BAGNews: Campaign ’08 Final Weekend 1: Presidential Suspect Escapes On Foot


Campaign ’08 Final Weekend 1: Presidential Suspect Escapes On Foot

Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of nasty business going down this weekend.

Drudge never runs a photo credit so I don’t know where he got this shot of Obama and Sasha on Halloween. I couldn’t find it anywhere else.

What happened is that Obama had first admonished the regular pool crew to give him and his daughter some space. After they backed off, though, a Polish crew (that didn’t understand English) kept pursuing him. At that point, Obama, who had been walking Sasha to a Halloween party in his neighborhood, broke into a run.

The appropriately named Chi Trib “Swamp” blog had the cute idea to write up the incident in the form of a police report. You know, the kind where the black suspect is being pursued on foot until he makes a run for it. Here are snips:

Obama was wearing sunglasses, dark slacks, a dark jacket partly unzipped to show a white shirt, no tie. Sasha was wearing a white cape and what appeared to be a black leotard. This costume had been described previously as a “corpse queen.”

Michelle and daughter Malia’s whereabouts could not be confirmed.

Staking out the Halloween party now.

If you check out Drudge’s accompanying headlines (besides the testy/uppity allusion in the first one), the last one is particularly odious in the way it ties back to the photo. Besides the inference of a race war, it actually speaks of: a blood running in the streets.

The more damaging aspect of a pic like this, however, is how much it challenges the truth of how temperate and contained Obama is and has been throughout the campaign. It could be a long weekend.

Racism Review: On “Racial Amnesia,” Gender and Persistent U.S. Racism

Racism Review

On “Racial Amnesia,” Gender and Persistent U.S. Racism

Anita Hill has an op-ed piece in The Boston Globe in which she suggests that “racial amnesia may be the cure” for getting Obama elected (image source).  Her essay includes this paragraph:

Regardless of one’s political leaning, most would acknowledge that the country is aware of its racial and ethnic diversity, and that for most Americans the stark contrast between the “black experience” and the “white experience” no longer exists. Systemic, state-enforced discrimination has disappeared and the prominence of civil rights law enforcement is greatly diminished.

And then after acknowledging some lingering inequality, she closes with this:

Figuring out the significance of race will be a challenge, but relying on racial memories based on a divided reality is not a good option.

Hill locates racism in the past, as a phenomenon residing primarily in the “memories” of a divided reality.   No doubt this is a comforting notion to many.  Unfortunately, Hill’s call for willful amnesia contributes to the problem rather than helps alleviate it.   As I posted a couple of days ago, we live in a culture that discourages critical thinking, particularly around issues of race and racism, and this makes understanding the world more difficult rather than easier.

Racism does not exist exclusively in the realm of the past.  Just recently, a life-sized effigy of Obama was found hanging from a tree with a noose around its neck at the University of Kentucky, and this is just the latest in a series of overtly racist incidents, including a foiled assassination plot by neo-nazis. (Updated @10:44am to add: And now this racist email from a GOP party volunteer that even FoxNews is reporting.)   The persistence of this sort of overt racism alongside the trend toward support for Obama among many whites (including David Duke, as Joe noted) suggests that racism continues to be a complicated issue in the U.S.   Such a reality calls for engaging in more complex and nuanced thinking about race, not amnesia.    Hill is a smart woman and it’s disappointing to see her advocate such a naïve and facile position on race.    Charles Ogletree, law professor at Harvard, argues that “racial amnesia” and “racial fatigue” are the real problems.  We have forgotten how significant race is and we think we don’t have to talk about it anymore, Ogletree said at a recent gathering about racial disparties in the judicial system.  The school-to-prison pipeline is still about race and about gender.  At Rikers Island (where I’ve done some research), the population is 95% black and brown.  Blacks are 10 times more likely to be arrested than whites, and young men are 17 times more likely to be arrested than young women. In Connecticut, for example, the state has sent hundreds of adolescent girls (opens .pdf) — most of them black and brown –  to the state’s maximum security women’s prison (h/t Rick Green).

Volokh Conspiracy: Obama in 1990 on Affirmative Action

Volokh Conspiracy

Obama in 1990 on Affirmative Action


No surprise: he’s for it. And just to be clear, when Obama defends affirmative action, he is defending, specifically, decisions that rely on race as the decisive factor, what some call “racial preferences”:

The [Harvard Law Review] Selection Committee first identifies the group of candidates whose excellent performance, either in the classroom or on the writing competition, sets them apart…. The Selection Committee must then choose the remaining editors from a pool of qualified candidates whose grades or writing competition scores do not significantly [whatever that means-ed.] differ. It is at this stage that the Law Review as for several years instituted an affirmative action policy for historically underrepresented groups: out of this pool, the Selection Committee may take race or physical handicap into account in making their final decision.

Again, no surprise, given that it’s been reported that at rally for faculty “diversity,” Obama compared Prof. Derrick Bell, who was pressing the law school to immediately hire an African-American woman, to Rosa Parks (because being subjected to brutal racism in Alabama in the 1950s is just like being a tenured Harvard Law School professor in 1990?). Still, interesting to see Obama’s own words.

Obama also notes that he was likely a beneficiary of affirmative action preferences during his academic career. I know some Obama-haters are inclined to use this against him, but, in fact, given his successes ever since, Obama would more likely be the poster child in favor of affirmative action.

Little Green Footballs: Hawaii State Verifies Obama Birth Certificate

Little Green Footballs

Hawaii State Verifies Obama Birth Certificate

The State of Hawaii has released a statement verifying that they have Barack Obama’s official birth certificate on record.

HONOLULU — The state’s Department of Health director on Friday released a statement verifying the legitimacy of Sen. Barack Obama birth certificate.

The state has received multiple requests for a copy of Obama’s birth certificate. State law does not allow officials to release the birth certificate of a person to someone outside of the family. …

“There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record,” DOH Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said.

“Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures. No state official, including Governor Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawai‘i,” Fukino said.

Will this put a stop to the idiotic rumors? Of course not!

TPM Muckracker: Georgia’s Secretary of State Promotes Voter Challenges and Refuses to Extend Early Voting Hours

TPM Muckracker (11/1/08)

Georgia’s Secretary of State Promotes Voter Challenges and Refuses to Extend Early Voting Hours

Add Georgia to the list of states where Republican officials are actively engaged in voter suppression efforts.

In the midst of a record turnout for early voting in Georgia, that has led to long lines, discouraged voters and exhausted poll workers, Secretary of State Karen Handel, a Republican, has claimed federal law ties her hands, preventing her from extending early voting hours.

With just days to go to the election, Democratic politicians demanded yesterday that Handel step in and extend early voting hours — as has been done in both North Carolina and Florida.

But in an opinion piece published in the AJC on Thursday, Handel blamed her inaction on the issue on federal law which requires Justice Department approval to change voting law.

Ironically, it is Georgia’s history of discriminatory voting practices that puts it on a federal “pre-clearance” list, mentioned in Section 5 of the Voter Rights Act of 1965.

Talking Points Memo: McCainism

Talking Points Memo (11/1/08)


Hard-fought and brass-knuckle politics is something built into the fiber of American politics. It’s part and parcel of the intensity of belief and passion that many of us have for the issues at stake in our elections.

But McCain’s campaign has devolved into something altogether different … what with its increasingly open appeals to racial conflict and aggressive invocations of blood hatred of Arabs and Muslims. As The New Republic phrases it, McCain’s “subtle incitements of racial warfare and underhanded implications of foreign nativity.” Over the months we’ve become desensitized to the moral depravity of McCain’s campaign.

There is of course what appears to be a more conventional attack on economics and taxes. But ‘socialism’ refers, if we can speak in shorthand, to state ownership of large portions of the economy. In other words, something like the Bush administration’s decision to have the government purchase a large amount of the financial services industry. But as John Judis notes, a closer look at the language and imargery McCain’s ‘socialism’ pitch reveals it’s actually “about whites paying their taxes so that lazy, indolent, unemployed blacks can live off them.”

McCarthyism has rightly become an American shorthand for smearing liberals and anyone else from the center leftward as political traitors. The McCain campaign’s current campaign of villification of Rashid Khalidi is cut from a very similar cloth — the kind of rancid race-baiting that we sometimes see at the fringes of our politics but seldom quite so directly and formally from a national campaign, even going so far as to have McCain himself compare Khalidi to a neo-nazi. Where McCainism is different is in its particular amalgam of racism and xenophobia specially suited to this historical moment, to this opponent and to Americans’ continuing fears of foreign threat from Muslims and Arabs seven years into the War on Terror.

StopDog in the news this weekend!

Watch and listen to StopDog in the news!  Ludovic from StopDog will be on the Laura Flanders RadioNation this weekend, Black Politics with Chris Owens on Saturday, Kim Robinson’s show on WRBJ 97.1FM in Jackson Mississippi,  and Laura Flanders’ GRIT TV Monday.