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[politics] Obama’s middle name

There’s a lot of idiocy already floating around about Barack Obama, especially with respect to his alleged terrorist connections. E.D. Hill’s “terrorist fist jab” comment, for example. Even some of the moron wing of the Democratic party are saying things like “…he may be terrorist connected for all I can tell. It sounds kind of like he may be.”

This is racism, barely bothering with a veil. “Terrorist” is a much safer word than, say, “black”, because it’s just fine in America today to revile both Muslims and Arabs (who are not synonymous, any more than white people and Christians are) with the sort of venom once found on the steps of Central High School in Little Rock, or on the streets of Selma. Public discourse in America won’t easily sustain naked white-on-black racism these days, not even on FOX, but white-on-Arab/Islamic racism is just fine and dandy and even quite patriotic.

Obama is ready made for that kind of whispering. He attended Muslim schools in his youth, and his middle name is Hussein. That’s what people like E.D. Hill1 and Fred Hobbs will ensure that millions of Republican voters will be focused on this summer and fall. The nuttier elements on the right don’t even want to believe the circumstances of his birth.

Let’s compare me to Senator Obama.

Jay Lake Barack Obama
Name on Birth Certificate Joseph Edward Lake II Barack Hussein Obama II
Childhood Religious Schooling 3 years in Southern Baptist missionary schools in Taiwan and Nigeria Several years in Islamic school in Indonesia

So we were both named after our fathers. Oddly, so was the current president, albeit with a different middle name. Obama’s middle name is of religious and political significance in the Islamic world. My middle name is the same as one of England’s most recent male monarchs, Edward VIII2, clearly of royalist significance.

Does anyone not on a thorazine drip imagine that I might be a British royalist secretly angling to overthrow the Constitution and restore the Crown to the Americas? The idea is profoundly laughable. Being suspicious of Obama because of the middle name he inherited from his Kenyan father at birth is just as laughable.

We both went to religious schools run by a faith neither of us has ever proclaimed for ourselves. Does anyone who’s every spent ten minutes talking to me or reading my blog somehow imagine that I might be a crypto-Baptist working to bring about the Christian Millenium? That’s even more laughable that imagining me a British royalist. Yet similar choices made by Obama’s parents for him when he was a minor are being held up as evidence that he is secretly a Muslim.

This is conservative red meat stuff, victimization and conspiracy and innuendo. The American Right has not been a culture of ideas since Goldwater, if not before — they need something to react against in order to be viable. This kind of thinking drove the Red Scare. It drove the Nixon White House. It hounded the Clintons for the eight years of Bill’s presidency. (Remember the Clinton White House Christmas tree allegedly decorated with crack pipes and condoms?) It would have dogged a Hillary candidacy, and it will dog the Obama candidacy.

Except for Obama, making him out to be a crypto-Muslim legitimizes the racism inherent in a vast swathe of the Republican electorate, while also prying apart the Democratic electorate along similar lines. Naked white-on-black racism is difficult to pull off these days with a straight face in mainline public discourse, but lashing Obama to the terrorist mast will be the sport of kings for months to come, giving millions of people who won’t quite say the N-word in public a good, warm-hearted patriotic reason to vote against the brown man. (And I say this as a suspected Southern Baptist Royalist.)

More shame on all of us as Americans that this can be true.

1. Yes, I am aware E.D. Hill’s show has since been cancelled, and that Hobbs is a Democrat. I’m pretty sure this sort of innuendo isn’t going to go away because of that. Note also the common thread between the two of them was FOX News, the fair-and-balanced network whose “news” director was one of Ronald Reagan’s key political strategists.

2. Yes, I am aware that Edward VIII abdicated without being formally crowned.

[personal|writing] Updatery of the rankest order

Got about 2/3 of the way through Green yesterday, reading the line edits and batting clean-up on the last few change notes. I’d really like to do a print-out for hard copy read through, but I doubt I have time between now and 6/30 for that.

Yesterday evening ran a little later than planned, then, in a fit of madness, I tried sleeping without the drugs. (This happened Sunday night by accident.) I’ll be functional today, but it won’t be pretty. Having my hair done this afternoon, then probably flat and quiet all evening. This is consistent with my “every other day” post-op energy levels, though the sleepless night doesn’t help.

Locus Awards this weekend, so I’ll be in Seattle from Friday afternoon to mid-day Sunday. Energy permitting, I’ll be at the Clarion West party Bill Gibson shindig Friday night. See some, all or none of you there.

[links] Link salad for a Wednesday

jimhines with good advice for Con Virgins

Magnetic Genes — Genetically engineered cells make their own nanomagnets, providing clear MRI images. With bonus photography of a mouse brain!

Road Rage Correlates with Number of Bumper Stickers — Interesting if a bit weird. (Snurched from Interrupting Gelastic Jew.)

The Fate of The Sentence: Is the Writing On the Wall? — Shorter WaPo: Oh noes! Kids today will be death of language! I’m pretty sure Cicero complained about the same thing. And look what happened to Latin.

What did it mean to ‘bear arms’ in 1791?Language Log with an interesting piece on the Second Amendment. Their opinion runs contrary to my own feelings on the subject, but they’re certainly analyzing a lot of worthwhile data to get there. Me, I mostly think thousands of gun deaths every year is a staggeringly high price to pay for a theoretical defense of essential liberties, but what do I know? (It also took me years to understand that the phrase “If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns” was not a pro-gun control argument.)

The Court McCain WantsWaPo on McCain, Gitmo and the Supremes. Once again, Mr. Straight Talk Express was for something before he was against it. Too bad Your Liberal Media is still largely incapable of recognizing a significant McCain flip-flop, especially when there’s terrorist fist jabs to be discussed.

More conservative wrong-ness on Guantanamo — Glenn Greenwald on John Yoo on the Supreme Court’s Boumediene decision. Just in case you thought people detained at Gitmo and elsewhere in the War on Terror are, you know, terrorists. If this Republican administration can cause innocent people to disappear for years without any recourse, what protects you? Why any conservative worth the name supports this utter abrogation of the rule of law is beyond me.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 259.4
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad for a Tuesday, climate change and Gitmo

Self-sufficiencymarydell sent me this link in honor of my recent medical issues.

Man vs horse race — Not that! (Thaks to lt260.)

Making Old Muscle Young — Researchers boost growth of muscle stem cells to stop age-related muscle deterioration. This is worth living in the 21st century for.

Federal Lands in the US — Another interesting image from Strange Maps.

Even the Antarctic winter cannot protect Wilkins Ice Shelf — The liberal myth of global warming suckers a major Antarctic ice shelf. Even the climate is a traitor on climate change! Don’t they have Rush Limbaugh down there?

In Praise of Oklahoma — Money shot: Just recently, Inhofe informed the nation that global warming was “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state.” Got to love conservatives. Inhofe is a sitting Republican senator elected by a majority (or at least a plurality) of voters in Oklahoma. And people wonder why this country is in the ditch, with thinking like that in charge. It’s so cute what Republicans believe. (Snurched from I forget where in the blogosphere.)

Report Questions Pentagon Accounts — A WaPo story about where the “enhanced interrogation” techniques used at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere originated. Let’s just the say the “few bad apples” theory isn’t looking any more credible than it did before. Money shot: “Senior officials in the United States government sought out information on aggressive techniques, twisted the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.” Remember back when the GOP claimed to be all about the rule of law? Just more pixie dust from the American Right. Are you proud of your Republican Party?

C.E. Petit on the Boumediene ruling — This is the recent Gitmo ruling from the Supreme Court, and he’s specifically commenting on Scalia’s shallow opportunism (my words, not his) in the dissent.

George Will on the same question — He calls BS on McCain’s comments. Interesting. Clearly, much like the Wilkins Ice Shelf, the liberals have gotten to Will as well, since with this column he is now objectively pro-terrorist.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 259
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[personal] Father’s Day

So it was a good Father’s Day yesterday, even if I pooped out at 7 pm. Morning with the_child, lunch with Mom and Dad and lillypond (a/k/a the sororal unit), then the almost-impromptu afternoon reading with barthanderson and a cast of dozen, followed by hanging out at the McMenamin’s St. John’s, which turned out to be in an unexpectedly historic building.

Got home around 6:30, passed out around 7:00, slept for about nine hours without any drugs. Whee!

[links] Link salad for a whole new Monday

A reader reacts to Mainspring Powell’s | Amazon thb | Audible ]

Branding: 1939 — I swear, if the Cold Waste had hamburger stands they’d look like this one. Note the eldritch runes along the top of the wall. ETA: A rather nice response to this, from mythusmage.

Some seriously weird tromp de l’oeil — (Thanks to willyumtx.)

Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife — They’re not kidding about the “giant.” Pull the other one, it hath bells on it. (Thanks to lt260.)

Bacterial petroleum — Biotech cowboys up. (Thanks to lt260.)

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 260.2
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad, never never on a Sunday

What philosophy do you follow? — Apparently I am 100% Existentialist and 100% Hedonist, with much lower scores on everything else. Is that even possible?

Ex-planet gets namesakes — Plutoids? Really? (Thanks to lt260.)

How the Romans invented grammarLanguage Log with a (very) brief history of grammar.

Shorpy with a 1902 photo of the Wright flyer

Stephen Hawking: ministers’ £80m error puts science at risk — Money shot: “The notion that scientists will make a more valuable contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of the world if their research is closely directed by politicians is the most astonishing piece of nonsense I have had the misfortune to come across in a long time,” Cox said. Luckily, here in the United States we don’t let political considerations dictate science policy. Oh, wait, never mind. (Hat tip to Bad Astronomy Blog.)

Iraq, the sovereign colony? — Read this and ask yourself if this is how our country should behave. If you’re a conservative who thinks the Iraq War is a key issue and the president should do anything he can despite the Senate, ask yourself how you’d feel about President Obama doing such an end run. We have checks and balances for a reason, and the GOP lost sight of that reason a long time ago.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 260.6
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad is working for the weekend

Hilarous faux-retro video — Ocean City, MD, advising us to visit their beaches before the oceans boil away in a billion years. Definitely worth the clickthrough.

Centauri Dreams on collecting interplanetary dust particles in the upper atmosphere — Even the process of doing this is very weird. Like grabbing a needle out of a haystack while flying by in an F-16.

Simulate a meteor strike in England — Wipe out the bifteks! With all kinds of cool parameters to wreak destruction on perfidious Albion.

The British vs the US Right — “This skepticism of Government power […] is precisely what has been missing almost completely from the American Right, for which there is now no federal government power too great or too unlimited to embrace.” As I’ve said repeatedly, the Republicans have betrayed every principle they have (except tax cuts). Interesting to see how true conservatives view the war on terror. Worth the read even if you think liberal-progressives are full of it.

Why a McCain Win May Be Bad for GOP, Good for Democrats — “Republicans and conservatives [perceive] that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as president, particularly with large Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, would be utterly disastrous.” Right. After the glittering successes of the Bush-43 administration, I can see how a change would be destructive. I mean, civil liberties, economic prosperity and good healthcare are things any red-blooded Americans should fight against. Right?

“Isn’t it after all only history?”The Edge of the American West with a reminder of what the Nixon years were like. Wow, the GOP hasn’t changed at all.

E.D. Hill has companyMedia Matters with a heavily-sourced discussion of how Obama is treated in the press. Recommended reading for those of who either a) believe the media has a liberal bias or b) believe the media has a pro-Obama bias.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 261.6
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad says TGIF

Schools Struggle With Dark Writings — Wow, this article is disturbing on a number of levels. If my mental health was being judged based on my fiction, they’d never let me out. It happened to me once, that I wrote a story which scared an instructor so much I was blackballed from a program. You might know that little piece as “The Goat Cutter.” (Thanks to willyumtx.)

In which I ask for your opinion on my greatest hits

Another Internet doppelganger surfaces — It’s amazing how I get around.

Thai Ladyboy Test — I scored a 90%. I think that’s good. (Thanks to willyumtx.)

Baby Supernova ID’d in Milky Way — They’re so cuuuute.

BMW GINA — A fabric-skinned automobile. Which is oddly reminiscent of BMW’s original business line, building engines for WWI era fabric-skinned aircraft. (Thanks to sheelangig.)

Photo of a frilled shark — Fascinating but sad story attached.

54 sickened at hospital after farmer’s chemical-fuelled vomit generates toxic gas — That’s like something out of cyberpunk. (Thanks to willyumtx.)

Right Wing Bloggers Employ Investigative Journalism “Skills” to Skim Documentsnomissnewo has some fun at the expense of people who are far too easy to make fun of. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch, either.

Ex-Clark Co. GOP chief admits performing oral sex on a sleeping man — As the story notes, the perp was also chairman of the Young Republican National Federation. This is why gay marriage must be opposed at all costs! Because Republicans just can’t control themselves without a Constitutional amendment! Mmm, family values.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 262.2
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]