Bloggers commemorate the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. They also mull over a poll showing that 81 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track and pick apart Absolut Vodka's controversial new ad.
King's legacy: Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tenn. Bloggers commemorate the anniversary and assess the state of civil rights.
On the Huffington Post, Michael Fauntroy argues that despite "King's successes, much more needs to be done to bring about the fairness and equality he and his generation fought so courageously to attain." He writes: "At the current rate, it will take another 80 years to overcome the inequality in Black and White college degree attainment … [and] more than five centuries to reach income parity."
Sharon Cobb remembers her first civil rights march: "It was the first time I had seen Negroes in person. I was studying their faces; the beautiful love and pain in chocolate brown eyes in a sea of hate. … There are defining moments in a person's life, and that was certainly one for me." She also suggests that King paved the way for Barack Obama: "40 years later, in 2008 I'll be casting my vote for President of the United States of America for a black man. I'm not voting for a black man because of the color of his skin, but because of the content of his character."
Angel Christmas, writing in Clutch, an online magazine for the "multicultural … urban 'it' girl", asks African-Americans to pause and remember: "Look at your own life and see the many successes you may have made for yourself, the sacrifices you didn't think you could make and the trials and tribulations you thought would take you down. Observe the generation curses you have broken, the life you have created for yourself and your family and enjoy the victories you have attained. Let those experiences be the road to the promise land."
Over at MojoBlog, Jonathan Stein points out that John McCain's voted again establishing a federal holiday in MLK's honor: "McCain was in the minority even among his GOP colleagues: even Dick Cheney, who voted against the holiday in 1978, voted for it in '83." Today, McCain said voting against the holiday was a "mistake," but Stein thinks that's too little too late: "when it counted, McCain got this issue wrong. And today, his positions on economic justice, housing, and the war show that while McCain may appreciate King's importance, he still doesn't understand the meaning of King's message."
Wrong track: A New York Times/CBS News poll shows that 81 percent of Americans think "things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track," up from 69 percent a year ago. Only 21 percent of respondents think the economy is in good condition.
"To understand these results simply compare what Americans told pollsters with what Washington has done recently," writes Scarecrow on liberal Firedoglake. "The predictable home foreclosure crisis has been building for months, but on Monday, Secretary Paulson proposed financial 'reforms' prepared before the current crisis that do nothing to resolve it and little to prevent the next one."
On Daily Kos, DemFromCT says the news doesn't bode well for John McCain, or John Boehner, and thinks he knows why Americans have become so pessimistic: "no one can stand George W. Bush, and everyone realizes he's ruined the Republican brand." Likewise, Matthew Yglesias thinks the poll is evidence of general dissatisfaction and can't "imagine the incumbent party holding onto power."
Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic's plank wonders what the poll means for liberals who support the creation of new government programs: "On the merits, the case for more aggressive regulation and a stronger safety net – not just in health care, but also banking, pensions, and other areas – has never been stronger. And the insecurity evident in this poll suggests people are becoming more open to these sorts of initiatives – more, certainly, than they have been in a long time."
At Suddenly Christian, John Shore thinks the poll reveals Americans are morons: "The country is way off track, especially economically. That is not, however, the president's fault. It's the fault of government officials, who clearly can't be trusted to run the economy. But government officials should definitely save the economy, by giving money to homeowners, who really can't be blamed for buying homes they couldn't afford." Duane Lester, the All American Blogger, agrees that the country is on the wrong track. Just not like the pollsters suggest. "I don't think either the borrower or the lender should be bailed out," he writes. "Furthermore, I don't think the federal government should be involved in housing at all. But more and more people feel the federal government is the answer. And we keep marching down the road to tyranny."
Read more about the New York Times/CBS News poll.
Absolut controversy: Swedish vodka maker Absolut has a new billboard campaign running in Mexico—a map depicting the U.S.-Mexico border before the war of 1848, when California and Texas were still Mexican territory. According to the Los Angeles Times blog, the ad represents "what the Americas might look like in an 'Absolut'—i.e., perfect—world." Absolut kind of apologizes, but bloggers think it's abolut-ly offensive.
At Outside the Beltway, James Joyner notes that Absolut is known for niche marketing: "Presumably, they're figuring that straights aren't reading gay magazines and that gringos aren't reading Quien. That's generally a pretty safe assumption. In the Internet age, though, it's increasingly difficult to keep targeted messages from spreading beyond their intended audience." He also wonders if Absolut has "similar campaigns around the world playing up other nationalist sympathies."
Amanda Carpenter at Townhall complains that she's "going to have to find a new vodka to drink now." And Michelle Malkin, who's calling the ad Absolut Reconquista, posts a sample of angry response e-mails, and reports that her readers "still take our sovereignty seriously." The News Buckit's Patrick Ishmael responds playfully, with a revised map of Scandinavia.
Read more about the Absolut ad controversy.