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Friday Mid-Morning News and Views

Mid-Morning Under the Eucalyptus, by Scott Wynn

Good Morning Conflucians!!! TGIF!! Sorry to be so late with my morning post. I stayed up too late last night watching the Celtics go down to the Lakers late in game 7 of the NBA playoffs. Bummer. So what’s happening in the news this morning?

After Obama’s speech Tuesday, I saw Newsweek contributor Julia Reed on Anderson Cooper giving her reaction. Originally from Mississippi, Reed moved to New Orleans in 1991, and lived through Hurricane Katrina, and is now experiencing the BP oilspill as a local. She was pretty worked up and spoke in a rather colorful way about what the President had said and not said.

This morning, I found out that Reed is a racist. Ooops! She said that if President Obama thinks that the only people who will be affected by the 6-month moratorium on offshore drilling, he must be “out of his cotton-pickin’ mind.” To be honest, I was listening only to the substance of her remarks and completely missed the underlying racial meaning. In fact, I was impressed with her willingness to speak honestly. Even Newsbusters is chiding her for racism. What do you think? Sorry for the poor sound quality.

Here’s a sample of the reactions: Did she call Reed the “b” word? Did she say the “f” word and the “n” word too? Wow.

I don’t even know what to say about all this. Yes, Reed’s words were poorly chosen…so now that should become more important than what she was talking about–millions of people being hurt by BP and the President’s slow and half-assed reaction? Again, I just don’t know what to say. Is calling the President’s reaction “half-assed” racist too? I honestly don’t know.

In other news, Paul Krugman is in Berlin, and he’s having “that thirties feeling.” Uh oh…

Suddenly, creating jobs is out, inflicting pain is in. Condemning deficits and refusing to help a still-struggling economy has become the new fashion everywhere, including the United States, where 52 senators voted against extending aid to the unemployed despite the highest rate of long-term joblessness since the 1930s.

Many economists, myself included, regard this turn to austerity as a huge mistake. It raises memories of 1937, when F.D.R.’s premature attempt to balance the budget helped plunge a recovering economy back into severe recession. And here in Germany, a few scholars see parallels to the policies of Heinrich Brüning, the chancellor from 1930 to 1932, whose devotion to financial orthodoxy ended up sealing the doom of the Weimar Republic.

But despite these warnings, the deficit hawks are prevailing in most places — and nowhere more than here, where the government has pledged 80 billion euros, almost $100 billion, in tax increases and spending cuts even though the economy continues to operate far below capacity.

Our so-called “leaders” are taking us headlong into Great Depression 2.0. Can they be stopped?

Oil companies say that there is no need for changes in regulation of offshore drilling, according to the LA Times.

Oil and gas companies have told the Obama administration that environmental regulations for deep-water drilling rigs do not immediately need to be toughened because the Deepwater Horizon explosion was an unforeseeable event, not a failure of federal oversight, according to documents filed last week with the White House.

The industry’s chief lobbying arm, the American Petroleum Institute, submitted written comments to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The council is reviewing whether the federal Minerals Management Service — the now-splintered and much criticized agency charged with regulating oil drilling — has appropriately conducted reviews mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act, known as NEPA.

“One accident does not mean that the practice and procedures of MMS are inadequate to implement NEPA’s requirements, especially when the cause of the accident has yet to be determined,” wrote the lobbying group, which represents 400 oil and gas companies, including BP.

Okay then. I guess that settles it. Moving on…

CNN reports on the UK media reaction to the “savaging” of BP CEO Tony Hayward.

PR guru Mark Borkowski writing in The Daily Telegraph, said that Hayward “couldn’t, or wouldn’t, answer most of the questions. In fact, he looked like a tired undertaker who was rather bored with having to look mournful.”

Later Borkowski added: “The man has the communication skills of a tax inspector; dry and arrogant. Its incredible that one of the most important corporate jobs in the world has been entrusted to him.”

Hayward’s tone was likened to “that of a weary registrar in a South London crematorium” by The Times’ Giles Whittell, writing from Washington.

“As to the meager substance of his answers, he appeared to have drunk deeply of the wisdom of his lawyers. The committee members knew it, and it did not make them happy.”

“Whatever he was thinking, what he said made him look like an oil man on the skids. Americans say he looks like Mr Bean. Make that Mr Has-been.”

How come we don’t have commentators like that here?

In violence against women and girls news, here is a shocking story from Alternet: After Cutting Little Girls’ Clitorises, Ivy League Doctor Tests Handiwork With a Vibrator

Not only is FGM [Female Genital Mutilation] being practiced relatively widely in the United States, it’s happening in the most hallowed halls of American medical science. In fact, the head of the pediatric urology department at Cornell University’s New York Presbyterian Hospital — which is often ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the country — has been operating on young girls who suffer from what he (and likely the girls’ guardians) have decided is “clitorimegaly,” or oversized clitorises.

In order to relieve these girls from what seems like little more than a cosmestic issue, Dr. Dix P. Poppas cuts out parts of the clitoris’ shaft, saving the glans, or tip, for reattachment. Poppas triumphantly calls the procedure — rebranded a clitoroplasty — a “nerve sparing” one unlike the FGMs practiced in other countries.

WTF?!!

How does the good doctor know that nerves have been spared? Well, Poppas and his nurse practitioner developed a series of sensory followup tests involving Q-tips, their fingernails and vibrators. But don’t worry, a family member was always present in the room. As the resulting journal article notes, management of such situations requires a “compassionate and multidisciplinary approach.”

Jesus H. Keeeerist! Is this still the 21st Century?

I think that’s about all the news I can handle for right now. What are you reading this morning? Please post your links freely in the comments. And have a fabulous Friday!!!!

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213 Responses

  1. check out this cartoon

    here’s the link if that doesn’t work
    http://www.kentucky.com/2010/06/15/1307721/100615pett.html

  2. Good morning! I’d like to share something I just read in Peggy Noonan’s column in the Wall Street Journal:

    “But it’s also true that among Democrats—and others—when the talk turns to the presidency it turns more and more to Hillary Clinton. “We may have made a mistake. She would have been better.” Sooner or later the secretary of state is going to come under fairly consistent pressure to begin to consider 2012. A hunch: She won’t really want to. Because she has enjoyed being loyal. She didn’t only prove to others she could be loyal, a team player. She proved it to herself. And it has only added to her luster.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704289504575313181930072638.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLTopStories

    • “Because she has enjoyed being loyal. She didn’t only prove to others she could be loyal, a team player. She proved it to herself.”

      Gag! Or better yet, gag Noonan.

    • That woman (Noonan) makes me crazy mad

      • She makes my nerves feel like fingernails on a chalkboard. Always has.

    • Don’t worry, they’re only bringing Hillary up as a distraction technique. They’ll talk her up for five minutes and then trash her straight through to 2012.

    • What Nooner is implying: if she runs, we’ll trash her again.

  3. Well, okay, maybe the words were not chosen well. And, maybe I’m lacking a bit of sensitivity. But, it seems that there are plenty of folks who are exceedingly sensitive.

    When I was growing up, and I lived in several areas of the country, Reed’s phrase was used to imply a lack of judgement, or the pointed stupidity of an action or choice. And, it was used at anybody who indicated such. Nobody thought about the R-word.

    People, please, get a grip. That goes for those that are offended, too. The current situation in the Gulf of Mexico and the states affected is bigger than a poor choice of words.

    • I can’t view “cotton-pickin’ ” in Reed’s context as racist. It’s a figure of speech that expresses disapproval. Bugs Bunny used those words, and a wabbit could never be a wacist.

      • Meaning/origin of cotton picking (pickin’)

        http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/cotton-picking.html

        Meaning

        A general term of disapproval, of something that is troublesome or a nuisance.

        Origin

        It can come as as little surprise that the term ‘cotton-picking’ originated in the southern states of the USA, where it is usually pronounced cotton-pickin’. It began life in the late 1700s and differs from the 19th century Dixie term, ‘cottonpicker’, in that the latter was derogatory and racist, whereas ‘cotton-picking’ referred directly to the difficulty and harshness of gathering the crop. This didn’t extend to the specific expression ‘keep your cotton-picking hands off of me’. This no doubt alludes to the horny, calloused (and, of course, black) hands that picked cotton.

        snip

        Where memory doesn’t play tricks is when recalling the works of the sainted Bugs Bunny. While not originating the term, Bugs can claim to have done more to fix it into the language than the rest of rabbitkind, especially in its most often used form ‘Wait just a cotton-picking minute’.

        • Why is it a racial connotation at all? My grandparents picked cotton. All their brothers and sisters picked cotton. Their parents picked cotton. My mother and all her brothers and sisters picked cotton. It used to be the major cash crop here in the South. Millions of white people picked cotton. I’ve heard that phrase hundreds of times and not once was any sort of racism ever implied. This is much ado about nothing. In reality it is just an attempt to deflect the spotlight where it actually belongs.

          • Well, noticing the young appearance of the ranting child in the second video, and the careless use of sentence structure while talking primarily in adjectives, it’s difficult to find anything to get too steamed up about. I used the phrase cotton-pickin’ many times in my distant past and not once was it to invoke the image of any race doing any kind of labor.

            Just what is a cotton-pickin’ mind, anyway?

          • Perhaps because I grew up in New England, the only thing I’ve learned to associate cotton picking with is slavery. That said, I don’t think the phrase was particularly offensive in the context of her statement.

          • When I was growing up in the midwest, this was a very common phrase, and not at all associated with any color (a lot of whites picked cotton). But it wasn’t even associated with cotton picking – it was just one of many phrases you learned to use to emphatically express something.

        • Frankly, I cringed hearing that.

          Now, the choice may have been unfortunate, she may have heard that before, and just used it then without thinking. But I am not AA, and not even in the US, and seeing/hearing that expression made me cringe.

          I agree that some people are annoying and makes a whole cloth out of nothing to play the race card, and we saw plenty of that in 2007-2008. I was disgusted by that. But in this case, Reed should have been more sensitive about her choice of words.

          • I am sorry to be so rude, but bullsh*t. I am in the US and we use that phrase here all the time and it means nothing racial at all.
            When you excuse the outrage with “well it was a poor choice of words” you give the ugly left (as opposed to us on the nice reasonable left) more ammo to smear anyone who opposes Obama. We have had enough of the silly black mail form of PC. Cotton picking is not racist in any way shape or form. It might have at one time been elitist seeing as poor white people also picked cotton, but not racist.

      • Let’s go nuts at someone using a common expression, call them racist, and then let Obama off the hook for refusing to address this catastrophe in a timely fashion or competent manner. Yea, that sounds typical of the corporate media….Diversion, straw men, insanity, blather, corruption. Nothing new here.

      • I had the same response. It might be distantly racist, but to me, it just makes me think about cartoons.

      • Thank you so much for a very good laugh! I really needed that.

      • what’s the fuss?? she was upset….it does not change the fact that O messed this up…

        and if you contrast this with how Tony Hayward has been abused (his family is currently under police protection) in the last weeks and the continuous going-on abt BRITISH petroleum by politicians…this is not done in a moment of rage but very calculated, so I think there is no need that the precious one get his knickers all twisted!

      • My mother picked cotton, She was Anglo.

        Cotton-pickin’ is not racist. Especially if you are from the South, where everyone picked cotton.

        One of my grandmother’s favorite sayings was “I’d rather pick a hard day’s cotton than do _________!” (The blank was filled by whatever she did not want to do. Yes, she was also Anglo.)

        djmm

    • Cottoning-picking is an equal opportunity adjective. I’d use it for all races and creeds.

      I am sick to death of politically correct words.
      Anyway, Obama’s family were never slaves…does he get the so called “insult” by proxy?

      Somebody better issue a handbook of things we are not allowed to say.

  4. the real racist is Rep Clyburn claiming elephant dung not talent and capability won Alvin Green the Senate primary…

    • Uh, the guy is unemployed and didn’t even campaign.

      It’s not my state so I don’t care but there is something weird going on in Dixie

      • Doesn’t mater. The SC Democratic Party approved and certified his election yesterday, after the hearing. No evidence of any fraud.

        Clyburn can stick it where the sun don’t shine.

        • Poetic justice, I think. If Clyburn contests the certification, can we call him a raycist?

      • Some brilliant voters admitted that they thought they were voting for Al Green.

        I’m sure we all have elected worse…..

        In about 10 years, I’m going to change my name to Taylor Swift and see if I can win an election without campaigning.

        • Candidate Green is telling Time Magazine he should win their Man of the Year Award.

          He also wants to play golf with Obama if he wins the election.

          LOL

          • I think he’s a savant…and has anyone told us where an unemployed man got the 10,000 you need to file in order to run? …I could use an extra 10 grand

          • and another thing: When I see this guy, I’m reminded that the Reagan, Bush Jr Obama “leadership” gene/ virus is ever evolving and with ever greater speed

          • Has anyone told us where he got the ten grand?

            HE did. Said it came from his own savings while he was in the Army.

            If the SC Dem Party couldn’t prove otherwise, he skates.

          • Unprecedented

          • But a savant has an exceptional ability in one thing, doesn’t s/he? What would Greene’s be?

    • Care to expand on the talent and capability? Have you seen any interviews? He didn’t even campaign. But, he won. Read a bit about his personal history, including criminal.

      • How did he cheat then? Did this guy rig the voting machines? People voted for him.

        • This whole story really amazes me. I don’t know if Houdini was involved in this election.

          How can someone nobody ever heard of win 60% of the vote. Was his better known opponent a well known criminal? What went on in SC? This is probably the most bizarre story I’ve ever seen.

          • Could it be that people were voting against the establishment candidate?

          • I agree it’s wierd. I just don’t see how this guy could have hacked the voting machines. When I consider some of the other people that have been elected to office around the country, I find it hard to get too worked up about this. The Dems had no chance of winning the general election, did they?

          • Dems have NO chance whatsoever: It’s Jim DeMint’s seat. Who would even bother hacking the machines and why?

          • I’m wondering if the machines were hacked as a test. If they’re not caught and get away with it, they do more in races that matter. Nothing against the Dems in this race, but I don’t think they were going to win anyway. So perhaps a good place for some experimenting. {{Tin foil hat firmly in place}}

          • When I consider some of the other people that have been elected to office around the country, I find it hard to get too worked up about this.

            Same here. It’s a bizarre story, but then I get to thinking–how did any of the creeps in Congress get elected anyway?

  5. “cotton-picking” — I vote for unintentionally racist.

    Like using “lame” or “retarded” is usually unintentionally a slur on the disabled.

    • oops — I’m in moderation — save me!

      • Do you accept Jeebus as your savior?

        • Speaking of Jeebus…..Jeanine Garafalo is all pissed off that The One used prayers in his speech the other night. She says it was “anti-intellectual.”

          So there, Obama. 🙂

          • Isn’t she a scientologist? I remember she had a big falling out with her Air America co-host when she advocated scientology therapy for soldiers with PTSD.

          • Don’t know. Don’t wanna know. 🙂

          • Jeanine is anti-intellectual

          • Speaking of Jeebus…..Jeanine Garafalo is all pissed off that The One used prayers in his speech the other night. She says it was “anti-intellectual.”

            That, in a nutshell, is why the population justifiably dislike Hollywood and its know-nothing-but-pompous talkers. Her so-called ‘intellectuals’ are the same as Chris Bower’s ‘creative class’. Full of shit, and short on anything else that matters.

          • she should study some history. Many of the smartest most intellectual minds over the last millennium have been people who prayed. Her ignorance is the type on the left that correlates to her enemies on the right (the fundy evangelicals). I can never really see much difference in the two groups.

        • Kali is my savior!

    • I’d better stop saying it then, because I might at some point be referring to a black person.

    • Uh oh. I didn’t know “lame” was a slur. I’ll have to watch that one now.

    • If I refer to O’precious as a lame duck am I slurring the disabled or all fowl?

      • you are slurring “gimps”. ; )

        now that is a word that could be seen as offensive.

  6. “Out of his cotton-pickin mind” is a normal vernacular…..has nothing to do with raycism.

    But the Black girl in the second video….every other word is “f***ing”? THAT is offensive.

    Take a deep breath, America. Gawd.

    • This furor reminds me of my 11-year-old daughter’s school. The kids are always looking for reasons to label someone raycist. It’s the new deal of the Obama era.

      My white grandfather was a sharecropper and picked cotton from 6 years of age. Lots of people picked cotton. It’s not a race thing.

  7. Whoa – “Just a cotton pickin moment” is something I have said. I never thought of the racial implication in it, it was just an expression. I guess I should replace it. Would “Just a pot pickin moment!” be OK?

    • I think the burden of proof is on the person alleging racism. In the absence of racial epithets or derogatory stereotypes we shouldn’t have to read minds to figure out whether a person meant something racist or not.

      • Good point, thanks!

        Glad to hear I haven’t been unknowingly spouting racial epithets.

        • I have to say, I’m a little concerned that one day I’m going to have to stop calling various detestable things stupid, because I’m in danger of offending Stupid people. I mean, honestly, it’s not like anyone Chooses to be born Stupid, and according to the normal curve, 50% of people are below average.

    • How about “rotten frickin’ mind”.

  8. President Obama met for lunch on Thursday with a group of predominantly progressive columnists to discuss a range of topics, chief among them the oil spill in the Gulf. Attendees included Gail Collins of the New York Times, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and Gerald Seib, the Washington bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, all of whom were spotted leaving the West Wing at roughly 1:45 p.m.

    Getting waterboarded with Kool-aid is no fun at all.

  9. Well as someone with a father and grandparents who actually picked cotton I think some people are simply looking to be offended.

  10. BB-
    What a wonderful picture. I found an article about Scott Wynn and how he makes these pieces. Fascinating. Thank you for bringing him to my attention.
    DJ

  11. Irony lives.

    The Obama Dept of Justice just filed a motion to dismiss the Florida-based (although it includes lotta states) lawsuit against the health care law (states claim the mandate is unconstitutional).

    Obama’s DOJ cites the Anti-Injunction Act, which restricts courts from interfering with the government’s ability to collect taxes.

    Didn’t we hear Barak Obama in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos argue that the mandate was “absolutely NOT a tax increase?”

    Steph: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?
    Obama: I absolutely reject that notion.

    But now, to defend his healthcare law in court, his DOJ cites a law that that restricts courts from intering with govt’s ability to collect TAXES.

    Well, well, well. He lied.

    • you can not post such smart comments and not share them other places. Please tell me you blog elsewhere.

  12. The Won spent more time with reporters than BP Tony. Wonder which is more important? I think the word “racist” is like smoke and mirrors, used to hide or misdirect attention.

  13. You mentioned the Celtics. I just have to say that game was rigged. I’m a Pistons fan from Michigan. I’ve watched plenty of bad refs. The Lakers had 37 tries at the free throw line while the Celtics had 17. That is just unbelievable in a game 7 final. The NBA has lost all credibility with me. Now they’re busy selling us on how the Lakers won. I don’t call that winning but we are being programmed in sports just like we are programmed in politics. The powers that be control every aspect of our lives from our polluted waters created by BP to our favorite sports teams and which guys are elevated to greatness and which are delegated to the back burner. I’m tired of all of this dishonesty. The Lakers/Celtics match up could have been the Obama/Clinton match up. Crooked crap going down all over the place with wheeling and dealing done to make the final outcome what they want!

  14. Picking cotton was the only job available to a lot of poor white people as well as poor black people. There’s nothing racist about it.

    • Did you learn nothing in 2008? It’s raycist if the Obamanista’s say it is. No adjective or phrase that could be interpretted as derogatory is safe with these people.

  15. bb-“Cotton-pickin'” is what is what linguists call an “intensifier,” a word or phrase not meant literally but which is used to strengthen (as in “I really mean this!”) a phrase that generally conveys disapproval. Oddly enough, it’s a southern experssion, growing out of the south’s history as a cotton-producing region. “Out of your cotton-pickin'” mind is a fairly common example. One of my grandmother’s favorite usages was “You get your cotton-pickin’ hands out of that (cake batter) (cookie dough) (turkey dressing) (etc.) and wait till it’s cooked, young (lady) (man)!” The current, universal equivalent, of course, is “fuckin,” an irony I’m sure would be lost on the person in the second video and that would have caused my granma to retire to the porch swing in lieu of a fainting couch.

    MY NDN grandmother, incidentally, had actually picked cotton grown by my NDN grandfather. So had my NDN mother, aunts and uncles when they were kids. So had members of all the white families down the road. The phrase has nothing to do with race. If it’s any kind of “-ist,” it’s classist because wealthier farm families had hired hands (of all colors) to pick their crops.

    This is just one more attempt to excuse Teh Precious by demonizing his critics. Of course, any criticism of His One-ness is met with cries of the r-word from the bots. It’s all they have left.

    • Thank you!

    • so the history of cotton SLAVE plantations is totally irrelevant?

      I’m with votermom – unintentional racism.

      People should avoid using terms that originated in slavery contexts. It would help if Americans were more conversant with history. I’m not saying you’re not, but you can’t ignore the slavery context here.

      Sure, in the 20th century, it wasn’t slaves picking cotton, but the phrase already existed, from those times. I think it’s good that awareness of this language is growing, but yeah, I don’t think people should make it the main issue, when there is something more important going on, namely the FRICKIN’ OIL KILL!!!!

      Let’s just acknowledge racist origins and move on.

      • There isn’t a black alive that was a slave.

        At some point in time blacks are going to have to move beyond
        taking offense at something that happened to peoples of all colors. Blacks are not the only ones who were (are) slaves.

        • We realize that none of us are physcial slaves right now.

          We realize that are ancestors aren’t the only people who were slaves.

          The point we are trying to make is about the history of the word in THIS COUNTRY.

          The word was used in America, aimed at a Black man, and it carries with it a whole history of slavery in America.

          You sound very smug, and it reeks of that whole “get over it” situation that many of us Hillary supporters had to deal with.

    • I think the term was the result of Julia searching for a phrase that wasn’t vulgar or obscene. One knows how easy it would be to let a swear word slip if interviewed on TV. I think she was consciously trying not to swear and that antiquated phrase popped into her head. My guess is that she was just trying not to swear.

    • Your grandmother must have been related to someone in my family. I grew up in Michigan and I didn’t even know what “cotton picking” was. I just knew I better stop doing what I was doing or else. I think we grew up with terms that may be deemed “racist” not even knowing that they could be construed that way. It doesn’t mean that we are indeed racist. It merely means that language can take on a lot of different meanings based on your own perceptions. My growing up white means I can never totally understand the reality of someone growing up black. Words can have weight and I can understand the sensitivity to these words but we all need to back up a bit and think about what the actions are that accompany the words.

  16. Here are some recent John Kass columns on the Blagojevich trial. I’ve included a few juicy excerpts (with some classic references… LOL), but each column is worth reading in full. It is interesting to see what “bipartisanship” means in Chicago.

    Democrats not only party in trough with Blago http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-0610-20100609,0,1884420,full.column
    As I studied Big Bob Kjellander’s smiling face on the screen, thinking of how borrow-and-spend-Republicans have ravaged our national and state governments just as ruinously as tax-and-spend Democrats, I felt a tingle running up my leg. And I felt like lighting a nice maduro cigar right there in U.S. District Judge James Zagel’s courtroom, and swirling a fine glass of port, perhaps a 40-year tawny, and saying, “Ahhhh.” Perhaps Zagel would join me. But not in court. It wouldn’t be appropriate.

    Is Dead Meat’s trial a problem for Democrats? Sure. Corruption of the Democratic machine in Illinois is so heavy that taxpayers are numb to all the weight on their backs. But that’s only half the hog. For years I’ve been writing about the bipartisan Illinois Combine, a collection of top Democratic and Republican insiders who feed at the government trough. There it was this week in court, laid out like a fine, acorn-fed hog on a saint’s day. It’ll be turning for weeks on the federal spit

    Democrats not only party in trough with Blago http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-0610-20100609,0,1884420,full.column
    As I studied Big Bob Kjellander’s smiling face on the screen, thinking of how borrow-and-spend-Republicans have ravaged our national and state governments just as ruinously as tax-and-spend Democrats, I felt a tingle running up my leg. And I felt like lighting a nice maduro cigar right there in U.S. District Judge James Zagel’s courtroom, and swirling a fine glass of port, perhaps a 40-year tawny, and saying, “Ahhhh.” Perhaps Zagel would join me. But not in court. It wouldn’t be appropriate.

    Is Dead Meat’s trial a problem for Democrats? Sure. Corruption of the Democratic machine in Illinois is so heavy that taxpayers are numb to all the weight on their backs. But that’s only half the hog. For years I’ve been writing about the bipartisan Illinois Combine, a collection of top Democratic and Republican insiders who feed at the government trough. There it was this week in court, laid out like a fine, acorn-fed hog on a saint’s day. It’ll be turning for weeks on the federal spit

    • Ooops, I gave the same link twice (poor pasting technique, need more caffeine)… here’s the other column…

      How Illinois is that? Testimony at Blagojevich trial: Barack, Rod and Tony hanging with Big Bob http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-0617-20100617,0,44817,full.column
      Hopium smokers might consider it a buzzkill, but Wednesday’s testimony in the Blagojevich corruption trial sure gave me the munchies.

      What could be tastier than two Democrats — President Barack Obama and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich — hanging out with the treasurer of the Republican National Committee at a Wilmette fundraiser hosted by a political fixer who would soon be in federal prison

      • I remember reading that the hallmark of Chicago corruption was the non partisan participation. They all got together and decided there was enough money for both parties to participate. Think Ray LaHood, Republican, now Sec of Transportation. Obama blew his horn for appointing a republican in his administration. They all decided that it was not good business to try and end corruption in the other party because they would soon be in same situation. the whole political structure seemed to be a vehicle to expedite corruption. The business of governing was just a side show. Sound familiar?

        • Yeah, I remember thinking the appointment of LaHood was very telling…. in that it confirmed the Chicago Way was coming to DC.

          All more proof that our government has “evolved” into a kleptocracy, historically speaking… which is something gov’ts tend to do over time according to Jared Diamond in his classicbook: Guns, Germ and Steel. Here is a short summary of the Theory of Kleptocracy http://www.financialexpress.com/news/theory-of-kleptocracy/296802/

        • so that is why Obama is mr bipartisan? He is there for the money and knows the best way to get it is by including crooked republicans so they can all get rich together!

  17. Hi BB.

    I had to suffer through the 4th quarter of the Cs game. The game ended after 6 am here and I had to get ready for work.

    I just watched the Julia Reed’s video: OH! MY! GOD!

    I’m still out of breath. I CANNOT believe this but I’m actually not surprised. Still I’m shocked. Yaowza!!!

  18. Not racist.

    Funny as hell though.

    Hey, we’re supposed to be all Post-Racial and stuff.

    • Really? I’m seen a couple of people making that point here and it baffles me.

      Saying a Black man is out of his “cotton picking mind” is not racist? Wow!

      • So Bugs Bunny was a racist? I didn’t know that.

      • Not a wow. Just a testament to the fact that people can disagree.

      • no it is not racist, sorry to unload the race card deck of that particular card. But I have said it many times in my life and never to a black person. Guess what, white people picked cotton too.

        • It would be nice if everything were that straightforward and simplistic, wouldn’t it?

          • Isn’t it even MORE simplistic to assume that “cotton-pickin” is always raycist?

  19. Latest Rasmussen re Obama approval:

    41% approve
    58% disapprove

    Looks like the bamboozlin ain’t workin.

  20. Cottinpickin’ is no more racist than niggardly or calling a spade a spade.

    Being “Politically Correct” is an idea that needs to be thrown in the trash can. It makes me crazy. I hate the term. It actually gives cover to prejudice.

    Instead, everyone should just do their best to be “Correct”.

    • I get what you’re saying about “niggardly” and “calling a spade a spade” since those had independent etymologies. But I don’t really KNOW the etymology of “cotton-pickin'”. But I do find it hard to connect with as a racist term because of Bugs Bunny and the fact that cotton picking has occurred for a long damn time now at the hands of people of many races.

      • Yes – currently the cottonpickers where I grew up are mostly Hispanic.

        • To clarify – cotton, for the most part, has not been picked by hand for 50 years. The cottonpickers where I am from in the midwest are actually “custom cutters”. And, they use machinery – they do not pick by hand.

          Custom cutters are big business (many that come through our area are based in Texas) and they move their harvesting equipment and employees into an area at harvest time. It is less expensive for farmers to hire the cutters (wheat, corn, cotton, etc.) than own and maintain the expensive tractors, combines and other machinery. The cutters start in the south and move north as the crops become ready.

          Right now the wheat custom cutters are stuck because the fields are too wet to harvest the ripe wheat. The local paper is filled with stories about how the workers don’t mind the break because they get to watch the soccer matches on tv. If the fields don’t dry up and the wheat ripens in the next state north the cutters will move on. Getting them to circle back in time to harvest what remains of the crop can be a real challenge. After they finish the wheat harvest up in Canada later this year they will return to harvest the cotton in October. Its kind of like moving the 5th Army across Europe.

          • That’s interesting. I’m from Alberta (Canada’s wheat province) and I had no clue that was done.

    • there are some times where I can see slamming someone for political incorrectness. Polish jokes and blond jokes come to mind. But in this case you are right, there is nothing racist about the phrase “cotton picking”., just like there is nothing racist about not liking or supporting Obama.

  21. OK, now that I saw the whole Reed quote, she was defending drilling. So, raycist or not, I am really not sorry for her that she got into trouble.
    I frankly don’t find the expression raycist – anymore than the jiving in the primaries that got Andrew Cuomo in similar s*. So, I’ll just grab the popcorn and watch. No good guys here.

  22. I’m starting to believe that for some people, nothing said to or about Obama would ever qualify as racist, no matter how racist it actually is.

    I notice that depressing attitude among the commentariat here each time such incident occurs.

    I’m with the people who call the whole thing “incidentally racist” (although they are more generous than I am as far as Rightwingers are concerned), I can even understand people who say they didn’t know (even in my age I had to learn what not to say to a woman or members of a certain group), but outright denying ANY type racism here or even finding it funny is really shocking.

    “she was defending drilling”???

    • I think that people just have a hard time seeing this phrase as racist. I’m not denying that it is (It seems likely, but I’d want to know the etymology- either way, not something I’d likely say on TV). But I grew up watching Bugs Bunny say it. I also suspect that a lot of people from cotton-producing States knew white people who at some point or another have picked cotton. So that might be part of it.

      Of course there’s also the fact that if you leave out the intensifier, many of us agree with her anger.

      That said, the term does seem likely to be racist to me. There are some of terms that Sound racists without Being racist, which is why I wonder about etymology and stuff.

      • again, I think the phrase has been de-contextualized after slavery times, so people don’t realize it’s racist now, hopefully, now they do! (by the way, why do so many of you here spell “racist” with a “y”? I’ve never understood that)

        The fact that Bugs Bunny used it does not mean it’s fair game:

        http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1995/did-bugs-bunny-appear-in-a-racist-cartoon-during-world-war-ii

        http://www.google.com/search?q=bugs+bunny+racist+cartoons&hl=en&prmd=v&source=univ&tbs=vid:1&tbo=u&ei=R8YbTOLvMIK0lQeP1MjYCQ&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CCEQqwQwAA

        I think more awareness is needed, that’s all.

        • Raycist with a y so that the spam filter won’t catch it here. Also sometimes to emphasize what a mockery has been made of a serious issue.

          • ah. well I do agree that the accusation of “racism” is used as a political cudgel, which is how it’s being used today, it seems. For sure.

            But that doesn’t mean there’s no merit to discussing problematic American vernacular and history.

            🙂

          • madaha,
            we are in agreement on there being merits to discussing problematic vernacular. That’s why I don’t like the lack of seriousness in discussing the issue, which I feel really does deserve much more thought and decency on all sides and less knee-jerk and reactionary crap.

          • Indeed. I don’t like the knee-jerk reactions on either side. Getting outraged that anyone suggests the possibility of racism doesn’t help either.

            Whether what’-her-name was aware of the resonance of her words are not, we don’t know. It’s possible she did, and used them in an innocent context, as a “dog-whistle”.

            The real problem is the stupid media, using it not to produce an interesting dialogue, but to fan the flames. Interviewing angry people off the street is inflammatory.

            There’s more important stuff to be reactionary and angry about, but we can discuss this problem reasonably. The media should have better critical-thinking skills, and determine the difference. ugh.

    • I think this goes back to the consequences of the primaries and the race-baiting that happened there. Because there have been so many false accusations of raycism (crying wolf), now even when a real wolf cries, people aren’t responding to it the way they might have likely reacted otherwise had they not been falsely accused of being raycist.

      Then on the fauxgressive side of things, I’ve heard one too many Obama “progressives” refer to the raghead slur on Nikki Haley as “she deserved it for hanging out with Republicans.”

      I’m very saddened by the entire situation on all sides. Raycism is serious stuff and it’s meaning has been perverted over the last three years by a lot of immaturity and thoughtlessness when discussing the issue.

      • I can even understand parts of the points you’re making, and that was my main concern during the primaries.

        That still doesn’t mean people should desensitized against offensive behavior or language. The Ascenscion of Obama and the tricks used by some of his supporters should not nullify ALL things some people here may have found offensive towards Blacks or make people build a wall against anything that may be offensive to Blacks.

        I’m always beffudled by the usual “I don’t perceive it as…”, as if it were a definitive proof it isn’t. We cannot know everything or the bad connotation of certain acts or terms. Personally, I have told all the admins of this blog to feel free change or outright remove ANY offensive found in my posts. I was rexplained here in the comments section why I shouldn’t use expressions such as “louse infestation”, “douche” among other “simple” insults. The fact that I didn’t know didn’t make these expressions acceptable.

        • I don’t think it nullifies either. I was only explaining how we got here and expressing my own frustration with the current situation as well. I’m Indian American, so I come at issues of race and ethnicity from that perspective. I am very uncomfortable with where “crying wolf” has gotten us, it has diluted the charge of raycism for the general millieu, and that is NOT a good thing.

        • before 2008 I never saw a race card played that I did not agree with. Since then the veil has lifted and since poor white people picked cotton and the phrase has been commonly used with no racist intent and many times by myself and people like me towards people like me (new England white folks), please explain why it is racist.

  23. I live in a town in TX that has a cotton museum to preserve the history of the cotton industry in the area. I have been in this town over 10 years, and I cannot remember when I last heard that term used. It seems to have fallen into disuse so I find it interesting that she would use the expression. Many of the town’s older generation of all races were either sharecroppers or children of sharecroppers on the cotton farms that were once in the area. Still, I do not hear them use the expression.

    • The typical use of the word I have said and heard is, “wait one cotton-pickin’ second” – it’s impossible for me to find the raycism in it. When it is intended to be raycist, it seems it is obvious in its intent.

  24. Some mornings it is easy to go out of one’s cotton picking mind — especially when researching people you used to believe in.

    In this case, I’d say there is a rather large bone to pick.

    Synarchism. A new concept Americans can believe in.
    It’s so all about the corporate wellness concept.

    http://money.cnn.com/2007/11/11/news/newsmakers/gore_kleiner.fortune/index.htm

    http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=274

  25. Anyone who thinks that was a raycist expression is out of their cotton-pickin’ mind. And you can quote me on that. I’ve picked cotton. But I swear I didn’t inhale. And I was definitely out of my cotton-pickin’ mind when I did it.

    • IMHO, when you stretch terms that are debatably innocent to be “raycist” or “other-ist” (e.g. cotton pickin’, lame, etc) it creates the eye-roller effect, as in people start rolling their eyes with every “racism!” charge.

      There begins the descent into desensitization to REAL racism.

    • DT,

      I can’t believe you’ll write something like this. Actually, just after reading like 2 comments, I was about to write that “Anyone who thinks that was NOT a raycist expression is out of their fuckin’ mind.”, but I stopped myself once I notice there’s a combination of people who don’t genuinely know, those who do think since Obama has become POTUS Blacks shouldn’t complain about anything. Still, I thought better than making such high and arrogant pronouncements.

      • If a term coined innocently by Bugs the COTTON tail bunny is the worst kinda r-word than we’re doing pretty well in this country. http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/cotton_picking/

        Really, is this the battle you want to fight? Over something that — if it’s derogatory, which is truly questionable — is as derogatory toward white cotton pickers as black cotton pickers? Or — given that you’ve said that it’s only bad if spoken about blacks — it’s okay with you when spoken to a white because belittling white trash is fine with you?

        If it’s belittling anyone, it’s belittling whites as much as blacks. But I think it’s just a term.

      • I would never think Black people should not complain about anything. I just don’t think they should complain about everything. And I also think lots of black people are silly guilty white liberals see racism in everything.
        I love watermelon. I keep it in the fridge all summer. If you came to my house to a party and I served it, would you think I was raycist? I would hope not, but some person with a bug up their butt about me, certainly could and would make that case.

        I think I once saw the term black mail argued about and called racist. Enough.

        I had a two year relationship with a Africa American man. Once in a while when he couldn’t get his way in an argument he would try to tell me maybe I had some hidden racism that made me disagree with him simply because he was black.
        I told him to KMA since I wasn’t the one in the relationship who only dated white people.
        Enough enough enough. In this particular case this is just a way to attack Obama’s critics.

      • In my head at least from what the phrase means and from my experience, it isn’t racist. But I have been known to be a complete idiot and complete wrong in the past. I understand the phrase is similar to one that is racist, but this one has a different etymology and isn’t, at least on paper. If it really is, I will happily stand corrected.

    • I think it’s a racist expression and I’m not out of my mind.

      I don’t abuse the word racist. I don’t use it to deflect the truth. Cotton-picking is simply a word that offends a lot of Black people.

  26. Saying Obama is “out of his cotton-picking mind” isn’t the LEAST BIT “racist.” I spent a lot of my growing up in Texas, and everybody talks like that. Geez.

    You need to get the hell out of Boston, sounds like. See the world, y’know?

    • Don’t blame Boston… I live in the Boston area and I agree with you! Personally I haven’t heard that phrase much in recent years… but when I was growing up in rural upstate NY (eons ago) it was used commonly in moments of frustration, in lieu of swearing. Please note there is no cotton grown in upstate NY and where I lived there were very few black people (and non of them were farmers) so no r-word connotations.

      I think people need to take a huge chill pill and quit being so eager to judge others language and intentions. Sadly, this sort of political correctness has become the morality & purity policing of the Left (in contrast to the XTian moralizing of the Right)… and to think I once thought the Left was more tolerant… Social justice is very important to me, but I do not think it’s cause is served by the language police.

    • Exactly, Taos John. My dad’s people are from southern Illinois, which is pretty southern (my dad’s accent was virtually identical to the one Tommy Lee Jones used for Woodrow Call) and that expression was common. It’s simply a southern colloquialism. Seems to me I remember Tennessee Ernie Ford using that expression a lot too…

    • Huh? All I did was report what people are talking about and throw it out for discussion. I didn’t think I expressed an opinion. I said I didn’t know what to think about it.

      BTW, I’m in Indiana at the moment.

  27. That story about the Ivy League doctor and FGM is horrifying. WTF WTF WTF

    • Josef Mengele would have probably approved of that MF’er. I swear there seems no end to the perversions which can be excused if practiced on women or young girls. WTF indeed!

    • I went nuts on FB when I read this yesterday. It is despicable, disgusting, border on pedophilia and is criminal. And what kind of parents would even allow such a thing on their daughter??? Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh – it’s sickening.

    • Yes, it is horrifying. I mentioned routine clitoral reduction being done here in the United States on Dak’s FGM thread months ago but nobody picked up on it (until now). It’s been done since forever here, on native born girls of all races and classes. It’s not just the girls from Middle Eastern and other FGM practicing African and Asian cultures who are being genitally mutilated in our “civilized” country. We really need more awareness and activism in this regard.

      Jeez, I read and responded to the racism part of BB’s excellent round-up and forgot to read the rest of it! My bad.

  28. Worth watching by the tail end baby boom. On presidents who shaped our generation.

    Laugh or cry.

    In the meantime, youtube has some fab little vids up.
    And to think, all those years. John Stewart is so right.

    Which one could we actually believe? Ever.
    It was always about oil.

    For all of them. Well, Gore’s first whale just died.
    Along with my green heart.

    • Rachel did a thing last night – “Oil is Oil, is Oil, is Oil”

      She played clips from the following stressing our need for independence from foreign oil: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Obama, Bush II, Reagan, Kerry, McCain, Palin, Rendell, and Boehner.

      Rachel explained that all oil, including domestic oil, goes into the world market. There is no difference between foreign and domestic oil. There is no “American oil”. Its all the same.

      The notable exceptions from fools talking about “foreign oil” – Bill and Hillary Clinton.

      Perhaps they are/were smart enough to know its fungible.

      • There is no “American oil”. Its all the same.

        oh! so there’s no Iraqi oil either ! I see! and here I thought we were stealing it…silly me

  29. I can see where people who didn’t grow up where the phrase is common can get racism out of it. However, I grew up in Louisiana, with family in Mississippi, and the phrase is used all the time with no racial connotations. My Native (Choctaw) family members picked cotton as late as when my dad was a little boy.

    I remember thinking picking cotton must be cool when I was a kid b/c I associated cotton with its finished, very soft state. I commented on that when my mom and I were driving past a cotton field once. She pulled over, gave me a small paper bag and told me to have at it. When I rushed back to the car moments later, angry that she’d tell me to do that, she told me I’d know better from now on.

    • actually, I grew up with my mom saying it all the time – she’s from OH.

      Just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it’s not racist (in origin). I’m sure my mother had no idea – when a phrase is in common parlance, you don’t always connect the dots.

      Even though you should. People say stuff that’s horribly homophobic or sexist that’s common vernacular, and never piece it together what the true meaning of their words are.

      How many times when you were a kid did you call someone a “jerk-off” without realizing you were referring to masturbation?

      Raising awareness about etymology should not be such a big deal.

      • doesn’t mean it’s not racist (in origin)
        And it doesn’t mean it is racist (in origin). In this case, it isn’t. See the etymology mentioned above.

      • The problem is that “cotton pickin'” as an adjective derived from an era when cotton pickers were of all races and never referred specifically to African-Americans. Now, “cotton picker” as a noun (except in the literal sense above) is almost always a racial slur.

        I think understanding the etymology of words is important to preventing unnecessary offense, but sometimes people take offense, as in this case, with what they wrongly think is the etymology of the word.

        Personally, I’d avoid using that term with African-Americans because I know how it would be interpreted and would never want anyone to think that I’d harbor such disgusting thoughts. But that doesn’t mean that anyone who uses it is racist.

      • so you are saying your mother was racist even though she used a common phrase with no intent to insult black people who weren’t even the only people picking cotton?

        Whenever I called someone a jerk off I ALWAYS knew I was talking about masturbation.

        • I understand intent, but the end result is what matters.

          You can offend a person without trying to offend that person.

          I honestly feel that the word is offensive.

      • No no no. We have to be taught which words are off limits.
        I sometimes hear a new word that has no meaning to me.
        Unless someone teaches me about the hatred behind a word. I don’t know that word is “bad”. The people who keep teaching the hate behind the words cheapen the true problems.

        I think that is just crazy and gets us nowhere.

        Racysm is not words. Raycism is denying opportunity, denying equal share, not being equal under the law.
        That’s what we fight against.

        Words ptwhew !!…… just words.
        remember sticks and stones….

        Words are just words.
        Get over it.

  30. This is rich. It’s legitimate to use the BP escrow account to fund health care. In Stupalistan …

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/06/17/stupak_legitimate_for_bp_escrow_account_to_fund_health_care.html

  31. I’ve been doing a little internet digging and it looks like the term “cotton picking” isn’t cited until the 50s from a Bugs Bunny cartoon. It appears that people are assuming it comes from a raycist background. Apparently the word “cottonpicker” was a racial pejorative, but I’m not finding any clear link that “cotton picking” is, or was, used the same way.

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=cotton+picking&searchmode=none

    This reminds me of the time that white guy used the word “niggardly” and was fired over it. He was later reinstated, but what a fiasco.

    • Ooops. I see that all this has already been discussed.

      I don’t think it was unintentional raycism as much as it was unintentional offense. To some it may sound like a word that has raycist connotations and they took offense when none was there.

  32. maybe not cited in American dictionaries until the 50’s, BUT it known from much earlier – totally different from “niggardly”:

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/cotton-picking.html

    “It can come as as little surprise that the term ‘cotton-picking’ originated in the southern states of the USA, where it is usually pronounced cotton-pickin’. It began life in the late 1700s and differs from the 19th century Dixie term, ‘cottonpicker’, in that the latter was derogatory and racist, whereas ‘cotton-picking’ referred directly to the difficulty and harshness of gathering the crop. This didn’t extend to the specific expression ‘keep your cotton-picking hands off of me’. This no doubt alludes to the horny, calloused (and, of course, black) hands that picked cotton.”

    why is everyone so devoted to this term? It’s not worth it, you guys.

    • I’m not sure what your point is but there appears to be no direct link proving the term has raycist origins. The quote used from the 1700s refers to going to a “cotton picking” and, unless there is more to the quote than they’ve cited, it has nothing to do with race.

      From your link:

      “It isn’t until the 1940s that the term began to be used in any other context than that of the actual picking of cotton. The earliest such reference that I have found is in the Pennsylvania newspaper, The Daily Courier, November 1942: It’s just about time some of our Northern meddlers started keeping their cotton-picking fingers out of the South’s business.

      Your link even states that it was, previously to 1942, only used for the “actual picking of cotton.” Unless of course someone can find evidence that “Northern meddlers” means something other than people from the North who are (perceived to be) meddling. (Hey, I didn’t even know that they had cotton crops in the North.)

      • my point is that it has an older, and muddier origin than people here are trying to say, and the origins probably aren’t that innocent. There was a different between written word and spoken word in the previous centuries, so merely having an older WRITTEN ATTESTATION is suggestive, and one wonders about the spoken term’s usuage.

        Frankly, considering the age of the phrase, and the incredibly racist history of our country, it strains the imagination to suggest that it was NEVER colloquially used in a racist way. You can’t edit out slavery from the equation. You just can’t.

        That’s my point.

        And I agree with Dakinikat.

        • …it strains the imagination to suggest that it was NEVER colloquially used in a racist way.

          I dunno. I tend to think that if it was in common use as a pejorative, the citations would exist. None exist. Look up the etymology of the “n” word and you will notice a distinct difference in its citations because it was in common use and its meaning was, and is, clear. I really think this is more of a modern take on the phrase “cotton picking,” as opposed to a historical one.

        • oh please, this is so ridiculous. You have no proof, you are just assuming that at some point some one said “your cotton picking hands” and meant “your black hands” and that it was racist. Even if that is true at some time, it is no longer.

          • You might not believe that it’s not relevant to the history of slavery, but I’m telling you that it is the case teresainpa.

            The word is loaded with so much painful history, and a person should never say the word, especially when they are talking about a Black person.

            You just don’t do it.

        • my point is that it has an older, and muddier origin than people here are trying to say, and the origins probably aren’t that innocent.

          -I agree with you 100%

    • no one is devoted to this term, nice strawman argument. But the fact that someone put in parenthesis (and of course black) doesn’t make it so.

  33. gxm17: your own link says RIGHT AT THE TOP that it’s probably racist.

    • No it doesn’t. It says “perhaps” which means “possibly” not probably. Perhaps and probably are not synonyms.

      Perhaps: http://www.synonym.com/synonyms/perhaps/

      Probably: http://www.synonym.com/synonyms/probably/

      Further, it seemed to me that it was the “similar” noun (perhaps cottonpicker?) that they are referring to as having possible, not probable, raycist “overtones.”

      • sigh. Yes, but it acknowledges the possible racism. Your link, which you presented as confirming no racism, acknowledges possible racism.

        that is disingenuous of you. This is becoming tiresome.

        • The link doesn’t say any such thing. It says that “cotton picking” was first recorded in a Bugs Bunny cartoon but “a similar noun meaning “contemptible person” dates to around 1919, perhaps with racist overtones that have faded over the years.”

          It doesn’t say what the noun is, but since “cotton picking” is not a noun then it’s pretty clear that’s not what they are referring to.

          It seems to me that modern day folks are casting judgment on a phrase when no one is sure where it came from. There are many things one can say that could “possibly” be offensive. I think the wisest course of action is to stick with the words that are clearly offensive. Otherwise we’ll eventually stop talking to each other and that’s a bigger threat than a 50s phrase popularized by a cartoon character which has no clear origin in raycist speech.

          I grew up in the midst of raycial strife in Virginia in the 70s and heard just about every black and white pejorative around and “cotton picking” was not one of them.

          • “a similar noun meaning “contemptible person” dates to around 1919, perhaps with racist overtones that have faded over the years.”

            that ACKNOWLEDGES a possible racist history. Right there. How can you say it doesn’t? This is Orwellian.

            Look. Who picked the *majority* of cotton, throughout the *majority* of our country’s history? Black slaves, on plantations.

            There can be *no way* that the evolution of the term did not have racial connotations. Let’s be real here. Whether you were aware of it when growing up is not the point. Nor was I.

            And I wonder now if the repopularization of it through Bugs Bunny in the 40’s and 50’s also didn’t have racist undertones. (yes, Bugs Bunny was racist) and those were very racially charged times.

            Things are not pure and simple.

          • I am being real. As I said above, if the phrase “cotton picking” were aa common racial insult then the citations would exist. For all we know, the unnamed noun could have been an insult directed at poor white farmers (aka “rednecks”), since a “contemptible person” could be just about anybody. We just don’t know. But we do know that in current usage “cotton picking,” the intensifier, has nothing to do with race or income and it’s a substitute for “f’ing.” Next time folks, just use the F word. It’s a good Saxon word (as my father used to say).

          • And, please, please, do not read anything untoward in my typo(s).

          • “Look. Who picked the *majority* of cotton, throughout the *majority* of our country’s history? Black slaves, on plantations.”

            The correct answer to that question is probably “white sharecroppers.” There were far more small farms worked by white sharecroppers and independent farmers than there were plantations and more white sharecroppers and small farmers than black field hands. Then there’s Texas, where cotton has been grown in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and picked mainly by Mexican laborers.

            You do you realize you’re stereotyping here, don’t you? You’ve bought into the myth that slaves were the only oppressed population in the Southern feudal system. Not true. “Poor white trash”–sharecroppers were slaves in all but name– got just as raw a deal and are still regularly derided by liberals as “rednecks” and “trailer trash.” Hispanics received similar treatment in much of the southwest, including Texas before, during and after the Civil War.

  34. I’d just like to say one thing here and then I’ll drop the subject, if the word likely has some kind of visceral association with slavery or the Confederacy, it’s going to offend black people. There are words that trigger similar feelings in me as a woman because they dredge up periods of time when women were owned by men, when husbands couldn’t rape their wives, and when a woman’s children were also her husband’s property. Using anything like the ‘little woman’, ‘the ball and chain’,etc. offends me. Any thing that makes a woman sound diminutive or overly emotional will get to me really quickly.

    It doesn’t have to be said with racist intent to have an impact. A lot of that old language just needs to be put to bed. That being said, folks need to understand there’s a better way of saying please don’t say that other than screaming names and obscenities back at some one. I wish some one would just say when you say that phrase, this is what I hear and I’m sure it’s NOT what you intended but you need to think about if that’s what you want to imply …

    meanwhile, I put an econ related post up …

    • I agree.

      My own reaction to watching Reed make the comment was–“I know you probably didn’t mean anything by it, but don’t make that mistake again.” It was crude and tonedeaf in execution, not racist in intent but nonetheless it has racial/racist undertones for the audience. I had a visceral reaction to it, but at the same time I don’t think Reed deserves to be raked over the coals for this or called a raycist B—- or any other pejoratives as in that youtube reaction up above.

      I find it interesting, though, that this gaffe came from a Newsweek editor, since that publication had a cover not too long ago that said, “Is your Baby raycist?” I felt that was really meant to stoke the fire and not promote productive discussion. Newsweek egged on this knee-jerk type discussion even more and now one of their own has egg on her face.

      • Exactly. What matters is the reaction when it’s pointed out. There are things that are offensive that the speaker may not even understand, but once it’s pointed out, it’s incumbent on her to not close her mind and get all defensive, but to understand why it strikes some people at a deep level. And be respectful. By the same token, people of good intentions can screw up and it doesn’t deserve that level of invective.

        • What matters is the reaction when it’s pointed out

          The way it’s pointed out makes a difference too.

          Declaring “that’s racist” and lecturing people like you’re the sole judge of what is and what isn’t racists likely to get you in more arguments and fewer consciousness raisings

          I’d start off with something like “What does that word mean to you?’ rather than anything that sounds like and attack.

          Which you rather have someone say:

          “That’s racist and you shouldn’t say it again.!”

          “When I hear that word it reminds me of slavery and Jim Crow and I feel ill inside.

          In that second sentence I didn’t make myself judge or expert, I didn’t tell anyone what to do, I just said “Here’s how that word affect me_____________________”

          If somebody responded “I don’t think it’s racist” I would answer ” I never said it was.”

          All I do in that second sentence is say how I feel what I think when I hear it. If I say a word makes me feel ill, you can’t tell me I’m wrong to feel that way. I’m not telling you how to feel about it either.

          • Yeah, but you know what? It’s really tiring not only having to deal with racism and sexism, but also to have to be the educators of the world. Think about it. Someone’s said something that’s really offended you, pissed you off and hurt your feelings, and now you have to go have this long involved conversation where you have to be sensitive to THEM while they’re mocking, belittling and dismissing YOU. It just gets old, and you run out of patience. You know how “oh, please, get over it” wasn’t an effective Obot approach to us? Well, the kind of kneejerk “STFU, you’re being oversensitive and PC” default reaction that’s so prevalent in our culture is kind of like that. After 1000 incidents where you try, in vain, to explain why it’s not brave, honest, and cool for the Dem Party leader to opine that you need to pass the paper bag test and not use “Negro dialect,” you start to lose patience for being forced on your head to prove you’ve got a right to your feelings. Most people don’t feel comfortable opening up and getting into a deep discussion of their innermost feelings when they feel like they’re being treated with disrespect and hostility. And honestly, people who experience racism do understand it on a level those who don’t can never comprehend. A white woman may feel comfortable categorically declaring X isn’t racist, but 10 minutes later some guy pulls the same stunt on her, lecturing her and declaring what is and is not sexism, he’ll be lucky not to get punched. Telling members of marginalized groups that members of dominant groups are experts on racism and sexism while they just don’t understand their own experiences is about as ineffective means of communication as there is.

          • What I do is head over to the TC Admin page and tell Spammy:

            Load catapult #2, prepare to eject!

          • Hi Seriously,

            There are lots of times that people say something to me or about a group I’m a part of (like overweight people) and I feel really offended and hurt. But I just have to swallow it. If I tried to point out to someone that it’s really rude and offensive to make fun of fat people, they would just laugh and do it more. Because that’s a group that it is still OK to offend, make fun of, and discriminate against.

            It’s almost the same when people make fun of old people. That’s mostly considered acceptible. But if you’re over fifty, you just have to deal with that and swallow your hurt and resentment.

            Everyone does have a right to their feelings. But some people get no sympathy when they are hurt by things people say. At least nowadays, people are calling attention to racial slurs.

            BTW, I hope it was clear that I wasn’t defending what Reed said. Unfortunately, I didn’t even notice it, and that’s why I wanted to have a discussion about it. Next time I’ll be more aware.

          • Yeah, a while back the neighbor kid thought it would be funny to call me “Baldy” when he saw me.

            Little fucker never thought I’d have the nerve to drive right up on his parent’s lawn, I missed him, but got his bike.

          • Myiq– LOL!

            Years ago a young kid (probably a Harvard student) came up to my ex husband on the street and called him fatso (or something like that). My ex just punched the guy, who fell down, and my ex just kept walking.

            I’m not justifying violence, but still…it WAS kind of funny. I bet that guy thought twice before calling someone names again.

          • Hey bb! I’m so sorry that things are said to hurt you. 😦 Our culture is so freakin’ ugly. And way, way too much of it is completely socially acceptable. I don’t understand why our country’s turned everything into this big federal case where we fight for our “rights” to be ——– and hurt people’s feelings. Trust me, I know it’s possible to be an ——- and yet still easily avoid using phrases when you find out they’re offensive and hurtful to large segments of the population. 😉 And even where it’s not socially acceptable, there are so many people who are timid and don’t feel comfortable standing up and just get beaten down.

            Oh, no, not at all! We were just discussing the best way to approach things. Myiq definitely
            has a point that calmer might work out better in the long run, I just think it’s harder to achieve
            that when you’re dealing with high emotions
            and when experience-based fatigue sets in.

        • Is Reed getting defensive about it? I hadn’t heard that. She didn’t seem like that type to me. She was angry about what was happening to people in NO. I really do think that is more important than what she said. I noticed that she used different wording in her appearance on the Today Show–most likely someone pointed out the gaffe.

          • I don’t think Seriously was saying Reed was getting defensive, just in general about the sides taken of “raycist” and “not raycist” — both sides need to approach it more respectfully and the side saying “not raycist” needs to be less defensive about it and more open to hearing what the other side has to say, whereas the side saying it’s definitely “raycist” needs to be more vigilant and aware of the invective that they are bringing to the table in their own reactions.

            To me Reed seems like she was simply trying to sanitize a pointed comment for a CNN broadcast and went with the first substitute for “out of his fuckin/frickin mind” that came to her lips. I don’t see any subtle raycism–it seems like an honest mistake or at least I think she deserves a benefit of a doubt here until her intent is proven otherwise. I think the important point here in condemning a repeat of the comment is in avoiding going down the slippery slope where if she can say that, then some raycist creep who really did have an intent to send up a dogwhistle like that could get away with it.

          • No, not that I’ve heard. I just meant in general, it’s so much better to go Wonk’s route of “okay, you probably didn’t mean anything by it, but don’t do it again” rather than the more defensive route, where, regardless of how innocent the person’s original intentions were they often compound the problem and end up looking a lot worse.

          • Agreed, Seriously. On the other hand, I don’t think Reed should be fired as some suggested at the links I posted.

          • They can fire Julia Reed, but Chris Matthews, Pat Buchanan, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, etc. will still keep their jobs.

    • “Douchebag” and “SOB” get on my last nerve too. Geez, we could have a field day with all of the sexist terminology that is in common use.

      • I also hate it when kids say things like that’s so gay …

        • I’ll never forget sitting in a movie theater watching Full Metal Jacket and, as the only woman there, squirming with discomfort at the sergeant’s verbal abuse calling the recruits “girls” and then he started calling them “faggots” and I squirmed even more for the gay couple in front of me. Gawd but I hate freakin’ war movies and yet there were all those men just eating that crap up. Yech. It makes me shudder.

        • when kids say things like that’s so gay …

          I have found that’s usually a way for them to say something reguries thought….they hate thought

      • And, there’s the rub. Douchebag isn’t universally considered sexist even within feminist discourse.

        As for SOB, I like turning that one on its head too. SOB: Stupakistan-Obamacare bill.

        • Yeah. I know. It drives me crazy. There are some feminists who are trying to take back the word slut too. I say: If it’s broke, throw it out already.

    • I agree. If it can be debated whether or not a term is racist it’s better to avoid it altogether.

      I react the same way to the B word, even when it’s applied to a male.

    • Thank you. You said it for me.

  35. I don’t know, I grew up in the south. They used to let all of us kids out of school to pick cotton because so many rural families needed their kids at home to help out. The rest of us took jobs to help. My parents actually made us do it a few times for the work ethic involved. This is the early sixties and EVERYONE picked cotton at least a few times. MANY poor white farming families picked cotton. In fact during that time and through the seventies you’d see a lot more whites than blacks doing that job and given this woman’s age, I’m pretty sure she probably doesn’t automatically associate picking cotton with a particular race. I sure didn’t.

    My family were also very involved in the civil rights movement. MANY people used that phrase back and forth between whites and blacks and nobody thought a thing of it. even in that context.

    The origin of the phrase is undoubtedly racist but, in modern use nobody black or white ever thought twice about that at all. It simply meant someone was crazy and usually was said in jest.

    It’s hard for me to think of that phrase as it was used in modern times to be racist at all. Until it was brought up in reference to Obama personally it would not have crossed my mind or anyone else I know to think so. Unintentional racism does occur but, really…if you grew up there given this woman’s age again, I wonder if you’d even have that enter your mind.

    However, having said that and in the climate we find ourselves in right now, I’ll be on my p’s and q’s not to use it further but, if you go south you WILL hear it a LOT by every race and creed or you would have before today.

  36. From now on I’m just gonna grunt and point

    If anyone gets offended I have plenty of duct tape..

  37. the young people on the street with clip boards are back…now they are doing some environment BS…( great timing) then I saw Sierra club is offering summer jobs much like Acorn did two years ago…then I remember them coming to Obama’s defence recently …and I wonder: has the Acorn arm of the powers that be , now moved on to the Sierra club?? Interesting .

  38. did you guys see Ferguson’s fantastic take-down of the BP situation the other night?

  39. I would say that the cotton picking comment is racist.

    There are some things that you just DON’T say! It’s as simple as that.

    Given the history of racism and slavery in this country… We know that Black people were slaves and forced to pick cotton.

    Saying stuff like that is a definite no-no.

    • What’s really sad is the fact that so many of my fellow African-Americans have used the word racist to deflect ANY criticism of Barry. And now that we have a word that many Black people TRULY believe is racist……
      not too many people want to believe what we are saying…

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