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the skunks of los feliz
William Bennett is a hypocritical family-values wingnut, the author of several moral primers whose "moral" authority was left in tatters some years ago by the revelation that he was a gambling addict.

His recent comments that aborting all black babies would lower the crime rate are surprising only in that he spoke them aloud in the public forum. After all, even in this age of a cowed and compliant press, and of a plurality of Americans that march in lockstep with the commingled drumbeat of the GOP/Religious Right political machine, openly expressing genocidally racist opinions is (for the time being) generally frowned upon.

Yet, there he was on his talk radio show, spilling the contents of his dark and twisted heart for all to hear. To call his comments the morally reprehensible ravings of a deranged eugenicist is perhaps letting him off easy.

President Bush, however, doesn't seem to see it that way. A quick check of the headlines (MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times) might give the impression that the President had publicly repudiated the hate speech spewing from the mouth of one of the Right's preeminent "thinkers".

What he actually said (well, what his lying mouthpiece actually said) was this: "[President Bush] believes the comments were not appropriate."

Well, that's a relief! W. thinks that expressing belief in the efficacy of a genocidal abortion program is, indeed, outside the bounds of the appropriate.

Notice, however, that the statement approaches nothing that resembles a condemnation of the beliefs underlying Mr. Bennett's remarks. It seems that the President takes umbrage only at the fact that these beliefs were expressed in an inappropriate (read: politically damaging) fashion.

The White House response is a dismal repeat of the tepid reaction to Pat Robertson's call for the assassination of Hugo Chavez: express mild disapproval, all the while holding hands under the table with the GOP's Religious Right base, and slyly winking at their clueless fellow-travelers in the nation's heartland.
What in the hell is wrong with the truth
Not that I necessarily agree with this right-wing nut, but if you read the whole text of the media matters article his statements can be viewed as much more sane. Bennett's quote was referencing a recently critically acclaimed book called "Freakanomics" which introduces many startling statistical realities that the author has discovered. I actually read part of this book recently while browsing in Barnes & Noble, so it caught my attention. One of the more interesting positions the book takes is that abortion is responsible for lowering crime rates, which have been steadily going down for sometime now. The thinking goes that unwanted babies are usually born to poorer families and more likely to grow up in such poverty have a greater inclination towards crime since they are denied other opportunities that the wealthier segments of society are afforded. A perfectly reasonable argument, no one is shouting down the author for his statements. Bennett simply extended this line of reasoning further. A disproportionate amount of black people live in poverty and also the prison population in america is disproportionately black. These are facts black leaders have been making for years, and no one is accusing them of being racist. However, I turn on my tv today to watch Al Sharpton waxing eloquent about how this guy is some big racist. Hasn't Al ever read "A Modest Proposal." When you use satire it is to show how ridiculous an idea is. Bennett is firmly against abortions of all kinds and he wanted to show how ridiculous situations can become if you are saying that the ends justify the means. Whether you agree with his views or not, and whether he is a racist or not, you can't say that he is based on these particular statements anymore than you can say that Jonathan Swift was advocating that children be eaten in Ireland in the 18 century. When we purposely misintrepet the other sides word's we are really doing ourselves a great disservice, and we just empower extremists on both sides of the fence to grab more than their fair share of the press by taking advantage of the drama that ensues.
Reference the book if you choose but do it correctly.
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