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Going for Barack

Tragedy or farce? The new old racism. Also: Electric driving and sticker shock. Tulsa schools. Plus more.

5.2.08

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Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Tragedy of Campaign '08:

Racism is alive and well, but seems to be emanating from a hitherto hidden source. For too long the mainstream media has assiduously avoided mentioning, much less criticizing the likes of the Reverend Wright.

Race has little to do with Obama's problems. It is his lack of experience (exactly when did cross the aisle and act as a uniter in the U.S. Senate?), his poor judgment (subjecting his children to the rants of Wright et al.), and his obvious political maneuvering (the most charitable explanation for his membership in Wright's church) that has doomed his chances. Wright was correct about one thing: Obama is just another calculating politician.

Race relations have indeed suffered a serious setback. Unless the hate mongers such as Wright, and Farrakhan et al. are exposed, isolated and condemned by the black community, there will be no further progress.
-- K.S. Gimbel, MD
Atlanta, Georgia

This is the first honest article I have seen about the damage done to race relations due to not only the Clintons but also the piling on by the press on the Rev. Wright issue and in particular people like Sean Hannity who have been relentless. Certainly we can ask questions about his pastor but it was time to move on ten days ago and this failure to move on has caused blacks to close ranks and see it as a racial issue. Emmett is correct damage has been done and we won't know the extent until years from now.

Not only have politicians missed a leadership opportunity but so have journalists. Kudos to Emmett for demonstrating courage and rising above it all. This from a fellow Conservative who wants to beat either D candidate with our ideas on the issues.
-- Tom

You have it exactly backwards. Senator Obama is not being rejected because of his skin color. He is falling in public opinion because Senator Obama has a long history of association with people who are racist bigots, demonstrably so.

It is not the "embittered, chip-on-the shoulder lower class voters" who support Senator Clinton who have the belligerent, hostile, in your face attitude. The people with a chip on their shoulder are the hostile, hate whitey mobs best exemplified by the recent actions of one Ms Conyers on the Detroit city council, beyond those voiced by Rev. Wright.

I am a white male (why does that make a difference? Who is the racist here?) who disagrees with Senator Obama on his policies (those policy positions I can actually discern beyond "hope" and "change").

Further, it is awfully presumptuous of you to accuse me of being '"embittered, chip on the shoulder lower class voter" when you know nothing about me, simply because I oppose Senator Obama and simply because I am a white male.

You, sir, fling that charge of racism much too broadly, and aim it at people simply because of the color of THEIR skin. Who is the racist here, sir? You ARE!
-- Thomas Lenon
Skandia, Michigan

The very danger of even considering this foolish inexperienced old style radical Liberal candidate as President has nothing to do with those facts or Reverend Wright the loon. It is not even Obama's willingness , even eagerness, to meet with the enemies of our country and of our friends with no conditions but my greatest fear is the question of what he would agree to in such ill-advised meetings. Hamas and others who hate us just seem way to anxious for us to elect this vain silly arrogant man. As one my old college professors once said, have you ever noticed it is those who have the least reason to be arrogant that are the ones most likely to be such?
-- Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan

No one is making this campaign about race except the racists and the black Democrat primary voters who vote 95 percent for Obama because of the color of his skin.

The problems Senator Obama faces are not because he is part black but because he is inexperienced for the job and associates with some nasty people. Since he has no record to judge him by we must judge him by his associates. The fact that the most prominent of those nasty associates, for now, is black is irrelevant. Obama's indicted scumbag associate Tony Rezco is white. It is irrelevant. Obama's ex- and unrepentant terrorist associate Bill Ayers is white. It is irrelevant. Obama's mentor, pastor and member of the family, Jeremiah Wright is black. It is irrelevant unless you wish to make race the issue rather than making an issue of the fact that Wright is an anti-American, racist, raving lunatic that the would-be President of the United States took his family to listen to for twenty years.
-- Tom Thompson
Hurst, Texas

Sadly, it appears more and more so that by overt default or covert design, Barack Obama may be one of the most racially divisive pols to come down the pike in a long time.

April 30, at National Review Online's The Corner, in his blog entry "Who is the Dr. Frankenstein of this Monstrous Situation?" Victor Davis Hanson, a white nationally syndicated columnist and academician, includes other divisive collaborators with Obama.

He said, in closing: "So Wright goes on, Obama goes on, Hillary goes on. When they have all finished, the wife of the first 'black' President, the candidate who 'transcended' race, and 'old uncle' Wright -- and the liberal Democratic Party -- will have done more to destroy racial relations than all the David Dukes in the world."

Meanwhile, on April 30, in "Obama opens a can of worms," Mary Mitchell, a black columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, illuminates the us-them chasm between blacks and whites, and presents a very different perception of what's transpired -- focusing on what she believes is an assault on the black church and blacks by white America -- and who precipitated it.

She wrote, in part: "At a time when African Americans [sic] are on the cusp of watching a barrier come crashing down, up jumps a divisive issue that is being driven by those outside of the black community....The notion that white pundits can dictate what constitutes unacceptable speech in the black church is repulsive to most black people.... But Wright speaks to a different audience, and that audience has been supportive throughout his ordeal. On Monday, for instance, when Wright spoke at the National Press Club, the predominantly black crowd cheered, clapped and punctuated Wright's speech with shouts of 'amen.' So, when Obama says America was 'offended' by Wright's harsh language, he isn't speaking for or to Black America. He is speaking to White America."


Dark, very troubling days loom on the national horizon.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

I am not sure race is the issue that has confounded Senator Obama's campaign. The case could be better put that hatred is the storm that has made his waves.

Reverend Wright's constant verbal stream of hatred, anger and invective towards the white race is the not the issue. The issue is the shock that a Presidential candidate sat through it for 20 years. That a candidate apparently acquiesced in Wright's vilification and intense dislike of the Nation he seeks to lead.

Mr. Obama says Mr. Wright's rantings are not who he is. But his wife has provided us an insight into whether that is political desquamation or a sincere statement. Ms. Obama shed some light: she has only been proud of America only "this time."

I think it absolutely just and proper that the Senator's judgment and character be the subject of intense and serious debate. This is a man who spent 20 years sitting in this hate-filled place. This is a man who subjected his children to this most vile of speech; race based demonizing.

It is not too much to wonder whether he was one of the masses whom, every Sunday stood up a cheered for the triumph of hatred towards his American brothers.
-- Jay Molyneaux
North Carolina

I think that Mr. Tyrrell is misreading the part that race is playing in this election cycle, and is being a bit unfair to the Clinton camp as it pertains to race. While Bill Clinton did invoke Jesse Jackson during the South Carolina primary, it has now been proven that staffers from the Obama campaign had been instructed to look for any comments that could be construed as "racially insensitive" to be highlighted to the detriment of the other candidates. So while the Clinton camp may have actually uttered the first word about race in the campaign, the Obama camp was more than ready to begin playing the race card when it would be to their benefit. Obama is not exactly clean on this issue.

Also, there has to be a mention of the ole the media has played in race becoming a factor here as well. It has been the media that has rushed to characterize any criticism of Obama and his ideas as race based. The media has chosen sides in this race and have used cries of racism to explain away any criticism and to paper over any of Obama's gaffes on the trail. With the media so willing to focus on Obama's race as a positive factor in his candidacy, how can you be surprised that race is a factor? Remember how little attention the media gave to Joe Biden's statement about how Obama was the first "clean" and "articulate" black to run for President, yet they were the first to basically call Bill Clinton a racist for saying that even Jesse Jackson was able to win in South Carolina (which was true, by the way).

And as much as we try to pretend it is otherwise, race is a factor in all of our lives. It is a part of whom we are, and for blacks it is maybe a bigger factor than it is for whites. As a black man, while I cannot support Obama because of his liberal views, there is still a small sense of pride that we have finally gotten to the point where one of our own has a legitimate chance to be President. For whites it may not seem like such a big deal, mainly because every President and major candidate has been a white man, but for blacks it is a huge deal. So in that sense race was always going to be a factor once Obama became a truly viable candidate.
-- Eric Edwards
Walnut Cove, North Carolina

The tragedy of campaign '08 is the presidential choices facing the American people:

(a) A dishonest, untrustworthy, race-bating, deceitful, congenitally lying female.
(b) A slow on the uptake (20 year) pew sitting, prevaricating, unaccomplished tarnished messiah.
(c) A bitter, angry, imperious (listen to me), confused (I am conservative), anti-free speech, yes tax-no tax RINO.

Everyone in favor of a do-over, including brokered conventions, raise your hands.
-- Wolf Terner

R. Emmett Tyrrell is missing the point. Obama doesn't have a racial problem. That is merely a symptom of the larger disease: the man who was supposed to be "above it all" has been revealed as just another ambitious hack -- whose claim that he "didn't know" who Rev. Wright really was strains credibility.

Race may matter somewhat. But it pales in comparison to the realization that one's hero has feet of clay.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

DON'T GET ME STARTED
Re: Eric Peters's Plug-in -- And Pay Up:

Mr. Peters's article about the cost of "Plug-In" cars is informative and we need this kind of analysis to counteract some of the hype. To go further:

A 20 HP electric motor, at 85% efficiency (a generous number) would consume 17.6 KW hours of electricity to go 40 miles in 1 hour, assuming average urban driving conditions. To recharge the battery, assuming a battery charger efficiency of 85% (also generous) would require 20.7 KW hours. Since the average household electrical outlet would be limited to about 1.8KW, it would take 11.5 hours to re-charge the battery for a 40 mile trip.

The cost of electricity varies greatly, depending on where you live from 6 cents per KW hour in Tennessee to nearly 17 cents in Hawaii. Assuming California (12 cents) it would cost $2.48 to re-charge for a 40 mile trip. That's $0.0621 per mile.

A Prius gets about 50 miles per gallon and at $4.00 for gasoline, that's $0.08 per mile. So the savings of the Plug-In would be $0.0175 per mile. Assuming 12,000 miles per year, the total annual savings would be $214.40. So if the price difference between a Plug-In and a Prius is $15,000, it would take roughly 70 years to amortize the cost difference.

Furthermore, an estimated cost difference of only $15,000 is highly optimistic. One Plug-In car maker in CA estimates the battery cost for his prototype costs $92,000.

Fact is we're not there yet with Plug-In cars, and have a long way to go before we will be. Toyota understands this very well -- hence the Prius. GM also understands this -- hence the Volt remains a "concept car."
-- John Music
Temecula, California

There is yet another cost that Mr. Peters has ignored: the cost of recycling the battery pack in these electric wonders. They contain extremely toxic metals which cannot just be thrown into a landfill, but which will require special handling. Energy efficient light bulbs are another example, but that's another story. Is the cost of oil and the resultant pollution of a conventional, internal combustion engine so bad when the TOTAL cost is computed? Someone better do the math quickly.
-- Patrick Slamon

"If we can figure out a way to produce large amounts of low-cost electricity..."

How about figuring out how to neuter the EPA. How about setting an energy policy that's Nuclear Power friendly. How about turning loose the Oil companies and letting them drill, drill, drill. How about some new oil refineries. How about eliminating the ethanol mandates. How about allowing science, technology, the free market, and American ingenuity do what it does best without government interference. Innovate!
-- Robert Welcher

Mr. Peters is right on target. People need to read this article. By the way, my son in-law works for GM. And one thing, he did not mention was the cost and when the battery might need to be replaced which would be important as well. My son in-law could not tell me when but the cost would not be cheap.
-- Joseph D'Ambrosia

One thing you don't factor in to this article is what I'll call the "Green Factor" which is where people desire to be environmentally friendly. GM didn't factor that in when they applied the numbers to doing a hybrid similar to the Prius. The numbers said it was not a good economic decision and GM went with "logic" to their detriment...and Toyota overtook them as the world's largest auto producer. I will grant you that a $3,000 to $4,000 premium is a lot less than a $15,000 premium for a new car!
-- David Prahl
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Mr. Peters forgets one critical thing -- you are still paying for the energy to power the dang thing. We already have in many areas of the country "brown and black-outs" from energy consumption outpacing electrical power production. Electric ought to be cheap, we do not need to burn fossil fuels to produce it, and we have hydro-electrical power -- wait! Can't dam rivers and put generators on them. We have nuclear powered -- wait! No new nuclear power plant has been built in the USA since the 1970s. We have wind farms, but that is not enough power for all the thousands of "electric plug-in" cars we will soon have.

Our monthly bills are near $200 for our 1876 sq ft house built in 1996 with lots of Energy Star appliances. In addition, shutting off AND unplugging items when not in use. How much more will the bill be when you transfer the costs of energy to power your vehicle?

The prices will skyrocket! Those that are having trouble now will not be able to afford electric power, those that have cut back and can afford will have trouble making the bills, and the whole time -- NO NEW power plants of distribution lines will be built or installed.

Nevertheless, we'll all be GREEN isn't that what's important?
-- Sandra
Severn, Maryland

Would someone please tell us how many KiloWatt Hours per mile it will cost us to drive these plug-ins? And don't allow distractions.

What will it cost to plug the car in at 8 at every night and unplug it at 6 in the morning, and to drive it 15,000 miles a year, or an average of 41 miles per day, seven days a week?

And don't allow them to blind you with mythical cost reductions at night. That is also a whole new infrastructure. They read our meters once a month, maybe even once every three months, and charge us the same if we used it at night or in the day.

Have them tell us how many kWhr it would use plugged in 10 hrs a night. Which will probably use power even when the car is charged.

And also, when will the plug-ins have the power to do all the extras, like air conditioning?
-- James Bailey

I enjoyed reading Eric Peters' article. He wrote:

"However, I do believe people are getting caught up in the hype -- and if they really mean to save money, there might be better ways of doing it."

Nothing could be truer.

The true mileage of these types of vehicles, especially plug-ins, is overestimated even more, when you consider what it is one does in a car, in the summer, in a large part of the country. What? Well, turn on the A/C -- that will certainly drain a battery and reduce the mileage of the vehicle dramatically. Want to listen to a few tunes, while driving, in the summer, with the A/C on? Expect to recharge even sooner.

Consider what you'll do if you want to be warm during the winter months. Turn on the heater. Heaters, in most vehicles use the heat from the liquid circulating in the engine, to supply heat, for fans to blow across in the heater core, and into the passenger area, through vents. In a plug-in the cost to the batteries would have a similar effect as the A/C in the summer.

It was an excellent article, and I enjoyed it very much.
-- Brett Butler
P.S. Not the baseball player, not the comedian, just a Blue State dweller, in a red state of mind (Illinois)

Another aspect of the cost of operating the electric automobile is road taxes. How long before the government imposes them on electric cars (just like on cars that run on Propane fuel)?
-- William Clarke

NO WAY
Re: David Catron's McCainCare v. ObamaCare:

John McCain better hope he can find a lot of people like Mr. Catron to vote for him in November because in spite of some of his arguments being reasonable and possibly correct I am still not convinced to cast a vote for him just so I might suggest in 2010 that "I voted for McCain so our hand basket ride to a socialist hell would be slower!" I actually think it could well be faster with the willing help of a spineless minority of Senators and Congressmen who are only too willing to support a President of their own party even when he may be wrong. It seems to me a person has to rely on McCain following through for on much of the good things he may now be suggesting when his history regarding political deal making doesn't always provide comfort that he will resist his tendency to "reach out" to the other side.
-- Roger Ross
Wisconsin

For me, this will be an "against" election rather than a "for" election. I am concerned, however, that Sen. McCain will construe my vote against his Democrat opponent as a vote for him. Hobson's choice, indeed.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

24 Hours in Tulsa
Re: RiShawn Biddle's Schooling the Reformers:

Being a teacher, I admit that unions have had their share of blame in hurting schools. This has been done in protecting poor teachers from being fired when they should be. The process is too difficult, even in the red states. I also admit that I have worked with many lazy, inefficient teachers.

Still, most people looking from the outside in do not realize that principals and other administrators often make positions open for their buddies and family members. If I had initially joined a union, I would not have been fired for the sole purpose of freeing up a position for the Athletic Director's wife. It happens a lot more than what people think.

However, pinning all the blame on unions is a myopic, simplistic way of looking at the problem. Other issues include disengaged kids, parental involvement, an unhealthy emphasis on sports, and the abuse of learning disability labels.

Yesterday I encountered an eighth grader who had no idea who won the Civil War...although all her classmates definitely knew. I am amazed that I can go over the three branches of government and their functions literally dozens of times and the students still do not get it. I am amazed that their parents are never at Parent Teacher Conference night, and that when we do talk they try to blame me. I am amazed how many students are happy with a "D" and how that's all their parents expect from them.

I am amazed when a history teacher who has a Bachelor's in History (and has won teacher of the year) is not even interviewed because the school needs someone who can coach soccer, baseball, or whatever sport they can think of. I am amazed when coaches focus more on their sport than teaching their class. I am truly amazed that it is easier to fire a coach for poor athletic results as opposed to poor academic performance. I am amazed when parents are more concerned about their kid's athletic performance as opposed to their academic performance.

I am amazed at how many kids are labeled with learning disabilities when they simply are lazy. I am amazed that the State and Federal Governments actually give the parents of those kids a check for them because their child has been identified as having a "learning disability." It's nothing more than being labeled stupid and abusing the privilege.

I am amazed that State Legislatures pass on unfunded mandates. I am amazed at all the bureaucratic red tape teachers and administrators fill out. I am amazed that we cannot kick out continually disruptive students who drag the whole class down and put others in danger. I am amazed that my hands are being tied on dishing out discipline because of school and state policies, and the fear of lawsuits.

Schools accurately reflect our society. The kids are nothing more than a reflection of their parents...and they are the ones who make up the local school community.

Finally, one will always get out of something what they put into it. That goes for spirituality, diet, playing a sport or musical instrument. Those who work hard at those things will lose weight, become good at a sport or musical instrument. The same is true for education. If the kids and their parents don't put anything into their learning, they surely won't get anything out of it. And no government policy, whether it is banning tenure or teacher's unions, can fix that.
-- Stephen Scott
Tulsa, Oklahoma

PARTY CRASHERS
Re: William Tucker's Goodbye to the New Deal:

Tucker's article on Barack Obama's aloofness and dwindling Democratic coalition was exceptional. It put the finger on why the Democrats have lost 7 of 10 Elections for President. Given that in that same time the House elections have been reversed, there is definitely something wrong with the people the Democrats nominate for President.

When you look at Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Mondale and McGovern you see a pattern emerging. Elitist snobs is an extreme term, but this is the reason Blue Dog Democrats preferred Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Bush. Reagan and Bush are definitely the most economically incompetent President's ever given to the Union, Clinton and Nixon the most immoral and untruthful, but when voters cast their votes for these men, they knew that they would stick up for the ordinary American, because they were originally ordinary Americans themselves. The elitist Obama, Dukakis, Kerry types don't gel with Middle America. They might be proud of Gore's Academy Award and Nobel Prize, but they prefer the laconic, folksiness of George W. and look fondly on the no-holds barred optimism of Reagan, as compared to the aloof Harvard academic Obama and the patrician Kerry.
-- Nathan Maskiell
Melbourne, Australia

ROUSH CALL
Re: Thom Bateman's letter (under "Out of Options") in Reader Mail's Fake Phonies:

My apologies to Thom Bateman and anyone else I inadvertently offended in my last letter. My comments were intended to reference only two people, the president and the vice president of the United States. Please understand that I am not a "Bush-hater" or a "Cheney-hater." While I disagree with many of their policies and believe they have been less than candid with the American people on several important issues, I do not hate them. Mr. Bateman does me a service by pointing out the clumsiness of my writing. It clearly did not convey my intended thought.

A thought for today: Imagine Hillary Clinton and the liberal she would bring into her administration as vice president exercising the unlimited, unchecked executive powers claimed by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. If you're not comfortable with that thought, do you still think our current president and vice president's ideas about presidential and vice presidential powers are good? Also, are you sure liberals won't use wiretaps to keep track of their political enemies and those who would thwart their plans instead of using them only for their intended purposes?
-- Mike Roush
North Carolina

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