Obama video is an October surprise that fizzles into race-baiting

Obama video is an October surprise that fizzles into race-baiting

A blurry, five-year-old Obama video is the right's latest weapon (Video Still)

Lead story: It seems like conservatives’ first attempt at an October Surprise has fizzled before it even really got started. Desperate to muster an answer to the now infamous Mitt Romney “47 percent” video released by the left-leaning publication Mother Jones earlier this fall, Fox News and The Drudge Report began hyping a video of a speech with the headline “Obama’s other race speech,” which they insisted would blow the lid off his campaign. The problem is that the video was five years old and one that had already been through the election cycle wringing way back in 2008. Then the 40-minute video itself didn’t really hold any revelations and the supposedly racially charged content – on Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina – wasn’t all that revelatory. If anything, the video’s re-release, and Tucker Carlson’s attempt to point out the “accent” Obama adopts, is an attempt to race-bait by using this video as a way to portray Obama as a Scary Black Man. It’s another attempt at fear-mongering to scare away undecided white voters by driving division. As Slate’s Dave Weigel pointed out, it’s not like Drudge hasn’t race-baited before. If this is the best “October Surprise” the right-leaning press can muster, Obama’s probably not breaking much of a sweat.

Also: Mayor Rahm Emanuel was at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana Tuesday, trying his best to woo tech students to Chicago. He wants to further the city’s reputation as the tech hub of the Midwest, but it’s an uphill fight with the large, glamorous companies already out west – Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. (Other initiatives, like The Starter League, are doing similar things, and other tech firms have followed.) In a recent feature titled “Startup Nation” that looked at tech across the Midwest, The Atlantic took a long look at Chicago’s tech culture, especially in terms of the recent rumblings at Groupon. The city may face some challenges trying to rival Silicon Valley, but the groundwork is already there and the opportunity is too good to pass up.

And then: Say farewell to “Snowmageddon.” Starting this winter, the Weather Channel has announced they will start naming winter storms, just like the National Hurricane Center, which ruins baby names every year by naming those storms. The names are kind of confusing yet kind of fun, like enjoying Disney World on acid. A few qualms: How could they name a storm “Rocky” but not used “Drago”? There is a Draco, though. Why did they have to get cute with “Q”? They also use Gandolf instead of Gandalf, which, as The A.V. Club points out, is a real character in a book that’s not Lord of the Rings and helps circumvents rights issues. Anyway, it’s weird but whatever makes them feel better. I’m still using “Snowpocalypse.”

RIP: Dr. Barry Commoner, an early environmentalist who was one of the first to warn against the harmful effects of radioactive fallout, at the age of 95.


Looking Ahead


This should help wash the political ickyness of the day right out.