I really need to stop being outraged at this stuff, but I can’t help it, I am: Mike Huckabee is the latest — and most high-profile to date, unless I missed somebody — Republican to push the line that Barack Obama is a Kenyan alien.
Earlier this week, he told a radio talk-show host:
“One thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American,” said the Fox host. “If you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.”
He also mentioned Obama’s removal of a loaned bust of Winston Churchill that had been in the Oval Office and called it “a great insult to the British.” (He didn’t mention that Obama replaced it with one of Abraham Lincoln, who just might have more resonance for an African American president, but oh well — he is from Arkansas.)
These remarks, reflecting a stunning ignorance in a man who considers himself presidential timber, set off the usual whirlwind of blah-blah, which set off the usual response — it’s all the media’s fault, because he clearly “misspoke” and meant to say Indonesia.
Which is about as lame an excuse as they get, given the elaboration on the details about Kenya — even in Arkansas public schools, I don’t think they teach that the Mau Mau rebellion happened in Indonesia — and even if you take him at his word, how does five years of a childhood constitute “growing up” anywhere? Granted, Hawaii is such an exotic, foreign place, you can’t blame an Arkansan for getting confused.
The smart money is on this being dog-whistle politics, that Huckabee in no way misspoke, that he’s just letting the base know that he’s down with the program. And if that’s true, then no one — no voter, and certainly no journalist — owes Huckabee anything resembling respect anymore. Only shunning, and maybe not even that, will work on this sort of moronic, racist idiocy. Yes, racist. Yes, Mike Huckabee, you are a racist. A big, dumb racist. Racist McRaciston, the governor of a state with a large black population, has thrown in with racists. Own it.
Sorry, just had to get that off my chest. Where does this stop? WHERE?
Let’s switch to hockey, shall we? I expect this story will pick up steam hereabouts, or maybe not: Bob Probert, legendary hockey goon of Chicago and Detroit, died last summer of heart failure, but carried within his brain evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, doubtless the result of the head trauma he endured both on and off the ice:
Probert’s posthumous autobiography, “Tough Guy,” gleefully offers details of his 3,300 career penalty minutes — fifth in N.H.L. history — and recounts so many brawls with enforcers like Tie Domi and Marty McSorley that it requires 11 pages to list them all. He scored 163 goals in his career from 1985 through 2002, for the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks, but was so known for his fighting that a 2007 Hockey News poll rated him the greatest enforcer in hockey history.
Probert drank heavily beginning in his youth in Windsor, Ontario, and he used cocaine to the point that he served 90 days in a Minnesota prison and was suspended by the N.H.L. multiple times, including for the entire 1994-95 season. His police record included driving citations, bar fights and assaults on police officers. While boating last July 5 on Lake St. Clair, near his home in Tecumseh, Probert collapsed and died of heart failure, including an 80 percent blockage of the left coronary artery.
Many athletes later found with C.T.E. — whose test for abnormal protein deposits in brain tissue can be administered only after death — presented symptoms like drug abuse, impulse control and impaired memory only in the years before they died, suggesting that the disease contributed to it.
So the trauma created its own loop, I guess — head trauma leads to poor impulse control which leads to more head trauma. This is a story that started small, with a few studies mostly covered by the prestige papers, and mostly off the sports pages, but is picking up steam over the course of the last few years. The suicide of former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson — who is said to have shot himself in the heart to preserve his brain for postmortem research — pushed it higher, and I imagine this finding will, too.
Ironically, I remember reading this story a couple of years ago as the Stanley Cup playoffs got under way, “Why the Red Wings don’t fight,” about how the North American game is changing to a more European, less pugilistic model. Fewer goons, better skating.
Do click that first link on the Probert story, and check out the photo, and the look on the kid’s face. There’s the problem in a nutshell. Oh, and I did the math — 3,300 penalty minutes translates to 55 hours.
OK, we’ve done infuriating and depressing. Can we take a run past something fun?
I’m tapped out for funny, but here are a couple shots of Christina Hendricks in a low-cut dress. (Yes, Rob Daumeyer, that’s a big WIN!!!!!) I actually love the first dress (what I can see of it, anyway), but think it would look better with a double strand of pearls rather than that big honkin’ heart, but that is the product after all. (And I am old.) My jewelry box seems to be missing a giant crown of oak leaves; I’m glad someone has stepped in to fill the gap.
Onward into a cold, cold March morning.