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Mar 26, 2008


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Tony Wilkins

Ed's mom:, "but he did not really explain how he was going to pay for all this good stuff."

I hope you'll let your mom post more often Ed.

David Wharton

Your mom should blog.


Ask your Mom if Obama put his hand over his heart and recited the pledge.

Ged Maheux

Yeah, and Ed while you're asking him about Hugh's question, ask him if he wore his red, white and blue boxer shorts that day too. It's about as relevant.


It's relevant to this pic.

Tony Wilkins

hugh, where did that picture come from and where would the story related to it be found?

David Wharton

The photo is from a performance of the National Anthem, which Obama appears to be singing in the last couple of seconds of this video.

A number of people in the video don't adhere to the usual custom regarding the Anthem, that one faces the flag and puts one hand over the heart.


This is picayune, not least because the level of ignorance on it is overwhelming. At least half the crowd (of roughly 73,000) at every Carolina Panthers game I've been to neglects to put hand over heart, and a lot of folks fail to doff their hats even after being instructed by the PA announcer to do so.

And if they have to choose, I'd rather my schools spend time on the niceties of the Bill of Rights than those of National Anthem etiquette. Flag idolatry -- and that's exactly what it is, if it isn't fetishism -- is just a distraction from the real issues.

Ged Maheux

I am so sick to death of people questioning other people's patriotism. We have far more important problems in this country to deal with than figuring out who is and who isn't patriotic "enough" for the likes of Hugh.

This is old news and off topic. And before you say any more, Bush didn't cover his heart during the anthem either.

David Wharton

Lex, surely this is the kind of picayune thing that candidates for the President of the United States pay very close attention to -- or should -- even if yahoos at football games don't.

It's neither fetishistic nor idolatrous to participate in secular, public rituals of patriotism. For a serious presidential candidate to diverge from the ritual out of ignorance says something about him. For him to do it out of negligence says another. And for him to do it intentionally says yet another.

Maybe not the most important issue, but not a non-issue either.

Ed's Mom

And back to one of the real issues. At the risk of losing some of my new-found friends--I can't recall that any of the candidates has been very specific about how to pay for things. Certainly I have a problem, considering our national and global situation, in believing those who say they will not raise taxes. We have a horrendous national debt, we are in a financial crisis, we are conducting an expensive war, we must deal with both inflation and unemployment. Obama did say how he would plan to save Social Security (by raising the income cap above the current $97,000). If he is able to get us out of Iraq, money will be saved that way. My statement remains: I don't know how he would fund extensive projects. He did offer inexpensive and common sense ways of dealing with problems, but that still leaves a lot of unknowns. That having been said, I still believe him at this point to be our best hope.

Ian McDowell

How "usual" is the custom of holding one's hand over one's heart during the anthem, anyway? I've been told conflicting things, but do recall that, at Glendale Acres Elementary School in Fayetteville, NC, back in the 60s (yes, I'm that damn old), we were instructed to leave our hands behind our backs or clasp them at our sides, with the explanation that the hand over the heart was reserved exclusively for the Pledge of Allegiance.

When pestiferous slack-jawed knuckle-draggers like "Hugh" first began circulating the "unpatriotic" photo of Obama, the claim the was that it was taken during the Pledge. Only after they were called on this lie did they start saying "you're supposed to do during the Anthem, too."

Jim Rosenberg


Ian McDowell

Fwiw, here's Snopes on that photo (no, they're not claiming it was faked):

After doing a Snopes search on "Obama," I'm bemused to note that some of the "Obama is a radical Muslim" emails include a link to Snopes as "proof" of this assertion, presumably in the cynical belief that readers won't bother to follow it and thus discover that it actually debunks the claim. It's this kind of deception that makes me suspicious of all endlessly-circulating "damning" photos and claims about prominent public figures, whatever their political orientation (yes, Snopes is also useful for debunking falsifications about Bush, including the lie that he has the lowest IQ of any president in history).

Roger Greene

Ed's mom, thanks for your account. Did he give any indication he was willing to become a veto machine? That's the only way he's going to be able to confront this corrupt, bought and paid for on both sides of the aisle by lobbyists Congress to reign in spending. Until we seriously confront this at the federal level we're never really going to rescue our dollar or, in some respects, our sovereignty.


David, throughout this country's history the fetishism of patriotism has been used to divert attention from more pressing issues. In my youth and young adulthood it was: Real Americans don't question the military-industrial complex even though the Russian bear is actually collapsing from the inside. Later it was: Real Americans don't question a ban on flag-burning even if it does violence to the Constitution. More recently, it's been: Real Americans don't question the claimed need to torture, illegally wiretap and shred habeas corpus, even if those things undermine our national soul and our global esteem without making us safer. On and on, forever and ever, amen. It might have reached its apotheosis on Feb. 27 when Republican Congressman Jack Kingston went on MSNBC to criticize Obama for not wearing a U.S.-flag lapel pin ... and quite visibly wasn't wearing one himself.

In a presidential race I want and expect for the issues to be the issues, not for the distractions to soak up all the public-attention oxygen. I care about the Constitution, war, terrorism, the economy, the budget deficit, health care, the environment, education and government corruption, not where someone's hand happens to fall during the National Anthem. Call me idealistic. :-)

David Wharton

Straw men all, Lex. Or perhaps red herrings. Maybe straw herrings?

Anyway, I don't want to make a huge deal out of this. But presidential candidates know that their every word and action in a public setting is meaningful, and careful ones pay attention to the semiotics of these things (how's that for a 2-dollar academic word!).

Does Obama's no-hand-over-heart intentionally communicate that, like you, he considers engaging in ordinary displays of respect for the symbols of one's country to be "fetishistic"?

I guess I'd like to know, because it would affect my judgement of him.

Candidates' attitudes about these things are not non-issues; people use them as barometers of the candidate's orientation toward all kinds of policy issues.

Ed's Mom

To answer Roger's question: the subject of the veto never arose. In addition to wondering about money sources, I also wondered about how anything was going to get through Congress, which is the concern you have, too. Hope this ends the discussion of hands-on-hearts, but when I was growing up in the middle west, just this side of the paleolithic era, we NEVER put our hands over our hearts during the national anthem. No one more patriotic than a middle westerner, including, I think, Sen. Obama. Why would a non-patriot put himself, or herself, through this agonizing process? If you want power, there are ways that are both easier and more lucrative to get it if you are smart and savvy and attractive.


"When pestiferous slack-jawed knuckle-draggers like "Hugh""

Thanks mom. That was beneath the dignity I'd expect from one of Greensboro's senior citizen Belles; Or maybe I've just been educated?

Dave Dobson

That rather over-the-top epithet came from Ian, not Ed's Mom. Perhaps you owe her an apology, both for that and possibly for calling her a senior citizen.

Ed Cone

I had the same thought as my mom re patriotism and running the White House. (I'll leave it to the experts to debate the nature vs nurture question re our similar ideation.)

Hugh, whether you've been educated by this thread or not, you need to read more carefully; the insult was lobbed by someone other than my mother.

Ian McDowell

The epithet was indeed over the top, and for that I apologize to Ed, but not so much to "Hugh," who doesn't make a good case for his own perspicacity by mistaking me for Ed's mom and repeating the false charge about Obama not putting his hand over his heart while saying the Pledge of Allegiance.


Oops, sorry, Mrs. Cone. I read these things from bottom up(read magazines backwards, too). Thought that was your tone. Please accept my apologies.

Ian, why the anger?

Jim Rosenberg

Ed Cone, why do you hate America yet love your mother?

Ed Cone

Don't get me started on apple pie.

Jim Rosenberg

I wish more than anything that your Mom had been the one who said "pestiferous slack-jawed knuckle-draggers." I wish your Mom had busted in here like Kool-Aid and just started up a blinding string of insults. How cool would that be? Please see if she'd be willing to do that, because it would be better than 99.9% of anything I've ever read.

Ian McDowell

Hugh, your gracious apology to Ed's mom and your refusal to respond in kind to my invective suggest that you're not the troll I took you for, so I'll answer your question calmly.

Few day-to-day peeves irk me quite as much as the people who post links to "damning" photos about prominent figures or who forward alarmist emails and MySpace bulletins without bothering to check their veracity. It's possible to have an intelligent objection to Obama's practice (if it is a practice and not a one-time occurence) of not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem, as Dr. Wharton has already demonstrated. But to post a photo of him doing that while claiming it shows him refusing to take the Pledge of Allegiance (something he's been photographed doing on multiple occasions with his hand over his heart) strikes me as annoyingly careless as best, slimy at worst. Especially since it only takes a few seconds to check these things out before posting them. I take people who pass on that claim about as seriously as I do those who accuse Obama of being a closet Muslim.

My anger over this kind of thing is fairly non-partisan. I've already told one friend that I was going to break his fingers if he didn't check stuff out at or other anti-hoax sites before posting, and he's far more liberal than I am. So you can imagine how irritated I get whens strangers do it.


"Help me Obama-Wan, you're our only hope"

Tony Wilkins

Anybody else miss Bubba?
I can imagine his comment when Lex's rationale included comparing football fans to a candidate for President of the United States. imagining Bubba's comments banned too?


The whole flag/lapel/Muslim/national anthem thing is a bit stupid, isn't it? I mean if the guy was really not patriotic, wouldn't he be smart enough to hide it more cleverly? It is much easier for me to imagine Hillary Clinton with a real hidden agenda cloaked behind faux patriotism than Obama. She's the one who would salute the flag everytime, where the lapel, etc. while secretly loathing America way before Obama. She's far more of a Trojan horse than he is. At least I think so. His affiliation with Rev. Wright hasn't helped, but I still don't believe him to be an insincere person. Lacking in judgment perhaps, but not a liar.

The myths that are out there surrounding Obama thus far are simply appeals to the dumbest among us. More "boob bait for the bubba's" as DPM would have said. Will I vote for Obama? Probably not, but he is a reasoned debater and should be engaged on the issues rather than this stupid crap being trotted out by the Clinton's and the black helicopter conspiracy theorists.

keith brown

Did anyone miss the on fox news. THe Rev. Wright has himself a sweetheart house in a gated community getting built, and the loan for the house also has a 10,000,000 line of credit for the church. I am sure there is going to be some digging into this deal.


Keith: I'm right there with you man - I *definitely* won't be voting for Rev. Wright in this election. No way. He's not fit for office, and I can't believe that he has the gall to run for President.

Sam: Agreed, of course. There was some guy on Brad and Britt today trotting out the line about Obama being sworn in on the Koran. B and B corrected him, but he was unfazed. "Uh, well, I still don't like him".

Ian McDowell

In his latest "Civilization Watch" column in the Rhino, O. S. Card takes time away from his busy schedule of canonizing Bush, agonizing over American Idol and deciding which puffy-haired tween-aged male actor is the next Olivier to actually say some sensible things about Rev. Wright and to commend Obama for remaining loyal to him (although he also does his typical overkill demonizaiton of Hillary, and I say that as someone who thoroughly dislikes her). And Hammer continues to defend Obama's character in his back page column, while mocking one "Sound of the Beep" caller for saying that the Democratic candidate is a closet Muslim.

I'll bet some of the Jukes and Kallikaks in the Rhino's readership are getting their knickers really twisted over the tabloid's "liberal" stance on this issue, ever more so than they did about Card's columns on immigration.


Why do liberals stereotype so much?


Conservatives are the mean ones who call people names like "Jukes" and "Kallikaks" and hijack threads, and start fights, and must be banned (see "Bubba").

I think I'll call someone a name, too. Who should I pick and what should I call them, and what kind of retaliation can I expect as a result?

Either way, I will certainly be blamed, or Bubba, or Fred, etc, even though the name calling started elsewhere. Pointing this out of course, is simply "whining" and "playing the victim" rather than exposing the double standard and complete lack of integrity for what it is. I still wonder how some people can sleep at night with their character.


I'm so out of the elite league in namecalling I dont even know what "Jukes" or "Kallikaks" are!

You know, I guess that's a good thing. I hope my kids dont know either. But maybe we will be lucky and some lib elitist can hone their high end insult vocab.

My wife and I can always hope.

Dave Dobson

It's quite possible I'm a lib elitist, or even a cheese-eating surrender monkey, but I still had to go look up Jukes and Kallikaks.

Percy Walker

Mick -- I've got a insult "How-To" book coming out soon. Here's an excerpt from Chapter 1 entitled "Training Wheels":

Are you a huffy lackwit who likes to clog up threads with complaints of unfairness? How about a grievance collector who sits in front of his computer all day itching for the chance to jump in and play the injured party? Do you think repeatedly referring to people as "willfully ignorant," "intellectually dishonest," "hypocrites" or "completely lacking in integrity" is nothing compared to an occasional "pestiferous slack-jawed knuckle-dragger," "Juke" or "Kallikak?" If you've answered "Yes" to any of these questions, try this:

Post a two-column list of monosyllabic words (or pseudo-words) near your computer. Whenever you find yourself having trouble coming up with an insult, simply combine a word from column "A" with a word from column "B." I've progressed a lot since I first starting doing this, but here's what I started out with many years ago. Give it a try, and don't be afraid to add your own words!

Column A	Column B
1. Fuck		a. Nozzle (words with a "z" can be disyllabic)
2. Douche	b. Munch
3. Ass		c. Tard
4. Cunt		d. Sack (or Bag)
5. Shit		e. Face (or Head)

Thanks Dave and Percy (i think).

I think I'll drag my knuckles on home and watch Larry the Cable Guy movies all weekend.


Jim Rosenberg

All will be sorted out by The Decider.

Ian McDowell

Am I really a "lib elitist," or is that a pre-programmed catchphrase? I proudly embrace the elitist label, but feel less liberal every year. What annoys me about some (just some) of Ed's right wing critics is they're such whiny dumbasses compared to him, even when I agree more with them than him. It's the feeling of betrayal, that they're letting the side down by not being one-fifth as smart or writing one-tenth as well as him.

Sure, there are plenty of stupid and inarticulate liberals out there, and I loathe them, too, but so far I'm blissfully unaware of their blogs. And even the most platitudinous Waspafarians, Trust Fund Hippies and Mickey Marxists who write boilerplate letters to the News and Record and YES! Weekly manage to come off as less whiny and inarticulate than the wattle-cheeked chuckleheads who call "The Sound of the Beep" complaining about "the Blacks" and "the gays" and "the left-wing liberals." The fact that I share their low opinion of Skip Alston, Mitch Johnson, The Pulpit Forum and Nelson Johnson (and, to a less rabid degree, Hillary Clinton) only makes me despise the Sound of the Beepers more, as I feel their very existence tars me with their brush.

You can blame "Jukes and Kallikaks" on my youthful worship of Harlan Ellison (I was his liaison when he came at UNCG back in the 80s to speak against the Reverend Joe Chambers and the NC Obscenity Law). Like many writers I adored when I was in my teens and twenties, I find his prose embarrassing now, and where I once thought him a fearless iconoclast, he now strikes me as obnoxious (an opinion many will have of me, I'm sure), but I still find "Jukes and Kallikaks" a delightful bit of opprobrium.

Ian McDowell

That's lovely, Percy. My name isn't the most commercial in these parts, but I'll happily blurb your book if you need one. "Fucktard" is easily my favorite expletive, one that I try to use at least six times before dinner, but I plan to take "douche-nozzle" out for a test spin right after I get offline.

Ian McDowell

Mick, that's actually a funny retort, and (unlike mine) blissfully short-winded.

Dave, this is third-hand (i.e., based on what I recall Harlan telling me), but my understanding is that the Jukes, or maybe the Kallikaks, I forget which, were a family that had two branches; one consisting solely of geniuses and over-achievers, the other of morons, degenerates and criminals. Whereas the Kallkiaks, or maybe the Jukes, were ALL morons, degenerates and criminals. So the words entered popular usage as synonyms, but weren't originally intended as such.

Supposedly jukeboxes were so-called because good and proper folk thought only morons, criminals and degenerates used them, but that may be folk-etymology.

Mayor Fec

Ian, I need 500 copies by 3:00. Chop chop!



I am glad you become less liberal with age. We all do. Though I am unsure if it is actual age or "chirrens" that do it to you.

I suppose "lib elite" is a catch phrase though certainly not as cool (or quite as mean spirited)
as Jukes or Kallikaks. But given your posts to date I feel pretty good about matching that particular sterotypical moniker and your persona.

Why dont you kick back and watch a few "Indy Films" this weekend.

Ian McDowell

Although a proud elitist, I dislike the self-absorbed smugness of most American indy films, Mick (why the quotation marks, a usage I find as inexplicable as the definitive article in "the blacks"?). I'll have a female houseguest this weekend, and we're more likely to watch John Ford Westerns and MGM musicals and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. I also plan to attend my friend Julie's Burlesque show at the Regency Room.

And that brings up a relevant point. I love the Ultimate Fighting Championship (and other combat sports), and one of the reasons I have qualms about voting for McCain, despite all the things I admire him for, is his nearly successful attempt at getting it banned back in the 90s. But I don't get my knickers in a twist when someone calls UFC fans drooling rednecks. I'm not a drooling redneck and neither are the people I regularly watch it with (three of whom are lovely women), but most of the fans at any UFC event ARE apparent morons in backwards baseball caps and I'm honest enough to admit it.

Likewise, I think the Rhinoceros Times performs some good and valuable services here in Greensboro, and that it's compulsively readable, and that Hammer and Card have more nuanced opinions than they're often given credit for. But some of their readers ARE slack-jawed knuckleheads with saggy mantits and mean little snapping turtle eyes, and I don't hesitate to describe them as such. As a quasi-conservative Rhino reader myself, I'm not particularly troubled by liberals who describe all Rhino readers as being that way. And getting back to the subject, there are plentiful reasons to disagree with Obama and to oppose his candidacy (my friend Doc the Biker Paramedic was voicing a few at the bar the other night), but when somebody tries to tell me that Obama is a secret Muslim or repeats the lie that he refuses to take the Pledge of Allegiance, I become a jukish kallikak myself, and think that person deserves a good ass-whuppin'.

Mayor Fec

Yes, downtown GSO is rife with burned-out vampires, waving their jaded MFAs, and going on about deviant interpretation of Arthurian legend, while hunting for another non-cross-eyed freshman.


Even smells manly through the internets! You appear to have a grasp on the real world AND a sense of humor. "They" just might take your elitist card from you but your man card is in no jeopardy.

I put indy films in " " because I dont talk that way. Detest the word "film" in that context anyway.

I prefer bad "B" movies and war movies to westerns. Dont really like long walks on the beach w/o fishing gear... whats your point?


Ian McDowell

What I understand, Spag, is the tendency to complain about "fairness" and to snipe over political opinions on a blog. This tendency isn't unique to you, but it does seem to be somewhat unique (I know I shouldn't qualify "unique" like that) to conservatives.

Don't get me wrong; I don't fault you for sniping at me, or Dave, or any other guest here. I do plenty of sniping myself, but note that I don't snipe at Ed, even when I disagree with him. If he pisses me off too much, I may say something snide about him elsewhere, the way I may mock Hammer or OS Card here, but you won't find me attacking Ed here, any more than you'll find me attacking Card is in own blog or Hammer in his letter column.

Ultimately, I don't think Ed owes you, me, or anyone else a modicum of fairness or consistency. That's not what blogs are for. I'm here because I think he's a good and interesting writer, and don't give a fart whether he's fair-minded or objective.

Moreover, when it comes to sniping and complaining, can you point me at some examples of liberals do that to you and Bubba and other conservative bloggers? No, not here, but in your and Bubba's and other conservatives' blogs. This is an honest question. Are there any regular liberal commentators who insult Bubba or constantly question your motives on your blog or on Bubba's? I admit I've not looked at your blog, but I've perused Bubba's, and don't see Ed popping up there and calling him names, or Dave accusing him of hypocrisy, or any other liberals posting to complain about how they're treated there. I've already said there are plenty of oafish, knuckle-dragging liberals; I just deleted one from my MySpace (and real world) friends for her illiterate ravings about how the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition. Those people exist, but I don't see them popping up on Bubba's blog or yours or in the Sound of the Beep or even here. Yet their conservative equivalents do. Why is that?

Ian McDowell

Hey Fec, there's a Canadian troll (or one of his Atlanta fuck buddies) impersonating you.

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