The GOP attack on Colonel Sanders

Another Republican offends another constituency:

Democratic lawmakers couldn’t believe their ears as they listened to Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, deliver a long soliloquy explaining that more blacks and Hispanics live in poverty, in part, because of fried chicken.

The comments came during a meeting of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force Wednesday at the Capitol as lawmakers on the committee were presented with a number of statistics highlighting racial disparities in the poverty rate.

“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up, diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup and you just can’t help it,” Marble said. “Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better BBQ and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you — I love it.”

Because when you talk about minorities and poverty, fried chicken naturally flows into the conversation?

Will we get a non-apology apology?

Marble released a statement Wednesday night.

“My comments were not meant to be disparaging to any community,” she said. “I am saddened they were taken in that regard. I take my responsibility seriously and I hope our work on this committee will offer real solutions to the health and financial challenges of our vulnerable populations.”

Nope. No apology here. She’s just saddened that people reacted to what she said.


Social Class in America

Here’s a film short from 1957 on America’s class structure:

I’m stunned. I thought this would be one of those, “Doesn’t matter what your background is, with hard work and determination, you can achieve greatness.”

Isn’t that the message that’s constantly pounded into our heads? No?!

Back in 1957, the reality was, “doesn’t matter what you do, you were born into a certain class, and you’re always going to stay there.”

That’s totally depressing.

Even more depressing: There are no minorities anywhere in this video. Back then, that meant they didn’t even count and weren’t worth discussing. Oh, yeah. And from what I could see here, women didn’t count either.

I’ve got no love for nostalgia. I don’t think anything in the past was better than things are now. But I do believe in social mobility.

I know plenty of people who’ve come from absolutely nothing and completely tore through class distinctions. In my lifetime, we’ve had at least four U.S. presidents who’ve risen from the bottom of the economic ladder. I can rattle off the names of poor and middle class kids who became successful and are now billionaires.

But there are people who want to go back to the simplicity 1950s. People who want others to stay in their place and not complain. And class divisions are widening now at a faster pace than any other time in my life.

Look at the charts of income distribution. The social structure of ’50s nostalgia is running rampant.

Stupid is as stupid does on the telephone

There are times when I realize I can’t keep up with all of the crazy Obama conspiracy theories. Like, it just occurred to me, “What was all that talk about ‘free Obama phones’ all about?”

It sounded idiotic and obviously was another diversion from the election, so I didn’t think about looking into it. But people on the right are still talking about the free Obama phones.

So, here we go, debunking another myth:

Since 2009, there has been an urban myth that Obama created a program to provide free phones to low-income Americans at taxpayer expense. There is, in fact, a government program that will provide low-income people with a free or low cost cell phone. It was started in 2008 under George W. Bush.

The idea of providing low-income individuals with subsidized phone service was originated in the Reagan administration following the break-up of AT&T in 1984. (It was expanded and formalized by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.) The program is paid for by telecommunications companies through an independent non-profit, not through tax revenue.

Republicans need to stop being the stupid party.


Put that kid to work

I wonder. Do these guys know what comes out of their mouths is insane when they say it? Chances are they do, and they do it to get a visceral reaction from their Red State, red-meat ravaging base.

Newt Gingrich tonight said at an address at Harvard that child work laws “entrap” poor children into poverty – and suggested that a better way to handle failing schools is to fire the janitors, hire the local students and let them get paid for upkeep.

The comment came in response to an undergrad’s question about income equality during his talk at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

“This is something that no liberal wants to deal with,” Gingrich said. “Core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization against children in the poorest neighborhoods, crippling them by putting them in schools that fail has done more to create income inequality in the United States than any other single policy. It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid.

“You say to somebody, you shouldn’t go to work before you’re what, 14, 16 years of age, fine. You’re totally poor. You’re in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I’ve tried for years to have a very simple model,” he said. “Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”

Now, there are a lot of things you can call Newt Gingrich, but he’s not stupid. He’s a historian, and he well knows that child labor laws weren’t created because of unionization or bureaucratization or income inequality or the desire to keep kids under 16 from learning the value of work. They were created because pre-teens were working seven days a week in sweatshops or coal mines or cotton fields or some other ungodly labor that paid pennies (or script) for hours of work. He knows that before the era of child labor laws poor families made a choice of either sending their kids to school or to the mines or the factories.

Child labor was common at the turn of the century, and many families needed the income earned by their children to survive. The 1900 census counted 1.75 million individuals aged 10 to 15 who were gainful workers.9 At that time, these children comprised 6 percent of the labor force. There were no national laws that governed child labor, and while some States enacted and enforced such laws, most did not. By 1999, Federal and State law regulated child labor; and Federal law effectively prohibited full-time workers under the age of 16.

He knows that child labor exists today in Asia and that multinational corporations, like Apple, are putting kids through the conditions we won’t allow American children to be forced into.

And he knows that corporations would prefer child labor, because you don’t have to pay kids as much as an adult. Which means that more adults will lose jobs and be put in a position where they’ll have to put their kids to work to make ends meet.

But he pretends that the source of America’s economic problems is the fact that children aren’t allowed to earn a wage.

That’s a lie, and he knows it. And if his constituents let him get away with it, that’s the point where you have to shift your contempt away from him and toward the voters who support these radical, inhumane ideas.