Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Reasonable Language of the War on Women

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="900.0"]  Scott Walker  Scott Walker [/caption]


If it's Wednesday, someone thinking about running for the Republican nomination for president just said something dumb:

Potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said in an interview on Friday that mandatory ultrasounds for women hoping to get an abortion was "just a cool thing."

During the interview with conservative radio host Dana Loesch, Walker defended a bill he’d signed in 2013 that required women get the ultrasounds.

“The thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea,” Walker said. “Most people I talk to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who’ll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons who are 19 and 20, and we still have their first ultrasounds. It’s just a cool thing out there.”

Walker sounds so reasonable and that's how you know when someone wants to take rights away from women. It's as if he's living in a state divorced from reality.  It's as if he doesn't have a single competent adviser who can help him steer clear of giving away too much when it comes to taking away a woman's right to choose. When he defends the creation of a law that intrudes on the liberty of others and forces doctors to perform an unnecessary and invasive test procedure, he doesn't seem to understand that he's violating every tenet of conservatism:

“We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information, that more people if they saw that unborn child would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child,” Walker said.

That's the thing with white male conservative men--your liberty is meaningless. Your liberty--your legal right to get an abortion--means nothing to them. They will invade your space and force doctors to perform an unnecessary test in order to maintain their dominance. They want to tell people what to do with their bodies, and all you can do is note that they keep winning elections and they pay no political price for such things.

It would be easy to mock Scott Walker but, really, you have to question the wisdom of the Wisconsin voting public. They elected this man twice (three times if you count the recall) and they don't seem to mind having their liberty used as a doormat.

Do the voters hate the idea of giving women the right to choose what to do with their bodies? Plenty of them seem to love it when a conservative goes against conservative values just to confiscate liberty and throw it away.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Racism is Insane







I like what Paul Krugman is getting at here:






“It has been disheartening to see some commentators still writing as if poverty were simply a matter of values, as if the poor just mysteriously make bad choices and all would be well if they adopted middle-class values. Maybe, just maybe, that was a sustainable argument four decades ago, but at this point it should be obvious that middle-class values only flourish in an economy that offers middle-class jobs.”

— The New York Times, Paul Krugman





It's nearly impossible for anyone to end up in a middle-class lifestyle when the city in which they live has been systematically dismantled in favor of tourism and suburban expansion. And that is what defines Baltimore--there's plenty to do downtown, but don't even think about living inside of the Baltimore beltway. 


For me, it comes down to tolerating a level of racism that isn't going to be sustainable anymore. There are plenty of poor whites in Baltimore, as well as a host of other ethnic groups. Their plight--and the plight of the African-American community--can be laid at the door of the idea that Baltimore can function as a downtown tourist trap with a great retail and eating district by the waterfront and nothing else. It's a city with tremendous potential that made terrible choices decades ago. 


For me, it begins with the idea that we should stop thinking poor people are the problem. They're the result of bad policies and not values or choices.


Couple all that with the crippling war on drugs and the dismantling of the police department, and you have what you have today--a dysfunctional city with enormous potential. Someone has to run the city in the right direction. Someone has to find a way to police the city without terrorizing the people being served. Someone has to run towards building middle-class jobs in areas that are falling apart. Some measure of political compromise and pragmatism is needed, but how are you going to convince people to stop feeding off of the enormous carcass that is the spoils system?


How do you get people to abandon the insanity of racism and embrace doing the right thing for the greater good? How do you reconcile deal making with solving problems for everyone?


Someone legitimate to the governing of Baltimore--and that means someone who isn't walking around with a billion dollars or a host of bought-and-paid-for lackeys--has to step up. There's a real moment here where people who haven't been hitting it out of the park have to find the strength to go long. It doesn't matter what they look like. But someone has to step up and do the job of fixing the city without ramming cash into their pants.


The media will try to destroy them of course. After all, that makes for a better story.