Archive for October, 2008

From the Police Blotter

I think we can all agree this is very good news indeed:

Two men have been arrested in connection with an effigy of Sen. Barack Obama that was hung outside a building at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, police said Thursday.

Authorities found a life-size effigy of the Democratic presidential candidate hanging from a tree outside the school’s Mines and Minerals building on Wednesday morning, police said.

Police said they arrested Joe Fischer, 22, a senior at the university, and Hunter Bush, 21, a former student at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

Fischer and Bush were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, burglary and theft by unlawful taking, police said. The burglary and theft charges involve allegedly removing items from a room in the fraternity house.

Burglary and theft I get—but disorderly conduct? Doesn’t that sometimes go by another name: free speech?

If you think I’m wrong, that’s fine. I’m willing to entertain the belief that the act committed here approaches if not surpasses the threshold of shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater.

But then I hope you would join me condemning in the same terms and with the same consequences this “crime”:

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A man who prompted protests by hanging an effigy of U.S. Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin by a noose from his home at Halloween has removed the display because it was causing too much trouble.

No arrest? No mugshot on the web?

What’s more, I couldn’t find a picture of the Obama effigy with the accompanying story. Or accompanying any other accounts of the incident.

Thank God for local TV.

It’s not that I want to see the offensive imagery, but Sarah Palin’s strung-up self was plastered all over the news. Why we are supposed to condemn this as the greatest hate crime since the Crucifixion sight unseen?

And why are these two punks in jail, while the West Hollywood puke walks free?

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Get Used To It, People

Barack’s raised over $600 million—but prime-time TV half-hours don’t grow on trees.

He’s back for more:

It seems like only a week ago that The Ticket was whining about Barack Obama whining that after raising $605 million through September to buy the presidency, he was asking all of us one last time for just $10 more for some reason.

And we figured out that, October money aside, he’d have to spend $12.5 million a day just to unload September’s haul by Nov. 4.

The Democrat is already outspending the Republican by three and four-to-one, which if it was the other way around would surely be unconscionable.

So last night Obama dumped several million bucks on several TV networks, which they don’t mind, to talk at us slickly for 27 minutes about his change that we need.

And when that was over, pingo, here comes another e-mail from Windy City HQ. You’ll never guess what. He wants more money. More. Still.

Only next time, as president, he ain’t asking. “Spread the wealth” will go from an explanation to a demand. Auntie Zeituni needs a better crib.

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Not His Brother’s Keeper

Or his aunt’s. Or his uncle’s.

The Times of London finds the long-lost relatives Barack Obama could not, but does this really have anything to do with the election? Zeituni Onyango played a memorable role in Obama’s memoir Dreams from My Father, but now lives in a public-housing project in Boston.

[A] few miles from where the Democratic presidential candidate studied at Harvard, his Kenyan aunt and uncle, immigrants living in modest circumstances in Boston, have a contrasting American story.

Zeituni Onyango, the aunt so affectionately described in Mr Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father, lives in a disabled-access flat on a rundown public housing estate in South Boston.

Nice detail:

Speaking outside her home in Flaherty Way, South Boston, on Tuesday, Ms Onyango, 56, confirmed she was the “Auntie Zeituni” in Mr Obama’s memoir. She declined to answer most other questions about her relationship with the presidential contender until after the November 4 election. “I can’t talk about it, I just pray for him, that’s all,” she said, adding: “After the 4th, I can talk to anyone.”

It’s nobody’s business but Barack’s if he chooses to send his Auntie a couple of hundred bucks a month to find a better place to live—from the sound of it, he knew exactly where to find her (and buy her silence).

But that hasn’t stopped her from donating to him:

The Times could not determine their immigration status and an official at Boston City Hall said that Ms Onyango was a resident of Flaherty Way but not registered to vote on the electoral roll. However, that Ms Onyango made a contribution to the Obama campaign would indicate that she is a US citizen.

I wouldn’t be so sure, given the revelations of fundraising shenanigans in the last few days.

In any case, if he won’t help out his aunt (or his brother), why does he think it so important that we do?

PS: BTW, thanks to modern technology, you can use Google Maps to check out her neighborhood: Flaherty Way, South Boston. I recommend Street View to a real sense of the ‘hood.

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Racists for Obama

That would be you. And you. And you—heck, all of y’all:

Obama suppporter Charles Ogletree, Harvard professor, says that even if you vote for Obama, you’re still a raaaaaaaaaaaacist!

Let him explain:

Even if you vote for Obama, you’re still probably a racist, according to Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, in his remarks at a recent panel discussion at my alma mater. Ogletree, Obama’s top advisor on race issues, explains that since Obama is “biracial,” his election won’t prove that racism has receded. White America won’t vote for blacks, Ogletree argues, and Obama’s election is possible only because he’s partly white. The ABA Journal predicts that Ogletree, who has long advocated race-based reparations, will be the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration.

I wouldn’t vote for Obama if he were white, black, red (which he decidedly is), pink (ditto), yellow (ditto). So I’m truly color blind. I think the rest of you have a problem, however: I think you’re voting for Obama precisely because he is black (at least that’s what so, so many of you have told me); and Ogletree says you’re really voting for him because he’s half white (it must be his lower half, because I’ve never seen it).

You people are really [bleeped] up, you know that? You love him and hate him for the very same empty, shallow reason. Do you think you could just stay home next Tuesday?

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On Crowds

The most insightful piece on Barack Obama, written by an American Arab

It is way too late for this, and Faoud Ajami is probably too subtle for most people, but he has written the best analysis of the Obama tsunami that I have read so far.

There is something odd — and dare I say novel — in American politics about the crowds that have been greeting Barack Obama on his campaign trail. Hitherto, crowds have not been a prominent feature of American politics. We associate them with the temper of Third World societies. We think of places like Argentina and Egypt and Iran, of multitudes brought together by their zeal for a Peron or a Nasser or a Khomeini. In these kinds of societies, the crowd comes forth to affirm its faith in a redeemer: a man who would set the world right.

I have just quoted the opening paragraph, but he goes on to describe his boyhood in Egypt, the Arab street, his disappointment to realize that this is happening here in the United States. Oh, and he talks about the disillusionment that is sure to follow:

My boyhood, and the Arab political culture I have been chronicling for well over three decades, are anchored in the Arab world. And the tragedy of Arab political culture has been the unending expectation of the crowd — the street, we call it — in the redeemer who will put an end to the decline, who will restore faded splendor and greatness. When I came into my own, in the late 1950s and ’60s, those hopes were invested in the Egyptian Gamal Abdul Nasser. He faltered, and broke the hearts of generations of Arabs. But the faith in the Awaited One lives on, and it would forever circle the Arab world looking for the next redeemer.

America is a different land, for me exceptional in all the ways that matter. In recent days, those vast Obama crowds, though, have recalled for me the politics of charisma that wrecked Arab and Muslim societies. A leader does not have to say much, or be much. The crowd is left to its most powerful possession — its imagination.

From Elias Canetti again: “But the crowd, as such, disintegrates. It has a presentiment of this and fears it. . . . Only the growth of the crowd prevents those who belong to it from creeping back under their private burdens.”

The morning after the election, the disappointment will begin to settle upon the Obama crowd.

Often the sweep of history overwhelms reason. This is not new. I am not much into Hope, but I hope that Obama is not going to lead us, or the rest of the world, over a cliff. His words are meaningless. But he can simply be a benign empty suit or something much, much worse.

- Aggie

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White Halloween

If you’re like me (poor you), you read about blizzards throughout the Northeast, and wonder if this whole global warming panic isn’t just a wee bit overblown (like the blizzard itself):

More snow fell Wednesday in parts of the Northeast as utility crews labored to restore service to thousands of customers blacked out by the region’s first big snowstorm of the season.

The wet snow that began falling Tuesday collected on trees still covered with leaves, and its weight combined with gusty wind to send limbs crashing onto power lines.

The National Weather Service reported storm totals of about 14 inches at northern New Jersey‘s High Point State Park, as much as 15 inches along the northwestern edge of New York‘s Catskill Mountains, and a foot in Pennsylvania‘s Pocono Mountains.

More wind-blown snow swept through northern Vermont on Wednesday. A lake effect snow warning was in effect for northwestern Pennsylvania, with accumulations of up to 12 inches possible at higher elevations, as wind picked up moisture from Lake Erie. Radar showed new snowfall Wednesday in parts of upstate New York.

But then you read the fine print:

Snow also fell at higher elevations of the central and southern Appalachians.

School were closed Wednesday in northern West Virginia‘s mountainous Tucker County, where 6 inches of snow made roads slippery. Two years ago, the county received 6 inches of snow on Oct. 24.

There was even 1 to 3 inches of snow in the mountains of western North Carolina, where one school system closed Wednesday because of slick roads. The earliest recorded snowfall in the Asheville, N.C., area was less than a half inch on Oct. 1, 1952, the weather service said.

Snow in North Carolina in October may not seem like an indicator of a warming planet—but it’s four weeks late!!! Put that on your corn flakes and chew it.

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Dames Against the Demigod

Colin Powell called Barack Obama “transformational”. I guess that’s as polite a way as any other for calling him two-faced (see his promise on public funding). Watch how he “transforms” on women:

Shelly Mandell, president of Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women: “I am outraged by the new ad put out by Barack Obama. It is sexist and demeaning to women. These tactics started with Hillary Clinton and continue, growing even more disgusting with Gov. Palin. … Let female Obama supporters take a good look at this and still believe their candidate supports women’s rights and women’s dignity.”

Prameela Bartholomeusz, DNC Platform Committee Member: “I am once again stunned at the personal and sexist attacks by the Obama campaign against Gov. Palin. This latest ad is sexist and offensive. The Gov. of Alaska has been managing and balancing a budget of $10 billion; I think she knows a bit about economics. Sen. Obama never spoke up against sexism during the primary season, and is not speaking out against misogyny during this phase of the election season — he is contributing to it. I have no confidence that Sen. Obama will fight for women’s issues if elected. This sets women back decades.”

Stephanie Bressler, Ph.D, Hillary Clinton supporter, University of Scranton women and politics professor: “It’s a sexist example of reducing a woman to an object – a wink – and denying her a voice. Her lips are actually moving, but she’s not allowed to be heard.”

Amy Siskind, ambassador for Hillary: “When Senator Hillary Clinton was demeaned and degraded during the Presidential Primary, many of us of, myself included, vowed ‘never again’. The treatment of Governor Palin by both the main stream media, and now the Obama Campaign, shows that the misogyny fest is alive and well in our country. There has been a complete and utter smear job of our fellow citizen, Sarah Palin, who is only trying to serve her country.”

Hopeful enough for you? That the change you were looking for?

I’ll admit I could watch a tape of Sarah Palin winking and not talking for the next eight to sixteen years—but I’m not an anonymous male blogger for nothing. At least I can understand how people would be offended. Obama, yet again, seems clueless. (I know, what was my first clue?)

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Sanford & Jefferson

And I thought you mentioned he was black:

Before a largely African-American crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina, this afternoon, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said, “If Senator McCain is elected, we’ll have another President who wants to privatize part of your Social Security.”

The crowd jeered.

“That ain’t right,” Obama said. “Can you imagine? If Social Security funds had been invested in the stock market, Americans wouldn’t even need Social Security!

“You would be having Sanford and Son,” the senator said, referring to the 70s sitcom featuring Redd Foxx as the proprietor of a junkyard.

“I’m comin’, Weezie,” he said, laughing, botching one of the signature lines from the show, in which Foxx clutched his chest in a mock heart-attack and prepared to meet his late wife in heaven.

The actual line is, “I’m coming, Elizabeth.”

“Weezie” was the nickname George Jefferson called his wife Louise on “The Jeffersons,” an altogether different 70s sit-com with a largely African-American cast.

DUH!

Is there anybody else in America who doesn’t know this? Is there anybody else in America who could get away with confusing those African American male archetypes, Fred Sanford and George Jefferson?

What else did he say, that Lamont’s favorite catch-word was “Dy-no-mite!”

These programs may have meant nothing to him in his youth, but they were everything to me. If his consciousness wasn’t raised by the All in the Family episode where Demond Wilson and late great Cleavon Little play two burglars who rob the Bunker family home, then he’s not the socialist I think he is.

Aggie noted the other day Obama’s utter humorlessness. QED.

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Sick in Mind and Body

Uh-oh, somebody’s feeling poorly:

South Korean intelligence indicates that ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il suffered a serious setback and has been hospitalized, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The report in the Dong-a Ilbo, citing an unnamed government official, comes a day after Japan’s prime minister told lawmakers in Tokyo that Kim is probably in a hospital, though “not unable” to make decisions.

The chief of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service had told lawmakers Tuesday that Kim was “not physically perfect” but still able to rule the country.

The spy agency and South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Wednesday they were aware of the Dong-a report, but could not confirm it, saying only that intelligence obtained Sunday suggested “a serious problem” in Kim’s health.

Kim, 66, reportedly suffered a stroke and underwent brain surgery in August. North Korea, however, denies he is ill.

Relatively speaking, they’re right. He’s still a lot healthier stroked-out than the average North Korean is in finest fettle. Quick, people—eat something before he regains consciousness and outlaws it again.

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Vive L’Iraq

Remember all those liberals who swore to leave America for Canada or somewhere if Bush were elected—and never budged?

Well, if Barak Obama wins, I’m moving to Iraq. (Don’t worry, I’m not really going anywhere either, but if I did, I’d be safe there.)

Coalition troops formally handed over control of Iraq’s Wasit province to the Iraqi government Wednesday.

Wasit, about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, is the 13th of Iraq’s 18 provinces to revert to local security control.

On Thursday, Iraqis assumed control of Babil province. And last month, coalition troops handed over Anbar province to the Iraqis.

The transfers come amid a big drop in violence in Iraq and calls from Iraqis for the United States to come up with a troop withdrawal timetable.

Complete with girls waving flags and garlands of flowers:

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I don’t want to make light of anyone’s sacrifice in Iraq, so understand that I’m serious: we have VE and VJ Days to commemorate our successes in WWII. What day shall we set aside for VI Day? All that’s missing in the picture is an Iraqi soldier planting a big wet kiss on an Iraqi girl (an of-age girl, of course).

If this election were a referendum on the War in Iraq, it would be a McCain rout.

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