In which I defend Michelle Obama against both the AP’s and Politico’s rank ignorance

Ok. Y’all know I’m not a big fan of our First Lady for various reasons, but there are times when even this staunch anti-Obama conservative has to step in and say, “Wait a darned minute.” This is one of those times.

After the announcement Tuesday courtesy of Mrs. Obama that Charlotte had won the 2012 Democrat National Convention, our Obamaloving liberal newspaper the Charlotte Observer posted a brief editorial on their blog regarding one of the comments the First Lady made about what is known down South as the “Queen City”:

Michelle Obama may know a lot about haute coutre in Chicago, but she doesn’t know hushpuppies about Charlotte’s culinary scene. In announcing Charlotte will host the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the First Lady says:

“Charlotte is a city marked by its southern charm, warm hospitality, and an ‘up by the bootstraps’ mentality that has propelled the city forward as one of the fastest-growing in the South. Vibrant, diverse, and full of opportunity, the Queen City is home to innovative, hardworking folks with big hearts and open minds. And of course, great barbecue.”

Huh?!?! We appreciate all the compliments, and they’re all spot-on until that last one. We like Spoon’s, Mac’s and Bubba’s just fine, but everybody knows to get the best stuff, you gotta drive north to Lexington.

Maybe this will be the publicity Lexington BBQ needs to open an outpost in Charlotte. Or how about a consortium of Lexington/Wilber Shirley/B’s/Skylight Inn/Allen & Sons at the corner of Trade and Tryon?

Clearly they’re taking a friendly jab at the First Lady by humorously disputing what cities in North Carolina have great BBQ. In turn, Politico spun the light-hearted post into a regional criticism of Michelle Obama, who they imply – because of the unserious Charlotte Observer editorial board post – doesn’t have a clue about Southern cuisine. In an article headlined “Charlotte charred by FLOTUS roast reference”, Molly Ball writes:

Charlotte residents were ecstatic to hear this week that their city was selected to host the Democratic convention. But there was one line in the e-mail announcement from First Lady Michelle Obama that made locals say, “Huh?”

In listing Charlotte’s many virtues, Obama named southern charm, hospitality, diversity — “And of course, great barbecue.”

That was news to residents, who know that North Carolina’s best barbecue lies farther afield. “We appreciate the compliments, and they’re all spot-on until that last one,” the editorial board of the Charlotte Observer newspaper wrote in a blog post titled, “Charlotte = great barbecue? Who knew?”

“Everybody knows to get the best stuff, you gotta drive north to Lexington,” the board added.

A local Associated Press reporter quoted a barbecue expert, retired University of North Carolina professor John Shelton Reed, who said that Charlotte for barbecue was “like Minneapolis for gumbo.”

The gaffe was enough to make you wonder whether the White House had simply cut and pasted Southern clichés to create the first lady’s announcement.

In another Politico article, here’s a direct quote: “First Lady Michelle Obama’s Charlotte barbecue gaffe”. Please!

The AP article referenced in the Politico piece was entirely devoted to the whole “pure BBQ” debate, where to get the best, etc, but also took a shot at Michelle Obama’s BBQ reference.

Seriously? And it’s not even a slow news week. Not by a long shot.

Listen, I’m cool with debates about whether or not Eastern BBQ is better than Western, where the best BBQ places to eat in the South are, etc. but the fact of the matter is there’s not a major city in the South you can visit that doesn’t have several really good BBQ restaurants at which to eat. Here, there’s Mac’s, Spoon’s, and Bubba’s, which the Observer mentioned. Bubba’s was rated by Southern Living Magazine readers as the #3 best BBQ place to eat in NC. There’s also a cute little BBQ place about 15 minutes from me called R & R BBQ. On 74, there’s a place that’s been around since the late 50’s called BBQ King. Simply put, there are a lot of good BBQ places to eat in this city.

So, Politico:

1) Stop assuming that the Charlotte Observer editorial board is “Charlotte.” Even if they were being serious about Charlotte not being *the* place for BBQ here in NC, which I don’t think they were, just because they wrote about it doesn’t mean they speak for the rest of us.

2) And that goes for your lone BBQ “expert” as well, AP.

3) Please reserve your Michelle Obama critiques for real issues, not non-existent “gaffes” about regional food offerings. I don’t know how much she knows about Southern food, but you’ve proven to me that your knowledge is sorely lacking.

Thank you. Felt good to get that off my chest.

Major MSM fail: What if this had been the Tea Party?

Watch and read here (hat tip: Memeorandum) about video captured from the recent left wing anti-Koch protests in which liberals militantly marched against the Koch brothers (David and Charles) because they’re rich and donate heavily to conservative causes. Keep in mind that the group behind the protests, Common Cause, is financed by … billianaire liberal George Soros. Go figure.

Anyway, Human Events’ John Hayward describes what takes place on the video:

These protests are not intellectual disagreements with the Koch brothers, but rather furious denunciations of their very right to engage in the democratic process. For example, an L.A. Times article about a January 31 protest outside the Koch estate included this quote from a demonstrator: “We cannot have democracy unless everyone has a voice. Donors like the Koch brothers are drowning us out. Their voices are louder.” Ah, the redistribution of free speech. Of course it involves gags.


Even less tolerant and inclusive were the remarkable statements issued by the charming attendees of this event, who had a few things to say about people other than Charles and David Koch. They’re very unhappy with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for example, because of his role in the Citizens United case, which upheld the rights of corporate free speech.

After some mood-setting whines about the “racist tea party,” various members of the lily-white Uncloak Koch crowd suggested Justice Thomas should be “put back in the fields,” or we should “cut of his toes one by one and feed them to him,” “string him up,” or “torture” him. One of these lovely folk even suggested hanging Thomas’ wife along with him.

The fascinating thing about this video clip is how casual the lefty nitwits are about dishing out savage and violent racism toward Clarence Thomas. They think it’s funny. They don’t expect to be called on it, or worry about discrediting their movement. They know the mainstream press has their backs, and they’re very comfortable chatting about their summary judgment to strip Thomas of his humanity.

Imagine for five seconds had this been someone from the Tea Party calling for the lynching of Justice Thomas. Take it away, RB (via Ed Morrissey):

Are there racists who are also Tea Partiers? Of course. As the video proves, there are racists everywhere… even on the Left. Do those racists speak for the entire movement? Of course not. Do those racists represent even a significant portion of the movement? Only insofar as the racists in the video above represent a significant portion of the Left. But that has never stopped the Left from hurling their accusations against the entire conservative movement or the Tea Party, has it?

Let’s just imagine if the video above was taken during a Tea Party rally and several participants stated that a sitting US Supreme Court Justice should be sent “back to the fields” or “strung up”. Picture the news coverage. Predict what Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann (if he still had a show) would be saying right now and over the next few days. It would be non-stop. Democrat Congressional members would be using the tape as “proof” of what is really behind the opposition to ObamaCare or any other piece of legislation they want to get passed.

“The racist Tea Party.” That’s all you’d hear.

Many Leftists still try to suggest that the media is not overwhelmingly Leftist. If that were true, you wouldn’t be hearing about the racists at the Uncloak Koch event on the web for the first time.

You betcha.

Move along here, nothing to see …

Ft. Hood terror attack: Reading between the lines of the Congressional “investigation”

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has concluded its investigation into the Ft. Hood terror attack and – as is usually the case with government “investigations” – you have to read between the lines to get the real story. We’ll get to that in a moment. First, the official story, via CNN:

Washington (CNN) — FBI and Army officials repeatedly ignored multiple warning signs that could have prevented the November 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, according to a long-awaited report released Thursday by two U.S. senators.

The inability to act was a result of both bureaucratic inefficiency and an unwillingness to identify and confront homegrown Islamic extremism, the report concludes.

Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused in the shootings, which left 13 people dead and 32 wounded. He faces a likely court-martial and potential death penalty.

Thursday’s report — titled “A Ticking Time Bomb” — was written by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and Susan Collins, R-Maine. Lieberman is the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; Collins is the committee’s top Republican.

“Although neither the Department of Defense nor the FBI had specific information concerning the time, place, or nature of the attack, they collectively had sufficient information to have detected Hasan’s radicalization to violent Islamist extremism but failed both to understand and to act on it,” the report says.

“Our investigation found specific and systemic failures in the government’s handling of the Hasan case and raises additional concerns about what may be broader systemic issues.”

Among other things, the report notes that a FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force had learned that Hasan was communicating with a suspected terrorist and flagged his communications for “further review.” A second task force, however, subsequently dismissed the evidence and “dropped the matter rather than cause a bureaucratic confrontation.”

Hasan reportedly communicated by e-mail with radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki’s name is not included in the publicly released version of the report.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon “possessed compelling evidence that Hasan embraced views so extreme that it should have disciplined him or discharged him from the military, but (Defense officials) failed to take action against him,” the report says.

It concludes that Hasan’s military officer evaluation reports were “sanitized” to minimize his “obsession with violent Islamic extremism.”

Jon Ham provides the necessary translation:

And why did the FBI and the Army “fail” in their responsibilities to notify the relevant authorities that a Muslim nutjob was operating in their midsts? Because they would have been crucified on the cross of insensitivity and political incorrectness in an atmosphere encouraged by Congress and almost every other institution in American live over the past 30 years.

The real culprit in not identifying the danger of Hasan is the far left, which has preached multiculturalism and identity politics since the 1980s. Any criticism of one of their privileged minorities, racial or religious, has immediately been branded racism. The FBI and the Army, to their discredit, cowed to this insanity, and the loss of life by the likes of Hasan is the result.


Robert Spencer adds:

For now, the report recommends that the Pentagon “revise its policies and training in order to confront the threat of Islamist extremism directly.” But even short of tackling chapter and verse, any such activity will be met with howls of “profiling” and “Islamophobia,” and resisted by Muslim sympathizers setting policies within the Pentagon.

In other words, as it is with most other Congressional investigations, panels, etc, we get the sanitized version of events without addressing the serious underlying factors that either directly or indirectly led to said events (see: the 9-11 Commission, the various economic meltdown “investigative” committees for more), thereby pretty much making it impossible for us as a country to “move forward” and “learn from our mistakes” and impliment new procedures (or modify old ones) so as to decrease the risk of said events happening again.

And why is that? Stop and think about it for a minute: The most devastating terror attack on US soil came about thanks, in part, to left’s refusal to treat Islamofascism as anything other than a law enforcement issue in the 1990s under President Bill Clinton. Not only that, but the information sharing between intelligence agencies became a major issue under the Bubba Regime thanks to then-Deputy AG Jamie Gorelick’s “wall.” Flashback (via Andrew C. McCarthy in 2004):

Gorelick did invent the wall. The wall was not a set of procedures implementing FISA as construed by federal decisional law. To quote Gorelick’s 1995 memorandum (something she carefully avoids doing), the procedures her memorandum put in place “go beyond what is legally required…[to] prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation.” (Emphasis added.) As this rather straightforward English sentence illuminates, the wall exceeded the requirements of FISA and then-existing federal case law.

What the wall implemented was not the FISA statute as construed by the courts but rather Gorelick’s overheated view of what would be useful to avoid being accused of misusing FISA. To be sure, it is often prudent for the government to hamstring itself beyond legal requirements; going-the-extra-mile improves the (already good) chances that courts will reject motions by defendants to suppress damaging evidence (like incriminating recorded conversations). It is, however, irresponsible for the government to hamstring itself when that means national security will be imperiled — which is what happens when agents are forbidden from communicating with one another.


The wall generally forbidding intelligence agents from communicating with their criminal counterparts was a suicidally excessive way to ensure that what little information intelligence agents were permitted to pass would be admissible in court. This is the product of a mindset that insists, beyond all reason and common sense, that terrorism is just a law-enforcement problem. The object of a rational counterterrorism approach is to prevent mass murder from happening in the first place, not to improve your litigating posture for the indictment you return after thousands of people have been slaughtered.

And then there was the economic meltdown that started around 2006. Er, I don’t think I have to go into too much detail again to remind everyone how the hard left’s “chicken in every pot” ideology, as exemplified by our celebrity President in his role as both community organizer and later Senator, paved and shaped the way for the collapse of our economy which – contra to the fluffy rhetoric of the Obama administration by way of Robert Fibbs – is not recovering. Read here, here, here, here, and here for my writings on the issue of the economic crisis.

I also don’t think I have to remind anyone which political ideology helped greatly enable the “free love/gimme mine, Uncle Sam” mentality, a mindset that wasn’t predominant until the Great Society programs of the 60s were enacted, and “feminists” started burning their bras and proclaiming a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. The biggest casualty of that belief system? The black family structure. I suppose I’m a racist for saying that. Whatever.

And then there’s the Fort Hood terrorist attack which, as Jon noted, quite likely could have been prevented if it weren’t for the screams and howls of outrage from the left everytime some “victim” group is singled out for (legitimate) criticism. The military, in particular, is being made to be hyper-sensitive about the Islamic “faith” in particular because they don’t want to be viewed as “Islamophobes” at a time when the US is at war with … radical Islam, both here at home and abroad. Who has pushed the strongest for “sensitivity” training in the military in the sincere belief that it will stop Islamofascists from hating us? Yep – you guessed it. The left.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but I won’t have to go too far. The left takes particular pleasure and glee in blaming so-called “violent” conservative rhetoric for political threats and murder. As we’ve discussed before, this is their way of trying to paint the opposition as nothing but a bunch of batsh*t crazy nuts whose ideas aren’t worth listening to. For purposes of discussion, let’s say that what the left says is true: “Violent” conservative rhetoric has been responsible for numerous deaths over the last few decades. Even if that WERE true, the number of isolated incidents of murder that allegedly came from such rhetoric pales considerably in comparison to the destruction, death, and catastrophe that have happened as either a direct or indirect result of liberal policies, policies that promote irresponsibility, illegitimacy, lifetime dependency, societal rather than individual blame, political correctness via written and unwritten thought and speech codes designed to try to guilt and shame people into not speaking up and/or out against conventional wisdom when it comes to any issue related to “minorities”, etc. Keep in mind that in the rare instances that conservative rhetoric has been tinged with violence, there are volumes of politicos, pundits, and other assorted right wing personalities who will eagerly and forcefully condemn it. On the other hand, the destructive social policies of the left – which I just described briefly above – are still in place, still advocated, still promoted.

I could go on and on**, but you get the picture.

As I wrote in early 2009 on the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac blame game:

The galling part – on top of the meltdown currently underway – is the fact that these SAME Democrats (Dodd, Frank, etc) were “demanding” answers from the Bush adminstration last fall on FM/FM as though the Bush administraton never did anything to try and prevent this from happening, and as if Republicans like McCain, Dole, Sununu, etc never tried to get meaningful reform passed, and as if they (Dodd, Frank, etc) were the ones who were actually trying to spearhead meaningful reform efforts. If lightening really did strike people who lied as it relates to this issue there would be a bunch of Congressional Democrats lighting up the House and Senate with enough electrical power to comfortably heat up the east coast for the entire fall and winter seasons.

None of those Democrats were/are admitting their part in enabling the financial meltdown – not admitting their role in keeping policies in place that enabled the “greedy lenders” to do what they did, not admitting their role in fostering the “gimme” entitlement mentality that has infested this country for decades, thanks in no small part to the “Great Society” programs. They’re just content in letting the blame lay squarely on the shoulders of Bush and other Republicans. Not surprising, seeing as though personal responsibility isn’t exactly a hallmark for many Democrats in Washington, DC.

Bush wasn’t a perfect president by far, and made plenty of mistakes, but he – and other Republicans – actually did try to get it right on this issue by advocating and pushing for policies that may have prevented the collapse of FM/FM, and the people who prevented meaningful reforum were race-baiting, politically correct demagoguing Democrats, many of whom were beneficiaries of campaign $$ from FM/FM.

What’s the moral of this story? When Bush made mistakes, he was made to feel obligated to admit them by Democrats as a way to “move forward so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past.” But when Democrats make mistakes, they should feel no obligation to admit them and instead should shove off the blame on everything and everyone else. That way we can continue down the same destructive path – which is exactly what’s happening as we speak. It’s all becoming much more clear to me now.

And the beat goes on.

**Like, on how many millions of unborn babies have been murdered as a result of the left’s fanatical obsession with a woman’s “right to choose.”

Update: Read more via Jane Jamison.

Phineas butts in: ST does a bang-up job chronicling the damage done by liberal-left ideology, but I want to add a couple of things.

First, back to the Senate report, this is a damning indictment of the culture of political correctness that has infested not only our military establishment, but the government and society in general, thus preventing us from taking a cold, hard look at the root of the jihadist problem: the jihad imperative and the aggressive and supremacist hardwired into Islam itself, starting with Muhammad and the Qur’an through the hadiths and tafsirs (commentaries) of learned scholars, down to the present day. As Andy McCarthy rightly points out in The Grand Jihad, we focus with almost a tunnel-vision on acts of terror themselves, but not on the driving ideology that makes jihad (both violent and cultural) its tool for its ultimate goal: the imposition of sharia law everywhere.

Secondly, and while it pains me to say this because I do admire the man, President Bush’s administration has to take quite a bit of responsibility here. While they did a superb job going after the enemy and protecting us from jihadist attacks after 9/11, they steadfastly refused to address the problem posed by the theological roots of Islamist ideology. Indeed, after that terrible day, the Bush administration went out of its way to show Muslims we meant them no harm, visiting mosques and meeting with imams and organizations whose radical connections would have become evident with the least investigation — if we weren’t paralyzed by political correctness.

If we’re ever to win this fight –or even just avoid more Ft. Hoods– we have to take the blinders off.