Today's Blogs

The N-Word

Bloggers weigh claims that George Allen has dropped the n-word, cheer the TSA for lifting the liquids ban, and bid farewell to The Boondocks.

The N-word: Questions about Sen. George Allen’s racial insensitivity resurfaced when three former football teammates toldSalon that Allen used the word nigger in the 1970s and ‘80s—a claim Allen called “ludicrously false.” Larry J. Sabato, a prominent political scientist at the University of Virginia, echoed the accusation in a Hardball appearance although he would not say how he knew Allen used the epithet.

Conservative bloggers question the timing of the charges. Brian at Iowa Voice calls the revelations a “coordinated smear” against Allen: “I simply find it too hard to believe that Allen could be in politics this long, and then all of a sudden people start to ‘remember’ that he used the ‘N’ word 30-odd years ago in college.” SeeDubya at conservative JunkYardBlog wonders why Sabato was acting all “shifty” on Hardball: “First, he may have been covering for a trusted friend whose name he didn’t want to bring into the spotlight but who had told Sabato about Allen. Second, the difference in ‘I believe he used the N-word’ and ‘I heard him use the N-Word’ may be a libel suit.”

Allen’s campaign blog AllenHQ rebutted the attack, citing “Salon’s own admission that 16 of the 19 people contacted did not remember any evidence of racism from George Allen—in fact, the seven people who knew Allen well during that time period specifically said they ’did not believe he held racist views.’ ” Tim Graham at the convervative media watchdog blog NewsBusters spies bias in the Washington Post’s coverage: “First, there’s absolutely no comment from, and no mention of the Jim Webb campaign, even as his blogging staffers  spread the racist rumors. Second, is mentioned without any description of its ideology or history.’ “

American Prospect fellow Ezra Klein finds all this fuss “pretty silly. George Allen’s argument is now that nobody but his handpicked associates can accurately recall conversations they had with him, and he’s one of six people in the country who has never, even in jest or recollection, used the N-word.”

Andrew Sullivan contends that Allen’s policies alone indicate bigotry: “We don’t need the n-word to know that Allen is a bigot. We don’t need to know what ‘macaca’ means. We don’t need to know that he is embarrassed to be discovered as partly Jewish. … His support for the anti-gay constitutional amendment in Virginia—an amendment so extreme and so unnecessary it is indistinguishable from bigotry—is itself proof to me of a bigoted mind.”

Amy Schatz at the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire thinks Sabato’s involvement gives the charge credibility, especially among journalists: “Reporters may not know any of Allen’s former teammates, but Sabato has returned a lot of phone calls over the years.”

Coolwateroverstones, a journalist writing at DailyKos, shares an anecdote about George Allen hocking a loogie on her shoe.

Read more about George Allen’s latest PR woes.

Liquid’s legal: The TSA scaled back the airline liquid ban instituted last month after a London terror scare. Passengers may now carry 3-ounce containers as long as they’re kept in clear plastic bags. Bloggers wonder how dangerous liquids were in the first place.

Gindu at Suitably Flip assesses the science behind liquid bombs: “The process of making [triacetone triperoxide] requires several hours of persistent and dangerous preparation. … Even assuming that other passengers don’t mind that a lavatory has been commandeered for five hours, the results may not be catastrophic.” Yatpundit speculates that the decision has “nothing to do with safety … and everything to do with airport commerce”: “Booze and perfume are most certainly liquid. And let’s not forget all those ‘The Body Shop’ stores that were all but put out of business when we went to terror level Ernie.”

Mike Rothman at security blog The Daily Incite rejoices: “Maybe Starbucks was complaining about decreasing sales in airport terminals.”

RIP Boondocks: Aaron McGruder, creator of The Boondocks, will take an indefinite break from the comic strip. Bloggers assume this is the end.

Cartoonist/blogger Tom Tomorrow at This Modern World sympathizes with McGruder: “A cartoon that works, especially when you’re trying to do work that’s about more than just delivering a joke, is a delicate balance of words, images, timing and information, and you can beat your head bloody against the wall trying to get there. … And every time you finish, you’ve got another deadline staring you down.”

The Comics Reporter thinks it’s time to start assessing the comic’s “historical significance”: “As a measure of McGruder’s star power, it looks like some version of yesterday’s wire story ran in 80-90 papers, which is a pretty high number considering the story’s indefinite status.”

Jason at Orrill Reports supports McGruder’s move to TV and film, “although I have to say that so far the TV series is a pale imitation of the comic strip. Too much gangsta/kung fu violence, not enough snark.”

Read more on The Boondocks.