Friday, February 27, 2009

Racists Pleading Ignorance

It is amazing to me that people can plead ignorance of racial stereotypes when they are caught propagating them. Take, for example, the sorry excuse of Lynn Westmoreland, who referred to the Obamas as "uppity" and then said he didn't realize that "uppity" was a term used against black people even though he grew up in the South where such use was prevalent.

Or the people at the New York Post who published a cartoon and played dumb about how there is a sad history of insulting black people by portraying them as primates. As reported on

In an open letter to The Post, musician John Legend criticized the newspaper and called on New Yorkers not to buy it, or talk to its reporters or buy its advertising space.

Addressing the newspaper's editors, Legend wrote, "Did it occur to you that our president has been receiving death threats since early in his candidacy? Did it occur to you that blacks have historically been compared to various apes as a way of racist insult and mockery? Did you intend to invoke these painful themes when you printed the cartoon?

"If that's not what you intended, then it was stupid and willfully ignorant of you not to connect these easily connectable dots. If it is what you intended, then you obviously wanted to be grossly provocative, racist and offensive."

Or now, the mayor of a small town in California sent out a postcard to friends showing watermelons on the White House lawn with the caption "no more Easter Egg hunts at the White House". The mayor said he is going to now resign but has stated that he did not know that watermelons were a stereotype associated with black people. What a specious argument. What is the point of the postcard if it is not to make a joke about black people and watermelons? Where would the humor be if you did not make that connection? IT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF THE POSTCARD!!!! He obviously thought it was amusing enough to send out to his friends, so without that, where would the amusement come from?

GIVE ME A BREAK!!! If you are going to be racist, don't add insult to injury. Don't insult our intelligence by playing dumb about your ignorant bigotry.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grasping at Straws - The Citizenship Rumor

Remember during the campaign when Republicans were spreading those "Obama is not a U.S. citizen" rumors? I actually had a debate in my kitchen with a family member who bought into this crap. Well apparently, Alan Keyes and Senator Richard Shelby are still trying to cast doubt on President Obama with this tired, desperate story. According to Shelby:

"Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate,” Shelby said. “You have to be born in America to be president.”

Well, let's see. The Obama campaign posted his birth certificate on their website during the campaign. According to, this rumor is categorically false. The State of Hawaii officially verified the validity of the birth certificate. There is even a birth announcement from the Hawaii paper in 1961! What I find hilarious when reading about some of these conspiracy theories, these conspiracy theorists act like this was some scam perpetrated starting back with his birth! Yes, I am sure that in 1961, President Obama's mother and grandmother knew that he would be running for president in 2008 and would need proof of his natural-born citizenship! It is absolutely ridiculous, barely worthy of response.

Another argument I have heard is that because President Obama's father was not a U.S. citizen, President Obama could not be one. These people need to just read the law. If you are born in the United States, you are a natural-born citizen, regardless of your parents' citizenship. And despite its "foreign", "exotic" feel according to Cokie Roberts, Hawaii is one of the fifty United States of America and has been since 1959. Case closed.

Give it up, people, and move on!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jon Stewart Still Has It

After President Obama was elected, I was worried that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart would suffer. Would the writers of that show be as inspired as when the Bush Administration was serving up fresh hypocrisy, doublespeak and generally outrageous behavior on a regular basis? Well, I guess I shouldn't have been worried. Just because the Repubicans are out of power doesn't mean they can't continue to provide fodder. View the following two clips from last Thursday's show to be assured that the Daily Show and Jon Stewart are still worth watching every night:

Can We Stop Extending Our Hand to the Republicans Now?

Or do we still want to get it slapped? So now, after campaigning for the nomination for Commerce Secretary, Republican Senator Judd Gregg has withdrawn his name over irresolvable conflicts. I'm not sad over this. The only good reason to nominate Senator Gregg that I could see was to be able to appoint a Democrat to replace him. But this opportunity was negotiated away.

This latest slap from the Republican Party comes after not one Republican in the House of Representatives voted for the stimulus package and only three Republican senators voted for the package after stripping it of things like education funding and health care funding, aid to states, etc. What has reaching across the aisle gotten us? A watered-down bill, still extreme rhetoric from the right, and no bi-partisanship.

I am not saying that President Obama should give up on the idealistic notion of bipartisanship. One would have hoped that in this time of crisis, politics could be put aside for the good of the country. But it is now clear that the Republicans have no interest in reaching back. It's time to move on and get on with it.