What’s the Matter with Paul Krugman?

23 12 2007

I have to admit that I was a little surprised to see read in Paul Krugman call Barack Obama “the anti-change candidate” in one of his recent columns, and then under emphasize the importance of the war in our current political climate by arguing at TPM:

I guess I’ve been going on the view that no Democrat is not going to end this war, and no Democrat is going to start another war. I have not felt that foreign policy is the defining issue in the race to the nomination.

I found this position rather odd considering what Krugman said about Obama in a column called “They Told You So” published a year ago this month. It was in that very same column that Krugman singled out Obama, along with a few others, including Al Gore, Russ Feingold, and Nancy Pelosi, as those who not only provided “antiwar arguments that now seem prescient,” but whose stance on the war he apparently found admirable. In fact, he said:

We should honor these people for their wisdom and courage. We should also ask why anyone who didn’t raise questions about the war — or, at any rate, anyone who acted as a cheerleader for this march of folly — should be taken seriously when he or she talks about matters of national security.

What a difference a year makes.
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Most Outrageous Funny Commercials

22 12 2007

Here is a collection of the most funniest and outrageous commercials created this year. The spot featuring a father breast feeding his kid is hilarious.

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(H/T: Top Ten Videos)

Housing and Civil Rights in NOLA

21 12 2007

Just as New Orleans became the flash point for what poverty looked like in the United States in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it is quickly becoming a new locus for the civil rights movement. Post-Katrina debates over education, the treatment of criminal defendants, the right to vote, and the wage theft and hazardous working conditions endured by immigrant workers have revealed an ugly stew of social inequality and systemic injustice.

But the question of housing affordable housing has become the most salient in NOLA today. I am not going to pretend I have intimate knowledge of what has transpired in NOLA before or after Katrina, but this video offers a modest glimpse into the struggle of Katrina victims seeking to assert their rights.

Watch it.

Some of the news reports have noted that many of the city’s residents are divided on the issue and that most of the units designated for demolition are in fact vacant. That said, the issue does not seem to be whether or not these particular housing units should be destroyed, but the commitment to public assisted and affordable housing in general in New Orleans, and the right of return by many of the internally displaced people.

It seems this is another indication of how from the beginning, poor people, especially poor black people, have been marginalized from the rebuilding process, and the rest of the country has thought of post-Katrina recovery as a state and local concern, not the nation’s problem.

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Borders, Identification, and Legalities: The U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

21 12 2007

Thanu Yakupitiyage at Race Wire, the blog companion to Colorlines magazine, has an interesting post on the impact of the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative on Native Americans. Is it just me or does the program’s name, whether intended or not, seem to connote 19th Century territorial expansion?

The U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which is upping border security in 2008 by requiring all U.S. citizens to provide drivers licenses, birth certificates, and passports to reenter the country, is leaving native people anxious and worried. Native tribes on the Southwest and Northern borders that touch Mexico and Canada respectively have historically straddled these assigned territories, crossing regularly to visit and maintain traditional sites. Native tribes such as the Tohono O’odham in Arizona, the Kickapoo Band of California, and the Confederate Colville Tribes in Washington have used traditional tribal enrollment cards to cross the border for decades. Now, there is uncertainty as to whether this practice will be allowed to continue.

The thought of tribal heads having to sit with officials from the Department of Homeland Security to discuss how they will ‘legally’ be allowed to continue their traditions and visit their historical sites that have been demarcated by imaginary lines is a little too ironic in my mind. It is reminiscent of a long history of negotiation processes dating back to the arrival of European settlers that has always left Native Americans on the losing end. Even in the creation of reservations themselves, it was by the permission of the United States government that tribespeople were allowed their own land. The current travel restrictions being imposed on the Native American way of life are a continuation of this historical abuse. It is a hard-hitting reminder of the people who are time and again forgotten in the creation of U.S policies.

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On the Tancredo Effect

21 12 2007

Marc Ambinder accurately summed up the Tom Tancredo effect earlier today.

Tancredo — and Tancredoites in Congress and millions of Americans — have forced at least four candidates — Huckabee and McCain are two — to completely change the way they talk and think about immigration. Even Democrats call for border security first.

Tancredo gave voice to a burbling reservoir of anxiety and can fairly be said to have the most effect, policy-wise, of any presidential candidate. Politically, too, some Republicans believe that Tancredo-style immigration politics may have irreparably damaged the GOP’s efforts to incorporate Hispanics into their coalition.

Tom Tancredo is an outsize figure in our politics.

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Krugman Goes After Obama

20 12 2007

Paul Krugman has sounded off yet again on Barack Obama for his perceived conciliatory rhetoric and posture on Social Security and Medicare in a recent interview at TPM. Apparently, Obama gives Krugman the impression that he is too much of an appeaser and not ready for the partisan nastiness that will be required to get universal health care coverage passed.

It should be no surprise that Sen. John Edwards remains the darling populist that Krugman wishes to be president. But considering that the most of the labor world has given up on Edwards ever since he decided to take matching funds, Krugman’s is willing to settle for Hillary Clinton. This has led some to suggest that Krugman’s criticism of Obama a just 2 weeks away from the Iowa caucuses is really a ploy for bolstering Clinton’s chances. I have a lot of respect for Krugman and would like to believe that that is not true.

At any rate, lets examine what Krugman has said, about Obama’s plan and see if it really holds up. In a fairly recent column Krugman claimed, “In fact, the Edwards and Clinton plans contain more money for such subsidies than the Obama plan. If low-income families find insurance unaffordable under these plans, they’ll find it even less affordable under the Obama plan.” This accusation has been repeatedly by those claiming that because Obama’s plan does not include a mandate, 15 million people will be uninsured. But the extent to which it even might be true that Clinton’s plan covers more people than Obama’s is overstated.

Read the rest of this entry »

Andrew Young Race Baiting Against Obama

20 12 2007

Ambassador Andrew Young has clearly lost his mind. In a recent media interview (see below), Amb. Young told an audience “Hillary Clinton first of all has Bill behind her. And Bill is every bit as black as Barack.” He also went on to say and that “Bill has probably gone with more black women than Barack.”

Newsflash: Bill Clinton has already been president twice. If he is trying to gin up support for Hillary, then by all means do your thang. But just be upfront about it. Its fine if people want to support a candidate, but do you have to do it like this? If you are going to support a candidate at all, at least let it be one that is actually running. Senator Hillary Clinton is a formidable candidate in her own right let her stand or fall on her own merit.

But, more importantly, it is absolutely maddening to see a civil rights leader who organized voter drives in the South during the 60’s race bait against any Presidential candidate, but especially against the first viable black Presidential candidate.

Watch it.

(H/T: Black Bobby)

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