Friday, April 25, 2014

Rare (from me) Kudos to CNN...Specifically to Chris Cuomo

CNN's Chris Cuomo

Since I have excoriated CNN (especially Carol Costello and Erin Burnett) over their coverage of racial issues (ie. the Trayvon Martin case, etc.), I HAVE TO credit CNN, especially Chris Cuomo for doing an excellent interview with the very flawed and inarticulate Cliven Bundy AND for dealing with the issue in a far LESS politically partisan and inflammatory way than many of his co-workers at CNN.

Here is a good clip of a good portion of that interview;

I believe Chris Cuomo went out of his way to be fair and even-handed with an obviously inarticulate man. He did NOT look to bait Bundy into digging an even deeper hole and even appeared to look to understand Bundy’s concerns over what he saw as federal overreach. Cuomo delivered a very “fair and balanced” interview of a highly controversial man. It was certainly a much more fair and unbiased report than any of those done on MSNBC and FNC. In fact, Chris Cuomo even defended FNC host Sean Hannity, as "a friend," who he's certain shares none of Bundy's racial views.

Bundy, to his great detriment, has allowed his poorly articulated and archaic racial views to overshadow a legitimate state’s rights and federal overreach issue.

THAT (Bundy’s reckless racial commentary), is not the national media’s fault.

Its ultra-partisan way of handling it certainly IS!

That is why Chris Cuomo stands out, today, as a beacon of non-partisanship.

Many paternalistic bigots have attempted to use Cliven Bundy’s grossly inarticulate words to (1) undermine his very real issues with federal overreach and land management abuse, via high fees and senseless regulations and (2) to tar those who supported those legitimate issues as “racists,” for having defended Bundy’s views on federal overreach.

Many of these paternalists have likened Bundy’s racial views to those of the critics of the existing American welfare/dependency state. Indeed legislators like Paul Ryan, Scott Walker and others HAVE rightly note that the existing welfare/dependency state “breeds dysfunction.” That is as sad, as it is true, BUT it is also undeniable. I've been to hundreds of fires and many hundreds more emergencies in urban housing projects (mostly in the South Bronx). The stairwells and elevators in ALL those buildings reek of urine. Drug deals and sexual encounters regularly go on in those enclosed stairwells. The marauders, the violently dysfunctional control those areas. Others live in abject terror. Many people born into those areas DO get an education and good jobs and LEAVE those areas.

However, the idea that the paternalists seem to posit; that there’s very little difference between the population (and their behaviors) in any given urban housing project and that of any up-scale suburban neighborhood is naively ignorant.

Poverty, like LIFE itself doesn’t just “happen to us.” We make things happen, we bring BOTH the good and the bad into our own lives. Just as specific human qualities and actions bring about prosperity (innovation, ambition, focus, delaying gratification, planning, etc.), specific human qualities and activities bring about poverty (recklessness, irresponsibility, poor impulse control, the inability to delay gratification, substance abuse, illiteracy, etc.).

Cliven Bundy may well be an inarticulate, “hick,” at least in the eyes of many urban elites, who’ve harped on what they’ve called his “nostalgia for chattel slavery,” BUT interestingly enough, one of Bundy’s black supporters (Jason Bullock) seemed to paint a very different picture of the old codger;

What counts the most, how poorly or well one articulates their sentiments, or how well they treat others? Many people who say all the right things, never act in accordance with their own words. Hell, con-men and sociopaths ALWAYS say the right things and practice coming across as “good & decent,” even “caring and empathetic.” We put weight on people’s words at our own peril. It SEEMS that Jason Bullock attempts to convey that Bundy’s actions appear to belie his words.

Bundy’s plight SHOULD bring to light federal policies that abuse individual ranchers via escalating fees and senseless regulations. His unilateral actions (NOT paying fees that other ranchers are forced to pay) were illegal, but the federal policies themselves seem to have been poorly implemented, probably abusive, even potentially immoral.

There are legitimate issues around government overreach and federal land abuse here, and seeking to bury those legitimate issues beneath an avalanche of trumped up racial outrage is patently dishonest.

Many years ago, a College classmate of mine said, “Almost everyone derives at least some of their income from government today. We have an army of local, state and federal officials, from educators, to police, to workers in a vast array of government agencies, private contractors who pave roads FOR the government, workers in private Corporations that have huge government contracts, farmers and ranchers who get government subsidies, etc., so WHY do so many of us (especially so many military and former military...GOVERNMENT WORKERS) fear the growth of government so much?”

I call that, “The HAPPY Slave narrative.” People like that classmate simply embrace the universal slavery to the state that Libertarians and many Conservatives reflexively question.

What troubles me is the abject close-mindedness of those who don’t question the “happy slave narrative.” WHY? I should say, what motivates people to simply accept the idea of a universal slavery to the state as inevitable? I can’t respect that view, but that’s just me, I guess.

Today, I laud Chris Cuomo for being a straight shooter on a very controversial issue and in dealing with an inarticulate and non-media savvy individual without baiting and abusing him. It may be unfortunate that that stands out as a “rare decency,” on the part of the national media, but for better, or worse, it does stand out as exactly that.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mr. Louis’ VERY Biased Assessment

(Errol Louis)

In Mr. Errol Louis’ Op-Ed Victory Over Bias, a Long Time Coming, the actual FACTS about the FDNY’s entrance exams were conveniently omitted. For instance, the fact that these exams have long been calibrated to grade-school (7th & 8th grade) reading levels, for a job requiring a minimum of a H.S. diploma and ostensibly a 12th grade reading level at minimum.

Fact is these exams have long been set BELOW even the bare minimum standards required for this job. Mr. Louis quotes a blatantly biased judge, who claims, “The city did not take sufficient measures to ensure that better performers on its examinations would actually be better firefighters.” When all that these most basic exams have tested for is a desire to minimally prepare for exams with questions like one showing four views of a traditional gauge (¼, ½, ¾ and full) and asking, “Which indicates half full”? The same opponents of the Civil Service Merit System have assailed questions directly related to firefighting as “too job specific, requiring a knowledge of firefighting principles an applicant shouldn’t be expected to be familiar with,” even when such questions merely ask for information already supplied in the referenced essay.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, Errol Louis, as well as Mayor de Blasio have all expressed the view that “New York City’s workforce should look like New York City.” In that case, the ONE glaring disparity in New York City’s workforce the gross over-representation of non-Latino blacks (23% of NYC’s population and 36% of its Municipal workforce...a staggering 58% above their numbers in New York City’s population; must be addressed, ESPECIALLY considering that so many of the largest discrepancies exist in agencies where objective criteria (like basic exams) are absent. That discrepancy is made all the more distressing because of the appearance of special (political) considerations, which smacks of the old, corrupt political patronage system.

In a city that is rapidly becoming more Asian and Hispanic, overlooking the singularly most glaring ethnic disparity in New York City’s Municipal workforce - the gross over-representation of non-Latino blacks, the ONLY ethnic group with numbers greater than 10% of their portion of the City’s population represented in New York City’s municipal workforce – is a very big deal.

Yet More “Affluenza”?

(Robert Richards IV)

A du Pont family heir who pleaded guilty nearly six years ago to raping his 3 year-old daughter never spent a day behind bars because a Delaware judge ruled he “would not fare well” in prison, court records show.

Robert Richards IV, an heir to the du Pont fortune, admitted to performing sex acts on his 3-year-old daughter for two years.

After failing a polygraph test, he later admitted to abusing the little girl. Richards allegedly also told investigators “he was ill and that he needed medical treatment,” the lawsuit said.

He was subsequently sentenced to eight years of probation and community service because a Delaware judge said he “would not fare well” in prison.

Richards was first charged with two counts of second-degree rape, which would have come with a mandatory 20-year jail sentence. However, he pled down to fourth-degree rape, which does not carry a mandatory sentence.

Officials have managed to keep the case away from the public spotlight until this month — when his ex-wife, Tracy Richards, filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for abusing their daughter and son.

Brendan J. O’Neill, a Delaware public defender, said that the ruling may prompt the public to be skeptical of “how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system.” (No kidding).

But he defended the judge’s decision (of course...he IS a defense attorney), saying sometimes people need help more than they deserve to be punished. Apparently they tend to “need HELP,” rather than punishment, especially when they’re rich!

“It’s an extremely rare circumstance that prison serves the inmate well. Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn’t proven to be true in most circumstances.” Actually, quite the reverse, given that the ONLY thing that removes the predilection toward violence and sexual abuse is “aging out” (the offender getting too old to be a predator) prison warehousing is actually very effective in that regard.

But now Richard’s ex-wife is seeking justice by suing him for assault, negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress on his two children, the lawsuit claims that while taking another lie detector test in 2010, Richards allegedly told the examiner he began to sexually abuse his son in 2005 — when the boy was 19 months old.

Better living through ass.
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