Do I love this exchange? You bet I do! General Odierno seems to be kind of fed up with this clown who inherited his seat in the House of Representatives when his father retired. (By the way, this apple, like the Senator Paul apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.  Congressman Hunter’s father wasn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier either.) 



If you have an interest in divergent thought process, otherwise generally known as “another way of looking at it”, you will love the website and videos produced by the The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). The resident genius and my learned colleague on this blog, the enlightened Barry, linked to their website some time back.

Since then I and a few of my friends have delighted in discussions regarding their insights.

Their work puts a spotlight on the answer, “We’ve always done it this way. That’s why we are so wonderful.” – and prompts a new question – “Can it be better done differently?”

 Most of my friends and others who access this blog are people whom I like to think are “out of the box” thinkers and Flat Earth Economics proponents. If I am correct, you and they will enjoy this website. The link explaining their raison d’être is here:

 To go directly to their outstanding videos on current subjects of interest, you can go directly to :



Black Turnout, GOP Denial Both High


Did black turnout exceed white turnout for the first time in history, as the Associated Press reported over the weekend, simply because a black guy was on the ballot? Look, there’s no denying Barack Obama’s presence at the top of the ticket made a substantial difference. But Obama wasn’t the only factor driving this, and I invite conservatives to deceive themselves into thinking that this is the case. Because for all this talk about a “new” GOP out to steal minorities’ hearts, the (usually white) people doing the talking seem to forget that today’s Republican Party is doing more to stop black people from voting than George Wallace ever did.

A voter marks her ballot at the Bowen Center in Pontiac, Michigan, August 7, 2012. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

First, let’s look over the AP findings. It’s pretty amusing, really, because this is one of those cases where the interpretation and implied lesson depends wholly on who’s writing it up. At HuffPo, the headline read “Black Voter Turnout Rate Passes Whites in 2012 Election,” which is pretty neutral and straightforward, but if anything I suppose is designed to make your average HuffPo reader think: good.

Whereas at The Daily Caller, the head was “Report: 2004 turnout numbers would have elected Romney,” which of course was designed (whether intentionally or not) to make your average Caller reader resent the march of time and its ineluctable effects on the body politic. There is also the implication in Caller-style packaging that Republicans don’t need the brown people. Just nominate someone who can crank up the “white community,” and problems solved. We’ll be hearing more, I suspect, from that faction as the months and years propel us toward 2016.

In any case. African-American turnout, the AP reported, was just slightly higher than white turnout. Now I wouldn’t deny that Obama had a lot to do with this. That’s just the way it works. Ethnic or racial groups who don’t normally have a chance to vote for one of their own for president tend to come out in pretty big numbers—Greeks in 1988, for example. So there’s basic pride. Additionally, there can be no serious question that African-Americans watched the Republicans’ barely sane thrusts and parries against Obama, the birtherism and the Kenyan socialist meme and all the rest, and thought, “What a bunch of racist loons,” thus resolving even more deeply to get to the polls.

But this went well beyond Obama. How to explain the story of the elderly African-American man in Florida, which made the rounds right after the election, who stood in line until 1 a.m., I think it was, to cast his vote? In other words, it was well after Obama had been declared the victor. He wasn’t voting just for Obama (assuming he did). He was likely also voting to say stuff it to Rick Scott and the rest of the state’s GOP, which tried to pass an incredibly regressive voting law that a federal judge threw out.

The Republican Party is thus more officially racist than it was in Nixon’s day.

We are in agreement in our collective memory that Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy, to win the white votes of the South by playing to the collective majority animosity toward blacks, was a shameful thing. Only Nixon, we think. The thug. Then, of course, at the local level, we have had what might be called the Intimidation Strategy, the anonymous handbills and fliers distributed in black and brown neighborhoods telling people they couldn’t vote if they hadn’t paid their electric bill or all their back parking tickets.

But the Southern Strategy and the Intimidation Strategy were nothing compared with what the Republican Party is doing today. Today’s effort to keep African-Americans, and to a considerable extent Latinos, from voting is not regional and subterranean; it is national, and it is official, with the weight of governors and legislators from across the country behind it. Lest you think this is going away, that 2012 represented some kind of crest, I am here to tell you that you are woefully incorrect. Ari Berman of The Nation tracks these things more closely than any other journalist I know of. Here is Berman’s list, as of a month ago, of voter-suppression laws being pushed around the country:

• Mandating a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot: Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Washington, Wyoming

• Restricting vote-registration drives: Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, Virginia

• Banning Election Day voter registration: California, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska

• Requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote: Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia

• Purging the voter rolls: Colorado, Indiana, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia

• Reducing early voting: Arizona, Indiana, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin

• Disenfranchising ex-felons: Virginia

Do Republicans really think black and brown (but especially black) people just won’t notice all this? I suppose they must. They think that people won’t see what’s right in front of their nose. And of course, Republicans don’t actually talk to black people—well, they talk to black Republicans, but that is sort of like evangelicals talking to Jews for Jesus and thinking they’ve gauged Jewish opinion—so they have no way of knowing how disingenuous they look.

The Republican Party is thus more officially racist than it was in Nixon’s day. Back then, at least they had Jackie Robinson and Sammy Davis Jr. And at least, back then, the Republican Party did these things in code and not via the law. It was not so brazen as to think it could on the one hand be waging efforts in half the states to keep black people from voting and on the other be improving its “outreach.” The black vote will dip a bit when Obama retires, but as long as Republicans insist on these tactics, they will be doing more than they know to keep turnout high and keep hope alive.

Has the world gone to hell in a hand basket or has the world finally woken from ignorant slumber? Where do you stand on this issue: Inside N.B.A. and Out, Words of Support (Mostly) for Collins The public response Monday to Jason Collins’s announcement that he was gay was overwhelmingly supportive, at least among other professional athletes.

ImageThe public response Monday to Jason Collins’s announcement that he was gay was overwhelmingly supportive, at least among other professional athletes.

Collins’s essay, in which he came out as the first player in a major American sports league while still pursuing his career, was published online by Sports Illustrated on Monday morning. It precipitated an outpouring of supportive comments on social media sites by his fellow N.B.A. players, former professional athletes and President Obama, among countless others.

“Congratulations to Jason — society couldn’t hope for a more eloquent & positive role model,” read a message on Twitter by John Amaechi, who in 2007 became the first former N.B.A. player to talk speak publicly about his homosexuality.

Current players posting in support of Collins included Tony Parker of San Antonio, Steve Nash of the Los Angeles Lakers and Knicks guard Jason Kidd, Collins’s former teammate when both played for the Nets.

The Lakers star Kobe Bryant wrote: “Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others.” He added the hashtags “courage” and “support.”

There has been much debate about how such an announcement would be received on the professional sports landscape, and it remains to be seen how Collins, 34, will be treated when he steps on the court for the first time since coming out. He will be a free agent on July 1 but plans to pursue a new contract.

Bryant’s Twitter message was reposted more than 20,000 times in the hour after his post, with some reminding him that he once sparked a controversy, and received a $100,000 fine, for directing an antigay slur at a referee who had called him for a technical foul. Since that incident, Bryant has voiced his support for the gay community.

Outside the N.B.A., encouragement was posted to Twitter by President Obama and Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Martina Navratilova, Spike Lee, Michael Strahan and others.

Michelle Obama wrote on Twitter: “So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back! —mo”

The White House’s Twitter feed said: “President Obama called Jason Collins this afternoon to express his support and said he was impressed by his courage,” adding the hashtag “equality.”

Athletes from other sports also took to Twitter to support Collins, including the retired tennis star Andy Roddick and the Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders. Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo, two N.F.L. players who have openly supported gay issues, sent messages of support.

Robbie Rogers, the American soccer player who recently came out as gay, posted, “I feel a movement coming.”

Collins started the day with fewer than 4,000 followers. By Monday night, he had more than 60,000.

In contrast to that widespread support, the ESPN reporter Chris Broussard drew criticism for comments he made calling homosexuality “a sin” on the network’s “Outside the Lines” program.

Broussard took issue with Collins’s description of himself as a Christian because he was “openly living in unrepentant sin.”

He added: “I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize him as a Christian.”

David Scott, a spokesman for ESPN, declined to comment about Broussard’s statements., like other sports Web sites, received an unusually high number of reader comments on stories about Collins’s announcement. On, many of the comments were strongly critical of Collins; some included gay slurs.

“We are monitoring as always with our standard approach,” Scott said. “We don’t pre-moderate, but we are reviewing comments, flagging those that cross the line and handling according to our policies.”

Chris Stone, the managing editor of Sports Illustrated, said that the magazine had prepared for inflammatory comments to be posted on its Web site as soon as Collins’s essay was published.

“We’ve been pretty careful about curating the comments on our site because it did get a little bit out of hand pretty quickly,” Stone said.

But he added that the comments had been positive over all.

“When I look at the general response, I see a message of overwhelming support and admiration,” he said. “What it tells me is that maybe we’re more ready for this than we might realize.”

One of the few negative public comments from a pro athlete came from Mike Wallace, a Miami Dolphins wide receiver, who wrote on Twitter, “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys.”

Wallace followed with one saying that he was not bashing anyone but that he did not understand homosexuality. He ultimately deleted both messages and postedanother clarification in which he apologized for offending people.

The rare negative reaction among N.B.A. players came from David West of the Indiana Pacers, who took issue with Collins’s introducing his race as part of the story. He chose to not elaborate when pressed by his followers.

One of the strongest messages of support among active N.B.A. players came from Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets, who wrote: “Wow this is amazing all smiles. So so happy Jason Collins came out & announce he was openly gay all support over here.”

Jerry Stackhouse, a guard for the Nets who is a former teammate of Collins’s, said Collins had told him that “I’m probably about to become one of the most popular or unpopular guys in the next few days.”

“He’s definitely become popular,” Stackhouse said.


Zach Shonbrun contributed reporting.