Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Jan. 18 2006 5:22 PM

Hot Chocolate

Bloggers range from satiric to exculpatory of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's remarks about Katrina being divine retribution and the permanence of a "chocolate city." They also weigh in on the Supreme Court upholding Oregon's physician-assisted-suicide law and go gaga for the return of 24. (Warning: spoilers ahead.)

Hershey hermeneutics: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has apologized for claiming Hurricane Katrina was Old Testament comeuppance for the war in Iraq and the failure of "black America" to provide for itself and has tried to contextualize his comment that the Louisiana cosmopolis will endure as a "chocolate city."

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Miss Information at the Ann Arbor-based Radical Librarian is amenable to at least part of Nagin's rhetoric: "Personally, I find his naivete refreshing in a world of calculated, focus-grouped, sanitized political drones. … I think he has a valid point that the city has lost some of its most essential residents."

Another defender is RJ Eskow of the celebrity collective The Huffington Post, who writes, "While Nagin has qualified his remark by saying that he meant 'chocolate' as in 'chocolate milk'—mixing white and black—his phrasing echoed that of a powerful leader that came before him: Clinton. That's George Clinton. … I don't know whether Nagin has heard the classic 70's era track 'Chocolate City' by Parliament/Funkadelic, but Clinton was making a political point when he wrote the song and I suspect Nagin intended to make the same one."

However, New Orleans native Drunah spots more demographic illusions than lyric allusions on her LiveJournal: "What's interesting to note here, is that Nagin was elected by white voters, the blacks didn't vote for him. He's up for re-election shortly, but we've delayed our elections. The majority of New Orleans right now is white, due to about a million reasons. … SO now we have Willy Wonka as mayor and uncertain times for a city I love dearly."

The conservative Sistah Toldjah is glad of the backlash: "Glad to see some out there unafraid to openly criticize him, but it'd be nice to see the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton weigh in on this and maybe show some consistency on the issue of race for once."

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See the merchandise that Nagin's comments have engendered. Read what bloggers are saying about the mayor.

"Death with dignity," be proud: The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Tuesday that former Attorney General John Ashcroft acted beyond the law in trying to prevent prescription-drug-facilitated suicides of terminally ill patients in Oregon. Bloggers were split over the decision.

Bush-critical conservative and New York Post columnist Robert George thinks the scales of medical justice have all but tipped over from massive imbalance. At his blog Ragged Thots, he notes, "For those keeping track, according to SCOTUS, you can't go to a doctor for a prescription for marijuana to alleviate your pain. But you can get one to help you die if you are terminal."

Shay at the moderate conservative blog Booker Rising is more sanguine: "I have an issue with doctors—who are sometimes wrong in their diagnoses—helping out on this front. However, I also see no federal power or responsibility in the U.S. Constitution which gives the federal government power to rule over states in this matter. Federalism wins."

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At Why, Kevin Marousek, a clerk at the Orange County district attorney's office, chimes in: "I will never, ever support the death penalty, but I'm on the fence on the issue of assisted suicide. If the government wants me to … join the side in favor of it, create some sub-section of the medical community in charge of helping people die. It is not a doctor's job to end suffering. It is a doctor's job to save life."

Personal experience informs Cassandra Cox's view at I'm the Mama: "I worked in nursing homes for several years and a couple of residents actually begged me to help them die. It was absolutely horrible seeing so many lonely people, depressed, sick and in pain."

Meanwhile, Jeralyn Merritt at the progressive TalkLeft examines the jurisprudence rather than the encompassing moral question:"The case was not about the right to die, per se. The Supreme Court has previously ruled there is no constitutional right to die. … The issue before the Supreme Court was whether Ashcroft could extend the drug laws to punish doctors who provide lethal drugs to patients who have requested them so they can die on their own terms."

Read what bloggers are saying about the Supreme Court decision.

Bauer power: The season premiere of Fox's hit real-time drama 24 had more than 35 million viewers gasping as series staple former President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) was assassinated in the first 10 minutes. With four "hours" of the show already elapsed, bloggers engage play at exegesis and moral equivalence.

Jason at TV Fodder is exultant about Season 5 so far: "For those of us who've been watching 24 since Day 1, there has always been that recurring plot line of killing David Palmer. Obviously, the whole first season was dedicated to that. The end of season two was dedicated to that. So much of 24 has focused on his murder. … the fact that they killed him within two minutes of the show—and the season—opening was astonishing."

Fundy, a U.S. Marine blogging at The Nietzscheanization of the Left, posits the following situation: "A terrorist attack is imminent and the suspects are in your site, do you: a) do what George Clooney would do and try to "understand" them … b) do what an ACLU attorney would do and make sure their "rights" aren't violated during the commision of their attack … c) do what Jack Bauer would do and shoot, knife, kick, punch and disembowel them until they are no longer a threat," concluding, "If you answered 'c' then you are a good American."

Follow24 on FOX's Web site. Read what bloggers are saying about the show. ReadSlate's interview with writer and producer Michael Loceff.