Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh, Those Teachable Moments...

Eric Kantor
Dana Milbank
Karen Tumulty

"If seeking political help was a crime, you could lock up half of metropolitan Washington, D.C." - Robert Trout

"The Gates case is now like the first draft of a bad novel that Tom Wolfe would have kept in his drawer." - Tracy Klugian

Today is the big day for beer drinkers, professors, and cops, with the much publicized meeting at the White House between Barack Obama, Louis Gates, and James Crowley. They are drinking as I write this and the news reports will filter in after I post... Their choice of beers has even made the front page in some papers, like the Denver Post, waxing on the symbolism of choosing beer over wine or cocktails, quoting a wise bartender for authenticity... Being labeled a "teachable moment" to a bad mistake that won't stop racial profiling, the talk about the arrest of Louis Gates by James Crowley has spun out of control.

Racism is a part of everyday life, we experience or impart prejudice with everyone we encounter that we aren't familiar with. I like to think that I am not a racist at all, but I have been accused of making racist statements lately.p I was shocked, how could they think that of me, but then I realized that I was an old, white guy, they were a younger, black couple, and I could easily have said anything that they interpreted to be racist. Something I said felt demeaning to them, it wasn't my call to make. Because I never got a chance to talk to them about it over a beer, I chalked it up to lesson learned for me. I think it was easier for me to accept my teachable moment because many years ago I dated a beautiful black woman, and she did point out many instances of racism when they occurred in the attitudes of friends and strangers. Its easier and lazier to be intolerant, to say demeaning things about our children, our spouses, our bosses, other political parties, instead of holding our tongues and listening to them.

Now, we got white people calling Obama a racist, white people calling Sotomayor a racist, in general, insensitive white people who think nothing of imparting prejudice cloaking themselves as victims. The woman who made the 911 call to the Cambridge police has even been called a racist, she had her own press conference denying any such label yesterday. We got Rush Limbaugh calling Obama an angry black man: " He's an angry black guy. I do believe that about the president. I do believe he's angry. I think his wife is angry. All liberals are enraged all the time anyway. They're always mad. But if he's not mad, if he's not angry, why does he run around apologizing for the country all over the place? There's something going on here, and it certainly isn't a love and devotion to the whole concept of American exceptionalism, is it? Yeah, Barack Nifong! (grumbling) "First-class intellectuals like us, that trashy Rush Limbaugh, first-class intellectuals like us, right on." (laughing) Lord, thank you for my enemies." If I had to listen to hours of this stuff, I'd get rather grumpy...

We have such a long way to go in this crazy country. But that's why I love being here, with all of our ethnic diversity and free press, we get to work out a lot of our problems in the open, for all of its beauty or ugliness, and for the world to comment upon...

late night jokes:

"Some people now are saying, this is true, that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wants to host her own TV show. The show is going to be called 'Am I More Coherent Than a Fifth Grader?'" --Conan O'Brien

"Sarah Palin resigned the other day, and in her final speech — I don't know if you listened to it — she compared herself to a grizzly bear who will defend its cubs wherever the road may lead. Palin decided to use the grizzly bear metaphor right after she heard it come out of her mouth. Saw it, she liked it, then she shot it." --Conan O'Brien

"President Obama, of course, everyone knows, has invited Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and the police officer who arrested him to the White House for a beer. Of course, this could be trouble, because the last time Obama got a few beers in him, he bought General Motors." --Conan O'Brien

"President Obama held a Q & A session about healthcare reform with senior citizens over the Internet. Unfortunately, the senior citizens spent the entire hour typing questions into their microwave ovens." --Conan O'Brien

"Members of the Senate are considering a tax on cosmetic surgery. When they brought it up, you should have seen the look that Nancy Pelosi's face tried to make." --Conan O'Brien

"Welcome to the show, ladies and gentlemen. I'm so happy you're here tonight, because, last night, oh my gosh, we had a rough crowd. I couldn't get the Blue Dogs to go along. Oh, you see, I didn't know what that meant either." --David Letterman

"You know about the situation? Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., from Harvard and Sergeant James Crowley, the police officer that cuffed him and tried to drag him out of his house and arrest him. Then later, in a press conference, President Obama said that one of them, I guess the policeman, acted stupidly. Already, there's trouble right there. So here's what the President is going to do. Does it make sense? I don't know. He invited the professor and the cop to come to the White House on Thursday for beer. Alcohol usually cools things off. Have you noticed that? That's where you want to go." --David Letterman

"And Joe Biden's pretty busy. Today he went out to get a keg." --David Letterman

"But everybody at the White House, excited about the kegger. You know who's coming? Well, Dick Cheney will be there. Here's what he's going to do. He'll be playing the organ down in his old dungeon." --David Letterman

"If it goes well, then President Obama is going to invite Governor and Mrs. Sanford to come up and have a beer." --David Letterman

"And then in the spirit of this, I thought it was nice today, Rush Limbaugh called up Professor Gates and Officer Crowley and he invited them over for some OxyContin." --David Letterman

"President Obama's not the only President who enjoys the occasional beer. Bill Clinton, remember Bill Clinton would have an occasional beer? Here's what he would do. He would go into a bar and order a cold one. Do you remember that? And then the bartender would say, 'Oh, then go home to Hillary.'" --David Letterman

"President Obama invited Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and Sergeant James Crowley to the White House for a beer this Thursday. It's all part of Obama's new approach to diplomacy, How would they handle this on 'Cheers.'" --Jimmy Fallon

"Who watched the season finale of 'The Bachelorette' last night? It came down to a choice between computer consultant Ed and in a surprise twist, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who gets around." –Jimmy Kimmel

"There is one thing we know for sure. Barack Obama was not born in the United States, making him constitutionally ineligible to serve as president. You see, I'm a member of the proud 'birther' movement -- made up of decent, old-fashioned Americans who just want to overturn a democratic election. And yesterday, our cause made it all the way to the White House [on screen: WH press sec. Robert Gibbs, asked why the birther issue keeps coming up, tells reporters, 'Because for $15, you can get an Internet address and say whatever you want']. Of course, Gibbs has his own secrets. You can read all about them at my $15 website, That was worth every penny." --Stephen Colbert (Watch video clip)

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