Friday, July 23, 2004

Into the lion's den

Bush finally finds an almost-receptive-or-at-least-polite black audience to speak to, the National Urban League, after turning down the NAACP. I’d missed that after claiming he had a scheduling conflict, he actually went bike-riding that day. Imagine Shrub speaking to an audience that included Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in the front row.

Oh Lord, get me out of here alive

He asked the audience, "Is it a good thing for the African American community to be represented mainly by one political party? ... How is it possible to gain political leverage if the party is never forced to compete?" The question is, as he says, legitimate, but here’s the problem with it: it suggests tactical, collective voting. Communities don’t vote, individuals do. How would they go about following his advice, anyway--draw up lots and 25% of black voters would have to vote Republican? I’m waiting to hear this speech denounced for its cynicism toward the democratic process: a Republican "president" giving advice to black people on how to put pressure on the Democratic party, how to increase their "leverage" by voting for the R’s. On the cynic-o-meter, it’s right up there with R’s funding the Ralph Nader ballot-access campaign (which, by the way, I consider, yes, cynical, but hardly the dastardly dirty trick so many on the left seem to find it. After all, most of those people are supporting Kerry more to get rid of Bush than for Kerry’s own sake).

HELLO MUDDA, HELLO FADDA: a summer camp on Sakhalin, in Siberia, has been found actually to be a training center for young thieves, aged 12 to 18.

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