I should be occupied this weekend. :-)
- Previous post about Shani Davis being harrassed due to his race: I posted a Daily Kos Diary on this. I included a story from my past. Though I didn't get a huge response, some weighed in with their stories.
[...]And some wonder why African Americans are cynical about our society.
I admit that I can't fully understand what African Americans go through on a day-to-day basis. But, I have at least an idea.
Back in 1992, I was driving my beat up old Datsun 210 from Texas to Illinois. My wife (who is fair skinned) was following in our pickup truck. Yes, I have dark hair and moderately dark brown skin (Mexican American heritage).
A state trooper got right on my tail and followed me for about 10 miles or so. I could see him using his radio several times and looking at me intently. Eventually, he put on his lights and pulled me over.
After checking the usual (drivers license, registration) he asked me why I was in Illiois. When I explained that I was a new faculty member at a reasonable known university (in Peoria, IL) his attitude changed; he told me that my car was wavering in the wind; he wondered if I was tired and he let me go.
I didn't bother to ask him why he continued to use the radio; my guess is that I fit some sort of profile of a drug runner.[...]
- George Will states that conservatives are happier than liberals because, in part, they expect less. Ok, part of this is supposed to be funny. But his argument is weak, at best (you see, as a liberal kill-joy, I can't appreciate humor). My comments in itallics.
I'm conservative...and happy
By George Will
Feb 23, 2006
WASHINGTON -- To bemused conservatives, it looks like yet another example of analytic overkill by the intelligentsia -- a jobs program for the (mostly liberal) academic boys (and girls) in the social sciences, whose quantitative tools have been brought to bear to prove the obvious.
A survey by the Pew Research Center shows that conservatives are happier than liberals -- in all income groups. While 34 percent of all Americans call themselves "very happy,'' only 28 percent of liberal Democrats (and 31 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats) do, compared to 47 percent of conservative Republicans. This finding is niftily self-reinforcing: It depresses liberals.
Election results do not explain this happiness gap. Republicans have been happier than Democrats every year since the survey began in 1972. Married people and religious people are especially disposed to happiness, and both cohorts vote more conservatively than does the nation as a whole.
People in the Sun Belt -- almost entirely red states -- have sunnier dispositions than Northerners, which could have as much to do with sunshine as with conservatism. Unless sunshine makes people happy, which makes them conservative.
Or the other way around. I admit that I am not all that happy when it is -5 F outside, but that has nothing to do with politics! Although, I do find ways to enjoy myself anyway.
Such puzzles show why social science is not for amateurs. Still, one cannot -- yet -- be prosecuted for committing theory without a license, so consider a few explanations of the happiness gap.
Begin with a paradox: Conservatives are happier than liberals because they are more pessimistic. Conservatives think the book of Job got it right ("Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward''), as did Adam Smith ("There is a great deal of ruin in a nation''). Conservatives understand that society in its complexity resembles a giant Calder mobile -- touch it here and things jiggle there, and there, and way over there. Hence conservatives acknowledge the Law of Unintended Consequences, which is: The unintended consequences of bold government undertakings are apt to be larger than, and contrary to, the intended ones.
Actually, liberals understand this as well. That is why we speak out against civil liberty violations even during times of peril and stress. This "if you have nothing to hide, you'll be ok" argument doesn't work with us.
Conservatives' pessimism is conducive to their happiness in three ways. First, they are rarely surprised -- they are right more often than not about the course of events. Second, when they are wrong they are happy to be so. Third, because pessimistic conservatives put not their faith in princes -- government -- they accept that happiness is a function of fending for oneself. They believe that happiness is an activity -- it is inseparable from the pursuit of happiness.
The right to pursue happiness is the essential right that government exists to protect. Liberals, taking their bearings, whether they know it or not, from President Franklin Roosevelt's 1936 State of the Union address, think the attainment of happiness itself, understood in terms of security and material well-being, is an entitlement that government has created and can deliver.
Hmm. Entitlement might mean "freedom to not be discriminated against by society". That is why liberals supported civil rights. Had we waited for conservatives, we'd probably still have a racially segregated society.
Had we waited of conservatives, men would probably still work in dangerous condidtions for 50 cents an hour, and the elderly would still be out in the cold when they got to old to work, or would have to depend on their kids.
But perhaps we are onto something. Sometimes having a bit of empathy for others is an unsettling factor, and perhaps conservatives simply don't have empathy for others.Drug prices and health care so high that only a few can afford them? No problem, so long it is they that can afford them. Thousands of Iraqi's getting killed by us? No problem.
Nevertheless, normal conservatives -- never mind the gladiators of talk radio; they are professionally angry -- are less angry than liberals.
Oh, let's see: it is the gladiators of right wing talk radio that are angry. Hmm, why do they have such huge markets then? Because happy people are listening to them? Will makes no sense at all here.
Liberals have made this the era of surly automobile bumpers, millions of them, still defiantly adorned with Kerry-Edwards and even Gore-Lieberman bumper stickers, faded and frayed like flags preserved as relics of failed crusades. To preserve these mementos of dashed dreams, many liberals may be forgoing the pleasures of buying new cars -- another delight sacrificed on the altar of liberalism.
See, notice how he uses the word DEFIANTLY. Now we get to it: why in the heck don't we just get along and get with the program! Go ahead and spend! Oh yeah, that new car will make us all happy.
Sorry, Mr. Will. I get thousands of times more pleasure by spending time with my wife and daughter than I do by buying a new car. I get more pleasure by doing ultramarathons or yoga classes than I could ever get by buying a new car. You'll never understand that. Of course, conservatives like Dick Cheney (FIVE HEART ATTACKS) must be your idea of the epitome of happiness.
About those bumper stickers: don't I remember "John Kerry, for President of France"? Or "when the rapture comes, this car will be empty"? Or "don't blame me, I voted for Bush" during the Clinton era? But I digress...
But, then, conscientious liberals cannot enjoy automobiles because there is global warming to worry about, and the perils of corporate-driven consumerism which is the handmaiden of bourgeoisie materialism. And high-powered cars (how many liberals drive Corvettes?) are metaphors (for America's reckless foreign policy, for machismo rampant, etc.).
Or we'd rather spend money on other things and get better gas milage? Sorry. For most of us, a muscle car isn't the path to happiness.
You see? Liberalism is a complicated and exacting, not to say grim and scolding, creed. And not one conducive to happiness.
I offer the following as rebuttal:
One other topic: I enjoy getting e-mails from the Rapid Response Network; they are effecitve at countering Republican talking points.http://www.rapidresponsenetwork.org/
Lately, they alerted me to the following:http://www.dscc.org/news/roundup/20060222_dubai/
Republicans Opposing Dubai Deal Have Long Opposed Efforts To Secure America's Ports
Feb 22, 2006
By: Phil Singer, DSCC
This week, Republican Senators have come out in force against a controversial deal through which a company based in the United Arab Emirates would take over six major American ports. But these are the same Senate Republicans who have repeatedly voted against Democratic efforts to invest in improving the security of America’s ports after 9/11. In fact, most of the Senate Republicans speaking out against the deal have voted against port security at least SIX times since the 9/11 attacks.
“Anyone looking for a definition of the pre-9/11 worldview need look no further than at how leading Republican Senators have blocked Democratic efforts improve port security since the 2001 attacks,” DSCC spokesman Phil Singer said. “If these Republican Senators are genuine about doing something to improve port security, they should stop voting against Democratic efforts to keep America safe and embrace them instead.”
SANTORUM SAID: “RED FLAGS WENT OFF” ON PORT DEAL BUT VOTED AGAINST PORT SECURITY SIX TIMES. “I've got to tell you that on the face of it, the red flags went off in my mind. We have a company that is state-owned, by the UAE, which was implicated in the events of 9/11, now doing port security and managing our ports,” Santorum said. Santorum has voted at least six times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [AP, 2/21/06; Vote 64, 3/17/05; Vote 166, 9/8/04; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]
FRIST CALLED FOR DELAY OF DUBAI DEAL BUT VOTED AGAINST PORT SECURITY SIX TIMES. Bill Frist said, “The decision to finalize this deal should be put on hold until the Administration conducts a more extensive review of this matter. It is important for Congress be involved in this process. I have requested a detailed briefing on this deal. If the Administration cannot delay the process, I plan on introducing legislation to ensure that the deal is placed on hold until this decision gets a more thorough review.” But Frist has voted at least six times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [Frist Release, 2/21/06; Vote 64, 3/17/05; Vote 166, 9/8/04; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]
CHAFEE SAID DEAL “SHOULD BE VETTED PROPERLY” BUT VOTED AGAINST PORT SECURITY FIVE TIMES. Chafee said, “deals that have the potential to compromise our national security should be vetted properly, and it is critical that Congress has a role in this process. I am in full support of increased transparency regarding such issues of national security. I believe that a more extensive review of this matter is necessary, and I support delaying any deal until such review is completed. As a member of two Senate committees that may have oversight of this issue, I stand with many of my colleagues in requesting that this transaction be delayed until we can receive full assurance that the ports across the nation remain safe.” Chafee has voted at least five times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [Chafee Release, 2/21/06; Vote 166, 9/8/04; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]
KYL SAID DEAL “RAISES SERIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY” BUT VOTED AGAINST PORT SECURITY SIX TIMES. Kyl said, “I share in the concerns that many of my constituents have voiced about the transfer of our major U.S. seaports operations to a company that is controlled by the United Arab Emirates. I believe that it raises serious questions about national security. I support efforts by Congress to look into the proposed deal and will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to stop it.” Kyl has voted at least six times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [Kyl Release, 2/21/06; Vote 64, 3/17/05; Vote 166, 9/8/04; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]
TALENT SAID DEAL “STRIKES ME AS A VERY DANGEROUS MOVE” BUT VOTED AGAINST PORT SECURITY FIVE TIMES. Talent said the administration’s proposed port deal “strikes me as a very dangerous move. I have to question the decision to turn over the operations of key American ports to a company inside the UAE, especially when we know our ports are a target for terrorists seeking to destroy critical infrastructure and disrupt world trade. Secretary Snow should thoroughly investigate this proposal and I will be talking with senators in both parties about what steps the Senate may need to take to make certain our ports continue to be protected.” Talent has voted at least five times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [Talent Release, 2/21/06; Vote 166, 9/8/04; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]
ALLEN SAID UAE’S PAST IS A CAUSE FOR CONCERN BUT VOTED AGAINST PORT SECURITY FOUR TIMES. In a letter to Treasury Secretary John Snow, Senator George Allen voiced his concern about the port deal, writing, “Our ports are an essential part of our nation’s continued economic prosperity … They are the hubs of the global economy and are vital to moving American products to markets around the globe. However, they are vulnerable to terrorist attacks… While the UAE has been a valuable ally in the War on Terror, there have been past circumstances that have raised concern.” Allen has voted at least four times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [Allen Release, 2/21/06; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]
ENSIGN SAID HE CANNOT SUPPORT DEAL “UNTIL ALL REASONABLE CONCERNS ABOUT SECURITY … HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED” BUT VOTED SIX TIMES AGAINST PORT SECURITY. Ensign called on the administration to stop the port deal until an investigation was complete. He said, “The security of American ports is too important to be turned over to a company from the United Arab Emirates without a comprehensive review by members of Congress. Until all reasonable concerns about security at these ports have been addressed, I cannot support this proposal. This deal sends the message that we are not being as diligent as we should in terms of America’s security, and that is not a perception we can afford to create.” Ensign has voted at least six times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [Ensign Release, 2/21/06; Vote 64, 3/17/05; Vote 166, 9/8/04; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]
COLLINS AND COLEMAN HAVE “SERIOUS CONCERNS” ABOUT PORT DEAL BUT EACH VOTED AGAINST PORT SECURITY FIVE TIMES. In a letter to Secretaries John Snow and Michael Chertoff, Collins and Coleman voiced “serious concerns” about the proposed port deal and asked that the cabinet officials “provide a briefing to our Committee, as soon as possible, on the basis for the decision to allow this transaction to proceed … The briefing to our Committee should include the conditions that will be imposed upon DP World should the acquisition go forward … We believe that the Administration should be working more closely with Congress where acquisitions are of such a sensitive nature.” Coleman and Collins have each voted at least five times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [Collins Release, 2/21/06; Vote 166, 9/8/04; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]
GRAHAM SAID U.S. SHOULD NOT “OUTSOURCE MAJOR PORT SECURITY;” GRAHAM VOTED AGAINST PORT SECURITY SIX TIMES. Asked about the sale of ports to a Dubai company, Sen. Lindsey Graham said, "We certainly should investigate it. I don't know if we should block it. But it's unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history, four years after 9/11, to entertain the idea of turning port security over to a company based in the UAE, who avows to destroy Israel. So I'm not so sure it's the wisest political move we could have made. Most Americans are scratching their head wondering why this company, from this region, now…Just on its face, it sounds like the wrong direction to go… Americans right now want free trade, but when it comes to national security issues, we want to maintain the infrastructure ourselves. We believe we're under siege. We are. I don't think now is the time to outsource major port security to a foreign-based company." Graham has voted at least six times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [“Fox News Sunday,” 2/19/06; Vote 64, 3/17/05; Vote 166, 9/8/04; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]
GRASSLEY IS “DEEPLY CONCERNED” ABOUT PORT DEAL BUT VOTED AGAINST PORT SECURITY SIX TIMES. In a letter to Treasury Secretary John Snow, Senator Chuck Grassley said he was “deeply concerned” about the proposed port deal. He wrote, “I am disappointed that I was neither briefed nor informed of this sale prior to its approval. Instead, I read about it in the media. I expect you to address my concerns involving this deal.” Grassley has voted at least six times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [Grassley Release, 2/21/06; Vote 64, 3/17/05; Vote 166, 9/8/04; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]
SHELBY IS “DEEPLY CONCERNED” ABOUT DUBAI PORT DEAL BUT HAS VOTED AT LEAST SIX TIMES AGAINST PORT SECURITY. Shelby cosigned a letter to Treasury Secretary Snow saying he was “deeply concerned” about the deal. The letter read, “We do not believe that anyone could reasonably question the fact that the control of the corporations that operate the ports…’ could affect U.S. national security.” Shelby has voted at least six times against efforts to improve port security since 9/11. [Baltimore Sun, 2/17/06; Vote 64, 3/17/05; Vote 166, 9/8/04; Vote 300, 7/24/03; Vote 291, 7/22/03; Vote 120, 4/3/03; Vote 115, 4/2/03]