Monday, October 03, 2005

When It Rains It Pours

Needless to say it has been pretty tough lately to be a Republican. Let’s recap:

  • Rep. Tom Delay was indicted on a charge of criminally conspiring with two political associates to inject illegal corporate contributions into 2002 Texas state elections.
  • Sen. Bill Frist is being formally investigated by the SEC for insider trading.
  • The Republican governor of Ohio, Gov. Bob Taft, was recently convicted of ethics violations. Yet he won’t resign and his approval rating is down to 15%.
  • Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who Tom Delay referred to as “my good friend” and who also paid for Tom Delay to go play golf in Scotland, was indicted on five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy.
  • According to the Government Accountability Office the Bush administration broke anti-propaganda rules.
  • There is new speculation that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of the discussions about leaking the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame.
  • Former Secretary of Education in the Bush administration, William Bennett, stated on a radio show: “But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.” I wonder how genocide plays into being a compassionate conservative?

But then again maybe all this bad news will just go away so long as Bush nominates the lawyer who allegedly got his drunk driving charges off of his record to the Supreme Court. The funny part about this is that Harriet Miers pulled a Cheney, she was the head of the selection committee to find a new Supreme Court Nominee and instead chose herself. I thought the complete and utter failure of Mike Brown as the head of FEMA would have taught Bush that the use of cronyism when appointing people to important offices isn’t’ the best policy.


Mandingo said...

Check out Levitt's intriguing Freakonomics. Although he wouldn't make such a bald-faced statement as Bennett's, from purely economic rationale there is some twisted truth to his statement. But that's before instilling ethics into the equation, which is of course not easily quantifiable. I think that's why they call economics the "cruel science".

realitycheckmate said...

Tom Delay is a perfect example of why you should not support corporations that donate to conservatives. Take your money elsewhere.

Vote with your wallet.

Here is a list of corporations and there political affiliation.

These two corporations contribute and donate the most to the Progressive Liberal movement. They are "Working Assets" long distance and wireless, and "Progressive Auto Insurance".

Please tell your friends about these websites. Feel free to cut and copy this to other blogs, message boards, and email.

PiedPiper said...

BTW, Delay just got indicted today on a new charge of money laundering. A vast left-wing conspiracy if there ever was one.

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xtrachromosomeconservative said...

"Dismal Science" not "Cruel Science".

Mandingo said...

Man, Xtra, you're really sticking it to me lately. Awhile back you had me on "aneurysm" which can also be spelled aneurism (as I so rightly spelled it). But I must say, the dismal (not cruel) science catch was a good one. To this I bow in penance. I am your liege, Lord.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

"But then again maybe all this bad news will just go away so long as Bush nominates the lawyer who allegedly got his drunk driving charges off of his record to the Supreme Court." If this is true that is hilarious, sad, but hilarious. Nonetheless, source it. The hyperlinked article makes no mention of it. We don't want to be giving Daily Kos types false hope.

By the way this nomination has to be one of the most thinly qualified nominations in the history of the Court. Actually, Earl Warren, but never mind. I guess that is how they came up with the term BUSH league.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

Mandingo, I have been a bitch lately, my sincerest apologies.

archduke f. f. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
archduke f. f. said...

Drunk Driving arrest link

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

Well, then, she must be qualified for the Court.

archduke f. f. said...

William Saletan on Slate has this enlightening distillation of what Bennett's comments mean and how Conservatives have tried to spin his words into something less patently offensive and downright mean.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

I don't know if it was patently offensive or downright mean. What were his basic assumptions other than that abortion affects crime rates? Those weren't reflected in as a result the listener is inclined to fill in the gap. Liberals are inclined to believe that his assumptions were either malicious or borne of ignorance, Conservatives, by and large, don't think either trait is in keeping wiht Bennett's temperment and just believe it was a provacative if impolitic statement, but one that is not wholly without founding.

archduke f. f. said...

Bennett's specific language, that aborting "black babies" would reduce the crime rate, is what is offensive. We all know that he wasn't advocating such a thing--he's a pro-life conservative--but the fact that he chose to say "black" means that he assumes that there is a predisposition to crime among the black population.

One problem, among others, is that Bennett doesn't believe that the abortion rate affects crime, as Levitt's post indicated (which you posted, didn't you xtra?):

BENNETT:one of the arguments in this book Freakonomics that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, they deal with this hypothesis, that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up. Well --
CALLER: Well, I don't think that statistic is accurate.
BENNETT: Well, I don't think it is either, I don't think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don't know.

In this quote he demonstrates that he is uncertain about the correlation of the actual drop in crime rates because of abortion, yet he goes on to say that if you abort "black" babies, there would be a drop in crime, and he "know[s] that it's true." By framing it in this manner, Bennett has taken one general theory made by Stephen Levitt (and somewhat supported by the data) and noted a particular "fact" about blacks (according to Levitt, something not supported by the data, ceteris paribus).

Bennett's uncertainty principle states that there is "too much that you don't know" concerning abortion and crime, yet he KNOWS that aborting a specific race's babies would decrease the crime rate. Bennett, then, uses race as a determining factor in criminality, which Levitt says is not true: Bennett's statement is one without founding.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

My answer is thus, Levitt says that race is not a factor for crime when it is adjusted for income, single parent family, teenage pregnancy, and how urban an evironment is. Now Levitt doesn't flesh out those factors but I assume them to mean: Lower income contributes to the probability of committing a crime, growing up in a single parent family as opposed to a two-parent family increases the probability of committing a crime, Being the product of a teenage pregnancy increases the probability of committing a crime, and living in an urban environment increases the probability of committing a crime. I don't think that Bennett necessarily means that an African-American is predisposed to crime rather there is a greater probability than in other racial groups that an African-American would be born into a situation (low income, teenage mother, single mother, urban environment) that would "induce" or enhance their likelihood of criminality. That said, Bennett did not make those connections, I did. So to accept that line of logic would be a leap.

archduke f. f. said...

It is possible to make the logical leap that you're making. The question of whether or not William Bennett himself has made this leap is where I have my beef with him. It was an asinine thing to say, in my opinion, because he could have framed it in so many ways that didn't take race into account. If he had just said "male" he would have ignited not a single controversy, because even figuring in income, males are substantially more likely to commit crimes than women.

By bringing race into the debate, Bennett continued to fuel the hatred that a portion of his audience already has burning inside them. Maybe that's the bleeding-heart way of looking at it, but I think that someone who purports to speak about values and virtues would be a little more careful about what where he wants his audience to come from.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

I think it is entirely plausible that Bill Bennett would have made that leap. Ever since Moynihan's "The Plight of Negro Family" conservatives have been jumping on the correlation between the erosion of the nuclear family and rise in criminality in the African American community, Bill Bennett is definitely a part of this movement and probably one of its loudest voices, if not the most articulate. I have listened to his show on XM radio numerous times (p.s. if you love talk radio, XM RADIO is the thing for you, it has Air America and a Right Wing Radio channel, along with BBC, CNN, NPR, etc.) and frankly he is an intellectual lightweight, though, at least curious. Thus, that his comment was so impolitic doesn't surprise me.

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