All rise...

Tomorrow morning I'll be a judge at the annual Frederick Douglass Oratorical contest held by the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association (I'm a member of the Board of Trustees).

By the way, I do have some experience being a judge. A few years ago I was a judge at a love poetry contest at a charter school in D.C.

Proof once again: Those who can, do. Those who can't, judge.



On NPR yesterday--Where Should Obama attend church?

I posted this on my Facebook yesterday.

I finished the NPR roundtable discussion almost three hours ago. I used to host my own weekly two hour radio show on XM so any radio interviews and discussions less than 30 minutes long makes me feel like I'm just clearing my throat.

I will listen to today's audio archive later. There have been some times after I've been on the radio that people will ask, "What did you talk about," and I'll answer..."I'm not sure...I need to listen to the archive. Based on my notes, I didn't take any."

But I actually took some notes today. The first topic we discussed was the controversy over where Obama will attend church.

My response then was probably what it is now. "I DON'T CARE!" He could set up his own cult or not go to church and I would not care in the least. I am amazed how interested people are in where he sends his kids to school, what kind of puppy he will get for his kids, whether or not his fist-bump is socialist, what kind of chores his kids will do in the White House.

Has Obama announced yet what will be the official White House toilet paper?

Because people will be watching closely after the controversy over his minister for the past two decades, he apparently has to make a choice that won't scare people but also won't indicate to black people that he is turning his back on the black church.

I recommended that he might want to say that as a multi-racial man that he will also attend multiple churches. I thought to mention (and may have, I don't recall now) that he should attend churches in all 50 states as part of his 2012 campaign strategy. I'm sure I did mention that Frederick Douglass went through a controversy back in his day when, after his first wife died, he married a white woman. As Douglass said in addressing his white AND black critics: The race of my first wife was that of my mother. The race of my second wife is that of my father.

So Obama could alternate churches based on race. (Yawn!)

* * *

I'm sure I did mention that I have two 1990 newspapers with Obama in them that I will be putting on eBay. Stay tuned!

* * *

The next topic was about McDonald's commercials that some consider to be demeaning to black people. I think the host asked me what is wrong with the commercials, and I'm pretty sure I said, "I. Don't. Know." I think the last three times I've been on NPR that there has been a controversy about a commercial.

I'm not sure why anyone thinks McDonald's would want to upset its audience. I do recall saying, "If you are offended by this commercial then you are not the target audience."

For some reason, there are some people who think that every commercial is intended to reach them. FYI: "You ain't all that."


* * *

The next topic was about presidential pardons. Because of time constraints I was the only one who got a chance to sound off on this topic. President Bush pardoned an inmate who was convicted on a drug crime. I mentioned first that our current president (Bush, not Obama) could have freed up a lot of bed space in prisons by pardoning more non-violent offenders. My next point was in response to the people who have gotten upset about the pardoned inmate having special access to the president.

Well, no kidding! That's how presidential pardons happen. The president doesn't just randomly choose an inmate's number and free her. It happens after a lot of lobbying by people who know a particular inmate.


* * *

Overall, I liked today's roundtable. It is easy because I don't have to get prepared for these. No real research or deep analysis is required.

The substitute host was concerned about mispronouncing my name. It happens so often on radio shows that I don't get upset about that, I'm just happy they don't cut off my microphone. A few years ago when Walter E. Williams interviewed me on the Rush Limbaugh Show, Professor Williams was getting so creative in the way he was pronouncing my name that during a break, one of the producers asked me, "How do you pronounce your last name?"

Unfortunately, I learned today that the show is not on in the DC-Maryland-Virginia market. A few local people were going to tune in but apparently a popular local host (Kojo) is on at that time. But I got a note from one of my elementary school teachers in Texas that she heard me. She may regret she didn't intervene with me when I was younger...

Or she may just be happy that I'm not in prison hoping for a presidential pardon...


NPR's Tony Cox talks with Jim Collier of Acting White ; Carmen Van Kerckhove of Racialicious; and Casey Lartigue of The Casey Lartigue Show!


Random Thoughts: The Black Race can't afford them no more...

Back when Eliot Morgan and I were co-hosting a radio show on XM, we had an occasional segment: "The black race can't afford you no more!" It apparently was controversial to some of our listeners who complained about us.

It featured black criminals who should be abandoned by black people.

If the cops are right--and I say if because I was in Boston when Charles Stuart accused a black man of killing his wife--then Curtis Lavelle Vance needs to added to the list.

* * *

I was talking to a casual acquaintance when I saw the news report that police had tied a suspect to the rape and murder of an Arkansas TV news anchor (Anne Pressly)

I looked it up on my Pocket PC, then I told her, "I'm going to show you his photo."

She said the same thing my mother used to say when a suspect had been identified: "I hope he isn't black."

I then said the same thing I used to say as a youngster, "I hope they catch him!" (Or, "I hope they got the right guy and execute him!")

* * *

The female friend went ballistic once I mentioned that the woman had been raped.

He raped her and killed her too? Hadn't he already harmed her enough by raping her? Did he have to take her life, too? Suddenly, she was on my side. "I don't care about his race. This ain't the 1950s. His black ass needs to be executed!"

My thoughts exactly.

* * *

She clearly is not politically correct. I pointed out that there are so many freaky people, the alleged rapist could have gone online and found a woman looking for whatever kind of non-fatal sex he wanted. She then said he could have gone to a prostitute.

I said, "Perhaps. But the story also says that the alleged rapist and killer is a suspect in a different case. According to a news report, in the other case: "[T]he assailant raped the victim, took her cell phone and $3."

Someone stealing $3 is not thinking ahead and probably doesn't have enough loose cash to pay a hooker.

* * *

She then hoped for prison justice. She mentioned a case in DC from years ago in which a black man had been raping a young black child. She said that people from a halfway house were set loose to find him. Apparently, when they caught him, they did not read him his Miranda rights. They whipped his ass like they were racist white cops reliving the 1950s...

But I'm not into prison justice. Criminals punishing criminals? There has to be something wrong with our criminal justice system if criminals fear their treatment in prison more than they do their actual incarceration.

* * *

A few years ago I absolutely ripped into a very close (non-black) friend. She had attended a meeting in which a couple of black male speakers complained white women clutching their purses, locking their doors or walking faster because of black men. (And I call them "male" because they didn't sound like men.)

My friend agreed with the speakers rather than laughing out loud at what they were saying. Rather proud of herself, she then mentioned to me a recent incident: a couple of young black males were passing by her car. She waited until after they had walked by before she locked the doors.

As I recall, I told her, "You really are an idiot." Well, that was the clean version of what I said. I actually put in the form of a question inappropriate for my blog: "What kind of fucking moron are you?"

After a while she made it clear: Black people may feel bad when they hear people locking their doors when they see a black person. People may also lock their doors when they see a white person get too close, but they will lock their doors faster when someone black approaches.

What really sucks about that point is that I used to make it when I was a young male. Now it sounds like babytalk.

I'm just not into this racial mind-reading (which, by the way, is a reason that I have never fully embraced Shelby Steele, even when his analysis is interesting). After we get through all of the analysis, is there really anything wrong with a woman choosing to defend herself against strangers? By defending herself, I'm not saying for her to go shooting through a black neighborhood.

I am saying: Why would any respectable man counsel a woman to put her defenses down so that she won't possibly offend the feelings of a male stranger, regardless of race?

* * *

I haven't looked at the crime statistics deeply enough to find which race of people has criminals most likely to steal purses. It is certainly a universal thing. Back when I was living in Taiwan there was an "epidemic" of men stealing purses. In case you didn't know, a lot of folks in Taipei get around by using mini-motorcycles. The thieves would ride on their bikes and grab the purses of pedestrians. In a country with most of the people being Chinese and Taiwanese, who are the women to clutch their purses at?

* * *

By the way, help me spread a rumor that a black newsanchor was raped and killed by a white man. I suppose that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would suddenly get interested in the case.


Politician commentators

It is often mockingly said that the people who know how to run the country are driving cabs and cutting hair.

I have identified a new problem...the people who are running the country are pontificating like they are cab drivers and barbers.

WTOP Radio hosts "Ask the Governor" every Tuesday. This past Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine was philosophizing about Michael Vick, the former NFL player now in the slamma for killing dogs.

Kaine: "I don't think somebody convicted of charges like this should be back in the NFL."

What, Vick should be driving a cab or cutting hair?

* * *

Perhaps Gov. Kaine would like to assign Michael Vick to a job. After all, if Vick should be barred from playing in the NFL, then would what Kaine have him do?

Let's fill-in Kaine's statement with some other occupations: "I don't think somebody convicted of charges like this should...

"work as a waiter."
"be a construction worker."
"work as a tax accountant."
"be a Chippendale's dancer."
"work at a job unless approved by the busybody governor of Virginia."

If Kaine doesn't want Vick as part of his inner circle, that is fine. But do we really need to hear what the busybody governor of Virginia has to say about Michael Vick? What the president-elect has to say about the college playoff system?

* * *

Note to myself: Actively campaign against Gov. Kaine next time around. Donate money to Kaine's opponent--as long he isn't a cab driver or barber talking about Michael Vick.

* * *

As I recently noted, president-elect Barack Obama has been quoted on a number of sports topics. Has he spoken out about Michael Vick yet? Will barackobamba.com become a blog?

* * *

A few days ago Obama was pontificating about the pay of CEOs and about whether or not CEOs should be flying around in corporate jets.

I will refrain from cursing about Obama because of this, I'll just point out that it isn't really his damned business how much CEOs are paid, what type of transportation they use, and whether or not they have "enough" money.

* * *

To be clear, I agree with Barack Obama about the college playoff system.

Allegedly the powers that be enjoy it when fans bicker about who is number one. I am not a part of those conversations. I'm a college football fanatic who has no interest in which team finishes number one under the current system.

Based on polls, records, and strength of schedule, the New England Patriots would have been selected as the number one pro football team last year. The New York Giants proved otherwise on the field.

* * *

I disagree with Kaine about Michael Vick. My regret is that Vick wasn't allowed out on weekend furlough to play football.

* * *

I am somewhat torn when it comes to politician bloggers. Being commentators may somewhat distract them from screwing around with the economy and being a busybody about my life. On the other hand, after philosophizing about the issues of the day, they may feel the need to "do something" instead of just talking.

I don't care what politicians think. They have power. They should just say what they plan on doing, without dressing it up in pretty talk.

Whenever I'm watching TV or listening to the radio and I hear a politician start a sentence with, "I think," then I shout, "STOP! Just tell me what you are going to do, smart ass."

And when they start a sentence with, "I don't think...," my response is usually, "Good."



"Ain't nobody home!"

"Help is on the way." That was president-elect Barack Obama's latest focused-group tested phrase of the day.

Is it possible that the government 911 financial help program could skip my house? Input the wrong destination in the GPS settings and make an extra visit to the home of one of my enemies instead?

What happens if I don't answer the door when this "help" arrives?


"The most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
--Ronald Reagan


NPR, Dec 3 & Jan 7

I'll be a panelist on National Public Radio's News and Notes on December 3, 2008 and January 7, 2009. The show is on 1-2 pm EST in many markets. Check your local listings. E-mail me in advance with any juicy topics.

I should be on from around 1:30 p.m.



Cited in book on conspiracy theories

The Casey Lartigue Show was on XM Radio for just a few delicious months. In addition to changing minds in the audience and getting a major article published in the Washington Post, my co-host Eliot Morgan and I have now been cited in a book.

Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies For Dummies (For Dummies (History, Biography & Politics)) by Christopher Hodapp and Alice Von Kannon.

We're briefly cited on pages 111-12.

I've spoken at Harvard University, The National Press Club, been a guest on C-SPAN, NPR and the Rush Limbaugh Show, been published in major newspapers. But I really like being cited in a book debunking conspiracy theories...



Even sports has gone ObamaCrazy

* Obama could bring the World Cup back to America...in 2018 or 2022.

* Obama is against the current Bowl Championship system.

* Japanese people who were celebrating the city of Obama, Japan, may want to change the name if Obama is able to thug the Olympics to Chicago. Japanese officials have already expressed concern about Obama trying to get the Olympics for his adopted hometown.

* Baseball officials think Obama can help bring baseball back to the Olympics.

* Even the Professional Bowlers' Association is hoping Obama will highlight bowling.

Are there any flag football teams in need of help from the president-to-be? I play pickup basketball sometimes, perhaps Obama can help us form a league and get a government grant.

It looks like we are going to have another busybody president issuing proclamations on sports and even getting involved. I recall that Bill Clinton brought his waving finger to the world of baseball and tried to mediate a money dispute.

President Bush was gracious enough to stick to calling and congratulating the winners and losers of sporting events, attending games, and throwing out the first pitch.

I barely pay attention to my local Congressman, but when I read that Congress was holding hearings on the use of steroids by baseball, I called my Congressman's office to see if he was involved in anyway. I was honestly going to lead a recall effort to get his ass bounced out of office. I feel a similar disdain about Obama and sports.



Marshall Fritz passed away

I got a note in my e-mail that Marshall Fritz of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State passed away on election day.

I met Fritz several years ago when I was at the Cato Institute. He was there to lecture us for not being libertarian enough. We went at it a little and e-mailed occasionally after that.

After he read one of my studies and some of my articles he wrote me a very kind e-mail telling me what a great writer and thinker I was. His one regret is that I was wrong in accepting that there was a legitimate role for government in education.


Dear Friends of the Alliance:

Marshall Fritz passed away Tuesday, November 4, 2008, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Marshall was a true friend and mentor. That's what he's been to me. Even during the last days of his life, when I was privileged to spend some time with him, he set an example of a life well-lived and considered.

Like a good teacher, he always showed his love for people by not letting us get away with fuzzy thinking. At the same time, like a good friend, he would try to give anyone a chance.

More than anything else, Marshall was a man devoted to truth and goodness. He stood fast on principle, solid as the rock he often seemed when those around him wavered or doubted.

As a friend, Marshall's hope for all of us is that we will also stand firm in uncertain times, boldly living out and defending the principles that we know are good and true and beautiful.

And now, I say to Marshall, as he would often say to those he cared about:

"Goodbye, my friend."

Alan Schaeffer
Alliance for the Separation of School and State


The Coming Conservative Crackdown

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other conservatives got on board with McCain late in the game. Assuming that Obama wins, I expect that Limbaugh and Co. will be warning about the coming socialist state and making it clear they won't support another McCain Maverick candidate. They held their tongues for Bush41, Dole, Bush43, and now McCain for the good of the party.


Voting problems

From Associated Press: "Perhaps the most bizarre barrier to voting was a truck that hit a utility pole in St. Paul, Minn.'s Merriam Park neighborhood, knocking out power to two polling stations for about 90 minutes. Voting continued at those sites, said Joe Mansky, Ramsey County's elections manager."

Right now, McCain-Palin might be wishing a truck would have knocked out voting stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.


Watching an election

I'm at NPR blogging about the election.

I'd be willing to give up my right to vote in a libertarian society. So I have mixed feelings when it comes to elections.

The best thing about American elections? We almost always have a peaceful exchange of power.
The worst thing about American elections? Everything else.


Blogging for NPR & The Guardian tonight

I'll be one of the bloggers ranting about the election tonight for NPR and the Guardian.

I hope the election will end soon so I can resume ignoring politics and politicians until the new Boss takes over in January.

E-mail me: MrBossMan2008(at)yahoo.com



testing 1,2,3


Upcoming events

After taking a short break from the world of politics, and still trying to convince myself I should care about the presidential election:

I'll be on NPR's News and Notes within the next week.
I'll be testifying before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in a few months.
I'll be coughing up two op-eds before the end of the summer.



Mixed-Up on Gay Marriage (by Casey Lartigue, in The Root)

Black people, better than most, should understand the importance of being able to choose who to love and who to marry.

  • | Posted: May 29, 2008 at 12:00 AM
  • Published by The Root 

"As to mixed marriages, the most delicate question of all, it is to be noted that 29 states - all those of the South and many in the Southwest - forbid it. In the North, such marriages are frowned upon, and represent an almost insignificant percent."
--The American Negroes, special bulletin published by the U.S. Information Agency, an adjunct of the State Department, 1957
So, you wanna get married?

After years of playing (or getting played by) the field, you've found that special someone you consider irreplaceable. You agree to be together happily ever after, or for as long as you can stand each other. You tell family, friends, perhaps even former significant others. But don't forget the most important phone call of all: to your state or local government.

Five decades ago, if you and your spouse-to-be were of different races, most state governments not only would have nixed the proposed marriage, but your marriage would have been voided, your children by any previous marriage taken from you by the state, and you could have been fined and/or imprisoned for up to 10 years. Many of us (rightly) recall the case of Richard and Mildred Loving, the interracial couple who took their case to the U.S. Supreme Court and got laws against interracial marriage banned. The 41stanniversary of the June 12 Supreme Court ruling will be especially poignant this year after the recent passing of Mrs. Loving.

But it obviously wasn't just the Lovings who had to fight for the right to choose a spouse without government interference. A year after the marriage police in Virginia arrested the Lovings, Stetson Kennedy published the satirical book Jim Crow Guide. In chapter five, "Who May Marry Whom," he discussed the many ways that interracial marriage was limited by government.

In 1949, Clark Hamilton was a 20-year-old black veteran sentenced to serve three years in the Virginia penitentiary for marrying Florence Hammond, a white woman. As Kennedy wrote: "The couple had moved to Maryland, and his sentence was suspended after he pleaded guilty. But while awaiting trial he served 82 days in a Virginia jail, and his marriage was declared void."

There was the case of David Knight, a 23-year-old white Navy veteran who in 1940 was sentenced to five years in the Mississippi penitentiary for marrying Junie Scradney, a white woman, after it was revealed in testimony that he was the great-grandson of a black woman. In 1953, Judge Wakefield Taylor of Oakland, Calif., took away the two young children of Barbara Smith Taylor after she divorced her husband and married a black man.

Given this history, it might be reasonable to conclude that black people in particular would be opposed to laws limiting marital choices among adults. Unfortunately, there are many black people who are not only critical of interracial marriage, but also support banning gay or same-sex marriage today. According to a Pew Research Poll taken after the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld same-sex marriage, far more blacks than whites disagreed with the court's decision. And that doesn't even include what is said at black barbershops.

As columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson notes, many blacks "seethe" at the comparison. As the argument goes, interracial marriage should not be compared to gay marriage because of the oppression blacks have suffered. Hutchinson dismisses that as being "self-serving." It is also myopic, a case of a former slave putting on his former master's clothing and wanting others to be treated as slaves.

The way to view this issue is to understand that government prohibition against marriages between consenting adults is a form of government oppression and a denial of individual liberty. In 1948, when the Supreme Court of California became the first state to strike down a ban on interracial marriage, Justice Roger Traynor wrote on behalf of individual liberty: "A member of any of these races may find himself barred by law from marrying the person of his choice and that person to him may be irreplaceable." [Emphasis added]

If you do find that someone special whom you consider irreplaceable, why would you want or need the government to give you permission to marry? At most, government should, in this case, fulfill the role of a clerk who takes down your basic information and files it away. For citizens making marital plans, we should give the government the equivalent of name, rank and serial number.

My former Cato Institute colleague David Boaz suggests that privatization is a "simple solution" to the battle over marriage in its various forms. "Make it a private contract between two individuals. Marriage contracts could be as individually tailored as other contracts are in our diverse capitalist world. This would "allow gay people to marry the way other people do: individually, privately, contractually, with whatever ceremony they might choose in the presence of family, friends or God."

When it comes to our voluntary, consensual associations with other adults, we may need to give the government notification, but that should not be confused with seeking permission. If there was ever an issue in which government and other third parties should butt out, it is the choice of a spouse. My conservative friends who say "you can't legislate morality" nevertheless want to do so when it comes to gay marriage.

Gay people are now fighting for the right to marry the person they choose, someone they consider irreplaceable. I hope they get what they want. I would also advise that they try to find a client with a surname like Liberty or Freedom to be a plaintiff. It worked out for the Lovings.

Casey Lartigue is a former policy analyst with Cato's Center for Educational Freedom

Original Root link


Roundtable: Sean Bell Protests & Presidential Politics

Listen Now [17 min 46 sec] add to playlist

News & Notes , May 7, 2008 · On today's bloggers roundtable, Farai Chideya moderates a conversation about the latest string of protests over the shooting death of Sean Bell, last night's Democratic primary results, and the death of interracial marriage pioneer, Mildred Loving.

Joining in the conversation are bloggers Carmen Van Kerckhove of Racialicious; Baratunde Thurston of Jack & Jill Politics; and Casey Lartigue of The Casey Lartigue Show!

The Root

I've got a piece on The Root this morning.

Empty Threats: A History
Still taking the black vote for granted after all these years.
Updated: 5:33 PM ET May 9, 2008

May 12, 2008--If Sen. Clinton somehow manages to wrest the nomination from Sen. Barack Obama, black voters, we are being told, are likely to sit at home or vote Republican.

But haven't we heard these types of threats before? Black Democrats have been warning for decades that their party will be in trouble if they keep taking the black vote for granted in the general election. Still others have warned that Republicans could steal a large number of black votes as a result. Based on recent history, Black Democrats will huff and puff, then... stand in line to vote for the Democrat presidential candidate, hustle around the country and exhort blacks to vote.

Let's take a trip down memory lane:


At a black political strategy meeting held in Charlotte, N.C., blacks lamented that Democrats take the black vote for granted while Republicans largely ignore it.

--The New York Times, May 8, 1976

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., criticized Democrats for taking the black vote for granted and Republicans for ignoring poor and black Americans.

--The New York Times, August 15, 1976

Final 1976 tally

Jimmy Carter, Democrat, 85 percent of the black vote (election winner)

Gerald Ford, Republican, 15 percent of the black vote.


[Rep. John] Conyers D-Mich. said it is obvious that [Sen. Edward ]Kennedy enjoys widespread support among rank-and-file black Democrats. "The defections in the Carter camp grow daily," he said, adding that it would be a mistake to take the black vote for granted.

Source: The Associated Press, Oct 31, 1979

Jesse Jackson said President Carter should not take the black vote for granted in the 1980 election and that the possibility of black support for GOP candidate Ronald Reagan should not be dismissed out of hand. "His bark is greater than his bite, judging from what he did in California," Jackson said of Reagan. "I do not want to reduce our options." He added that Reagan's choice of George Bush as his running mate shows some flexibility. "The idea that blacks won't vote for a Republican is inaccurate," Jackson said, citing black support of Sen. Charles Percy, R-Ill., and former Sen. Edward Brooke, R-Mass.

Source: The Associated Press, July 20, 1980

Maudine R. Cooper, the Urban League's vice president for Washington operations, echoed Jackson's warning: "We cannot be wed to any party or candidate."

Source: The Washington Post, August 9, 1980

Final 1980 tally:

Democrat Jimmy Carter—86 percent of the black vote

Republican Ronald Reagan—12 percent (election winner)


"A further objective of Mr. Jackson's campaign was to serve notice that white Democrats should not take black votes for granted and that Republicans could not afford to write them off entirely."

Source: The New York Times, November 26, 1984

Final 1984 tally:

Democrat Walter Mondale—89 percent of the black vote

Republican Ronald Reagan—9 percent of the black vote(election winner)


"[Evangelist and presidential candidate Pat] Robertson's campaign staff argued that he would let Democrats know they cannot take the black vote for granted. George Vinnett, his black national press secretary, insisted the white evangelist would get interracial support."

Source: United Press International, October 1, 1987

''The time has passed when Democrats can take the black vote for granted. The New Alliance Party gives voters an alternative to the two major parties,'' said Lenora B. Fulani, presidential candidate of the New Alliance Party

Source: Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 1988

Marva Gibbs, a program director for a health care agency in Summerville, S.C., said she would vote for Mr. Bush because "Democrats don't stand more for blacks than Republicans, so why be loyal to them?" "Democrats take black votes for granted and think they can do anything they want and because we're black we'll vote Democratic," she added.

The New York Times , October 27, 1988

Final 1988 tally:

Democrat Michael Dukakis—88 percent of the black vote

Republican George H.W. Bush—10 percent of the black vote (election winner)


Jesse Jackson tells reporters: "Don't take the black vote for granted." Jackson hinted that he might bolt the party and take millions of black voters with him unless he gets more respect from his fellow Democrats and unless Congress passes the 1991 Civil Rights Act.

Source: SeattlePost-Intelligencer, May 24, 1991

"...although the Sister Souljah controversy may not have hurt him to any great degree among Black voters, Gov. Clinton would be wise to not assume that he can take the Black vote for granted, no matter what he does."

Source: Calvin W. Rolark, WashingtonInformer, June 24, 1992

"There's no question Mr. Clinton's strategy is to aim his message at the moderate, white Southerners and take the black vote for granted," [pollster Whit] Ayres said. "Not surprisingly, every indication I get is that black voters are quite ambivalent about Mr. Clinton's candidacy."

Source: OrlandoSentinel, October 26, 1992

Final 1992 tally:

Lawrence Lucier / Getty Images

Democrat Bill Clinton—82 percent of the black vote

Republican George H.W. Bush—11 percent of the black vote


..Once again, civil rights leaders say they have no real choice but to help the Democrats retain control of Congress."This is not the first time we've had to save the captain from sinking the ship, especially when we are on the ship - and in the hull of it at that," said Jesse Jackson, who is campaigning for the Democratic National Committee to get out the black, urban and labor vote.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 30, 1994.

Bernard Shaw, host: "[D]o the Democrats realize there's a firebell in the night, that blacks are beginning to look at the Republican Party very seriously and that there are viable candidates running?"

Source: CNN, Inside Politics, November 1, 1994

Final 1996 tally:

Democrat Bill Clinton—84 percent of the black vote

Republican Bob Dole—12 percent of the black vote


The apparent ability of some Republican candidates to attract a significant minority of black voters can now work to the political advantage of African Americans. Facing new competition from the GOP, Democrats will no longer be able to take the black vote for granted. Increasingly, they will be forced to pay attention to black voter concerns in order to solidify their electoral base.

Source: Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, October 31, 1999

[NAACP president] Kweisi Mfume said that for too long, black America has been caught between the policies of Republicans who eschew minority issues and of Democrats who take the black vote for granted."That type of folly must end," Mfume said.

Source: The Associated Press, July 8, 2000

Final 2000 tally:

Democrat Al Gore: 90 percent of the black vote

Republican George W. Bush: 9 percent of the black vote

Pool / Getty Images


"There are some clear warning signs that the Democrats should heed, and not assume rampant support from African-Americans in November based simply on traditional voting patterns," said Pamela Gentry, BET Nightly News Washington bureau chief and senior producer.

Source: HoustonChronicle, July 23, 2004

U.S. Rep. John Conyers of Detroit said Kerry is smart to not take black votes for granted. "Frequently we come to the black community too little and too late," said Conyers, who is black. "The biggest vote, by far, is in the African-American community where only half the people are voting, but those who vote vote 90 percent Democratic."

Source: Associated Press, July 15, 2004

Final 2004 tally:

Democrat John Kerry—88 percent of the black vote

Republican George W. Bush—11 percent of the black vote (election winner)


A big sticking point for many panelists at the NAACP's Freedom Weekend Freedom Institute's forum was that the Democratic Party "takes the black vote for granted," said Bankole Thompson, Michigan Chronicle senior editor.

Source" Detroit Free Press April 27, 2008

"But before Democratic superdelegates get too itchy to snuff the Obama campaign, they should consider the new animal that move might spawn: the Obama Republican. I know: the notion of black folks and young folks and progressive white folks abandoning the Democrats en masse if the Wife of Bill is the nominee ain't exactly new; Right here on The Root, the writer William Jelani Cobb espoused a McCain protest vote in November, and has since accepted a ticket to Denver as a Democratic delegate in August. But that makes the threat no less real. Any Democratic honcho needing a lesson in the power of disaffected black voters need only Google "2002 and Clarence Mitchell IV."

Source: The RootApril 25, 2008.

"Let's be clear. When black folks switch parties, we do it decisively. After nearly a century of unwavering commitment to the party of Lincoln, it was Republican Barry Goldwater's presidential bid in 1964, designed to appeal to entrenched American racism, which led to an increase in black Democratic Party identifiers from 59 percent to 86 percent in a single election. Despite Obama's call for unity in his North Carolina victory speech last night, black Americans will not stand behind a candidate who deploys a Goldwater strategy within our own party. Our opposition to the war will not allow us to vote for McCain, but we can choose to exit the coalition, withhold our votes, to protest a Clinton candidacy. This is not a threat. It is an observation based on historical evidence."

Source: The Root, May 7, 2008

Final 2008 tally?

Win McNamee / Getty Images
YURI GRIPAS / AFP/Getty Images

Casey Lartigue, Jr. is an education consultant based in Virginia.

linked by Marc Lamont Hill,


Chaos continues at Radio One

The only national black talk network has been having a lot of trouble. Of course, I point to the day they pulled my show off the air as the beginning of the end.

1) According to the Washington Post: Radio One's stock lost 17 percent of its value this week, closing yesterday at $1.06. Since last year, when the company's stock traded at a [sic: high] of $7.59, its value has declined 85 percent.

2) The son of the founder of the company has just received a generous pay raise and compensation package. According to the Washington Post: Liggins would receive $980,000 in salary, a 70 percent increase over the $575,370 he made in 2007, and have the opportunity to match that in an annual bonus, contingent in part on the company meeting certain performance goals. He would be paid a $1 million "signing bonus" because, the Radio One compensation committee said, he has been underpaid for the last three years. Liggins also would be paid $4.8 million to compensate him for losses he incurred when he was forced to repay a company loan to buy Radio One stock several years ago.

3) The ReidBlog reports that Lee Michaels, former national program director of Syndication One and XM 169 The Power, has just gotten fired. Michaels is the one who pulled my radio show off the air after we had a dispute over my show on urban legends. Reid also tells the following story: Apparently, the company finally managed to sell its L.A. station, (then called KKBT - 100.3 The Beat, now called V100, and the station that used to employ Steve Harvey, before the Radio One folks kicked him to the curb, allegedly over remarks he made about Cathy Hughes as she sat in the audience for the BET Comedy Awards, which he was hosting. The station, which with Harvey had the number one show in the market, promptly went in the tank after that, and in 2005, Harvey jumped to Clear Channel. The rest, as they say, is history...



AIDS and the government

Rev. Jeremiah Wright has attracted a lot of attention with his theories about the federal government creating AIDS in a laboratory. Here's an excerpt excerpt from Talk Radio Can't Handle the Truth By Casey Lartigue Jr. and Eliot Morgan

Sunday, August 5, 2007; Page B03

Often, just one word can silence those who doubt the conspiracy theory of the day: COINTELPRO, the FBI's notorious anticommunist program that was used against groups such as the Southern Christian Leadership Council and the Ku Klux Klan. From the Scottsboro Boys to the Tuskegee syphilis study, our government has displayed a willingness to conspire against its citizens.

Likewise, truth-squadding becomes difficult when such theories are linked to hard data: Black Americans constitute about 12 percent of the U.S. population but about half of the nation's AIDS cases. That sets up the conditions in which, according to researchers Sheryl Thorburn Bird and Laura M. Bogart, more than 20 percent of black Americans think that HIV was created to restrict the black population.

A 1990 survey by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference found that one-third of black American churchgoers believed that AIDS was a form of genocide. One-third also believed that HIV was produced in a germ-warfare lab, and 40 percent of black college students in Washington, D.C., agreed. An even higher percentage of blacks polled said they thought that crack cocaine was custom-made to be planted in African American communities to keep them crime-ridden and poor and that the government deliberately targeted black elected officials to drive them from office.

These beliefs keep some black Americans from having their children vaccinated, from receiving AIDS tests and early medical treatment, and from practicing safe sex or using clean needles, as Patricia A. Turner and Gary Alan Fine note in their book, "Whispers on the Color Line." They also make seeking the truth an uphill battle.


Debate, at 20 paces

Hillary Clinton has challenged Barack Obama to a non-moderator debate, a la Lincoln-Douglass. Obama should go back even farther in history and challenge her to a duel.



Mr. Chairman,

Last September I was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association.

The latest news is that my colleagues chose me to chair the planning committee for the symposium that we are organizing for next year. My updates to follow, here and at the Website I just put together.


Washington Times piece

I have a piece in today's Washington Times. It marks the anniversary of D.C. Emancipation Day.




This is a test. This is only a test to see whether I am (successfully) live blogging at a conference.

I have media credentials to the Newspaper Association of America’s Capital Conference at the Washington Convention Center on April 14‐15, 2008.

McCain is speaking this morning from 10:30 a.m., Obama will be the luncheon speaker. Clinton will be speaking tomorrow at lunch.



Fighting poverty--or fighting for development?

In September 2005, former President Clinton launched an initiative "to tackle poverty, climate change and other worldwide issues" during "a gathering of political leaders and activists who are promising to pitch in--and must put those pledges in writing." In early 2005--along with many other times--Mandela was demanding that the world do more to fight poverty. Others have talked about trying to end poverty. And of there is the war on poverty that officially started in the mid-1960s.

Yesterday, on the 40th anniversary of MLK Jr's assassination, John McCain took up Martin Luther King Jr's call for America to fight poverty. McCain said: "I will answer his call, and tell him and the American people today that I will make the eradication of poverty a top priority of the McCain Administration."

Here's a different suggestion--a fight for development rather than a fight against poverty. Okay, for a liar like Clinton, that might sound like a distinction without a difference. To be clear, I don't mean that a Clinton or Obama speech writer should toss in a throw-away line like "of course we care about development." Rather, I mean that development should be treated as a priority.

Saying that you are against poverty may sound great in focus groups and to soccer moms working as journalists and college professors, but if we really want people to live independently and at a higher level, then development is needed.

But people don't often chant for development.

What do we want? Free markets! When do we want them? Now!

2-4-6-8, capitalism now, we can't wait!

Invisible hand, yes! Government meddling, no! Privatize, yes! Nationalize, no!

Hey-hey, ho-ho! Democratic socialists have got to go!

I'm reminded of a documentary in which John Kenneth Galbraith went on for an hour about poverty and ways to fight it. The late Peter Bauer had a short rebuttal: There are no causes of poverty. That is the natural human state. It is the causes of success that must be investigated.



Frederick Douglass--liberal, conservative, libertarian, other?

Booker Rising links to a new online magazine that focuses on issues from a black conservative perspective.

Booker Rising comments: "I don't know about the late Frederick Douglass being put on that cover as a conservative. I'd call him a liberal, and even moderate would be a stretch for his time period."

The thing I've noticed about Douglass is that just about every ideology claims him to be one of their own.

You can see in the quotes that people choose to focus on:

Liberals, socialists and activists: "Without struggle, there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will."

Libertarians and conservatives: "'What shall we do with the Negro?' I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!"

In a recent book on black conservatives, Saviors or Sellouts, author Christopher Alan Bracey included Booker T. Washington, but left out Douglass. When I asked Bracey about this at an event, he said that Douglass had both a liberal and conservative side, and that it would have "confused" readers if he had included Douglass. As I also noted: Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Machine was very similar to what Douglass proposed to Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1853. (see pages 353-59)

I don't know of a quote from Frederick Douglass identifying himself with a particular political ideology, but he was associated with the Republican party for more than four decades.

He did say things such as:

"I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress."

"The Republican Party is the ship and all else is the sea."

I do believe that, in his later years, that his devotion to the Republican Party caused him to ignore that Republicans began to waver on civil rights. The generation of "Radical Republicans" had died off, replaced mainly with politicians more concerned with counting votes than on justice for blacks.

That Douglass usually spoke about eternal truths may be the reason that liberals, conservatives, libertarians and even socialists can see themselves in what he said. Plus, it helps that he has been dead for 113 years.



King Kong, Le Bron

Le Bron James is the first black man to appear on the cover of Vogue Magazine.

A black talk show host was complaining about the cover, saying that Vogue was making him look like "King Kong." I saw the cover last week, it didn't even occur to me that Le Bron was being pictured as a monkey or sexual demon.

I will just point out that Gisele Bundchen looks rather happy to be in Mandingo's arms.

Clinton: Rev. Wright ‘Would Not Have Been My Pastor’

I'm sure she would have left the church in a hail of gunfire...


Kwame charged with perjury

Kwame Kilpatrick, during happier times. He was charged with perjury earlier today. I'd love to hear a sermon by Rev. Wright about the case.


Rush Limbaugh gets the "Wilder Effect" wrong

Rush Limbaugh:
That's known as the Bradley Effect or the Wilder Effect. In the case of Doug Wilder running for the governorship in Virginia, Tom Bradley running for governor of California, in pre-election polls they had huge leads, and going into Election Day it was assumed (both candidates were black) both were going to win. They both lost by sizable percentages. The pollsters decided, "We've been lied to here. People didn't want us to think that they were racist so they told us they were going to vote for Bradley or Wilder when they really had no intention of it." So it's interesting how many people are actually answering questions about Obama that way.

* The reality is that Bradley barely lost while Wilder barely won.

The Pound Cake Law

"People with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn’t that a sign of something or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack -- and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body. What part of Africa did this come from?"
--Bill Cosby, May 17, 2004 "Pound Cake" speech

* * *

According to the March 14 edition of the Palm Beach Post: On Tuesday, voters in Riviera Beach overwhelmingly approved a new law that would make it a crime to wear pants that show skin or underwear.

The first offense carries a $150 fine or community service. A second infraction carries a $300 fine or more community service.

There's also a crackdown in Kansas.

* * *

* Question: Is this only a problem in public schools? This sounds like another argument for school uniforms.

* It has been pointed out before that the baggy pants style comes from prison (prisoners not allowed to wear belts often walked around with their pants falling off their butts). That is a funny twist on the story, but irrelevant. The origin of a fashion (or policy) is irrelevant to whether or not it is good.

* Will the next crackdown be on girls with their thongs sticking out of their clothing?


Some of Rev. Wright's supporters

From the March 19 demonstration against the Iraq War at San Francisco’s Civic Center Park [posted by Green Little Footballs]


Obama's passport file

Keith Olberman seems to be the first to report on Maura Hardy's connection to someone in the state department looking at Obama's passport file. Long-term state department official first appointed by Reagan, Clinton ambassador, etc.

Unrelated Blast from the Past file: Feds Investigate Dems' Obtaining Steele's Credit Report

Bob Barr--Libertarian candidate?

Bob Barr may run for president, as a Libertarian. I wasn't even aware that Libertarians were going to run someone in 2008. And it won't take long to forget that Barr did run as a Libertarian...

By the way, it was great to see the photo of Bob Barr doing something I have rarely seen him do in public--smile.


Jeremiah Wright was Clinton White House guest

The Barack Obama campaign has clearly been damaged by his long-term relationship with Pastor Jeremiah Wright.

The Hillary Clinton campaign has been remarkably quiet about Barack Obama's troubles.

As the old political strategy goes: remain quiet while your enemy is committing suicide.

Here's a photo of Rev. Wright at a Clinton White House function, posted by The Politico. A photo may say 1000 words--and that's even more words than the Clinton campaign apparently has uttered about Obama and Wright.

Linked by African American Political Pundit,


Quote of the Day, 1883

"I cannot see how any honest colored man, who has brains enough to put two ideas together, can allow himself, under the notion of independence, to give aid and comfort to the Democratic Party in Ohio or elsewhere."
--Frederick Douglass, quoted in McFeeley's Frederick Douglass, p. 316.


Double Dog Daring Dellinger

Heller has been heard by the Supreme Court, now the justices will read and re-read briefs, and conference, and supposedly give us some kind of decision in June.  To reiterate my prediction:  Ban overturned, reasonable restrictions allowed, probably "rational" scrutiny of any laws, and no major effect nationally.

That said, and setting aside my concerns about the court's treatment of Miller, as something for another day, I was interested in this bit:

In addition to the handgun ban, Washington also has a trigger lock requirement for other guns that raised some concerns Tuesday.

"When you hear somebody crawling in your bedroom window, you can run to your gun, unlock it, load it and then fire?" Justice Antonin Scalia said.

Roberts, who has two young children, suggested at one point that trigger locks might be reasonable.

"There is always a risk that the children will get up and grab the firearm and use it for some purpose other than what the Second Amendment was designed to protect," he said.

On the other hand, he, too, wondered about the practical effect of removing a lock in an emergency. "So then you turn on the lamp, you pick up your reading glasses," Roberts said to laughter.

Dellinger said he opened the lock in three seconds, although he conceded that was in daylight.

Three whole seconds.  Interesting.  

So - here's my double dog dare for Walter The Gunslinger:

He gets a revolver loaded with Simunitions , equipped with a standard trigger lock.  I get to have a foam
bat covered with chalk.  I will toss, say, a thousand dollars into a pot.  I will start the scenario, as Justice Scalia stated, a decent distance away from Walter The Gunslinger, in a darkened room, with him lying down as though in bed.  My mission will be to strike him with the chalk-covered club, and we will deduct 100 dollars from the pot for each hit I make on him.  The scenario ends when he gets the trigger lock unlocked and shoots me with the paintball, and he gets the
remainder of the pot.

The catch is this - for every strike past 10, Walter The Gunslinger needs to pay me a hundred dollars, just to be fair, up to the time he unlocks the gun and shoots me.

I figure I'll pay off my student loans, my house, my car, and have enough left over to start a decent business before I run out of chalk on the foam.

C'mon, Walter, put your money where your mouth is.   I triple dog dare ya!  After all, it's just money for you - for some poor gunowner, three seconds might well be his life.

J. Underhill



Glad I'm Not A Democrat

The reason I'm glad I'm not a Democrat is simple - by the rules of the game established by their very own Liberal selves, if I don't vote for Obama, I'm a racist.  If I don't vote for Clinton, I'm a sexist.  Given that large numbers of Democrats have voted for one or the other, that can only mean that the Ds are either racist or sexist or both.  

I would say that the only solution that the Ds have to this conundrum is to find and run people like Shirley

Looking over this morning's posts, I would also note in passing that I'm envious of Casey's ability to use the word "Negro" without flinching.  I'm a product of my times, I guess, and even have difficulty suggesting people get ahold of one of the more interesting social studies out there, this book.

J. Underhill

From Magic Negro to Malcolm X

Not to say this is worth celebrating, but tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of David Ehrenstein writing a piece in the Los Angeles Times calling Barack Obama a "Magic Negro." That is, a black person who makes white people feel good.

Rush Limbaugh thought it was ridiculous. His team quickly came up with a hilarious parody, which you can download here for free (scroll to the bottom, hit "free," on the second page, "scroll down to the password, wait for the timer to expire, type in the password, then download).

Fast forward to a year later--Barack Obama is now Barack X. Is anyone questioning if he is black? Now the concern is that he will wear a Dashiki and give the Black Power salute at his inauguration. With his approval ratings in freefall because of the controversy over pastor Wright, Obama will give a major address on race. Perhaps he should try to convince folks that he really is a Magic Negro.


Under The Helicopter, Basket In Hand

It's good to be close to those on top.  Your mistakes get pushed off onto others, you get important notices before The Little Guy, and rules, by and large, do not apply to you.  Banks are concerned about
their bottom lines - what business isn't? - but have no problem getting the goods from both ends, not only a handout from the Feds, but there appears to be no trickle down to their customers from the taxpayer's...I mean, the Federal government's...generosity.

It looks like it may really be helicopter drop to get the economy moving again.  I may have to reconsider my libertarian tendencies long enough to get out a basket and see what falls in.

Or not.

Manufactured cases

My former Cato Institute colleague Bob Levy is profiled by the Associated Press for his role in the challenge to the DC gun ban.

One great thing about Levy is that he tells it like it is.

As the article quotes: And Levy freely admits the case is manufactured, not one that bubbled up by chance from the district's steady flow of criminal cases involving guns. He wanted presentable plaintiffs to make a case for gun rights, not criminals.

"We didn't want crack heads and bank robbers to be poster boys for the Second Amendment," he said.

Is there a problem with this case being manufactured? I heard a talking head on the radio complaining a while ago that this case wasn't from real DC residents, that it was from outsiders.

What's wrong with that? There may be some times that it takes an outsider to challenge an injustice or bad law. Did DC residents claim that Martin Luther King Jr. was an outsider who should have minded his own business?

And about the case being "manufactured." After Rosa Parks died, Jared Taylor wrote a piece telling the "real" Rosa Parks story. I loved the response from Jane Galt: "I mean, are you out of your mind? She could have had a marching band behind her and a faithful band of followers calling out encouragement, and what she did would still be a monument to human courage in the face of discrimination."

Plessy v. Ferguson was a test case. Rosa Parks was chosen instead of a pregnant teen (Claudette Colvin). With Brown v. Board, the clients and test states were carefully chosen. They didn't want, to steal a line from Bob Levy, criminals as plaintiffs.



Was Obama voting "present" in church, too?

1) A few months ago I suggested to an Obama supporter that I thought Obama was keeping Rev Jeremiah Wright around to fend off charges that Obama isn't black enough. After all, how could you question the blackness of a man going to the church with a pastor like Wright? In a year, Obama has gone from being "black in an unusual way" to Malcolm X.

2) The Clintons have engaged in some race baiting, but not even in their dreams would they have tied Obama to a firebrand like Rev. Wright. It would not have seemed believable that a Harvard Law graduate would be attending church of such a fool for two decades. Well, I guess Harvard Law grad Eliot Spitzer makes anything about Harvard Law School believable now...

3) Apparently it is a strategic tactic in the Illinois state senate for politicians to vote "present." Perhaps Obama was just voting "present" in church when Rev. Wright was going off.

4) The Clintons survived sex scandals, Whitewater, etc. That Obama's minister is a nut should not derail his presidency.


"self-hating blacks"

Harry Alford of the National Black Chamber of Commerce: "While there are some great Black Republicans such as General Collin Powell and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele they are vastly outnumbered by the celebrated self-hating Blacks like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and Shelby Steele. Good solid thinking progressive capitalists (with the general philosophy of the Republican Party) who happen to be Black find themselves isolated and on the defense."

Booker T defeats WEB, again

The big "debate" a century ago among black Americans was whether blacks should focus more on economics or politics. To simplify things, it was Booker T saying that blacks needed to focus more on economic development whereas W.E.B. Dubois focused on political activism.

We can clearly put Mr. Blackonomics James Clingman on Booker T's side.

I read an enlightening e-mail by Kenneth Price that discussed the current political situation and how Black people are so emotionally invested in the upcoming presidential election. One point centered on the fact that other groups in this country are not wringing their hands about who will be president; they are not losing sleep over the next election and, in many cases, they couldn’t care less who wins. Of course, those groups to which the piece referred were busy taking care of their businesses and aggregating their resources among themselves. I know, I know; they have not been through what we have been through.

* * *

Politically, we are still on the outside looking in, at this point hoping to elect a Black president. Trent says, “Not even the election of a true Black president will solve the economic problems of Black America unless we have an agenda where the state of the Black economy is at the center of that agenda.”

Question for Anti-Illegal Immigration Activists

Radley Balko asks a great question of anti-illegal immigration activists: "If you’re adamant that you only oppose illegal immigration, then do you also support vastly expanding the number of legal visas the federal government grants to low-wage, low-skill workers (which at the moment is an exceedingly small number)?"

I've been asking anti-illegal immigration people that same question.

Booker Rising recently highlighted one of my quotes on immigration.

"As people often point out to me, I'm almost always in the minority when the issue is illegal immigration. 1) I oppose punishing private employers for hiring illegals. 2) I support taking laws against such hiring practices off the books. 3) I don't oppose laws preventing the various levels of governments from hiring illegals. 4) If the various levels of government are serious about punishing illegals, then they should prevent them from receiving government services or benefits. 5) It isn't the government's job to protect you against competition for jobs, products, spouses, etc. 6) There is no right to have a community of a certain demographic makeup. If you want your neighborhood or community to stay predominately black or predominately white, then buy up the property around you. Perhaps you need racial covenants on the houses near your home? 7) Of course, there need to be safety and health checks. To steal a line I heard from a friend: You're welcome, but don't forget to sign the guest book.

We can't count on closing the border as a way to keep competition out. There was a time that people said, 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do.' But now, we must consider, 'Rome has come to you.' Wherever you are, people are trying to sell stuff to you, buy stuff from you if you have something worth selling, trying to hire you if you have skills they want, or competing with you. If you're going to run a race, you can't train based on potential competitors being kept away from the starting or finishing line. We can't be sure what wave of people or technology is coming along, and should stop acting as if we have people in government smart enough to figure out which people should be let into the country."



Quote of the day

From a Steve Chapman column on legalizing prostitution:

"What one New Orleans mayor said applies to a segment of every human society: 'You can make prostitution illegal in Louisiana, but you can't make it unpopular.'"


On The Character Of Characters

What Casey hits on in the post below, regarding "character" and Rush's blatant misunderstanding of same, highlights the problems of people who are not terribly literate or educated (regardless of their claims) attempting to interpret 200 year old language.

I discovered this in elementary school, looking at older documents that were full of "ye" and stange looking "f" letters. Turned out that the "y" in "ye" is actually shorthand for "th," while the funny "f" is actually the equivalent of the German S-zet - a double "s."

What Adams or Madison or Hamilton (whenever Rush finally gets it right) describes in the Federalist #69 is not the "character" of the executive, but rather what today we would call "characteristics of the office of president." There is, by the way, excellent reading in there for those few still interested in comparing the current administration's actions with what Hamilton - a serious strong government type - thought the executive was allowed.

A similar problem occurs when people try to interpret the Second Amendment (A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.") and the superfluous militia clause. A "well regulated" militia does not mean one with many rules. The word "regulated" at that time meant organized and precise. The common metaphor used in regard to the Second Amendment, "A well educated Population, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and read Books, shall not be infringed." makes the point perfectly.

Finally, in regard to Casey's question about the applicability of the Federalist Papers to the Constitution, they constitute what would be known in legal circles as "legislative history." It would enable honest litigants to reach an understanding of what the original intent of the Founders was in establishing this Repbublic.

Character of the President

A couple of days ago in a conversation about Eliot Spitzer and morality in politics, Rush Limbaugh said the following:

Our last caller wanted to know -- he's a Republican, but he doesn't like this morality in politics, it's not in the Constitution. Actually, it is in the Federalist Papers in the section in which the criteria for the president was being written and debated about, the number one aspect in the Federalist Papers, I think it was John Adams in this case -- I think it was John Adams writing number-one, most important thing in the executive was character.

Federalist #69, written by Alexander Hamilton, outlined the duties and responsibilities of the president.

Limbaugh then had a change of heart about the author:

It was James Madison. Actually, he wrote one-third of the Federalist Papers, the forerunner of the Constitution. He also was the principal author of the Constitution. It was James Madison in the Federalist Papers who laid out the requirements for the executive, number one being character.

Madison may have written about the character of the president. But a moment later, Limbaugh changed his mind again:

All right, I just sent this up to Koko. We're going to link to it at RushLimbaugh.com. Eighty-five Federalist Papers, number 69, written by Alexander Hamilton, The Character of the Executive. I want you to read it when we update the website this afternoon, this evening, to reflect the contents of today's program, because it was said earlier here today that, "I don't see the word 'morality' in my Constitution." The Federalist Papers informed the Constitution, same Founding Fathers that wrote the Constitution participated with the Federalist Papers. They were forerunners of the Constitution, and so it's not accurate to say that morality is not part of the Constitution.

On the third try, Limbaugh correctly identifies the author of Federalist Paper no. 69: Alexander Hamilton.

But I notice that Limbaugh did not quote from the document about the president's morality or character. I read through it but I didn't see anything about the president's character, either.

The Federalist Papers definitely formed much of the foundation of the Constitution. But is it correct to say that something written in the Federalist Papers is part of the Constitution?


Guest Host Introduction

Greetings, gentle readers.

The kind and generous owner of this blog, Casey Lartigue, after noticing that I had been frequently posting in the comments section of late, has graciously offered to allow me to toil occasionally here in the fields of his wisdom. This demonstrates either that high intelligence and copious education do not always yield smart decisions, or else that Casey's getting lazier in his old age and simply wants to shift the burdens of his work onto others. Having known him for nigh on a decade and a half now, it may be that the correct answer is "both of the above."

Casey and I met while we were both working in Korea.   Well, he was working and I was pretending to work.   We were generous posters on the expatriate list serve there, Kexpat (motto:  "Welcome to Kexpat.  Now unsubscribe."), a rather hobbesian place where only the strongest and meanest survived.  Needless to say, Casey flourished there and it was only through his guidance and protection that a delicate hothouse flower like myself was able to navigate the reefs and shoals of the list.

We were also prolific writers for The Korea Times, editorials and letters both. Because I was only pretending to work, there was ample time for me to stuff the KT's mailbox with letters, to the point where the editor, Mr. Kim, asked me to begin submitting letters with different noms de plume, so as to allow him to publish more of them.  Hobbits are about the best fictional critters ever invented (natural anarchists, they are!) and my affinity for them is well known.  It is well established that hobbits travelling incognito would use the surname "Underhill," and thus was born what was to become Casey's favorite nemesis, "John Underhill."

Although there were any number of John Incidents, two in particular stand out.  

The first was a letter sent in September of 1996.  This was the first letter in which John put a shot across Casey's bows.  Though I had described my letter, in a side note to the editor, as a "stab-in-the-back," Casey felt it needed a neologism for best effect, and so today we have the word "frontstabber."

Better still, however is a letter Casey sent in to the paper in February of defending John...fully knowing that he (John, not Casey) was simply a figment of my imagination.

I also seem to recall citing one of John's letters on Kexpat, which drew a fascinating response from Casey regarding the issues of "citing myself."

Anyway...these touching historical comments are made by way of introduction and to say that Casey has long known what my aberrant personality is like when he invited me to guest host for him.  Or help shoulder the burden.  Or pay back 400+ years of bad karma.  Hard to say.  I expect to have fun lending a hand here and who knows - maybe he'll even let me stay around for awhile.

In the meantime....Welcome to the Casey Lartigue Show!.   You know the rest.  

J. Underhill


Cartoon--a Democrat working for a Republican

Washington Post, Tom Toles

"Take that boy down"

Here's a promo running on XM 169 and 1450 WOL for Al Sharpton's radio show.

Guest Ralph Nader is quoted as saying that a Clinton aide said about Barack Obama, "...and a source close to the Clintons said 'they're gonna take that boy down,' the Clintons, taking Obama down."

You can download the short clip here.

Has Nader said this anywhere else? Or only to a black audience?



Bad time for Democrats

A few weeks ago people were wondering what John McCain would do to keep himself in the spotlight.

He hasn't done a very good job of that so far.

But in the meantime, in just the last week...

Geraldine Ferraro has stepped down from her position with the Clinton team--and with people charging that she is a racist.

A member of the Obama team stepped down after calling H Clinton a "monster."

The Democrat contenders have been trading charges.

A Democrat governor has resigned in disgrace after getting caught in a sex scandal.

Democrats are trading charges over what to do about delegates in Florida and Michigan.

With H Clinton refusing to concede for the good of the party, things should be even more exciting over the next couple of months.


Spitzer's down. Next up? Kwame

Kwame Kilpatrick, the mayor of Detroit who is in his own hilarious sex scandal, was probably hoping that Spitzer would hold on.


Dershowitz on victimless crimes

I have conflicting feelings watching Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz discuss Eliot Spitzer's troubles. On the one hand, I'm yelling, "you idiot!" But then just as quickly, "damn, that's a good point."

What I've liked about Dershowitz for quite some time is his attack on victimless crimes and outdated laws. Of course, when someone says "victimless" crime, busybodies will find someone--a wife, girlfriend--who has bruised feelings and call that person a victim. If that doesn't work, then "society" is said to be threatened. My understanding is that "victimless crime" is meant in a legal sense--adultery is a civil, not legal, wrong.

In his 1992 book Contrary to Popular Opinion, Dershowitz attacks victimless crimes and outdated laws, concluding one column: "The righteous hypocrite vote in this country has always been stronger than the vice vote."


Geraldine Ferraro on Obama

Geraldine Ferraro may be correct when she says: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

--As it has been noted, Obama was a lightly experienced politician when he was selected to give a prime-time address at the 2004 Democratic convention. It may be true that a white man would not have been given that opportunity so quickly. And?

--Many people have various reasons for getting selected or highlighted for opportunities. Hillary because of her last name, Obama because of his race, Ferraro because of her gender, McCain for his military service, others because of where they went to college or who they know. Obama shouldn't apologize for the decisions that others made to highlight him. Obama may have been highlighted because of his race, but what he is doing with it is still extraordinary.

--It may have just been that Ferraro was shooting off her mouth. But I also suspect that it was just the latest attempt by a Clintonian to divide voters along racial lines. Here's an "if" for Ferraro--if a Republican had made such a comment, she would be accused of Jesse Helms type race baiting.


One more comment: Did Ferraro complain in 2004 about Obama getting a chance to deliver his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention?