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Dear Barry: We Agree, Please Just Start Smoking Again (Just Not Menthols)

Illustration for article titled Dear Barry: We Agree, Please Just Start Smoking Again (Just Not Menthols)

Today, TheRoot made the courageous call no other news outlet, mainstream or meme-stream, has had the foresight (or clear-eyed grasp of the myriad complexities of the current era) to do, and penned an open letter to Michelle Obama requesting an indulgence so Barack can have a fucking cigarette."Think about the pure gold of 'Barack outside smoking with the boys,' like he surely used to do, talking sports with the friendly janitors who were having a smoke outside the University of Chicago Law School," Paul Devlin writes, reasoning that a few smokes might even help him win over white voters. "If Hillary had stopped smoking, believe me, she'd have started again (and denied she ever stopped), and then reminisced about her smoking breaks with the gals back when she worked as a hair-netted cafeteria lady in a Terre Haute elementary school." There are many other reasons we could add to the list of Reasons To Light Up, starting with the recent revelation that Jeremiah Wright is a fucking underminer, and that self-professed "liberal" Chinese students in the United States are turning increasingly nationalistic. Megan and I list a few others after the jump, but only because it gives me an excuse to light up a cigarette.


MOE: Stuff like skankgate is why I wake up in the morning anymore.
MOE: Oh god, a Bush news conference at 10:30, does he have to keep giving those?
MEGAN: I love that now that he doesn't have to be re-elected he's totally cool with talking to the press.
MOE: And the press is like, "meh you?" Nice job on Deal or no Deal..
MEGAN: Also, they have some new guy on FoxNews who is their go-to guy for talking about Wright who I hate because he's just so annoying and stupid and I think I agree with you about morning shows. But skanky is a funny word if you've never heard it.
MEGAN: Was he subordinate to the banker on DoND? Because that's be a hilarious subtext.
MOE: Speaking of which I totally checked the comments late yesterday and there was one about Mauritania retaining a slave class, which totally reminded me of China also having a slave class, which made me feel a lot better about my current situation.
MEGAN: Why cabbages in that article, I wonder?

The newspaper said 76 children from the same county, Liangshan, had been missing since the Chinese Lunar Year festival in February, 42 of whom had already left the region to work.
"The youngest kids found in the child labor market were only seven and nine years old," it said.


Now, it's tempting to say "this shit didn't happen under Mao" but if it did, you didn't hear about it, and what we do know is that people ate other people during the Great Leap Forward, not because they were starving but because the pain of the constipation they suffered from resorting to eating grass was too unbearable, so...
MOE: And cabbages are sort of a staple there.
MOE: Like corn for us!
MOE: (Why they're skinnier)
MOE: You know I think we're supposed to talk about Jeremiah Wright today, I get the idea.
8:55 AM
MEGAN: Ugh, that whole thing, so annoying. But he totally fucked Obama with it.
MOE: It's funny, Andrew Sullivan was horrified, but his blockquote comes from the Dana Milbank blog entry, and I was horrified when I read the Dana Milbank blog entry too, but then I read on a Washington Post online chat that a lot of people felt kind of overly rankled by the Milbank piece only to find that they didn't care as much after they read the words themselves. I realized I had come to unquestioningly accept Dana Milbank's depiction of events, and I'm not the only one. Then I read Alessandra Stanley's version of events and felt better about that.
MOE: Here it is

The pastor who was thrust upon the public consciousness as a caricature of the angry black man emerged after an exhaustive series of performances as a more familiar television persona: a voluble, vain and erudite entertainer, a born televangelist who quotes Ralph Ellison as well as the Bible and mixes highfalutin academic trope with salty street talk.

9:00 AM
MEGAN: I don't really buy in Dana Milbank that much, I have to admit. See, I kind of liked the speech when I saw it, but excerpted, he looks like an asshole and I do sort of wonder if he deliberately set out to hurt Obama for not standing by him more or something, or if he's like Nader and just doesn't give a fuck who gets elected because he doesn't think anything will change.
MOE: Well that's the interesting part. I mean, the speech didn't bother me particularly. But in his self-righteous notgiveafuckery, it was surprising. It made no attempt to support Obama politically at all. And in that way it was incredibly sad. Because even if he doesn't think anything will change...even if he harbors some grudge against his old charge, even if he knows something dark and pernicious about Obama that we don't, it's really fundamentally uncool to do that.
MEGAN: I'm in a self-righteous notgivingafuck mood, too.
MOE: Right me too. Also I have back pains. I'm moving to my bed. Just so you know.
9:10 AM
MEGAN: I almost stayed in bed for this today, but I decided to get out of it, if only because it was slight chilly and my bed had neither my flannel sheets nor my fleece blanket on it anymore, but I'm wrapped in a fleece throw while writing this and may opt to go back when we're finished even though I remembered to buy creamer last night for my coffee.
MEGAN: Which I bought while getting my dinner, which was a pear. And I was hungry for a while after that, but it stopped.
MOE: Oooh you're on the recession diet I see! I left bed, went outside, smoked, got coffee, got an egg and cheese sandwich, ate them, drank the coffee, now I'm in bed with Kombucha and once again NO MEDS. It's going to be a struggle. Like every day, just slightly moreso. I think we should address the price of oil, since we've done a fairly good job with the price of food and oil is what Drudge is talking about. And I think we should discuss the nature of the Obama-Wright relationship a little more, if we think of anything remotely intelligent to say about it, and there's an interesting story in today's Times about Chinese students in the U.S. attacking free Tibet advocates.
MOE: Oh look and they just arrested a bunch of Tibetans for the protests, doling out sentencing "ranging from three years to life in prison."
MEGAN: Well, um, if we're trying to look on the bright side, "life" in prison in China probably doesn't last that long. Also, NC Governor Easley just endorsed Clinton. I know those things are unrelated.
MEGAN: Also, I saw Kombucha at the store last night and thought to myself, hey, I could, like, totally get a case of that and bring it to Moe in NY next time, and then I thought about dragging up your 5 flights of stairs and decided against it.
MOE: Here's the story about Chinese students in the US. And re the Clinton tip, I'm sure you saw similar news about Bill Kristol.
9:20 AM
MEGAN: Did I mention that yesterday or maybe last week Pat Buchanan was on MSNBC and basically admitted that the right wing had been talking up Clinton for months because they knew they could beat her? But now that Obama's got all this Wright shit to deal with, they're cooler about him and don't care who they will be beating in November? I guess Billy Kristol didn't get the memo.
MEGAN: Also, on gas prices, the big fucking "plan" is to give a gas tax holiday this summer, because that's a totally sustainable way to lower gas prices and it totally would've have any negative effects on, say, road and transportation spending or the federal budget (if they make up the losses to the transportation spending program) if they do it but, what the hell, it's an election year!
MOE: Oh shit, I didn't see that. Yeah Buchanan thinks Jeremiah Wright should bow down and thank god his ancestors were slaves here and not Mauritania or whatevs. And I wanted to point out this.

"When we have a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet./ When we tried limiting our numbers, you said it is human rights abuse," reads a poem posted on the Internet by "a silent, silent Chinese" and cited by some students as an accurate expression of their feelings. "When we were poor, you thought we were dogs./ When we loan you cash, you blame us for your debts./ When we build our industries, you called us polluters./ When we sell you goods, you blame us for global warming."


9:25 AM
MEGAN: Lol, "limiting our numbers," is that a Chinese translation for "killing political prisoners" or "forced sterilization." Also, didn't the one-child policy start long before they had a billion people?
MOE: The one-child policy did not start long before they had a billion people, no. In 1950 they apparently already had around 600 million, and for awhile there it was popular to breed workers because so many of them died prematurely anyway. But I think it's important to point out the Chinese students for the same reason it's important to listen to Jeremiah Wright and, for that matter Angela Davis: there are too many people in this world who view American hypocrisy as the Worst Thing In The World and I refuse to accept that is but like Brent Scowcroft I think it's more important than ever not to casually dismiss them I guess?
MEGAN: I just don't think that Americans are the only hypocrites. Oh, crap, wait.
MEGAN: Dammit.
MEGAN: I was just about to make an argument consistent with realist political theory and must now go beat myself about the head, please excuse me. It's the lack of caffeine.
MEGAN: Also, a "League of Democracies?" Isn't that, in effect, what NATO is? Who else would we let join?
MOE: I need some coffee. And no we are not the only but we have the benefit of all the capitalization and a free press. (No really.) So yeah. Ugh. God I am tired. And Brent Scowcroft, is he going to come out and endorse Obama already? And speaking of realists who is Kissinger endorsing?
MOE: And by realists I mean assholes obvs.
MEGAN: Is John McCain planning on making a UN without the Axis of Eeeeevil and Russia and China?
MEGAN: Also, I went to Georgetown for grad school, but I thought I'd blown off enough IR theory classes and not paid attention enough for it not to sink in but it did anyway and it's NOT MY FAULT.
MEGAN: Anyway, I'm sure Kissinger endorses McCain. Did I tell you I shook his hand this weekend at the White House Correspondent's Dinner? It wasn't even clammy.
MOE: Kissinger?
MOE: Or McCain?
MOE: Dude what if we figured out how to hang out with Henry Kissinger?
MEGAN: I shook Kissinger's hand. He didn't care. He didn't even check out my boobs.
MOE: It's so cool you have an education, btw Megan! The last time I even thought about Kissinger was when I was forced to read his book about the Concert of Europe.
MEGAN: Eh, my education was overpriced and not particularly useful. I could've blogged without it.
MOE: Well maybe that was just the last time I thought about Prince Metternich or Viscount Catlereagh.
9:40 AM
MEGAN: I never had to read Kissinger that I recall (though, I didn't take any PoliSci or IR classes undergrad) but I did have to read Condi's book for a German History class.
MOE: Wow Shell reported net income — NET income — of more than $9 billion for A SINGLE EFFING QUARTER. That's why shit is leading Drudge this morning.

Shell, the world's second-largest, nongovernment-controlled oil company by market capitalization after Exxon Mobil Corp., posted a 56% increase in first-quarter revenue to $114.3 billion from $73.48 billion in the year-earlier period. The quarterly revenue is close to the gross domestic product of the Arab world's most populous country, Egypt, of $127.9 billion for 2007.


I wonder what they're planning to do with all that money, huh. After they convert it to Euros. Start looking for new sources of oil? Probs not.
MEGAN: There are new sources of oil? I thought the lack of 'em was the problem?
MEGAN: Also, my favorite part of that quote was "second-largest, nongovernment-controlled oil company by market capitalization." Got enough modifiers there?
9:45 AM
MOE: I just read the comments in yesterday's news roundup and they are illuminating. Some people think Jeremiah Wright is jealous of Obama.
MOE: Oh my god and this is awesome.
9:50 AM
MEGAN: I have kissed smokers. I had a dating-smokers phase in the fall. It was as bad as I remembered.
MEGAN: No offense.
MEGAN: I think it was part of my dating-inappopriate-men meme.
MOE: And dude, $14 billion in three months net profit for those oil companies. That's 2/3 of the GOLDMAN CHRISTMAS BONUS POOL that has become my metric for all vast sums of money.
MOE: And I resemble that.
MEGAN: Dating inappropriate men? I think we can go head-to-head on that.
MOE: Seriously I like kissing smokers. It's just like kissing me but better as they say. Well not better probably. I have always liked the taste. Even before I smoked.
MEGAN: That's interesting. I'm so not into the taste, but I accept that it's psychosomatic. But I dated the guy in the fall who smoked and when he asked me to tell him if I couldn't be serious because of his age, I told him I couldn't be serious about a smoker because I could never bring a smoker home to my parents. Smoking has decimated both sides of my family, like, worse than alcohol and we're Irish.

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@southernbitch: NATO is the tool that we use to fight with Russia over Ukraine and Georgia and Greece over FYR Macedonia. Believe me, we're still fighting the cold war in the former Soviet sphere of influence.

And as for Afghanistan, NATO may waver a bit from time to time, but France would never have agreed to lift part of the the burden on Canada in Afghanistan had they both not been part of NATO. NATO's still got a role to play.