Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why would a black woman try to justify slavery?

Oh, look, Lord. Here's somebody with practically no understanding of history. Why would a black woman try to justify slavery? Is this like the wife of an alcoholic saying "he just needs it to relax" or something?

Her name, Lord, is Jean Gasho-Musuka, and she apparently hasn't read Your book all that closely, has she?

"With the issue of Slavery Christians are often put in a corner because they are trying to defend God and at the same time the bible nowhere directly attacks slavery. The bible does not condemn slavery."

Actually, Jean, the Bible not only "does not condemn slavery," it actively supports it. It's filled with wholesome examples of how slaves should behave.
All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. (1 Timothy 6:1)
(For clarity, I'll be using the NIV here.)

Of course, while you tried to justify your argument with statements (in your "Responses" section) like "What you have to understand is that slavery in Biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world," it shows that you still don't have a full understanding of the Bible.

(Oh, by the way, you and your friends need to stop feeding from the same trough. I smell plagiarism when another one of your commenters, "michael," repeats your arguments pretty much word-for-word.)

Well, of course racial slavery was less common. Different races are found in different parts of the world, and they didn't have much long-distance travel back then. Very little contact between different races. Does that really make it better?

Regardless of that, slavery was very similar in ancient times and more recently. And if you'd truly read your Old Testament, you'd know that. Slaveowners, for example, were allowed to beat their slaves, as long as they survived the ordeal.
When a slave owner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner's property. (Exodus 21:20-21)
And, of course, the slave is just supposed to take the abuse.
Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. (1 Peter 2:18-21)
Of course, there were other interesting rules for slaves back then.
If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free. But if the servant declares, "I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free," then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life. (Exodus 21:2-6)
See, you lose your investment in six years, unless you hold his wife and child hostage. Then you can make him yours for life. That's family values for you!

Of course, selling your daughters as sex slaves is even a better example of family values, isn't it?
If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money. (Exodus 21:7-11)
And see? You're even allowed to cast your sex-slave aside, and it doesn't cost you a thing (past your initial investment, anyway)! What a great way to keep peace with your new wife!

Let us pray - Lord, please allow this woman to read and truly understand your Book. And if she does so, and still feels that it has any relevance in the modern world, please make her stop misquoting it.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

How can God be wrong?

In 1972, a man named Harry McCall was attending Bob Jones University; in the bookstore, they sold a 32 page pamphlet called "Is Segregation Scriptural," written (you probaly guessed this) by Bob Jones, Sr. It was based on a message he'd sent out in 1960, in response to a little ruling called Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka (for those of you not up on your legal rulings, Brown declared that segregated schools, and therefore segregation, were unconstitutional).

Now, this little booklet (which Mr. McCall excerpts in a blog called Debunking Christianity) gets right to the point. In the words of Dr Jones (pater):
Now, we folks at Bob Jones University believe that whatever the Bible says is so; and we believe it says certain fundamental things that all Bible-believing Christians accept; but when the Bible speaks clearly about any subject, that settles it. Men do not always agree, because some are dumb-some people are spiritually dumb; but when the Bible is clear, there is not any reason why everybody should not accept it.
Straightforward, isn't it? Keep that thought in mind. "The Bible is always right."

Dr. Jones then points out the following bit of Scripture (Acts 17:26): "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation."

He seems to base his entire argument on that point: God set up each race in the place He felt that they needed to be. Or to put it more bluntly,
God never meant to have one race. It was not His purpose at all. God has a purpose for each race. God Almighty may have overruled and permitted the slaves to come over to America so that the colored people could be the great missionaries to the Africans. They could have been. The white people in America would have helped pay their way over there. By the hundreds and hundreds they could have gone back to Africa and got the Africans converted after the slavery days were over...

All men, to whatever race they may belong, have immortal souls; but all men have mortal bodies, and God fixed the boundaries of the races of the world. Let me repeat that it is no accident that most of the Chinese live in China. It is not an accident that most Japanese live in Japan; and the Africans should have been left in Africa, and the Gospel should have been taken to them as God command His people to do.
Now is where the logic gets spectacularly twisted.
Now, you colored people listen to me. If you had not been bought over here and if your grandparents in slavery days had not heard that great preaching, you might not even be a Christian, You might be over there in the jungles of Africa today, unsaved. Bt you are here in America where you have your own schools and your own churches and your own liberties and your own rights, with certain restrictions that God Almighty put about you - restrictions that are in line with the Word of God.
See, that's the important point - as far as Dr Jones is concerned (definitely Jones pater - and probably fils, considering that he wouldn't allow the flag flown at half-staff when Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot), God wants the races kept separate. It's pretty plain in his closing prayer.
Our heavenly Father, bless our country. We thank Thee for our ancestors. We thank Thee for the good, Christian people - white and black. We thank Thee for the ties that have bound these Christian white people and Christian colored people together throughout the years, and we thank Thee that white people who had a little more money helped them build their churches and stood by them and when they got sick, they helped them. No nation has ever prospered or been blessed like the colored people in the South. Help these colored Christians not to get swept away by all the propaganda that is being put out now. Help us to see this thing and to understand God’s established order and to be one in Christ and to understand that God has fixed the boundaries of the nations so we would not have trouble and misunderstanding. Keep us by Thy power and use us for Thy glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
So, as you can see, segregation wasn't just the official policy of Bob Jones University: as far as the founders were concerned, it was the unerring word of God. (Keep that phrase in mind, too. "The unerring word of God.")

Let's move up a couple of decades, to the present day. Bob Jones University has reversed their former policies on race. On their website, they've posted the following statement:
On national television in March 2000, Bob Jones III, who was the university’s president until 2005, stated that BJU was wrong in not admitting African-American students before 1971, which sadly was a common practice of both public and private universities in the years prior to that time. On the same program, he announced the lifting of the University’s policy against interracial dating.

Our sincere desire is to exhibit a truly Christlike spirit and biblical position in these areas. Today, Bob Jones University enrolls students from all 50 states and nearly 50 countries, representing various ethnicities and cultures. The University solicits financial support for two scholarship funds for minority applicants, and the administration is committed to maintaining on the campus the racial and cultural diversity and harmony characteristic of the true Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
Remember those two important phrases? "The unerring word of God"? "The Bible is always right." It really doesn't matter whether you subscribe to them. The point is, BJU based a policy on their interpretation of a Biblical passage. Which they now admit was wrong.

Maybe, people's interpretation of the Bible aren't always right.

Now, let's tie this into current events. (Current events other than the recent racist resurrgence, that is.) In the middle of this pamphlet on segregation (which they now admit was wrong), you find the following statement.
A Christian relationship does not mean a marriage relationship. You can be a Christian and have fellowship with people that you would not marry and that God does not want you to marry and that if you should marry you would be marrying outside the will of God. Why can’t you see that? Why can’t good, solid, substantial people who do not have any hatred and do not have any bitterness see that?
Does anybody remember a little thing in California recently called Proposition 8?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Black President - White Power

Presidents-elect typically get hate-mail after they win an election. And disgruntled members of a losing political party are known for making inappropriate comments about their new, unwanted Commander-in-Chief. But Barack Obama is facing something that no other president has had to deal with: racial backlash.
The Secret Service would not comment or provide the number of cases they are investigating. But since the Nov. 4 election, law enforcement officials have seen more potentially threatening writings, Internet postings and other activity directed at Obama than has been seen with any past president-elect, said officials aware of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue of a president's security is so sensitive.
Incidents of racist graffiti have been cropping up around the country; nooses have been found in several locations; and internet threats have all increased in numbers which have caused concern (and significantly increased workload) among Secret Service agents.
One of the most popular white supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election, compared with 91 new members on Election Day, according to an AP count. The site,, was temporarily off-line Nov. 5 because of the overwhelming amount of activity it received after Election Day. On Saturday, one Stormfront poster, identified as Dalderian Germanicus, of North Las Vegas, said, "I want the SOB laid out in a box to see how 'messiahs' come to rest. God has abandoned us, this country is doomed."
More than merely strong upticks traffic on white supremacist sites, the Southern Poverty Law Center and police departments across the country have documented hundreds of race-related incidents since election day, from both individuals and groups like the Ku Klux Klan and other supremacist organizations. Two different assassination plots against Barack Obama have been foiled so far; admittedly, in both cases, these were low-end, inbred mouthbreathers without a chance of success (the second pair thought that they could kill 144 blacks before they got killed in a suicide attack on Obama: this isn't a plan; it's the plot of a direct-to-cable movie), but these are just the ones they've broken up so far.

All of the various racist organizations are hoping that Obama's election will increase their membership more than any other single incident in recent years. And they're certainly trying to take advantage of it by stepping up their recruiting drives. Flyers have been found in several places around the country, and they're even moving into digital recruiting.

There has been some judicial pushback, though. One teen who was beaten by Klan members just got a $2.5 million judgment, and the state appeals court has agreed to review an overturned conviction of a Klansman for the 1964 abduction of two murdered black teens.

And just because I find irony in it: aside from admitting that Obama's election will be an outstanding recruiting tool, Thomas Robb, the Klan's national director, was struggling to put a brave face on the election of a black man.
"I know that you have been hearing that Obama would be the first black president," Mr. Robb writes. "However, you and I both know this is not true. Obama is only half black. Not only is he only half black — he was not raised in a black environment. He was raised by his single mother," who was white, and abandoned by his African father, something "so common with black men that there are jokes about it."
Of course, that logic doesn't explain why Obama has been married to his wife Michelle for sixteen years, but we'll move past that.

My favorite Klan story recently would have to be this one: a lady takes a bus from Oklahoma to Louisiana to join the Klan, and after they shave her head and make her run around in the woods for several hours with a torch, she decides she wants to go home. So the "Grand Lordship" shot and killed her. (I'm not sure if that qualifies as Darwin at work, or justifiable homicide. Of course, since it was another racist who shot her, the "justifiable" excuse kind of goes away, doesn't it?)

Yes, by the way, he called himself "the Grand Lordship" - apparently, he didn't think Wizards or Dragons were serious enough for an important title like his.

Then his Lordship pulled out a knife and tried to dig out the bullet, figuring that he'd be able to cover up his dastardly deed. (I guess that they don't know much about forensics in the backwoods of Louisiana.) Then he has two other guys hide the body under some brush.
Sheriff's investigators said they received the initial tip from a convenience store clerk. Two of the group members went into the store and asked the clerk whether he knew how to get bloodstains out of their clothes, Strain said. The clerk told them no and called the sheriff after they left.
Now, if you're going to run around the woods in white robes, shouldn't you already be pretty good at stain removal? It seems to me like you'd be getting a lot of practice at it already. But this is the high quality of racist we have to deal with for the next eight years.

We can only hope that having a visible black man as President of the United States will provide the children of racists with a role model - a better role model than the toothless hatemonger in charge of their family. I actually don't have much hope that this will happen, but it's always possible.

But it means that we have one more reason that Barack Obama needs to succeed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Time for our annual Health Assessment

OK, since our health plan costs less if I fill out some health assessment, I decided that it made sense to do that. Once I finally found the assessment (not easy, since they gave me the wrong location for it at first), I started noticing some problems right away.

Under my personal information, it asked if I was Latino or not. I can accept that – it's an ethnicity, not a race. But then, the next question did want to know my race, followed by "answer yes or no for each." And the choices were White, "Black or African American," Asian, Pacific Islander, or "Native American or Native Alaskan."

I could easily have marked each one "yes," which seems a little excessive. Most people settle on one or another of those choices and stick with it. Sometimes, like with Tiger Woods, people can’t accept a black man playing golf, so they parse his background a little harder, to show that he’s not a "normal" black man. But, unless you’re fixated on the "one drop" rule of the Old South, most of us stick with a single-word descriptor. I'm white, but I pretty sure that if you go back far enough you'll dig up black and Native American DNA. I don't know of any specific Asian or Pacific Islander DNA, but that's always a possibility. We're mutts. Welcome to America.

Now, I then find that they want to know about my nutritional habits, using the following questions:
• Do you eat at least 2 cups of fruit each day?
• Do you eat at least 2.5 cups of vegetables each day?
• Do you eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain products (cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta) each day? One ounce is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or 1/2 cups of cooked rice or pasta.
• Do you consume at least 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, or cheese each day?
• Do you regularly eat foods that are high in cholesterol or fat such as fatty meat, cheese, fried foods, eggs, or baked goods?
Feel free to do that math on your own. I guarantee that I don't eat seven and a half cups of food every day, not to mention the three slices of bread I'd be cramming in on top of it. You'd have to wheel me into work with a forklift. (Oh, by the way, bread qualifies as a "baked good" – I know what they mean, but they needed to think a little harder about that wording.)

We'll skip the questions about my physical activity – I know I'm a slug. But at least I don't smoke.

Then we hit the following question: "In a given week, on how many days do you typically have one or more alcoholic drink? (one drink = one 12 oz beer, 5 oz of wine, one shot of liquor or one mixed drink)"

I have a bad feeling about this. Are they paying attention to the studies that indicate that two glasses of wine per day is good for your heart, or to the Alcoholics Anonymous-type determination that one drink a day makes you an alcoholic? The source of their data needs to be considered, after all.

Which is followed by "In the last 30 days, how often did you use drugs or medicine (including prescription drugs) to affect your mood or to help you relax?"

I think that qualifies under the heading Stupid Questions. Because you have two choices. If somebody is on anti-depressants, they’d need to answer "daily," which is probably a really bad answer. And everybody else will answer "Never". Even if they’re "self-medicating," they’re going to lie anyway - they already got past the drug test, so they aren't going to screw things up now. So what good does that question do? Does it help to throw in questions where you're requiring a percentage of your employees to lie?

Skip a few, and it gets to "During the past 4 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems? (Never, Seldom, Sometimes, Often, Always)" And the choices include:
• Breathing problems
• Backaches
• Chest pains
• Dizzy spells, tiredness, or fatigue
• Frequent headache
• Joint pain
• Trouble sleeping
• Trouble urinating
On Friday night, when the guys down the street decided to have that party and it spilled out into the street, do I count that as "trouble sleeping?" And you can see where that would lead directly to "tiredness or fatigue," right?

So I decided to self-medicate a little at that point, with about 2.5 ounces of medicinal alcohol. In rum form, if you're curious. Which led to a dizzy spell (and, incidentally, a certain amount of trouble urinating, but I don't think that they want to know about that one – it was more of an aim issue.)

And headaches? Not until I started this quiz.

So how screwed am I by that question?

"In the last year, how many times did you visit a doctor's office or clinic?" was followed by "In the last year, how many times have you gone to the emergency room?" Uhh... "daily?" I work in a freaking hospital!!!

"In the last year, how many times have you stayed overnight in a hospital as a patient?" Finally, "as a patient." Thank you.

"In the last year, how often did doctors or other health providers explain things in a way you could understand?" I'm an admin guy - over the course of a three month period, there are 14 different meetings I go to (between one and three times each, depending on the meeting), and I take the minutes for all of them. Do you know how often I have no idea what the hell it is I'm typing? I just throw the words down on the paper and everybody's happy.

"Has anyone in your family (brother, sister, mother, father, grandparents) ever had heart problems?" My dad graduated West Point, and then spent 24 years in the Army. There's a question whether he actually had a heart. Does that count as a problem?

"On average, how close to the speed limit do you usually drive?" And why is it that they think people are going to admit to breaking a law? Again, why do they insist on throwing in questions that everybody's going to lie about?

"During the past 4 weeks, would you say that you experienced a lot of stress, a moderate amount of stress, or relatively little stress?" Well, are we including this quiz in that answer?

Then we come to one of the worst questions on this thing.
Compared to others like me, my overall risk of developing illness or disease is:
• Much higher
• Higher
• About the same
• Lower
• Much lower
• Don't know/Not sure
Let’s go over that again. First five words: "Compared to others like me."

The answer is "exactly the same!" Every time!! Even if you're an overweight, cancer-riddled, two-pack-a-day smoker, your chances of getting sick are exactly the same as every other overweight, cancer-riddled, two-pack-a-day smoker. Are they just trying to weed out hypochondriacs and people who think they're immortal?

Then they gave me a list of changes where I could improve my health (exercise, quit smoking, all the usual things), and asked "What keeps you from doing more to improve your health?" followed by a list of choices. Unfortunately, "sheer laziness" wasn’t one of the choices. They could have at least given me "Other," to cover things like "I'm a masochist and enjoy the occasional heart attack."

"What is the main reason you want to maintain or increase healthy habits and activities?" Uhh… so I don't have to take tests like this any more?

Then it went back over the choices, and asks "Do you think you’ll be able to make this change?" Am I actually getting nagged by a multiple-choice test? Can I go back and include this in those "how much stress" questions?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go find a deep-fried Snickers bar and a shot of vodka.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Take the bad with the good

This has not been the best week for my part-time job.

See, I got called by the security company I moonlight with this weekend. It wasn't to work the Joe Satriani concert, which was depressing. But it was two nights of work, not just one; so that was cool. But it was a monster truck show, which was kind of depressing. I'm just not a monster truck show kind of guy, I guess.

This was serious low-rent entertainment. It's possible that there were more people in the audience than teeth. It was in Tingley Colliseum, which seems a little strange (you know, cars, indoor events - just seems a little weird); the Friday night show was about 3/4 full, but Saturday was a capacity crowd - all 13,000 seats. The headliner was, of course, Gravedigger (he even has his own website:; he's one of the only monster trucks I've heard of besides the legendary (?) Bigfoot. If anybody cares (and I'm sure that somebody must), the other performers were el Matador (who happens to be extremely caucasian), the Pitbull (an Albuquerque native), King Krush, and the Ninja Turtle truck.

So no, before you ask, I didn't get to see Robosaurus or anybody like that. There were the monster trucks, some quadrunner racing, and the "street warriors" (time trials with modified street trucks).

The driver for Pitbull is apparently really into charity work - according to the announcer, he's going to sign his entire paycheck over to the Carrie Tingley hospital after the event, and he's going to spend the week with his truck and pit crew at the children's cancer ward at Carrie Tingley, too. So that's kind of cool. He also has hair down to the middle of his back, and (according to the announcer), cuts 10" of it off every year for Locks of Love.

Which would be easier to believe if I had 5" of hair right now, since I shaved my head six months ago. I'm thinking that he might cut off 10" whenever he gets it, but it takes a little longer than 12 months to get there. Unless he's just some kind of mutant freak.

The announcer was reasonably good - during the "Party in the Pit" on Saturday (where the trucks and drivers were all parked down there for a meet-and-greet with anybody who paid extra for their ticket), he lost his temper with kids climbing on the 5' tall tires, or on the brand new trucks that one of the local Ford dealerships had on display, but he had a steady supply of jokes and trivia for the crowd. (He did repeat the line "his truck runs on two squirrels and a mad cat" three times in two nights, but he didn't do too bad overall.)

I guess mechanical breakdowns are a pretty common part of the show - among the monster trucks, Matador's right rear wheel snapped off in a turn, and on Friday night, Pitbull misjudged a hill and ended up on his roof. One of the "street warriors" lost his driveshaft in a jump, and when they brought the front-loader to drag him out the blade punched into the right rear tire and punctured it. (That's what they use instead of tow-trucks: one big front-loader and one small one.)

The quadrunners were two teams of four riders: "Team Albuquerque" and "Team Las Vegas." And they tried to drum up enthusiasm by having a little wrestling drama going on. Team Las Vegas was, of course, the bad guys: they wore black jerseys, "rode dirty" (trying to drive the other team into the wall on the turns) and the team leader came out both nights and talked about how much he hated Albuquerque ("it smells," "this place sucks," all kinds of generic insults) and couldn't wait to take his money for winning and leave.

(Amazingly enough, Team Albuquerque won both nights - I couldn't have guessed that was going to happen. I wonder if Team Las Vegas ever gets to win. I guess they were doing too good Saturday night, because the team captain disqualified himself by cutting across the middle of the track to put himself in first place again. Crowd seemed to enjoy it, though.)

The crowd was reasonably easy to handle, especially when compared to, say, the crowd at Crue Fest. There was really only one issue: at the end of the show, part of the crowd decided to make their own way out of the arena, which would have put them too close to the trucks (insurance reasons - the people can't go close when the trucks are moving). So I had to drive them back and then keep them off those stairs. And, just to make things perfect, there's this drunk lady with her kids sitting nearby, and the son tells me proudly that he has a flag and waves it at me. I congratulated him and went back to dealing with the idiots. Apparently, the lady decided that I was supposed to give her son my entire attention, and starts screaming at me, "He was just trying to show you his flag! This is supposed to be all about the kids! Mr. Big Shot! Mr. Minimum Wage!"

So that was fun.

In the interest of keeping this crappy (and yes, minimum wage) job, I didn't bother to explain to her that, if I were doing it for the money, I would find another job. I do this because they pay me to see shows (admittedly, not one I particularly wanted to see, this weekend, but some of the concerts have been spectacular).

I also didn't ask (and I actually worked this speech up in my head, but held it back) whether, if this show actually was all about the kids, if this was how she wanted her particular kid to remember her, spewing drunken invective against people just trying to do their jobs. (Yes, the actual job that I was being paid for: in this case, her son was reasonably well-behaved, so I was allowed to ignore him; she, however, was falling into the "drunk and disorderly" category. Which meant that, in order to do this job that she was so dismissive of, she was the one I was supposed to pay attention to. There's probably irony in that.)

Next week, I'll be doing security for Method Man, and I'm not a big fan of rap, either. However, the next night, if our company gets the contract, I'll work security for a midget wrestling event.

I didn't even know they still had those.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dear President Obama,

I only have one request. Please live up to the hype.

Any woman will be happy to explain this: you're going to have to do a great job just to be considered "good." And as you're probably aware, you have nothing but roadblocks ahead of you now; you get to face bigotry on a scale you've never seen, blatantly insane right-wing viewpoints, and the disappointment of some of your most ardent supporters, who won't accept that you failed to turn water into wine in your first hundred days in office.

You have the unenviable task of reuniting a country splintered by years of divisiveness and Fox News. You get to rebuild the reputation of an America now scorned by countries that used to be our closest allies.

If the attacks of September 11, 2001 had not happened, George W. Bush would have gone down in history as a vaguely ineffectual president. But sadly, he has now left a legacy that you are going to have to spend most of your first term reversing.

On the other hand, merely by existing, you've given hope to a generation of young black men who didn't see any chance of getting ahead. (It's a shame you aren't a woman – that would be two glass ceilings to burst through.)

But there's your choice: do a good job, and be remembered as an inadequate excuse for a president. Or do a magnificent job, and be considered "OK."

Good luck with that.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A brief reflection on the 2008 election

I'd like to just say, as the results pour in from around the country:


Incidentally, I'd also like to say that I have nothing but support for Barack Obama in this time of tragedy. His grandmother has died prior to his election. That has to be hard for him. If I weren't drunk, I would be a lot more sympathetic. On the other hand, if Barack Obama hadn't won, I wouldn't be quite so drunk.

No, that's not true: if Barack Obama hadn't won, I'd be even drunker. To the point that, if I wasn't drunk now, I'd be seriously drunk about 15 minutes from now.

In fact, I can't see a result of this election that doesn't result in me being extremely drunk at the moment.

Oh, to hell with it. I'm going to go in search of the McCain concession speech, to revel in a little shadenfreude. (And if I wasn't, as I've pointed out, already drunk, I'd give you a link to tell you what "schadenfreude" means. But I am, so I won't - hell, I'm just happy that I can spell "schadenfreude" right now.)

Oh, and by the way...


Monday, November 03, 2008

Madelyn Dunham, 1922-2008

Madelyn Dunham, the grandmother of Barack Obama, died of cancer between 4 and 5 a.m. Eastern time at her home in Honolulu, the day before the polls open for the 2008 presidential election.

The Barack Obama presidential campaign issued a statement under his name and that of his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng:
It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.

Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer.
The woman Obama called "Toot" helped raise him during his childhood in Hawaii, and was a strong feminist in 1970's Honolulu, managed to become one of Bank of Hawaii's first female vice presidents, despite facing both sexism and racial discrimination.
Obama and Soetoro-Ng lived with their grandparents Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, and later with their mother, Ann Dunham, in 1970s Honolulu, where white people were routinely the target of discrimination.

Sam Slom, a Bank of Hawaii economist then, who is now a Republican state senator in Hawaii, recalls that as a part of the white — or "haole" — minority in Hawaii, he would regularly see housing ads that made no effort to hide racial preferences. He says he remembers ads that read, "No haoles" or "AJAs (Americans of Japanese ancestry) Only" or "No Japanese."

"That's the way it was," Slom said. "Did people talk about race? We had local jokes … like that 'pake' (Chinese) guy or the 'yobo' (Korean) who did this or that. I certainly got my share of haole jokes."
Her health had been declining for some time, and Senator Obama had suspended his campaign two weeks ago to fly back to Hawaii to be with her.

Whether this will have any effect on the campaign has yet to be determined, but it may be a critical loss of focus in the final hours before the election.