• comment on a post Pre-Orlando CattleCall for DNC Chair over 9 years ago
    Donnie's papa is Don Fowler, former chair of the DNC, I believe.

    I don't think that should disqualify him, but it is certainly relevant.  Despite his jabs at the campaign aristocracy in that position piece, his resume reads exactly like you'd expect the resume of the son of the DNC chair to read.  Bouncing from one high campaign position to another.  This can be a sign of someone who is great, but it can also be sign of someone who is ambitious and has a powerful patron.  His non-campaign jobs look to me like the kind of sinecures you get when people want to cultivate you (FCC & a tech consultancy.)  

    This isn't a background that makes me think he's been tuning his ear to the voice of the average voter.

    I wince at the burgeoning aristocracy of our party. Maybe it's just because I live in Chicago, where my Mayor is the son of a Mayor, my governor the son-in-law of a powerful party elder, my attorney general the daughter of the speaker of the house, my state comptroller the son of the former Cook County treasurer and our newest congressman had his seat deeded over to him by his dad.

    What a sick political culture!  But if others believe Donnie Fowler can be a great DNC chair based on a closer understanding of what he's done, I admit I don't know him well.

  • on a comment on More DNC dish over 9 years ago
    Well, now that I read what he had to say, I do think it should disqualify him.

    This is classic cynical politico bullshit.  Defend against your most vulnerable side by attacking in that direction.  

    He talks about the evils wrought by a campaign  aristocracy out of touch with Washington.  But there are few better example than the son-of-somebody who parlayed his father's position into spots managing campaigns at the national level, consulting for tech firms, bouncing from state to state wherever you could land a sweet spot.  

    This does NOT look like the resume of someone who got where he is by having a good ear for what American voters want.  He has played the insider political game all his life.  

  • comment on a post More DNC dish over 9 years ago
    Donnie's papa is Don Fowler, former chair of the DNC, I believe.

    I don't think that should disqualify him, but I do wince at the burgeoning aristocracy of our party. Maybe it's just because I live in Chicago, where my Mayor is the son of a Mayor, my governor the son-in-law of a powerful party elder, my attorney general the daughter of the speaker of the house, my state comptroller the son of the former Cook County treasurer and our newest congressman had his seat deeded over to him by his dad.

    What a sick political culture!  But if Donnie Fowler becomes a great DNC chair, more power to him.

  • comment on a post Ukraine over 9 years ago
    Per the Guardian, the EU believes the fraud allegations are likely and have called for investigation of the election.

    And the city governments of Kiev and Lvov, the two biggest cities in Ukraine, are not acknowledging the results published by the Kuchma government.

  • comment on a post Ukraine over 9 years ago
    So you're quoting a periodical that links George Soros and Republican Senators with CIA links in one giant conspiracy orchestrating "coups" in former SSR's?  

    That's the most ridiculous theory I've ever heard.  It's only been about 7 weeks since Denny Hastert was calling Soros himself a socialist and decrying his "red" influence over our election.

    I can't believe anyone could cite that passage with a straight face.  You have to be more Stalinist than Stalin to believe that crap.

  • on a comment on Abandoning Gun Control over 9 years ago
    I meant to say "many" Southern rural counties.

    Here is a listing of the 10 states with the highest murder rate, listed starting with the most violent:

    1. Louisiana
    2. Mississippi
    3. Georgia
    4. Maryland
    5. Alabama (tie)
    6. New Mexico (tie)
    7. Tennessee (tie)
    8. Illinois (tie)
    9. Arizona (tie)
    10. North Carolina (tie)

    You may notice a common theme - these are not the states one associates with big cities.  Note that Illinois is only on the list because this list predates the dramatic drop in the murder rate in the last 18 months after Chicago adopted the Bratton-style compstat-based policing strategies.  (Note, Chicago has had community policing for a decade, but it was only on the adoption of the Bratton strategies that the murder rate went into freefall.)

    If you trace the rate through time in a given place, the murder rate tends to track quite well with the inverse of the clearance rate -- when police make more arrests in murder cases, this either has a deterrence effect or breaks the cycle of violence or gets the perpetrator-types off the street.  Whatever it is.  

    Yet these variables don't work well across geographic boundaries.  This suggests something.

    Though this would be a very difficult theory to test, because of the difficulty of measuring the second variable, I would argue that the murder rate tracks best with a scale of poverty matched to the cynicism of the police.  For 30 years starting in the late 60's, northern police went racist and cynical, taking the view that Southern police have always taken - if there's a murder, grab one of them young black guys, it don't matter which one.  

    It's not that northern police weren't racist prior to that, but blacks weren't a big enough proportion of the population of northern cities and particularly of their working class prior to the mid-60's for their presence to become all-encompassing in defining police attitudes to crime.  But after the mid-60's, this became increasingly prevalent -- the attitude defined by "these people - what can you do."

    Only when Bratton took over in NYC, did a major urban police force get its discipline, morale and spirit back -- the sense that you can control crime if you do your friggin' job, instead of rolling your eyes and saying it was beyond your control.  

    That development has brought northern violence rates back within their historic norms, leaving the south again in its role as the most violent region of the country.

  • comment on a post Abandoning Gun Control over 9 years ago
    if you were within 80% of the correct answer for the annual murder rate.

    the true figue is nowhere near 30,000.  In 2001 and 2002, we had 16,037 and 16,204 respectively.

    In 1992, at the peak, there were 23,579 murders in this country.  

    The second poster would have more credibility if he took into account the fact that the big northern metropolitan areas are now safer than southern rural counties.

    The murder rate per population in New York in 1990 was approx. 1 for every 3,500 people.  It is now 1 for every 14,000.  In Cook County, IL, the county that holds Chicago, it's went from 1 for every 5,000 to 1 for every 12,000.

    The national rate is now 1 for every 16,000.  So the rate for metropolitan areas is not that diferrent from the national rate.  Southern rural counties are more violent than this.

    We're supposed to be the reality-based community.  Yet this post is just a bunch of people sounding off about their own personal public safety anxieties, rather than basing their arguments on facts.

  • on a comment on Educate Me over 9 years ago
    You're right.  It edged down in the late Dinkins years.  Then it plummeted dramatically, and overnight, when Bratton came on.

    The rate, in murders per 100,000 population, went like this:

    Last year of Koch
    89 - 26
    90 - 31
    91 - 29
    92 - 27
    93 - 27

    94 - 21
    95 - 16
    96 - 14
    97 - 11

    The current numbers are down 71% from 11 years ago, according to the NYPD compstat site.  I guess you could call it progress that Dinkins brought the rate to just above the level that he inherited from his predecessor.  But Giuliani and Bratton brought it down to levels not seen in 100 years.  And again, it happened OVERNIGHT.  When they implemented CompStat, it happened overnight.  A ton of yuppies didn't move to Manhattan suddenly in the middle of 1994.  The incarceration rate didn't suddenly increase in the middle of 1994.  What happened was Bill Bratton.

    Same in Chicago.  We had the same slow secular trend for 10 years, since we didn't bother to learn from the Bratton evidence.  We went from 950 murders in 92 to roughly 600 a year for the last 5 years.  Then, suddenly in May, 03, they implemented the Bratton strategy, and overnight the murder rate plummeted.  We'll have roughly 400-450 murders this year - a 30% drop in a year.

    Here's a link to the latest Chicago report -- for January through September.  


    The decline is 22% from the same period last year, but that's because they had already partially implemented these strategies by the summer of '03.  If you compared the report of 06/03-05/04 to the one for 06/02-05/03,it's actually a decline of more like 30%.

    I know Chicago very well.  Let me tell you, there was no demographic shift here that moved 30% of our poor folks out in May of 03 and suddenly replaced them with yuppies.  There was no new wave of incarceration that put 30% of our gang-bangers in jail.  There was no sudden decline in the number of 16-24 year olds.  These were the factors that academics always said affected the murder rate.  

    There was certainly no new gun control law that got 30% of our guns off the street in May of 03.  Nor any concealed carry law that suddenly made criminals fear the people on the street (which is the ludicrous theory of the gun nuts.)

    The only change from May to June of 03 was the strategy of policing.

    Bratton's ideas weren't really synonymous with Broken Windows.  It was much more a data-driven model, where police commanders were forced to respond to increases in crime and to salient spots where crimes were happening, flooding them with resources.  The core idea was simply to fire anybody who said "crime is always with us and there's nothing you can do about it" replacing them with people who were willing to be creative.  Many different ideas were tested, and they found the ones that worked.  Now, Chicago is doing the same thing.

    The Chicago version adds an interesting new level, in which community organizations help the police with intelligence, letting them know when gang problems are flaring up, for instance.  

    It's a profoundly un-Democratic idea to say that crime is just a fact of life in poor neighborhoods.  Yet that's the core theory that the academics put forth, the core theory that you're buying into.

  • comment on a post Educate Me over 9 years ago
    if I hijacked the thread.  I guess I get a little excited about this.
  • comment on a post Educate Me over 9 years ago
    is that good policing helps prevent violence.  Commissioner William Bratton and (grr) Rudy Giuliani proved it in New York in the early 90's.  

    Academics rushed to say that there were multiple causes for the decline, that demographics were changing, that more young men were in prison.

    None of these academics ever gave a good explanation of the coincidence that the plunge in the murder rate in New York just happened to occur right when Bratton began implementing his strategies.

    His deputy went to New Orleans, and worked the same wonders.  But for the most part, the strategy languished for a decade, and people seemed to believe in New York exceptionalism.

    Then, a year and a half ago, Bratton went to LA and achieved a similar decline.  He ran into a wall in efforts to further cut violence, because LA simply doesn't have enough police officers.

    As the initial results of the LA changes came in, Chicago began questioning why its murder rate hadn't really fallen very much after a decade of stricter sentencing and demographic changes that had made the city (somewhat) more white and more middle class.  They adopted a Bratton-style test program, and the west side quieted almost overnight.  

    Within a month, the police commissioner was cashiered and a new guy came in, pledged to using the Bratton techniques.

    The Bratton strategy in New York and its copycat efforts in other cities were largely made possible by Clinton's "100,000 cops" plan.  Yet we liberals have wasted a decade spending our political capital on gun control and ignoring our successes.  It amazes me.

    It's not that I agree with the NRA.  Obviously, having more guns on the street makes it a little easier to commit murder - for the unattached rookie commiting a crime of passion.  But our country is absolutely awash with guns, and none of the gun control proposals would change that -- it won't change if we continue outlawing specific forms of assault weapon, for instance.

    But it's basically irrelevant.  What helps is smart policing.  The crime rate went up in the late 60's because you had a generation of white cops throw up their hands and say, I don't care, I can't do anything with these people.  Some because they were racist, some because they were cynical, some because it's tough to keep doing your best when those around you aren't bothering.

    Bratton told them you have to care or you're fired.  He demanded results, got rid of commanders who gave excuses like hey, my district is just poor and violent, and he flooded those districts that needed help with extra officers till the wave passed.

    That's what works.  Gun control doesn't work any more than "concealed carry."

  • on a comment on Ohio Recount To Go Forward over 9 years ago
    why don't you check the vote totals from 4 years ago in your county and see if it seems to you that there's a drastic difference.  Everyone who knows Florida has said that these numbers provided by a woman from Nevada are meaningless - that people often remain registered as Democrats even though they've been voting Republican in general elections for a while.  It
  • on a comment on "Vote Righteously" over 9 years ago

    I was starting to get worried, till I got to the end of your post - about dirty public restrooms.  The regional parks here in Chicagoland (Forest Preserves) have brand-spanking new porta-potties that are cleaned every week.  The conditions are better than they've ever been.

    I guess we're not all going to hell in a hand-towelette waste-basket after all.

    • on the dangers of e-voting;
    • hard data and analysis of voting systems and their fall-off (undervotes and overvotes);
    • some analysis of how provisional voting worked; how many such ballots were cast nation-wide, how many were counted.  Unless you believe there is a rash of incidents of people attempting to vote twice, then each provisional ballot denied is an indication of someone who is being disenfranchised by the registration system.  I understand the need for registration (I live in a place where elections have been thrown in the past.)  But we have to make this work better.

    I don't think this election was stolen.  I think the previous election was, and I believe our election systems work poorly enough that the choice of the people is too often not the winner at the end of the day.  
  • on a comment on Ohio Information over 9 years ago
    er, um, Chris.  Forgot which site I was on.  
  • comment on a post Ohio Information over 9 years ago
    you're absolutely right.  There are some real problems, and we should get to the bottom of them.  Almost certainly

    It's very tough to focus on real issues when a bunch of whack-jobs are screaming that Cuyahoga County is trying to cheat the Kerry campaign out of the election while the Kerry people stand idly by.  Yeah, that seems likely.  And others are claiming that people who register Dem and vote for Bush are de facto evidence of fraud.  Idiotic.


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