Saturday, June 06, 2009


Racist of the Day: Wesley Pruden

Mr. Obama's revelation of his "inner Muslim" in Cairo reveals much about who he is. He is our first president without an instinctive appreciation of the culture, history, tradition, common law and literature whence America sprang. The genetic imprint writ large in his 43 predecessors is missing from the Obama DNA. He no doubt meant no offense in returning that bust of Churchill ("Who he?") or imagining that a DVD of American movies was appropriate in an exchange of state gifts with Gordon Brown. Nor did he likely understand why it was an offense against history (and good manners) to agree to the exclusion of the Queen from Saturday's commemoration of the Anglo-American liberation of France. Kenya simply routed Kansas. —Wesley Pruden, columnist and former editor of the Washington Times, opining in "'Inner Muslim' at work in Cairo"

I don't use the "racist" label often. But this is racism in its purest form—with a bit of religious bigotry thrown in for good measure. Pruden's writing reached it's nadir when he penned "Churchill ('Who he?')." For those who don't speak American English, let me explain that Pruden is suggesting here that Obama is ignorant of Churchill, and that upon hearing the name, he responded in a Black dialect traditionally associated with "Black stupidity" in which the verb "to be" is omitted.

From references to Obama's DNA (no metaphor here) to the allusion to Kenya (i.e., the black side of Obama's heritage), I don't recall seeing anything quite so racist in a quasi-mainstream newspaper since the days of the civil rights movement.

I note that at the time of writing Pruden's column is #2 in the Times' list of the "Most Read" and #1 among the "Most Shared."

I hope the Secret Service is following the Washington Times with interest. When a newspaper turns its op-ed page over to the Klan, it's sure to bring out the loonies.

Related post
Subtle Menace of the Day: Barack Obama (6/02/09)


Thursday, June 04, 2009


Equivocal Headline of the Day: Why the Austrian economy failed

£90m bail for Briton blamed for collapse of Austrian economy —headline in The Independent

I tried to warn them they were setting his bail too high. But would they listen? No!

The size of the bail was in fact a "first"—

After several generations of rubbing shoulders with the Hapsburgs, Julius Meinl V, a British passport-holder and the grandson of the architect of his family's post-war success, found himself as an unexpected guest of Vienna's 170-year-old Josefstadt Prison for two days after he was arrested on suspicion of causing a €3bn fraud.

The 49-year-old millionaire, who was born in London, owns a black Bentley and uses his family's 800-acre estate in Wiltshire, secured his release at the ignominious price of paying a world record sum for bail after a magistrate demanded a bond of €100m (£90m) to allay fears that he would climb into his private Falcon jet (he holds a pilot's licence) and flee justice.

What is Meinl accused of? —

The alleged financial scandal concerns Meinl European Land (MEL), a property investment fund focused on central Europe which reaped rich rewards during the height of the property boom. But some 60,000 Austrians who had paid into the fund, which was owned by Meinl Bank, lost money when MEL's share price plunged from €20 to just €3 during the financial crisis and investigators moved in, describing the alleged fraud as "huge" and "highly complex".

Media coverage in Austria has focused on claims that Mr Meinl, who trained at Bear Stearns, the now-defunct New York investment house, used the family bank to secretly shore up the property fund by buying back shares.

What a pity! If Mr. Meinl had trained at Goldman Sachs he might have gotten away with it.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Subtle Menace of the Day: Barack Obama

Now, as I said before, I haven't said anything yet.... —Barack Obama in an interview with Steve Inskeep and Michele Norris

Well, to be fair, some context is needed. The question previous to the one in which Obama made this glib remark was—

Inskeep: Mr. President, you mentioned a freeze on settlements. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quoted today saying to Cabinet members in Israel that he will not follow your demand for a freeze on settlements in the West Bank — that it's not going to happen. What does it suggest, that Israel is not taking your advice?

Obama responded diplomatically by saying—

Well, I think it's still early in the process. They formed a government, what, a month ago? I think that we're going to have a series of conversations....

Inskeep then followed up with—

But if the United States says for years that Israel should stop the settlements, and for years, Israel simply does not, and the United States continues supporting Israel in roughly the same way, what does that do with American credibility in the Muslim world which you're trying to address?

To which Obama replied—

Well, I think what is certainly true is that the United States has to follow through on what it says. Now, as I said before, I haven't said anything yet, because it's early in the process. But it is important for us to be clear about what we believe will lead to peace and that there's not equivocation and there's not a sense that we expect only compromise on one side; it's going to have to be two-sided, and I don't think anybody would deny that, in theory. When it comes to the concrete, then the politics of it get difficult, both within the Israeli and the Palestinian communities. But, look, if this was easy, it would've already been done.

As best I can read this, Obama is saying that the United States—which is to say, Barack Obama—must follow through on what he says. But with regard to Netanyahu's refusal to halt the settlements, he hasn't yet made a statement. Instead, he expects there to be "a series of conversations."

It must be said that Obama is suggesting a firmness toward Israel that we have not seen for many a year.

The interview opened with this—

Michele Norris: .... If you want to improve relations with the Muslim world, do you have to change or alter in some way the strong U.S. support for Israel?

No, I don't think that we have to change strong U.S. support for Israel. I think that we do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace. And that's going to require, from my view, a two-state solution that is going to require that each side — the Israelis and Palestinians — meet their obligations.

I've said very clearly to the Israelis both privately and publicly that a freeze on settlements, including natural growth, is part of those obligations. I've said to the Palestinians that their continued progress on security and ending the incitement that, I think, understandably makes the Israelis so concerned, that that has to be — those obligations have to be met. So the key is to just believe that that process can move forward and that all sides are going to have to give. And it's not going to be an easy path, but one that I think we can achieve.

Obama's demand that Israel halt the "natural growth" of the settlements is in fact a very strong demand. Settlers do have children.

Is this real? Can Obama really bring pressure to bear on Israel? Expect to hear from the Israeli lobby today in your national news.


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