April 12, 2008

Egghead, heal thyself.... Concerning the anvil-tongued remarks of Senator Obama on the connection between chronic unemployment and various pathologies of small-town white Pennsylvanians, Mickey Kaus requests that Obama should:
Rather than trying to spin his way out, wouldn't it be better for Obama to forthrightly admit his identity? Let's have a national dialogue about egghead condescension!
Fair enough, I say. Liberals have had a bad habit of explaining away such things in the past as rooted in the negative environment of the subject, and it ends up giving us a tone deafness to issues like crime. Chronic unemployment should no more be an excuse for anti-immigrant sentiments than it is for gang violence.

But no sooner does he make that sensible point, then Kaus lobs this back at his readers:
Ann Coulter is reading Obama's autobiography and comes up with a not-implausible interpretation of the famous Racist Grandma incident:
As recounted in Obama's autobiography, the only evidence that his grandmother feared black men comes from Obama's good-for-nothing, chronically unemployed white grandfather, who accuses Grandma of racism as his third excuse not to get dressed and drive her to work.
Obama's full quote about his grandmother, above, described her as "a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe." So Coulter's excuse, which Kaus finds "not-implausible," for grandma having palpitations everytime a black man walked by, or for her using the word "jew" as a verb, was the behavior of her unemployed husband? Sounds like "egghead condescension" to me....

April 09, 2008

Don't Snitch-- Sue !!! Anthony Pellicano is not the only high-profile case being heard in the Roybal Federal Building in downtown L.A. The courthouse also plays host to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Suge Knight, former hip-hop empressario who is now attempting a comeback on reality TV:

He also has several pokers in his double-toothpicks filing, such as a lawsuit against Kanye West for allowing someone to shoot him (and steal a 15 carrot diamond earring) at West's pre-MTV Music Awards party in 2005.* A copy of the complaint can be reviewed, here.

Among the highlights: that Kanye West negligently ignored the possibility that the East Coast-West Coast feud would flare up at the party, and that the identity of some of the guests "...were known not to be friendly to Mr. Knight," and thus negligently failed to pat down and do complete metal detection searches on the guests. As a result, an innocent victim of all this feuding, Mr. Knight, was nearly killed. Not surprisingly, the former Death Row Records honcho has "no idea" who did this to him, just as he had "no idea" who whacked Tupac. But thanks to civil discovery, he now has the opportunity to find witnesses who will snitch out the perp.

*The party in question took place on August 28, 2005, one day before Hurricane Katrina would give Kanye West a chance for more mainstream exposure.

April 07, 2008

John McCain sure knows how to sweet-talk the ladies....

April 06, 2008

On the subject of the Clintons' wealth, Kevin Drum notes "Have we ever asked this about any previous presidential candidate? Reagan? Bush Sr.? Bush Jr.? Kerry? (Actually, that's a genuine question. Have we?) ."

To answer his question, the issue about whence came the candidate's money played a major role concerning LBJ, who was a millionaire in spite of never having worked a job (besides brief careers as a school teacher and elevator operator) outside of the public sphere; Nixon, whose ties to Howard Hughes played a major role in the 1960 campaign (after having earlier dealt with a similar controversy involving a black & white cocker spaniel named Checkers); and to a lesser extent, Reagan, whose affluence stemmed from his rather hazy relationship with people like Henry Salvatori and Alfred Bloomingdale. Each had to overcome questions as to the somewhat dubious nature of their wealth before winning the Presidency, so we don't have to resort to Somerbian paranoia about media double standards here.
heckle [vt.]: to annoy or harass (a speaker) by interrupting with questions or taunts.

Can anyone seriously view this clip and say that the girl in question is "heckling" Senator McCain? Back in '82, I was Milton Friedman give a lecture at the college I was attending at the time (Reed College), and the event consisted almost entirely of students lobbing verbal grenades at the stage, and Friedman batting them back as if it was badminton. I saw Jeane Kirkpatrick give a lecture in '83 at CAL where she literally had to abandon her speech due to student taunts. Now, that was heckling.... [link via Digby]
Nicholas Kristof has been on a roll in the New York Times recently, with several astute columns on race, gender and how they impact the 2008 election. On the subject of the controversial Rev. Wright, he wrote:
It’s true that conspiracy theories are a bane of the African-American community. Perhaps partly as a legacy of slavery, Tuskegee and Jim Crow, many blacks are convinced that crack cocaine was a government plot to harm African-Americans and that the levees in New Orleans were deliberately opened to destroy black neighborhoods.

White readers expressed shock (and a hint of smugness) at these delusions, but the sad reality is that conspiracy theories and irrationality aren’t a black problem. They are an American problem.

These days, whites may not believe in a government plot to spread AIDS, but they do entertain the equally malevolent theory that the United States government had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. A Ohio University poll in 2006 found that 36 percent of Americans believed that federal officials assisted in the attacks on the twin towers or knowingly let them happen so that the U.S. could go to war in the Middle East.

Then there’s this embarrassing fact about the United States in the 21st century: Americans are as likely to believe in flying saucers as in evolution. Depending on how the questions are asked, roughly 30 to 40 percent of Americans believe in each.


Only one American in 10 understands radiation, and only one in three has an idea of what DNA does. One in five does know that the Sun orbits the Earth ...oh, oops.

America is now ill with a powerful mutant strain of intertwined ignorance, anti-rationalism, and anti-intellectualism,” Susan Jacoby argues in a new book, “The Age of American Unreason.” She blames a culture of “infotainment,” sound bites, fundamentalist religion and ideological rigidity for impairing thoughtful debate about national policies.
Ecce Homo !!!

Of course, ignorance is not necessarily the basis for conspiratorial thinking, nor do conservatives have a monopoly on the subject; besides the numerous wackjobs who continue to support the Kennedy and King assasination industries, you still encounter people who believe the 2004 election resulted from computer hacking, who assert that the Reagan campaign in 1980 made a side-deal with the Ayatollah on the hostages just before the election, and who insist that the documents Dan Rather shilled for concerning Bush's absence from Guard duty in 1972 were authentic. There are good reasons for believing in each of the above, just as it is not unreasonable to believe that AIDS and crack cocaine are part of a racist plot. It isn't ignorance so much as it is an unwillingness to apply reason to those subjects that fuels conspiracy thinking.
Smile: In which the worlds of a college hoops phenom and a musical genius intersect.