Bloggers voice their opinions on Obama's gospel gaffe, react to news that NASA is unwilling to turn over results from a survey on air safety, and feast on word that Dennis Kucinich believes in UFOs.
Gospel gaffe: Barack Obama's upcoming three-concert gospel tour in South Carolina has come under fire for including a gospel singer who has called homosexuality a "curse." Donnie McClurkin, who also sang at the Republican National Convention in 2004, said that he has struggled with "gay tendencies" after being molested as a child. Obama released a statement denouncing McClurkin's views, but did not say he wouldn't appear with him.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson has been outspoken on the issue at Huffington Post, first calling for Obama to respond to McClurkin's beliefs, and then writing that Obama should have refused to be onstage with McClurkin. "Obama certainly won't openly fan the flames of religious driven intolerance against gays," he writes. "He will continue to fervently denounce it. But without a direct and forceful challenge to those such as McClurkin to do the same, they're just words."
"Top Democrats have been telling us what we want to hear for years, but actions speak louder than words," criticizes David Mariner at Out for Democracy. "And this action is troubling."
Pointing to Obama's demands that a Justice Department official be fired for racist comments, John Aravosis at AMERICAblog plays the hypocrite card: "When he's insulted as a black man by someone who isn't black, suddenly we fire everyone. But when we're insulted as gays and lesbians, and the offender just happens to be black, firing the offender is no longer on the table. Does Obama only have a problem with prejudice, does he only take action on bigotry, when the black community is the target and when the offender isn't black?" But Jill Tubman at Jack and Jill Politics, which offers a "black bourgeoisie perspective," says it's not so simple. "Culturally speaking, however, there are a lot of different ways that people will view Donnie McClurkin—both as saint and as sinner among African-Americans. I view McClurkin personally as a talented, tragic, confused and angry man. I think Obama's best hope is that McClurkin will step down from the tour and decline to be embroiled in further controversy."
Finally,Catherine at Poverty Barn quips: "I quit Barack Obama forever." And she's not the only one: "Well that should alienate pretty much everybody Barack needs to win the primaries and the nomination," says Blogenfreude at Agitprop. "Can we declare his campaign dead?"
Read more reaction to Obama's statement.
Close encounters I: NASA is withholding 24,000 responses to a safety survey from the media because it says the results are damaging enough to harm the airline industry. NASA surveyed more airline pilots than ever before to find out how many routine and unexpected safety risks occur during the average flight. Congress has ordered NASA officials to give it a copy of the data so it cannot be destroyed and will hold hearings on the matter. NASA now says it is going to take another look.
At Plead the First, Anthony argues that releasing the results would only spur competition. "If things really are less safe than expected, air travelers have a right to know, and to be upset. I would think there's a greater chance of improvements being made if the airlines' profits are on the line."
Rick Seany, founder of an Internet travel site, thinks that the episode is symptomatic of a bigger trend in air travel: "[T]hat's the problem, pretty much throughout the air travel industry: passengers get little credit for any intelligence. You see it again and again, everytime a flight is delayed or cancelled: passengers are not told why this is happening, and in the case of delays, passengers are rarely told when the flight will resume."
The rabid commenters at Slashdot, meanwhile, debate if near-collisions in midair qualify as accidents. "Pnagel" writes, "Isn't the safety of an activity determined by the number of actual accidents, and not by the number of near-accidents?" Who Hijacked Our Country says it's the coverup that matters, and NASA's is Hollywood-worthy, "Hey, remember in Jaws when local tourism officials didn't want anyone to know about those shark attacks because it would jeopardize tourism? Hmmm, wonder what made me think of that."
Read more about NASA's coverup.
Close encounters II: Dennis Kucinich believes in UFOs, according to Shirley MacLaine's upcoming book. MacClaine writes, "The smell of roses drew him out to my balcony where, when he looked up, he saw a gigantic triangular craft, silent, and observing him. It hovered, soundless, for 10 minutes or so, and sped away with a speed he couldn't comprehend. He said he felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind."
And Wonkette thinks it finally has the answers to some of Rep. Kucinich's more puzzling characteristics: "Has Dennis Kucinich always seemed a little 'off' to you? Does his eternal glassy-eyed optimism strike you as … inhuman? Do you wonder how he could have scored a hot young red-headed wife without powers beyond those of ordinary men?"
Read more about Kucinich's close encounter.