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The number of excellent links out there I want to talk about is overwhelming me. So I am linking instead.

If you haven’t heard Lee Atwater fully articulating the Southern Strategy, here he is in a newly uncovered full interview. Gross times.

America’s most diverse zip codes.

So there’s two Monkey Wrench Gang-esque movies being filmed. Except that the crappy looking one is suing Kelly Reichardt for her film. The problem here is that Kelly Reichardt is a great director and should be able to do whatever she wants. The other problem is that her film isn’t even directly based on the Edward Abbey novel. Sounds bogus but it doesn’t take much to torpedo an indie film, even by a renowned director.

I’m not a poll expert, but these numbers about gay marriage and marijuana legalization reinforce my conviction that both are just around the corner. 48% of adults support marijuana legalization. That’s amazing.

Paul Waldman argues the Benghazi “scandal” is a desperate attempt by Republicans to create a scandal in the sparkly clean Obama Administration
. It’s pretty pathetic. Except that we all know the killed Libyan Ambassador found out that Hillary did in fact have Vince Foster killed and was about to blow the cover off the world.

New Mexico’s income inequality continues to grow, maintaining its lead for the nation’s highest levels in the category.
The clear solution is for more rich white people from New York to move to Santa Fe.

Yousef Munayyer argues that Israel’s campaign against Gaza is basically an election ploy. Which makes it even more immoral than it already is. If that is even possible.

Orrin Pilkey is completely right. The government consistently funding the rebuilding of homes along the beach is a terrible idea. Essentially the government subsidizes disaster if you are rich. This never made sense and it makes even less in a world increasingly affected by climate change.

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  • mark f

    I remember a common refrain from Republicans and especially Yoostabees was “Can you imagine — I mean Can. You. Imagine — if Al Gore had been president on 9/11?” Well, m

    • mark f

      Well, Benghazi is confirming what most of us liberals always imagined in response to that question. The Truther movement would’ve started on 9/12, would’ve been made up of congressional Republicans, and wouldn’t have shut up until impeachment or assassination.

      iPhone people: why does my keyboard disappear in the middle if me typing, so that I end up hitting “submit comment” instead of whichever letter my finger was intending to hit?

    • RepubAnon

      That’s exactly right – the Republicans believe both that it is close to treason to criticize a Republican President during a time of war, and also that it is even closer to treason to fail to criticize a Democratic President. They’re true moral relativists: the morality of any action is relative to whether it serves to bring them more political power.

  • Re: rebuilding homes in beach areas. How about in tornado corridors, or along earthquake faults?

    • Even in tornado corridors it’s tremendously hard to predict where they will strike. Earthquakes are complex within this continuum of natural disaster planning. But beachfront property, especially in hurricane prone zones, that just doesn’t make sense. Here we are talking about a very small amount of land where housing is dominated by the wealthy. You can’t predict where the eye of a hurricane will hit. But you can predict that large storms will have damaging storm surges that will have affect beaches over a large area. As Mike Davis has shown, when rich areas are affected by natural disasters, government rebuilding programs just make the property values go higher and higher. Meanwhile, the poor are in FEMA trailers.

      • JoyfulA

        A creek flowing into the Susquehanna flooded several times over the past decade or so, wrecking a neighborhood along the creek, and through some mechanism, the feds recently bought about a dozen homes prone to repeated flooding.

        The same should be done with all these oceanfront homes.

        There are also laws–I don’t know whether they’re state or federal–prohibiting new building in the Susquehanna floodplain. Building within X feet of the ocean should also be banned.

        The Atlantic is a whole lot more dangerous than the mostly friendly Susquehanna.

        • Observer

          Building within X feet of the ocean should also be banned.

          No, no, no…..

          It seems to be some liberal knee-jerk reaction to want to completely control others by banning this or banning that…forcing others to live the way you think they should.

          Let them build, if they wish. Just no taxpayer support. If they can find private insurance that will satisfy the lender….great! If they wish to build with cash and shoulder the risk themselves….great!

          I just don’t want taxpayers to be responsible for others’ obvious bad choices, but I don’t want to BAN them.

          • bradP

            Let them build, if they wish. Just no taxpayer support. If they can find private insurance that will satisfy the lender….great! If they wish to build with cash and shoulder the risk themselves….great!

            The would have to fully fund local services, infrastructure, police force and other responders as well.

          • It’s more complicated that that, though. In addition to what BradP said, construction in erosion- and flood-prone areas actually makes the problem worse.

          • bradP

            I should add that I don’t disagree with you on principle. I just think you are missing out on a lot of hidden subsidies that provide most of the incentive to live there.

            I agree with your opposition to banning living there, I just don’t think anyone would if truly held to your stipulations.

            In short, an outright ban and a withdrawal of social support through government would practically be the same thing.

          • PSP

            In theory, I could totally see demanding a deed in exchange for financial aid. The entire town of Sea Bright floods so often that it should probably get that treatment, with the land added to Sandy Hook National whatever it is.

            However, it would be politically impossible to make that the policy for the Jersey shore. In addition to the residents, there are just way too many people statewide who own shore houses or rent one every year. In addition, there are lots of people who make their living from those visitors. The politician who suggested it would be tossed from office.

            Personally, I just want to know when or if I can move back to my apartment. Three weeks on a friend’s couch is pushing it, and I am far from the only one in that situation. On the other hand, another part of me wants to move back to the Berkshires, where we were about 1200′ above sea level.

          • sharculese

            I think it’s super adorable that your new shtick is pretending to be the sensible moderate who just happens to inadvertently drop silly wingnut talking points constantly, I just have one question: is this actually about beachfront property, or are you still just hopping mad that the ‘gov’t’ didn’t let all those fucking poors in New Orleans starve to death?

            • Observer

              I was waiting for this rich / poor bullshit.

              And to BradP, many people that live in rural areas don’t have local police or sewage systems or even water systems. They sometimes even build their own roads. But this stupid strawman argument is not the one that I was making anyway.

              It’s really about cheap government subsidized flood insurance. Without the cheap insurance, the market would keep most people from building/living in known high-risk places.

              But then you will simply come back with the argument that only the rich would be able to build in some of these desirable places and shoulder the risk themselves or buy the private insurance.

    • RepubAnon

      If one can design the structures to resist the common environmental hazards, no problem. Building codes in earthquake zones have special requirements – one would hope tornado-prone areas get similar treatment.

      If folks want to build in flood-prone areas, let them put their houses on pillars above the anticipated high-water mark of the floods, or follow proper design precautions.

    • Observer

      OK, fair enough.

      And also fair is to consider no federal support for New Orleans homes that are below sea level.

      • The Dark Avenger

        Yes, that would be preferable to the government actually doing something to protect New Orleans from flooding in the first place.

      • And also fair is to consider no federal support for New Orleans homes that are below sea level.

        New Orleans is really a special case. We need to have a large city at the mouth of the Mississippi.

        • Plus there is a way to protect New Orleans–foster the regrowth of the marshes that buffer it from hurricanes. Unfortunately, that is not a priority even after Katrina.

          • Richard

            The marshes are only one part of it. You need marshes and rebuilt levees. And you need to save New Orleans. It is an essential part of our national heritage

      • sharculese

        Nevermind, apparently you already answered my question.

    • Halloween Jack

      Tornadoes are intrinsically different from earthquakes and hurricanes; they’re precise (if random) in their destruction, and most tornado damage is in the form of minor crop loss. I say this as someone who’s lived in Tornado Alley for most of his life, and while there is loss of life (in one case in Illinois, some people took refuge in a basement, the way that you’re supposed to, only to have the building (made of soft, old sandstone) collapse completely, killing everyone), in terms of property damage a decade’s worth of tornadoes can do less damage than one hurricane. (The 2011 outbreak–which produced three hundred and fifty-eight separate tornadoes over four days–is something of a freak occurrence… at least we hope.)

  • The Gaza thing isn’t just an election ploy, it’s an already successful election ploy (http://972mag.com/politicians-line-up-behind-israeli-assault-on-gaza/59818/):

    “Politically, and of nail-biting frustration to those who wish to see the duo replaced by somebody more “moderate,” Netanyahu and Barak painted all other parties in Israel into a corner. The entire ghostly regiment of the Great White Hopes, including opposition leader Shaul Mofaz (Kadima); the self-appointed True Alternative to Netanyahu, Shelly Yachimovich (Labor); and the would-be leaders of a new centrist block, Livni and Olmert – all queued up today to lavish praise on the assassination, differing only in the scope of their calls for further violence.

    To wit: Netanyahu’s “leftist” opposition, the very people on whom JStreet and company have been pinning hopes for a return to the peace process, are enthusiastically applauding a completely unnecessary escalation and are lining up behind the prime minister with hatchets drawn.”

    The run up to the Iraq War was bad, but at least there was some opposition. That’s basically an entire political system capitulating to perpetual war fighting.

    • Njorl

      Don’t leave out Hamas. The last thing they want is a credible peace movement in Israel. It’s been nakedly obvious since the Rabin assassination that the peace process is dead until the two sides see that the war parties of both peoples are working together against peace.

      Likud and Hamas are allies. They just happen to need to kill each other to generate political capital.

      • That may be, but one side is doing 95% of the killing.

  • mepersonthing

    Remember your Internet traditions! No posting about the Benghazi–Vince Foster link here—it’s a public thread—anyone might read it. If we keep using the just-kidding excuse, someone might start putting two and two together. Eventually even the sheeple begin to catch on.

    Save it for Journolist.

  • re: New Mexico-

    We did just (last week) pass a statewide minimum wage increase from $7.50 to $8.50/hr, with additional annual increases pegged to…something. Inflation or cost of living or something.

    Also the tipped-waitstaff (or whatever they call that category) went from $2.13 (!) to $5.00 or something like that.

    IIRC the ballot measure passed by something like 2-to-1.

    My boss is pissed, even though she doesn’t employ anyone at that wage. The guy who owns my tea shop, though, came out publicly in favor of it in the paper and so on. Pretty cool.

    This doesn’t fix the problem, now, but, hey: progress.

    • I think that law was just in Albuquerque. And the Albuquerque City Council is threatening to overturn it. Which they evidently can do because democracy or something.

      • You’re right, it’s city-wide.

        I think I’m glad I don’t know more about our blessed city council; I can’t tell if they’re ill-intentioned or just incompetent.

        And I had not heard that they’re threatening to overturn the minimum wage increase; I don’t read the Journal, mostly because it’s an unreadable piece-of-shit partisan rag.

  • Lee

    Tell me Erik, is the Israeli government just supposed to let Hamas or its affiliates lob missles into Israeli territory without any response back? After all, they rarely hit anything so whats the fuss.

    Israel offered very comprehensive peace terms to the Palestinians several times since the Oslo Accords. It was offered under the Barak administration. The response of the Palestinian leadership was to reject every offer, never negotaite or make a counter offer and wage war instead. Maybe if Palestinain leadership was capable of honest negotiation rather than war they would get somewhere. The answer to any offer made by th Israelis was always reject, reject, reject.

    The Hamas charter explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel and unspecified fate for the Jews under the new Islamic State of Palestine. Hamas leadership and their allies and affiliates repeatedly and openly reafirm these goals. Have you ever thought that they might be seriosu about them? Or that it actually might accurately represent wide spread opinion that the entire Middle East is “Muslim” and the only place for the Jews is as second-class citizens under an Islamic regime.

    How much evidence of wide-spread Jew-hatred in Muslim majority countries do we have to produce in order to prove that the reason there is no peace is because the majority of Palestinians and other majority Muslim nations see peace as meaning no Israel. How many books, class room lessons, cartoons, tv shows, sermons, rallies, speeches, and conspiracy theories have to be introduced into the record?

    In Syria both the Assad regime and the rebels are accusing each other of being in league with Israel and the Jews to discredit the other side. I’m sick of how the role of wide-spread Jew-hatred in the Muslim world isn’t seen as in important reason why there is no peace. It is one of the primary reasons there is no peace. Muslim majority countries can not bring it on themselves to recognize Jews as equal or that there is a Jewish right to self-determination.

    The ball is in the Palestinain court. If they really want independence and peace than they and their cheerleaders need to make a positive move for once.

    • Malaclypse

      Tell me Erik, is the Israeli government just supposed to let Hamas or its affiliates lob missles into Israeli territory without any response back? After all, they rarely hit anything so whats the fuss.

      Well, I’m sure that this time escalating the violence will help the situation. Sooner or later, it is bound to work.

      • Bill Murray

        really, has Nate Silver and his probability analysis taught us nothing

        • Uncle Kvetch

          You know, at first I felt bad for those Palestinian kids who were killed by Israeli rockets this week, but then I remembered the cartoons, and now I’m totally cool with it.

      • Lee

        As opposed to what? Another round where the Israeli government enters into negotiations where every offer is rejected by Palestinian leadership because they will only accept the destruction of Israel?

        • Observer


          How can anyone expect the leaders of Hamas to want peace when the destruction of Israel is in their charter?

          They want to KILL JOOS!!

    • Leeds man

      …the majority of Palestinians and other majority Muslim nations see peace as meaning no Israel.

      Apparently, 13.5% is a majority of Palestinians.

      And on the question:” Which, in your opinion, is the best way to end the occupation and establish the Palestinian State ?”, (15.4 %) answered “the peace negotiations till a deal is concluded between the Palestinians and the Israelis”, (26.0 %) “the nonviolent resistance (the popular Intifada)”, (14.4 %) “the work through the United Nations”, (29.4 %) “holding an international conference that impose the solution on all parties involved “, (13.5 %) “violent actions” and (1.3 %) said “I don’t know”.

    • The “it’s totally different than other imperialist occupations because it’s Israel” defense just doesn’t hold water, either morally or intellectually.

    • I’m sick of how the role of wide-spread Jew-hatred in the Muslim world isn’t seen as in important reason why there is no peace.

      Me, too.

      Does that mean it is smart or decent to try to reproduce the invasion of Lebanon that went so badly a few years ago?

  • Lee

    If you are talking about this picture, it wasn’t a Palestinian kid. It was a Syrian kid that Hamas is presenting as Palestinian for propaganda purposes.

    See http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/116907/hamas-recycles-pictures-of-syrian-dead

    See also http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/116997/video-shows-palestinians-faking-injuries

    • And bad on Hamas for doing that. Anyway, as we all know, Israeli bombs don’t actually kill anyone.

      • Lee

        Damn it, when did anybody actually say that Israeli bombs don’t kill anybody.

        Israel is responding with as much restraint and as much accuracy as possible. Hamas is fireing indiscrimately. With other countries there would have been a full scale ground invasion and massive fire bombing by now.

        • sharculese

          I had no idea Ehud Barak’s pr team reads LGM. The more you know.

        • Israel is responding with as much restraint and as much accuracy as possible.

          How can you say this with such confidence, given what we know about Operation Cast Lead?

          • And the public goading & gloating on Twitter is “restraint”?

        • “Israel is responding with as much restraint and as much accuracy as possible”

          I believe “as much restraint as possible” would mean not preparing to invade Gaza.

          • Srsly.

            Hamas is shooting rockets into Israel. Any government has to respond to that. Fine.

            But invading Gaza with ground forces? Like the IDF can’t strike launch locations.

            Just in terms of how provocative that will look to the Egyptians is enough to give the lie to claims of “restraint.”

        • Anonymous

          Massive firebombing? Seriously? Name just one country that would actually do that.

          And are you suddenly forgetting that Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade for years now? And that Israel struck Gaza first? If Israel was in Hamas’ position would they restrain themselves to firing rockets?

        • Hamas hurts itself by re-appropriating tragic photos for its own purposes. I won’t argue with that, nor attempt to justify Hamas’s actions. But it also helps Israel pretend that there are no real human tragedies resulting from IDF campaigns, and many supporters of Israel are all too eager to play along.

        • How “restrained” was Israel when it launched that ill-advised invasion of Lebanon?

          “Restrained” would have been some air strikes on Hezbollah targets. Instead, they launched a big ground invasion, used air strikes to shut down the highway from Damascus to Beirut, and took out the freaking cell phone towers in Beirut!

          Israel doesn’t do “restrained.”

    • Leeds man

      So we’ve established that both sides have their propagandists. Progress!

  • JL

    Regarding beachfront rebuilding:

    Erik, what do we do about the destroyed low-income/public housing? I’ve spent three days doing medical relief (setting up clinics, going door to door to give medical help to stranded people in powerless buildings) in Far Rockaway since Sandy, and one in Coney Island. It isn’t rich people in resorts. Far Rockaway, AFAICT, is almost entirely housing projects and small shoddy bungalows (and has been shockingly neglected by mainstream relief efforts). The projects weren’t destroyed, but they’re a huge mess and there’s going to be a terrible mold problem (you could see it already starting while I was huffing up the pitch-black stairwells with a med kit and headlamp), and I don’t know how many of them will be fit to live in once that really sets in.

    The obvious answer might be “Build low-income housing somewhere besides the Rockaway Peninsula,” but where? It’s not like there’s an abundance of open land in NYC.

    • I’m certainly no expert on the real estate of New York. But it’s hardly surprising that public housing would be built on low-value land. There’s a significant correlation between flood victims and poverty. This is more true in the Midwest and South, where property land in floodplains is far cheaper for precisely that reason than it is on the coasts where beachfront property is highly desired, but in an urban situation like New York, many of the same dynamics apply.

      Should public housing be built on the most flood susceptible land? No. Where precisely it goes I don’t know though. Maybe where the Nets built that stadium.

    • It’s not like there’s an abundance of open land in NYC.

      How much of the far north of Manhattan and the southern end of the Bronx is covered in huge scrap yards, dead-storage warehouses, and other “land uses” that straddle the line between barely-there industry and blight?

      There is a surprising amount of neglected, ugly former industrial land in large, historic cities that is so cut off from the highways that it will never be viable for industry again. IDK the specifics of NYC, but it’s a common situation.

      • Lee

        The MTA plans to extend the 7 line from the Port Authority, on 8th Avenue, to 10th Avenue in order to make that area of Manhattan more attractive for developers.

        • Perhaps the recent unpleasantness should encourage a review of the City’s plans for its underutilized land.

          • JL

            That would be NYC doing something constructive in response to the hurricane. Based on what I’ve seen of city government response to the most immediate problems caused by the hurricane, I’m not holding my breath. This is the same city government that allowed low-income people with disabilities to remain trapped in no-power apartments with methane buildup in the bathrooms and the fire alarms going off in the hallways, for two weeks, while the cops stand around a relief station making sure that only one person steps up to get hot food at a time.

  • cpinva

    re: marriage equality & legalizing pot

    i believe marriage equality will precede, by a long shot, full legalization of pot. pot prohibition supports, with billions of taxpayer dollars, an entire enforcement/prosecution/judiciary/penal industry, quite a number of whose members are union members as well (police & prison guards). take simple possession of pot out of the legal equation, and that industry instantly is bloated, having no more legitimate reason to exist. therefore, they will do anything and everything to keep pot illegal, because, literally, their very livelyhoods depend on it.

    marriage equality, on the other hand, actually presents opportunities for making money, giving the wedding industry a whole new customer base. it will be fairly quickly adopted, by most of the rest of the country. those that refuse, will be hit with the “full faith and credit” clause, by those married legally in other states. it’s a case they can’t win.

    • Possible for sure. I do think though that overwhelming numbers in favor of change would win out over that. Whether that actually happens or not of course is impossible to say.

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