The Third Shift

  1. Republicans are certainly not attacking Rice simply because she is a black woman. But it is certainly likely that they are attacking her because she is a black woman, allied with a black man, who represents the party which black America believes is the best vehicle for its particular interests, and the broader interests of the country. In other words the question isn’t “Is Senator Lindsey Graham racist?” so much as it’s “Who does Senator Lindsey Graham represent?”

    The answer is Graham represents a party whose candidate for the presidency believes black Obama voters are guilty of the sin of electoral bribery, while white Romney voters are simply guilty of loving their country too hard. Graham represents the party of birther claims and birther jokes; the party which thinks attempting to restrict the votes of black and brown people is good use of their resources. The notion that you can separate who Republicans target, from how their base tends to evaluate those targets is willfully naive.

    It does not matter what dwells in Lindsey Graham’s heart. No one knows. The hard interests are what matter.

  2. A week later, post-Paul Ryan, Oak Creek has largely receded from public consciousness, along with the important policy issues it raises. There will be little debate about claims that the Department of Homeland Security has understaffed its analysis of domestic counterrorism in response to political pressure. There will also be little attention to the accusation that the military has repeatedly been willing to accept white supremacists in its ranks. Representative Peter King will continue to hold hearings about the threat posed to America by Islamic extremism while refusing to investigate domestic right-wing groups, even though right-wing groups are more worrisome by any systematic measure. In the end, the events of Oak Creek are tragic on at least two levels. There is the tragedy inherent in the brutal murders, the heroic sacrifices, the anguished waiting, and the grief of relatives whose lives will never be the same. But there is also the larger one of our inability to understand this attack as an assault upon the American dream and therefore a threat to us all. The cost of this second tragedy is one that the entire nation will bear.
    Naunihal Singh, writing in The New Yorker, on how quickly Oak Creek, Wisconsin has faded from the public consciousness and how awful that truly is.
  3. In musical terms, the central irony of hate rock is that it is fundamentally black music. Anchored in the 12-bar blues, the music of white supremacy is, formally speaking, a tribute to Chuck Berry as much as anything else. But such irony is lost on most hate rockers, or at least it’s beside the point. (Just try to explain to a neo-Nazi fan of Gaelic music that the Irish were not considered “white” a hundred years ago.)
    Portland State University sociology prof Randy Blazak has a good piece in Pacific Standard on the hate rock scene in the wake of Wade Page’s shooting of the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
  4. For thirty years, we have been told by our leaders to estrange ourselves from our political natures, to ignore what Aristotle said, and to pretend that we are not political in our daily lives, in our daily work, or even in how we choose (or choose not) to govern ourselves. If we still recognized our essential political nature, we would recognize the inherent absurdity of people who spend millions of dollars to campaign for a political office on the grounds that they are ‘not a politician.’
    Charlie Pierce in Esquire on the attempted bombing in Spokane, WA last MLK Day, our inability to call out right-wing domestic terrorism for what it is, and our unwillingness to admit that we are all political. 
  5. ☛ Al-Qaida's Paper Trail: A 'Treasure Trove' For U.S. : NPR

    Terrorism, Inc. Imagining this in screenplay form; Al-Qaeda with HR department, finance (for receipts and reimbursement), and massive bureaucracy and hierarchy of the sort that we all drudge about in our daily lives.

    Quite possibly the most fascinating thing I’ve had to think about in a while. Bin Laden’s economic background led him to lead a terrorist organization like a CEO.