of the time.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/06/us/scott-walker-starting-second-term-in-wisconsin-steers-away-from-new-battle-with-unions.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    • flypusher says:

      I never liked the practice of mandatory union membership. There’s more accountability when people have the freedom to vote with their feet.

    • johngalt says:

      It is worth noting that Atlanta’s police department is 57% black which roughly matches its population. The department had its first black chief almost 40 years ago and its leadership is heavily African-American. The dispossessed “minority” of Atlanta is almost all black and there’s a chance that this police demographic and leadership might have more credibility in those communities because of it.

  18. unarmedandunafraid says:

    Another thought provoking post. Thanks.

    I just compared my city’s per student cost to the state per student cost. And it costs more than the average to educate a child in this city. I’ve always assumed that costs would be or should be lower in high density areas than low density areas. For all services, not just child education. Not true in this case.

    It would be interesting to know if this is true in other countries.

    As one that recognizes that there are trade offs concerning unions, it is hard to convince me that we would be better off today if we still hired school marms like we did in the past. And for the police, would they now be Pinkertons or Blackwater employees? If someone could paint a picture of a fair way of providing these services, paint away.

  19. 1mime says:

    For all who read this post, I am providing a link to an important, timely, and wise appeal on the subject of how we can more effectively address the problem of unequal treatment by law enforcement officers. Appearing in today’s Houston Chronicle, B11, (1/4/15) by Gerald Smith, Chairman and CEO of Smith Graham & Co., (http://smithgraham.com/site/teammgmt.html), it is eloquent and practical.

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Smith-Justice-is-good-business-5992056.php#/0

  20. flypusher says:

    On the topic of police/ community relations- I’ve commented on the body cams previously. I’m in favor of them, as they have the potential to give more accurate, far less biased evidence when a LEO has to use force. But that’s just one part of a fix. I also think the trend of LEOs not living in the neighborhood, or even the city they protect to be very counterproductive. It seems too draconian to use the stick, I.e., require currently serving police to move if they live out of town. But perhaps some carrots might help- give LEOs bonuses/ super low mortgage interest rates if they move to the neighborhoods they patrol. Or perhaps a scholarship program for qualified young people in the neighborhood- pay their way through college/ police academy in return for a commitment to come back and work in that neighborhood (similar to how some rural communities will send a student to med school in return for that new MD coming back and setting up a practice).

    • 1mime says:

      Your idea of incentives for law enforcement to move into the areas they patrol is being implemented but needs to be expanded. Problem is, most large cities are faced with huge deficits in the police pension funds and lack the resources to increase the bonus/etc to encourage the moves. Possibly there should be more of an effort on the part of the communities who are experiencing disconnect with law enforcement to provide the carrots you’ve described. Good idea and your point of having “skin in the game” is spot on.

      • flypusher says:

        One of the first and strongest impressions I got from the whole Ferguson mess is that the neighborhood- police relationship reminded me in some ways of a military occupation (and this was before that totally tone deaf response with all the military surplus gear). People like Wilson weren’t from there, and didn’t have any social engagement with the people there. I speculate that the whole situation with Brown would have played out quite differently if the cop who crossed his path had had more of an investment in that community. Yes, he would have had to answer for his behavior in that convenience store at some point, but it would less likely escalate to violent and then deadly if the LEO was not so much an outsider.

        $ is often a sticking point, especially if people are thinking short term. Financial incentives will cost a lot less than prisons over the long term.

        One final point about the protesters- I’m sure that emotional venting through public demonstrations feels good, but if they really want change, they had damn well better show up at the next round of municipal elections and VOTE!

      • CaptSternn says:

        Police will spend more to get out of some areas they patrol because those are high crime areas and they want better for their kids.

        The Ferguson situation would still have had the same result anyway. You attack and then charge at a police officer, trying to take his weapon away and use it on him, and you are very likely to be shot by that officer, and rightly so. Brown brought about his own demise as so many others have.

      • flypusher says:

        “Police will spend more to get out of some areas they patrol because those are high crime areas and they want better for their kids.”

        I don’t favor dictating to police where to live. But a LEO who lives in such a neighborhood, which needs police presence the most, is going to likely be more effective than the one who just commutes in. The more effective person deserves extra compensation, especially if he/she is making a sacrifice to live there.

        “The Ferguson situation would still have had the same result anyway. You attack and then charge at a police officer, trying to take his weapon away and use it on him, and you are very likely to be shot by that officer, and rightly so. Brown brought about his own demise as so many others have.”

        Since this is simple missing the point, rather than outright bullshit, I’ll reply. The point is preventing the violence ITFP. You are looking at the end and not the beginning if the encounter. It is very rare for just one person to make a fight. Both parties had choices in terms of escalating or de-escalating the conflict. I don’t have a problem with the grand jury’s decision in this case, because there’s more than enough reasonable doubt to zap a prosecutor’s case. But I doubt that this started with Wilson politely asking those 2 guys to move to the sidewalk. An actual neighborhood cop probably opens the encounter in a way to give less cause for offense. That doesn’t guarantee a wiser choice on Brown’s part, but it does increase the chances.

      • texan5142 says:

        The so called witness who said he charged the officer was not even there and is a proven racist and lier. Get your facts straight you confederate flag waving troll.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Really, Texan? Here is your link …

        “But more than a half-dozen unnamed black witnesses have provided testimony to a St. Louis County grand jury that largely supports Wilson’s account of events of Aug. 9, according to several people familiar with the investigation who spoke with The Washington Post.”

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-evidence-supports-officers-account-of-shooting-in-ferguson/2014/10/22/cf38c7b4-5964-11e4-bd61-346aee66ba29_story.html

        So which of those witnesses are you talking about?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Not missing the point, Fly, and your idea has some merit in theory, but the reality doesn’t fit.

        What kind of person would the police officer be if he lived in a high crime area that openly disrespects and sometimes even hates the police? Two types come to mind for me.

        One would be a well meaning, honest person that cares and has empathy. He or she would always be on duty, never able to leave the job, because he or she would be in area of patrol both on and off the job. People would be constantly coming to his or her door demanding he act in an official capacity. He or she and their family would be in constant danger, the children around other kids that bully them because their father or mother is a cop. The stress of a police officer is very high as it is, so imagine never being able to turn it off, relax and raise their family in a better environment.

        The other type would be like a Drill Instructor in the military, somebody that is harsh and wanting to constantly be on everybody else’s case (only in the military it serves a purpose to beat people down, harden them and make them into soldiers, Marines or other, to prepare people to kill). The kind of person that seeks absolute authority over others all the time. The kind of person that is naturally a bully. How would that work in a neighborhood that already disrespects and despises the police?

        And how would either type of police officer fare in the current environment? Say he is the one that killed Brown in self defense, and his home is in the midst of it all, all the rioting, looting, burning and more. Their home would be burned to the ground, probably one of the first fires set. They and their family would be targeted, requiring more acts of self defense and more police to come rushing in to protect them. They would be run out of the neighborhood. That would be the case even if they were not the one to have shot Brown in self defense, like the two police officers in New York.

        There is much I am not allowed to say, but if you would know those things maybe you would take a step back and see things that would make you think differently. How can you know what is not shared? How can you have an opinion about that which you do not know? It is frustrating for me to know and then see the ignorance, the very ignorance I was once part of, and not be allowed to say anything more.

        But, then again, I was once ignorant about the constitution, founding principles, court cases and other things. I studied and learned and try to share those things, and the left simply rejects the facts and reality. So would it really make any difference at all?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…this is like the 1,348th topic about which you seem to know more than anyone else.

        Is there any way, any way at all, that maybe, just maybe, someone else possesses equivalent or even greater knowledge or insight into the topic?

        Nah, no way at all.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Is there any way, any way at all, that maybe, just maybe, someone else possesses equivalent or even greater knowledge or insight into the topic?”

        Please share your inside information with the rest of us. I am not allowed to do so. Ever hear of those reports of “anonymous” sources because they are not allowed to speak? Well, I am not allowed to speak, and I am not anonymous.

        All I can do is give hints. But feel free to post everything you know, HT. Make all that information public knowledge. Here is your stage, one I can’t take. If you get it wrong I will let you know. If you get it right, I won’t be able to say a thing.

        Step up.

      • flypusher says:

        “What kind of person would the police officer be if he lived in a high crime area that openly disrespects and sometimes even hates the police? Two types come to mind for me.”

        There’s the big flaw right there- assuming just 2 types. There’s far more variety in people (and by extension, LEOs) than that. Also, your bully example shouldn’t be a LEO anywhere- and that goes triple for economically disadvantaged, high-crime areas.

        In even the worst neighborhoods, you don’t see 100% of the population being criminals. There will always be honest citizens in the mix. Some may fear retribution from the criminal element if they are seen as cooperating with the police. Others may see the police as much of a danger to them as the criminals. Such people can potentially be won over, with time and an intelligent policy towards policing. So who do you suppose would have a better chance, the cop who is part of the neighborhood, or one who is there for 8 hours a day and then leaves?

        “How can you know what is not shared? How can you have an opinion about that which you do not know? It is frustrating for me to know and then see the ignorance, the very ignorance I was once part of, and not be allowed to say anything more.”

        OMG! SO MUCH IRONY!

        In the case of the Brown shooting, there are only 2 living people who witnessed ALL of it, up close: Darren Wilson and Dorian Johnson. Their stories don’t match up very well. For anyone who wasn’t there, which includes all of us on this blog, as well as the grand jury, we can’t know exactly everything that happened. There is no video. The forensic evidence clears up some points of dispute, but not all of them. So all anyone who wasn’t there can do is to form an OPINION, which hopefully is shaped more by evidence than personal politics. I seriously doubt that the situation escalated straight from zero (cop telling 2 kids to get off the street and onto the sidewalk) to sixty (fight that makes the cop feel threatened and therefore use deadly force) with absolutely no intermediate steps. My impression of Brown is that he was a hothead and a fool. But even hotheads seldom spontaneously pick a fight with no provocation. It’s fair game to question whether Wilson made bad choices that helped escalate the situation, whether or not the end result (the shooting) could be legally justified. I expect people who have society’s permission to use deadly force to have cool heads. I don’t KNOW whether Wilson was metaphorically flinging gasoline on the fire or not, but I think it’s a reasonable question to ask, given the history of bad relations between the police and large segments of that city’s citizens.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Your “expert opinion” here Cappy is already invalidated by the evidence. As Fly already noted, the community resident LEO program already exists but on a small scale and neither of your black and white binary either/or scenarios exist. Another deluded construct of your convoluted mind not based on reality. As a matter of fact, it exists here in Houston as I had lived for years in apartments in the “Gulfton Ghetto” and police officers were given the opportunity to live there for free in several complexes I have lived in and the police officers were a familiar and friendly sight for years and did not rotate through and live there for 6 months and leave. And neither of your doomsday scenarios existed.

        For all your histrionics about “Liberals being negative and expect the worst of human nature”, You Cappy are not surprisingly the worst offender. Poor Black and Hispanic people are for the most part law abiding, responsible, and ethical. The police officers living in my apts were neither paranoid “drill sergeants” but quite friendly and approachable, just like the other residents, nor harassed to no end and expected to be on duty call 24/7. Poor people are fair and respectful too, ya know.

        Not that you would know in your little non informed and non diverse enclave of your mind.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sternn probably also has “inside information” about the number of subversive communists working in the State Department and in Hollywood.

        Such claims would seem to be part of parcel of his rhetorical methodology, and his political heritage. At least he doesn’t have a Congressional committee to his name.

      • flypusher says:

        Texan, McCulloch really, really, really should have recused himself on this one. Another bad case of official tone deafness.

      • texan5142 says:

        He should be fired

  21. Manhattan says:

    You know lifer, you find opportunity in your findings that most people ignore. I’ve heard from both Democrats and Republicans that the black vote is lost to Republicans forever so they shouldn’t try. Like I said in a post long ago, the Republican Party lost credibility when they nominated Goldwater and the Southern Strategy hurt things. The opportunity you mentioned is a way to get credibility back if only just a little. It’s not going to undo of what has happened in the last half century with the relationship. As much as Rand Paul screwed up with outreach, at least he’s trying.

    To be fair, there are leaders in both sides (black Americans and Republicans) who don’t want to build bridges. Why? Because resentment of races brings these groups out to vote rather than building bridges. Sure, it’ll get them mad but nothing gets done and the cycle continues and we’re stuck with constant anger that only encourage writing off each other as not worth it.

    I’ve also heard some black leaders that blacks should not vote Republican at all or these is no reason despite the Democrats taking the vote for granted. I heard a statement like that from Michael Eric Dyson who spoke at my college during a fair (this happened around the 2008 primaries). With Republicans and the conservative grip on the party, I think Rod Dreher in an article titled “Conservatives and Black Folks” flat out said in the comments it’s not worth it for Republicans to reach out to blacks as much as it’s worthless for Democrats to reach out to Evangelical Christians. The comments were pretty flat out honest and bigoted. I think most of them never really had contact with blacks outside of that one black co-worker or friend they know.

    In other news, I’m not sure if the posters heard but Edward Brooke passed away recently. He was the first Black American Senator elected to the Senate since Reconstruction in the 1960’s. He was a moderate to liberal Republican, but he seemed pragmatic in his beliefs.

    I think it might also be the five year anniversary soon when Charles Mathias passed. He was the last Republican U.S Senator elected from Maryland.

    I’m a little hyped up, hope people enjoyed reading this!

  22. CaptSternn says:

    Those on and from the left keep trying to make republicans the ones that are “democrats” of old, the ones that view some people as being less than human and to be treated as nothing more than property.

    But let us take a good look again. Most democrats view some people as being less than human, to be denied their very humanity, to be treated as property and to be disposed of for convenience. That’s called abortion. It is also called “end of life counseling” to save money on health care.

    These are the people that view “minorities” as inferior, as needing help from white people, white males, to succeed. They suggest “minorities” should not have to meet test scores to be promoted or to get accepted to colleges.

    Conservatives say that all are equal, all have equal rights, all are equally capable, all are equally intelligent. Liberals say that is racist.

    Bottom line, conservatives and traditional republicans are what they have always been. Liberals, traditional democrats, are what they have always been.

    Own it.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Program-A-2c: Abortion = Slavery
      Sub-program-B3: People discussing an uneven playing field are the true racists

      • CaptSternn says:

        Program-A-2c: Humans are not human. Human beings are property. Human beings are not human beings and have no basic human rights.

        Sub-program-B3: People discussing an uneven playing field are the true racists, those that say human beings are not human beings, or those that say “minorities” are inferior.

        Those would be democrats, liberals and progressives. A.K.A. Dixiecrats.

  23. 1mime says:

    Lifer, we are getting off subject here. I’d like to re-visit this statement of yours:

    “Unions provide workers with higher incomes and job security. They impose costs not only in wages, but in inertia, making it difficult for a unionized industry to adapt to changing conditions and serve its customers. A union collectivizes power, but along the way it also collectivizes accountability, creating an inherent incentive toward mediocrity and shielding the worst actors from the consequences of their actions. It is very hard to fire a worker who is protected by a union.”

    You know what I was thinking about when I read this? Congress! The baddest union in America! Think about it. Collectivize power? Check. Creates inherent incentive for mediocrity and shields worst (actors)…from consequences of their actions? Check. Tried to oust a member of Congress these days? Felony, anyone? Check. But the best part is, imposing costs in inertia….Check.Check.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      It’s a cute comparison, but not very realistic. *Any* representative body is going to “collectivize power” — the alternatives are an untenable pure democracy, or a scary absolute dictatorship.

      Changes that *would* make Congress more responsive are A) a legal prohibition against gerrymandering (political or racial) and B) single-transferable-vote ballots to allow voters to express more complex preferences and energize third parties.

      Other alterations might also be productive, like creating smaller districts for a larger House of Representatives (scaled to the cube root of the population, rather than locked in place at 435) and allowing multi-member districts for urban areas.

  24. pbasch says:

    I think you’re right that it could be a successful wedge issue for Republicans, except for a couple of things – look at what Scott Walker, arguably the most successful anti-union politician. He did not oppose police and firefighter unions, but rather co-opted them, setting them up against other public unions. Opposing oneself to the police union is a little bit dangerous for the “vote against scary black men” party, and gives a potential card to play to Democrats.

  25. briandrush says:

    “the failure to provide a decent public education to poor and minority communities. Both problems have the same root cause – unions that shield their members from accountability.”

    Going to disagree with you here, Chris. The biggest reason why poor and minority communities can’t get a decent public education stems from the fact that we fund public education on a community basis in most states. Poor communities don’t have a lot of money, resulting in poorly-funded schools. Statewide funding on an equal per-capita basis would solve that part of the problem, but meets resistance from residents in richer communities who don’t want to pay higher taxes to fund education for other people’s kids.

    There are also problems in poor communities arising from the consequences of poverty for families: more drugs, poorer health, less emphasis statistically on the importance of education. Those problems will be harder to solve.

    CaptStern: “Dixiecrats were part of the Democratic Party, and all but three stayed with the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is still the party of the Dixiecrats.”

    Bullshit. If the Democratic Party were still the party of the Dixiecrats, they would still win the South consistently. Instead, they consistently lose it. You’re so obviously wrong it’s pathetic.

    “What states had slavery as illegal before Lincoln? None. Zero.”

    Wrong. Every state north of the Ohio River and the Mason-Dixon line had abolished slavery by 1840. Where do you get this crap? Do you think nobody is going to check you?

    “Then again, you have said you will not support the party of Lincoln at the federal level”

    No, he hasn’t. He’s said, correctly, that the party of Lincoln doesn’t EXIST at the federal level. Hell, if it did, I’d support it myself. The problem today is that the GOP is NOT the party of Lincoln anymore.

    “And some here from the left dare to call me a troll.”

    Yep. And not just from the left, either. All that’s necessary is to read your posts and have a working brain.

    • goplifer says:

      Brian,

      It’s a common misconception that big urban school districts lack money. It is simply not true. Our big cities are where America generates the overwhelming bulk of its wealth and that fact is reflected in taxes collected there. The districts that suffer most from the localization of tax collection are in rural areas.

      Chicago, for example, spends more per pupil than the state average and more than many of the elite suburban school districts. New York City’s spending is through the roof. Look carefully at the numbers and you see a difference in spending related to instruction.

      http://illinoisreportcard.com/District.aspx?districtID=15016299025

      http://illinoisreportcard.com/District.aspx?DistrictID=19022203026

      Spending gaps are a problem, but that problem is not affecting places like New York and Chicago or most of the country’s biggest (and most prosperous) urban districts.

      • 1mime says:

        Having deep experience as a public education activist (including serving as an elected member of a school board), I can tell you the problems of educating minorities are not as simple as generous funding. Adequate funding is imperative, as are smaller class sizes, experienced teachers and parental involvement. (In many school districts, the least experienced teachers are assigned to the most challenging educational groups in cultures with which they have zero knowledge. Likewise, poor neighborhoods cannot raise local funds to compensate for inadequate school supplies, etc.) Typical middle class, white families have the means to live in “good” school districts. They have more time to be involved in their childrens’ schools and activities. Few poor black and hispanic families have these options. There are exceptions and these children do have a greater chance at success than their peer group. But, to understand the problems of inner city schools (or public schools generally), requires more than a slide rule.

        A Boeing representative addressed a seminar I attended and spoke about their decision to find innovative ways to improve the quality of education in the communities/cities where they had a presence. They dedeuced, after some creative thinking, that the key to most children’s success was parental involvement, more so than money (although they, too, recognized that poor, minority students needed adequate resources, smaller classes, and excellent teachers). They simply had to figure out how to get these parents to their childrens’ schools. Their solution: put a free laundromat in the school with the stipulation that while laundry was being done, the parents (?) would attend literacy classes with the opportunity to work towards a GED. It was a success. It was a beginning.

        Then there was the Committee for Economic Development (CED) formed in the 90s by fortune 500 leaders at the behest of Congress to use their collective wisdom to figure out how to better educate children who were graduating with insufficient educational skills to meet workplace demands. They began their study at the high school level and quickly determined this was too late for intervention. They moved down through the grade levels until they finally got to pre-school and early home parental training. The conclusion of this worthy effort was that the children who have the greatest chance of academic success are those who come from stable socio-economic backgrounds. In other words, their success begins in the “womb”.

        I share these two stories for a reason. It is hard, really hard to compensate for the broken homes and social situations many children live in. It should be an American imperative not a political opportunity to make the changes necessary to help break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy that exists for far too many children. If you really want to learn more about how to help black and other minority children, do so by seeing for yourself. Volunteer in a public school that serves disadvantaged children. A great movie (based on true story) that illustrates this point is: “Freedom Writers”, starring Hillary Swank. It tells it like it is. It’s not Lincoln, it’s not a GOP or Democratic issue. It’s about America’s kids. Kids who need our help for the right reasons, not for political opportunism.

    • CaptSternn says:

      “If the Democratic Party were still the party of the Dixiecrats, they would still win the South consistently. Instead, they consistently lose it. You’re so obviously wrong it’s pathetic.”

      Name the Dixiecrats that switched parties against those that didn’t.

      The South has seen the error of the Dixiecrats and moved beyond the racist views, the democrats have not. Witness the party that still views “minorities” as inferior, needing set-asides, affirmative action and lower standards.

      We have gotten over Reconstruction to the point that we will elect republicans rather than giving control to democrats by default. We are many generations removed from Reconstruction and the Jim Crowe laws democrats brought us, from the racism of the North and democrats.

      We do not view “minorities” as inferior, but expect and believe that all are equal and equally capable.

      • briandrush says:

        “Name the Dixiecrats that switched parties against those that didn’t.”

        That is, of course, a trick question, since the Dixiecrat party only existed for a few years. If we extend the timeline so that Dixiecrats who returned to the Democratic Party and THEN became Republicans count, the answer is that almost all of them switched, and the few who didn’t, died.

        “The South has seen the error of the Dixiecrats and moved beyond the racist views”

        Oh, really? Evidence for this?

        While we’re at it, there is a shift in party allegiance by region that covers the entire country, except for the mountain states,and not just the South. The Democrats used to routinely win the South, and just as routinely lose the Northeast, upper Midwest, and West Coast. Now, where they used to win, they lose — and where they used to lose, they win. No change in the South can account for this. Are you prepared to say that while the South has “moved beyond the racist views,” the rest of the country has gone retrograde?

        No. There’s only one possible explanation for this. The policy positions that used to win those regions for the Republicans while losing the South, are now taken by the Democrats. And your assertion that the Dems are still the racist party they used to be is pure, flat-out bullshit. Nothing more. Nothing less.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Oh, really? Evidence for this?”

        Election results.

        Yes, the democrats are still the party of racists and had the KKK member as a party of congress, still see “minorities” as inferior. They are the Dixiecrats.

        Generations later, the South has moved beyond that. The left, the democrats, have not.

        The North has always been much more racist, and they vote for democrats now. They have moved beyond voting republican by default and started voting for the racists.

        It is what it is. And Lifer exemplifies those racist views, especially with this latest entry.

        Those of us that say all are equal and equally capable, equally intelligent, are called racists.

        Those that say that people with darker skin or female are less intelligent and less capable, inferior, claim that they are not racists.

        Go figure.

      • briandrush says:

        “The north has always been more racist.”

        You’re missing the point, perhaps on purpose. We’re not talking about anything the north has “always” done, but about something they used to do and no longer do: vote Republican.

        To repeat:

        The Northeast, the upper Midwest, and the West Coast were reliably Republican for many decades. Today, they’re reliably Democratic.

        The Southern states were reliably Democratic for many decades. Today, they’re reliably Republican.

        Now. You’re saying that the Democrats lost the South because the South ceased to be racist.

        Are you also saying that the North and West became racist at the same time?

        You can’t be saying that these regions have “always” been racist, because if they had been, they’d also always have been Democratic, and they haven’t.

        Fact is, you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about, and it’s quite obvious.

        Fact is, the Democrats lost the south not because the south ceased to be racist, but because the Democrats did. It started in FDR’s time, mostly because of the crusading by his wife. It accelerated when Truman integrated the armed forces. It reached critical mass when LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act.

        Fact is, the Republicans gained the South not because the South changed, but because the GOP did. And that’s also why they lost most of the rest of the country.

        Oh — and by the way, are you going to own up to your stupid mistake from earlier, when you said that none of the states outlawed slavery before Lincoln?

      • CaptSternn says:

        “If we extend the timeline so that Dixiecrats who returned to the Democratic Party and THEN became Republicans count, the answer is that almost all of them switched, and the few who didn’t, died.”

        And to that point, only three switched. Some 20 or so stayed. Yes, they died off, and that’s why the new generations rejected the racists and decided to elect republicans in spite of Reconstruction.

        You pretty much made my point. Thanks.

      • briandrush says:

        Well, no, I didn’t make your point. What I did was to show that you’re being a deceptive, disingenuous troll. Otherwise you wouldn’t have used the word “Dixiecrat” at all.

        The list of Democrats from the South who switched parties during and after the 1960s is very long and includes almost all of them. Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms — actually, just look at this:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_switching_in_the_United_States#Democratic_to_Republican

        Starting in the 1960s, you’ll find a long, long list of Democrats who became Republicans, and most of those are from the South. (There are a few exceptions, including Ronald Reagan, but most of them are Southern.)

        The Dixiecrat Party is totally unimportant in U.S. history. It participated in exactly one election, 1948, and didn’t make any difference even there (Truman won despite them). All of the members of it eventually became Republicans, unless they died within a decade of the party’s demise.

        The only reason why you bring it up at all, is because it can be used to present a deceptive, dishonest impression of Southern loyalty to the Democrats after 1964. In other words, you did it in order to lie.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Otherwise you wouldn’t have used the word “Dixiecrat” at all.”

        I used it because Lifer used it. Talk to him about it.

        And no, they didn’t switch parties. You named three out of 20 or so.

        FYI, they are part of the Democrat National Convention and the GOP establishment, what the tea party movement stands against. Those Dixiecrats that stand against the tea party movement.

        Now we know where you stand, with the Dixiecrats.

      • briandrush says:

        Follow the link I presented earlier. The list of Southern politicians who switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party is dozens long, not just “two or three.”

        “Those Dixiecrats that stand against the tea party movement.”

        All Dixiecrats were either Republicans or dead long before there was a tea party movement, so there are no Dixiecrats who are against it or ever were.

        Continue to deny the obvious reality that the parties have switched ideologies and regional dominance as you will. It only makes you look like either an idiot or a liar. I’m not going to guess which. Either will serve.

      • goplifer says:

        Brian, welcome to the forum. You may find it difficult and perhaps a bit maddening to engage with someone who is bringing their own private reality to the argument. It might not prove to be the best investment of energy.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Or maybe you are just being a troll. Your call.

      • flypusher says:

        Welcome Brian,

        You’re arguing with someone who once was quite willing to make a total fool of himself by insisting that Harris county was actually Galveston Bay rather than admit that he had made an error in reading a map. He constantly paints himself into corners and keeps painting. While I will make resolutions whenever the need arises, and not necessarily by the calendar, in the spirit of the time, I think a resolution to not waste so much time with bullshit is appropriate here. You’ll find that there are plenty of people here, with a variety of political views, who will engage you in intelligent, adult conversation. The few idiots will be obvious.

        On the topic of unions, I still see a place and a need for them, especially in light of the growing wealth gap. It’s in large numbers that the little guy has much hope of having any political / economic power. But I think one of the ways that unions lost their way badly is in protecting the bad apples in their ranks.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Brianbush welcome to the ‘Echo Chamber kisses Chris’ Ass’ forum. You will always be defended AND supported regardless if you bring no facts to the table just as long as your lips are firmly planted on Chris’ butt. Even though his assertions are outright lies or half truths.

        DiBlassio allowed protesters to march without following the laws/permits for such things.

        DiBlassio took as an adviser by the name of Al Sharpton and gave him cred while Al went about fueling the fire or cop hating. Then two cops gets murdered. I stand with the cops. Liberals stand with the racists.

        Chris stated some congressman made a speech at an event 12 years ago that is very loosely related to David Duke but Obama sits under the teachings of the overt racist and anti semite rev. wright for 20 years, but that is okay to you liberals.

        Democratic policies are full of indirect admissions of minorities not having the same ability to achieve against whites. There is no doubt or discussion, liberals are so racist it is incredible.

        Chris, you really jumped the shark with this crap.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Welcome, Brian.

        In case you haven’t realized it yet, Sternn and kabuzz are the blog’s resident trolls: relentlessly arguing against the real world in favor of their own delusions; and growing like mushrooms in the dark upon their own feces-laced fantasies and upon the attention paid them by outraged newcomers like yourself (and those of us who get too frustrated to ignore them the way they so obviously deserve).

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes buzzy, only in hypocritical wingnut world that rational polite and DIFFERING discourse and debate is characterized as “ass kissing” because you disagree with just about everyone except your fellow delusional Looney Tune.

        And you have the chutzpah to cast aspersions that *I* am the bombthrower?

        Okaaaaaay.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        That comment my temperence challenged Bubbu is just not true. If you would, but won’t of course, look back at mulitple comments where I say, “mostly true’, Good post except, or ‘you almost had it’ to ‘complete BS’. You see, I don’t agree with someone just because I need his ‘favor’. I agree when I agree and partially agree when that is due and totally disagree when that is needed. You, are a master butt kisser. “Great post Chris”. “Well thought out”. That is why I call you guys the echo chamber. You go out of your way to NOT disagree with Chris. Like you are afraid to lose your ‘friends’.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Continue to live in your insular deluded world of hate, buzzy. If you can’t accept people disagreeing civilly, well that’s YOUR problem. And you seem to have quite a few of them under that too tight hoodie of yours.

  26. CaptSternn says:

    Dude, seriously? There is so much ignorance, prejudice and racism in this entry that, well …

    Where to start? Dixiecrats were part of the Democratic Party, and all but three stayed with the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is still the party of the Dixiecrats.

    If you say the Republican Party is a regional party, that make the Dixiecrat Party, the Democratic Party, a regional party.

    You compare a teacher’s union with a police union? Really? How about police officers cleared of shootings that are not members of any union? The Furgeson shooting was justified, just as were many other shootings. There have been uses of force that were not justified, and the officers were fired and prosecuted and even found guilty, union and non-union.

    Where are the teachers attacked and act in self defense that are cleared of shooting their students? More like teachers are held responsible for the failures of others, failures of the students, failures of the parents, failures of the administration. Maybe you should talk to some teachers, maybe you should talk to some police officers.

    Then again, maybe you do have a point, teachers and police are blamed for the failure of others.

    And what of those “communities”? What communities? People of different skin colors living in urban or suburban neighborhoods? Law abiding, middle-class communities that are the same across the board but generally not the same color of skin or ethnic backgrounds?

    Republicans do not now control congress. That is still a few days away. Republicans will soon control congress.

    There is no mandatory unionization of public employees in all laces, just as there is no mandatory unionization of private employees. Only if you listen to the left, there is no such thing as private employees.

    What states had slavery as illegal before Lincoln? None. Zero. Slavery was legal in every state and territory just as abortion is now legal in every state and territory.

    Then again, you have said you will not support the party of Lincoln at the federal level, you are not a GOPLifer. You would rather support the party and beliefs of Robert Byrd, Orval Fabus, Benjamin Travis Laney, John Stennis, James Eastland, Allen Ellender, Russell Long, John Sparkman, John McClellan, Richard Russell, Herman Talmadge, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, John Rarick, Al Gore, Sr. and Bull Connor.

    And some here from the left dare to call me a troll.

    • 1mime says:

      Capt, Ever hear of a place called Jasper, TX? Bad place to be black, even today. And, I can’t think of anyone who would call Texas a Democratic state these days. Then there’s Mississippi…..better be real careful there if you’re black. And, lest we overlook the land of sunshine (unless you’re black), there’s Florida. That’s three, and I haven’t even mentioned Louisiana or Alabama. Why did so many blacks leave the south for Chicago and Baltimore when they could? If one studies history, the North didn’t necessarily open their arms to this influx of black Americans, but, there they landed for better or for worse. One thing was for certain: they weren’t going back where they came from.

      One last point. Can anyone imagine Thurmond leading our country instead of Truman?

    • CaptSternn says:

      Yep, been through Jasper and other places. Ever hear of a place called Houston, Texas? It is part of East Texas.

      As being part American Indian I have seen reservations. Have you? Food distribution points? Really?

      How are things going with police officers right now? Especially if the police officer is white? Oh, wait, he or she doesn’t even have to be white, even Hispanic and black police officers are on the receiving end.

      One last point, the Dixiecrats were and are Democrats. Own it.

      • 1mime says:

        Yep, yep, yep, and yep. This much I will say about our police officers: police oppression of minorities does happen and if the police union refuses to deal with this, we all lose. The color of one’s skin shouldn’t pre-determine police response. There is a problem but I hope there is leadership within law enforcement to bring about change.

        I’m not going to dignify your paranoia on Dixiecrat with a response.

      • CaptSternn says:

        There is no paranoia on Dixiecrats from me. I reject them and their ways, which is why I might vote for third party candidates, but I won’t vote for any democrats.

        The color of a person’s skin doesn’t “predetermine” the police response. Attacking and trying to kill a police officer is not a wise thing to do no matter what color of skin either side has.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Where Sternn isn’t simply ignorant, then he’s actively lying.

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