Sunday, August 02, 2009


Jim: This is a current events roundtable and we'll be addressing topics raised in e-mails as much as possible. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Let's go to the e-mails with a 'breaking' piece of 'news.' Ty?


Ty: A drive-by named Vaughn writes in to say that, "You always cover for Sarah Palin. Well hahahaha she's getting a divorce and Digby's writing about it so why won't you? I know you won't link to Digby, you're too scared."

Dona: We won't link to Digby because we try not to link to trash and that does include whores. Digby's little stories last year about how 'hard' her life was? Cribbed. She's a little whore who wastes everyone's time. She's so busy sucking the nuts of every male blogger and trying to be the mascot of the boys club she's got nothing to say worth hearing. Her post is entitled "Dull Week and Palin Rumor Mongering" which a) tells you how pathetic she is as a person and b) as a news consumer. Whether it's the attack on the MEK, the 29 dead in Baghdad bombings on Friday or any other number of topics, it was not a dull week. But when you're part of the group working from the Democratic Party talking points each day, you don't cover a lot of news, in fact, you're whole point of existence is to cover up. My mouth feels dirty just talking about that blog whore. Can someone else grab?

Jess: Let me. For those late to the party, I'm a Green. I'm not a Democrat, I'm not a Republican. And the Democrats continued efforts to turn Sarah Palin into a cottage industry have been laughable. On the one hand, they insist the woman is stupid and dumb and everything awful and a joke. On the other hand, they can't stop writing about her. Now, at this site, when she announced she was stepping down as governor, Jim pitched a story which Ava and C.I. shot down immediately. No one knew why she was stepping down, this was before Palin gave her speech, as governor and Ava and C.I. were of the opinion that there had been more than enough speculation about Palin during her time in the national spotlight. Their opinion was, if she's stepping out of the public spotlight, which is what appeared to be happening, let her. It doesn't need to be commented on here.

Jim: I'll jump in because I was mentioned in that. As Jess pointed out, Ava and C.I. were very clear that if someone says they don't want publicity, don't give it to them. And they were also tired of having to respond constantly because every week the woman was being attacked and most of the rebuttals here would have to come from them, from Ava and C.I. And there are things they have to cover, TV wise, and it's not always easy to fit in Palin. I understood their point but I want to -- and I'm going to take a big chunk of time here -- raise a point I hoped to do in the killed piece, Palin's not a joke. Palin was turned into a joke by Scarface Tina Fey. Who doesn't look a thing like Sarah Palin. Jami Gertz could play Palin in a movie. Jami Gertz is a beautiful woman. Tina Fey's a mousy woman with a scar running down her face. And that wouldn't be an issue if she hadn't gone after Palin and then tried to publicly pin all the blame on Seth who deserves his own blame but not all of the blame. Sarah Palin doesn't speak 'funny.' She speaks like most people and try going to Congress with Ava, C.I., Kat and Wally sometime. Try going in there and listening to how our Reps and our Senators speak. You'll hear a lot of Palin-isms. Palin gave her speech that night at the GOP convention and she scored amazingly well. Then Tina Fey shows up portraying Palin as a dumb beauty queen. From that first skit with Amy's Hillary, and that becomes the narrative because that's what people wanted it to be. Sarah Palin's not an idiot. I disagree with pretty much every political position she holds, but she's not an idiot. It may make people feel good to say she is, but they're lying to themselves.

C.I.: I'm sorry, I've got to jump in here. Ava and I take the notes for the roundtables and I had to ask her to grab the note taking by herself because we didn't know this topic was coming up. Online, at real outlets, New York Daily News has a denial of the divorce, Florida's Orlando-Sentinal carries the denial, and, among many other reports, CBS News has the most in-depth. I'm really bothered that this far into the roundtable, we're denying a rumor that should have carried a denial at the start or gone straight to a denial. This is Palin spokesperson Meg Stapleton issuing a statement at Palin's Facebook page, "Yet again, some so-called journalists have decided to make up a story. There is no truth to the recent 'story' (and story is the correct term for this type of fiction) that the Palins are divorcing. The Palins remain married, committed to each other and their family, and have not purchased land in Montana (last week it was reported to be Long Island). Less than one week ago, Governor Palin asked the media to 'quit making things up.' We appreciate that the more professional journalists decided to question this story before repeating it."

Jim: Point taken but I think we all agreed, "Consider the source," meaning rumors and Digby? Who'd believe them?

C.I.: And I understand that but your whole point, Jim, is about how Palin was smeared and attacked and distorted. And part of that distortion, certainly, includes the never-ending lies. She's had to put up with lies that Trig wasn't her son. She's had to put up with lies that her daughter Bristol gave birth to Trig. With lies that her husband Todd was the father of Trig with Bristol as the mother. These lies were started on blogs in most cases and carried by news outlets -- such as The Washington Post. And when Palin talks about the way she's been under attack and liars like Anderson Cooper want to play dumb and act like this never happend, it happens over and over. It may be happening now. Meaning the divorce rumors -- which Palin's camp is denying -- may be more false rumors. But, before I toss to Ava, I want to point out something. True or false? It's no one's damn business. If Todd Palin or Sarah Palin or both go public and one of them says that they're divorcing? By all means go to town with your thoughts and feelings. But, and this is why Digby is so damn trashy, using them to 'advance' yourself? They are a married couple at present -- and may continue to be -- and it's really trashy of people like Digby to try to use the Palin marriage to advance themselves. It's really trashy. And if the rumors turn out to be true? It's still trashy. It was never any of your business. Until one of them speaks publicly, it's not your damn business and I have to wonder if any of the people who write this sort of garbage have ever been married because not grasping how private these issues are indicate that we're dealing with people who've never had any form of a relationship in their lives. For obvious reasons.

Ava: Thanks for waiting, I had to finish with C.I.'s comments. The 'source' for Digby is "Alaska Report News." Home to the seriously deranged Shannyn Moore. Moore isn't informed. C.I. and I called her tired and either ignorant or lying ass out back in 2008 when she didn't know the basic difference between Trig and Track Palin and when the idiot was telling Amy Goodman all about the rumors that Trig Palin had gotten some sort of legal trouble and that's why Trig joined the military! Had Trig joined the military and been accepted it would have been news for the record books because Trig is, of course, a small child. Track joined the military. And dumb ass Shannyn Moore didn't know that, nor did Amy Goodman. So when Moore and her 'allies' start giving you 'news'? You should consider the source. As for Digby, support for everything Dona said. She's a joke, she's always been a joke, she refused to defend Hillary Clinton during the non-stop sexism at Hillary. She's no use to anyone because she's too busy giving hand jobs online to male bloggers. She won't stand up for any woman. She's nothing but a Blog Whore -- defined as one who whores themselves out to schill. I would assume Marcia has something to say, so I'll toss to her.

Marcia: I do have something to say, thank you, but I thought you might want to respond to what Jess and Jim were speaking of.

Ava: Sure, thank you. To fact check all the lies on Sarah Palin would require a 24-7 website. Each week, C.I. and I try to figure out what we are going to tackle. Last week, for example, we were considering tackling Conan O'Brian's b.s. on The Tonight Show where he slagged Hillary yet again with more sexist garbage. Whether it's Hillary or Sarah Palin or some other woman, it's happening every week and some weeks we can fit in to a commentary and some weeks we can't. It's never just one incident. It's never just one. And there are times when we have other things to do. We don't agree with Sarah Palin but we've had no problem defending her from false attacks as well as from unfair ones. But to call out all the attacks on her, just on her -- forget Hillary and other women -- would require that everyone participating in this roundtable write multiple daily entries on nothing but Sarah Palin. Because that's how much she's under attack. "Daily" doesn't begin to describe and "hourly" might not even be enough to describe it.

Marcia: Okay. Digby's trash, we all know it. She's trash who tosses out her Reading Is Fundamental blog posts for her uneducated following that just grunts "Give me reason to hate Sarah! I need reason to live!" She exists to distract which is why she's a Blog Whore. She's far from the only one. Ava, I'm guessing, figured I'd want to respond on this due to my post Friday night, "Naomi Klein's never helped any woman." It's about how Klein shows up at the celebration for The Progressive this spring and gives a speech on . . . Sarah Palin. Despite using her repeatedly for a punchline, Klein wants to insult your intelligence and tell you it's not about Palin.

C.I.: I have to jump in, I'm sorry. I just want it pointed out that Sarah Palin did not run for president in 2008. I want it pointed out that John McCain did. I want it pointed out that this obsession with Palin is unhealthy and sexist. Dan Quayle was never the focus to this degree. Certainly after George H.W. Bush lost re-election in 1992, the left did not spend 1993 making Dan Quayle the focus of all their conversations. It's getting old and I'm real damn tired of all the slams on Palin.

Marcia: And I agree with you on that. Klein was supposedly addressing an 'educated' audience and what did she and they enjoy? Cheap shots at Sarah Palin. And it is an obsession for them. It really is, they should be ashamed. It's not like I blog about Naomi Klein daily, I'm not blogging every day about how her crotch stinks and people at book signings wondered about the smell. I could. Maybe I should. Maybe I should be like Naomi Klein and make it my goal in life to rip apart all women?

Elaine: It just amazes me that, as Marcia points out, the audience is allegedly educated and Klein supposedly a thinker and that's all they could do. Use Palin as red meat tossed out to the lions to keep the crowds cheering. That's just disgusting and it's why the left is so damn pathetic. If we want to save the United States, our problem on the left is not what the right-wing's doing, our problem is what our supposed co-horts are doing. People like Naomi Klein are no help to anyone and she ought to be ashamed but I've told [deleted at Elaine's request] she should be ashamed for staying silent on war resisters. I'm done with that stupid ass Naomi Klein. Truly, I've had my fill of the mall rat who thinks she can craft together the writing of others and be considered a thinker.

Jim: We can stay on this topic or we can move to another. Any objections if I move to another? Okay. Elaine just brought up war resisters. Why aren't we covering them! Why aren't we covering all the Canadian parliament is doing! They're not doing anything and a Canadian friend of C.I.'s e-mailed about that saying C.I. got it right.

C.I.: Jim's staring at me. A male? The one who wrote in was male? A singer-songwriter?

Jim: Yeah.

C.I.: Well credit for what I wrote goes to another Canadian singer-songwriter. That's in some snapshot and Dallas doesn't need to look it up for a link. I don't remember what was going on but we were noting it, David Solnit might have asked for the topic, and I was dictating when I said stop. I called a friend, a Canadian singer-songwriter to ask her if I had the process right on how things become law in Canada. She told me I did and gave me additional points. So the whole thing can be boiled down to: Nothing's happened and nothing will happen. The lower house has passed a non-binding resolution, more than once. They can't do a binding resolution. Canada remains a subject of the Queen of England. The process for laws includes, at the top, her. And she can reject a law for up to five years after it's passed. But, let's not get lost in the weeds here, the point is that you're asking Queen Elizabeth -- who never objected to the Iraq War -- to agree to take in US war resisters and it's not going to happen. By going the route of Parliament, it's not going to happen. They are not the final say. At the top, the Queen of England is the final say but there are also many other stops along the way which would prevent any measures from becoming law. Now the Courts, they could alter things. The Court system could. And a simple rule change for Immigration could. But there's not going to be any legislative action and that's due to the way their system works. Canada didn't have a Revolutionary War, they never broke free from England.

Rebecca: And England went along with the illegal war, Tony Blair joined Bully Boy Bush. Queen Elizabeth never objected and, in her role, she could have. Her refusal to do so has added additional fuel in Great Britain to the movement to do away with the monarchy.

Jim: And, to be clear, after incidents that took place, C.I. doesn't cover the topic unless asked to and none of the rest of us bother to due to the same incidents. And I'll move us quickly along to another topic. Marcia, Jonas e-mails to say that you were "correct. It's a certifcation of live birth, not a certificate of live birth." That's in reference to "Roundtable" last week. Judy e-mailed to say that "at least it was in the news and remains so but aren't you guilty of promoting it by discussing it?"

Wally: I believe Jess addressed that in his remarks last week. We grabbed the topic for a number of reasons including that we thought the media wouldn't shut up about it. If that week was bad, you should have seen this past week. But we're often accused of playing group-think or gatekeeper re: 9-11. Our feelings are we don't know and we don't attack the truth movement. We've stated that repeatedly. But some still feel we haven't been clear. Well that predates this site. The 'birthers'? That's going on right now and we weighed in and did so, as we would with the truth movement, to say that they aren't hurting anyone and the attacks are more bothersome than assertions coming from 'birthers.' That's only more true this past week. I believe Dona repeatedly pointed out that if the White House wanted to end the topic, all they'd have to do is release Barack Obama's birth certificate. And I'd add to that, if you're the president of the United States, why are you so scared of releasing your birth certificate? It doesn't play right, it doesn't feel right. Barack wants the story to end? Release the birth certificate and it's over. Quit blaming some 'birthers' and grasp that this story got wings because it goes to the larger issue of Barack repeatedly hiding things and repeatedly promising openenss but never delivering.

Jim: And an angry e-mail comes in saying we didn't listen to all of the audio interview with Sarah Obama, the woman who poses as Barack's grandmother.

Rebecca: What audio interview?

Jim: I have no idea.

Ava: The remarks of Sarah Obama, Barack's non-bloodline grandmother, that we referred to were printed in a newspaper. There is an interview online somewhere with her and a man translating for her. I haven't listened to the interview, I don't think any of us have, we were referencing a newspaper report where the reporter spoke to Sarah Obama.

Jim: Lowell, a Republican reader of this site, e-mailed to say he thought we were fair to all sides in that discussion and he wanted to know if we could link to Andrew McCarthy's National Review article on the topic? And, Lowell, for you we just did. Okay, next topic. Long term reader Molly, also a TCI community member, wants to know why we can't do a "What we're listening to piece" this edition? She says we don't have nearly enough on music anymore but praises our recent "Music roundtable" on the Mamas and the Papas.

Kat: Let me grab that. Wally, Ava, C.I. and I pitched an idea that, if there's time, we'll be doing this edition. It will be on music.

Dona: And Kat's "Kat's Korner: Elvis almost made a great album" went up last night and right now we're listening to Joni Mitchell's Chalk Marks In A Rain Storm.

Mike: But there may not be time and since Molly asked about the topic, let me jump in and use my time to ask Kat about the review. Kat, you're recommending Elvis Costello's new CD but with huge reservations. Why?

Kat: Well I just don't want anyone picking it up and thinking, "Kat, didn't warn me!" Elvis appears to associate country music with racism which he then ties into slavery. He's never touched on the issue before and suddenly it's the topic of a nearly six minute, meandering song. It's touched on directly in another song much better and it's actually touched on in a third song if you're listening. Now the other two are fine but "Red Cotton" just comes off as a nightmare and you really have to wonder why, on a country album, Elvis is suddenly tackling slavery, he's in his fourth decade of recording, after all. And I think a lot of people who might be interested in the album are going to pick it up and be insulted and think he's tackling it because he thinks it's somehow a part of country music -- that slavery and support for slavery is a part of country music. And I can see a lot of people being offended. I wouldn't blame them. There's no reason for it to be on the album, it was written for an opera and it's not country music -- in theme or sound. But if you can set that one track aside, there are twelve others that are very strong and probably ten of them qualify as country music.

Mike: And someone might say, "Kat, you've certainly praised albums before where you didn't like one of the songs."

Kat: And they'd be right to say that but this isn't just an issue of not liking. This is an issue of, when you put the album into context, when you put the songs on it into context, when you search for themes and concepts, the artistic statement appears to be one of blaming country music for slavery, of taking the attitude that this preachy, long, non-musical number is needed as a sermon delivered to the listeners of country music who don't know any better. It's patronizing and it's insulting to what one would assume to be the audience Elvis Costello is attempting to reach out to. As a result, I had to call it out. And am comfortable with doing so. I'd hate for someone who reads my review not to know about that song because I can picture some people seeing the album and thinking, "Elvis Costello? I never listened to him but he's supposed to be really good and Kat praised him and this is a country album and I love country so let me buy this."

Mike: And then listening and feeling like they needed to wipe the spit off their faces. I agree with your take on it, by the way. I picked up the album last week and felt the same way. That song drags on and on and it adds nothing to the album. It pretty much sinks it. When I listen, I program so I don't have to hear that song. You're also right that slavery is addressed in two other songs and that it's addressed very well in those two. But not in "Red Cotton." When I listened, I was actually thinking of community members in Texas who listen to country and what their reaction might be? I think they'd feel country music listeners were being stereotyped by Elvis Costello.

Jim: Okay, so there was music for Molly. And Dona's passed me a note saying that Stan, Betty, Ruth, Ann and Cedric haven't spoken once.

Stan: Except for Betty, we're chowing down. Sorry. Rebecca made a fondu and we've been plowing through that. Each time we wanted to speak our mouths were full and someone else made the point we wanted to.

Jim: Let's narrow the topic then for Stan, Ruth, Ann and Cedric. They're participating by phone. Betty's here with us and I've got a topic Betty'll want to grab so this new topic is just for Stan, Ruth, Ann and Cedric. Did all four of you get a chance to look at the column and comics I e-mailed you?

Ann: Yes, all of us, yes.

Jim: Okay, Tom Bevan has a column entitled "The Two Faces of Condi and Michelle" at Real Clear Politics. Cedric, do you want to summarize it?

Cedric: Yes, but let me stop a second to say I really love Joni Mitchell and Willie Nelson singing "Cool Water" on Chalk Marks In A Rainstorm. Okay, Bevan's compiled a series of comics that portrayed Condi Rice when she was in the Bush administration, both terms, and ones that portray Michelle Obama. And what's really obvious is a huge double-standard at play. Condi could be drawn in any manner and it wasn't cause for objection.

Jim: I wish we had Isaiah in this. He's drawn both of them. Anybody think he's up?

Dallas: I'm texting him right now.

Jim: Okay, thank you. That's Dallas who helps with all articles and whom we consider part of the core group of Third and would love to bill him that way; however, he insists on just the thank you in the note to the readers each week.

Dallas: Yes, he's up.

Jim: How can we do this?

Jess: C.I.'s hooking up a speaker phone to the other line. Tell Isaiah to call on the four line.

Dallas: Done.

Jim: Cedric, when we've got Isaiah, I'm going to ask you to recap again. There's the ringing. Isaiah?

Isaiah: Hey. What's up?

Jim: We're joined by Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts, he's the community cartoonist and we're to a point in the roundtable where we're discussing comics. Cedric, could you explain the basics again?

Cedric: Tom Bevan collected comics of Condi Rice and Michelle Obama and noted that anything flew with Condi. She could be given stereotypical features or anything.

Ann: And it really is true. I knew it was before going through the examples. And I really shudder at some of the comics.

Jim: Because.

Ann: I don't know if I didn't see them or they just didn't register but they're racist and, no, it's not okay that they're racist because their subject is Condi Rice.

Ruth: But I think a lot of the jokes or 'jokes' being told crossed lines when it came to her or to Colin Powell.

Stan: I don't disagree with Harry Belafonte's take on them as "House negroes" and I don't think that only Harry Belafonte or an African-American can say that. And if it's okay to say, then for a comic artist, it should be okay to draw. But I think there's that aspect, which I would see as social commentary, and then there is racism.

Jim: What would the difference be for you?

Stan: If someone's saying they're like slaves who work the house and not the plantation, meaning they're slaves in a higher position, that can be drawn and not be racist. But you draw them as is. You don't draw them with exaggerated features. That's where we come into the racism or something else.

Cedric: Like watermelon and fried chicken. A comic on that would be racist and playing into stereotypes. I see what Stan's saying and I agree with him. Belafonte had a valid criticism. And it can be drawn. But drawing it doesn't require that you make their lips bigger or something similar.

Ann: Okay, but are we saying that because Belafonte, an African-American, made the criticism, it's okay for cartoonists to draw it? For the record, Cedric, Stan and I are African-American. Ruth's Jewish and White. But is that what's being said because, if that's the case, then a comic can't make social commentary, when it involves people of color, unless they've been waived through via a public statement.

Stan: That's not what I'm trying to say. I latched onto Belafonte's statement and might have confused the issue. If Harry Belafonte hadn't made that comment and Eugene Whiteman wanted to do a comic on that theme that he came up with all on his own, he could do that. And he could do it in a way that wasn't racist. But if we're talking giving Condi these huge lips -- which she doesn't have -- then we're talking racism.

Cedric: Right and I'm glad Ann raised the point because we were focused, Stan and I, on Belafonte's statement and it could have seemed like we were saying "As long as an African-American has given the okay . . ." That's not what we were trying to say.

Ruth: The cartoon by Pat Oliphant is just disgusting. There's no way, looking at how he's rendered Condi's features, that anyone not fooling themselves couldn't look at it and call it racist.

Ava: Oliphant is notorious for racist cartoons. C.I. and I have called him out here many times. I raise that to point out that The Progressive is happy to run him and has run his racist cartoons this year.

Ruth: Well, he's really disgusting. I just keep coming back to that one as the most vile. Ann, do you see one that's more outrageous?

Ann: No, I'd agree with Ruth this one is just the most appalling. Look at Condi's lips. I just realized the man in the illustration was Bush. I was going to say, "This man has no lips because Condi's got enough for both of them in this drawing." I just got that Oliphant was drawing Bush. He's not very talented.

Stan: I'm going to agree with Ruth and Ann, that's the most vile of the comics I'm looking at. It's really disgusting. I'm amazed it ran in a paper. And if the point is that it's okay if we don't like the person, well all of us are unliked by somebody.

Jim: Good point. Okay, I want to bring Isaiah in.

Isaiah: Okay but I'm still looking at the comics. Dallas just sent them to me about a minute ago.

Jim: You've drawn Michelle Obama and you've drawn Condi Rice. Any thoughts?

Isaiah: Like Ruth, Ann and Stan, I keep coming back to this Oliphant cartoon. He's trying to make Condi a parrot, I get that. So there will be some distortion of features. But these lips are ridiculous especially when you consider that she should have a beak if she's a parrot. This is hard to defend, this comic and I'm not going to. In terms of drawing the two women? With Condi, I felt much more freedom. When I drew here, I never got these nonsense complaints. You know, the Kimberly Wilders who write in and say, "You should only be respectful of Mr. and Mrs. Obama and anything else is unpatriotic!" You know those crackpots on the left. I was never respectful of Condi and the right wing e-mailed every now and then to gripe about how I was mean but that was about it. I was never called unpatriotic by the right wing which is honestly where I would expect that kind of criticism to come from.

Jim: Okay, well you said with Michelle Obama you have less freedom. Why?

Isaiah: For one thing, I have four skin tones for African-Americans. I use dark brown every now and then. For Condi, I used brown because she was light-skinned. I had tan for very light-skinned. With Barack, I dropped to taupe. Michelle's darker than Condi but if I drew her with dark brown, I know some people would have a fit. Just drawing her skin as darker than Barack's, which it is, leads some lefties to whine. There's also the fact that Condi's an attractive woman. Michelle's billed as beautiful and that's not reality. But Condi was attractive. She had a cute nose, she has pretty eyes, she's an attractive woman. Every time I draw Michelle, I'm aware that I have to 'sweeten' her up a little because if I draw her as she looks someone will scream, "Look what you did to her nose!" Have you seen her nose? She's not an attractive woman. Hopefully, she won't be in the news and I can avoid drawing her. But I never felt constrained regarding Condi. A lot of times I have no idea until the last second what I can do for a comic. With Condi Rice, I never had a problem. From 2005 through the end of 2008, I always knew I could do a Condi cartoon and it would go over well. But I didn't make her look like a stereotype. I drew a cartoon version of her, as I saw her, I hope she didn't come off ugly because I didn't see her as physically ugly. And I could always count on her. I usually had Janet Coleman's voice in my head when figuring out what Condi would say because Janet Coleman would do her as part of CCP. And the issue in those skits always derived from her position and what the White House was doing. It didn't come from race. So it was possible, Janet Coleman proved it, I hope I did as well, that you could lampoon and poke fun at Condi and never have to go into some racist caricature.

Cedric: I think Isaiah raised a good point when he talked just now about the way the e-mails would come in if he drew Michelle as she was. There's a whole industry devoted to trying to sell the notion that she's a beautiful woman and she's not. She's really not. And you tell that truth and a lot of people will get uncomfortable. Just point out how tall she is and some people will get mad. They have this idealized version of her where she's got Halle Berry's face and she's five foot and two inches tall and weighs ninety pounds. You realize after awhile how much people are deceiving themselves.

Ann: Condi also, and I'm no fan of her's, didn't present herself as "Black Secretary of State." She presented herself as Secretary of State. And, maybe because that administration wasn't close to the African-American community, there wasn't the effort to sell her as the Black this or that. With Michelle Obama, there's a real effort to promote her not as First Lady but as Black First Lady or First Black First Lady. I don't like Michelle Obama at all but I really don't imagine that her daily life is all that different from any other modern first lady in our time. And it's honestly kind of insulting the way it continues to be stressed. Is she First Lady or is she Black First Lady? I don't know if I'm getting that across.

Stan: I think you are. I also think it's stressed so much with her because she is Black and not bi-racial like her husband. And, as Cedric pointed out, she is not pretty. You can always tell someone delusional by their insisting Michelle's beautiful.

Jim: We went way long. We've got one more e-mail we can note. This is the topic I thought Betty would want to weigh in on. Ty?

Ty: Reader Jeremiah e-mailed to ask about teachable moments from the JuniorGate episodes. He writes that he's not seeing any and wonders if he's alone on this?

Betty: I agree with him. Barack said the police acted "stupidly." Then days later he told the world that he should have chosen his words better. Then he walked off. Was the lesson that you don't have to say you're sorry anymore? There was no apology there. Henry Gates Junior accused Sgt James Crowley of assorted crimes. Then he wants to sit down with him for a beer? If someone victimized me the way Gates repeatedly hinted Crowley had done him -- and Gates used the term "victimized" -- I wouldn't be sitting down with them. The teachable moment appears to be that a lot on the left -- say Kimberly Wilder -- hate the police and think they can grab any incident to further their hatred onto others. They think that because they hate the police it's okay to lie. So they tell you 'facts' where there are no facts. It's really embarrassing. A second lesson would be that if you're rich you can cry "racism" and get support from the media -- something that rarely happens when you're a poor person who is very much a victim of racism. Outside this community, I would recommend that people read The Daily Howler. Bob Somerby's done some great work covering this.

Jim: And on that note, we'll have to close. This is a rush transcript. Illustration by Betty's kids, the e-mail address here is
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }