Monday, December 20, 2010

Another RACIST Republican! I know no surprise.

Haley Barbour: I don't remember the civil rights era being that bad

The Fix called attention this morning to Haley Barbour's defense of his experience as a GOP lobbyist in the Weekly Standard's new profile of the Mississippi governor and potential 2012 candidate.
But buried toward the end of the piece, the 63-year-old Barbour makes some more-eyebrow-raising comments in describing his home town of Yazoo City, Miss., during the civil rights era.

Both Mr. Mott and Mr. Kelly had told me that Yazoo City was perhaps the only municipality in Mississippi that managed to integrate the schools without violence. I asked Haley Barbour why he thought that was so.

"Because the business community wouldn't stand for it," he said. "You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders.

In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you'd lose it. If you had a store, they'd see nobody shopped there. We didn't have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City."

In interviews Barbour doesn't have much to say about growing up in the midst of the civil rights revolution. "I just don't remember it as being that bad," he said. "I remember Martin Luther King came to town, in '62. He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white."

Barbour said he went to the King speech, but couldn't hear very well and "paid more attention to the girls than to King."

While others have held up Yazoo City's experience as a model for school integration, Barbour's critics have jumped on his assertion that he doesn't recall race relations in Mississippi in the early 1960s as being "that bad," as well as his praise for Citizens Councils.

This isn't the first time Barbour has come under fire for his recollection of the civil rights era. During a recent interview with the conservative magazine Human Events, Barbour suggested that segregation was over by the time he went to college at Ole Miss in the mid-1960s and that the South's shift from Democratic to Republican dominance was not related to desegregation -- an assertion that Post columnist Eugene Robinson called the "biggest load of revisionist nonsense about race, politics and the South that I've ever heard."

Barbour spokesman Dan Turner has responded to the uproar over the governor's comments in a fairly combative interview with TPM's Eric Kleefeld.

"You're trying to paint the governor as a racist," [Turner] said. "And nothing could be further from the truth." [...]

So, I asked Turner, does Barbour have any comment on the Citizen Council movement's basis in white supremacy, and its work of launching economic boycotts to cut off employment and business for African-Americans who became active for civil rights -- including that notable occasion in Yazoo City?

"Gov. Barbour did not comment on the Citizens Council movement's history," Turner responded. "He commented on the business community in Yazoo City, Mississippi."
David Halberstam wrote about the Citizens Council movement for Commentary in 1956, including this anecdote about the Yazoo City Citizens Council:

"Look," said Nick Roberts of the Yazoo City Citizens Council, explaining why 51 of 53 Negroes who had signed an integration petition withdrew their names, "if a man works for you, and you believe in something, and that man is working against it and undermining it, why you don't want him working for you -- of course you don't."

In Yazoo City, in August 1955, the Council members fired signers of the integration petition, or prevailed upon other white employers to get them fired. But the WCC continues to deny that it uses economic force: all the Council did in Yazoo City was to provide information (a full-page ad in the local weekly listing the "offenders"); spontaneous public feeling did the rest.

78 Percent of Americans Doubt Evolution

Four in 10 Americans, slightly fewer today than in years past, believe God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago.
Thirty-eight percent believe God guided a process by which humans developed over millions of years from less advanced life forms, while 16%, up slightly from years past, believe humans developed over millions of years, without God's involvement.

A small minority of Americans hold the "secular evolution" view that humans evolved with no influence from God -- but the number has risen from 9% in 1982 to 16% today. At the same time, the 40% of Americans who hold the "creationist" view that God created humans as is 10,000 years ago is the lowest in Gallup's history of asking this question, and down from a high point of 47% in 1993 and 1999.
There has been little change over the years in the percentage holding the "theistic evolution" view that humans evolved under God's guidance.

Americans' views on human origins vary significantly by level of education and religiosity. Those who are less educated are more likely to hold a creationist view. Those with college degrees and postgraduate education are more likely to hold one of the two viewpoints involving evolution.

Americans who attend church frequently are most likely to accept explanations for the origin of humans that involve God, not a surprising finding. Still, the creationist viewpoint, held by 60% of weekly churchgoers, is not universal even among the most highly religious group. Also, about a fourth of those who seldom or never attend church choose the creationist view

The significantly higher percentage of Republicans who choose a creationist view of human origins reflects in part the strong relationship between religion and politics in contemporary America.
Republicans are significantly more likely to attend church weekly than are others, and, as noted, Americans who attend church weekly are most likely to select the creationist alternative for the origin of humans.


Most Americans believe in God, and about 85% have a religious identity. It is not surprising as a result to find that about 8 in 10 Americans hold a view of human origins that involves actions by God -- that he either created humans as depicted in the book of Genesis, or guided a process of evolution.
What no doubt continues to surprise many scientists is that 4 out of 10 Americans believe in the first of these explanations.

These views have been generally stable over the last 28 years. Acceptance of the creationist viewpoint has decreased slightly over time, with a concomitant rise in acceptance of a secular evolution perspective.
But these shifts have not been large, and the basic structure of beliefs about human beings' origins is generally the same as it was in the early 1980s.

Americans' attitudes about almost anything can and often do have political consequences. Views on the origins of humans are no exception.
Debates and clashes over which explanations for human origins should be included in school textbooks have persisted for decades.
With 40% of Americans continuing to hold to an anti-evolutionary belief about the origin of humans, it is highly likely that these types of debates will continue.

Democrats cautiously optimistic they have votes to ratify New START

As the White House stepped up its lobbying, the Senate on Monday continued to battle over the New START arms treaty with Russia, one of the remaining issues in the lame-duck congressional session.

With 67 votes needed to approve the pact, Democrats were cautiously optimistic that they would garner as many as 10 Republican votes, which are needed to fulfill one of President Obama's top foreign-policy priorities for the session.

“It's going to be a real slog, house by house combat if you will,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) told ABC's “Good Morning America” on Monday. “But I think we'll be there.”

The White House said that Obama was calling senators by telephone to push for support for the treaty, the latest step in decades of agreements with Russia on limiting nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.

But GOP opposition to the agreement was continuing strong, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, said Monday in televised remarks from the Senate floor. McConnell summarized the arguments Republicans had made for delaying consideration until the new Congress was sworn in January.

“First and foremost, a decision of this magnitude should not be decided under the pressure of a deadline,” McConnell argued in explaining why he will vote to opposes ratification. “The American people don’t want us to squeeze our most important work into the final days of a session. They want us to take the time we need to make informed, responsible decisions. The Senate can do better than to have the consideration of a treaty interrupted by a series of controversial political items.

“No senator should be forced to make decisions like this so we can tick off another item on someone's political check list before the end of the year,” McConnell said.

Republicans also have questioned the effect of the treaty on U.S. missile defense plans, particularly in Europe.

The administration has insisted that the there no linkage between missile defense and the treaty ratification. In a letter over the weekend, President Obama again explained that there was nothing in the treaty that would prevent the United States from deploying a missile defense system.

“Is there no shame,” Sen. John Kerry of Massachusettes, head of the Foreign Relations Committee, asked Monday morning. “This is a simple add-on treaty. This is not complicated. I scratch my head and am baffled when national security interests become wrapped up in ideology and politics.”

Kerry noted that the Senate already had spent more time on this arms treaty than it had on previous ones that had been ratified by lopsided bipartisan margins.

The Senate on Monday afternoon is expected to move into private session to hear classified intelligence dealing with New START. A vote is expected Tuesday.

Democrats can count on 57 votes from those who caucus with them, meaning 10 Republicans are needed. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) will be out for cancer surgery.


L.A. Times: "A total eclipse of the moon will be visible throughout all of North and Central America from 2:41 a.m. EST until 3:53 a.m. Tuesday ...

Weather permitting, observers will begin seeing the moon enter the Earth's inner shadow, or umbra, at 1:33 a.m. which appears as a red-brown shadow creeping across the bright moon. ...
The sky will get darker as the shadow progresses across the moon, and more stars will appear in the sky as sunlight reflected from the moon fades.

Totality will last a generous 72 minutes, then the process will reverse, with the moon completely emerging from the umbra at 5:01 a.m. ... The most recent total eclipse of the moon was on the night of Feb. 20-21, 2008."