Ypsi/Arbor Exit Interview: Josh Chamberlain

    Tonight’s interviewee is Josh Chamberlain. I first met Josh when he was about eleven years old. If I’m not mistaken, it was at his sister Amelia’s first birthday party, probably right around the time that the black and white photo of them to the right was taken. Josh turned out to be a pretty incredible young man, and I’m proud to be able to call him my friend. Here’s our interview.

    MARK: You recently left Ypsilanti to attend college in Cincinnati, right?

    JOSH: Yes. I’m at the University of Cincinnati, studying in the college of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).

    MARK: Why’d you decide to go there?

    JOSH: I had heard from a variety of sources that it’s currently the best school for design in the country. I toured it, and it looked amazing, so I applied. I also found out that the program requires a mandatory co-op, where all students take time off from school and work in their chosen field, often on the other side of the world. It’a a pretty unique program, and it played a big part in my decision.

    MARK: When I asked if you wanted to do an exit interview, you said that you’d do it, but added, “I didn’t leave because I don’t like Ypsi.” Is your impression that most of the people who do these interviews left Ypsi because they hated the town?

    JOSH: I don’t think most people leave because they have negative feelings towards Ypsi, but because they couldn’t find what they were looking for there. I still miss Ypsi, and consider it my home. I just left because I wanted to go to school in Cincinnati.

    MARK: I watched a video the other day, of binge-drinking undergrads at U-M on a football Saturday, and it reminded me of just how shallow, obnoxious, and disgusting young people can be when they leave home and start living life. (It’s like they think that they’re trying out to be new cast members on the Jersey Shore.) Please tell me that you’re not like that.

    JOSH: I’m not like that. But I don’t think I could be even if I wanted to. They have a strict alcohol policy here. You can’t sell liquor anywhere near campus, and the “party scene” here is nothing compared to Ann Arbor’s.

    MARK: But the Facebook… I’ve seen photos of beer cans stacked up around your chess board… Or was that just a Photoshop project for school?

    JOSH: Creepy… I was at my friend Chris’s apartment, and he’s old enough to drink. The bottles in that picture are just what happens when you get lazy with your recycling, I guess. I hope you enjoyed the beer at my graduation party!

    MARK: Yeah, I guess that might have come across as creepy, like some lonely, middle aged man in Michigan was pouring over your Facebook photos. I can assure you, though, I wasn’t stalking. The image just popped up in my Facebook feed, and there were so many beer cans that I felt like you were begging for it to be acknowledged.

    JOSH: My favorite part is the car keys on the table beside them.

    MARK: As you grew up in Ypsi, I was wondering if you could tell us how things have changed in the City over your lifetime?

    JOSH: The last place I stayed in Ypsi was on Pearl Street, at Ballard, but I grew up across Depot Town. So any change I saw probably had more to do with my vantage point than with the City itself. One of the things that was important to me as a kid was the Rutherford Pool, though, which hasn’t been open for some time now.

    MARK: I don’t know if I’ve ever asked you this, but I’m curious as to when you first started reading my website. How old were you, and what were the circumstances?

    JOSH: I started in August 2009, according to my RSS reader. The oldest post in it is this one, which was published when I was 15. My friend Meghna at Greenhills read the site, and I was aware of it through my parents.

    MARK: Did your parents tell you not to read it? Are you familiar with the film Footloose? Was it like that? Did your parents have a rule against blog reading in general, or was it just my site? And did it ever occur to you to lead a rebellion, like the young Kevin Bacon, and get all the kids in this small town of ours to start openly reading my blog, as an expression of their joy for life?

    JOSH: They actually told me I wasn’t allowed to watch Footloose, so I don’t know.

    MARK: What happened to your friend Meghna? I’m curious as to what becomes of young readers of this site. I’d like to think that they all grow up to be wildly successful in their fields, but I have this fear that the reality is something quite different.

    JOSH: She is in college in New York City. She’s known about cooler things than the rest of us since we met in 7th grade, and she’s successful in whatever she does. I’m sure it’s because she reads this blog.

    MARK: What are you studying in college?

    JOSH: Graphic Communication Design, which is like regular graphic design, but fancier.

    MARK: More importantly, though, it allows them to charge more for the diploma.

    JOSH: I’ll probably just end up getting mine for free online.

    MARK: So you don’t intend to graduate?

    JOSH: I do. I value follow through and think this place has a lot to teach me. I also don’t overestimate the value of a college degree. It’s not necessarily for everyone. I think I’ll stay, though.

    MARK: Both your mom and your stepdad are entrepreneurial. I’m just curious as to whether you ever think about starting a business of your own.

    JOSH: I would love to start a business. One of my tentative goals is to head a design firm consisting of at least myself.

    MARK: Would you be a good boss to yourself?

    JOSH: I think so. I am getting better at motivating myself, and having fun being productive. My motto for DAAP is “no whining”. Also, if James taught me anything from his experiences running VGKids, it’s to buy myself pizza on long days. I think I’m ready.

    MARK: So, how are you liking college so far?

    JOSH: College kicks ass. The workload for first-semester DAAP students is insane, but the building is a 24-hour open studio space, and there’s always at least one other person working their way through an all-nighter. I haven’t had much time for anything but x-acto knives and mixing paint, but I’m okay with that.

    MARK: What was high school like for you? As you tried a few different things, I’m curious as to how you compare the experiences.

    JOSH: I went to Greenhills School for 9th and 10th grade, and Washtenaw Technical Middle College (WTMC) at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) for 11th grade, 12th grade, and an extra year. I graduated with an Associate’s degree from WCC at the same time as I got my high school diploma. Greenhills is a small private school, a little bubble sheltered from the larger bubble that is Ann Arbor. It’s a college prep school, so it helped me transition really smoothly into classes at WCC. At WCC, I was happy be in an environment where I could chose my own schedule and hang out with the older people who worked on the college’s newspaper. Schools like WTMC are really great for some kids to opt into, but it’s not for everyone. It’s high school students taking college classes, but there’s a central office so that we have access to counselors. If you know what you want to do, it’s great. I knew I was going to college, and I had my heart set on graphic design, so it worked out really well for me. Greenhills prepared me for that, but I’m glad I didn’t spend my whole high school career in such a small place.

    MARK: Someone once told me that Ypsilanti is a place were ideas, and those who have them, go to die. I can’t remember his exact words, but the gist was that we have a lot of really creative people here, but, for some reason, this place, like Kryptonite, drains the life force from them. Do you believe that? Can no one have a successful, creative, meaningful life in Ypsilanti?

    JOSH: I’d never heard that, but it seems defeatist and apathetic to me. For creative people, the environment is a medium and source of inspiration, not a limitation. There may well be exceptions, but saying Ypsi kills ideas is pretty whiny. Ypsi’s probably not really the problem for people like that.

    MARK: Is there anything that you miss about Ypsilanti?

    JOSH: I miss so much about Ypsi, so I won’t waste a ton of space listing everything. I miss my family, many of whom still live there. I miss how easy it is to bike there.

    MARK: If you were designing an Ypsilanti guide book… which you should do, by the way… what are five things that you would absolutely have to include, and why?

    JOSH: First, let me say I hate guided tours, so I apologize if my list disappoints or offends anyone. I’ll just tell you some places that are important to me.

    1. Dos Hermanos, the market on Michigan Ave. They are so kind, the food is crazy cheap, and the tacos are insane.
    2. The section of the Border 2 Border trail between Cornell and Hewitt, parallel to Washtenaw. I rode that path every day for a couple of years, and only once or twice did I fear for my life after midnight.
    3. The Rocket. I ended up there a lot when people visited us in Ypsi.
    4. The cannon at Prospect Park, because it’s a giant cannon.
    5. The Tridge. Be sure to point out the office furniture below.

    MARK: You mention being scared a few times on that bit of trail… I’m wondering if you could tell us when it was that you were the most frightened in Ypsi?

    JOSH: About five years ago I was rollerblading around town a lot and some creepy old dude started following me on his bike. I have never felt too threatened. I’m 6’7”, and most people don’t know that I’d probably lose a fight with a large house cat.

    MARK: Have you ever been in a fight, either with a human or a cat?

    JOSH: No, but someone told me once that the best weapon to use in a fight is a car antenna. This is back when they were readily available on every street. I hope to one day put that information to good use.

    MARK: Where was your happiest moment in Ypsilanti?

    JOSH: My mom married my stepdad in our backyard, and my sister was born inside that house shortly after that. Otherwise, it may have been my last few days there. Ypsi didn’t drain my life force. I only got happier the longer I stayed, grew up, and figured out what I was doing, so in an utterly trite sense, each day was better than the last.

    [note: I think I need to do a few more Ypsi Immigration Interviews. Just talking with bright, young people who have chosen to leave Michigan isn't making me feel any better about my decision to stay here... If you know of an interesting person who has purposefully chosen to move to Ypsilanti, please let me know so that I can hunt them down and force them to submit to an interview... Also, that photo above, of the baby chewing on Josh's photo, was taken at his graduation party this summer. The baby doing the chewing is my son, Alro.]

    Posted in Special Projects, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

    Candidate for Michigan’s 11th congressional district asks if you’re concerned about “the future of the white race”

    I’ve heard from a few people who live in Canton that, over the past 24 hours, they’ve been receiving robocalls from the campaign of Daniel Johnson, one of five men running to represent the citizens of Michigan’s 11th congressional district in the House. My friends, knowing that I’m a proud race traitor, thought I’d be interested to know about these calls, as the recorded voice asked them bluntly if they were concerned about “the future of the white race.” While I’ve yet to hear the robocall myself, someone did pass along the number that was referenced in the message, and I dialed it earlier this evening. What follows is a recording of that call.

    Johnson, who is running as a member of the Natural Law Party, seems to have a history of racist activity. While you can’t find a lot about him by searching “Daniel Johnson,” you can find quite a bit when searching for “William Daniel Johnson,” which is one of the several names he’s known to have used since the 1980s, when he first became active in the white nationalist movement. In white supremacist circles, though, he’s probably best know as James O. Pace. It was as Pace that he first made a name for himself by advocating for the repeal the 14th and 15th amendments, and the deportation of almost all non-whites from the United States. This proposed legislation of his, which he still refers to as the Pace Amendment, calls for the following.

    “No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood, provided that Hispanic whites, defined as anyone with an Hispanic ancestor, may be citizens if, in addition to meeting the aforesaid ascertainable trace and percentage tests, they are in appearance indistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is in the British Isles or Northwestern Europe. Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States.”

    And this, it would seem, is not his first campaign for elected office. Johnson has run for Congress several times. He ran as an independent in Wyoming, in 1989, in a special election to replace Dick Cheney. And, in 2006, he ran in a Democratic primary in Arizona. And, it would appear that, in 2008, he ran for a seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court, with the support of Ron Paul. (Paul, who also has a history of racism himself, later retracted his support, once Johnson’s grotesquely xenophobic views became known to the public at large.) Thankfully, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that he’s ever attracted much of a following. But that apparently hasn’t stopped him from carpet-bagging around the country in hopes of finding a community of angry, terrified white men who might be persuaded to put him into office.

    He even has his own page on the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which I think racists, like him, must consider quite the badge of honor… That’s where I learned the following about his plans to remove non-whites from our country.

    …To smooth the process, Johnson proposed that financial incentives be offered to nonwhites who cooperate with the government in the deportation process. Nonwhites who are too old to leave would be allowed to stay, as they were past childbearing age and did not present an obstacle to long-term racial homogeneity. Johnson imagined that black Americans could be employed to help the transition. He wrote, “Because of their physical abilities, the blacks would be the ideal enforcers”…

    And, it would appear that this fellow has now, at least for the time being, set up shop here in southeast Michigan, where America comes to hate.

    There may be some good news, though. However many votes he’s able to get… which I suspect won’t be many… he’ll likely be pulling them away from the Republican candidate, Kerry Bentivolio. And, as this race is shaping up to be very close, we can use all of the help we can get. (Michigan’s 11 district, according to most poll-watchers, is the only House race that we’ve got in the State that could go either way.)

    So, here’s hoping that, perhaps with the help of Johnson, we take back this seat, which had belonged to the thoroughly disgraced Republican, Thaddeus “85% of my petition signatures were fake” McCotter… Toward that end, if you’d like to donate a few dollars to the campaign of Dr. Syed Taj, the Democrat running against Kerry Bentivolio and Daniel Johnson, I’m sure it would be put to good use.

    And I don’t know if Johnson will be attending, but, for those of you live in the district, there’s a forum scheduled for October 1 (from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM) at the Plymouth Public Library, and both Taj and Bentivolio are scheduled to be there.

    Also, I wanted to mention, in Johnson’s defense, that he isn’t just running on his hatred of non-whites. The other leg of his platform is environmentalism. (If my camera’s battery had lasted a little longer, you could have heard about it in the video above.) I think it probably warrants its own post, but I find the connection of the two to be absolutely fascinating, and wonder if perhaps there’s an active movement in the racist underground to make common cause with environmentalists… Will someone remind me to look into this the next time I say I can’t think of anything to write about?

    [note: I know we've been told repeatedly that the Tea Party isn't racist, but you can find an image of Johnson addressing a Tea Party rally here.]

    update: Someone who just found this post through Facebook has sent me a recording of the robocall. Here it is.

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 115 Comments

      AnnArbor.com heroically pushes yet further into the post-journalism frontier, selling their front page to Pete Hoekstra for a desperate, ill-conceived Stabenow smear

      I’m tempted to express outrage, but, the truth is, it’s a weak campaign, and, as Hoekstra is polling a full 16 points behind Stabenow, I don’t think it really matters. In fact, I’m kind of happy to see team Hoekstra pissing away what’s left in their coffers like this. In fact, here’s hoping the folks at AnnArbor.com can think of a few more creative ways to separate the candidate from his money.

      How about some animated pop-ups of that Chinese woman in the rice paddy hat from Hoekstra’s last offensive ad campaign? Wouldn’t it be cool if, every time you were half way through an article, she’d jump out from the edge of the page, yelling in pigeon English about how much she loves Debbie Stabenow, and blurting out things like “we take your jobs”? Maybe they could even come up with a jive talking, gold-toothed, black character who could thank Debbie for “all the abortion money.” Really, there are all kinds of possibilities, now that AnnArbor.com has announced to the world that everything’s for sale.

      I just wish that I was brave enough to follow them into this exciting and lucrative new world. I’d love to be able to sell my entire front page to someone like Pete Hoekstra, without a care as to how inappropriate it might appear, or how much it might hurt my credibility as an objective news source.

      Posted in Ann Arbor, Media, Michigan, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

      Pete Larson on the financialization of agricultural commodities

      One of our regular contributors, my old friend Pete Larson, who many of you had the pleasure of seeing perform at this site’s 10th anniversary party a few weeks ago, is going to be speaking in Ann Arbor on Thursday about the financialization of agricultural commodities. I took the occasion to ask him a few questions.

      MARK: So, you’re presenting on the subject of agricultural commodities markets?

      PETE: Sort of. Specifically, I will be speaking on the financialization of agricultural commodities and how it relates to the unprecedented rise in worldwide food prices since the early 2000s. People tend to assume that prices for food are set using basic supply and demand criteria. In part, it is the case, though the real story is much more complex. Wall Street plays an important role in creating conditions that lead to high volatility and rapid increases in food prices.

      MARK: What’s the group that you’ll be presenting too?

      PETE: NWEAG (New World Ecology and Agriculture Group). They are a loose group of scientists concerned with all topics regarding agriculture. They meet weekly to discuss topics including sustainable agriculture, GMOs, corporate food production, farmers’ social movements, and others. The group erupted out of Science For the People, another left leaning group that was active in the 1970′s. They have done a lot of work in Latin America (including Cuba), setting up extension services and building local research infrastructure.

      MARK: And there are chapters of this organization across the globe?

      PETE: Cornell has to only other active NWEAG group that I know of. I’m not sure if Harvard’s is still going, though Richard Levins, the group’s unofficial godfather is certainly still pursuing relevant topics in his lectures.

      MARK: As the University of Michigan doesn’t have an agriculture program, I’m curious as to who attends these meetings.

      PETE: Communists! It’s really a small group. There are a few faculty from the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, a few retired facultly and students from a variety of departments including Public Health, Social Work, SNRE and the EEB.

      The group is inherently political. Though all of the participants are scientists of one kind or another, the group isn’t afraid to inject leftist political topics into the discussion.

      MARK: And is this open to the public?

      PETE: Yes, anyone can come. It is going to be in the Nat Sci Building on the 27th of this month.

      MARK: I don’t want for you to give too much away, but what do you expect will be the main take-aways from the presentation?

      PETE: As I said before, people tend to view food prices as being supply driven. They instantly think that a drought, for example, will reduce supply and drive costs up. For much of human history, this has been true. In an increasingly globalized and financialized world, the prices we pay for non-manufactured goods are at the mercy of speculators and hedge fund managers.

      To me, this is a human rights issue. All humans have a right to food. Without food there cannot be health. Here in the States, most households can absorb even a 100% increase in the cost of food. We can eat out less, drink less, buy in bulk or just suck it up. We can also do things like widen access to food stamps. We already seem to be doing this, though I’m not sure it’s a response to increasing food prices.

      To a Malawian living on less than $1.00 a day, even a 10% increase could be devastating. If prices go up, people in Malawi have no choice but to eat less. They already don’t eat enough. I don’t see how any retirement package is worth that cost.

      MARK: What do you make of the headlines today attributing rising pork prices to the global drought? Surely there’s some connection, right?

      PETE: Of course there is some connection. The point is that these instantaneous events do not explain the trend of rapid increases in the price of all foods over the past decade. We need to look at the bigger picture here.

      Think about how critics frame climate change. While snow today in Oklahoma City might bring down the global mean slightly, it doesn’t say anything about long term rises in world temperatures.

      MARK: Can you explain how it is, in simple English, that speculators are driving up the costs?

      PETE: Unlike gold, agricultural products cannot be purchased today at a low price, and stored until the price goes up. They rot. People do, however, buy contracts, promising to pay a fixed price for something that hasn’t even been grown yet. Farmers like this, as it gives them stability. There is nothing wrong with this practice.

      The problem is that these contracts can now be bought and sold, a practice that was once illegal. Traders will buy and sell these contracts over and over so that the price increases every time it changes hands. Contracts are rolled into derivative packages and continually sold and resold like mortgages were before the economic crash.

      Buyers and sellers really don’t care what’s in the package, only whether it will yield instantaneous profit. Basically, people are gambling with ag contracts (often mechanically), increasing prices and inducing unprecedented levels of volatility. The farmer, of course, only gets what he’s initially promised.

      Now, understand that I’m an Epidemiologist/Statistician, not an Economist, though this has become a major interest of mine as of late.

      MARK: Do you have evidence that his is happening?

      PETE: Yes. There is ample evidence out there. If one looks at food commodity prices, one can see that the pattern follows that of the stock market. The NASDAQ and the FAO’s food price index have mirrored one another for the past decade.

      There is plenty of advice out there from brokers recommending that everyone get into ag commodity investments as it is guaranteeing an increasing, and very good, rate of return. Of course, this fuels the demand for contracts, increasing the price.

      MARK: Is there a movement afoot to change this? If so, who’s leading it? What economists and political leaders are addressing this?

      PETE: People are very concerned. Joe Stiglitz has written on it. Howard Stein, an economist here at the University of Michigan, has also written extensively on the problem. The United Nations has raised several flags. Pegging the world’s food to the stock market is just about the worst idea ever and it’s got many, many people worried.

      MARK: Would I be the biggest douche in the world if I blew off your lecture to go and experience Herman Cain’s College Truth Tour instead?

      PETE: Oh man. I guess that’s the price of comedy.

      [note: If you're interested in this topic, but can't make it out tomorrow to hear Pete speak, he's got a lot of the data up on his website.]

      Posted in Agriculture, Economics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

      Tomahawk chops, war whoops, and the bubbling racism at the heart of Scott Brown’s Senate campaign

      I thought, a few days ago, in their first televised debate, when Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts said of his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, “professor Warren claimed that she is a Native American… a person of color… and, as you can see, she’s not,” that we’d reached the nadir of this campaign. I was proven wrong yesterday, though, when the following footage of ‘war whooping’, ‘tomahawk chopping’ Brown staff members surfaced on the web.

      The men leading the contingent of doughy-faced, loud-mouthed, middle-aged, white racists, who had gathered outside of the Eire Pub in Dorchester, have been identified as Brown’s Constituent Service Counsel Jack Richard (in the camouflage shirt) and Massachusetts GOP operative Brad Garrett (in the tan baseball cap and gray hoodie).

      Brown’s uncanny ability to detect race by visual inspection not withstanding, it would seem that Warren is, as she has stated, 1/32 Native American, as her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, according to the Boston Herald, was identified as Cherokee on her Oklahoma marriage certificate. Brown, though, for the purposes of his campaign, has chosen not to accept this fact, and, instead, paint his adversary as a lying opportunist, who falsely identified herself as Native American in order to attain a faculty position at Harvard.

      The Native American community, as you might expect, is not too happy with Brown. Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, who is himself only 1/32 Cherokee, demanded an apology today for what he called the “uneducated, unenlightened and racist portrayal of native peoples.” Baker went on to say, “The Cherokee Nation is disappointed in and denounces the disrespectful actions of staffers and supporters of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. The conduct of these individuals goes far beyond what is appropriate and proper in political discourse. The use of stereotypical ‘war whoop chants’ and ‘tomahawk chops’ are offensive and downright racist.”

      Brown, who is behind Warren in the polls, declined to apologize. He did, however, say that the behavior of these men was not something that he “condoned.” But, right after saying that, he added, “The apologies that need to be made and the offensiveness here is the fact that Professor Warren took advantage of a claim, to be somebody, a Native American, and used that for an advantage, a tactical advantage.” Warren, when asked to respond, said only that she was ­“appalled” by the video of Brown’s staffers. “If this had happened on my staff,” she said, “there would be consequences… serious consequences.”

      The whole thing turns my fucking stomach.

      Thankfully, however, this may just be the last gasp of a dying movement. At least, that’s what I keep trying to tell myself, as I continue to do my part to eliminate the white race through inbreeding… Speaking of which, did you happen to see South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s quote a few days ago? “The demographics race we’re losing badly,” he said. “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” One hopes that he’s right.

      I was going to go on and rant some more, but, instead, I though that I’d share the following clip from an op-ed penned by Kevin Noble Maillard, who, like Warren, happens to be an Oklahoma-born law professor of native ancestry.

      If you are 1/32 Cherokee and your grandfather has high cheekbones, does that make you Native American? It depends. Last Friday, Republicans in Massachusetts questioned the racial ancestry of Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senate candidate. Her opponent, Senator Scott Brown, has accused her of using minority status as an American Indian to advance her career as a law professor at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas. The Brown campaign calls her ties to the Cherokee and Delaware nations a “hypocritical sham.”

      In a press conference on Wednesday, Warren defended herself, saying, “Native American has been a part of my story, I guess since the day I was born, I don’t know any other way to describe it.” Despite her personal belief in her origins, her opponents have seized this moment in an unnecessary fire drill that guarantees media attention and forestalls real debate.

      This tactic is straight from the Republican cookbook of fake controversy. First, you need a rarefied elected office typically occupied by a certain breed of privileged men. Both the Presidency and the Senate fit this bill. Second, add a bit of interracial intrigue. It could be Kenyan economists eloping with Midwestern anthropologists, or white frontiersmen pairing with indigenous women. Third, throw in some suspicion about their qualifications and ambitions. Last but not least, demand documentation of ancestry and be dissatisfied upon its receipt. Voila! You have a genuine birther movement.

      The Republican approach to race is to feign that it is irrelevant — until it becomes politically advantageous to bring it up. Birthers question Obama’s state of origin (and implicitly his multiracial heritage) in efforts to disqualify him from the presidency. They characterize him as “other.” For Warren, Massachusetts Republicans place doubts on her racial claims to portray her as an opportunistic academic seeking special treatment. In both birther camps, opponents look to ancestral origins as the smoking gun, and ride the ambiguity for the duration.

      Proving Native American ancestry is a complex, bureaucratic process. It’s more than showing up at the tribal enrollment office with a family bible and some black and white pictures. Many people are rejected, even when family lore tells them otherwise. Tribal citizenship depends on descent from an enrolled ancestor, and every tribe has its own requirements.

      In the Cherokee Nation, there is no minimum blood requirement, which would allow someone with as little as 1/128 Cherokee blood to enroll (that would be a great-great-great-great-great grandparent). Finding that remote relative is not conclusive, however. The ancestor may not have enrolled himself. Or he could have favored assimilation and counted himself as white. Or her application was rejected or she became ineligible for citizenship…

      The bottom line is that Scott Brown, down by over two points in the polls, made a decision. Instead of campaigning on real issues that are important to Massachusetts families, he chose to be a despicable, pathetic, race-baiting piece of shit. One hopes he gets what’s coming to him on election day, and the voters of Massachusetts give him the tomahawk chop.

      If you’d like to join me in contributing to Warren’s campaign, you can do so here.

      [Speaking of racism, today's post was brought to you by Dearborn, Michigan, "the place where Amarica comes to hate Muslims."]

      Posted in Civil Liberties, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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