7/22/07

Saturday Special on Friday Night

"If you miss the first button hole, you will not succeed in buttoning up your coat."
--Anonymous

Colbert King of the Washington Post goes through some logical gymnastics to compare Barack Obama to an abolitionist. In short, he compares some public policy statements from Obama with the actions of D.C. abolitionist Leonard A. Grimes.

A few random thoughts:

1) His entire comparison is off from the beginning. It makes no sense to compare the latest push for a war on poverty with slave abolition. Slaves were being held in bondage. They just needed the law to protect their same right to individual liberty that other law-abiding individuals had. That is different from trying to get people to stop being trashy and violent. If there is a comparison of Obama with abolitionists, it would be to what abolitionists went through after slavery in trying to help the freemen. In both cases, the group in need of assistance is free but not ready to take advantage of opportunities.

2) It makes more sense to compare Obama to former President Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ also went through this exercise of trying to figure out how government could end poverty.

3) On an unrelated note: I have an original 1990 copy of the issue of the Harvard Gazette when it was announced that Obama would be editor of the Harvard Law Review. Think I can make any money selling it on EBay?

4) John Edwards is also on a poverty tour. I've had enough of people talking about ending poverty--instead, why not focus on development? It is fine that Obama goes to poor areas to deliver a sensible speech about poverty--but southeast D.C. would be better off with a flood of businesses. As I mentioned on XM Radio a few months ago, I recently read that there is only one sit-down restaurant in all of Ward 7. That's for a population of about 70,000. I guess the rest are all takeouts and Pizza delivery places (at least, those places not afraid to deliver to all parts of Ward 7).

5) Here's a place Obama, who was in a violent part of D.C. a few days ago, and Edwards can start their poverty talk. According to today's Washington Post: "6 Shootings in 2 Hours Stir Worries About Violence." So I suppose the problem is that there aren't enough jobs programs? That enough of us aren't concerned? There would be fewer shootings if more kids in poor areas had access to Head Start? A slogan from the 1850s was "Open a school, close a jail." How are we doing so far?

6) Looking at that headline above: I'd like to welcome those of you who weren't already worried about violence.

7) Caption for the photo: Jeffrey Hall lives near the scene of a shooting Thursday night on Ponds Street NE. He and his wife were watching a movie about 10:45 when they heard gunfire. He said it was the second drive-by there this summer. "People don't have a value on life anymore," Hall said.

8) But I guess that will change once Obama is president. And I wonder, as Mr. Hall and his wife were watching that movie, if they thought about Obama's recent speech...

9) The title of this post is "Saturday Special." For the young, uninformed and forgetful people, there was a time that criminals bought guns to do their business on Saturday night. But I guess the folks in this Washington Post article couldn't wait until Saturday night to start shooting...

CJL