In an interview with the NY Times, President Bush’s outgoing homeland security aide Francis Fragos Townsend said she was concerned about “the acrimony” that hangs over Bush’s last year in office. “I find it both offensive and crippling,” she said. “When both career people and political people are worried about getting subpoenaed, it’s hard to get a lot accomplished.” Steve Benen responds, “Oh, those poor, poor White House officials. If only Congress would go back to ignoring the administration’s scandalous, sometimes criminal, behavior, the president and his aides would find it much easier to go about their business without the fear of accountability.”
I doubt anyone’s surprised that Scott Skiles got fired, but doing it on Christmas Eve just seems mean. What’s more, the team was actually improving — they started 2-10 and they’re 9-16 now, so the new coach may well wind up getting credit for an improvement that was already happening.
Meanwhile, John Paxson might want to consider firing himself. I supported the Ben Wallace signing at the time, but it obviously hasn’t worked out very well. But trading away Tyson Chandler for nothing never made sense on any level. Then I’ve never heard of a team flirting with so many deals to acquire a superstar and then come away with nothing.
A review copy of Liberal Fascism: A Very Serious Argument That Has Never Been Made With Such Care or in Such Detail showed up in the mail today. Unfortunately, Spencer Ackerman nabbed it and ran off somewhere. But soon enough, it shall be mine….
In news sure to bring a smile to Tom Schaller’s face, it seems that of the DCCC’s top forty targeted congressional districts only four are in the South and all four of them are in Florida. Basically, the view is that the Democratic Party has a lot of growth potential in the Midwest and the Southwest, but that nothing’s doing in Dixie.
Bruce Bartlett responds to my post on his book:
Matt’s reaction is exactly what I expected from the left. Since the history cannot be denied they will sweep it under the rug as old news–and boring news at that. But considering the recent flap about Reagan’s Philadelphia, Mississippi speech in 1980, I don’t think liberals can dismiss my argument without also dismissing their own efforts to use 27 year old speeches to damn the Republican Party for racism. They can’t have it both ways. Either history matters or it doesn’t.
No, no, no! I don’t think the history should be swept under the rug at all. What I think is that the history reflects well on present members of the Democratic Party. The political views of the Southern Democrats were unconscionably evil, and the corrupt bargain national Democratic Party figures struck with them was a terrible thing. But in a series of intense political battles, the Democratic Party eventually broke decisively with that heritage, prompting breakaway segregationist campaigns in 1948 and 1968 and eventually leading the bulk of the white supremacist constituency to drift to the Republican Party.
The significance of the history of race in America — and of the centrality of the Democrats’ corrupt bargain with white supremacy to American political history — really shouldn’t be minimized. But what it shows is that the Democratic Party’s decision to embrace the civil rights movement and the Republican Party’s decision to embrace opposition to civil rights has been integral to the Republican Party’s political successes toward the end of the 20th century.
Our guest blogger is Henry Fernandez, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress focusing on state and municipal policy.
Tom Tancredo, the only candidate for president from either party to declare himself in opposition to legal immigration, and to have a specific aversion to Mexican immigration, dropped out of the presidential race last week. Then he did something quite odd — he endorsed Mitt Romney, the only candidate whose father was born in Mexico and whose family made use of the porous border to immigrate between Mexico and the United States.
Tancredo made his endorsement because he was enamored by Romney’s recent — apparently hypocritical — conversion on immigration. Romney has been running ads across Iowa decrying what he now believes is the horrible impact of “illegal immigrants.”
Well here’s a little fact check for Tancredo.
Mitt Romney’s father George was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1907, the son of Gaskell Romney and Anna Amelia Pratt. Three generations of Romneys lived in Mexico because Miles Park Romney, a polygamist, moved the family there in 1884 as it became increasingly clear that the U.S. government would not tolerate polygamy in the Utah Territory. The 1882 Edmunds Act stripped polygamists of the basic rights of U.S. citizenship, denying them the right to vote, serve on juries or hold office. Not dissimilar to current immigration raids, U.S. federal agents hunted and arrested polygamists. Polygamists were forced to leave the country or risk jail.
Miles chose to leave the country, bringing his multiple wives and children with him across the southern border. In his 1902 book The Story of the Mormons, author William Alexander Linn states that the “Secretario de Fomento of Mexico” related that “The laws of this country [Mexico] do not permit polygamy,” and that the contracts for the establishment of Mormon colonies in Mexico required the same. If true, Miles Romney then knowingly arrived in direct violation of Mexican immigration law.
Utah became a state in 1896, only after laws were passed there prohibiting polygamy. While polygamy may have been illegal in both countries, the Romneys still found Mexico more to their liking. All four of George’s grandparents would live out their days in Mexico, with Anna’s mother Dorsey being the last to die — in Chihuahua in 1929.
Gaskell and Anna (who were monogamous) were married in 1895, and according to George’s biographer Tom Mahoney, lived in Chihuahua until the height of the Mexican Revolution in 1912. Relative Junius Romney negotiated with rebel leaders to get women and children out of the colony for their safety. Anna, with Mitt’s father George in tow, fled across the U.S. border by train (with no apparent delay or search at the border). A short time later Gaskell, like many Mexican immigrants before and since, covered hundreds of miles under a hot sun, crossing by land into New Mexico.
As a Mexican born immigrant, George would do quite honorably, becoming Governor of Michigan and running for the Republican nomination for President in 1968. His support for civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War resulted in his loss to Richard Nixon. His son Mitt is of course where this post began.
Perhaps it’s not just Tancredo who needs a quick reminder of the Romney family history?
Next week, the New England Patriots will attempt to complete a perfect season, potentially becoming the first team in 35 years to finish a regular season undefeated. But the Patriots’ game against the New York Giants is scheduled to be broadcast on the NFL Network, a premium sports channel unavailable to a majority of households. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is intervening, asking NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to move next week’s game to NBC — and is threatening to hold Senate hearings if he does not.
In the last month, CNN’s Ed Henry has aggressively questioned Press Secretary Dana Perino about the White House’s deceptive statements about Iranian intelligence and its evasiveness about its role in destroying the torture tapes. Fishbowl DC reports that at his year-end press conference last Thursday, Bush did not call on CNN, “making CNN’s Ed Henry and Helen Thomas (who almost never gets called on by Bush) the only two front-row journos not to be called on.”
We all know about the War on Hanukkah. And last year I discussed the War on White Christmas. But it is increasingly clear that the assault on the Christmas tradition by those who oppose action on global warming goes far beyond the inevitable reduction in late December snowfall we will face when the country is 10°F warmer (or more) by century’s end.
The question of the season is — What will happen to Santa Claus when the Arctic is ice free?
Where will we tell kids that Santa lives? Some sort of North Pole Atlantis? But he can’t live under the water, since much of the Arctic will still ice over by December, though a few feet of ice can’t support a huge house and a factory and an elf-dormitory. Kids are smarter than that. If only adults were smarter….
Probably the best choice is to ship him off to the South Pole (with Superman’s Fortress of Solitude). Indeed the fact that Santa lives in the North Pole is no doubt a residue of our general Northern-hemisphere-centric worldview. How ironic would it be to outsource Santa to the Southern hemisphere. Not the Antarctic Peninsula or West Antarctic ice sheet, of course, since those may not last the century — we don’t want to keep moving him! — but much of the East Antarctic ice sheet will
probably hopefully be around for centuries, and, in any case, Antarctica is a real continent, so even when the ice is gone, Santa can still have his whole operation above water.
Of course, if we ruin the Christmas tradition with our short-sighted inability to develop sane greenhouse gas policies, Santa may just decide all of us are too “naughty” to deserve his largess.
I also wonder what future generations will think about all those old Christmas movies with Santa based at the North Pole. Probably the same thing they think about all those epic stories of brave explorers struggling to get to the North Pole. More tall tales from adults, no doubt — at least until they are old enough to understand the sad truth.
If we don’t change course soon, we won’t just transform the climate — we will transform our culture, from one of abundance to one of scarcity — and that has profound implications for all of humanity, including our native optimism and our generous, gift-giving nature. ‘Tis the season to say: ‘Tis time to act!