Mojo - October 2007

Clinton vs. Bush on Terrorism; Also, Kucinich Sees an Alien

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 11:12 AM EDT

The War Room is really humming today. Via them, here's how George Bush and Hillary Clinton recently chose to deconstruct and explain terrorism. Bush:

"We're at war with coldblooded killers who despise freedom, reject tolerance, and kill the innocent in pursuit of their political vision ... And one of the real challenges we face is, will we have confidence in the liberty to be transformative? Will we lose faith in the universality of liberty? Will we ignore history and not realize that liberty has got the capacity to yield the peace we want? So this administration, along with many in our military, will continue to spread the hope of liberty, in order to defeat the ideology of darkness, the ideology of the terrorists -- and work to secure a future of peace for generations to come. That's our call."

And here's Clinton, asked by Michael Tomasky whether terrorists "hate us for our freedoms" or if they have "specific geopolitical objectives":

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Hilarious Poll Numbers Show Republicans Are Screwed

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 11:06 AM EDT

Tim Grieve over at Salon got his hands on a great poll and mined it for all it's worth. I can't really add much to this:

41: Percentage of Americans who, when asked to name a Republican running for president, couldn't.
Eighty-one percent of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center could name at least one Democrat running for president. And if you need one more sign that the Republicans are just a little obsessed with Hillary Clinton, here you go: When asked to name a Democratic candidate, 78 percent of Republicans named Clinton, but only 57 percent of Republicans could name their own front-runner, Rudy Giuliani.
Overall, 62 percent of Americans could volunteer the name of Barack Obama. Twenty-eight percent remembered that John Edwards is running, but no other Democrat cracked the double-digit barrier.
Asked to name any GOP candidates in the race, 45 percent of Americans named Giuliani; 30 percent said Mitt Romney; 27 percent I.D.'d Fred Thompson; and 24 percent mentioned John McCain. Only eight percent of Americans volunteered the name of Mike Huckabee. Seven percent did the same for Ron Paul.

J.C. Watts Warns of GOP Catastrophe Amongst African-Americans

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 10:16 AM EDT

watts.jpg One of America's three or four prominent black Republicans, J.C. Watts, has a column today about the Republican Party's refusal to reach out to black voters. While I agree with most everything Watts says here, it doesn't appear that Watts is advocating a party platform friendly to minority rights—he doesn't argue for affirmative action, hate crimes laws, increased numbers of minorities in high-level party positions, or anything else. He just wants a little of the presidential candidates' pandering to be thrown the way of the African-American community. After explaining that John McCain pandered to the religious right and Rudy Giuliani pandered to the NRA, Watts writes:

For longer than I've been involved in the political process, the Republican establishment has claimed to want to provide an alternative for the black community, yet party elite refuse to show up for the game.
The more I ponder some of the boneheaded decisions GOP candidates have made of late, I can't bring myself to believe that they are serious about capturing more than about 8 percent of the black vote.
I have often said one of the reasons more blacks don't support Republicans is because they don't trust the GOP establishment. I can, without fear of contradiction, assure you the Conventional Wisdom Caucus and the Status Quo Caucus and the same-old-tired-establishment consultants are running the GOP front-runners' campaigns -- and aiming to get no more than 1/12th of the black vote.
As evidence, I point to Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, who was the only Republican presidential candidate to speak at the Urban League convention in July, and the fact that none of the Big Four GOP candidates showed up at Morgan State University (a historically black college) for a candidate forum hosted by National Public Radio commentator Tavis Smiley. Hmmm.
I'm perplexed by these actions because candidates say one thing about inclusion and outreach but they do another. How can you do outreach and not reach out? Not showing up for these events was a grievous and inexplicable error.

But the most damning thing Watts points out is this: "Once in the general election, and safely out of the cloistered world of Republican primary politics, our nominee will want to trot out black faces -- usually black Republicans -- to try to win the black vote. This is insulting when you consider he likely didn't show up at events that were established to reach out to the black community. "

Giuliani Says Innocent Until Proven Guilty - Keeps Accused Priest As Consultant

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 9:53 AM EDT

Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, despite some protests from the community, is retaining his longtime friend, Monsignor Alan Placa, as a consultant for his 2008 campaign. Placa, who officiated at Giuliana's second wedding, has been accused of sexually abusing two former students and an altar boy. He has been told by the church to discontinue performing his duties as a priest.

One of the people objecting to Giuliani's decision, an alleged victim of Placa's, says that Place abused him repeatedly in 1975 when he was a student at a boys' school on Long Island.

The candidate said of Placa: "I know the man; I know who he is, so I support him. We give some of the worst people in our society the presumption of innocence and benefit of the doubt. And, of course, I'm going to give that to one of my closest friends."

Noose Nuisance

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 7:29 AM EDT

tupac.jpg

So now a noose around a Tupac Shakur statue. Yawn.

Where's that Yankee exceptionalism and entrepreneurial spirit y'all believe exists only in you? Get fresh, white people 'cuz we're starting to suspect that this tired act is pure attention getting. I got five bucks that says these geniuses have black friends and listen to hip hop. And Tupac Shakur?

Exactly which Negroes do you think will get fired up about that; most my age will harrumph, "That boy with the head scarf on and all them tattoos, so called 'rapping' 'bout nothin' but bitches and hoes? Well, they shouldn't a done it but that boy shoulda pulled his pants up on his behind." Y'all don't even know how to strike fear in our hearts anymore, the kind that made us abandon entire regions and neighborhoods in our own hometowns after dark. How sad when the Great White Man, flailing in his growing impotence, finds a way to make blacks put the noose in perspective: Noose, defending hip hop? Noose. Hip hop. Hmmm. What else is in the paper today? There's a reason why I'm only receiving outraged emails from sites like Thug Life Army and Allhiphop.com. My, how the mighty have fallen.

The only fun we get to have with morons like this is picturing these knuckle-draggers (it takes at least four such simians to work up the courage of an actual human) hitting wikipedia to figure out how to get a noose right. Dude. Was it over then under, or, like, around?

The statue was on the site of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center For the Arts. The Arts. How about taking the time to remix Don Imus's comments with this guy's and set up a few speakers? What are you—lazy? Not too bright?

Or maybe just pointless, too lame to leverage the only thing you had going for you—skin privilege—into the windfall that it still is. If only you weren't so lazy and stupid. Ah, oh yeah: cowards.

First Minority Governor in Louisiana Knows How to Play by the Rules

| Tue Oct. 23, 2007 9:22 PM EDT

Bobby Jindal, a "son of Indian immigrants," made history as the first non-white governor of Louisiana since Reconstruction and the first ever Indian American governor. Throughout his campaign, though, Jindal downplayed his ethnicity.

This is common practice among minority politicians, claiming that their ethnicity is not really an issue—that hard work will get you anywhere in America, regardless of race, gender, education, and income— as they tell their parents' immigration story in the same breath. Jindal's victory speech reminded Louisiana citizens that his parents came to this country to pursue the American Dream. He added, "My parents have seen what I have seen, that in America and specifically in Louisiana -- the only barrier to success is your willingness to work hard and play by the rules."

Those rules apparently mean appealing to the conservative, Christian, and white voting base in Louisiana. Jindal supports "intelligent design" over evolution in public school education, is anti-abortion, and is looking to revoke hate crime laws.

While it is hard to deny the significance of Jindal's victory as a non-white in a state known for its contentious racial politics, it is less so considering his views pander to the conservative voting bloc.

—Neha Inamdar

Advertise on MotherJones.com

The End of the Infinite Internet?

| Tue Oct. 23, 2007 5:30 PM EDT

Everyone's favorite cable monopoly has been caught dabbling in some interesting political waters of late. Last week, the Federation of American Scientists, a group of scientists, engineers, and other technical professionals who research and comment on national policy issues, published a company handbook revealing that for the bargain price of $1,000, Comcast would happily intercept any and all of its customers' communications that the government requests through FISA.

Hillary: "Pay Attention To Your Hair"

| Tue Oct. 23, 2007 5:23 PM EDT

Bill-Hillary-1970-New-Hav.jpg

So I was walking past "Blow," a new salon in the MoJo hood, when I spotted this quote, attributed to Hillary Clinton, taped on the door:

I have to say that in all the years since I've been at Yale, the most important thing that I have to say today-is that hair matters. This is a life lesson my family did not teach me, Wellesley and Yale failed to instill on me: the importance of your hair. Your hair will send very important messages to those around you. It will tell people who you are and what you stand for. What hopes and dreams you have for the world…and especially what hopes and dreams you have for your hair. Likewise, your shoes. But really, more your hair. So, to sum up. Pay attention to your hair. Because everyone else will.

And I thought: That can't be real. But it is.

This isn't meant to be a slight on Hillary, btw. More just a sad commentary on the state of politics in America. More on how Hillary is judged on her looks here.

Mitt Romney is Fictionally Handsome

| Tue Oct. 23, 2007 2:55 PM EDT

Re-reading Sridhar Pappu's 2005 article on Mitt Romney ("The Holy Cow Candidate"), I'm reminded of some similarities...

romney_and_superheroes.jpg

Thankfully, that only took me two and a half hours to create.

Superdome Redux, San Diego Style

| Tue Oct. 23, 2007 1:16 PM EDT

qualcomm.jpg

As you've likely heard, wildfires are shellacking San Diego. More than 150,000 acres have burned, 1,200 homes have been destroyed, and 300,000 people have been evacuated. And while the devastation is tremendous, the loss of life thus far has thankfully been only one, and those without homes, are, well, doing alright.

Last night more than 10,000 of the home-less bedded down in Qualcomm stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers (football).

Yep, professional sports stadiums are worth those taxpayer dollars in an emergency pinch, but unlike those who braved the Superdome during and after Katrina, the atmosphere at Qualcomm is, dare I say it, festive. As Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger put it in his news conference earlier today: "The people are happy. They have everything here."

It is southern California after all—those forced to flee include Mel Gibson, Kelsey Grammer, and Victoria Principal—so should we be surprised to learn that last night bands played, gourmet food was served, and massage therapists were on-hand to assist the tanned and tattered refugees?

Now, I've been an evacuee myself, during the Oakland Hills fire in 1991 that flew through Oakland and Berkeley destroying nearly 3,000 homes and killing 25. It's scary, and downright devastating for those who lose everything. I mean not to minimize their suffering, it's just interesting to see the contrast of rock and roll playing and bellies full, with the squalor endured in a less well-heeled community when the going was just as rough.