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So we're finally getting around to reading Obama's second book,The Audacity of Hope, because we didn't want to read it before the election and get all pissed off at the guy for writing some bullshit hardcover pamphlet about the Politics. His first book, I Dream of Africa, was pretty good! All the more reason to be wary of the one he wrote after he was in the Senate. Would there be moments of "BLAM!" in it? Probably not. But there are some funny stories, it turns out!


When Obama was sworn in, by Dick Cheney, in January 2005, he went with the other newbies to the White House to shake hands with Bush Jr. and get his picture taken and whatever. It had been a Season of Fail for the Democrats, and Bush was jabbering about his 51% "mandate" and the "political capital" he intended to spend. The right wing controlled the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court, and Obama's Illinois victory was one of the only bits of good news for Democrats, who were just terrible at everything. (Kerry? For fucking president? Ugh, and John Edwards for vice president?)

Anyway, gather 'round ducklings, because it's story time. The scene: Obama is stuffing his face with hors d'Ĺ“uvre, so he misses the photo op with the president. Everybody is leaving and the waiters are trying to take Obama's plate so he'll finally leave:

Wanting to thank my hosts, I headed toward the Blue Room. A young Marine at the door politely indicated that the photograph session was over and that the president needed to get to his next appointment. But before I could turn around to go, the President himself appeared in the doorway and waved me in.

"Obama!" the President said, shaking my hand. "Come here and meet Laura. Laura, you remember Obama. We saw him on the TV during election night. Beautiful family. And that wife of yours-- that's one impressive lady."

"We both got better than we deserve, Mr. president," I said [THIS IS HOW WHITE PEOPLE TALK TO EACH OTHER -- Ed.] , shaking the First Lady's hand and hoping that I'd wiped any crumbs off my face. The President turned to an aide nearby, who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the President's hand.

"Want some?" the President asked. "Good stuff. Keeps you from getting colds."

Not wanting to seem unhygienic, I took a squirt.

"Come over here for a second," he said, leading me off to one side of the room. "You know," he said quietly, "I hope you don't mind me giving you a piece of advice."

"Not at all, Mr. President."

He nodded. "You've got a bright future," he said. "Very bright. But I've been in this town a while, and let me tell you, it can be tough. When you get a lot of attention like you've been getting, people start gunnin' for ya. And it won't necessarily just be coming from my side, you understand. From yours, too. Everybody'll be waiting for you to slip, know what I mean? So watch yourself."

"Thanks for the advice, Mr. President."

"All right, I gotta get going. You know, me and you got something in common."

"What's that?"

"We both had to debate Alan Keyes. That guy's a piece of work, isn't he?"

The Audacity of Hope [Powell's]

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I'd mentioned this week that there's definitely probably a tape out there of Donald Trump referring to a black person as a "nigger," because Trump is a racist and that's sort of what they do. Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't even affirmatively deny such a tape exists, and she's from the "two plus two equals five" school of communications management. I also speculated that once the tape was released, Republican supporters of the president would flock to defend his vile words: "Hey, if you rearrange the letters in "nigger," you get "ginger" and who doesn't like redheads and the occasional Dark 'n' Stormy?"

The shameful display has already started and the supposed recording isn't even available for pre-order on iTunes. George State Senator Michael Williams stated in appearance on CNN's "New Day Saturday" that if Trump -- who's the president, by the way -- did say "nigger," it would certainly concern him as an "individual" but "not necessarily as a person that is running our country." So, uh, what the hell is that? This has been a standard argument from Republicans ever since Trump crawled his way out of the sewers of birtherism and onto a major political stage: "We think Trump is a terrible human being -- seriously, we have to shower immediately after meeting with him -- but we still think he's a suitable steward of the most powerful nation on the planet."

Normally, you'd think this would work the other way. You know, your brother-in-law is a nice enough guy. Your sister certainly could've done worse. You don't mind the slightly rambling sports-ball discussions with him at family gatherings. He's good for looking after the kids (as long as your sister is present or reachable by cell), but you'd never invest your hard-earned money into whatever half-assed business venture he's trying to get off the ground nor would you back his run for any serious political office.

I've long had issues with the "brilliant asshole" archetype in TV and movies. It's almost always a white male (because women and minorities must be perfect) whose emotional immaturity and overall jerkass behavior we're told to overlook because they're so goshdarned awesome. Do you want some PC "cuck" or do you want Dr. House to figure out that the MS symptoms you're suffering are really just because you ate a stale doughnut? Sherlock Holmes doesn't have time for your feelings or social niceties -- not while he's solving mysteries and being dreamy.

Trump, however, isn't "brilliant." He's just a guy who says "nigger." They're hardly a scarcity in the market. You don't even have to venture out to a klan rally to find one. You can order online -- same day social media delivery.

Williams argues that Trump didn't use the word "nigger" when he was in the "office of the president." It was just some youthful indiscretion when he was almost 60. I don't even know where he's going with this. Does he think Trump has changed? He routinely insults and belittles black people. He also calls black NFL players who peacefully protest "sons of bitches." Was that his way of weaning off calling us "niggers"? Has he been wearing a "nigger" patch on his arm to control his cravings for the racial epithet?

"He used the word in his personal life," Williams said. (It was actually in a workplace context -- SER) "Now if he were president and were to go on TV and use the n-word, I'd have a major problem with that."

media.giphy.com

It's heartening repulsive to see that Williams draws the line at Trump holding an official "nigger" press conference. I think once we reach that point, Trump will probably also reveal that his buddies on the Supreme Court discovered a typo in the Thirteenth Amendment and black folks' work-life balance will start to really suffer.

"I will always say using the n-word is wrong, and it's bad, and should never be accepted in our society. But just because (Trump) might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn't mean we need to continue to berate him because he used it," GOP state Sen. Michael Williams, who is white, told CNN's Victor Blackwell on "New Day Saturday."

Blackwell, who is black, had to sit there and listen to this crap from a white elected official who is just 45 years old. You know, the word "nigger" doesn't even appear in the Dred Scott decision, for example, but that's not necessary for reasonable people to understand that it was racist as hell. We all know Trump is racist, but now Republicans can't even repudiate the worst demonstrations of his racial animus. The first black president hasn't even been out of office for two full years and already "nigger" is being redefined. What would once end a campaign in its tracks when Blackwell and I were growing up is now just an "oops, my bad."

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Conservatives want to be oppressed. Or, rather, for everyone to think they are being oppressed and to then give them what they see as the impunity and moral upper hand that comes along with being an oppressed group of people. They want it very, very badly and think it is very unfair that all the people they have oppressed have this privilege and they do not. This morning, Trump took to Twitter to vow to protect them from the worst kind of oppression of all -- imaginary social media censorship!

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