Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Whites vs. The Wrights

Scott McConnell over at @TAC (The American Conservative Blog) commented today on Rev. Jeremiah Wright's comments on race and its relevence in cultural discourse. McConnell makes the case that we, or at least white people anyway, have reached the post-racial reality that so many Obamaniacs have hoped he would bring. Citing the lack of riots since the 1990s, and the fact that immigration has made the racial issue much less bipolar in this country.

For white people, race may be a dead issue. Whites in general no longer disgrace themselves by tolerating such evilness as the Klan or violent white supremicism. In many American cities, interracial marriage is tolerated, if not accepted entirely. Affirmative action led to some egregious instances of "reverse discrimination;" but unlikely heros like Ward Connerly and the Federal courts have rolled back the worst of the excesses - leaving a feel good level playing field behind. And these days, the growth of the urban black middle class makes it easy to find at least one black friend in which a white person would share some common ground.

Add to that the reduction in crime in major cities like New York and Chicago, and New Urbanism developments in other cities like Atlanta and St. Louis, it is possible for whites to live in a cosmopolitan environment where racialism is a thing of the past.

What Scott McConnell fails, or does not care to realize is that race still matters to those who aren't urbanized whites. Blacks in particular are affected by the wealth gap rather than the income gap (which for many communities is largely closed), and being caught in a vicious tyranny of low expectations - both part of a legacy of race discrimination and lack of direction. The fact that a disproportionately high number of black men are in prison and/or poverty is a derivative problem from the ones mentioned above.

As an institution that predates McConnell's post-racial reality, the black church was one of the few institutions interested in solving those two major concerns. And given that we as a society are only two generations removed from widespread discrimination, it seems funny to expect leaders who remembered those days to assume all is well with the world.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Food Rationing In America

It's true. Right now its imported rice in California, and flour in New England. If we don't let the ethanol boondoggle go, wheat and bread will be next.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

British Ministry of Defense Feels A Draft

After being caught with their pants down. Hopefully you remember the incident in the Persian Gulf where 14 British sailors were arrested by the Iranians for violating their territorial waters. Publicly the British cried foul, but the heroic Times of London proved that the Brits knew they screwed up all along. Here is what really happened.

Newly released Ministry of Defence documents state that:

— The arrests took place in waters that are not internationally agreed as Iraqi;

— The coalition unilaterally designated a dividing line between Iraqi and Iranian waters in the Gulf without telling Iran where it was;

— The Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ coastal protection vessels were crossing this invisible line at a rate of three times a week; It was the British who apparently raised their weapons first before the Iranian gunboats came alongside;

— The cornered British, surrounded by heavily armed Iranians, made a hopeless last-minute radio plea for a helicopter to come back and provide air cover.

Wow. I hope someone is fired over this. Ahmadinejad has his issues, but he was smart enough to treat the captured sailors well once he realized that he was going to be on the winning side of the dispute. I don't think Bush and his ilk are nearly that clever.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Iraq War Self Funded? Iraq Won't Even Put Something On It...

But Iraq has money, a nice oil surplus in spite of the fact that current oil exports haven't reached Saddam era levels. This is appalling.

Iraq is looking at a potential boon in oil revenue this year, possibly as much as $100 billion in 2007 and 2008. Meanwhile, the U.S. military is having to buy its fuel on the open market, paying on average $3.23 a gallon and spending some $153 million a month in Iraq on fuel alone.

A back of the napkin analysis shows a $9.1 billion fuel bill for the whole time we were over there. To add fuel to the fire, Robert Bryce at The American Conservative points out that the $3.23/gallon number doesn't even include logistics costs. Those costs send estimates through the stratosphere since all that fuel for the US Military isn't even coming from Iraq. Bryce estimates the total fuel cost to be nearly a billion a week! The back of the napkin tells us that is nearly $240 billion just to keep our vehicles on the move since 2003.

The reality is that when it comes to occupation policy, the Bush administration doesn't even know what it is doing. We compare ourselves to the Romans or the British, but at least they had the good sense to pillage an area they spend so much blood and treasure to conquer. Exporting democracy to the world sounds well and good to most (unread) people - but the neocons never said we would do it for free.