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Isn't This a Bit Premature?

CBS News reports:

A school on Long Island has been renamed Barack Obama Elementary School in honor of his historic rise to the presidency.

The move at the largely black and Hispanic school in Hempstead is among the first in what will likely be a wave of name changes around the world now that Mr. Obama has been elected president, from schools and streets to parks and mountaintops.

The prime minister of the Caribbean nation of Antigua has said he's taking measures to have the island's highest mountain peak renamed Mount Obama. In Portland, Ore., students want to rename Clark K-8 At Binnsmead school. Elsewhere on Long Island, the Clear Stream Avenue School in Valley Stream will consider a renaming resolution in December....

The name Barack Obama Elementary School was the idea of children at the former Ludlum Elementary School, according to officials at Hempstead Union Free School District....

I wish President-Elect Obama does an excellent job, and if he does, he will be worth naming things after. But right now no-one really knows whether he'll be an excellent President, a mediocre President, a poor President, or a very bad President. (Keep in mind the sobering story of the Richard M. Nixon Freeway -- the name that the Marina Freeway in Los Angeles bore for a few years in the early 1970s.)

Of course, Obama has already achieved the status of the first black President, and it's quite natural for people -- especially, but not only, blacks -- to admire and celebrate this achievement, which is indeed quite stunning given American history of not so long ago. Likewise, I'm sure American Catholics celebrated John F. Kennedy's achievement of being the first Catholic President in 1960, as did non-Catholics who welcomed this marker of the decline of anti-Catholic sentiment. Other groups have celebrated similar milestones.

But important as getting a job might be, especially under the circumstances, the ultimate goal of getting the job has to be to do the job well. That's long been the premise of antidiscrimination law, and even many supporters of race- and sex-based affirmative action endorse it: The goal is to give blacks and members of other groups the same opportunity to do important jobs well -- and to help others through doing the job well -- that others have. And until a successful candidate does the job well, however historic his successful candidacy may have been, it seems to me that people should hold off on renaming institutions and landmarks in his honor.

RPT (mail):
How important could it be to post this negative message? With all of the issues available about which to comment?
11.22.2008 8:53pm
David Welker (www):
I disagree.

Obviously, the most important thing is how Obama performs in office. But regardless, history has already been made and renaming landmarks, institutions, and such is already appropriate.

I think you are suggesting that because X is more important than Y, and we don't know how X will turn out, we shouldn't celebrate Y yet. That doesn't make sense if Y is important enough on its own to justify such a celebration.

In this case, I believe that Y, namely Obama's election as the first black President of a nation that has had a legacy of slavery, counting blacks as three-fifths of a whole person, and Jim Crow is significant enough for celebration on its own.
11.22.2008 9:03pm
henryporter:
Perhaps we should rename any number of the failed and failing banks, investment houses and major corporations after our current president. A fitting legacy, no doubt.
11.22.2008 9:08pm
ewannama (mail):
RPT - Not sure about anyone else, but I appreciate the attempt to put things in perspective, and hardly think it negative to suggest that such honors are premature. I didn't vote for Obama, but all along admitted that he might make a great president. All the important issues will not be well addressed without some healthy skepticism.

On the other hand, realizing that this world is not blind to race, Obama is a positive role model who resonates especially well with non-white students.
11.22.2008 9:09pm
Jim Ison (mail):
I take your point. As your readers have pointed out, however, it is the symbolic importance of the moment in history that is being celebrated, not the judgment of history on Obama's success or failure as the human representative of that symbolic moment.

But there hasn't been as clear sighted a president in office since Clinton, a Rhodes scholar, and I suspect that Obama is likely not to blot his copybook as Clinton did. Indeed, I hope he is exactly the choice to get America through one of the more difficult periods in its history. It's fun to celebrate that likelihood in advance.
11.22.2008 9:16pm
just me (mail):
I am of the opinion that people should be dead or at least have the bulk of their life's works completed before they have things named after them.

And it isn't that I don't think there shouldn't be schools etc named after the first black president-because I think it is the kind of first that deserves a few schools and other buildings and roads named for it, but I do think the man should at least serve one term in office before the naming begins.
11.22.2008 9:16pm
MarkField (mail):
Personally, I wouldn't name anything after any historical figure until s/he has been dead for about 25 years. Putting my own views aside, the election of the first black President is so noteworthy in itself that this seems reasonable.
11.22.2008 9:16pm
arthur (mail):
Obama's accomplishments to date already exceed those of Clear Stream Avenue, and probably exceed those of the Ludlum and the Clark for whom the other schools are named.

In fact, Obama's accomplishments also exceed those of William McKinley at the time his name attached to the tallest mountain in North America. He was a mere Republican candidate for President when the mountain was named. Mt. Obama, at 395 or 403 meters depending on which wikipedia page you favor, is a pimple on the earth compared to Mount McKinley.
11.22.2008 9:17pm
Frater Plotter:
I voted for the guy, and I don't see any reason to name stuff after him yet. It comes across as an inappropriate show of enthusiasm -- the institutional equivalent of getting his name tattooed on one's arm, shall we say.

There is such a thing as supporting someone without being a jackass about it ...
11.22.2008 9:30pm
stombs (mail):

But there hasn't been as clear sighted a president in office since Clinton



1) Huh? Aside from the fact that many of us regard Clinton as a failure ("a soft man for a soft time"), there's been only one president since he waddled off the stage.

2) What exactly have been Obama's "achievements"? Getting elected to office? Top of the greasy pole.

3) Were any schools renamed after Richard Nixon following his landslide victory in 1972? I sure hope not. That really wouldn't look good on one's resume.
11.22.2008 9:32pm
Constantin:
The school's decision is juvenile.

More than that, it illustrates what a lot of us have been saying for two years. The "Change" Obama promised had nothing to do with policies. The complete and barely-implicit rationale of his entire candidacy was that the mere act of electing a black person president would solve many of America's problems.

Obama's recycling of his whole cabinet into a third Clinton term is another symptom of this. Since Obama himself is the change, in his mind, he's free to do whatever stale things he wants policy-wise.

And so for people like those on the Hempstead school board, everything important already has happened.
11.22.2008 9:38pm
Cornellian (mail):
The school's decision is juvenile.

Considering it was the kids' idea in the first place to rename Ludlum Elementary School I suppose they have a ready made defense to the charge of being "juvenile."

I think 20 years after leaving office and 10 years after death, whichever is later, is a suitable time period to wait before naming things after politicians. However, if they change the name earlier and the guy turns out to be a bad politician, they can always rename it again, so no great loss.

The only naming scenario I find really obnoxious is the spectacle of an incumbent politician using the power of his office to get things named after himself. See, e.g. the multitude of buildings and highways in West Virginia named after Sen. Robert Byrd.
11.22.2008 9:50pm
Constantin:
>>The school's decision is juvenile.

Considering it was the kids' idea in the first place to rename Ludlum Elementary School I suppose they have a ready made defense to the charge of being "juvenile."


The kids also voted, I imagine, to extend recess to six hours a day and to start the weekend on Thursday. That's what kids do.

Adults--people who should know better, and think they do--officially made this call.
11.22.2008 9:57pm
Will Smit (mail):

To be fair, several of these schools are in some need of a rename. "Clark K-8 at Binnsmead" hints to me that there are so many Clark schools in the area that they needed the ugly qualifier, and Clear Stream Avenue School vaguely sounds like a corporation bought the naming rights.

But I agree with the poster who thought things should only be named after dead people. I'm especially negative towards the hundreds of bridges and roads named after the politicians who allocated other people's taxes for them.
11.22.2008 9:58pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
I agree that we should wait and see how they perform before we start naming things after politicians.

Doing it while they are still in office - particularly Presidents - reminds me of the cults of personality that characterized Nazi Germany and (particularly) Stalin's Soviet Union.
11.22.2008 10:01pm
DiversityHire:
"Mount McKinley" is a travesty, foisted on Alaska by ignorant lower-48ers. The name of that mountain is "Denali".

I say wait until they're dead. I don't think we should have a U.S.S. Clinton sailing around while Secretary of State Clinton and Senator Bill Clinton are in office. Every time I've landed at the baronial Ted Stevens International Airport I've thought, "geez, that guy knows how to porkbarrel" (although Frank Murkowski International is nice). Norm Mineta International is convenient but undistinguished with a broken runway. Even unofficial namescan come back to haunt, think about "the Mark Foley Boy Scout Bill".

I wonder if the kids at Obama Elementary are going to change their mascot? They could be "the Weathermen". If they were really smart, they'd change the name of their school to "Grandpa Hank's Elementary School" and see if they can't get a share of the TARP. Their athletic teams could be called "the Handouts" or "Hank's Handouts."
11.22.2008 10:01pm
Pizza Snob:
I recall that on the old sitcom "The Wonder Years", Kevin Arnold attended Robert Kennedy Middle School. Given the time-frame of the program, one would assume that the name was given (ignoring its probable non-existence) after the very-recent death of the younger Kennedy. It didn't seem inappropriate.

If Obama were to pass on tomorrow, hundreds of schools would bear his name by the end of the month. I don't think we ought to make death a prerequisite. If the term goes badly, the sign maker can paint up a "Bobby Jindall Elementary" sign in a hurry.

Also, they did rename National Airport before Ronald Reagan died.
11.22.2008 10:04pm
MisterBigTop:
Eugene,

I agree 100%. This is remarkably premature. What if it turns out that Obama gets himself involved in a major scandal that leads to impeachment? What if the Obama legacy turns out to be negative? It's stupid to name something after him so soon.
11.22.2008 10:06pm
David Welker (www):
I think people who are arguing that we should wait until a politician is dead have a valid point of view. However, given that is not the standard of historical practice, that doesn't really have anything to do with naming things after Obama in particular.

Regardless of what one thinks of that idea in the abstract, I think it would be strange to go against precedent and enforce that standard now precisely when Obama wins the Presidency.

So, given the standard isn't that we wait until a person is dead to name things after him or her, I do not think there is any reason not to name landmarks and institutions after Obama immediately.
11.22.2008 10:10pm
MisterBigTop:
"More than that, it illustrates what a lot of us have been saying for two years. The "Change" Obama promised had nothing to do with policies. The complete and barely-implicit rationale of his entire candidacy was that the mere act of electing a black person president would solve many of America's problems.
"

Sadly, based on some of the comments here, I have to agree. It's all about race to these folks.
11.22.2008 10:10pm
MisterBigTop:
"So, given the standard isn't that we wait until a person is dead to name things after him or her, I do not think there is any reason not to name landmarks and institutions after Obama immediately."

I understand the point about waiting until his death, but what is so unreasonable about waiting until after his presidency?
11.22.2008 10:12pm
DiversityHire:
The renaming's not really a big deal, but it makes me a little concerned about these kids and their parents. About the only thing I would have wanted to rename my elementary school to was "Luke Skywalker Academy."
11.22.2008 10:15pm
Smokey:
Nothing is too good for the messiah.

Forget the plain fact that he's an empty suit with almost zero experience. But so was Norman Mineta.

Oh, wait. Norm Mineta was the Secretary of Transportation -- and then they named the San Jose airport after him. No quid pro quo there, huh?

The old timey rule that someone had to be dead for ten years, before naming anything after them that had been paid for with public money, was a damn good rule.

But with 0, we should make an exception, right?
11.22.2008 10:19pm
David Welker (www):

Sadly, based on some of the comments here, I have to agree. It's all about race to these folks.


That is ridiculous. Just because one is aware of races undeniable historical significance in this country, that does not mean you are "all about race."

It seems to me that to deny the importance of this event, when its historical significance is obvious, is actually more race obsessed than to simply acknowledge something that is enormously significant as a historical matter.

We have transitioned from a nation where blacks were slaves, to a nation where blacks were oppressed by Jim Crow and "separate but [not really] equal" to a nation where a black man can hold the highest and most important office in the land.

Let us not forget that we a Civil War was precipitated by the controversies surrounding slavery.

For a long time, it has theoretically been possible for an African American to hold the Presidency. Now it has actually happened. Seeing is believing. Practice matters as much as theory.

Let me be clear. If I didn't agree with Obama's policies, I wouldn't have voted for him merely because of his race. However, at the same time, I think it is absurd and in a way truly "race obsessed" to go out of your way to deny something that is of such clear historical significance. How many other things of obvious historical significance do you go out of your way to deny?
11.22.2008 10:22pm
Smokey:
David Welker:
... given the standard isn't that we wait until a person is dead to name things after him or her, I do not think there is any reason not to name landmarks and institutions after Obama immediately.
Absolutely. I couldn't agree more! [/s]

There's no reason we shouldn't re-name our country the Peoples' Supreme Soviet of Obamaland.

At least it's fitting.
11.22.2008 10:23pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Having just held a conference on the bicentennial of the federal prohibition on the slave trade, I can assure you that the fact of a black American being elected President in this country is something that is astounding. This post simply does not understand the long history on all this. Rather than making a comment like this I would have hoped that you would have tried to comprehend more deeply the emotion and feeling of those kids. Many of them may grow up to be in your classes.
Best,
Ben
11.22.2008 10:23pm
David Welker (www):

The old timey rule that someone had to be dead for ten years, before naming anything after them that had been paid for with public money, was a damn good rule.


I guess that used to be the rule. As long as you ignore actual historical fact and practice.
11.22.2008 10:25pm
Kevin R (mail):
Not at all similar cases, really, but I'm nevertheless reminded of the stadium the Houston Astros play in, for a few years known as "Enron Field". They dropped that name like it's hot when it became, let's say, unfashionable.
11.22.2008 10:30pm
Angus Johnston (www):
Just to put this in perspective, there's a George W. Bush Middle School in Tumwater, Washington, and a George W. Bush Elementary School in Stockton, CA. The middle school was apparently named during Bush's first term.
11.22.2008 10:42pm
MisterBigTop:
"How many other things of obvious historical significance do you go out of your way to deny?"

Gee, I wonder what this is trying to suggest? (/ sarcasm) Many of us have evolved beyond being "race-obsessed". You should try it.
11.22.2008 10:49pm
SlimAndSlam:
Kevin R:

Actually, the Houston stadium was named Enron Field for a good reason: Enron bought the naming rights.

Likewise, it lost the Enron Field moniker for an equally good reason: Enron was no longer in a position to make its naming-rights payments.
11.22.2008 10:52pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Premature" is an understatement. What's next-- parades carrying immense pictures of The Anointed One? This is a wholly Un-American display of character worship. Let's recall that George Washington set the example-- no cult of personality. And BTW we didn't celebrate his birthday until long after he was dead.
11.22.2008 10:56pm
first history:
Things named after Republicans before they are (or were) dead:

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport--Anchorage Alaska (whose he again?)

USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77, launched October 2006)--nothing like naming an aircraft carrier after your father)

Over 100 locations or objects named for Ronald Reagan:

Ronald Reagan Airport (will always be National Airport to me)

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76, commissioned July 2003)--the Reagan cult continues.

Ronald Reagan Freeway (re-named 1994)--California State Route 118--more Reaganalia.

For a complete list of more locations of the Cult of Reagan, see the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project. As someone who grew up under Reagan as governor and president, I frequently disagreed with his politics. But I think he would be embarrassed by the right-wing Cult of Reagan.

Finally, my position on such honors, a quote regarding naming from J. Edward Day, US Postmaster General under JFK:

We cannot put the face of a person on a stamp unless said person is deceased. My suggestion, therefore, is that you drop dead.
11.22.2008 10:57pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
David Welker said:
It seems to me that to deny the importance of this event, when its historical significance is obvious, is actually more race obsessed than to simply acknowledge something that is enormously significant as a historical matter.
Don't worry, at least some people have recognized the historical significance of Obama's eleection:
Barely three weeks after Americans elected their first black president amid a wave of interracial good feeling, a spasm of noose hangings, racist graffiti, vandalism and death threats is convulsing dozens of towns across the country as white extremists lash out at the new political order.

More than 200 hate-related incidents, including cross burnings, assassination betting pools and effigies of President-elect Barack Obama, have been reported so far, according to law enforcement authorities and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. Racist websites, meanwhile, have been boasting that their servers are crashing under the weight of an exponential increase in page views.
White extremists lash out over election of first black president

Is is, of course, merely a matter of relative importance and newsworthiness. The fact that the community "at [a] largely black and Hispanic school" named their grade school after President Elect Obama in order to celebrate his historic achievement is a Big Deal, and clearly deserves not only attention, and criticism, but also snide references to "the Peoples' Supreme Soviet of Obamaland. The resulting wave of hate crimes? Not so much.
11.22.2008 11:10pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
As a wise man once said: "I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?"

Hell, the rest of the quote seems fitting too: "But can he do the job. I know he can get the job but can he DO the job? I'm NOT arguing that with you. I'm not arguing that with YOU. I'm not ARGUING that with you. I'm not ARGUING that with you Harry! Harry... Harry... Yeah Harry... but can he DO the job. I know he can GET the job but can he do the job?"
11.22.2008 11:11pm
beamish:
The Middle School is named after George Washington Bush, the founder of Tumwater. There's no excuse for the elementary school in Stockton.
11.22.2008 11:17pm
Lib:
My bias is to delay naming institutions after a individual until history has had an appropriate vetting period to pass judgment on that individual and, presumably, arrive at a consensus that the individual was worthy of such honor either for a single event or for a general impact on society.

Implementing a "wait for 10 years after death" policy of course insures a period for reflection (and reduces the risk that the person will do something insanely stupid that wipes out their prior accomplishments). However, it seems unnecessary to require a ten year wait if we are certain that history will reflect at least somewhat positively on the person. For example, I think reasonable people would not have objected to naming a school after Rosa Parks long before her death.

But, by not waiting, we can also end up with the absurdities of "Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport". Seriously, does anyone think that school kids fifty years from now will have ever heard of Mineta (unless, of course, they happened to live around SJC or fly through it) or that any but a handful of "professional" historians will remember the name 100 years from now?

Of course, by waiting until after death, we end up with the absurdities of "John Wayne Airport" which was named after his death and, given his opposition to the airport, seems almost like an insult that he would have objected to. I guess this is just a risk of dying though :(

Presidents seem a little different though - just reaching the office is noteworthy. However, I think it appropriate to wait for them to at least be sworn in (if something horrible happens in the next two months, Biden rather than Obama could be the 44th President). Even if Obama were impeached ten days after taking office for some horrible offense and eventually ejected from office - he would still be a significant historical figure (albeit, possibly not one a school would choose to celebrate in its name).

It would, however, be odd to name a school after Obama to celebrate the progress of America with respect to race relations - it seems one would celebrate those who caused the change rather than those who benefited from it. Yes, it is fabulous that we have reached a point where we are willing to elect Obama irrespective of his race -- unfortunately, given his complete lack of qualifications, it seems likely that he would not have been elected at this time except because of his race. As a believer in a "colorblind" society, I think this may be something to regret rather than to celebrate as it suggests that some amongst us still judge a man by the color of his skin rather than solely by the content of his character. Celebration of America changing its attitude with respect to race should probably be done by naming (yet another) school after the likes of Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King or any of a number of others whose actions actually caused that change rather than naming it after happened to be the right race at the right time and benefited from that.

Obviously if, as I hope he does, Obama turns out to be a great President in difficult times, then would be the time to start naming institutions after him.
11.22.2008 11:21pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
But, by not waiting, we can also end up with the absurdities of "Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport". Seriously, does anyone think that school kids fifty years from now will have ever heard of Mineta (unless, of course, they happened to live around SJC or fly through it) or that any but a handful of "professional" historians will remember the name 100 years from now?
Seriously, does anyone think that school kids fifty years from now will have not heard of Barack Obama? Does anyone think that only "a handful of 'professional' historians" will remember Barack Obama's name 100 years from now?
11.22.2008 11:29pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Having watched the Obama-baiting in this space for all of the election period, I suspect that for some of you there is simply nothing he might do as President that would "measure up" to have a school named after him. Maybe the janitor's office might be permitted, but heavens not something more substantial. Get a life.
Best,
Ben
11.22.2008 11:34pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I like the ten years dead rule. Mineta International Airport was a shameless bit of pandering to the Sec'y of Transportation. Further, one swallow does not make a summer. Out of sympathy for her loss, my own hometown named their at-that-time new junior high after Jackie Kennedy, before she scandalously took up with that rich old Greek. But that school district had set an unfortunate precedent by naming one of their schools for baby boomers after John Foster Dulles.
11.22.2008 11:34pm
Ken Arromdee:
However, if they change the name earlier and the guy turns out to be a bad politician, they can always rename it again, so no great loss.

Anyone who tried to rename such a school on the grounds that Obama showed himself to be a bad politician would be called racist (unless Obama's bad politics included joining the Republican Party, in which case he's a race traitor so it's okay). In other words, no, they can't rename it again.
11.22.2008 11:34pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

simply nothing [Obama] might do as President that would "measure up" to have a school named after him.

To honor an earlier President, why not the William Jefferson Clinton Home for Wayward Girls?
11.22.2008 11:37pm
D.R.M.:
Anybody notice Obama isn't even the president-elect yet?

The election has yet to be held (it'll be December 15th), and the votes won't be counted and a winner declared until January 6th at the earliest.
11.22.2008 11:40pm
Loren:
While I'm partial to the idea that we should wait until politicians are dead before we should start naming things after them, I'd be perfectly content to wait until they're out of office.

To wit, Memorial Drive in metro Atlanta was renamed "Cynthia McKinney Parkway in 2000, after the district's infamous Congressional Representative. Two years later, McKinney lost her seat following some 9/11 conspiracy talk, then won her seat back in 2004, only to lose it again in 2006. This year she made a spectacularly unimpressive run for President as the Green candidate. She's now a laughingstock nationwide, her name is a punchline, and yet one of the most significant roads in her former district still bears that name.
11.22.2008 11:42pm
Matthew K:
So, do the people likening this to Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany realize they sound like rabid wolves, or are the really that blinded by their ideology?

People have named things after living/sitting politicians for a very long time (see examples from up this thread). Let the kids have their fun.
11.22.2008 11:49pm
checkyoself:
To paraphrase a famous quote: I always knew the first black president would be white kid from kansas.
11.22.2008 11:50pm
raven397 (mail):
Only naming schools is far too minimal for our Messiah. I think we should rename several months, maybe Obamatober instead of November, to mark his glorious election. June should become Barack. Sunday, the day of worship, will become Barackday. Just adding the Resplendent Face to Mt. Rushmore would be insulting to the Leader. I think we could put the Leader's face on the Tetons, flanked by smaller faces of Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright, Marx, and Lenin.
11.22.2008 11:52pm
Matteo (mail) (www):
Bottom line, the whole thing is tacky. I'd be embarrassed if something were named after me before I'd achieved anything and even within a couple of decades of any justifying achievement that I did have.

I regard the naming of SJC to "Norm Mineta International Airport" to be more a badge of shame than anything else. Mineta is an incompetent dufus who I'd tend to forget about entirely except that I keep seeing his name associated with the airport. Then I remember once again what a tool the guy is.

And the more that Obama is deified in this way, the more likely it is that the gods will have the last laugh. If there is any justice this will turn out to be so much hubristic jinxitude.

Now I realize this is not Obama's doing but that of his fans, but have you ever heard him publicly ask his fans to freakin' tone it down a little?

Who would want their kids to attend Jimmy Carter High School? How do we know at this time, absent of any evidence at all to the contrary, that Obama will not eventually be considered to be in the same league? People going overboard with praise now can end up eventually regarding the guy in an even worse light later on if he doesn't do well, due to the need to distance themselves from their "foolish crush"...
11.22.2008 11:58pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"In this case, I believe that Y, namely Obama's election as the first black President of a nation that has had a legacy of slavery, counting blacks as three-fifths of a whole person, and Jim Crow is significant enough for celebration on its own."

If Mike Tyspon hed been eelcetd president should we have Tyson Elementary School?
11.22.2008 11:58pm
David Warner:
Given how many of our public institutions are now named after pork-barrelling politicians, I wouldn't be surprised if Obama quietly puts the kibosh on this sort of thing himself. He should hold out for things like Mt. Rushmore, money, state names, et. al...
11.23.2008 12:03am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
henryporter:

Perhaps we should rename any number of the failed and failing banks, investment houses and major corporations after our current president. A fitting legacy, no doubt.


There's this: "San Francisco may name sewage treatment plant after Bush."
11.23.2008 12:12am
DanO29 (mail) (www):

Seriously, does anyone think that school kids fifty years from now will have not heard of Barack Obama?


Seriously, do you think that school kids today know a damned thing about Dwight D. Eisenhower? Let alone Adlai Stevenson.

They will be lucky to be able to read 50 years from now.
11.23.2008 12:13am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
constantin:

Obama's recycling of his whole cabinet into a third Clinton term


He basically has three choices:

A) Hire people without White House experience
B) Hire Republicans
C) Hire people who worked for Clinton

Presumably you don't really expect him to do mostly B. And if he did mostly A, you'd be complaining that an allegedly inexperienced person is hiring other inexperienced people. So it's damned if you do, damned if you don't.
11.23.2008 12:13am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey:

The old timey rule that someone had to be dead for ten years, before naming anything after them that had been paid for with public money, was a damn good rule. But with 0, we should make an exception, right?


George Bush Intercontinental Airport was named after Bush I in 1997. So does that mean he died in 1987? I guess not, which means they made an "exception" for him. But you had no complaints about that, right?

By the way, I have a feeling lots of people assume the airport is named after Bush II, since all the basic signage and promotional information does nothing to indicate otherwise.
11.23.2008 12:13am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zarkov:

What's next-- parades carrying immense pictures of The Anointed One? This is a wholly Un-American display of character worship.


We've already seen the billboard with the 'immense picture' of the current "Anointed One." I don't recall you complaining about that "wholly Un-American display of character worship." Or complaining about the people teaching their kids to worship Bush. And writing books describing him as "The Messiah: The Chosen One."

But maybe you and lots of other conservatives did complain about those things, and I just didn't notice.
11.23.2008 12:13am
Confused One:
Apparently Obama has been invited to the school for the renaming ceremony.

A more interesting question--will he attend?

I hope not. I love him, but yes, it's premature.
11.23.2008 12:15am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dan:

They will be lucky to be able to read 50 years from now.


If we don't manage to reverse Dubya's financial legacy, what they'll be learning how to read is Chinese.
11.23.2008 12:17am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Presumably you don't really expect him to do mostly B. And if he did mostly A, you'd be complaining that an allegedly inexperienced person is hiring other inexperienced people. So it's damned if you do, damned if you don't."

OK. So where's the change?
11.23.2008 12:18am
James Gibson (mail):
I liked this statement.: We cannot put the face of a person on a stamp unless said person is deceased. My suggestion, therefore, is that you drop dead.

Six years ago the Bancroft Pize for History was revoked for the first time. It seems it was given to a "historian" for his book on early American history that came to some radical, but politically supported, conclusions. He had been releasing articles on his discovery for several years before he published his book building his political support base among the media, important special interest groups, and of course a political party. It was through this political support that he was nominated for the Bancroft and it was through that support that the prize was awarded even though the conclusions were already being disputed. It took but two years to completely break the research and force the Bancroft to be revoked within a year of it being awarded. This is why major awards for science, history, economics and even the award of a place on Mt Rushmore should not be done until decades later to insure that it doesn't turn into a big mistake.

Today however we require immediate certification that our actions or beliefs are correct. To satisfy our own ego, we want temples erected to our new emperor now, not later after his death. In the name of Hubris, we have to have our choosen views immediately supported by awards and trophys even though these awards used to be based on facts proven by years of research. Recent examples of this are the Nobel prizes to Gore and Klugman which violate the old tradition of waiting almost twenty years so other scholars have some time to either disprove the work or replicate it.

Thus, we also have this rush to name schools, mountains, roads and even buildings after Obama to insure that his presidency will be successful. We also make Songs of religious praise to him, and fabricate Commemorative plates and coins. And yes, many of us are awaiting the replacement of the American flag on Air Force one by the Obama symbol and then the creation of an Obama holiday replacing presidents day. All based on the view that if we make the monuments now his presidency can't be anything but successful.

As history however has shown, great monuments built by living men to show their greatness only quicken their demise. The question that only time will now tell us is what will be his accomplishments and will these be enough to legitimize the monuments people are already erecting to him. If they are not, then the monuments will only work to drag his presidency down even further.
11.23.2008 12:19am
Syd Henderson (mail):
This doesn't seem so bad. After all, check out why Mt. McKinley was named after Mt. McKinley, and schools are named after much less illustrious characters. Everest, for example. Then there's a Lord Sydney who kept naming things for me...

For a long time, one of the buildings on campus was named for a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. (That's not why it was named for him. He was also one of the founders of the University of Oklahoma and taught chemistry and physics. He still has a nearby street named after him. Debarr himself was dismissed in the 1920s because of his Klannish activities.)

The street east of me becomes James Garner Avenue a little bit north of here. There's also a part of Main Street named James Garner Corridor. I thoroughly approve of the avenue but the corridor is an odd thing.

For real overkill, look up the name MacQuarie in Wikipedia. At least Obama will be a President.
11.23.2008 12:24am
Matthew K:

Apparently Obama has been invited to the school for the renaming ceremony.

A more interesting question--will he attend?

I hope not. I love him, but yes, it's premature.


Can you imagine the effect it would have on the kids if he did? This is an entirely minority school in a low income area. Its tests scores are very distressing (seriously, google the stats on this place). If the President-elect showed up and told them to do their homework, they just might. It would be an excellent place to give a speech on personal responsibility and parental involvement.

God, this blog is becoming a fever-swamp. It's barely worth reading these days.
11.23.2008 12:26am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

So where's the change?


At the top, where it counts.

But you're going to gripe no matter what (as I explained), so it's hard to take your question seriously.
11.23.2008 12:27am
RPT (mail):
Was that one of our conservative posters in the Palin video with the turkeys?
11.23.2008 12:38am
ShelbyC:

Obama's recycling of his whole cabinet into a third Clinton term



I wonder who his intern's going to be?
11.23.2008 12:48am
Syd Henderson (mail):
Totally irrelevant, but three of elementary schools in one episode of the Japanese Anime Series Ghost Stories (using the English captions, not the transliterations) are Barney Frank Elementary School, Condaleeza Rice Elementary School, and Jocelyn Elders Elementary School.
11.23.2008 12:55am
Elliot123 (mail):
"But you're going to gripe no matter what (as I explained), so it's hard to take your question seriously."

Actually, I waited to gripe until he started recycling for Clinton's third term. So, I ask again. Where is the change? The guy at the top isn't showing much evidence of change when he staffs with the old Clinton folks and keeps Bush's SecDef. Gates, Richardson, Hillary, Geithner, Holder, Emanuael... The first pass isn't change at all. He's even balking at Don't Ask Don't Tell. Are these the ones the world has been waiting for?
11.23.2008 1:26am
Constantin:
Benjamin Davis: "Get a life."

After you, chief.

Best,
Constantin
11.23.2008 1:33am
Litigator-London:
For what it is worth, the UK practice is that public buildings may be named after the Monarch or a member of the Royal Family - but only with permission - otherwise the convention is that names are given to public edifices "in memoriam" only.

In his book "Up the Organisation", Robert Townsend suggested that the best way for a large organisation to move an office is to put one person, say one Snooks, in charge and tell him that if within 30 days of moving the whole thing works and the cries of outraged personal dignity have died down, the building will be named "the Snooks Building", otherwise "the Snooks Memorial Building".

BTW to add to the list of edifices named after Republicans, I understand California residents voted to name a sewage treatment plant after George W. Bush
11.23.2008 1:37am
Jason F:
Can you imagine the effect it would have on the kids if he did? This is an entirely minority school in a low income area. Its tests scores are very distressing (seriously, google the stats on this place). If the President-elect showed up and told them to do their homework, they just might. It would be an excellent place to give a speech on personal responsibility and parental involvement.


It's funny. I read this same story the other day on Dailykos. On that site, there were at least half a dozen comments that went basically like this: "I am a teacher. I teach mostly minority kids. Since the election, many of the kids in my class who used to act up and do poorly have started paying attention and working hard. They view Barack Obama not just a role model, but someone whose example they have to live up to."

I think there are many people who live in the middle-class or upper-class world who really don't understand how much of an effect the election of a black man has on people who thought they were barred from the American dream. To them, it is proof positive that America is living up to the promises written into our founding documents.
11.23.2008 1:38am
first history:
I understand California residents voted to name a sewage treatment plant after George W. Bush.

Proposition R in San Francisco lost 30% to 70%.
11.23.2008 1:44am
trad and anon (mail):
I don't think we should name things after Presidents at least until after they're dead. Preferably never. The President is not a king, and we should stop glorifying the Presidency as though it were a kingship.

In any case it's crazy to be doing this now. For all we know he may get us into another disastrous war, or be forced to resign in disgrace for taking bribes.
11.23.2008 1:48am
MS (mail):
My son goes to Laura Bush Elementary. It was named after her in Feb. 2002. Anyone care to bet whether laura or barry is more relevant in 50 years?
11.23.2008 1:51am
Elliot123 (mail):
Having watched the Obama-baiting in this space for all of the election period, I suspect that for some of you there is simply nothing he might do as President that would "measure up" to have a school named after him. Maybe the janitor's office might be permitted, but heavens not something more substantial. Get a life.
Best,
Ben


To date he has no acomplishment to earn the janitor's ofice. But, that might be a good place to start.
11.23.2008 2:00am
richard cabeza:
Having watched the Obama-baiting in this space for all of the election period, I suspect that for some of you there is simply nothing he might do as President that would "measure up" to have a school named after him.


Well, it would sure help to have the administration actually begun, or the electoral college fully wrapped up, or for adults to have been the deciding factor in the school's naming, or for there not to have a continuing stink of personality cult around any discussion about the man.

Your 'what could he do to measure up to this recognition' comment is senseless; it implicitly, but loudly, says that ad hominem is an entirely appropriate basis for judgement of a political figure. That's disgusting.
11.23.2008 2:03am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
rpt:

Was that one of our conservative posters in the Palin video with the turkeys?


Alaska probably has a school where you can learn how to field-dress a moose, behead a turkey, and shoot a wolf from an airplane. Or even stalk your ex-brother in law through the woods, so you can snap photos of him riding a snow machine. And if it doesn't, it should. And right about now, that school be renamed to honor Palin.
11.23.2008 2:03am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
shelby:

I wonder who his intern's going to be?


I think you're confused. The presidential candidate with the history of adultery was the one who lost, not the one who won.
11.23.2008 2:03am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

The first pass isn't change at all.


I think you need to decide which narrative you prefer:

A) He's a Marxist Muslim socialist fascist who's going to impose sharia law and force us all to have gay abortions.

B) What he's doing "isn't change at all."

We were hearing lots of A, and now we're hearing B. Trouble is, they're mutually exclusive. So I hope you can settle down and pick one.
11.23.2008 2:03am
LN (mail):

Where is the change?


The change is from the current brain trust running the government, genius.
11.23.2008 2:07am
Thoughtful (mail):
Perhaps renaming the school IS going too far at this point.

Perhaps if all the students simply followed his advice and pulled up their pants properly, it might be a good first step...
11.23.2008 2:09am
Constantin:
"I think there are many people who live in the middle-class or upper-class world who really don't understand how much of an effect the election of a black man has on people who thought they were barred from the American dream."

Were these people not paying attention the past thirty years or so?

And count me doubtful on how much we'll see crime rates and illegitimacy go down, and test scores and employment rates go up, in these groups you claim so inspired by the election. There will always be excuses, and people like Benjamin Davis to make them.
11.23.2008 2:09am
Jay Myers:
I'm not an Obama fan but if naming schools after him helps inspire kids to perform academically and counters the attitude that studying and being intellectual is "acting white" then I am all for it.
11.23.2008 2:14am
fortyninerdweet (mail):
Benjamin Davis said:
Rather than making a comment like this I would have hoped that you would have tried to comprehend more deeply the emotion and feeling of those kids
I would think at that age their emotions and feelings would be more attuned to fun and recreational things, not politics and national policies - as important as they might be. Do I detect so-called adult manipulation at work here? Nah, couldn't happen.
11.23.2008 2:26am
second history:
trad and anon sez:

I don't think we should name things after Presidents at least until after they're dead. Preferably never. The President is not a king, and we should stop glorifying the Presidency as though it were a kingship.

Tear down Mt. Rushmore, the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials! Free us from our idols!

MS sez:

Anyone care to bet whether laura or barry is more relevant in 50 years?

No doubt President Obama will be more relevant in 50 years. As President, his decisions will affect the course of history (for good or ill) of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions overseas. He will have the power of life and death, based on his decisions on the use of military force. The US is still affectd by the decisions made at the end of WWs I and II, for example.

Laura Bush has done pretty much nothing compared to most recent First Ladies. She has not championed a specific cause (such as Lady Bird Johnson and highway beautification) and it is unlikely her post-First Lady career will include a campaign for US Senator from Texas.
11.23.2008 2:31am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
constantin:

And count me doubtful on how much we'll see crime rates and illegitimacy go down


It turns out that "crime rates and illegitimacy" tend to be higher in red states. So do you think maybe those problems will get worse, because they're sad about their guy and gal losing the election?
11.23.2008 2:35am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
jay:

the attitude that studying and being intellectual is "acting white"


It's ironic, because the GOP has been pushing the idea that "intellectual" is a pejorative that means you're a latte-drinking arugula-eating coastal elitist who isn't a real American like Joe the non-plumber. And there's no difference whatsoever between magna cum laude at Harvard Law, as compared with a journalism degree from U of Idaho.
11.23.2008 2:35am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
forty:

Do I detect so-called adult manipulation at work here? Nah, couldn't happen.


Good point. No way Americans would ever be seen teaching kids to worship a president.
11.23.2008 2:35am
RightKlik (www):
Obama supporters are nothing if not rash.
http://rightklik.blogspot.com/
11.23.2008 3:07am
Grover Gardner (mail):
<blockquote>
I would think at that age their emotions and feelings would be more attuned to fun and recreational things, not politics and national policies - as important as they might be.
</blockquote>

Talk about "damned if you do and damned if you don't"...
11.23.2008 3:27am
MikeS (mail):

Likewise, it lost the Enron Field moniker for an equally good reason: Enron was no longer in a position to make its naming-rights payments.


In fact, the Astros paid millions to buy the naming rights back from Enron because that name had become so toxic that Bin Laden Park or NAMBLA Stadium would have been improvements. (Sadly, the less creative name of Astros Field was used until another sponsor could be found.)
11.23.2008 4:21am
Lib:
Charles Chapman:

Seriously, does anyone think that school kids fifty years from now will have not heard of Barack Obama? Does anyone think that only "a handful of 'professional' historians" will remember Barack Obama's name 100 years from now?
Yes. It's possible and we won't know for many years.

If Obama's term turns out to unremarkably mundane (well, to account for double negatives, perhaps I should say "remarkably mundane") and we've elected three "minority" Presidents in the intervening years (including, for example, Bobby Jindal), Obama's name might have limited recognition among school kids fifty years from now. I wonder if today, less than fifty years after he was elected, school kids would tell you or know that "JFK was the first Catholic President" - I suspect (perhaps hope) that instead they recall "Bay of Pigs", "Cuban Missile Crisis", "man-on-the-moon", "Lee Harvey Oswald", and "dad's bankroll" when JFK comes up rather than "cool Catholic in the right place at the right time". Actually, since I think few voted for JFK because he was Catholic but I fear that a significant percentage voted for Obama because he was "African-American" maybe there is some history lesson here that I hope 50 years from now is written dispassionately.

Similar argument apply to professional historians in 100 years. Of course, because it's their passion and job, a Presidential Historian 100 years from now will recall Obama as a President, just as they recall Bush 41 as a (unremarkable) President or Clinton 42 as a (unremarkable except for impeachment) President.

As you should note elsewhere in my post, I think any President probably is worthy of recognition (either as an example of what not to do, or what to do) but based on accomplishments in office (which, in Obama's case, I hope, but am not hopeful, are substantial) rather than race, religion, or gender.
11.23.2008 4:29am
Litigator-London:
Glad to hear from History First's post that the proposition to name a sewage plant after President Bush failed 30-70. Do I take it that the 30% were the Republican faithful and the 70% were Democrats who didn't want any memorialisation of the Bush presidency - or perhaps the converse - it doesn't really matter?

To what extent do people think the US tendency to name buildings is akin to tendency other nations have with street names - cf the French with the Paris Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt and every last village with some square or street named after De Gaulle (coupled, of course with a re-naming tendency as figures go in and out of fashion. One doesn't today find many Piazzas Del Duce, Avenidas del Generalissimo Francisco Franco or Boulevards du Marechal Petain.

How about US practice? Any movement yet discernable towards the renaming of buildings named after, say, J. Edgar Hoover or Richard Nixon? Or are the names truly forever?
11.23.2008 4:31am
A. Zarkov (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

"I don't recall you complaining about that "wholly Un-American display of character worship."

I never saw that billboard or any reference to it. I would certainly have complained if I had known about it. Ditto for your other examples. But those are the acts of private parties, and are a far cry from naming public schools and public streets after someone who hasn't even taken office yet.
11.23.2008 4:42am
Glocksman:
As an alumnus of William Henry Harrison (who served 30 days before dying in office) high school located in a city where municipal pools and the local stadium are named after the Mayors who were in office when they were built*, my reaction to this is a big 'meh'.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that Obama himself has nothing to do with the proposed renamings.

Starstruck local officials making 'premature' decisions WRT naming schools and mountains after Obama may be somewhat tacky, but it's no threat to the republic.


*One such pool is Hartke pool, built in 1958 by then Mayor Vance Hartke.
11.23.2008 4:55am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"I think there are many people who live in the middle-class or upper-class world who really don't understand how much of an effect the election of a black man ..."

Biologically Obama is as much white as he is black. Moreover his father was from Kenya, and therefore not the descendant of the slaves brought to America or the Caribbean. He was raised by his white grandparents, sent to a private college prep school, and attended Ivy League Universities. As such he has little in common either educationally or biologically with the 12% of the American population called "African-Americans," except for having had his black father abandon him as a young child. Compare and contrast to someone like Colin Powell, who was born in Harlem to black Jamaican parents.
11.23.2008 5:05am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"So, do the people likening this to Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany realize they sound like rabid wolves,..."

I've had my rabies shots, thank you.
11.23.2008 5:10am
Joey32 (mail):
WTF?

Guy wins a Presidential election and gets a school in Long Island named after him and the Professor protests. I'm hoping that if he does this "important job well[]" like the Professor suggests he'll get a lot more than a freaking school named after him.

If we were renaming Mt. McKinley and already carving his face into Mt. Rushmore, then OK, I'd see the point in complaining, but a school in Long Island seems out of proportion for a guy who won a Presidential election? Really? Who are the schools named for where you're from?

"But important as getting a job might be, especially under the circumstances, the ultimate goal of getting the job has to be to do the job well. That's long been the premise of antidiscrimination law, and even many supporters of race- and sex-based affirmative action endorse it: The goal is to give blacks and members of other groups the same opportunity to do important jobs well -- and to help others through doing the job well -- that others have. "

- Could we try to avoid bringing up affirmative action every time President-elect Obama's name is mentioned the next eight years? I like grinding axes as much as the next guy, but it doesn't exactly scream class.
11.23.2008 7:05am
Smokey:
From one rabid wolf to another.

Sing for Change!
11.23.2008 7:13am
Fub:
David Warner wrote at 11.23.2008 12:03am:
He should hold out for things like Mt. Rushmore, money, state names, et. al...
Mt. Rushmore was named for Charles E. Rushmore, a lawyer whose major claim to fame is that the mountain is named after him.
11.23.2008 7:27am
Arkady:
Next up: Eugene posts on the Obama family's choice of a dog. Insightful commentary follows on why the choice is proof postive of Obama's unfitness for office.
11.23.2008 7:33am
Brett Bellmore:

Seriously, does anyone think that school kids fifty years from now will have not heard of Barack Obama?


Of course they'll have heard of him. The point is, we haven't a clue WHAT they'll have heard of him. It could be something truly awful.

Naming anything after him at THIS point is juvenile, but I suppose juveniles did it.
11.23.2008 7:45am
Smokey:
jukeboxgrad:
"San Francisco may name sewage treatment plant after Bush."
Shame on me for feeding the troll.

But note that the citizens of San Francisco rejected naming their sewage treatment plant after the president by 70/30, a rather lopsided vote as votes go. The average San Franciscan has political views contrary to their wacked-out 'leaders,' as this vote clearly demonstrates.

And London-Litigator shows up again with his dainty knickers in a bunch, pontificating on the same vote and desperately hoping that our people would have named the same sewage plant after the American president he hates.

Excuse me, foreigner, but our internal politics is none of your Euroweenie business. We don't need limp-wristed fops here. We're descendants of the pioneers, where, in the immortal words of John Wayne, the weak died along the way, and the cowards never started. You are in the latter subset.
11.23.2008 7:55am
LM (mail):
My first thought: Five years from retirement seems to have worked pretty well for Cooperstown. It would probably also give enough perspective to name a school or a bridge. But if we never named anything after a politician, that would be fine with me too.

All of that said, to the authors of the petty sniping at the re-naming described in EV's post, just what country do you live in anyway? Are you really that blind to the value of school kids being inspired by the POTUS? Or are Hitler and Stalin really the only associations you can tolerate for a leader who doesn't share your ideology?
11.23.2008 8:24am
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

"It turns out that "crime rates and illegitimacy" tend to be higher in red states."


with the link provided showing no sources for the numbers provided.

I'm not saying that the claims made are accurate or inaccurate. But until the sources for the numbers provided in the article are known, that's the problem - we don't know.
11.23.2008 8:28am
taney71:
Do not speech negatively of our Dear Leader. The Chosen One is all knowing and shortly you will be picked up and sent to the reeducation center to learn how wonderful our Dear Leader is and learn of all the great things he will do. Isn't it enough for you to know the the Chosen One has potential even if he hasn't accomplished anything?
11.23.2008 8:36am
taney71:
speech=speak
11.23.2008 8:37am
LM (mail):
Smokey:

Excuse me, foreigner, but our internal politics is none of your Euroweenie business. We don't need limp-wristed fops here. We're descendants of the pioneers, where, in the immortal words of John Wayne, the weak died along the way, and the cowards never started. You are in the latter subset.

Smokey, which part of our heritage teaches us to insult our guests and tell them to shut up?
11.23.2008 8:41am
Fury:
Eugene Volokh:

"And until a successful candidate does the job well, however historic his successful candidacy may have been, it seems to me that people should hold off on renaming institutions and landmarks in his honor."

Well, it's not like the media may have been biased, which may have influenced people:

Halperin at Politico/USC conf.: 'extreme pro-Obama' press bias
11.23.2008 8:57am
Potted Plant (mail):
The town in New Jersey where I grew up had an elementary school named, pre-resignation, after Nixon. It's never been changed, and remains Nixon School to this day.

The naming or re-naming of things after Obama isn't a big deal.
11.23.2008 9:05am
Kevin P. (mail):
What part of our guest's heritage tells him to come to our house and insult some of us?
11.23.2008 9:06am
Kevin P. (mail):
I am a non-European immigrant to the US and frankly, grow weary of sneering Euros. After the industrial revolution, these have been the recent European contributions to the human experience: colonialism, two World Wars, socialism, communism, Marxism, the holocaust, genocide and ethnic cleansing.

America is not a perfect country by any means, but its track records of sins pales in comparison to the above.
11.23.2008 9:10am
David Warner:
Jason F.,

"I think there are many people who live in the middle-class or upper-class world who really don't understand how much of an effect the election of a black man has on people who thought they were barred from the American dream."

Gee, Jason, I wonder where they got that idea. Friedman had a column claiming that the Obama election finally ended the Civil War. I'm hoping it will finally end the Cold War. We did defeat the Soviet Union. Until now, we'd only tied the KGB.
11.23.2008 9:13am
Sarcastro (www):
This is such bad news for Obama! It proves somehow that he's dumb. Speaking of Obama, he's a total Marxist.

In other news, it is also my mature opinion that America rules, and Europe is full of gaylords who shouldn't be gaying up this manly American discussion of school naming.
11.23.2008 9:18am
David Warner:
Fub,

"Mt. Rushmore was named for Charles E. Rushmore, a lawyer whose major claim to fame is that the mountain is named after him."

Nice shot. I wasn't entirely unserious here. Obama has non-zero potential to get his face on Rushmore, money, etc... We'll just have to wait and see.
11.23.2008 9:21am
Angus Johnston (www):
Recent examples of this are the Nobel prizes to Gore and Klugman which violate the old tradition of waiting almost twenty years so other scholars have some time to either disprove the work or replicate it.

Quincy went off the air in 1983, so Klugman's nobel meets your criteria.
11.23.2008 9:26am
Brett Bellmore:

Obama has non-zero potential to get his face on Rushmore, money,


ANY President has a non-zero chance of that, until the mountain gets used up. One hopes at least that honor can wait until he's dead, though.
11.23.2008 9:49am
BT:
Kevin P:

"After the industrial revolution, these have been the recent European contributions to the human experience: colonialism, two World Wars, socialism, ...".

I think you could add jukeboxgrad to that dubious list.

Actually the only thing that upsets me about the renaming of the school is that it is not called:

OUR SAVIOR Barack Obama Elementary School, which I think acurately reflects BO's rightful place in the lives of the 60+ million pathetic dupes who voted for him.

Living (if you can call it that) in Chicago as I do, the media here cannot stop talking about BO. BO did this, BO did that. BO healed the sick, BO raised the dead... ad nauseum and this is just the beginning. It is going to be a long four years.
11.23.2008 9:51am
Mike Keenan:
"Isn't This a Bit Premature?"

No, it isn't really. Who are your local middle schools named after? If people, have you ever even heard of them? Our local school is named after the daughter of a local plantaton owner from the 1930's. A lovely name, but not very inspiring to the kids. Maybe kids are beyond that these days, but the actions of the schoolchildren in this story says otherwise.
11.23.2008 9:54am
Sarcastro (www):
my sympathies, BT.

I find if you write His name "BHO" it makes you feel a little bit better. "Hussein" works even better, if you can take the liberal whining!
11.23.2008 9:57am
RPT (mail):
"Smokey:

We're descendants of the pioneers, where, in the immortal words of John Wayne, the weak died along the way, and the cowards never started."

I remember hearing the stories of the exploits of John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, et al, leading the wagons across the plains. They built the railroads! They won the war! Wow.
11.23.2008 10:08am
Mahan Atma (mail):
I'll gladly agree that it's premature to name schools after Obama if the Republicans here will agree that it's too early to start judging his Presidency.

Any takers?
11.23.2008 10:19am
MarkField (mail):

Biologically Obama is as much white as he is black.


Biologically, we're all Africans. The social impact of race is a teeeeeeensy bit more important.
11.23.2008 10:35am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Seeing as we have as many as eight years ahead of us with O as president, there is plenty of chance for the school to be embarrassed.
Shame to rename it.
O might make a terrible error. He might turn out to be personally corrupt. He might turn out to be corrupt in the sense that Grant was, which was to allow by inattention corruption.
He might, instead, be a pretty good journeyman president who is so slandered by the republicans doing the BDS thing in return that nobody would name a dog pound after him.

Ought to wait.
11.23.2008 10:36am
Marion (mail):
I'm from Iowa and I went to Herbert Hoover school (Hoover is Iowa's only president). I don't see the big deal...it seems that schools get named after ANYBODY...one school in a district got named after a loyal school district secretary. I think if you're president, you automatically get schools named after you...and the better you are, the more schools there are.
11.23.2008 10:43am
Biff:
And London-Litigator shows up again with his dainty knickers in a bunch, pontificating on the same vote and desperately hoping that our people would have named the same sewage plant after the American president he hates.


Actually, London-Litigator said exactly the opposite.

Perhaps, Smokey, the election of Obama will inspire you to learn how to read. You too, Kevin P.
11.23.2008 10:43am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lib:

I fear that a significant percentage voted for Obama because he was "African-American"


I wonder how you think that percentage compares with the percentage that did the opposite. Just curious.
11.23.2008 10:43am
Gabor (mail):
Yorba Linda named an elementary school after Nixon at least as early as his first term.

In German, there is a phrase to the effect that one should not name anything after someone who "has not yet murdered his wife."
11.23.2008 10:48am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zarkov:

I never saw that billboard or any reference to it. I would certainly have complained if I had known about it. Ditto for your other examples.


I think the fact that you never heard of those incidents is sufficient to strongly suggest that there was no general outcry by conservatives who were concerned about any "wholly Un-American display of character worship." Which tells me that, generally speaking, the conservatives who are currently making a fuss about "character worship" are not being particularly sincere (although there might individual exceptions, like you).

a far cry from naming public schools and public streets after someone who hasn't even taken office yet


Hold your horses. As far as I know, no one has named a street after him, or specifically proposed doing so. The article only made a general, speculative statement that such a thing will be "likely," at some point.

And above someone mentioned the school that was named after Laura Bush in 2/02. And that was indeed before she had "taken office," since she has never taken office. So is naming a school after Laura Bush a year after she became First Lady really "a far cry" from naming a school after Obama shortly before he takes office? Was there something historic about Laura becoming First Lady? Perhaps no Laura had ever been a First Lady before? Perhaps people named Laura had been enslaved in this country for hundreds of years?

And did we ever hear a peep out of any conservative about the "wholly Un-American display of character worship" embodied in the act of naming that school after her? I doubt it.

Biologically Obama is as much white as he is black.


Maybe you should explain that to this guy. Or to the people behind the "Rising Number of Racist Anti-Obama Actions in Small Towns." Could it be those people are protesting Obama's whiteness? I don't think so. But for some strange reason there have been " 'hundreds and hundreds' of hate-related incidents." Would that number be doubled if Obama was 100% black, and not just (according to you) 50% black?

But I don't think we'll see a VC post about these racial incidents, because it's far more important to criticize the people who are naming schools after Obama.
11.23.2008 10:50am
Angus Johnston (www):
Yorba Linda named an elementary school after Nixon at least as early as his first term.

Actually, that school was named for Nixon in the 1950s. It doesn't exist anymore (torn down to make room for the presidential library), but there are at least two public schools extant today that are named for RMN.

(Thanks to beamish for correcting me on the Tumwater GWB school, by the way.)
11.23.2008 10:55am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

with the link provided showing no sources


Similar data, with sources referenced, can be found here.

until the sources for the numbers provided in the article are known, that's the problem - we don't know.


Not exactly. If the article had any non-trivial errors, the likelihood is extremely high that a bunch of righty bloggers would have jumped at the chance to demonstrate that, and discredit American Prospect. Can you find anyone who has done that, to any degree whatsoever? I doubt it.

It would interest me greatly if you can show a single example of a non-trivial error in this article. As far as I can tell, no one has ever done that. This tends to create the impression that the numbers are correct.

It would even help if you could show a single example of any significant uncorrected error anywhere in American Prospect (especially in an instance where it's clear that they were notified of the error and nevertheless failed to correct it). I have shown such examples regarding articles at VC, Power Line and NR. In the absence of proof that American Prospect has a track record of posting misinformation (the kind of track record I've personally proven for VC, Power Line and NR), it's reasonable to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Halperin at Politico/USC conf.: 'extreme pro-Obama' press bias


Thanks for the laugh. "Listening to Mark Halperin discuss media bias is like listening to Michael Brown opine on the benefits of good disaster relief."
11.23.2008 11:04am
Ricardo (mail):
This is wonderful. All Hail Dear Leader, the Obamafuhrer.
11.23.2008 11:07am
Marion (mail):
Another prematurely named school...I wonder if Volokh will spout off about this one too:
http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/browse_school/ca/12552
11.23.2008 11:13am
Richard Souther:
Mahan Atma: "I'll gladly agree that it's premature to name schools after Obama if the Republicans here will agree that it's too early to start judging his Presidency."

Even though I am not a Republican or a Democrat, rather a fiscally conservative and socially liberal independent, I will take you up on your offer. However, this agreement in no way disqualifies me from criticizing/judging the plans and proposals that are floated by his transition team before inauguration.
11.23.2008 11:14am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bt:

I think you could add jukeboxgrad to that dubious list.


Did I say 'colour?' Or 'favourite?' Have I been observed drinking espresso? Wearing a beret? Where did you get the idea that I'm European (not that there's anything wrong with that)? Speaking of "dubious." Or are you putting me in a general category of honorary Europeans, as an all-purpose synonym for 'people who say things I don't like?'

I should add your post to my collection of posts which confidently proclaim that some other commenter X Y or Z is my sockpuppet. Or that I'm actually a sockpuppet for well-known blogger X Y or Z. The unwarranted confidence behind those statements (and your statement) is equal in magnitude to their pointlessness.

the 60+ million pathetic dupes who voted for him


Closer to 70: 67,066,915. More than any president in history, by a wide margin (over 5 million votes). You should be careful to not minimize the number of Americans who are "pathetic dupes."

It is going to be a long four years.


Eight. Especially if you run Palin. And I'm very optimistic about that, since she's your current front-runner.
11.23.2008 11:15am
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Even though I am not a Republican or a Democrat, rather a fiscally conservative and socially liberal independent..."


Sorry -- I realize that nobody here is actually a Republican. Rather, I use that term generally to refer to people who voted for McCain and George Bush (twice).
11.23.2008 12:04pm
Dave N (mail):
I always thought naming National Airport after Ronald Reagan was adding an insult to injury (or rewarding his decisive leadership, depending on your point of view) for his handling of the air traffic controller's strike.

I will say that naming National Airport after Reagan or Intercontinental after George H.W. Bush was inapporiate until either was dead--and for at least 10 years after death for each.

That said, I think that there is a kind of continuum--and naming certain things is more important than naming others. For example, naming a state or a city after someone is more significant than naming an airport; which is more significant than naming a high school; which again is more significant than naming a junior high or elementary school--which is probably a bit more significant than naming a street.

The same with ships. The "Presidential class" of aircraft carriers would have done better to name ships after historically significant Presidents than those who recently served--perhaps the U.S.S. Andrew Jackson or U.S.S. James Monroe or U.S.S. William McKinley rather than the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush.

(And yes, I realize that both Andrew Jackson and James Monroe had submarines named after them, but a sub isn't the same thing as a carrier).

All that said, naming an elementary school after Barack Obama is a bit premature--but also no big deal.
11.23.2008 12:12pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
rpt:

I remember hearing the stories of the exploits of John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, et al, leading the wagons across the plains. They built the railroads! They won the war! Wow.


Separating fiction from non-fiction is a chronic GOP problem.

mahan:

it's too early to start judging his Presidency


How can you say that? He already caused a major recession. It's even named after him. Hannity said so:

this is really the Obama recession


(Full transcript here.) And Rush said the same thing. (Full transcript here.)

Will they call the recovery that happens on his watch "the Obama recovery?" Fat chance. Credit for that will undoubtedly go to Reagan.

marion:

Another prematurely named school


They didn't just put his name on the school. They also put it on a very impressive t-shirt. And they gave him one! And here you can even find video of him getting choked up about it.
11.23.2008 12:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ricardo:

All Hail Dear Leader


If you pay close attention to the photo, you'll see that the correct phrasing is "Our Leader."
11.23.2008 12:20pm
Constantin:
>And count me doubtful on how much we'll see crime rates and illegitimacy go down, and test scores and employment rates go up, in these groups you claim so inspired by the election. There will always be excuses, and people like Benjamin Davis to make them.

>>jukeboxgrad:

"It turns out that "crime rates and illegitimacy" tend to be higher in red states."


What does this have to do with anything. A guy made the claim that the ills of "black America" would be solved via a self-esteem boost from having a black president. I said I doubted it. And you respond with this evasion.

I'd be scared, too, if I was an Obamabot, now that all of his messianic promises and barely-sheathed appeals to racial politics must be fulfilled. His own team is out there scrambling to tamp down expectations, and it looks like that has seeped onto this comment thread, too.

Remember, Obama didn't say he'd try to fix all of America's problems. He said electing him meant they'd be fixed flat-out. That's the standard I'll be holding him to.
11.23.2008 12:23pm
Smokey:
I'll gladly agree that it's premature to name schools after Obama if the Republicans here will agree that it's too early to start judging his Presidency.
IANAR [I, like millions, voted for the lesser of two evils, so Atma's qualification doesn't apply]. So how about this compromise:

I'll cut 0 exactly the same slack that Democrats and the media did for GWB, starting when Gore reneged on his concession phone call.

Deal?
11.23.2008 12:32pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Obama didn't say he'd try to fix all of America's problems. He said electing him meant they'd be fixed flat-out."


Care to point to an actual quote?
11.23.2008 12:32pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"IANAR [I, like millions, voted for the lesser of two evils..."


Just curious, did you also vote (twice) for George Bush?

And BTW, "IANAR" - this is awesome! I'm curious to know if anyone here will actually admit to being a Republican.
11.23.2008 12:35pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
constantin:

you respond with this evasion


It's not an "evasion" to point out your evasion in choosing to focus on "the ills of 'black America' " when it turns out that red-state America is iller.

Obama didn't say he'd try to fix all of America's problems. He said electing him meant they'd be fixed flat-out.


He said that "all of America's problems" would be "fixed flat-out?" Really? Like Mahan, I'm hoping you can show us the quote. Especially the one with "all." And the one with "flat-out" (or a synonym of that).

I don't remember any promises like that. On the other hand, I do remember the people who promised that after six months only a "residual number" of troops would be needed. But you got very upset about that particular broken promise, right?
11.23.2008 12:38pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"I'll cut 0 exactly the same slack that Democrats and the media did for GWB, starting when Gore reneged on his concession phone call."


OK, well if McCain to withdraw his concession and request a recount (especially in states where it is mandatory under state law), I'll gladly concede him that right.
11.23.2008 12:38pm
Dave N (mail):
Mahan Atma,

I am a Republican--voted for George W. Bush twice. I think Reagan was probably the greatest President in my lifetime (which means he is compared only to Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, the two Bushes, and Clinton).

But I also stand by my comments above about naming things after Presidents.
11.23.2008 12:39pm
josh:
Yeah, uh, EV, I think you missed the point on this one. I haven't seen a direct quote one way or the other, but it appears from the news accounts that the renaming is due to Obama being the first elected black president -- not a commentary on how wonderful a president he will or won't be.

Note the story in your link ends with an invite by the school to Gov. Paterson -- the first black governor.
11.23.2008 12:40pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey:

I'll cut 0 exactly the same slack that Democrats and the media did for GWB


Are you referring to the Democrats who joined in and gave him a 90% approval rating after 9/11? Are you talking about the media that fell in line and helped him promote the war? Even though it meant helping Bush lie to us? Are you talking about those "Democrats and the media?"
11.23.2008 12:46pm
Constantin:
It's not an "evasion" to point out your evasion in choosing to focus on "the ills of 'black America' " when it turns out that red-state America is iller.

Black people don't live in "red-states"?
11.23.2008 12:49pm
Constantin:
And re: promises, the guy said he'd make the oceans recede. Isn't balancing the budget a shoe-in considering those powers?
11.23.2008 12:54pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
Sarcastro,

Did you read EV's actual post?
11.23.2008 12:55pm
Constantin:
That's shoo-in, of course. Obama's magical powers can't fix my spelling, it seems. So he's one in the hole already.
11.23.2008 12:57pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
MarkField:

"Biologically, we're all Africans."


That's like saying biologically we're all Homo sapiens since all behaviorally modern humans originated in Africa. But the different races in the modern world are much more than a mere social construct.

Approximately 50,000 years ago, a small band of behaviorally modern humans left Africa and spread all over the world and evolved into the different non-African races. We can actually cluster the different races from the first two principal components in the space of genetic variation. Cavalli-Sforza reconstructs human evolution in this classic paper. Like most black Americans, Obama is genetically an admixture, but in the space of genetic variation, he's further from American blacks than he is from Americans of European decent.

"The social impact of race is a teeeeeeensy bit more important."

Again Obama's upbringing hardly resembles that of American blacks for the reasons previously stated. He's chosen to market himself as "African-American" for the obvious political advantages which he has so deftly exploited.
11.23.2008 1:02pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

"I think the fact that you never heard of those incidents is sufficient to strongly suggest that there was no general outcry by conservatives..."

You're assuming that I speak for conservatives or in some way represent what they know and don't know. This is not the case.
11.23.2008 1:06pm
Sarcastro (www):
[Joe Bingham yeah, but the crazy commenters are more fun to respond to.

It's silly hero-worship, silly and unsurprising. It has nothing to do with Obama. Somehow, though, this is Obama's fault. I guess he shouldn't have tried as hard to get elected.

My favorite is Constantin who has decided to hold Obama to every bit of his campaign rhetoric based on how many people are hopeful. I wonder if he'd hold McCain to his promises to fix the economy first thing.

Though Zarkov's genetic definition of race is also hilariously myopic.]
11.23.2008 1:09pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

"Could it be those people are protesting Obama's whiteness? I don't think so."

There are both Jews and non-Jews with the surname "Goodman." If someone thinks a Catholic Goodman is Jewish and makes anti-Semitic remarks, that doesn't make him Jewish. I don't think a person is defined by who insults him.
11.23.2008 1:12pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Though Zarkov's genetic definition of race is also hilariously myopic."

It's not my definition. It's the accepted definition used in population genetics. If you would take the trouble to get informed about this very interesting field, you might be able to follow what I say. If you want to adopt the currently fashionable, and politically correct notion that race is a merely social construct you will find yourself on very thin ice.
11.23.2008 1:20pm
Sarcastro (www):
Yes, A. Zarkov, population genetics is super important to the electorate.

[I studied some population genetics in college as ancillary to some mathematical modeling classes. It can indeed be pretty interesting, though most of my studies were about elephants.

Not too much to do with how people act though.]
11.23.2008 1:25pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Again Obama's upbringing hardly resembles that of American blacks for the reasons previously stated."


Society decided long ago -- for racist reasons -- that anyone whose ancestry was even 1/32nd-part black would themselves be black.

Even more importantly: When, as he was growing up, the average person met Obama in person, do you think people perceived him as black?

Do you think it's possible that Obama was ever subjected to racism as a child because people perceived him as black?

(It should go without saying that these are rhetorical questions.)
11.23.2008 1:27pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"It's not my definition. It's the accepted definition used in population genetics."


But when people on the street perceive a person's race, they aren't interested in population genetics. They see a person with dark skin and curly hair, and they think, "Oh, he's black." And then they treat him like a black person.

That's just a fact of life. Are you going to deny this?
11.23.2008 1:30pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
constantin:

Black people don't live in "red-states"?


Obviously they do, but the black population in red states is apparently not the driving force behind the statistics I cited. Because the statistics generally don't indicate a problem with states that have a high black population. The statistics indicate a problem with states that vote red. Not the same thing.

It's true that a handful of red states have a high black population (e.g., MS, LA, GA and AL). But on the other hand, there are plenty of red states with a relatively low black population (e.g., TX, OK, KY, WV, KS, UT), and blue states with a relatively high black population (e.g., NY, NJ, IL, DE, MD, and MI). So race does not seem to be the explanation for the numbers I cited.
11.23.2008 1:31pm
FoolsMate:
Two observations on this story: (1) the absurd attribution of this decision to the children when it was obviously decided by school officials; and (2) it's a Captain Obvious political statement by what are presumably liberal-leaning public school officials.
11.23.2008 1:32pm
David Warner:
Mahan,

"And BTW, "IANAR" - this is awesome! I'm curious to know if anyone here will actually admit to being a Republican."

Sorry, merely Americans. Difficult for KosKidz like yourself to grasp, no doubt, but true nonetheless.
11.23.2008 1:32pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Sorry, merely Americans."


Ah - are those mutually exclusive categories now?

(Sorry, can't resist. I fully admit to my schadenfreude.)
11.23.2008 1:39pm
MarkField (mail):

Like most black Americans, Obama is genetically an admixture, but in the space of genetic variation, he's further from American blacks than he is from Americans of European decent.


This is possibly true as a matter of genetics -- you actually have no way to know that without a DNA test -- but as others have pointed out, irrelevant in terms of how Obama was (and is) treated socially.


But the different races in the modern world are much more than a mere social construct.


This is not true. See, e.g., here.


Again Obama's upbringing hardly resembles that of American blacks for the reasons previously stated.


Obama's "upbringing" included the way his white peers treated him. That was as a black person.
11.23.2008 1:51pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
constantin:

the guy said he'd make the oceans recede


This is what he actually said:

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.


He didn't say "he'd" do it. He talked about what could happen if "we are willing to work for it." And he suggested that seeing real results might take "generations." And he didn't say the oceans would "recede." He made a more modest statement, about how the "rise of the oceans [might begin] to slow."

We learn a lot about both you and Obama by noticing how you can't manage to criticize him without pretending he said things he didn't actually say. And let's recall your earlier claim:

Obama didn't say he'd try to fix all of America's problems. He said electing him meant they'd be fixed flat-out.


Still waiting for you to show the quote to support your claim. You should probably pay more attention to what Obama has actually said, and less attention to Rush and Sean's fantasy of what Obama has said.
11.23.2008 1:53pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"But when people on the street perceive a person's race, they aren't interested in population genetics. They see a person with dark skin and curly hair, and they think, "Oh, he's black." And then they treat him like a black person."

So then all people names "Goodman" are Jewish? BTW Adam Clayton Powell had long hair and a slight dark complexion (photo) yet he was the "black" politician from Harlem.

The real issue here is whether Obama can meaningfully be classified as "African-American." If you want to say he looks like one, so that classifies him then that's your definition. If he were born and raised in (say) Harlem and attended their schools, then he might have some kind of claim to American "blackness." But he was born an raised in Hawaii by white people, and went to an elite private school. My Jewish daughter has extremely curly hair, so curly some people think she's African-American. She's not lighter than Adam Clayton Powell.
11.23.2008 2:09pm
commontheme (mail):
This post rests on two absurd assumptsions 1) that only "great presidents" deserve to have things named after them. As a graduate of schools named after Polk and Garfield, I don't believe that is the case. 2) schools should be named after presidents. There are tons of schools named after senators, astronauts, athletes, writers, etc. Even were he not about to be the 44th president, Obama's accomplishments thusfar in life are worth of recognition.
11.23.2008 2:13pm
BGates:
Obama's "upbringing" included the way his white peers treated him.
The white peers in Jakarta, or the white peers in college who noticed he carefully sought out the company of the more politically active black students?
11.23.2008 2:16pm
Tritium (mail):
Well this is a very important issue. It scares me to think people have granted him a title of Christ, or Messiah. The man has not even had a day in the job.

If people want to honor someone for accomplishing something, how about his Grandmother, or his Mother? For he could not have accomplished as much as he did had it not been for them. That would be a proper use of an honorable title. Besides, I believe naming anything after someone who isn't retired is bad luck. If you don't believe me, ask Kennedy, Garfield, McKinley, and Lincoln.
11.23.2008 2:22pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"The real issue here is whether Obama can meaningfully be classified as "African-American." If you want to say he looks like one, so that classifies him then that's your definition.


That's not my definition, it's how society treats people.

The issue you raised is what he has in common with other black people:

"Obama's upbringing hardly resembles that of American blacks for the reasons previously stated."


Obviously, what Obama shares with other American blacks is that society has always considered him a black person.

And believe it or not, even in Hawaii (which is hardly the only place he spent his childhood), people treat black people differently, particularly 40 years ago.

Are you arguing that Obama was never subjected to racism as a child? Are the instances he mentions in his books complete fabrications?
11.23.2008 2:26pm
Jestak (mail):
I am with all of those who think that it is no big deal for an elementary school to be named for Barack Obama--in just a few seconds of googling, I found an elementary school named after Millard Fillmore, for crying out loud.

Aside to Eugene--the Marina Freeway, down in the Culver City area, is not the same segment of Highway 90 that was once known as the Richard Nixon Freeway. The latter is in Yorba Linda, near Tricky's birthplace, and is now known as the Richard Nixon Parkway.
11.23.2008 2:29pm
Dave N (mail):
commontheme,

Hate to quibble on a minor point, but James K. Polk is generally ranked among the 15 greatest Presidents (#9 in the WSJ's ranking by Presidential historians).

That you know little about him does not change this fact or that he was, historically, a fairly significant President.
11.23.2008 2:35pm
Guest12345:
It would interest me greatly if you can show a single example of a non-trivial error in this article.


1) They selected different years for their stats. Pick a year and compare. While I don't know if they cherry picked years where blue states had better numbers than red states, it seems curious that the point they want to make involves selecting statistics from over half a decade.
2) They selected arbitrary topics to compare. Meth, but no cocaine for example. According to this, in the one year, AR had 19 kg of cocaine seized and CA had 6,200 kg seized.
3) They ignore the under reporting of crime in low income, high population density neighborhoods.

Ignoring the bias evidenced by selecting statistics that reflect the desired outcome, the more fundamental fact is that you are discussing in 2008 and you picked an article from 2004 to support your case. Two of the states mentioned in that article as being worst case red states are now blue states as evidenced by the recent election.

As far has holding Obama to his campaign, I'm looking at 16 months to capture and kill bin Laden and crush Al Qaeda.

By the way, lay off the deflecting. It's childish. You sound like a four year hold with his hand caught in the cookie jar claiming that "Billy took one too." Grow up.

Obama won the general election, from here on out he gets judged by his on actions and claiming that Bush did something, or Carter did something, or Charles Manson did something, or John Gotti did something, it's a losing argument.
11.23.2008 2:36pm
Joshua:
Obama may yet become a great U.S. president. Unless/until he does though, renaming a school after him is like renaming some town in Montana "Hannah" after Miley Cyrus's alter ego.
11.23.2008 2:40pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zarkov:

He's chosen to market himself as "African-American" for the obvious political advantages which he has so deftly exploited.


I've cited information regarding hundreds of racial incidents regarding Obama. Please let us know if you think those people are responding to the way Obama allegedly chose "to market himself," or if you think they are responding to what they see, think and feel when they look at the color of his skin.

And please show your evidence that he did something to "market himself as 'African-American.' " Are you referring to his failure to paint his skin white?

You're assuming that I speak for conservatives or in some way represent what they know and don't know. This is not the case.


I specifically acknowledged that you are speaking only for yourself (I said "there might individual exceptions, like you"). Nevertheless, the fact that you were unaware of those incidents (e.g., the Mao-style billboard with the giant photo of Bush) helps underline what's obvious: there was no conservative outcry when Bush was the object of "wholly Un-American display of character worship."

This point of mine has nothing to do with whether or not you're a conservative, or "in some way represent what they know and don't know." I'm simply observing that you're someone who is well-informed about current events. But you didn't know about those events, because they didn't make the news, because conservatives (and other people, generally) didn't make a fuss about those events. Even though they are fundamentally at least as remarkable as the Obama-related events that people (including you) are making a fuss about now.

There are both Jews and non-Jews with the surname "Goodman." If someone thinks a Catholic Goodman is Jewish and makes anti-Semitic remarks, that doesn't make him Jewish. I don't think a person is defined by who insults him.


(I'll mention in passing that the phenomenon you're describing is related to something Palin did when running for mayor against a Christian named Stein: she implied he was something other than a Christian.)

Hitler defined as "Jew" anyone who was 25% Jewish. And even though you undoubtedly believe in a different definition, it was Hitler's definition, not some other definition (like yours or mine) which ended up being the one that mattered, in that context. So even though you "don't think a person is defined by who insults him," it turns out that other parts of reality end up being more important and relevant than what you, individually, happen to "think." The fact that many people are expressing hatred toward Obama specifically in connection with his blackness is enough to indicate the silliness of describing him as something other than black. Especially in the context of a discussion about politics (as compared with, say, genetics).

It's the accepted definition used in population genetics.


Trouble is, this is not a discussion about "population genetics." It's a discussion about politics.
11.23.2008 2:41pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"As far has holding Obama to his campaign, I'm looking at 16 months to capture and kill bin Laden and crush Al Qaeda."


First of all, "We should be able to...", not "I flat-out promise that..."

Second, in using the term "We", he was referring to America generally, not himself or his administration personally.
11.23.2008 2:48pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Just checking on the name of counties, many of them were named while the person was alive, often while he was President, and surprisingly often before. It's not surprising there are a lot of Jackson counties from the period 1815-28, but there are also a lot of Monroe counties dating from before Monroe's presidency, and three of the four Van Buren counties date from before Van Buren's presidency. (Michigan has a lot of counties named after Jackson's cabinet because they had a territorial dispute with Ohio at the time (the "Toledo War"). and they were probably also trying to convince the Jacksonites to support statehood.)
11.23.2008 2:50pm
Guest12345:
Obama's "upbringing" included the way his white peers treated him. That was as a black person.


Obama's upbringing involved growing up in Hawaii for fourteen years and Indonesia for four. In Hawaii racism is directed at whites and in Indonesia it's directed at the Chinese.
11.23.2008 2:52pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
BTW, does anyone want to comment on all the schools named for Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee?

These men were traitors, weren't they? In fact by today's standards, they weren't just traitors, they were outright terrorists.
11.23.2008 2:53pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
The biggest engagement in the Toledo War consisted of the state militias standing on opposite banks of the Maumee River and taunting each other unmercifully. Probably something to do with elderberries and hamsters.
11.23.2008 2:54pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"In Hawaii racism is directed at whites"


Ah, so there were whites in Hawaii. Tell me, were they not racists towards blacks in the 1960s?
11.23.2008 3:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
tritium:

It scares me to think people have granted him a title of Christ, or Messiah.


Have you seen the book that's been written about Him? It's called "The Messiah: The Chosen One."
11.23.2008 3:01pm
Guest12345:
We learn a lot about both you and Obama by noticing how you can't manage to criticize him without pretending he said things he didn't actually say.


What he does say is that this is "the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth."

Because this nation has never focused on providing jobs. It's never focused on providing medical care. I think there might be a few presidents, if they were alive now, who might wonder what the hell it was that their policies were aimed at if it wasn't jobs or medical care. I think there are a few countries in the world that might be a little shocked to know that they are already judged to not only not be the "best hope", but that they have been identified as not even a possible hope. A few geologists might wonder in what way the earth is sick or wounded and required healing. Finally I'm sure there are a few people who are wondering what exactly it is that the United States is the "last, best hope" of?
11.23.2008 3:01pm
second history:
Guest12345 sez:

"As far has holding Obama to his campaign, I'm looking at 16 months to capture and kill bin Laden and crush Al Qaeda."

Obama doesn't say he would get Bin Laden and crush Al Qaeda in 16 months. The exact quote from the Oxford debate:


But in 16 months we should be able to reduce our combat troops, put — provide some relief to military families and our troops and bolster our efforts in Afghanistan so that we can capture and kill bin Laden and crush al Qaeda.


At least hold him to his promises, not yours.
11.23.2008 3:06pm
dave:
"In Hawaii racism is directed at whites". Oh yeah, right; 'cos after they swanned in and took all the land for plantations and bamboozled the monarchy out of existence, subjecting the native Hawai'ians to the rule of the US Federal Government, white people were just an oppressed minority... I suppose you'd argue that white people in South Africa in the 1960s were acting to protect themselves from all that 'racism' that the ANC were dishing out?
11.23.2008 3:07pm
MatthewM (mail):
What a pathetic, basket-case, third-world mindset this story reveals! If I had my way, we would never name anything after a living person. The references to the naming of places and buildings after the (then-living) Ronald Reagan are inapposite: Reagan was out of office and incapacitated by Alzheimer's. This particular renaming, at the very beginning of a president's term, smacks of a cult of personality that is unAmerican in the extreme.
11.23.2008 3:07pm
Constantin:
My favorite is Constantin who has decided to hold Obama to every bit of his campaign rhetoric based on how many people are hopeful. I wonder if he'd hold McCain to his promises to fix the economy first thing.

Yeah, I'm the moron for taking the guy at his word.

Jukeboxgrad, when people in "Red States" start naming schools after Obama, your digression will be relevant. A predominantly black school has decided to name itself after Obama. Some here have claimed that this is because his election is so meaningful for black Americans. I have responded that I suspect this is nonsense, and that things will not get any better tangibly for black people in America. In fact, they'll probably get worse, because a lot of white people will figure any debt is paid as of Nov. 4th and no longer will support the status quo of affirmative action, racial grievance, etc.

I believe this is because everyone except for some white liberals have known for decades deep down that The Man isn't keeping black people down; the celebration over Obama's win is more about these white liberals having a mascot for their own enlightenment than it is a harbinger of great things for black people in America.

Obama did not, of course, promise to fix every problem in America. I'm sure you can recognize my hyperbole in stating so. Having said that, I'd guess you also can recognize (again) that the explicit promise of Obama's campaign was that merely electing him would so change the country and the world that many of our problems--the world hating us and the partisan divide, to name two--would simply go away. That, having redeemed itself for the sin of racism by electing a black person to the presidency, these matters would disappear without any real policy effort. That people are naming schools and streets after him before he's even taken office, to me, tends to support that a lot of people took his words seriously.
11.23.2008 3:13pm
second history:
The references to the naming of places and buildings after the (then-living) Ronald Reagan are inapposite: Reagan was out of office and incapacitated by Alzheimer's. This particular renaming, at the very beginning of a president's term, smacks of a cult of personality that is unAmerican in the extreme.

That's a distinction without a difference, and a "cult of personality" has certainly grown up around Reagan, whether he was out of office or not, or mentally with it or not. You can't listen to a Republican for five minutes without him being mentioned (which also speaks to the lack of original ideas in the Republican Party). The desire of the Reagan Legacy Project (link is above) to name something in his "honor" certainly meets the definition of a personality cult.
11.23.2008 3:17pm
MatthewM (mail):
Second History:

You miss my point -- even if the affection for Reagan can be considered a "cult of personality" (which it isn't), it is far more dangerous to have a cult of personality built around a current president than one built around a dead man.
11.23.2008 3:21pm
scottynx:
At DailyKos-o-pedia they say:

"A Caution For Red State, Blue State Analysts

One should be aware of how deeply red state, blue state statistics are intertwined with race. Many negative social statistics in red states are social statistics in which there is a large disparity between white America, and black America...... "
http://www.dkosopedia.com/wiki/Red_Blue_Divide
11.23.2008 3:27pm
Guest12345:
First of all, "We should be able to...", not "I flat-out promise that..."

Second, in using the term "We", he was referring to America generally, not himself or his administration personally.


He was in a presidential debate talking about his proposed policies and strategies. He wasn't discussing metaphorical American military capabilities and strategies over beer with his buddies in some bar.

Second, of course he was referring to America. At what point in any part of the campaign did he say "I, personally, will solve problem X with no support from anyone anywhere."?
11.23.2008 3:28pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
MarkField:

" But the different races in the modern world are much more than a mere social construct.


This is not true. See, e.g., here."


You should know better than to quote Wikipedia on a subject such as this. When they say
knowing someone's "race" does not provide comprehensive predictive information about biological characteristics, and only absoltuely predicts those traits that have been selected to define the racial categories, ...
This statement is incorrect, and has been refuted in the medical and genetics literature. We can objectively determine someone's race in the sense of continental origins. We can make predictions about the frequency of certain diseases and drug reactions. Their are drugs which effective for treating blacks and not whites. We can predict IQ, and other personality traits. For example this paper by Risch discusses the issue a scientific and not a political prospective. From the abstract
A major discussion has arisen recently regarding optimal strategies for categorizing humans, especially in the United States, for the purpose of biomedical research, both etiologic and pharmaceutical. Clearly it is important to know whether particular individuals within the population are more susceptible to particular diseases or most likely to benefit from certain therapeutic interventions. The focus of the dialogue has been the relative merit of the concept of 'race' or 'ethnicity', especially from the genetic perspective. For example, a recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine [1] claimed that "race is biologically meaningless" and warned that "instruction in medical genetics should emphasize the fallacy of race as a scientific concept and the dangers inherent in practicing race-based medicine." In support of this perspective, a recent article in Nature Genetics [2] purported to find that "commonly used ethnic labels are both insufficient and inaccurate representations of inferred genetic clusters." Furthermore, a supporting editorial in the same issue [3] concluded that "population clusters identified by genotype analysis seem to be more informative than those identified by skin color or self-declaration of 'race'." These conclusions seem consistent with the claim that "there is no biological basis for 'race'" [3] and that "the myth of major genetic differences across 'races' is nonetheless worth dismissing with genetic evidence" [4]. Of course, the use of the term "major" leaves the door open for possible differences but a priori limits any potential significance of such differences.In our view, much of this discussion does not derive from an objective scientific perspective. This is understandable, given both historic and current inequities based on perceived racial or ethnic identities, both in the US and around the world, and the resulting sensitivities in such debates. Nonetheless, we demonstrate here that from both an objective and scientific (genetic and epidemiologic) perspective there is great validity in racial/ethnic self-categorizations, both from the research and public policy points of view.
11.23.2008 3:31pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

"It would interest me greatly if you can show a single example of a non-trivial error in this article. As far as I can tell, no one has ever done that. This tends to create the impression that the numbers are correct.

It would even help if you could show a single example of any significant uncorrected error anywhere in American Prospect (especially in an instance where it's clear that they were notified of the error and nevertheless failed to correct it). I have shown such examples regarding articles at VC, Power Line and NR. In the absence of proof that American Prospect has a track record of posting misinformation (the kind of track record I've personally proven for VC, Power Line and NR), it's reasonable to give them the benefit of the doubt. "



I guess I don't see things working that way. I've always believed that people who make assertions or advance a thesis have the intellectual obligation to provide the basis for those assertions or thesis. It doesn't make a difference who you are (American Prospect, Power Line, NR, college student working on research, etc). Not providing the sources for their claims does not seem to be particularly good scholarship and/or journalism on the part of the American Prospect.
11.23.2008 3:33pm
Guest12345:
Ah, so there were whites in Hawaii. Tell me, were they not racists towards blacks in the 1960s?


The prevailing racism in Hawaii is directed against whites. Obama would not have been a target of day-to-day racism. His experiences with racism are entirely different than that faced by mainland minorities. I don't know how to say it any plainer than that. But if you won't accept that fact, then I guess that's no surprise. Even David Paterson, who should be somewhat better informed, thinks that Obama is descended from slaves.
11.23.2008 3:36pm
Guest12345:
But in 16 months we should be able to reduce our combat troops, put — provide some relief to military families and our troops and bolster our efforts in Afghanistan so that we can capture and kill bin Laden and crush al Qaeda.

At least hold him to his promises, not yours.


Are you arguing that he is saying we'll be ready to begin looking to capture and kill bin Laden in sixteen months? Otherwise I'm not sure what point you're making.
11.23.2008 3:39pm
Guest12345:
Oh yeah, right; 'cos after they swanned in and took all the land for plantations and bamboozled the monarchy out of existence, subjecting the native Hawai'ians to the rule of the US Federal Government, white people were just an oppressed minority...


What? Regardless of Hawaii's history, the reality is the average white person in Hawaii will be subject to racism from the non-white majority. Or are you saying that it's OK to be racist, because at some point more than a hundred years ago, someone of a particular race did something that you found objectionable?

And, as a matter of honesty, Hawaiian history is a lot more complex than the story you just described.
11.23.2008 3:49pm
General Disarray:
I can't believe this post has garnered 195+ comments. Geez. This group redefines argumentative.
11.23.2008 3:50pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"The prevailing racism in Hawaii is directed against whites. Obama would not have been a target of day-to-day racism."


How does the second sentence follow from the first? Are you saying that because whites were subject to racism, they could not in turn be racist towards blacks?

"His experiences with racism are entirely different than that faced by mainland minorities. I don't know how to say it any plainer than that. But if you won't accept that fact, then I guess that's no surprise."


Oh I don't doubt that his experiences were different, but hardly see how you can claim he wasn't subject to racism. And I'm not going to accept it merely because you claim it.

Furthermore, I wonder what people like Zarkov mean when they say Obama wasn't subject to the "black experience". Do you have to grow up in an inner-city ghetto or the deep south in order to be black? Are people who went to private schools in Hawaii not allowed to be black? How about liking watermelon and fried chicken, are those pre-requisites too?
11.23.2008 4:05pm
MarkField (mail):

In Hawaii racism is directed at whites and in Indonesia it's directed at the Chinese.


Your statement about Hawaii is utterly absurd. I suspect you have no clue how blacks were treated in Indonesia circa 1970, but you're welcome to provide evidence. Clock's ticking.


This statement is incorrect, and has been refuted in the medical and genetics literature. We can objectively determine someone's race in the sense of continental origins. We can make predictions about the frequency of certain diseases and drug reactions. Their are drugs which effective for treating blacks and not whites. We can predict IQ, and other personality traits.


Frankly, Zarkov, life is too short for me to spend it correcting your errors regarding race. Every statement you make in the above paragraph is false as to race (not necessarily populations, just race) or true only in a trivial sense. Rather than go through it, since by this point I suspect most people skip your race posts anyway, I'll quote the following from the DOE, which sponsors the Human Genome Project:

"DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other."
11.23.2008 4:18pm
ewannama:
Marion:

I'm from Iowa and I went to Herbert Hoover school (Hoover is Iowa's only president). I don't see the big deal...it seems that schools get named after ANYBODY...one school in a district got named after a loyal school district secretary. I think if you're president, you automatically get schools named after you...and the better you are, the more schools there are.

Interesting. I think that should be corrected: "the better you are perceived to be, the more schools [are named after you]." Consider Kennedy.
11.23.2008 4:24pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
guest:

it seems curious that the point they want to make involves selecting statistics from over half a decade


There's nothing "curious" about the fact that various different years are mentioned. They are covering many different kinds of stats, and not every stat is going to be readily available for every single year.

And claiming you see something "curious" is a far cry from proving an error. That's what I challenged you to do. I guess this is your way of admitting that you can't. You have also failed to demonstrate that picking a different year would yield a different result (aside from the minor instance of NM flipping from red to blue).

They ignore the under reporting of crime in low income, high population density neighborhoods


Where is your evidence that they "ignore" this? There are plenty of "low income, high population density neighborhoods" in red states. If there's "under reporting," it happens there too. And most of the statistics are not about "crime." They're about sexual behavior and substance use.

They selected arbitrary topics to compare. Meth, but no cocaine for example.


Maybe they selected meth because it seems to be a bigger problem:

according to National Drug Threat Survey (NDTS) 2006 data, 38.8 percent of state and local law enforcement officials nationwide report methamphetamine as the greatest drug threat to their areas, a higher percentage than that for any other drug


If you want to prove that looking at cocaine would show a different result, then why don't you go ahead and do so. Citing a statistic for only two states doesn't quite make it. And coke seizures in CA are probably high because it's a port of entry, both land and sea. What's more relevant in this analysis is where the substance is consumed, not where it enters the country. Meth labs in Arkansas are probably not producing product for customers in CA:

clandestine methamphetamine production continues in Arkansas, south Alabama, and sections of Tennessee. Manufacturers in these areas tend to be rural, low-income whites. In Alabama, white supremacists are active in methamphetamine production, while in Tennessee some third generation bootleggers have taken to methamphetamine production as their grandfathers took to moonshining and their fathers took to the marijuana trade. Regional groups involved in methamphetamine production are increasingly violent, well-armed, and knowledgeable about explosives.


Those labs are probably producing for customers who aren't too far away.

the bias evidenced by selecting statistics that reflect the desired outcome


If you can show that there are some other statistics they ignored which would reveal a different "outcome," then why don't you go ahead and do so.

you are discussing in 2008 and you picked an article from 2004 to support your case


If you can show that more recent data would indicate a very different result, then why don't you go ahead and do so. There's no reason to think that these stats changed greatly since 12/20/04, when the article was published.

Two of the states mentioned in that article as being worst case red states are now blue states as evidenced by the recent election


Wrong. The article mentions 13 states by name. Only one of those states (New Mexico) has flipped. Why did you say "two?"

as far has holding Obama to his campaign, I'm looking at 16 months to capture and kill bin Laden and crush Al Qaeda.


These are the words he said:

in 16 months we should be able to reduce our combat troops ... provide some relief to military families and our troops and bolster our efforts in Afghanistan so that we can capture and kill bin Laden and crush al Qaeda


So he didn't promise to "kill bin Laden and crush Al Qaeda" within "16 months." He said he wanted to move our forces from Iraq to Afghanistan within "16 months." And this is for the purpose of ultimately being able to "kill bin Laden and crush Al Qaeda." Not the same thing.

Imagine if Bush had said this: 'in 16 months we will invade Iraq, so that we can bring democracy to Iraq, peace to the Middle East, and resolve the Palestinian problem.' No one would claim he promised to get all those things done before the 16 months were over. So you're misrepresenting what Obama actually said.

lay off the deflecting … claiming that Bush did something, or Carter did something, or Charles Manson did something, or John Gotti did something, it's a losing argument.


Now you tell us. I don't recall you speaking up when zillions of times over the last 8 years the constant mantra defending Bush was some sentence beginning with the words "but Clinton …"
11.23.2008 4:30pm
Guest12345:
How does the second sentence follow from the first? Are you saying that because whites were subject to racism, they could not in turn be racist towards blacks?


I'm saying that, growing up, he was never part of the "African-American experience." The discussion here isn't whether people have been subject to racism. It's whether Obama has roots in African-American culture. Other than his skin color, his background very different than the vast majority of African-Americans.

If you are saying that any encounter with racism includes you in some special cultural group then we may as well take it off the board entirely. Every white person who has heard a Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton speech has been subject to racism. One way or another it's impossible to get through life without having been on the receiving end, regardless of race. The question is whether it's a pervasive obstacle in day-to-day life.
11.23.2008 4:32pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I think you need to decide which narrative you prefer:

A) He's a Marxist Muslim socialist fascist who's going to impose sharia law and force us all to have gay abortions.

B) What he's doing "isn't change at all."

We were hearing lots of A, and now we're hearing B. Trouble is, they're mutually exclusive. So I hope you can settle down and pick one."


Well, since I've only mentioned choice "B," so I'll go with "B."

So, where's the change? Are Gates, Richardson, Clinton, Holder, Geithner, and Emanuel going to start the waters receding and heal the planet? They were running things all the time the waters were rising and the planet was getting sicker.
11.23.2008 4:38pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"The discussion here isn't whether people have been subject to racism. It's whether Obama has roots in African-American culture."


Well it seems to me that one salient part of the "African-American experience", whatever that is, is that you have experienced racism because you are black. Is that wrong, or are you saying Obama never experienced racism?

"I'm saying that, growing up, he was never part of the 'African-American experience.' "


Can you expound on this a little?

What is the "African American experience"? Do you have to grow up in poverty, in an inner-city ghetto or the deep South? If not, what is it?

Second, what, exactly, is the relevance of such a claim? Are there not people who grew up in Hawaii or who went to private schools, and yet who are undeniably African-American? Do these people not have the right to identify themselves as black?
11.23.2008 4:51pm
LM (mail):
Guest12345:

The prevailing racism in Hawaii is directed against whites. Obama would not have been a target of day-to-day racism.

So he isn't white?
11.23.2008 4:54pm
Fub:
A. Zarkov wrote at 11.23.2008 1:02pm:
Again Obama's upbringing hardly resembles that of American blacks for the reasons previously stated. He's chosen to market himself as "African-American" for the obvious political advantages which he has so deftly exploited.
But at his first press conference as president elect he marketed himself as a mutt.

Maybe that means he's of a race which doesn't appear in "the first two principal components in the space of genetic variation." I think they call that race "politicians".
11.23.2008 4:54pm
epeeist:
I agree with the posters supporting a "wait until they die (or retire)" policy. My own preference is for post-mortem "honors" only for politicians (I'm less concerned about, and it may be appropriate to, for instance, name a school after a retired teacher who's inspired many students etc.). Essentially the more powerful the individual, the less they should have places/buildings named after them while alive. We are not in a monarchy (well, actually, I currently live in Canada so I am!).

The fact that many politicians get things named after them is beside the point, I object to the practice no matter who does it. In fairness, unlike most other examples of pork-barreling politicians, this has nothing to do with President-elect Obama.

I do wonder also, who was the person the school was originally named for? I get annoyed with renaming even when it's private business (I'll call a stadium or theatre whatever I want, I'm not obligated to stick the sponsor's name in as an adjective; I'll stick with the old name if I want no matter who's paid for the naming rights). I know that in Canada after former PM Pierre Trudeau died the government decided to rename a mountain for him (Mt. Logan?), which led to protests about forgetting the person it was already named for, especially given there were already other mountains around. A prior poster also noted the Alaskan McKinley/Denali mountain-name issue.
11.23.2008 4:58pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Oops, I didn't see that second history had already cited the language regarding "16 months."
11.23.2008 5:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
guest:

I think there are a few countries in the world that might be a little shocked to know that they are already judged to not only not be the "best hope", but that they have been identified as not even a possible hope … I'm sure there are a few people who are wondering what exactly it is that the United States is the "last, best hope" of?


You're whining about the fact that Obama said this:

this was the moment when we … restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.


Maybe you don't remember that Reagan said this:

The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the "shining city upon a hill." The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it and see it still.

And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.


And these are the original words from Winthrop:

For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken… we shall be made a story and a by-word throughout the world.


Is there really that much of a difference between what the three men said? I don't think so. And did you whine when Reagan spoke? I doubt it.

By the way, JFK also cited Winthrop in a similar manner.
11.23.2008 5:03pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
MarkField:

The DOE statement rests squarely in the political realm and is simply not true, and I have provided you with ample material for you to understand why it's not true. I could give you you many more references, but at this point I think that would be futile. This issue is an article of faith with you and obviously I'm not going to change that.

Fub:

A "mutt" is another name for an admixture, and admixtures do appear do appear on the principal components plot. They just don't fall within the major clusters.
11.23.2008 5:30pm
Smokey:
MarkField, thanx for posting this:
"DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other."
It naturally follows from your definition that all race based Affirmative Action laws are wrong.
11.23.2008 5:55pm
Guest12345:
That's what I challenged you to do. I guess this is your way of admitting that you can't.


OK. Here's an error: New Mexico is a blue state. So is Colorado (part of their "all red mountain states".) That's two major errors. I met your challenge.

Maybe they selected meth because it seems to be a bigger problem:

according to National Drug Threat Survey (NDTS) 2006 data, 38.8 percent of state and local law enforcement officials nationwide report methamphetamine as the greatest drug threat to their areas, a higher percentage than that for any other drug


If you want to prove that looking at cocaine would show a different result, then why don't you go ahead and do so. Citing a statistic for only two states doesn't quite make it. And coke seizures in CA are probably high because it's a port of entry, both land and sea. What's more relevant in this analysis is where the substance is consumed, not where it enters the country. Meth labs in Arkansas are probably not producing product for customers in CA:


First off, if you're not going to look at the data from the year the article you linked was published, why not go with the current year? According to the 2008 National Drug Threat Asseement, cocaine is a larger concern. If you want to go back to the time of the article you posted, it's still cocaine. The problem is that cocaine, as I note below, is prevalently a blue state issue. So there is no way they'd bring that up. My point is to identify bias in their reporting.

As far as where something is consumed no that's not relevant. The article you linked only talked about lab seizures with no commentary at all. But if you want to talk about consumption, Here you go:

Consider map 3 on that same page, you'll note that cocaine is the drug of choice in the blue, eastern states and meth is the drug of choice in both the blue and red western states.

You'll also note that in your original article it broke down the meth lab seizures on a per capita basis. Arkansas with a population of 2.8 million and 20 seizures per 100,000 is 56 seizures. California on the other hand, with 2 seizures per 100,000 and a population of thirty-six million, had 72 seizures that year. Additionally the evidence is that meth labs are moving south of the border. So California's numbers are enhanced by outsourcing production.

All of this is neither here nor there. It's just pointing out that the article you linked is biased. And old.

If you can show that more recent data would indicate a very different result, then why don't you go ahead and do so. There's no reason to think that these stats changed greatly since 12/20/04, when the article was published.


You're the one casting aspersions. If you can't backup your claims with current and accurate supporting documentation, that's not my problem. It just makes you look like a partisan hack who thinks that linking to random commentary in the internet somehow makes you a winner.

Wrong. The article mentions 13 states by name. Only one of those states (New Mexico) has flipped. Why did you say "two?"


"All-red Mountain States" would include Colorado. Which flipped. So did Nevada. This map looks a quite a bit different than this one. By the way in the last five elections New Mexico has been blue four times. Convenient for them that it went red in 2004 so they could include it in the list of sinning red states.

These are the words he said:


I know what he said. I linked to a video of him it. He mentioned three things, what to be done, why it is being done, and the time frame that it will be done in. If you want to retroactively equivocate for him... honestly, I'd expect no less from you.

Now you tell us. I don't recall you speaking up when zillions of times over the last 8 years the constant mantra defending Bush was some sentence beginning with the words "but Clinton …"


I don't know that I've ever used Clinton or any other president as an excuse for Bush. Secondly, quit following me around you sociopath. Finally, I'm not a big fan of Bush either.
11.23.2008 5:56pm
TyWebb:
The Always Brilliant A. Zarkov:

Biologically Obama is as much white as he is black.

Sigh.

Explain, if you can, how someone (anyone) can be "biologically white." Given your handle, I think it's entirely likely that you would have been considered non-white at some point in American history, as would have Eugene, and myself. Further, the one-drop rule would have made your entire statement unintelligible to nine justices that decided Plessy.

Repeat after me, wingnuts: Race. Is. A. Social. And. Legal. Construct. Especially this silly idea of "whiteness." Quit it.
11.23.2008 5:59pm
Guest12345:
Is there really that much of a difference between what the three men said? I don't think so. And did you whine when Reagan spoke? I doubt it.


Yeah. Because the world in 1989 is just like the world in 2008. And "still a beacon" is exactly the same as (paraphrased to put it in the same language) "the last, best beacon."

Why would I whine about it? He didn't come up with phrasing that ignores the world outside of the U.S. and hundreds of years of history in order to come up with an inspiring turn of phrase. Seriously, no one else anywhere has ever done anything for the sick? No one else anywhere has ever done anything about jobs?

And that deflecting thing? Applies here too.
11.23.2008 6:06pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

On the other hand, realizing that this world is not blind to race, Obama is a positive role model who resonates especially well with non-white students.



Four long years of this hooey... every day, every week, every month.
11.23.2008 6:08pm
MarkField (mail):

It naturally follows from your definition that all race based Affirmative Action laws are wrong.


No, that doesn't follow. Racism is a sociological problem. It can't be a genetic problem because one race is not "better" than another. But it can be and is a social problem.

Race doesn't have any real meaning to a biologist, but people can and do invest a lot of social significance in it. Jim Crow laws obviously didn't depend on scientific accuracy, they depended on social prejudice. Race is a meaningful category socially even if it isn't biologically.

Debating AA would be a real diversion from this thread, so I'll leave that be for now. My only comment would be that there's no contradiction in solving a social problem by reference to a social fact.
11.23.2008 6:12pm
Elliot123 (mail):
This is silly. All that matters is whether one looks like the poeple on the US currency.
11.23.2008 6:16pm
Guest12345:
Race. Is. A. Social. And. Legal. Construct.


If you want to define race that way you can. But you're going to have to use the other word usually used to make the distinction you are removing from race: species.

The fact that recent discoveries that junk DNA isn't junk, and different conditions can cause the same section of DNA to express different proteins, tells us that the human genome project was based on incomplete science. Claims from them about the lack of genetic basis for race should be suspect.
11.23.2008 6:17pm
Anderson (mail):
Good heavens, people.

It's a couple of schools. And some mountain that isn't even in America.

Plenty of American schools are named after people whose life achievements are less notable than "elected first black president," even if Obama keels over tomorrow.

No big deal.
11.23.2008 6:43pm
LM (mail):
Isn't it curious how "Obama the secret Jew-hating Muslim" seems to have dropped out of the rabid anti-Obama narrative? Could that have something to do with how idiotic it would sound now that Obama named Rahm Emanuel his Chief of Staff, and taken away Dingell's Energy and Commerce Chairmanship and given it to Henry Waxman?

I'd ask if it's possible that the nonsense we see about Obama on this thread is also just the product of running the same bullshit through the same echo-chambers over and over again, but I understand that my inability to recognize the unprecedented, existential danger Obama poses to the Republic is just an advanced symptom of my BDS.
11.23.2008 6:51pm
LM (mail):
now that Obama has named....
11.23.2008 6:54pm
Anderson (mail):
LM, you haven't even seen the worst of it.

Some parents are in danger of naming their children "Barack" even before the man is dead.

With his army of mind-controlled zombie supporters sending their little Baracks to Barack Obama Elementary, the crypto-Muslim will soon be able to RENAME AMERICA "OBAMALAND."

And you read about it first at the Volokh Conspiracy. All credit where it's due.
11.23.2008 6:54pm
Smokey:
Sorry, MarkField, but either you go with your definition or you don't.

If you go with it, then everything is subjective...

Which side of the line does an octaroon go? Or someone 1/16th black? Or 1/64th? Do they get to jump to the head of the line? If so, why? And who decides? Should a rich black man with average grades get Affirmative Actioned into Harvard ahead of a poor Asian woman with all A's? Again: Why?

Or how about someone who is 1/8 Navajo, 1/8 Hispanic, 1/8 Caucasian, 1/8 Negro, 1/8 Pacific Islander, 1/8 Asian, 1/8 Eskimo/Aleut, and 1/8 East Indian? Where is he on the social engineering spectrum?

When everything is subjective, then an unaccountable bureaucrat makes the decision, and then it's on to the next step: taxpayers pay the freight because a better qualified candidate gets bypassed for the job due to Affirmative Action. Isn't that what happens? Isn't A.A. the reason that Louis Farrakhan demanded a white jewish doctor to operate on him?

But if you don't in fact go with the definition you posted, and race is objectively quantifiable, then please explain why a wealthy and privileged person of a legally favored race can get into Harvard with mediocre grades and SAT/LSAT scores, going to the head of the line and bypassing lots of poor Asians and Caucasians with 4.25 GPA's and top 1% SAT scores? How do you justify race-based A.A., when Forbes magazine regularly reports on black billionaires, and a black man was just elected president by a country that is only one-eighth black?

I understand that you're trying to go both ways with your definition of race. And that's where liberals get tanglefooted -- when they reject common sense and rational thinking in favor of feelings.

I know you mean well. But when does A.A. end? We have a black president-elect, for crying out loud. Could there be any better time to end Affirmative Action??
11.23.2008 7:10pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
"this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth."

What's the problem here? I read this as an intentional reference to Abraham Lincoln's second message to Congress (who I think actually said "of") and some statements of Reagan (and William Bennett).
11.23.2008 7:46pm
Anderson (mail):
Or how about someone who is 1/8 Navajo, 1/8 Hispanic, 1/8 Caucasian, 1/8 Negro, 1/8 Pacific Islander, 1/8 Asian, 1/8 Eskimo/Aleut, and 1/8 East Indian? Where is he on the social engineering spectrum?

I believe he would be the uebermensch, and the Constitution should probably be amended so that any such prodigy is automatically president-for-life.

In the event of 2 or more qualifiers, cage match to the death determines the winner.

And that's where liberals get tanglefooted -- when they reject common sense and rational thinking in favor of feelings.

[Contemplates past 8 years of Republican presidency; shakes head.]
11.23.2008 7:48pm
David Warner:
Good God, what a tiresome thread. The Left really is completely flabbergasted by victory. Good thing that, so far, at least, my prediction regarding the effect upon Obama of seeing this small-minded Left up close and personal appears more or less accurate.

Here's a hint for you guys:

"In War, resolution. In Defeat, defiance. In Victory, magnanimity. In Peace, goodwill."

- Churchill
11.23.2008 7:49pm
Coldwarkid (mail):
I think the much more prudent move would be to wait to see what kind of commander-in-chief he proves to be.

But then, wisdom and discretion have not been the marks of the electorate who voted Barack Obama into office. The leftist illuminati are eager to celebrate the victory, and I'm proud that our country has voted a black man into the highest office.

But would there be Sarah Palin schools?

Somehow, just on the merits of her gender, I doubt it.

If Barack Obama didn't have enough pressure on him already, with international crises, a melting economy, and the D.C. elite at his throat, he has the additional "freight of being iconic" - let us hope, for his sake, and for that school's sake, that he lives up to it.
11.23.2008 7:49pm
David Warner:
Mahan,

"Ah - are those mutually exclusive categories now?

(Sorry, can't resist. I fully admit to my schadenfreude.)"

Evidently they are for you. You misread your audience if you imagine that the primary of allegiance of anyone else here is mere faction. That is the peculiar affliction of you and your Kos Kolleagues.
11.23.2008 7:53pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
constantin:

Yeah, I'm the moron for taking the guy at his word


Except that you're not "taking the guy at his word." You're putting words in his mouth by inventing statements he never made.

Obama did not, of course, promise to fix every problem in America.


Now you tell us. Before you said something else. And now you're backpedaling, as follows:

I'm sure you can recognize my hyperbole in stating so.


No. My general rule for reading something is that I should be "taking the guy at his word." But I guess you're telling us that only a "moron" would do that.

So let's see if I'm getting this straight. You think it's OK for you to hold Obama accountable for things he didn't say, at the same time that you think you're not supposed to be accountable for things you actually did say. Makes perfect sense.

Because when you're caught saying something indefensible, you get to invoke the handy-dandy all-purpose "hyperbole" defense, which is another way of saying 'I didn't actually mean what I said.' Simple question: do you grant Obama the right to invoke the same defense? Or do different rules apply to him?

I'd guess you also can recognize (again) that the explicit promise of Obama's campaign was that merely electing him would so change the country and the world that many of our problems--the world hating us and the partisan divide, to name two--would simply go away


What you'd "guess" is wrong. Are you familiar with the actual meaning of the word "explicit?" It means stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt. So please show us the "explicit" statements issued by the Obama campaign that make the "explicit" claim about certain problems that would "simply go away."

I guess you have two choices at this point: show us the quotes to justify the claim you just made, or invoke your handy "hyperbole" defense again.

That people are naming schools and streets after him before he's even taken office, to me, tends to support that a lot of people took his words seriously.


You need to show us which "words" you're talking about.
11.23.2008 8:01pm
Buck Turgidson (mail):
Eugene, did you object at the attempts to rename everything in sight after Reagan before his first term was over? If you have a problem with the Cult of Personality, you should not be so close to Republicans.

The situation with the schools may be silly, but, given the usual assortment of names that such schools usually get, Obama's is not such a bad name to take--better than assortment of KKK founders and drug-running anti-communist Lao generals better known for their torture tactics. And, as some have already pointed out, it is certainly no worse than the names they had prior to change.
11.23.2008 8:02pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
matt:

it is far more dangerous to have a cult of personality built around a current president than one built around a dead man


Now you tell us. Where were you when we were seeing the kind of stuff I noted here?
11.23.2008 8:03pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Hey, I'm still waiting to hear how hiring a bunch of retreads is change. Is this change we an believe in?
11.23.2008 8:10pm
pauldom:

But would there be Sarah Palin schools?

Somehow, just on the merits of her gender, I doubt it.

Since there are apparently no Geraldine Ferraro schools (outside of fiction), you're probably right. But I would be happy to see a Sarah Palin school, or a Geraldine Ferraro school. Or a Madeleine Albright School, or a Condoleezza Rice school. Or a Jody Williams school. etc.

I wonder what percentage of schools are named for women vs men? In my county, I don't know of any schools named for women, but then, only a few schools are named after a person at all.
11.23.2008 8:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
scotty:

Many negative social statistics in red states are social statistics in which there is a large disparity between white America, and black America


I'm sure that's a factor in some of the numbers I cited, but it definitely doesn't explain everything. For example:

As of 2000, 37 states had statewide policies or procedures to address domestic violence … All 13 that didn't were red states


I don't see how it makes sense to blame that on the black population.

And there's this:

Residents of the all-red Mountain States are the most likely to have had 3 or more sexual partners in the previous year


The black population in the Mountain States is low.

And there's this:

Delaware has the highest rate of births to teenage mothers among all blue states, yet 17 red states have a higher rate … Of those red states, 15 have at least twice the rate as that of Massachusetts


There are only about 5-7 red states with a high black population. So a problem with 15 or 17 red states can't be blamed on the black population, except for possibly in just a few of those states.

There are other examples like this.
11.23.2008 8:20pm
BGates:
does anyone want to comment on all the schools named for Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee?
They led the opposition to a Republican president who curtailed civil liberties, worsened American relations with Europe, and ran up an enormous debt in the course of using American military power to improve the lives of millions of non-Caucasians.

By today's standards, they wouldn't be considered terrorists, they'd be considered Barack Obama.
11.23.2008 8:29pm
CJColucci:
It's bad enough when people go around making shit up --like "standards" about when things "should" be named after people that come from nowhere other than the commenters' nether regions -- but it's worse when they deny the evidence of their own lives in the process. I went to a middle school named after a President universally regarded as a failure. Just for kicks, I googled "Franklin Pierce High School," using a different failed President, having no clue whether there was such a place, and got 4,150,000 hits. If you search your own memories with any degree of honesty, you'll find all sorts of things named after failures and non-entities, living and dead. Maybe in a better world there would be some real standards for naming things after people, but let's be honest about the world we all live in.
11.23.2008 8:31pm
MarkField (mail):

Sorry, MarkField, but either you go with your definition or you don't.

If you go with it, then everything is subjective...

Which side of the line does an octaroon go? Or someone 1/16th black? Or 1/64th? Do they get to jump to the head of the line? If so, why? And who decides? Should a rich black man with average grades get Affirmative Actioned into Harvard ahead of a poor Asian woman with all A's? Again: Why?


As I said, I'm not going to divert this thread by debating AA. Your points are worth discussing, but all I'm saying is that there's no contradiction between (a) the fact that race is not a biological category; and (b) the use of race for AA purposes. That still leaves plenty of issues for AA to deal with, but it's not a contradiction per se. That's my very limited point.

We'll take up the more complicated issue on a thread dedicated to that topic which isn't already 230-odd (very odd, in some cases) comments long.
11.23.2008 8:32pm
MarkField (mail):

My general rule for reading something is that I should be "taking the guy at his word." But I guess you're telling us that only a "moron" would do that.


If you aren't a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, you should be. From the episode "Fear Itself":

Xander: ... What are you doing here?”
Anya: “You haven’t called. Not once.”
Xander: “You said you were over me.”
Anya: “And you just accepted that? I only said that because I thought that’s what you wanted to hear.”
Xander: “That’s the funny thing about me, I tend to hear the actual words people say and accept them at face value.”
Anya: “That’s stupid.”
Xander: “I accept that."
11.23.2008 8:37pm
LN (mail):

Hey, I'm still waiting to hear how hiring a bunch of retreads is change. Is this change we an believe in?


You must have missed my answer above.

For more, see here.
11.23.2008 8:41pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mark:

That’s the funny thing about me, I tend to hear the actual words people say and accept them at face value


Perfect. Thanks.
11.23.2008 9:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zarkov:

we demonstrate here that from both an objective and scientific (genetic and epidemiologic) perspective there is great validity in racial/ethnic self-categorizations, both from the research and public policy points of view


Maybe you're getting into concepts I'm not smart enough to grasp, but it seems that you're citing a statement that proves the opposite of what I thought you were trying to prove. Your authority seems to be saying that "there is great validity" in Obama's 'self-categorization' as black.
11.23.2008 9:04pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

Not providing the sources for their claims does not seem to be particularly good scholarship and/or journalism on the part of the American Prospect.


It would be better if they provided sources, but I explained at length why it is still reasonable to consider their numbers credible, even though the sources aren't provided.
11.23.2008 9:05pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

since I've only mentioned choice "B," so I'll go with "B."


Really? You've "only mentioned" that what Obama represents "isn't change at all?" Then it must have been an entirely different elliot123 who said this:

I suspect any reasonable person listening to the audio would think Obama supported redistribution.


Let's see. There's elliot123 #1 who says Obama's going to do this horrible thing called "redistribution." And it must be something we're not already doing, because if so then elliot123 #1 would have complained about it a long time ago, right? And then we have elliot123 #2, who has "only mentioned" that what Obama represents "isn't change at all."

I think what we really need is elliot123 #3 to come along and sit down with the other two elliot123s, to see if he can convince them to choose one narrative and stick with it.

Then again, what we might have here is one useless crank who is determined to find a way to find something to complain about, no matter what.
11.23.2008 9:20pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

This is silly. All that matters is whether one looks like the poeple on the US currency.


I could see where you could get that idea. After all, on 6/27/08 McCain put out an ad showing Obama's face on US currency (video). This was before Obama made the remark about how he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills." Given McCain's ad, that comment was justified.

Here's an interesting exercise. Obama's remark got lots of coverage. See if you can find even one MSM report about Obama's remark that also mentions McCain's ad. That darn liberal media.
11.23.2008 9:25pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
syd:

"this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth."


What's the problem here? I read this as an intentional reference to Abraham Lincoln's second message to Congress (who I think actually said "of")


Thanks, I didn't know. Here it is:

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.


This also became the title of a book: "The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America."

So the commenter here was slamming Obama for using essentially the same rhetoric as John Winthrop, Lincoln, JFK and Reagan.
11.23.2008 9:31pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bgates:

ran up an enormous debt in the course of using American military power to improve the lives of millions of non-Caucasians


That's cute, except Dubya didn't tell us we need to invade in order "to improve the lives of millions of non-Caucasians." He told us we need to invade because of the danger of WMD in the hands of terrorists. Just a minor correction. Other than that, your quip was clever.
11.23.2008 9:33pm
Smokey:
OK, MarkField, since you won't answer my questions, I shall have to turn you over to my capable assistant. Your dirty sex makes god send hurricanes.
11.23.2008 9:37pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

"Your authority seems to be saying that "there is great validity" in Obama's 'self-categorization' as black."


I'll take the blame for not having expressed myself clearly enough. If we regard race as merely a social construct, then according to Risch, doctors could make significant medical errors because the races are not biological equivalent. Risch is saying that racial self identification does generally correspond to the cluster groups, which is not surprising since they roughly identify continental origins.

Obama is an admixture, and I'm not sure if anyone knows the medical implications of that. Does he have an elevated risk of hypertension and prostate cancer? In his case his self identification as a member of the African racial groups could be misleading. It could possibly lead to medication errors.
11.23.2008 9:41pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
guest:

Here's an error: New Mexico is a blue state. So is Colorado (part of their "all red mountain states".) That's two major errors.


Those aren't "errors." They're instances where the underlying data changed subsequent to the time the article was published. So it's not an "error." It's just a statement that was true at the time, but is no longer true. It's like if someone wrote in 2004 that 'there's never been a black president.' The statement is no longer true, but that doesn't make the statement an error. And it's also not "major." A couple of states flipping are a small portion of all the states that were analyzed and discussed.

According to the 2008 National Drug Threat Asseement, cocaine is a larger concern


Yes, barely. Cocaine scores 40.1%, and meth scores 35.0%. Hardly a huge difference. What you're doing now is a great example of nitpicking.

If you want to go back to the time of the article you posted, it's still cocaine


Duh. Of course it makes sense "to go back to the time of the article," because we're trying to understand why the article focused on meth, not cocaine. In trying to answer that question, it makes no sense whatsoever to consider data that appeared after the article was published. And the source you're citing shows that at the time, it was basically a tie, with cocaine at 37% and meth at 36.2%. So when we look at the year it actually makes sense to look at, it's even more obvious that you're nitpicking.

the article you linked is biased


You haven't shown bias. You're complaining that they looked at meth but not coke, and you're telling us why you suspect that the coke analysis would produce a different result, but you're not actually doing that analysis.

You're the one casting aspersions


I'm not "casting aspersions." I'm presenting data. And I'm challenging you to find errors in the data, and you've found this many: zero.

It just makes you look like a partisan hack who thinks that linking to random commentary in the internet somehow makes you a winner.


"Partisan hack" is a good way to describe someone who rejects facts they don't like, without being able to show that the facts are wrong.

I know what he said.


If you "know what he said," then you have no excuse for claiming Obama said something he didn't say.

I don't know that I've ever used Clinton or any other president as an excuse for Bush


That's good. It would be even better if you said that you spoke up to complain when you witnessed lots of people doing it. Then again, maybe you think it's something that's only worth complaining about when the shoe is on one particular foot.

quit following me around you sociopath


As far as I can tell, no one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to read my posts, or respond to them. So if you don't like what I say, too bad. Change the channel. And if you don't like it when someone comes along to point out the silliness in your statements, then you should avoid posting them on a blog that's open to the public. No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to do that, either.

I'm not a big fan of Bush either.


But a big enough fan to vote for him twice, right?
11.23.2008 10:31pm
MarkField (mail):

I shall have to turn you over to my capable assistant.


Pretty good. Now we need a MiniColbert.
11.23.2008 10:31pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Me:

"does anyone want to comment on all the schools named for Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee?"


Response:

"They led the opposition to a Republican president who curtailed civil liberties, worsened American relations with Europe, and ran up an enormous debt in the course of using American military power to improve the lives of millions of non-Caucasians.

By today's standards, they wouldn't be considered terrorists, they'd be considered Barack Obama."


Wow. This has to be the greatest piece of up-is-down-ism I've ever seen in my life. Not only have you (1) equated the country's first black president with the champions of slavery, you've also (2) equated George Bush with Abraham Lincoln.

And frankly, I'm not sure which comparison is more preposterous.

That's it, I'm at a loss. I give up. We are in two completely different universes, and there is no hope for reasonably communication, ever.
11.23.2008 11:05pm
Elliot123 (mail):

"does anyone want to comment on all the schools named for Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee?"

Anyone care to comment of all the stuff named for that great old hooded warrior Robert Byrd?
11.24.2008 12:57am
Guest12345:
Those aren't "errors." They're instances where the underlying data changed subsequent to the time the article was published.


They are clearly errors for purposes of supporting your argument We're having this discussion in 2008. The article is from 2004 and describes a situation that doesn't exist today. Therefore it's an error for you to bring it up as some kind of proof. It's also an error for them to categorize New Mexico as a red state given that it went blue four out of five of the last elections. (Three out of four at the time of the article.)

Duh. Of course it makes sense "to go back to the time of the article," because we're trying to understand why the article focused on meth, not cocaine. In trying to answer that question, it makes no sense whatsoever to consider data that appeared after the article was published. And the source you're citing shows that at the time, it was basically a tie, with cocaine at 37% and meth at 36.2%. So when we look at the year it actually makes sense to look at, it's even more obvious that you're nitpicking.


And yet instead of going back to the time of the article you went to 2006, when the 2004 data was easily available. Eighty percent or point eight percent, cocaine was the larger concern and yet you wrongly claimed meth was. Seriously, if you're going to get all uppity about data after the time of the article, why did you bring up 2006? You were wrong, you know you were wrong, and now you're acting superior and trying to pretend you weren't. Arguing with you is like arguing with a four year old.

You haven't shown bias. You're complaining that they looked at meth but not coke, and you're telling us why you suspect that the coke analysis would produce a different result, but you're not actually doing that analysis.


I'll explain the bias one more time: they mentioned meth and not cocaine. According to law enforcement cocaine was the greater concern in 2004 and yet your source ignored it and went for the number two issue. Sure is handy to be able to pick which criteria you are going to skip over when painting your opponent as a sinner and yourself as a saint.

And one more fact for the crowd to consider: The American Prospect is subtitled "Liberal Intelligence." And their mission: "The American Prospect was founded in 1990 as an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas, committed to a just society, an enriched democracy, and effective liberal politics." Yeah, no bias there.

What analysis do you want to see? I presented a comparison of one year's number of cocaine seizures in the two states that the article brought up in regards to meth. That's exactly the analysis presented in your source.

If you want more information, here you go. I'll include 2007's numbers so you can see how those trends The American Prospect was mentioning are holding up:

California:

2002: 9,551.1 kg cocaine seized. 311.2 kg meth seized. 1718 meth lab incidents.
2003: 4,640.7 kg cocaine seized. 1,576.0 kg meth seized. 1,239 meth lab incidents.
2004: 3,186.6 kg cocaine seized. 786.5 kg meth seized. 764 meth lab incidents.
2007: 10,548.3 kg cocaine seized. 1,958.2 kg meth seized. 221 meth lab incidents.

Arkansas:

2002: 58.1 kg cocaine seized. 9.5 kg meth seized. 397 meth lab incidents.
2003: 219.5 kg cocaine seized. 54.0 kg meth seized. 714 meth lab incidents.
2004: 714.8 kg cocaine seized. 12.9 kg meth seized. 800 meth lab incidents.
2007: 181.6 kg cocaine seized. 17.9 kg meth seized. 240 meth lab incidents.

(BTW, there's a factual error for you, in none of 2002, 2003, or 2004 was the number of labs seized 20 per hundred thousand people.)

New York:

2002: 3,765.9 kg cocaine seized. 6.1 kg meth seized. 26 meth lab incidents.
2003: 5,056 kg cocaine seized. 2.1 kg meth seized. 18 meth lab incidents.
2004: 1921.4 kg cocaine seized. 10.7 kg meth seized. 48 meth lab incidents.
2007: 2099 kg cocaine seized. 2.1 kg meth seized. 12 meth lab incidents.

Utah (included because meth is known as a problem there):

2002: 0.9 kg cocaine seized. 10.4 kg meth seized. 109 meth lab incidents.
2003: 138.7 kg cocaine seized. 13.6 kg meth seized. 77 meth lab incidents.
2004: 176.3 kg cocaine seized. 18.1 kg meth seized. 72 meth lab incidents.
2007: 18.2 kg cocaine seized. 31.9 kg meth seized. 3 meth lab incidents.

Tell me again how those blue states don't have any kind of drug problems. It sure is a good thing TAP went to all the trouble of reporting the number of labs per capita. I mean, it'd be a travesty for us to know that there was five times as much meth per person in California than in Arkansas in 2004.

I'm not "casting aspersions." I'm presenting data. And I'm challenging you to find errors in the data, and you've found this many: zero.


You're not presenting data. You're presenting hearsay. Let's see their citations for the data they present. Also, please tell me at what date did New Mexico become a red state for the purposes of their statistics. The 2004 general election was a whole 48 days before the publication of the article you linked.

As far as I can tell, no one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to read my posts, or respond to them. So if you don't like what I say, too bad. Change the channel. And if you don't like it when someone comes along to point out the silliness in your statements, then you should avoid posting them on a blog that's open to the public. No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to do that, either.


Hey, you're the one who claimed to know that I haven't been calling people out for trying to deflect from the failings of their positions for the last eight years. Since you have that detailed knowledge of the last eight years of my life, you must be following me around.

As far as not liking what you have to say. It's true. I think your attitude is unappealing. Your posts over the last few months show that you have no interest in discussion. Before you ever post you're convinced of your position and you will not change it regardless of facts presented showing that you are wrong. You apply completely different standards to your side of the arguments than you apply to your opposition. Basically you're a fundamentalist. And other than the occasional fun to be gained from rubbing their face in their errors, fundies aren't interesting.
11.24.2008 2:35am
Guest12345:
But a big enough fan to vote for him twice, right?


When the choice is breaking a finger or chopping off your hand, only an idiot goes for the amputation.
11.24.2008 2:38am
John Skookum (mail):
jukeboxgrad: "Rising Number of Racist Anti-Obama Actions in Small Towns."

The stories you link to are based on a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is about as credulous as asking Dr. Dobson to report on anti-Christian bias. The study counts as "racist incidents" such heinous crimes as flying the American flag upside down.

Morris Dees depends for his livelihood on an endless supply of scare stories conjured up for urban juries and elderly red-diaper Jewish donors. He sees a Klansman under every rock south of the Mason-Dixon line. He is a liar and a huckster.

This report is garbage, just like the purported shouts of "Kill Him" at the Palin rallies, for which the Secret Service found no supporting evidence whatsoever.

The Obama camp and their media stenographers have found practically no actual bigotry in this campaign; so little indeed that the only way they could lay down the race card was with absurd claims that mentioning lily-white Bill Ayers or the word "socialism" was somehow racist. Pathetic. Is this how the lightweight poltroon plans to govern, with flimsy accusations of racism in response to all criticism? If so, it will be his own fault if racial animosities are stirred up.
11.24.2008 3:55am
John Skookum (mail):
pauldom:

In my county, I don't know of any schools named for women, but then, only a few schools are named after a person at all.

Where I live, the simpering cowards who run our schools put slips of paper with the words "Canyon", "View", "Mountain", "Point", "Ridge", "Desert", "Vista", "Hills", "Cactus", "Valley", "Mesa", "Shadow", "Foothills", and "Trail" into a bingo hopper. Three or four cranks, remove two of the strips of paper, make sure they don't conflict with any other school nearby, and presto! the new school is named.

It makes it damned difficult sometimes to find your way to the proper place when your kid's team has an away game. I'd be okay with more naming things for politicians, not less, as long as they're out of office and of reasonably good character.
11.24.2008 4:17am
John Skookum (mail):
Benjamin Davis:

Maybe the janitor's office might be permitted, but heavens not something more substantial.

Interesting you say that. If Barry had applied to be a janitor in the White House, with the same slimy associates and history of drug abuse, it's a near certainty he could not have obtained a high enough security clearance to do so.
11.24.2008 4:27am
T.S. Jones:
Ridiculous. Obama's a know-nothing, spinless blow-in-the-wind what's in it for me?, have you read my memoirs? politician. But then again it's Long Island we're talking about. The land where common sense is banned. The people out there are even more nuts than the netroots.
11.24.2008 7:11am
Fury:
Yee gads, jukeboxgrad. Seven posts in a row?

It's not like you weren't asked to refrain from doing this previously.
11.24.2008 8:20am
whit:

Your statement about Hawaii is utterly absurd.


no, it's 100% correct. i've lived in hawaii btw (i'm a surfer. it's a requirement) :)

people who have never lived hawaii really don't understand how prevalent anti-white racism is.

i had a friend who was a (white) elementart school teacher. a kid in her class called her a "f*cking haole* and she sent the kid to the principal's office. he told her she needed to get a thicker skin and no, the kid wouldn't be suspended.

i have personally stood on the street in hawaii and witnesses a bus full of school kids scream out the window "f*cking haole go home" at a white guy standing on the side of the road"

I overheard a police lieutenant tell a police sgt. and an officer that there were "too many f*cking haoles" in the latest recruit class and the dept. needed to do something before the dept. became overrun"

this kind of stuff is common.

there's a lot of other racial stuff going on too (samoans hating tongans and vice versa, natives hating the japanese, etc.) but the anti-white racism is common.
11.24.2008 9:15am
Floridan:
I'm not in favor of naming buildings, road, parks, etc. after people until they are gone from this earth, but I would make an exception if they wanted to rename Jacksonville, Florida's, Nathan Bedford Forrest High School after the president-elect.
11.24.2008 9:24am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

Anyone care to comment of all the stuff named for that great old hooded warrior Robert Byrd?


Yes. Byrd quit the clan in 1943, when he was 26 years old. He had been a member for about a year or two. He has apologized many times.

But given your attitude about this, I'm sure you were part of the group that thought McCain should be cut no slack whatsoever for the way he treated his first wife forty years ago.
11.24.2008 9:26am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
guest:

We're having this discussion in 2008. The article is from 2004 and describes a situation that doesn't exist today.


The fact that a couple of states have flipped is not a basis to claim that the article is about "a situation that doesn't exist today." And if I showed you data from 10/08, you would probably whine that 'we're having this discussion in 11/08; your data is from 10/08.'

If you can show that more recent data would produce a different conclusion, then you should do so. What are you waiting for?

It's also an error for them to categorize New Mexico as a red state given that it went blue four out of five of the last elections.


If you want to call that an "error," then you need to account for all the states where the reverse is true. Have you done that? And what is the logic for saying they should look back five elections? Why not 10? 20? 2? 0? You're not pointing out an "error." You're pointing out that they made a reasonable judgment that you've decided to nitpick, in a highly arbitrary manner.

cocaine was the larger concern and yet you wrongly claimed meth was


Wrong. It's not that "cocaine was the larger concern." It's that the two were roughly tied, and you will see one or the other in the lead, depending on what source you look at, and what exact moment you pick.

why did you bring up 2006?


Because that was the first data I found. You don't like that? Sue me.

According to law enforcement cocaine was the greater concern in 2004


The source you provided showed these numbers: cocaine at 37% and meth at 36.2%. Does that mean cocaine is "greater?" Barely. It's more reasonable to view it as a tie. And they may have used another source that broke the tie in the other direction, which would explain why they picked meth and not cocaine. And why not do both? Because it would take more time, and more work, and they had to draw the line somewhere.

So thanks for doing such a nice job of proving that all you have is nitpicking.

By the way, it's interesting to compare 2003 and 2004. For 2004, the numbers are (as I just said) cocaine at 37% and meth at 36.2%. For 2003, the numbers are cocaine at 33.1% and meth at 31%. Notice the trend, at the time? Meth is overtaking cocaine. And now look at what your source said in 2004:

Cocaine. Cocaine trafficking and abuse represent a significant drug threat to the United States. Both powder and crack cocaine are readily available throughout the country, and overall availability appears to be stable.

Methamphetamine. The threat posed to the United States by the trafficking and abuse of methamphetamine is high and increasing.


(Emphasis added.) Those statements are consistent with the numbers I just highlighted, which show that meth was overtaking cocaine. If I have limited time to do an analysis, it makes sense to focus on the problem that is "high and increasing," in favor of focusing on the problem that "appears to be stable." Especially if they are roughly at the same level (36.2 vs 37).

Sure is handy to be able to pick which criteria you are going to skip over when painting your opponent as a sinner and yourself as a saint.


You are repeatedly suggesting that if they had done the analysis regarding cocaine instead of meth, the result would be different. Really? Prove it.

What analysis do you want to see?


An analysis that takes all 50 states into account. Because that's what they did to produce a statement like this:

The number of meth-lab seizures in red states increased by 38 percent from 1999 to 2003 … In the same time frame, it decreased by 38 percent in blue states


Let us know when you're ready to tell us what the corresponding statement would be, with regard to cocaine seizures. So far, you haven't come anywhere close to doing that.

BTW, there's a factual error for you, in none of 2002, 2003, or 2004 was the number of labs seized 20 per hundred thousand people.


Let's take a close look, since this is a nice example of how sloppy your work is. The article I cited said this:

The per capita rate of methamphetamine-lab seizures in California is 2 per 100,000 … In Arkansas, it's 20 per 100,000


You're saying that number 20 is wrong. Really? Let's take a look at the source you offered. If I open that source and click on Arkansas, I see that it has a population of 2,779,154. I also see that in 2003 it had 714 meth lab incidents. The number for 2002 is 397 (that number isn't on the same page, but you found it on a different page).

The average of those two numbers (397 and 714) is 555. 555 over a population of 2,779,154 works out to this: precisely 19.97 per 100,000.

So thanks to your source, we've just verified that their number is exactly right. They simply averaged the two most recent years. And this shows that they were trying to be fair, because if they had looked only at the number for 2003 (a reasonable choice, since that was the most current data), Arkansas would have come out looking even worse.

Nice job helping us prove exactly the opposite of what you're trying to prove.

Tell me again how those blue states don't have any kind of drug problems


Nice job with the straw man. That's not what anyone has said.

You're not presenting data. You're presenting hearsay. Let's see their citations for the data they present.


I just demonstrated an example of how their statements match up perfectly with the sources and data that was presented by you.

please tell me at what date did New Mexico become a red state for the purposes of their statistics. The 2004 general election was a whole 48 days before the publication of the article you linked


Please explain why using some other election as the benchmark makes more sense than using the election that just happened. Aren't you the one making a fuss about how all data must be ignored unless it's extremely recent?

you're the one who claimed to know that I haven't been calling people out for trying to deflect from the failings of their positions for the last eight years. Since you have that detailed knowledge of the last eight years of my life, you must be following me around.


No, it's not that I have "that detailed knowledge of the last eight years of [your] life." It's that google has a detailed memory of what you've said, so I know that you "haven't been calling people out for trying to deflect from the failings of their positions."

Then again, it's possible you've been doing exactly that, but I've missed it somehow. Is that it?

Before you ever post you're convinced of your position and you will not change it regardless of facts presented showing that you are wrong.


Wrong again. When facts are presented showing that I'm wrong, this is what I do, 100% of the time: admit that I'm wrong. I could show you examples.

The American Prospect was founded in 1990 as an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas


It's always extremely easy to dismiss any source you don't like. Trouble is, you haven't identified any problems with what they did.

But a big enough fan to vote for him twice, right?


When the choice is breaking a finger or chopping off your hand, only an idiot goes for the amputation.


Only an idiot thinks they've got a broken finger when actually they're missing both arms.
11.24.2008 9:26am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Yes. Byrd quit the clan in 1943, when he was 26 years old. He had been a member for about a year or two. He has apologized many times."

Now, that's change we can believe in!

Retread of the day: Peter Orszag, Budget Director
Change at the top seems to mean retreads everywhere else.

Flash:
Waters Rising As Retreads Buy Up Georgetown High Ground...
Signs that planet is healing itself falter as retreads promise more of the same...
11.24.2008 10:49am
MarkField (mail):

there's a lot of other racial stuff going on too (samoans hating tongans and vice versa, natives hating the japanese, etc.) but the anti-white racism is common.


This was my point. The original (absurd) claim was that all racism in Hawaii was anti-white. In 1970 or so, there was plenty of other racism in Hawaii, some of it directed against blacks.
11.24.2008 11:20am
Guest12345:
Wrong. It's not that "cocaine was the larger concern." It's that the two were roughly tied, and you will see one or the other in the lead, depending on what source you look at, and what exact moment you pick.


Sorry skippy, your exact quote:
Maybe they selected meth because it seems to be a bigger problem:

according to National Drug Threat Survey (NDTS) 2006 data,


You said meth seems to be the bigger problem and you supported your argument with data from two years after your article. You were wrong.

Additionally it's a survey of law enforcement agencies. Nationally they were more concerned about cocaine than meth, even though meth was trending up. Regardless of how you and TAP want to interpret that, that interpretation doesn't reflect the concerns of hundreds of law enforcement agencies around the country.

Let us know when you're ready to tell us what the corresponding statement would be, with regard to cocaine seizures. So far, you haven't come anywhere close to doing that.


You've gotten all the cut-n-pasting from me you're going to get. I've provided the source for my data.

I've shown that their numbers don't add up (more on that in a second.) You challenged people to prove that there was an error in the TAP article. I've done that.

You're saying that number 20 is wrong. Really? Let's take a look at the source you offered. If I open that source and click on Arkansas, I see that it has a population of 2,779,154. I also see that in 2003 it had 714 meth lab incidents. The number for 2002 is 397 (that number isn't on the same page, but you found it on a different page).


In the future you might want to be consistent with your numbers. 2,779,154 is the population for 2007. It was lower in 2002 and 2003. But I'll not quibble. Instead let us do the math for California for the same years:

2002: 1718 / 338 = 5
2003: 1239 / 345 = 3.6

The average of 5 and 3.6 is 4.3. That's more than twice the number they gave for California. Their numbers don't work. They're wrong. You're still wrong. Do you even look to see what you might be putting your foot in before you take a step? In your rush to find some way to make their numbers work for Arkansas, a rational person would apply the same analysis to the numbers for California.

Nice job with the straw man. That's not what anyone has said.


True. What they said was that there are more labs seized per capita in AR than in CA. Which is true. Of course they were wrong about how many labs it was. Another true fact is that in the years in question there was more meth per capita seized in CA than in AR (five times as much!) There were more labs total in CA than in AR. Of the number one drug concern, cocaine, there was more seized in CA. Seriously. Who's being honest?

Please explain why using some other election as the benchmark makes more sense than using the election that just happened. Aren't you the one making a fuss about how all data must be ignored unless it's extremely recent?


Because I might just do this same article for how the world stands now. I might not. But if I do I'd like to get the baseline right. Is Florida a blue state? If I average 2003 to 2007, when is it red and when is it blue?

It's that google has a detailed memory of what you've said, so I know that you "haven't been calling people out for trying to deflect from the failings of their positions."


Yeah, because Guest12345 is the only name I've ever used anywhere in the world for the last eight years. As opposed to what I've used here at Volokh for the last couple of years.

The TAP article is wrong. There you go. From here on out, if you want people to believe that TAP has to say, it's source material citations and a detailed description of their analysis.
11.24.2008 11:24am
MikeS (mail):
Actually aren't Obama's experiences in this rather moot? It doesn't matter whether Obama came from Harlem or from some utopian society where there was no racism.

Obama's only historically notable accomplishment to date is to show that it is possible for the nation as a whole to elect a 'black' president. It is the nation's perception of his 'blackness' that counts not his personal experience.

To me this was the nation's accomplishment far more than it was Obama's. As such it doesn't seem like it is appropriate at this point to start naming things after him. Perhaps naming a school Obama '08 would be appropriate in noting the historical event not the man himself.
11.24.2008 11:44am
Floridan:
Jukeboxgrad: "This is what he actually said . . ."

What possible interest would that be to this crowd?
11.24.2008 12:22pm
Smokey:
I've seen JBG post almost non-stop for as much as 22 hours a day [no exaggeration]. I've mentioned that to him before, and also his cluttering up the thread with minutiae that nobody else seems much concerned with. Those endless nitpicky details convince no one who is not already convinced.

JBG really needs to move out of his Mom's basement and get a life.
11.24.2008 2:50pm
Colin (mail):
Those endless nitpicky details convince no one who is not already convinced.

Do you really see yourself as a more serious or more useful commenter? Would you say that your endless and tedious comments about "the messiah" and "0" are likely to convince anyone who is not already convinced? What about calling other commenters "limp-wristed fops" and cowards?
11.24.2008 3:44pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey:

I've seen JBG post almost non-stop for as much as 22 hours a day … get a life


Your irony impairment is severe. If you have the time and energy to carefully audit someone else's posting behavior, the one who needs to "get a life" is you.

Anyway, isn't it obvious that Soros has a whole team of JBG's working for him?
=======================
elliot:

retreads promise more of the same


The 'retread' is obviously you, and "more of the same" is obviously all we're ever going to get from you.
=======================
floridan:

What possible interest would that be to this crowd?


Exactly. Mark said it well with his snippet from Buffy.
=======================
colin:

What about calling other commenters "limp-wristed fops" and cowards?


You should give smokey more credit for trying to raise the level of discourse. It could be worse. Haven't you noticed how carefully he avoids saying "asswipe" and "jackass?"
11.24.2008 3:57pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
guest:

Nationally they were more concerned about cocaine than meth


Yes, they were "more concerned." By how much? By a margin of 0.8%. So your complaint is a terrific demonstration of nitpicking. And cocaine was stable and meth was increasing, which is a good reason to choose to focus on meth.

The average of 5 and 3.6 is 4.3. That's more than twice the number they gave for California. Their numbers don't work.


It would be better if they indicated their source. You're guessing at their source, and the results you get are going to vary, depending on what source you use, and depending on what period you look at. Look at the map for 2004 on this page. AR has 800 meth lab incidents. CA has 764. That works out to the following rates per 100,000: 28.8 vs. 2.1. So those numbers show AR as being even worse than what TAP said (20 vs. 2). And if you choose the numbers you highlighted, what you get is 20 vs. 4.3, which is still a very unfavorable result for AR.

So you haven't shown that their numbers are wrong, because I've just shown you data which indicates that they understated, rather than overstated, the problem in AR. And you also haven't shown that their basic premise is wrong, because even the numbers you came up with (20 vs. 4.3) are a very unfavorable result for AR.

I might just do this same article for how the world stands now


We'll be waiting patiently. Please let us know.

But if I do I'd like to get the baseline right. Is Florida a blue state? If I average 2003 to 2007, when is it red and when is it blue?


There is no one "right" way to do an analysis like this. It is always going to be necessary to make judgments. You've been quibbling about various judgments they made, but you haven't proven that some other judgment would be preferable.

Yeah, because Guest12345 is the only name I've ever used anywhere in the world for the last eight years.


You obviously need some help with your reading comprehension. I already said this:

Then again, it's possible you've been doing exactly that, but I've missed it somehow. Is that it?


In other words, I acknowledged the possibility that you're pretending I didn't acknowledge. And I asked you a direct question. It's interesting to notice how you're ducking it.
11.24.2008 4:03pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

It's not like you weren't asked to refrain from doing this previously.


EV is a big boy and he knows how to speak up. When did he appoint you as the thread police?

And you might want to look at my response to what he said to me. And you also might want to see if you notice any differences between the circumstances in the other thread, as compared with the circumstances here.
11.24.2008 4:04pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"The 'retread' is obviously you, and "more of the same" is obviously all we're ever going to get from you."

Sorry, I never held a government position. Now, if Obama hired me, that would indeed be Change You Can Believe In.

And now the tax hike for the rich is sinking into those rising waters along with a repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. So, where'e the change?
11.24.2008 4:48pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:


EV is a big boy and he knows how to speak up. When did he appoint you as the thread police?

And you might want to look at my response to what he said to me. And you also might want to see if you notice any differences between the circumstances in the other thread, as compared with the circumstances here


One need not be the "thread police" to point out that the VC functions best when there are dialogues versus monologues on threads. The circumstances of why one posts numerous posts in a row is not really relevant. It's seems to be a matter of VC courtesy.
11.24.2008 5:35pm
RPT (mail):
"Elliot123:

So where's the change":

No Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Libby, Addington, Wolfowitz, Yoo, Paulson, C. Rice, Von Spakovsky, Hadley, Goodling, Elston, etc., and the pardons to come. That's a good start. The last eight years are the status quo against which to measure the change, and even a good retread is better than the rims we've been riding on since January 2001.

"Coldwarkid:

I think the much more prudent move would be to wait to see what kind of commander-in-chief he proves to be."

He can only be better than the existing C-in-C.
11.24.2008 5:52pm
KWC (mail):
Wow. EV basically says that Barack Obama is an affirmative action president. Some crazies have so opined, but I never thought I'd hear it from EV, despite his conservative leanings.

Wow. Just wow.

Also, I'd like to point out that tons of achievements have to do more with the fact of getting them than how you do in the job. Clerkships are a prime example. If you land a great clerkship, no one ever asks how you performed. It's the fact that the you got the clerkship that is deemed valuable in the legal market because it is a mark of other achievement (and a whole bunch of luck).
11.24.2008 5:59pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"No Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Libby, Addington, Wolfowitz, Yoo, Paulson, C. Rice, Von Spakovsky, Hadley, Goodling, Elston, etc., and the pardons to come."

Is that all Obama meant by Change You Can Believe In? Just a new bunch of retreads on the payroll? Maybe new curtains, too?
11.24.2008 7:04pm
Guest12345:
It would be better if they indicated their source. You're guessing at their source, and the results you get are going to vary, depending on what source you use, and depending on what period you look at. Look at the map for 2004 on this page. AR has 800 meth lab incidents. CA has 764. That works out to the following rates per 100,000: 28.8 vs. 2.1. So those numbers show AR as being even worse than what TAP said (20 vs. 2). And if you choose the numbers you highlighted, what you get is 20 vs. 4.3, which is still a very unfavorable result for AR.


So you're changing your argument again? First it was "There are no errors in this article. Prove there is an error." So I listed several possible flaws in their analysis that could change the results. You switched to "No error there. Show a factual error." So I showed a factual error. Then you changed to "I averaged over two years, there is no error." Of course it wasn't true when you applied the same math to the other half of their comparison. Now you're going with "They're not wrong because even though they're wrong it's O.K. because their number is too low."

Look, they have one proven error. That's what you asked for. How readers choose to weigh that error, and the selection bias I demonstrated, when looking at the other numbers in the TAP article will be up to the individual reader.

And as far as sources go, you are not going to get a better source than the people who are doing the lab and drug seizures. If TAP got their numbers from somewhere else, that's not the reader's problem, it's TAP's problem. They're still wrong.

So you haven't shown that their numbers are wrong, because I've just shown you data which indicates that they understated, rather than overstated, the problem in AR. And you also haven't shown that their basic premise is wrong, because even the numbers you came up with (20 vs. 4.3) are a very unfavorable result for AR.


Yes I have. TAP's numbers are wrong, I've shown that. I knew the Arkansas numbers when I said "this is an error", you didn't show anything I didn't already know. Unlike you, I even did the numbers for California. My goal was to verify correctness, not to find the statistic that supported my desired outcome like TAP obviously did.

But I did find that with a less end result oriented approach to the question, California has a larger meth problem than Arkansas. In the total number of labs, the total amount of the drug, and the total amount of the drug per capita, Californians are worse off. (Unless you're a meth addict, in which case California is the place for you!)

So yes, not only did I find a factual error, I demonstrated that their premise is wrong as well.
11.24.2008 8:26pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

Sorry, I never held a government position.


W obviously missed a major opportunity when he failed to appoint you Secretary of Pointless Bullshit.

where'e the change?


In you, there's obviously none whatsoever, and there never will be.

now the tax hike for the rich is sinking into those rising waters


You're the guy who whined about how Obama allegedly "supported redistribution." So you're doing a nice job of proving that you're determined to do nothing but complain, no matter what. Which makes you this: a joke.
11.25.2008 12:07am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

VC functions best when there are dialogues versus monologues on threads


Then I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear that over 100 different people have posted in this thread. So 'monologue' probably isn't the right word.

By the way, I think "VC functions best" when decisions regarding how "VC functions best" are left in the hands of those who are responsible for making sure that "VC functions best."
11.25.2008 12:07am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
guest:

I showed a factual error.


Wrong. You showed that depending on what sources and years you apply, you'll either get their exact result, or results that are close to their result.

as far as sources go, you are not going to get a better source than the people who are doing the lab and drug seizures


Indeed. Which is why I posted these maps from DEA. And I explained how the DEA data proves that the situation in Arkansas is at least as bad as what TAP claimed. What's your complaint now? That TAP went out of their way to make Arkansas look good?

For some strange reason I notice you're still ducking a question I asked you, about whether you actually have been "calling people out for trying to deflect from the failings of their positions." Maybe you don't remember that you said this:

you're the one who claimed to know that I haven't been calling people out for trying to deflect from the failings of their positions for the last eight years.


You accused me of making an incorrect assumption (which I expressed at the bottom of my comment here). But the way you're evading a direct question tends to create the impression that my assumption was correct.
11.25.2008 12:08am
Elliot123 (mail):

"W obviously missed a major opportunity when he failed to appoint you Secretary of Pointless Bullshit."

I admit it. I didn't make the SPB cut for Bush. But I'm honored to say I have been serving as SPB for Obama. I'm the one responsible for those podiums that say, "Office Of The President-Elect."

And we're planning a great speech on economic recovery. How's this for an opener?
"In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again."
I think it meshes with the Gaia theme of receding waters and the planet healing itself.
11.25.2008 12:44am
Guest12345:
jbg:

In your post you asked for "a single example of a non-trivial error." Being off by a factor of 100% (the error in their California number if you use your arbitrary selection of two years to average) or 40% (the error in the Arkansas number if the year the article was published is used) is a major error.

To continue to insist that you have shown that there was no error only illustrates how lacking in integrity and honesty you are.

You blather about "these maps" and link to the same data I already supplied. When I first challenged the selection of meth for inclusion in the article your response was to fetch the information from 2006, two years after the publication of the article you are so proud of, and claimed that meth was the bigger problem.

In response to which I pointed out that argument was wrong because it came from a year inapplicable to the article in question. I then proceeded to provide authoritative data showing that in 2004, cocaine was the primary concern. I went on to provide the numbers showing a more complete comparison of the two states selected by The American Prospect staff. I provided details of those two states and a couple others for the years 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2007. In doing so I also pointed out that none of the numbers for Arkansas actually match the number published by TAP.

Then in a flash of absolute stupidity you went on to prove that the per capita number is exactly correct if, using population from 2007 (brilliant!) and the number of labs from 2002 and 2003, you compute the number per 100,000 people and take the average to arrive at the number 19.97. In addition to it being sloppy (and wrong), you went on to compound your idiocy by posting it without taking the time to see what effect that same math would have on the California number. Of course when you take the correct per capita average for those two years the result is more than twice the number published by TAP.

Now you are patting yourself on the back because their comparison is correct if you take a multi year average for one data point and pick an arbitrary year for the other? Sorry, that's not how it works.

Since then you've just kept parroting the same data back to me like, somehow, if you link to it it will mean something different than my already having provided the numbers.

As far as your insistence on changing the subject from your being wrong:
You accused me of making an incorrect assumption (which I expressed at the bottom of my comment here). But the way you're evading a direct question tends to create the impression that my assumption was correct.


I never claimed I was correcting people. I wanted to know how you could, with any sound basis, know that for the last eight years I didn't speak up when people defended Bush with a sentence beginning "but Clinton." You were the one to make a claim. I wanted you to defend that claim. Now that you're admitting that you made it up out of whole cloth the issue is closed as far as I'm concerned.

So what have we learned here? First that The American Prospect article has at least one error, probably two (unlikely that they got their trend right if they can't get the right numbers to compute the trend), and is biased. We learned that jukeboxgrad is really bad at logic. We learned that jukeboxgrad is bad at data gathering and numerical analysis. He or she also seems to think that you can meaningfully compare two dissimilar numbers. Contrary to previous claims, jukeboxgrad appears unable to acknowledge being wrong. Jukeboxgrad makes up facts about people and then insists that they defend those facts. Basically, jukeboxgrad isn't honest.

Nice of you to have shown your colors here. Now commenters can see where you are coming from when you engage in conversation.

Have a nice day, putz.
11.25.2008 2:47am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again


The words of a fictional character can rarely match the words of a real one:

This thaw—took a while to thaw, it's going to take a while to unthaw


Or there's this:

I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office


But there are so many others it's really hard to choose. You should tell us some of your favorites.

I think it meshes with the Gaia theme of receding waters and the planet healing itself.


But here's the more important question: does it mesh with the theme of you getting a clue?
11.25.2008 3:39am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
guest:

40% (the error in the Arkansas number if the year the article was published is used) is a major error


When the "error" is in the direction of understating their own premise, then you have no point. All you've proven is that things in AR, according to one source, are even worse than the article said. In other words, you're accusing TAP of being too understated. Quite an accusation! What you're doing is like whining about someone who makes a budget forecast and then comes in under budget. And aside from that, TAP may have been relying on another source that made a less extreme statement about AR.

I then proceeded to provide authoritative data showing that in 2004, cocaine was the primary concern.


Yes, by the whopping, eye-popping margin of 0.8%. As if a "lead" that small has any significance whatsoever, in this context.

when you take the correct per capita average for those two years the result is more than twice the number published by TAP.


Which means nothing, because even when you do it that way, AR is still way worse than CA, which means the underlying premise does not change.

I wanted to know how you could, with any sound basis, know that for the last eight years I didn't speak up when people defended Bush with a sentence beginning "but Clinton."


Except that I didn't say I knew that for sure. I just said I couldn't find any evidence to the contrary, even though I looked. So I asked you a direct question, and it's a question you're still ducking. Which indicates that my original guess was correct. You did not, in fact, "speak up when people defended Bush with a sentence beginning 'but Clinton.' " Right? You seem to be having a really hard time providing a straight answer to this exceptionally simple question.
11.25.2008 3:39am
Guest12345:
All you've proven is that things in AR, according to one source, are even worse than the article said.


I've proven that according to the source, TAP's numbers are wrong. Additionally, if you want to continue this conversation, define "worse" for me as you are using it in that sentence. Because, I don't know anyone who will be more concerned over more labs per capita producing a much lower quantity of drugs, than fewer labs per capita, but more labs total, producing an order of magnitude larger quantity of drugs.

Yes, by the whopping, eye-popping margin of 0.8%. As if a "lead" that small has any significance whatsoever, in this context.


But it was right. As compared to your statement, which was wrong and your supporting evidence was inapplicable.

Which means nothing, because even when you do it that way, AR is still way worse than CA, which means the underlying premise does not change.


So now you're acknowledging that the number is wrong, but you're saying it doesn't matter. You say "worse" and now you're adding in an "underlying premise." Please tell me the premise of "Arkansas had 20 meth labs seized per 100,000 people, California had 2 meth labs seized per 100,000 people." Because that statistic doesn't provide enough information for a reader to discern any meaning.

Except that I didn't say I knew that for sure. I just said I couldn't find any evidence to the contrary, even though I looked.


You said you didn't recall. Not that you couldn't find evidence. You're trying to retroactively change your position, moving the goal posts on this just like you are on the "show me one error" challenge.

The numbers in the article are wrong. Any meaningful "underlying premise" is not supported by all of the evidence available to describe the situation.

I've shown the error in the article. I've shown your crappy approach to interpretation and analysis. Unless you can define your positions beyond implication ("underlying premise"/"worse"), I'm done with you.
11.25.2008 10:41am
Elliot123 (mail):
"But here's the more important question: does it mesh with the theme of you getting a clue?"

As Secretary of Pointless Bullshit, that question falls to me. Let me tell you, it's not even the Obama administration yet, but the PB just keeps piling up. I've asked for some ambitious upper class youths with shovels from the new Obama Service Health Industry and Technology Initiative.

Right now, I'm busy composing some PB about how mainstreet and the middle class are helped by extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and dropping the plan to increase taxes for the rich. I know some tin foil top will ask why that's good for the middle class now, but was bad for them two months ago. How's this? "But after summer comes winter." Do you think they will miss the fall?
11.25.2008 11:42am