A Cautious Man
August 30, 2009
 
Sunday Night Springsteen
Yes, it's b-a-a-a-a-ck.

Glastonbury, from a recent show. "Because the Night".

And the typo in the YouTube caption annoys me, but what can you do?


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August 29, 2009
 
"Hey, Somebody Out There,
Listen To My Last Prayer"

It's a rainy Saturday here in the Great State of New Jersey, so I sat inside and watched Senator Ted Kennedy's funeral this morning. All I can say is, "Wow".

First of all, since Boston's Cardinal and a host of Catholic clergy assembled in that magnificent church to preside over the funeral of an unapologetically liberal politician, can we please call an end to the intramural Catholic culture wars about who can and who can't be given a public honor? Honestly, I would provide a link to some of the bitter, hateful people who were demanding that Senator Kennedy be denied a Catholic Mass of the Resurrection, or at least that the Cardinal not be on the altar, but I don't want to be responsible for sending you to their sites. Google 'em if you must.

Second, we all know that the right-wing will be accusing the Democrats of acting "unseemly", and of "taking advantage" of Senator Kennedy's death to push forward health care reform. To which I say, "Tough". If it wasn't "unseemly" for Knute Rockne to tell his players to "win one for the Gipper", then it's not "unseemly" to invoke Senator Kennedy in support of a cause he for which he fought throughout his career.

So, the real "Wow" for me was the Prayer of the Faithful, which came after the readings from scripture. By the way, the scripture selections were inspired, especially the choice of the Gospel from Matthew, chapter 25, in which Jesus tells a parable of the End of Time, when He will tell the righteous -

'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

That message, that what's really important is what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, is a message that Senator Kennedy chose to have delivered to everyone at and watching his funeral.

Anyway, back the the Prayer of the Faithful. That's the part of the Mass with intercessions prayed for by the congregation, which are written specifically for that Mass. As described in the official Guidelines for the Mass -

It is fitting that such a prayer be included, as a rule, in Masses celebrated with a congregation, so that petitions will be offered for the holy Church, for civil authorities, for those weighed down by various needs, for all men and women, and for the salvation of the whole world.

As a rule, the series of intentions is to be

a. For the needs of the Church;

b. For public authorities and the salvation of the whole world;

c. For those burdened by any kind of difficulty;

d. For the local community.

Nevertheless, in a particular celebration, such as Confirmation, Marriage, or a Funeral, the series of intentions may reflect more closely the particular occasion.

That last part is the important part. For his own funeral, Senator Kennedy had a series of intercessions read that were taken from his speeches and writings, about the issues which were important to him, all in the spirit of the passage from Matthew's Gospel quoted above. They were delivered by young members of the next Kennedy generations - and after every intercession, in response to the invitation "We pray to the Lord", the congregation responds, "Lord, hear our prayer" (thanks, hat tip, etc. to "stef" at Daily Kos, who transcribed the prayers and linked to a video) -

Kiki (Teddy Jr's wife):
Teddy served for 47 years, and he summoned us all to service. And so these intercessions, for the work of his life, is our prayer, for our country, and our world.

Kiley Kennedy (Teddy Jr's daughter):
For my grandfather's commitment and persistence, not to outworn values but to old values that will never wear out. That the poor may be out of political fashion, but they are never without human need. That circumstances may change, but the work of compassion must continue, we pray to the Lord.

Grace Allen (Kara's daughter)
For my grandpa's summons, that we may not in our nation measure human beings by what they cannot do, but instead value them for what they can do, we pray to the Lord.

Max Allen (Kara's son):
For what my grandpa called the cause of his life, as he said so often, in every part of this land, that every American will have decent quality health care, as a fundamental right, and not a privilege, we pray to the Lord.

Jack Kennedy Schlossberg (Caroline's son):
For a new season of hope that my Uncle Teddy envisioned, where we rise to our best ideals, and close the book on the old politics of race and gender, group against group and straight against gay, we pray to the Lord.

Robin Lawford (Patricia's daughter):
For my Uncle Teddy's call to keep the promise, that all men and women who live here, even strangers and newcomers, can rise no matter what their color, no matter what their place of birth. For workers out of work, students without tuition for college, and families without the chance to own a home. For all Americans seeking a better life and a better land, for all those left out or left behind, we pray to the Lord.

Kym Smith (Jean's daughter):
For my Uncle's stand again violence, hate and war, and his belief that peace can be kept through the triumph of justice, and that truest justice can come only through the works of peace, we pray to the Lord.

Anthony Shriver (Eunice's son):
As my Uncle Teddy once told thousands and millions, "may it be said of us, in dark passages and bright days, in the words of Tennyson, that my brothers quoted and loved, that have a special meaning for us now. 'I am part of all that I have met. Though much is taken, much abides. That which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, strong will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield,'" we pray to the Lord.

Rory Kennedy (Bobby's daughter):
For the joy of my Uncle Teddy's laughter, the light of his presence, his rare and noble contributions to the human spirit. For his faith that in Heaven his father and mother, his brothers and sisters, and all who went before him, will welcome him home. And for all the times to come, when the rest of us will think of him, cuddling affectionately on the boat, surrounded by family, as we sail on the Nantucket Sound, we pray to the Lord.

Teddy III (Teddy Jr's son):
For my grandfather's brave promise last summer, that the work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on, we pray to the Lord.



As I said, I thought this was one of the high points of the funeral Mass. In that magnificent church, before an assembly of the powerful (Democrats and Republicans alike), and the Cardinal, priests and all the other mourners, that was Senator Kennedy setting out one more time what was important to him. Not only were those his words, but I have no doubt that he was part of selecting them to be read by those members of the next generation of his family.

And hearing everyone have to say, "Lord Hear Our Prayer", after quality health care was described as "a fundamental right, and not a privilege", was priceless.

So, even past the end of his life, Senator Kennedy provided a last prayer for those progressive, humane causes he fought for, including peace, justice, equality, and the right to basic care. It'll be a help in countering the ugliness from the right which will no doubt continue to be seen and heard.

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August 27, 2009
 
Show A Little Faith
There were some interesting reminiscences on the PBS NewsHour last night about Senator Kennedy, in particular on the role his faith played in his life (despite his well-known personal failings) -

TOM OLIPHANT: His own family. Well, you know, one of the aspects of Senator Kennedy that I think has been least discussed in his lifetime and about which people knew the least was just alluded to by the father, and that was his faith.

I mean, he did not always have the best of relations with Catholic officialdom because of his personal life and also some of the issues that he championed, but he was a devout believer. I wish I had a dollar for every mass I've been to with him on the road when there was, like, nobody else except a driver.

And I remember one occasion. It was getting toward the 20th anniversary of President Kennedy's murder. And he was making a national tour. And rather than talking about President Kennedy, he was talking about poverty.

And he broke off one morning -- I'm pretty sure it was in St. Paul, Minnesota, a Catholic town -- and went to a mass in the middle of the week. And afterwards, I -- you know, we all know about his father saying you have the obligation. We all know the secular call to service.

But I asked him, "Where does this rabid concern about poverty come from?" And he looked at me like I was from Mars. And he said, "Have you never read the New Testament?"

And that was behind so much of his politics, but he was the kind of politician who would not bring it up. There was nothing evangelical about his political behavior.

Just something to keep in mind when any random politician starts trying to tell you that he's a "person of faith" - always check the output.

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August 26, 2009
 
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Even without words, the late Senator Ted Kennedy could say what needed to be said.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen - The Kennedy Shrug
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

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August 25, 2009
 
Making Plans
I'm reading the latest on the "Death Book" lies being promulgated, specifically GOP Chair Michael Steele's embrace of that meme. As anyone can see, this whole episode is about a workbook intended to help veterans make a decision about an advance medical directive. It's difficult to address this topic, as anyone with older parents can attest. For younger people, it's well nigh impossible, if not actually ignored (leading to situations such as Terri Schiavo's, but more on that in a moment).

Politics is one thing, but right now the National GOP is misrepresenting an important discussion that every family should have, as some sort of suicide promotion. As a result, I've come to the conclusion that the National GOP is morally bankrupt, since I have no doubt that their arguments will prevent people from making those important plans and having those important discussions.

A few years ago, my Mom and Dad (who are still very much among us today) sat down with my brother and me to tell us, in plain and direct language, what their preference was if they were being kept alive by extraordinary means. My mother had gone through these issues with her mother years earlier, with a very clear decision that my grandmother preferred a "do not resuscitate" order on her chart. Instead of a conversation, of course, a legal document would be even better, in case the medical provider had any concerns about what my brother or I would tell them, should it ever be necessary to do so.

These types of discussions are important for all families. And, legal documentation is even more important, especially if there is a chance that family members might disagree on the course of action to take. Heck, if you listen to the Rush Limbaugh show, you can hear him do an ad for "LegalZoom.com" in which he notes a living will as one of the products his listeners could obtain from this advertiser.

The whole Terri Schiavo case was due to the fact that family members disagreed regarding the use of extraordinary measure to prolong Ms. Schiavo's life. Florida law actually covers this issue, on making these decisions in the absence of a legal document –

1) If an incapacitated or developmentally disabled patient has not executed an advance directive, or designated a surrogate to execute an advance directive, or the designated or alternate surrogate is no longer available to make health care decisions, health care decisions may be made for the patient by any of the following individuals, in the following order of priority, if no individual in a prior class is reasonably available, willing, or competent to act:

(a) The judicially appointed guardian of the patient or the guardian advocate of the person having a developmental disability as defined in s. 393.063, who has been authorized to consent to medical treatment, if such guardian has previously been appointed; however, this paragraph shall not be construed to require such appointment before a treatment decision can be made under this subsection;

(b) The patient's spouse;

(c) An adult child of the patient, or if the patient has more than one adult child, a majority of the adult children who are reasonably available for consultation;

(d) A parent of the patient;

(e) The adult sibling of the patient or, if the patient has more than one sibling, a majority of the adult siblings who are reasonably available for consultation;

(f) An adult relative of the patient who has exhibited special care and concern for the patient and who has maintained regular contact with the patient and who is familiar with the patient's activities, health, and religious or moral beliefs; or

(g) A close friend of the patient.

Of course, we recall that GOP meddling resulted in passage of a Federal law to override Florida law and the Florida judicial process, leading to the grotesque circus which followed.

By discouraging and disparaging any sort of counseling about an advance directive on medical care, the GOP is sowing the seeds for more Terri Schiavo tragedies. I use the word "tragedy" to refer, not to her unfortunate illness and death, but to the tearing apart of the family and the subjection of them all to the glare of partisan publicity. Nobody else should have to go through a situation like that, as described by the guardian ad litem (GAL) who had been appointed by then-Governor Jeb Bush, and whose report issued over a year earlier had been ignored by the Republican governor and his congressional allies. As noted by the GAL -

Sometimes good law is not enough, good medicine is not enough, and all too often, good intentions do not suffice. Sometimes, the answer is in the process, not the presumed outcome. We must be left with hope that the right thing will be done well.

We are, each of us, standing in Theresa Marie Schiavo’s shoes. Each of us is profoundly affected by the decisions that have and will be made in this case. Advocates of privacy rights and death with dignity, and advocates of right to life and rights of the disabled provide the compelling definitional parameters of this matter.

In the end, the GAL concluded (as the courts did later after Congress and President Bush got involved) that Mr. Schiavo could make the choice implementing what he understood Ms. Schiavo's wishes to have been. In so doing, the GAL wrote words about the tragedy of the dispute, which describe a situation nobody should have to face -

The Schindlers and the Schiavos are normal, decent people who have found themselves within the construct of an exceptional circumstance which none of them, indeed, few reasonable and normal people could have imagined. As a consequence of this circumstance, extensive urban mythology has created toxic clouds, causing the parties and others to behave in ways that may not, in the order of things, serve the best interests of [Ms. Schiavo].

The GAL concludes that the trier of fact and the evidence that served as the basis for the decisions regarding Theresa Schiavo were firmly grounded within Florida statutory and case law, which clearly and unequivocally provide for the removal of artificial nutrition in cases of persistent vegetative states, where there is no advance directive, through substituted/proxy judgment of the guardian and/or the court as guardian, and with the use of evidence regarding the medical condition and the intent of the parties that was deemed, by the trier of fact to be clear and convincing.


Now, from the top down, the GOP is attacking the concept of an advance medical directive, which cannot help but discourage the contemplation of these decisions by the men and women who do need to think about this issue, for the sake of themselves and their families. In order to score a few political points via distortion, the GOP is encouraging the potential creation of more family tragedies like that of the Schiavo and Schindler families.

And that is simply unconscionable.

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I See London, I See France ...
Haven't been posting, because the Cautious Wife and moi took a trip to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We went to London (where we've been before), and took a trip to Paris (where we've never been) in the middle of the vacation. We started out in London for a few days, then "chunnelled" into Paris on the morning of our anniversary, and spent the afternoon taking in the sights around the Tuileries, the Louvre, Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter, followed by dinner in the evening and a walk at night over to and under the Eiffel Tower. Spent a few more days in Paris, checking out the museums including the Louvre (why do people crowd for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa but then ignore all these other DaVinci paintings in the next gallery?), and visiting Versailles. Then back to London, for some theater (or "theatre"), music and general touristing.

Oh, and all the French people we met were friendly.

And, all the British people were steamed that the right-wing in the U.S. was dissing their health care system, but that's politics, and that's for another post some time.

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August 03, 2009
 
A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Yesterday, the Department of Defense announced that they had identified the remains of Lieutenant Commander Michael "Scott" Speicher, a pilot whose plane was shot down on the first night of the first Iraq War in 1991. His body was recently found in a remote area, where he had been buried when he died in the crash of his plane that night.

The overall news coverage has neglected the fact that Lt. Cmdr. Speicher and his family were misused and exploited by the Bush Administration in 2002 and 2003, as part of their campaign for an invasion of Iraq in March of 2003. As we salute the bravery of Lt. Cmdr. Speicher, and extend condolences and thanks to his family for his sacrifice, we should also not forget that exploitation of his family by the Bushies. Specifically, shortly before the run-up to the war they claimed that he was probably still a prisoner in Iraq - probably a shocking development for his widow, who had since remarried.

The news story is at once sad, but also conveys the comfort (small though it may be) for his family that their questions had been answered:

Navy pilot Michael "Scott" Speicher was shot down over the Iraq desert on the first night of the Gulf War in 1991 and it was there he apparently was buried by Bedouins, the sand hiding him from the world's mightiest military all these years.

In a sorrowful resolution to the nearly two-decade-old question about his fate, the Pentagon disclosed Sunday it had received new information last month from an Iraqi citizen that led Marines to recover bones and skeletal fragments — enough for a positive identification.

His family issued a statement Sunday saying, "The news that Captain Speicher has died on Iraqi soil after ejecting from his aircraft has been difficult for the family, but his actions in combat, and the search for him, will forever remain in their hearts and minds."


The article also notes the twists and turns that his family's hopes had taken over the years, in particular in 2002:

Shot down over west-central Iraq on a combat mission in his FA-18 Hornet on Jan. 17, 1991, Speicher was declared killed by the Pentagon hours later. Defense Secretary Dick Cheney went on television and announced the U.S. had suffered its first casualty of the war.

But 10 years later, the Navy changed his status to missing in action, citing an absence of evidence that Speicher had died. In October 2002, the Navy switched his status to "missing/captured," although it has never said what evidence it had that he ever was in captivity. More reviews followed, without definitive answers.

[Emphasis added.] The Navy may have changed his status in October 2002, but that was after President George W. Bush had already described him as "unaccounted for". In a September 2, 2002 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, urging action against Saddam Hussein, Mr. Bush included the following in his list of "charges":

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolutions 686 and 687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke its promise. Last year the Secretary General's high-level coordinator for this issue reported that Kuwait, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini, and Omani nationals remain unaccounted for -- more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them.

As Atrios noted at the time, back on October 11, 2002 -

Well, it's all right on schedule. Missing (once dead) U.S. pilot now considered missing and captured.

An AP story at the time demonstrates the close connection between this change in status, and the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The U.S. Navy has changed the status of Gulf War pilot Scott Speicher from missing in action to missing-captured, Sen. Pat Roberts said Friday.

A defense official confirmed that Navy Secretary Gordon England had approved the change in status, which had been in the works for months.

Speicher, a Navy F-18 pilot who was shot down over Iraq on the opening night of the Gulf War in January 1991, initially was listed as killed in action, with no body recovered. But in January 2001, the Navy changed his status to missing in action, given an absence of evidence that he died in the crash.

Iraq says Speicher was killed in the crash.

Roberts, R-Kan., and other members of Congress have been pressing the Pentagon this year to change Speicher's status. Some in the Navy had worried that declaring Speicher captured would be seen as a political move as part of President Bush's drive to win support for possible military action against Saddam Hussein.

The change in status "sends a symbolic message to the Iraqis, to other adversaries and most important to the men and women of the armed forces that we will accept nothing less than full disclosure of circumstances surrounding the missing and captured," Roberts said.

Though not mentioning Speicher by name, Bush has referred in several recent speeches to a U.S. pilot still missing in Iraq.


Another contemporaneous news account shows the link between Iraq war planning and the change in Lt. Commander Speicher's status -

The status of missing Gulf War pilot Michael "Scott" Speicher was changed Friday from "missing in action" to "missing-captured," according to a Navy memorandum.

Navy Secretary Gordon England signed the order Friday in what has been a long anticipated move.

Earlier this year, Pentagon officials said that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz wanted Speicher's status to be changed from MIA to missing-captured because the implication, according to one military officer, is that the change "will become another reason to bomb Iraq."

In his memorandum Friday, England said, "It is my firm belief that the government of Iraq knows what happened to Captain Speicher."

Speicher was shot down over Iraq in January 1991 during the early hours of the Gulf War and was listed as "missing in action" the following day.

Since that time there have been numerous reports about the fate of the pilot, but there has been no solid evidence to indicate what happened to him. His status was eventually changed to "killed in action." He was promoted to captain earlier this year.

In early 2003, another report was circulated to the effect that he might still be alive -

The United States in recent months has received another intelligence report suggesting U.S. Navy Capt. Scott Speicher is alive in Iraq, but intelligence sources emphasize they have not corroborated the information and have nothing to indicate it is accurate.

The report closely parallels that received in the past but has never been verified, sources said Friday. Intelligence generally has indicated Speicher is alive and has been moved among various locations in the 12 years he has been held in Iraq.

And on March 11, days before the order was given to invade Iraq, the Wall Street Journal "reported" the following:

POW Still in Iraq?
"U.S. intelligence agencies have obtained new information indicating Iraq is holding captive a U.S. Navy pilot shot down during the Persian Gulf war," the Washington Times' Bill Gertz reports. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher was classified as killed in action when the Iraqis shot down his F-18 Hornet, but last year the Pentagon reclassified him as missing. Gertz says the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency have received information from British intelligence that "only two Iraqis were permitted to see the captive American pilot: the chief of Iraq's intelligence service, and Uday Hussein, son of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein."

As the war got underway, Senator Bill Nelson Florida stated the following on the floor of the United States Senate (Scroll down to page s4081 on this website containing excerpts from the Congressional Record) -

I have seen the early evidence, which has been made public, that a defector, who was corroborated--indeed, he passed a lie detector test, as well as being corroborated on other evidence--actually drove Speicher from near the crash site to a place near a hospital, and picked him out of a lineup of photographs.

I have seen more recent information from a variety of sources that leads me to believe that Scott Speicher is alive. That opinion, by the way, is shared by my colleague, Senator PAT ROBERTS of Kansas, now the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, who has been, along with former Senator Bob Smith, unrelenting--all of us--in the pursuit of a clarification on the status of Scott Speicher.

It is my opinion he is alive. So we have gone to our commanders, and they have assured us, we have gone to the civilian agencies, and they have assured us: Scott Speicher is at the top of their list of priorities as we are now going into Iraq, to go and find him.

And, oh, what a day that would be, if he is alive, and if America can correct the mistake that our DOD made and bring that American pilot home.

By the way, Lt. Cmdr. Speicher's widow had remarried by the time the Bush Administration had started changing his status and spreading rumors that they had intelligence proving that he was alive. As far as I am concerned, they needlessly victimized her and the rest of his family and friends, in order to stoke the fires in the run-up to the March 2003 invasion.

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Who's Your Daddy?
Michelle Obama has spoken with pride and admiration of how her father raised her and her brother. Michelle Malkin has now written an unsavory attack on the First Lady's late father, Fraser Robinson. As documented by Media Matters for America, Ms. Malkin's new collection of rantings includes, as one of her attacks, this claim:

Mrs. Obama was literally born into the Chicago political corruptocracy. Her father, Fraser Robinson, was a volunteer precinct caption for the Democrat Party [sic]. ... Former alderman Leon Despres bluntly told Mundy that it was "overwhelmingly likely" that Robinson's job at the city water department was a reward for his loyalty.

A review of the source for the above "conclusion" actually shows the truth to be, well, the opposite, actually. This particular line of attack by Ms. Malkin attracted my interest because, once upon a time, she also was proud to highlight the accomplishments of her father, an immigrant and a physician. However, probably for the same pander-to-the-right reasons, Ms. Malkin has downplayed her immigrant father in describing herself.

Ms. Malkin claims to base her conclusions about the late Mr. Robinson, and his impact on his daughter's career, on information in a biography of the First Lady by Washington Post writer Liz Mundy:

Washington Post writer Liza Mundy called him "an essential member of the powerful political machine run by [Richard J.] Daley, who, in addition to being mayor, was the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee, meaning he controlled both the government and the political party, and could use one to do the other's bidding." Former alderman Leon Despres bluntly told Mundy that it was "overwhelmingly likely" that Robinson's job at the city water department was a reward for his loyalty. "The water department, where Fraser Robinson worked, was a renowned repository of patronage jobs."

Why such little scrutiny of Michelle the Merciless (or "That Other Michelle," as she's known in my house) and her crony-aided rise to power? Like her husband, Mrs. Obama is quick to play the victim card when her ill-considered statements and her dealings come under scrutiny. I don't call her President Obama's bitter half for nothing.

However, as the Media Matters analysis demonstrates, her father's need to participate in the system was an contributory factor in her skepticism about politics:

Her dad and her community may well explain her own grounded and hard-working nature, as well as her commitment to her children, but Chicago in the 1960s was almost certainly the source of her oft-expressed skepticism about politics. It was not only a racist and highly segregated city, but one with a complex and ambiguous political system, a system that Fraser Robinson participated in, either because he enjoyed politics or because it was one of the few paths open to an ambitious black man. [Michelle: A Biography, Page 23]

In fact, Ms. Malkin's accusation that Mr. Robinson's participation in the "corruptocracy" is a stain which then transferred to Michelle Obama, is really just a "blame the victim" approach which fails to understand the situation of the rank-and-file workers.

People who underperformed in their political work were susceptible to being "vised," or summarily fired. That was politics in Chicago. "Some of [Michelle's] subconscious -- some of her disdain as to politics could have to do with how [her father] was treated, and what he had to go through," says Al Kindle, a political consultant who grew up on the South Side.

And that, Kindle says, is why the black community was ambivalent about patronage and about Daley: the Machine lifted you up -- got you services and perks -- at the same time that it kept you down. "It was clear that you didn't get access to certain services unless you were a friend to the power structure. That spigot could be cut off. As a young African American with a family, you had to think about that with a jaundiced eye. Just as it helped you, it restricted your choice." So it could be that Robinson's son and daughter developed a dislike for politics even as they developed a deep, deep love for him. "We as a family were extremely cynical about politics and politicians" is how Craig [Robinson, Michelle Obama's brother] puts it. That started to change when they met Barack, whose political career was pushed in part by a coalition of people who had grown up in opposition to Daley and whose goal was breaking the Machine. [Michelle: A Biography, Pages 30-31]

Finally, as pointed out by Media Matters,

Citing Mundy's book in attacking Fraser Robinson, Malkin ignored Mundy's reporting that Robinson worked every day for decades despite being "crippled by multiple sclerosis." ... Mundy added that Michelle and Craig "describe what an inspiration it was to both of them, seeing Fraser Robinson get up to go to work every day, something that became increasingly difficult after his disease set in. Despite the fact that he needed a cane -- and, later, crutches and eventually a motorized cart -- he never stopped working." [Michelle: A Biography, Page 30]

Now, what makes this a "tale of two fathers" is the fact that, while Michelle Obama speaks proudly of her father, who she describes as literally having "died on his way to work", Ms. Malkin is less likely to mention her own father, or for that matter her mother's background.

A while back, when looking at Ms. Malkin's unique role in our national discourses on race, religion and immigration, I noticed something that I found odd. The "About" page on her website used to describe her as a child of immigrants.

Malkin, the daughter of Filipino immigrants, was born in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1970 and raised in southern New Jersey.

An archived version (via the "Wayback Machine" at archive.org) is at this link. And this is how she describes herself today -

I’m a Philly-born, South Jersey-raised alumna of Holy Spirit HS and Oberlin College.

As a matter of fact, she didn't even mention her physician father from the Phillipines when she decided to comment on a kerfuffle involving a character on the program "Desparate Housewives" who says to her doctor, "Can I just check those diplomas because I just want to make sure that they are not from some med school in the Philippines."

So, to recap. Michelle Obama speaks proudly of her father, which is distorted by Ms. Malkin into a description of a corrupt participant in the Chicago machine. As for Michelle Malkin, any mention of her immigrant father (with pride or not) appears to be "inconvenient" for her nowadays.

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