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Monday, October 06, 2003

Loonies to the Left of Me, Rednecks to the Right

OK, this is new. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer's Tim Funk, Rep Cass Ballenger (R - N.C.) blames CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) for the breakup of his 50-year marriage.

Seems his wife was unnerved that CAIR moved into an office near their house, and they both were worried that CAIR could blow up the Capitol, only a couple blocks away.

CAIR spokeman Ibrahim Hooper said:


Now, this all would be much more interesting if it didn't seem that Ballenger is kind of a jackass:

This isn't the first time Ballenger has been criticized for comments some consider insensitive. Last December, in another interview with The Observer, he said that then-Rep. Cynthia McKinney, an African American from Georgia known for her abrasive style, had stirred in him "a little bit of a segregationist feeling. I mean, she was such a bitch." He later apologized for what he called "pretty stupid remarks" even as an aide was painting white the black lawn jockey -- a symbol of racial insensitivity to many -- in Ballenger's front yard.

McKinney is six different flavors of unsavory, but I really think her colleagues in the House ought not to call her a "bitch" (or even words that rhyme with it) and witter on about segregation.

But it gets better:

Another stress on their marriage: the decision by "we holier-than-thou Republicans" in the House, Ballenger said, to ban gifts -- including meals and theater tickets from lobbyists -- that once meant "a social life for (congressional) wives."


Ballenger's wife also agreed with him that the GOP-controlled House's 1995 decision to restrict the money spent on members of Congress and their spouses had helped turn Washington into "a lousy place to live. ...It used to be you'd get invitations to the symphony or the theater ... I don't think you should get $1,000 trips to the Bahamas (from lobbyists). But I don't see where a dinner or a theater ticket is that bad. We had friends who are lobbyists."

So what did they do? They got a legal separation and now live in separate residences, although he still eats a lot of meals over at his wife's place.

Could this marriage have been saved? I don't suppose it would have been possible to move away from CAIR, and to buy your own damned theater tickets? That would've been cheaper than a separation and separate residences.


It would help if people opposed to McKinney and suspicious of CAIR wouldn't act as if they longed for the old days when all these coloreds knew their place and you could let a nice feller buy you a dinner or a car.

I found this as a little snippet in the Houston Chronicle, where it came from AP. The Chronicle's title was "Lawmaker blames split-up on Muslims", whereas the Observer's title was "Ballenger grouses about Muslims, lobbyist limits". You don't see much grousing in newspaper headlines these days. One gathers that he grouses quite a lot, and always expects to see it in the newspaper.

UPDATE: Not one to open itself to charges of being unfair and unbalanced, the Observer prints Froot Loopy goodness from the other side---to wit, the assertion by a fellow writing for the Islamic Political Party of America, that Muslims beat Columbus to the punch:

It is important for the American public to know that although this political movement by Muslims may be somewhat new, Muslims have been a part of the fabric of this society, in some fashion, since before Columbus. Muslim explorers visited the West Coast long ago. Arabic writings have been found in some caves in California. The name "California" comes from the Arabic word calif, meaning ruler or leader.

Actually, the name "California" comes from "Calafia" the queen of a fictional land of women warriors. I suppose it's possible that "Calafia" came from "Caliph": after all, Arabs occupied Spain for hundreds of years, until driven out in 1492, and many Arabic words entered the language.

I think I'll write the Observer on behalf of the lost continent of Mu.

Via the Lizard King.