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Ignorant Rednecks, Shiftless Blacks, and Selective Videos

Bill Maher and Alexandra Pelosi created a firestorm with videos showing ignorant rednecks in Mississippi uttering racist statements. So, in the spirit of fairness, they’ve videotaped shiftless blacks in New York gaming the welfare system.

Here’s the first:

And the second:

I suppose Maher and Pelosi want credit for their balance here. But both of these videos are harmful hackery.

There’s an old saying in social science circles: The plural of anecdote is not data. It’s relatively easy to cherry pick examples that confirm your bias but, without systematic sampling to ensure that they’re reflective of the larger universe, they have little value.

It’s doubtless true that there are a lot of ignorant racists in Mississippi. Or, for that matter, anywhere. Similarly, some percentage of those collecting government assistance are doubtless slimeballs who are too lazy to work and have no shame at living off those who do. But sticking a camera in their faces to record the fact doesn’t shed much light on how representative they are of the population we’re attempting to understand. Instead, these examples reinforce existing biases, doing much more harm than good.

First and foremost, the relatively educated, affluent, metropolitan audience of the show can feel good about themselves, gaining additional data points confirming their own sense of superiority. Having little contact with the poor, these glimpses reaffirm what a bunch of ignorant, worthless people they are–and how virtuous those who have a college degree, a good job, and watch the right television programs are.

Additionally, and perhaps somewhat ironically, they reinforce the very behavior they’re spotlighting. To the extent they’re even aware of Bill Maher, “Real Time,” and HBO, the first video just adds to the sense of entitlement of the poorest inner city blacks to blame their condition on white racism. Similarly, the second video reinforces the notion that most of our welfare recipients are shiftless blacks–who are, naturally, being encouraged to game the system be a black president.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    The rednecks in Mississippi clip is far more entertaining to me as an ex-republican, but that is just me hoss..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  2. Habbit says:

    So… what was the point of this again?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. Pete says:

    James, there is no question that welfare is abused by both blacks and whites. Rather than blame the abuse on race, geography, “chips on shoulders,” or whatever else lazy thinkers can conjure up, it seems to me that plain old human nature is to blame. When people are offered something for free, what risk is there in taking it? I have three “rednecks” who work for me and while they earn around $25,000 per year doing physical work in a rural area, they also take advantage of the earned income tax credit to boost their annual income to close to $35,000. My brother in law is lazy and too stubborn to hold a good job, so he lives off food stamps and a stipend from the VA. These are simply examples of human nature taking advantage of gifts designed to help people more deserving. There are many people today who are offended by the alleged lack of controls in the finance sector. The lack of controls in the welfare sector can hardly be better. Isn’t it obvious that the more cumbersome the regulatory apparatus gets, the more inefficient it gets? After all, human nature is nearly impossible to change or control, but what is offered with no consequences is much easier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    But sticking a camera in their faces to record the fact doesn’t shed much light on how representative they are of the population we’re attempting to understand

    .

    However JJ it is a staple of journalism. Read any story in any newspaper (gas prices are a bonanza of this sort of stuff) and there are always a few vox pops very often from people who either know nothing about the subject or have an axe to grind. Hence I’m at something of a loss to understand your outrage. Maher is just presenting a rather humorous spin (after all he is a humorist) on the same age old practice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. Pete says:

    fter all, human nature is nearly impossible to change or control, but what is offered with no consequences is much easier.

    Sorry, I meant to say that it is easier to just offer help with no concern for the consequences, since human nature can’t really be regulated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Pete says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Joe, Maher is an “intellectual racist” in that he disguises his distaste for the “redneck” with humor. He won’t discuss his distaste for “black rednecks” for obvious reasons. He is every bit like the “Palm Beach Bloviator” in that he hates a segment of the population and he disguises the feelings with whatever act draws an audience.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  7. James Joyner says:

    @Brummagem Joe: I agree that anecdotal cases are often used in news coverage to add “human interest.” It’s something I often criticize, actually. But I see what Maher and Pelosi are doing here as something more insidious. It’s not even a comic prop in the vein of the absurd “Jay Walking” series that Leno has used for years, since it’s obviously done for comic effect and not presented as representative.

    This is a classic case of Maher doing what Limbaugh and others do in trying to have it both ways. If it works, it’s edgy commentary. If it doesn’t, why, it’s just entertainment . . . move along . . . nothing to see here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Pete:

    Joe, Maher is an “intellectual racist” in that he disguises his distaste for the “redneck” with humor.

    There’s no such thing as an intellectual racist there is however such a thing as an intellectual snob and hicks of one sort and another have been providing material for them since Roman times. They are a staple of 16th, 17th and 18th century drama so there’s nothing particularly new or insidious about what Maher is doing as JJ suggests. If Maher is being insidious so were Moliere and Goldsmith.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  9. Dean says:

    You have to admit the anecdotes presented by Pelosi and Maher actually have more data points than Sandra Fluke’s testimony that created a firestorm and supported a presidential dictate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  10. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Dean:

    more data points than Sandra Fluke’s testimony that created a firestorm

    That’s a matter of debate but the only reason it created a firestorm was because some guy out to turn a buck called her a slut and a prostitute and should be required to perform sex acts on tv and Republicans rushed to support him when he was criticised for making these comments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  11. steve says:

    Maybe the worst part of the Limbaugh fiasco is that it put Maher back on the map. I had gone months w/o hearing about him. Like Limbaugh, he is not that funny. If you want funny and intelligent commentary, you watch Stewart or Colbert. Come to think of it, why doesnt the right have an equivalent of those two?

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  12. James Joyner says:

    @steve:

    If you want funny and intelligent commentary, you watch Stewart or Colbert. Come to think of it, why doesnt the right have an equivalent of those two?

    It’s an interesting question. The closest recent analogues I can think of are Dennis Miller (1990s iterations; not so much since) and Penn and Teller (“Bullshit”). But there’s nothing of comparable quality and frequency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Moosebreath says:

    James,

    I’d add PJ O’Rourke, though like Dennis Miller, his best days are behind him as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    But there’s nothing of comparable quality and frequency.

    There’s a good reason for reason for this. The Democrats simply don’t provide such a rich source of raw material. Admit it Jim there’s scarcely a day goes by when there isn’t some new Republican idiocy at the state or federal level that can’t be lampooned to death. In fact as Colbert sometimes demonstrates the reality is more hilarious than the invention.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  15. Hey Norm says:

    Actually Pelosi was upfront that these were not data-points and were in fact the stereo-types each side sees…and accurately predicted this blog post.
    The question they did raise:
    If you are against entitlements what about the corporate welfare state? And why is corporate welfare like Romney used to get rich…better than the kind of welfare that would get teeth for the folks in Mississippi?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. James Joyner says:

    @Hey Norm:

    Actually Pelosi was upfront that these were not data-points and were in fact the stereo-types each side sees…and accurately predicted this blog post.

    Well . . . fair enough. Of course, all 99% of the people are going to see is the video, not the ensuing discussion.

    If you are against entitlements what about the corporate welfare state? And why is corporate welfare like Romney used to get rich…better than the kind of welfare that would get teeth for the folks in Mississippi?

    In principle, I’d agree. The problem, at least at the state and local level, is that there’s a competition to land factories and other major job providers. There’s less justification at the federal level and I oppose the lion’s share of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. Bleev K says:

    James:

    First and foremost, the relatively educated, affluent, metropolitan audience of the show can feel good about themselves, gaining additional data points confirming their own sense of superiority. Having little contact with the poor, these glimpses reaffirm what a bunch of ignorant, worthless people they are–and how virtuous those who have a college degree, a good job, and watch the right television programs are.

    No need to criticize Maher and Pelosi if you behave the exact same way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. PogueMahone says:

    If you want funny and intelligent commentary, you watch Stewart or Colbert. Come to think of it, why doesnt the right have an equivalent of those two?

    Because they’re just not that funny.
    Newsbusters.org tries their luck with “Newsbusted.” But it is painfully unfunny, and with the added laugh track, it’s just embarrassing for them.
    Where they fail is that they put ideology first, and comedy second. And Stewart and Colbert don’t do that. You could argue that Stewart and Colbert get their comedy from their ideology (but I don’t think that is necessarily true), but there is no doubt that comedy comes first.

    And any loyal viewer of TDS and CR would tell you that they do lampoon the “Left” from time to time. The Rob Wriggle takes on Code Pink is one of my favs.

    Cheers.

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80457600/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  19. WR says:

    @Moosebreath: “I’d add PJ O’Rourke, though like Dennis Miller, his best days are behind him as well. ”

    Yes, but only thirty or forty years in the past…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    The problem, at least at the state and local level, is that there’s a competition to land factories and other major job providers. There’s less justification at the federal level and I oppose the lion’s share of it.

    Why is there less justification at the federal level? Conceptually they are exactly the same. The only difference is that a wider range of factors needs to be considered at the federal level but that’s process not principle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. merl says:

    @steve: Because none of them are funny.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Herb says:

    @steve:

    why doesnt the right have an equivalent of those two?

    In the case of Stewart/Colbert, they’re heavily involved in satires of political media. The right can’t do that right now because A) they have this idea that the media is mostly liberal and B) they have certain sacred cows that must not be satirized or diminished in any way, shape, or form (FoxNews, Rush). Any satire they produce will be lop-sided and toothless.

    That’s not to say they can’t do comedy. They can, and have. And will do so again, once they get over this epidemicwhatsit closure thingy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  23. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Herb:

    That’s not to say they can’t do comedy. They can, and have.

    Except that it really came down to two jokes. Government is incompetent and welfare queens. I remember reading O’Rourke’s original book and by about half way through the joke was wearing thin. Everything he’s written since falls under the same category. And as you say there are a host of Republican sacred cows that cannot be satirised so this sends you back to the same couple of jokes. Meanwhile the GOP provides a daily feast of low hanging fruit for comedic consumption.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  24. An Interested Party says:

    This is a classic case of Maher doing what Limbaugh and others do in trying to have it both ways. If it works, it’s edgy commentary. If it doesn’t, why, it’s just entertainment . . . move along . . . nothing to see here.

    But the thing is, Maher is simply an entertainer while Limbaugh is much more than that, despite his protestations to the contrary…

    By the way, at the risk of being like Doug, both sides really do do this…how many times have we heard reverse snobbery about all those elites and others who live on the coasts and aren’t part of “real America”…

    Finally, the larger point needs to be addressed about how it is just so horrible to give away goodies to poor people but it’s just duckie to do the same thing with the “job creators”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  25. James Joyner says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Maher is simply an entertainer while Limbaugh is much more than that, despite his protestations to the contrary

    No, I reject that. Maher is every bit as much of a political commenter as Rush. Same’s true for Stewart and Colbert, incidentally. In their cases, I agree comedy is first. But they’re decidedly doing political commentary and have an agenda in their act.

    both sides really do do this…how many times have we heard reverse snobbery about all those elites and others who live on the coasts and aren’t part of “real America”…

    No arguments from me on that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  26. matt says:

    @James Joyner: Who amongst the Democrats have groveled at the feet of Maher after only a minor slight like many Republicans have done with Rush?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hey! That’s Cousin’ Ed!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. Mateosfo says:

    Name a reporter in the national press who, as a matter of course in his or her daily political coverage, uses data in place of anecdotes.

    While you’re point is right in this “anecdotal” case, you’re fundamentally wrong on the big picture. Most of the “news” we get on politics is biased in this same way: The Tea Party, with only a couple million members nationally, is portrayed as some massive uprising; the religious right, seen as controlling our national discourse on women’s health, has no such power – except that granted them by the media.

    Fact is it’s been a long time since our political media cared about facts and data (if it ever did). Otherwise, would we have gone to war with Iraq? Would we still have a private health insurance industry? Would there be any debate about evolution, or global warming? Would we still drive cars that get 23 mpg? Most of our political discourse is shaped by false narratives – yes, anecdotes – pumped by a credulous and power-worshipping political media establishment.

    Pelosi’s piece is actually better than that, in that she a) admits the challenges of the coverage at the outset, and then b) explains to the viewer that she struggled to find other kinds of anecdotes. I can’t think of a political reporter at the Post or Times or Journal who’s ever done that, ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  29. JohnMcC says:

    On the topic of satirizing the left, we do it to ourselves with great gusto. If you-all haven’t seen Portlandia, go to youtube right away and check it out. (And you should get out more!)

    The real question is why doesn’t the right laugh at themselves?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  30. Herb says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    “Government is incompetent and welfare queens. “

    Ah yes, but the toothless guy in the Mississippi video is on welfare and maybe some kind of substance. Yet, he is not urban, not an ethnic minority, and he votes Republican, so he’s one of those “real Americans” Sarah Palin was talking about. It’s an unwritten rule that these people must be pandered to, not made to look ridiculous. Anyone on the right who violates this rule is at risk of being charged with having a “liberal bias.”

    I think it’s telling that the expected reaction to these videos is akin to, “Mommy, the liberals are picking on us again” rather than, “Man, these rednecks are kind of a problem for us, aren’t they?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  31. Herb says:

    @JohnMcC: Great point about Portlandia. That show is brutal when it comes to making hippy-dippy lefties look ridiculous. They’re kind of in “only Nixon could go to China” territory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. There is no Republican Colbert because there is no Democrat Rush Limbaugh: demographics. The people that watches comedy in television tend to be younger and urban people. Simple as that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. It’s doubtless true that there are a lot of ignorant racists in Mississippi. Or, for that matter, anywhere.

    Given recent poll results indicating that only 40% of Missippi Republicans think interracial marriage should be legal, there certainly are a lot of ignorant racists in that state. Enough that I don’t have a problem with saying the people in the video are representative with the state as a whole. If Missippi is tired of being a state of ignorant racist rednecks, then stop being a state of ignorant racist rednecks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  34. Note that Penn and Teller´s message may be a free market message, but they cater to a younger demographic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Jeremy R says:

    Anyone remember this report from the 2008 campaign:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRqcfqiXCX0

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. Moderate Mom says:

    @Herb:

    I think it was cruel to use the toothless man. He was obviously mentally disturbed (hoarder,anyone?) and, to hear him, probably mentally challenged as well. The others were fair game, but shame on Pelosi for putting the toothless man in there. She said she cut out a number of people that she filmed. Why didn’t she use one of them instead?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Herb:

    “Man, these rednecks are kind of a problem for us, aren’t they?”

    Well that would be because you’re talking about a sizeable part of the Republican base. This is what identity politics does for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  38. Moderate Mom says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I just went to PPP and looked at the questions, the results and the crosstabs. As to the Mississippi interracial marriage question, 54% said should be legal, 29% illegal, and not sure 12% (I wonder where the missing 5% are). But, if you look at the cross tabs, of when they decided these things ( within the last few days, the last week, etc.) I question the accuracy of the responses, because they are bizarre. Same thing with the Obama Christian/Muslim question.

    This was an automated poll of 656 likely Republican voters, an very small sample size. From what I remember reading the past, polls require a larger sample size (over a thousand I think) to be considered pretty reliable, and automated polls are less reliable than ones where a person is asking the question.

    I wouldn’t put too much stock into these answers being true for likely Republican voters, much less the entire population.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  39. Peter says:

    Here is an interesting piece, from a guest poster at Half Sigma, that explains why trailer camp rednecks are substantially less likely than ghetto gangbangers to wind up in prison even though the two groups have similar, highly dysfunctional lifestyles:

    They’re [the trailer camp rednecks] fond of the magic herb and can be seen growing their very own shipboard marijuana bushes, which they mist and fertilize lovingly. Nothing, of course, replaces beer. They consider the 24-pack and the kegger to be the most important advances in human convenience in the last century. When in need of jollification, they hie forth to roadhouses and biker bars, where misunderstandings about women sometimes require the intervention of civil authority. When their women are in need of enlightenment, they improve their lady’s understanding with a few sharp raps to the head. Their dress code runs to jeans and T-shirts. Their hair is long or shaved off, their beards scruffy, and their skin adorned with tattoos and piercings.

    Got the picture? These are petty criminals, but why aren’t more of them in jail? Because they’re not totally clueless. Using the Cluelessness Quotient chart and the Golden Rules for comparison, let’s consider manners first. Although low on the social food chain, these characters don’t have a chip on their shoulders about race. They are less likely to act out in the presence of police. Generally they can stifle the profanity during those crucial minutes and mumble “Yes, officer” and “No officer” until the heat has passed.

    Most important, they don’t adopt the outdoor lifestyle. They’re almost never visible walking on streets where they can be seen by cops riding around in cars. When they drive, their cars and pickups may be junkers, but they’re street legal, so they have fewer traffic stops. They get wasted indoors, where search warrants are required, and are less likely to carry dope on their persons and in their cars. Often they grow their own marijuana, so they do not buy drugs and fall victim to police stings, undercover cops, and confidential informants. Their dress is scruffy, but T-shirts and jeans blend in better than gang colors and hip-hop gear, so they don’t get targeted as quickly by police.

    Once they do get arrested, they have some resources. For time management, they generally can muster an alarm clock and a watch, and in emergencies, a calendar. They often marry their women, so they have a wife, the “old lady,” in addition to Mama and sisters to pay legal fees and bail bonds. When driving, they get their buzz from beer rather than marijuana. This means that if they’re stopped and are not legally intoxicated, they will receive only a citation for driving with an open container—and not even that if they can slide the can out the rear window and into the truck bed before the cop gets close. Rednecks have some knowledge of police procedure. They know that police do not like to find guns, so they carry the all-purpose and legal knife. When they do carry guns, they are likely to have a permit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. steve says:

    “I wouldn’t put too much stock into these answers being true for likely Republican voters, much less the entire population.”

    Maybe, but i have been in a long term discussion group with a bunch of highly educated folks, bankers, lawyers, physicians, hedge fund guys. They are mostly self-identified conservatives. Many of them believed the birther stuff, many believe Obama is a bigot and most of them are just a step or two away from the Mississippi guys on racial issues.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  41. steve says:

    @Peter- I might buy that if when they are actually are arrested, they went to jail at the same rates for the same crimes. In the case of drugs, that is clearly not the case. Blacks are about 3 times more likely to go to jail for a marijuana arrest than whites.

    http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/node/64

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  42. MstrB says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Just move to California.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Bad Boys, Bad Boys... says:

    @Pete: Alex Pelosi’s two videos are essentially an episode of COPS. You can show a stupid, shirtless Redneck in handcuffs as long as you show a stupid, shirtless Negro in handcuffs.

    Economist Thomas Sowell already explored this in his “Black Rednecks” essay. The two seeming opposites are cultural – and in some cases biological – cousins.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Herb says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    “She said she cut out a number of people that she filmed. Why didn’t she use one of them instead?”

    I dunno. Maybe they were worse? I suspect when she made her editorial decisions, she went for images which have the most impact. That guy made an impact.@Brummagem Joe:

    Well that would be because you’re talking about a sizeable part of the Republican base.

    While I take your point, I do question just how sizeable the redneck contingent of base really is. I don’t think they’re representative of MS Republicans much less the party as a whole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. An Interested Party says:

    No, I reject that.

    As others have noted, no Democratic politician has begged Maher for forgiveness …when one or more does, then perhaps we can discuss an equvalence between Maher and Limbaugh (who was refered to as the “leader of the oppostion” by the National Review)…Maher could only hope to have the political power and clout of Limbaugh…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  46. Brummagem Joe says:

    @MstrB:

    Just move to California.

    I have a daughter who lives in Brentwood in LA and visit about three times a year. Will this do?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  47. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Herb:

    I don’t think they’re representative of MS Republicans much less the party as a whole.

    Herb, I had a house down on the GA coast for years and have many friends down there. In fact I just got back yesterday from staying with some friends on Hilton Head for a few days. Trust me they are representative of a sizeable slice of the Republican party in the south.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  48. Moderate Mom says:

    @steve:

    I thought “highly educated folks” could only be Liberals. The general consensus on the left seems to always be that Conservatives are mouth breathing, knuckle dragging neanderthals with an intelligence level usually seen on the far left side of the Bell Curve. ;-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  49. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    I thought “highly educated folks” could only be Liberals.

    Whatever gave you that strange idea? I know plenty of wealthy people who are conservatives because as my pa and grandpa (both rock solid Republicans and very bright guys) told me when I was about 12 the primary goal of the Republican party is to protect the interests of the wealthy and big business. So they know where their interests lie unlike the cannon fodder in that video. The wealthy are of course a minority so this means they have to convince a lot of rubes like the guy with no teeth that his interests and Mitt Romney’s are exactly coincident. They’re not of course but that’s where identity politics comes in. You may be one of the wealthy in which case your support of the Republican party is entirely rational in economic terms but don’t pretend it’s of any value to these poor losers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  50. Hey Norm says:

    Moderate Mom…
    Change your name to Far-Right Extreme Lunatic Mom.
    More appropriate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  51. Linton says:

    @Moosebreath:

    P.J. O’Rourke is a regular Maher guest and his appearances are the most awkward and painful to watch of anyone’s. Maher obviously thinks a lot of him and tries to throw him rope, but the man just can’t do TV well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. Moderate Mom says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    You obviously didn’t get the joke, even with the ” ;-) ” that was posted with the comment. I was just riffing on the stuff seen on left blogs all the time, i.e., that the only way someone can disagree with our position is if they are stupid. And that is not to say that right leaning blogs aren’t just as bad, because they are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  53. Moderate Mom says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    And yet you remain friends with these reprehensible people?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. @Pete:

    it seems to me that plain old human nature is to blame. When people are offered something for free, what risk is there in taking it?

    I have a problem with this characterization because the fact of the matter is that not everyone does look for free stuff. This matters for a variety of reasons. First, it is legitimate to criticize truly lazy people (and it wouldn’t be as legitimate to do so if we were talking about inherent, biologically driven behavior). Second, it belittles the fact that some people do, in fact, need assistance.

    The risk, by the way, is living a crappy life. Now, granted, some people are fine with living a crappy life (and in some parts of the country one can make dollars go farther). Speaking for myself, but for that matter I think expanding the N on this wouldn’t be hard, I would by no means be satisfied with the kind of life that I could life living off of food stamps and handouts. Quality of life matters to people, amongst other factors, and so I don’t think human nature is to simply take the lowest common denominator. If that were true, to expand my observations beyond N=1, wouldn’t we all still be living a subsistence lifestyle out in the wild?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  55. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    And yet you remain friends with these reprehensible people?

    Who said they were reprehensible? Most of my friends are Republicans (I come from generations of Republicans) but apparently unlike you I have the maturity to understand that friendship transcends politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  56. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    You obviously didn’t get the joke

    I wouldn’t give up your day job. You don’t have a future as a humorist.

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  57. Moderate Mom says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Dude, look at what you wrote. You compared your friends in Hilton Head to the people from Mississippi that Alexandra Peolosi featured on her video. If you’re not comparing your friends to those people, why did you mention them? Was it just the opportunity to name drop Hilton Head? I’m sure your Republican friends would be thrilled to know what you really think about them. It must give you a sense of superiority to know how much better than those rednecks you are.

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  58. Janis Gore says:

    I’m with Moderate Mom on the use of the the toothless hoarder. That’s outright abuse of the mentally ill and no one with any conscience would stand for it. Ms. Pelosi needs a check.

    If she wants to get into the closure of mental facilities under Republican regimes, that’s another documentary.

    It appalled me when I saw it.

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