By CHRIS PACKHAM
As the cliché-prone Kansas City Star editorial board might be inclined to say after ahalf-hour of staring at a blank Word screen, becoming distracted by the smell of Monica Watrous' microwave popcorn, wandering off to the break room and then hastily cranking out the day's copy right before deadline, race issues sure "loom large" these days. I wound up with a handful of links to various race-related stories, and the M. Night Shyamalan surprise twist ending to this paragraph is that they're all kind of creepy!
• A University of Kansas linguist reported last year on the growing use of the word "Canadian" among white Southern racists to denote African-Americans. Apparently, it's really catching on. So far, the linguistics Listserv boards are silent about my new term for white Southern racists: "pedophiles." It's great, because you can say any filthy thing you want about pedophiles right to an Alabama Klansman's face, and he'll laugh and agree with you like a stupid-ass pedophile.
• Bill Clinton campaigned for Hillary Clinton in Independence over the weekend. In response to a question about Barack Obama's South Carolina primary win, he said, "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice, in '84 and '88." For Christ's sake, at least the Republicans bring a little subtlety to the operation.
I'm not saying it's time for Bill Clinton to "diminish and go into the West," like some kind of fat Galadriel — oh, wait. I totally am saying that. Bad weekend for Bubba.
• Just in case anyone in the Clinton camp tried to smuggle anything like class or dignity out of South Carolina, an unnamed Clinton strategist told the AP that "the fallout has had the effect of branding Obama as 'the black candidate,' a tag that could hurt him outside the South."
• Gawker rated American newspapers via LexisNexis hits for the N word, the waning star of racist invective, now supplanted by cheeky, disgusting upstart "Canadian." The Kansas City Star ranked 15th out of 27. Not bad!
• Via the excellent Crime Scene KC blog, apparently Missouri Rep. Brad Robinson (D-Bonne Terre) was driving the car in a hit-and-run accident. Surveillance video taken a few minutes later reportedly shows him swapping seats with his wife.
• First bank closure of 2008: Douglass National Bank in Kansas City, Missouri. The pop you just heard was an explosion of FDIC confetti showering on account holders.
• There's a caption writer at The Kansas City Star who's convinced that you can't tell which woman in this photo just won the Miss America pageant:
• Like the end of every single short story written by H.P. Lovecraft, we'll leave Monday's Daily Briefs on a note of sheer, otherworldly terror by asking: What, exactly, does the Washington Post know that we don't?
For years, President Bush and his advisers expressed frustration that the White House received little credit for the nation's strong economic performance because of public discontent about the Iraq war. Today, the president is getting little credit for improved security in Iraq, as the public increasingly focuses on a struggling U.S. economy. That is the problem Bush faces as he prepares to deliver his seventh and probably final State of the Union address tonight. (TERRIFYING EMPHASIS ADDED).