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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 26, 2010 / 15 Menachem-Av, 5770

Obama's fall guy in Shirley Sherrod case is Vilsack the Pooh

By John Kass

John Kass


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In post-racial America, whenever conservatives provoke liberals to foolishly overreact in a racial controversy and step right into the doo-doo, two things are required:

A ticket to "sensitivity school." And a fall guy.

Lately, we can't help getting hit with all the flying racial cards. Everything from whether LeBron James was treated like some "runaway slave" to whether the NAACP was racist by accusing tea party activists of being racists.

And now the latest. The knee-jerk reaction by the Obama administration in firing Department of Agriculture bureaucrat Shirley Sherrod, an African-American accused of racism when there wasn't any.

So let's meet the new fall guy, Sherrod's boss, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

As you may see from the iconic photograph, Vilsack is a perfect fall guy for racial controversies. He's white. He's male. He's from Iowa. He's got an ethnic "European"-sounding name.

But the main thing is that he's got a ridiculous bear on his head.

"It looks like Winnie the Pooh is giving birth to Vilsack," said a colleague when I showed him the photograph of Vilsack at a children's event in 2002.

Vilsack the Pooh?

But then I showed the photo to a man from Iowa, who frowned and pondered the image.

"That bear is definitely not giving birth," said the Iowan. "It appears the bear is committing an unspeakable act to the back of the head of the secretary of agriculture."

Be that as it may, Vilsack is the fall guy.

He now says it was his decision alone to fire Sherrod over a speech she made this year to the NAACP about an event 24 years ago.

In a two-minute segment that became viral on conservative blogs and then FOX News, Sherrod tells the black civil rights organization that, as an African-American who experienced discrimination, she wasn't inclined to help white farmers who needed it.

But what wasn't reported initially was the central theme of her speech: She realized that it doesn't matter what color a farmer is, if he needs help, he needs help.

If only we all could act the Shirley Sherrod way. But then what would politicians and groups that leverage skin pigments for votes, power and government benefits do for a living?

As many of you know, Sherrod's bosses ordered her to immediately type her resignation on her government BlackBerry.

She says the pressure actually came from the Obama White House.

So how is it that Vilsack is the fall guy?

Because he's the one who went before the TV cameras to say he's sorry that "a good woman" was "put through hell." He admitted to hasty action, apologized and offered her a better job.

Once a fall guy is chosen, the label must be firmly seared into the public mind. And so President Barack Obama called Sherrod on Thursday.

"The president expressed to Ms. Sherrod his regrets about the events of the last several days," said the White House official version of history. "He emphasized that Secretary Vilsack was sincere in his apology yesterday, and in his work to rid USDA of discrimination."

It ended with the president's hope that Sherrod would use the "misfortune" to accept a new post and "continue her hard work on behalf of those in need."

Such bureaucratic verbal surgery, while effective, is somewhat flat. So allow me to translate:

The president "regrets" what the guy with the bear on his head did to poor Ms. Sherrod, and he reinforces that it was the guy with the bear on his head — and not the president or Rahm or David or Michelle or Valerie — but the bear-head guy alone, who is very, very sorry and won't do it again.

So we're hoping she'll take the new job at better pay and a nicer government car and benefits, even an iPhone, so she won't be in the news anymore, because we feel really, really stupid, OK?

Sherrod is no fool. She accepted the Vilsack apology but not the job.

What I found most fascinating is what Sherrod said on the morning talk shows Thursday. She supports Obama yet still insists it was the White House that had her fired, and figures the president needs to learn some things.

"He hasn't lived the kind of life I lived," she told CNN. "I know that he's African-American — or part African-American — many of us are not totally black in our genes, and I'm one of them," she said.

To George Stephanopoulos of ABC, she layered it on some more.

"I'd like for him — he's not someone who has experienced some of the things I've experienced through life, being a person of color. He might need to hear some of what I could say to him. I don't know whether that would guide him in the way he deals with others like me. But I would at least like to have the opportunity to talk to him about it," she said.

Is it just me or is she telling Obama that he needs to go to Sensitivity School to fully understand the black experience?

Straight away, she received a text message from the White House saying Obama had been trying to reach her since Wednesday. Imagine that. The president of the United States couldn't find her. She must have left her BlackBerry off the hook.

Finally, they had their talk, and America got what it requires.

A little presidential sensitivity session.

And a guy with a bear on his head.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.



Previously:



07/21/10: Loathing of Steinbrenner softens after his death
07/19/10: Summertime, and the race cards are easy
06/28/10: Does Congress have the guts to fix what court gutted? Honestly, no
12/17/09: Belt-tightening presidential aspirant leaves room for Spam
09/27/09: ACORN can teach the GOP a thing or 2
09/03/09: Blago as author gets it wrong yet again 06/22/09: Obama's latest political play should shock no one
06/17/09: Presidential satire takes Hopium break
06/11/09: E-Verify works, so, of course, let's not use it
06/09/09: First Lady Macbeth's the man, so in your face, Eminem
06/02/09: Judge Sotomayor would think me most unwise
05/12/09: Parents, enjoy this time, in all its creepiness
03/18/09: Stem cell policy shift brings a sinking feeling
03/09/09: Name That Blago Book contest names its winner
03/05/09: Contest: Name Blagojevich's book
02/16/09: Dems undercut aid for U.S. workers
01/20/09: Let the carving begin on Tombstone's tomb
01/12/09: Obama serves Reid taste of Chicago Way
01/02/09: Jesters don't pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Dem in the Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging
12/24/08: Governor waxes poetic, but Combine rolls on
12/23/08: Got corruption? Get Jesse Junior G-Man
12/18/08: Will ‘feditis’ spread to Obama and Daley?
12/15/08: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

© 2008, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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