Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Democrat presidential candidates recently staged their third primary debate on the campus of Howard College, a traditionally black institution. I did not watch this debate primarily because of the location. I knew the audience would be predominantly black, which meant that the candidates would likely be shamelessly pandering to that audience, rather than discussing critical issues. Turns out I was right in more ways than one. Don’t believe me? Try this quote from Hillary Clinton when asked about AIDS:

"Let me just put this in perspective: If HIV-AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34 there would be an outraged, outcry in this country." Excuse me while I barf on my shoes....

My only question is if she morphed to a ghetto-urban accent when she spoke those words. If this isn’t pandering, I don’t know what is. And to respond to her ridiculous claim, there wouldn’t be an outcry, certainly no more than there is now. I have the answer for AIDS: don’t have homosexual sex, don’t engage in irresponsible promiscuous sex, don’t do IV drugs. Stick to these rules and you’re virtually guaranteed not to die from AIDS. Next problem.

The Supreme Court recently heard a case involving parents that filed suit because their children were denied admission to certain schools strictly because of race. The school district at fault was trying to maintain integration balance in their schools, thus leading some students classified as “other” (meaning “not black”) to be denied admission to certain schools. The claim was that 14th amendment rights were being violated. One such student has Attention Deficit Disorder and wanted to attend a smaller school to benefit from a specific student program aimed at helping students with this disease. He was denied admission because of his race.

Another parent sought to enroll her child in kindergarten at the closest available school, only a mile from their home. For obvious reasons, this was more convenient for the family. Again, this child was denied admission because of his race.

The Supreme Court ruled that schools could not allow race to determine admission, and the Democrats are in an uproar over it. Justice Alito stated: “[D]istinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry are by their very nature odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality.”

Justice Thomas concurred: “The plans before us base school assignment decisions on students’ race. Because Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens, such race-based decision making is unconstitutional.”

The Democrats disagree with this. Apparently they support race-based decision making.

I tip my hat to the Supreme Court. They did what they’re supposed to do, and that is uphold the Constitution and interpret, not create, law.

Read full decision here

Finally, I end with a quote from John Edwards:

"This issue of poverty in America is the cause of my life." Yeah. I know. Try not to lose your stomach contents over this one.

One solution to the poverty problem would be to move all the homeless in with John Edwards. Lord knows his house is big enough for it. But something tells me he’d rather just raise taxes on the middle class to fix the cause of his life.


Anonymous said...

Seems to me that if a party like the Dems panders to blacks and thinks the blacks are too dumb to know it, they're the racists.

John Washburn said...

Robert, I couldn't agree more, and yet I still wonder why the black population continues to vote for them overwhelmingly

Dan Trabue said...

Because people talk the way you all do and it sounds racist, whether or not you intend it to.

You speak of our black brothers and sisters with a condescending, paternalistic tone; you mock candidates when they talk about topics of interest to the black community and wonder why blacks don't trust Republicans and so-called "conservatives."

Understand, I'm not calling you racist, I'm answering your question as to why the black community votes against Republicans by a 80-90% margin.

Anonymous said...


If anyone is condescending I think it's the Democrats. The Republicans aren't for affirmative action, or special favors for blacks, or anyone else.

The Democrats on the other hand promise to give money and favors to blacks. In other words, they think blacks can't handle themselves without the government helping them.

As a result they get the black vote. Not because blacks are stupid, but because, like many people of all races, they simplistically think if the Democrats favor giving them something, they must be a friend. They don't recognize the implicit message in such an act.

Allisoni Balloni said...

I would just like to note that the problem with AIDS is not as much an issue of people being stupid about their decisions, but about people who are so dangerously uninformed. I am not at all saying that people are not stupid, but if we continue to be afraid to talk about AIDS and not to educate our young people about it, the number of cases will continue to increase. I know not to have unprotected sex with multiple partners, but I can honestly say that AIDS is not at the front of my mind as much as the other consequences, none of which are as life-threatening. Especially with younger generations who have not lived during a time when it was such a pressing issue in our country, I can't imagine it would be at the front of their minds, either.

Anonymous said...

Maybe. But you know my view on that. It's not the government's job to use my money to teach it, or prevent it. I say we let private institutions and charities take care of existing issues.

John Washburn said...

Alllisoni, I think you're right. I'm all for education and I even think the money spent on research can be better spent on education since this is basically a disease acquired from bad behavior which, by definition, means that it can be completely prevented. Thanks for the comment

Dan Trabue said...

"I say we let private institutions and charities take care of existing issues."

I'll support this if we do it for our military, as well. Let the Market take care of issues of security, the Market is the best answer, right? And that way you won't be taking my money to conduct someone else's dirty little war.

Whaddya say?

John Washburn said...

Dan, you want entitlements and affirmative action for minorities, or basically give them what you think they can't get on their own. You think they need to be taken care of. And yet you call us paternalistic and condescending? Not sure how that works.

But, as far as your free market idea, I think it's excellent. I support you 100% on that. What we do is designate a portion of the US as demilitarized, and anyone who chooses to live there will not have to pay any taxes that support or fund the military in any way. You would just pay fewer taxes, or maybe even divert that money to whatever program of your choosing.

In return, the US military and the national guard will agree not to interfere on your behalf in any international incident. We will not invade, or bomb, or occupy, or police anything in your name. And if North Korea, or China, or Venezuela, or Iran, or Al Qaeda or anyone else chooses to invade and annex you, then we will stay out of it, per your wishes.

That way, we'll be funded by the free market and you will be that much prouder of your government. I think it's a great idea, and I'm sure you would be first to sign up. Let's do it!

Dan Trabue said...

I would in a heartbeat. My trust is in God and my community, not a military.

Which is not to speak negatively of the military in general. I'm distrustful of gov't in general and distrustful of gov'ts with MASSIVE militaries even more.

Do you think if the People were to slice up the budget and decide how much ought to be spent on the military as a proportion that we'd be spending at the rate we do currently?

So if those of us who don't want to pay the trillions of dollars that we are currently spending on the military left to the DMZ and you had 30% of the population left, are you going to support a taxation rate of 50% to keep the military at the size it currently is?

It'd be an interesting experiment.

Dan Trabue said...

As to this:

"you want entitlements and affirmative action for minorities, or basically give them what you think they can't get on their own."

You don't really know what I think on the topic, so it'd be better for you not to presume to speak on my behalf, don't you think? We're (none of us) quite that omniscient.

I want a smart gov't. If it costs $1 million to educate a given population and $2 million (in crime or related downfalls) to NOT educate, then yes, I want to spend money in order to save more money.

That's only logical.

John Washburn said...

You bet I would, if it meant we cut the trillions of entitlement programs that we're paying. I'm all for it. Let my taxes go to the defense budget, and yours can go to social programs. I'll live in a protected nation, you can live in the social utopia. I think that's only fair. But I really don't think 70% of America would be there with you.

John Washburn said...

And if I misjudged your position on entitlements and affirmative action, then please feel free to correct me on it and clear the air.

Dan Trabue said...

"entitlements" is a vague word that I have little use for. You appear to be for giving entitlements to corporations and the military-industrial complex, after all.

I'm saying just what I said: I'm for smart gov't. If it costs $1 million to educate/rehabilitate prisoners and $2 million to keep them incarcerated, then by all means - let's spend that money wisely! If you're calling that an entitlement, then I think that's a bad use of the word.

I'm for wise investments of the People's money that save us more money in the long run. It's not a matter of me being in favor of spending money and the so-called conservative being opposed to it.

We're both talking about spending money - the "conservative" wants to spend the $2 million to imprison and punish criminals, I want to spend $1 million to get and keep them OUT of jail in the first place.

So don't confuse at least my position (and I think I speak for a wide swath of the so-called Left) for one of fiscal irresponsibility. It's just the opposite.

Dan Trabue said...

"You bet I would, if it meant we cut the trillions of entitlement programs that we're paying."

Trillions? What the heck are you talking about?

Do we spend too much money in our gov't? Yessir! Do we give away too much to corporations, to build more and more roads, giving welfare to auto companies and motorists? Indeed.

Do we spend HALF our budget on a military that's larger than the next 25 nations combined?? Yes.

Do some of our so-called welfare programs not do as good a job as we'd like? Certainly.

But what trillion entitlement programs are you talking about?

Are you talking about Head Start, which helps disadvantaged children succeed in school (thus helping them to become productive, tax-paying citizens and keeping them out of jail and off of welfare)?

Or are you talking about Prisoner Recidivism programs, which reduce the rate at which prisoners return to jail, resulting in more productive, tax-paying citizens and fewer tax-consuming inmates, as well as lower crime rate?

Or what about money spent to assist homeless Veterans, helping them to become self-sufficient following their service to our country?

Which of these programs do you want to cut?

Or, is it that money going to "welfare queens" and their horde of children (which is mostly a myth)? We don't really need welfare, after all, "are there no prisons? No poor houses?"

Let those children pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, is that what you're advocating?

Which trillion "entitlement" programs are you talking about disbanding, and who shall pay for the results of ending those programs? I'm seriously curious.

John Washburn said...

Sorry, now that I read it again I see I should have been clear about "trillions spent" not trillions of programs. That's my bad. But, to answer your question, yes I would cut all of those programs, except for Veterans benefits. If someone spills blood for this country then we owe them care for as long as they need it.

I may seem cold cutting things like head start and school lunches, the "mean" conservative at work, but if I recall correctly the Constitution mandates the government to provide one thing and one thing only for its citizens (aside from liberty and certain rights) and that's MILITARY PROTECTION. So, I don't have a problem with the military budget. I do have a problem with entitlement spending that often achieves poor results.

John Washburn said...

And what you would call sound fiscal policy, I would call a poor grasp on reality, or perhaps a gross misjudgment of human character. Spending money to rehabilitate prisoners often becomes a waste of money on a repeat offender. The same is true for education...more money does not equal better results. Throwing money at a problem rarely solves the problem. Sometimes people just need to be locked up away from society. Sometimes schools need to have their budgets cut. Single-payer healthcare will only create a health care access crisis.

"Do some of our so-called welfare programs not do as good a job as we'd like? Certainly."

This is quite an understatement. The Great Society programs have been a massive failure, and yet the only answer seems to be "more funding for them" Why is this?

I'm not unreasonable. I wouldn't oppose something if it proved to produce consistently sound results, but our Great Society programs have, in my mind, proven that no amount of money can solve society's problems. It's a progressive pipe dream.

"Let those children pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, is that what you're advocating?"

In many ways, yes. It's called character building. The same reason I would not bail my child out jail if he/she committed a crime, I don't feel we should bail people out of life because they failed to exercise sound judgment. Doing so only encourages more bad judgment while the lessons of life go unlearned, and thus the vicious cycle of poverty. I'd dare say that there are far more people who crawled out of poverty by their own bootstraps than by a government check.

Dan Trabue said...

"Spending money to rehabilitate prisoners often becomes a waste of money on a repeat offender."

That's not true according to the research. Education doesn't work on every prisoner, but it works on enough that the money spent on education is less than the money that would have been spent on recidivism.

If a program cost $1 million and reduces recidism by 25%, and those 25% of prisoners would have cost $2 million if they returned, then it is a savings of money.

Look up the research yourself. The prisoner education angle is one aspect of what we might call "welfare" that has been studied intensively and repeatedly shown to pay for itself in reduced recidivism.

Here and here are a couple of places to start.

I'd suggest this is likely true for most welfare programs - that they save money in the long run.

Let's take a leap: Suppose that you read the research and found that 90% of "welfare" programs save taxpayers money in the long run, would you then support those 90%?

Is it that you're for fiscal responsibility or is it about doing what's perceived to be right even if it costs taxpayers and is not a fiscally responsible thing to do?

John Washburn said...

Dan, are suggesting that we should rehab in lieu of punishment? Just wanted to clarify.

Dan Trabue said...

If you read some sources on this topic, you'd know that some huge percentage (90%) of criminals are going to get out of jail some day. So, I want punishment AND rehab.

Additionally, a huge number of those in prison are their because of our ill-conceived "war on drugs." They're addicts, not criminals.

So how about it? IF it were shown that 90% of "welfare" programs saved taxpayers dollars, would you be in favor of that 90%?

Dan Trabue said...

I meant to write "90%?" as I'm not sure of the statistic, but it is something along those lines.

John Washburn said...

Okay, let's see if we can reach a common ground. I'll agree that your program would be good to implement, as long as it met a few criteria. I don't think any of these would be difficult, and if you truly wanted to improve the recidivism rate I think it would be worth it. So sign me up, if the following conditions can be met:

1) There is substantial evidence that the money spent improves the recidivism rate considerably (I'd say half would be a good number)

2) This program would not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, be used as an excuse to reduce sentences. Criminals need to serve their time (this would probably be a deal killer for most Lefties)

3) This program would not be made available to illegal immigrants. Training someone to re-acclimate to society crime-free makes little sense if that person is in society illegally to begin with

4) We find a way to let the prisoners pay for it themselves. Serving time in jail is the punishment for their crime, next they have a debt to society to repay. So let's go back to the days of the roadside work crews and prison farms. Let them build up taxpayer credits to pay for this program. Why should the taxpayers pay for someone else's crime? We could even reduce the size of certain government agencies like FEMA and HUD by utilizing prison labor. The taxpayers save, the prisoners learn job skills and have something to take pride in, and the recidivism program gets paid for. There would need to be oversight, of course, to limit the corruption and abuse of such a system, but I think it's sound.

What do you say?

Dan Trabue said...

Don't have too much problem, but some thoughts:

1. I just want to know that it saves money and accomplishes its purpose. If given a choice between doing nothing and paying $2x and having less-reformed ex-cons out on the street or spending $1.9x and having more-reformed ex-cons out on the street, I'd choose the second option.

2. Sentence reduction seems to be a secondary consideration, not related to these programs as far as I know. Having said that, I don't have problems giving convicts incentive to help themselves. Again, it helps me as a citizen of the city to have more-reformed and better-educated ex-cons out on the street.

3. I don't have a problem with it being available to illegal immigrants. Again, I'm interested in having safer streets, fewer convicts, saving money. If offering this sort of program to illegal aliens has that result, I'm okay with it.

I don't think it wise to cut off our nose to spite our face.

4. I have no problem letting someone out a way for letting such a program somehow come from prisoner proffers, but I doubt that would be enough. Again, my main concern is that it costs society less in the long run. If we can figure a way for it to come from prisoner pay somehow, fine. If not, I still want the programs if they work.

What do you say?

John Washburn said...

Again, I'm all for it if these criteria can be met. I'd even be willing to sway a little on #3 if it meant saving the program. Sign me up, but not without these stipulations.