Archive for April 8th, 2010

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Fox News poll finds Americans favor ‘IRS’ over ‘Tea Party’

April 8, 2010

After months upon months of enthusiastic, cheer-leading coverage of any rally that involved tea, tea bagging or tea partying, the Fox News network has miraculously disproved itself by producing a new poll that finds Americans think more highly of the Internal Revenue Service than they do the vocal conservative minority.

Atop the fourth page of a Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll released April 8, the questioner explains that respondents would be read a series of names and asked whether their opinion is positive or not. The most popular among the names is Barack Obama, who scored a 50 percent approval rating. Second was the Internal Revenue Service, at 49 percent.

Down below Democrats and even below Republicans is the “Tea Party,” at 36 percent approval. This particular poll’s questions reference the “Tea Party” as though it were a unified group, akin to a third party actor, instead of what it really is: a disparate collection of middle to fringe right wing groups

Naturally, ratings for individual political leaders were lower than ratings given to entire political parties, but when asked about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, respondents were especially harsh, giving them 16 and 29 percent favorability, respectively.

The only single politician who scored lower than Democratic leadership was House Minority Leader John Boehner, one of the GOP’s top men and a key public face for the party, with just 12 percent approval.

(Read more here.)

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If You Think the Civil War Ever Ended, Think Again

April 8, 2010

The larger issue is the notion that a Confederate History Month should be celebrated at all, with or without an overt mention of slavery.

by Adele Stan at alternet.org

I noticed we were traveling along a road called the Jefferson Davis Highway. I was stunned, and a bit sick to my stomach. How could it be that a highway was named after a man who made war against the United States, all so the citizens of his region could continue to hold human beings in chains? All so slave masters could continue to rape the women they claimed to own. The children of these unions were usually enslaved by their own fathers, often acting as servants to their white half-brothers and -sisters.

That throughout a significant swath of the nation, men who committed treason for the sake of maintaining chattel slavery are lauded as heroes speaks to a terrible illness in the American psyche — one that continues to fester 145 years after the last shot was fired in the War Between the States.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proclamation this week naming April as “Confederate History Month” raised eyebrows for its omission of a mention of slavery. That is indeed telling, of a piece with the trope about the Civil War being fought merely over the constitutional provisions concerning states’ rights. Even though I grew up in the North, my schoolbooks perpetrated this idea.

It’s a twisted argument, one that leaves out what the states were demanding the right to do: maintain slavery.

The election of Barack Obama, the first U.S. president of African descent, has energized the Confederacy-lovers and others bent on defying his legitimacy as the nation’s leader. The cause of states’ rights is again on fire, with 10th Amendment groups sprouting up around the country.

Although Obama has initiated no change to existing gun laws, gun-rights advocates tout him as a far greater threat than any president before him. On April 19, a “Second Amendment march on Washington” will take place, somewhat hampered by the District of Columbia’s gun laws. But on the outskirts of the capital,  gun-owners from the group, Restore the Constitution, will gather at a park in Northern Virginia, where the gun laws are far more lenient, even allowing the carrying of concealed handguns if the bearer has a permit. (A permit is not required to walk about with a firearm in a holster.) Virginia has reciprocity on its conceal/carry law with all but three of the states that formed the Confederacy.

April 19th marks the date in which the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired at Lexington and Concord in 1775. It is also the date on which the FBI burned the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas, to the ground in 1993. And it is the date on which Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal Murrah building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people, including 19 children.

It’s easy to make fun of the wing-nuts. But there’s a storm brewing, egged on by the veneration of the Confederacy.