Racism On Increase AP Poll Finds, President Obama Could Suffer As Result

I have argued for years on this blog that racist attitudes were on the increase, and a major driving force among those who disapprove of President Obama.  A new and major poll by Associated Press underscores the issue, and should make all ponder how far we still have to go in this nation regarding racism.

More Americans are expressing explicit anti-black attitudes now than in 2008, and that sentiment could cost President Obama on Election Day, according to a new Associated Press poll.

Fifty-one percent of those polled explicitly expressed negative attitudes towards blacks, compared to 48 percent who did in 2008. The AP also measured “implicit racial attitudes” and found that 56 percent of Americans exhibited anti-black attitudes, up from 48 percent in 2008.

In measuring explicit racial attitudes towards blacks, the survey asked whether respondents agreed with statements about different racial groups and asked respondents whether they felt words like “friendly,” “hardworking” and “violent” described blacks, whites and Hispanics.

To measure implicit racial attitudes, the survey showed respondents a photo of a black, white or Hispanic person, and then asked them to rate their feelings toward a Chinese character shown immediately after the first picture. According to the AP, studies have before shown that respondents transfer their feelings from the first photo onto the character.

The AP analysis of the survey results also indicated that Obama could lose 5 percentage points from the popular vote on Election Day because of those anti-black attitudes.  But he stands to gain about 3 percentage points from positive attitudes toward blacks, according to the AP, resulting in a potential net loss of 2 percentage points in the popular vote. That two-point margin could cost the president the election in a race as close as this one.

Trivia: A Supreme Court Inkwell

Justice John Marshall Harlan was the lone dissenter in 1883 when the court struck down the federal civil rights case of 1875.  The court had taken up several cases and bundled them for the ruling.  Because the federal act regulated acts of private discrimination, rather than state-sponsored discrimination, the court ruled Congress had no power to pass it.

With that as a background here is the trivia of the matter.

Justice Harlan took great exception to the ruling and made a most passionate and extemporaneous dissent from the bench.  He had trouble later, however, reducing his oral dissent to writing, and had a terrible writer’s block.

It was then his wife had an idea.

She located the inkwell which Chief Justice Roger Taney had written his infamous and dreadful Dred Scott decision.  She placed the inkwell in Harlan’s desk, and upon finding it, according to his wife the memory of the role that the inkwell had played in oppressing blacks allowed Harlan to recall his words made on the bench.  Harlan’s wife said “his pen fairly flew.”

1956 Presidential Election Recap

Best Newspaper Story Today Not About Anything Political

This grabbed my attention.  (Click to read the whole story.)

CHAVAGNAC, France….In the fall of 1988, a local farmer and self-trained cook named Danièle Delpeuch was approached by a series of mysterious government officials with an unusual proposition: Would she move immediately to Paris to become the “personal chef” of President François Mitterrand?

She pointed out that her ewes were ready to give birth. The reply from one official was swift: “Madame, this is not a position that can be refused.”

In his first seven-year term, Mr. Mitterrand was served by an all-male staff skilled in haute cuisine. After his re-election, he wanted simple country cooking for his private meals.       

“I want a woman of the countryside in my kitchen!” he told his aides.       

So Ms. Delpeuch abandoned her animals and vegetable garden in the Périgord for a two-year adventure preparing the president hearty bourgeois meals from a small kitchen in the bowels of the Élysée Palace. She lived in a small apartment in a complex of government buildings, which also housed Mr. Mitterrand’s mistress, Anne Pingeot, and their daughter, Mazarine.       

“If you make me the cuisine of my grandmother, I will be satisfied!” he told Ms. Delpeuch during their first meeting, which lasted 50 minutes.       

“That’s a difficult task, Mr. President,” she replied. “No one can match a grandmother. I’ll try.”       

Now the story of the chef and the president has been celebrated in a fiction-frosted film, “Les Saveurs du Palais” (which means both “The Tastes of the Palace” and “The Tastes of the Palate”), directed by Christian Vincent and released last month. The Weinstein Company has bought the American rights to the film, which will be called “Haute Cuisine.”       


They nickname her Countess du Barry after the favorite mistress of King Louis XV, and Mamie Nova, after a brand of dairy products that has a grandmother as its logo.

The meals she prepares are the hearty fare of the French countryside. Her first meal for the president is cèpe mushrooms with eggs, followed by stuffed cabbage with braised salmon and bacon cubes, and a “Saint-Honoré,” a rich puff pastry, caramelized sugar and whipped cream confection.       

Believing her only mission is to serve the president, she becomes a self-righteous Joan of Arc of the kitchen. When nutritionists are hired by the president’s doctor to impose a fat- and sauce-free diet, she refuses. When an Élysée accountant chastises her for circumventing the official food provider and spending too much money to buy from her own sources, she tells him she must be guided by the freshest of ingredients.       

At one point in the film, she criticizes the main kitchen’s mille-feuille pastry as having “no author,” no identity.

This Paragraph From Wisconsin State Journal Begs For One More Line

UPDATE at bottom of post.

If I have a continuing gripe about newspaper stories, or columns it is the obvious additional line of text that should have been added, but was not.

Such was the case for the column written by Chris Rickert in the Wisconsin State Journal.  Fact is, I agreed with the thrust of what he wrote about billboards and ‘voter fraud’.

But I had to question what happened when writing this paragraph. 

Nationally, only one metro area had higher turnout than Milwaukee’s 72.1 percent  in the last presidential election, according to a study by the federal  Corporation for National and Community Service. The Milwaukee area ranked first  for the 2010 midterms.


When such a statement is offered, as with metro Milwaukee it just begs to have the most obvious question answered with a quick line.  I know there is a word limitation with columns such as which Rickert writes—but I think seven words could be found to address what is the lingering question from readers.

This afternoon on Facebook Chris Rickert provided me with the answer to my question, and I thanked him.

The Twin Cities. Us conscientious midwesterners. Interestingly, a very blue state (Hawaii) and a very red state (Texas) had were Nos. 1 and 2 in lowest turnout.

Squash Day At Dane County Farmers’ Market

This is not the last Dane County Farmers’ Market of the year, as we have two more to attend before the season comes to a close for the outdoor event this year.  But this was the week that we did our annual squash buy–over 130 pounds of squash into two gunny sacks–enough for a winter’s worth of great eating.  I must say it was feeling more winter-like today as the temperature was only 39 degrees when we walked around the Capitol Square.  But there were lots of folks sipping hot coffee, getting cheese and donuts, and talking about everything from politics to traveling to Europe for Easter.  It might have been cold, but it was lively.

I commented to the same lady we purchase our gunny bags of squash from each year that there is just a real pleasure from a stuffed squash in the oven on a cold winter day that is hard to explain. Given that our Victorian home was built in 1892, and therefore is insulated with ‘dead space’–a very common way of construction at the time–the heat from the kitchen makes for a really cozy feel.   Add the aroma of James’s cooking a squash stuffed with meatloaf and there is nothing better to be found!

So it was that we stuffed two gunny sacks–$20..00 each–and then found a way to get them into our VW Beetle.

One of our finds this morning was from a separate farmer who had heirloom Italian butternuts for sale.  I had never seen of these, and instantly we bought one of them.  The farmer had only brought eight of them to the market, and had already sold seven of them.

When home I placed it on the table and snapped a picture of it–the butternut measuring 18 inches–alongside one of those amazing Blue Hubbards that needs to be cracked with a hatchet.  The blue Hubbard weighed 15 pounds, and was also purchased from a separate seller who had a nice selection of these meaty squashes.

The lady selling the Hubbard told us she cuts a ‘cap’ into the squash and stuffs it with boneless chicken, rice, and spices, and then places the ‘cap’ back on and bakes the entire squash.  When done she slices it like bread and places large slabs of the wonderful cross-section of wonder on large plates for dinner.

I think some salad for color and different textures, and then add a glass of wine and one has a perfect meal.

Grainy Video From 1952 Presidential Election

What Presidential Campaign Ads on Television Once Looked Like

When television was in its infancy political campaigns were attempting to find ways to use it, and entice voters to cast a ballot for their candidate.

Some of the attempts were cute, and some just painful to watch.

Today none are cute, and all seem painful to watch, but for different reasons as you will see as we look back at two ads from 1952.