Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

The Votes Are In

A while back, John Hawkins of (which is actually a fairly readable Righty site–the Dean posts are hilarious, what Joe Lieberman might write if he had a sense of humor) took a poll of who fellow conservative bloggers thought were the worst figures in American history, leading to the conservative’s list. Then he wondered how that list compares to ones that liberal bloggers would construct, so he emailed about 100 of us “left wingers” (and “slightly left of center”-ers) and then compiled the liberal’s list.

It was fun coming up with my list, and this week I’ll be posting who I chose along with a short description of why. In the meantime, I do think the lists are somewhat telling about the differences between liberal and conservative bloggers.

First, some conservatives are nuts. Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton, Noam Chomsky, Jesse Jackson, and Robert Byrd? There really aren’t 20 people in American history who’ve done something worse than the Tawana Brawley incident? Hillary really annoys conservatives, but what has she actually accomplished that is so bad? Had her health care plan actually involved nationalizing health care, and had it come close to passing or actually passed, I could see including her on the list, but seriously? Chomsky? Sure he says stuff that’s nuts, but what the heck has he ever influenced? Would history be remotely different if he never existed? Jackson–at least conservatives left MLK off the list.

As near as I can tell, Robert Byrd only made the list because he was the most outspoken in his opposition to the war in Iraq, opposition that looks more justified by the day (and also had no impact). Seriously conservatives, can’t you admit that McCarthy was a bad guy, an opportunist of the lowest sort, who actually did have a negative impact on American history?

The Liberals’ List, by contrast, really does seem to demonstrate more historical perspective. I would view including Coulter, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, etc… as loosely analogous to the Conservatives including Sharpton and Chomsky on the list; Gingrich would be Hillary Clinton’s counterpart. None of them made the Liberal list. In Conservatives’ favor, McCarthy almost made the list and they did leave Gen. William T. Sherman of their list.

On the other hand, by virtue of making both lists, the following are truly reprehensible figures in American History: Lee Harvey Oswald, Aldrich Ames, Richard Nixon (I give credit to conservatives for this one–though perhaps he made their list for the damage he did to the Republican party?), Aaron Burr, Timothy McVeigh, John Wilkes Booth, Benedict Arnold, and the Rosenbergs (or at least Julius–he got votes for just him; there were none for just Ethel).

Since Hawkins didn’t put them side-by-side, here they are:

Conservatives’ List Liberals’ List
17) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (6) 20) The Rosenbergs (3) + Julius Rosenberg (3) (6 total votes)
17) John Walker (6) 20) Pat Robertson (6)
17) Lee Harvey Oswald (6) 20) Oliver North (6)
17) Robert Byrd (6) 20) William Randolph Hearst (6)
16) Aldrich Ames (7) 20) Aaron Burr (6)
14) Richard Nixon (8) 20) Aldrich Ames (6)
14) Aaron Burr (8) 18) George Lincoln Rockwell (7)
12) Al Sharpton (9) 18) Robert McNamara (7)
12) Charles Manson (9) 14) Richard Mellon Scaife (8)
8) Timothy McVeigh (10) 14) Lee Harvey Oswald (8)
8) Lyndon Johnson (10) 14) Charles Coughlin (8)
8) Hillary Clinton (10) 14) Strom Thurmond (8)
8) John Wilkes Booth (10) 13) Ronald Reagan (9)
7) Alger Hiss (12) 12) George Wallace (10)
6) Noam Chomsky (13) 11) Andrew Jackson (12)
4) Jesse Jackson (14) 9) Jefferson Davis (13)
4) Jimmy Carter (14) 9) George W. Bush (13)
3) Bill Clinton (15) 6) Benedict Arnold (14)
2) Benedict Arnold (19) 6) Henry Kissinger (14)
1) The Rosenbergs (15) & Julius Rosenberg (5) (20 total votes) 6) John Wilkes Booth (14)
.. 3) Timothy McVeigh (16)
.. 3) Nathan Bedford Forrest (16)
.. 3) J. Edgar Hoover (16)
.. 2) Richard Nixon (25)
.. 1) Joseph McCarthy (26)

Thanks to John Hawkins for putting this together.


UPDATE: Rex Stetson does some additional analysis, of the two lists.

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That Didn’t Take Long

Not three hours have passed since I wrote about some fool in Wahington (state) getting taken to the cleaners, and taking his church’s and friends’ money with him, and now I get this:




I want you to patiently read this my offer and make up your mind whether you will accept it or not. I will not be able to disclose my name for security reasons. Iwork with the World Health Organisation. We were sent to Iraq for medical research. During the research we came across the sum of $10.5 million us dollars believed to have been looted by the late sons of SADDAM HUSSEIN, Qusay and Uday Hussein. I and my colleagues decided to keep this money to ourselves…I want you to assist me to claim this money…I will give you 20% of the fund for this assistance….

Best regards,


Fax number and email address deleted to protect the stupid.


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Matt Needs Money

Matt Yglesias is now soliciting contributions (DC is very expensive and being a young writer for The American Prospect does not pay much). I couldn’t decide if I should just quietly give him a few bucks or use the awsome power of my blog to send a deluge of cash his way.* Then I read this on Matt’s blog:

Representative Issa’s motives in funding the recall are beyond my understanding, but I think what’s really going on is that people understand that even a syphilitic goat could have beaten Gray Davis in 2002. Nevertheless, the GOP chose to run not a goat, but Bill Simon, and they lost.

That’s gotta be worth a few bucks.


(*) Actual results may differ markedly from those implied by this sentence.

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Nigeria Letters Update

This time, I’m back to talking about fake “business opportunites” from Nigeria (e.g., here, I said “The really distubing thing about these emails is that they indicate that at least one person smart enough to turn on a computer, and also able to read, fell for this”), not fake uranium sales from Niger. Today’s Washington Post recounts the tale of just such a person, and it really is sad:

…Daniels, 67, who, as treasurer of Dupont Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Southeast Washington, secretly invested and then lost $1.3 million of church money. Daniels put that money — along with hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own — into a get-rich-quick scam that law enforcement authorities refer to as the Nigerian advance fee scheme.

…Daniels is among hundreds, if not thousands, of people across the nation who lose money each year in Nigerian advance fee schemes, lured by a promise of a big payoff that never comes, according to the U.S. Secret Service. Authorities estimate that victims in the United States have lost at least $2 billion in the past 12 years.

…On April 11, 2000, Daniels met in Amsterdam with two Nigerian men involved in the scheme, prosecutors said. Three weeks later, he wired $98,750 to an Amsterdam bank — the first of more than 30 payments over 19 months, law enforcement officials said.

The Post story has a lot more detail. Thank to reader Tom for the heads up on this one.


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Texas Update

The Dallas Morning News (free account required) reports that the Texas Supreme Court has refused to order the Texas Senate Democrats to end their boycott. Score one victory for the separation of powers. It seems like this was pretty clear cut because, absent issues of constitutionality, the Judicial Branch has no business interfering in Legislative Branch business. On the other hand, every Texas SC judge is a Republican, including stymied Circuit Court nominee Priscilla Owens, who is presumably not particularly happy with Democrats in general. (There was no published opinion, and I can’t find any information on which if any court members were in favor of issuing an order forcing the Democrats to return).

Democrats also filed a lawsuit, this one in Federal court:

In their lawsuit against the state, Perry and Dewhurst, the Democrats claimed that GOP leaders violated the federal Voting Rights Act by dropping a traditional rule that requires two-thirds of the Senate to agree to debate a bill.

Democrats argue that the two-thirds rule is vital in protecting the representation of political and racial minority groups in the Senate. Without the rule, voting “practices and procedures” in Texas are changed, Democrats’ attorneys say…

“This single issue is a violation of the Voting Rights Act, silencing the voices of every minority member of the Texas Senate and forcing a redistricting bill through the Legislature against the interests of minority voters, against the will of every minority member of the Senate and those senators who represent minority districts,” said state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

It probably is true that eliminating the 2/3 rule would reduce the power of minorities in the legislature. Yet while the Democrats might have a slight chance in a District Court in Laredo, I doubt that a victory would survive on appeal in the conservative 5th Circuit. Nor is the Ashcroft Justice Department particularly likely to support a lawsuit based on the Voting Rights Act.


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I’ve Been Busy…

…Partly due to the day job and partly due to all the Red/Blue posts. As a result, I’m now catching up on all my blog reading. Here are the highlights:

  • Sadly, No brings us the new Reservoir Dogs.
  • The Daily Howler readily demonstrates that Fred Barnes is a giant, comical, tool.
  • Rice Watch Day 20 (it’s been a while since the last update): Again via the Daily Howler, a link to a detailed letter from Henry Waxman to Condoleezza Rice. The letter outlines in great detail the contradictions in Rice’s various statements and politely requests explanations and clarification.
  • Digby notifies us that Ross Perot is still alive, and sounding rather shrill (in a Krugman sort of way) about the state of the economy and federal budget.
  • Adam in MA: Pangloss or Prophet? Adam writes:

    Let’s get something straight. There will be a Democratic president in the oval office in 2005. We are going to defeat President Bush next year.

  • Does this mean that we know who Horse is, and he’s Joe Conason? On a serious note, I’ve ordered my copy of Big Lies, have you? And how popular does Angry Bear have to get before I start getting advance copies (hint to Ivins and Franken)?
  • The California Recall is fun to watch, but I’ll eat Tucker Carlson’s unconsumed shoe if it affects the outcome in California in the 2004 Presidential race. California is going Democratic, no two ways about it. If Davis prevails, it’s a win for Democracy over Banana-Republicism. If a Republican wins the Governor’s Office, we can sit back and laugh as he either raises taxes, slashes spending so far that no Republican will win statewide office in California for decades, or sits back as California’s debt rating plummets (really, the only three choices when the state is $38b short). Because I don’t see this working out badly for Democrats in any way, I’m officially giving Arianna Huffington the highly sought Angry Bear Poetic Justice Endorsement.
  • I’ll take burgers and beer at Kevin’s place over the $500 (or for that matter, $50) BloggerCon.
  • Dwight Meredith points out that, in order for Bush’s claim on 4/24 about the job-creation effects of his tax cuts to be true, “the economy will now have to create 2,382,125 jobs in the last five months of the year. That works out to an average of 476,425 jobs per month.” I’ll happily eat Carlson’s other shoe if that happens.


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Red and Blue Wrap Up

First, Sincere thanks to James Galbraith and The University of Texas Inequality Project (be sure to check it out) for all the maps and analysis.

Galbraith ran some more numbers, this time relating income levels to votes for Bush and Gore. The Theil Score is an index that give the highest scores to counties that both (1) have income farthest above the national average and (2) have larger populations. Such counties appear as dark red on Galbraith’s maps. Conversely, counties that have large populations but income well below the national average get negative Theil Scores (colored Blue in Galbraith’s maps). Counties that have either (a) very small populations or (b) income near the national average get Theil Scores near zero; these are the yellow and green regions on the map.

Here are Galbraith’s results connecting income and population to votes for Bush or Gore.

A. Of the counties with the top 100 Theil scores, Gore won 67.

B. Of the next 100, he won 39.

C. Of the next 500, he won only 43.

D. Of the next 800, he won only 118.

E. Of the bottom 1600, he won 356.

F. Of the bottom 100, he won 39.

[Keep reading Red and Blue Wrap Up…]

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Another Red-Blue Juxtaposition

Commenter Bear (no relation) points out that pictures from outer space also identify most of the Blue regions of the United States: areas that have light are overwhelmingly Blue (one could almost say that the enlightened regions of the country vote Blue). As with the income maps below, this only gives a subset of the Blue Regions because it fails to highlight the poor, rural, counties that also voted Gore in 2000.


The picture is from a super-cool clickable and zoomable real time map of the earth as seen from space, maintained by Fourmilab Switzerland.


UPDATE: Link to second picture fixed.

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Bloggered Update

Still no archives and I’ve been unable to publish for about the last 24 hours (I think that in the process of trying to fix the archives I messed more stuff up). Anyway, still no archives but posting seems to work now.


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