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Getting The Lead Out?

Friday, Dec. 08, 2006 12:20 AM

Readers from San Francisco may remember Brian Sussman as the weatherman on KPIX, the local CBS affiliate. Sussman was a visible advocate for adoption, fronting a segment called, "Brian's Kids," which showcased children who needed a loving home. (Sussman has two sons who are also adopted.)

I should make it clear that I worked with Brian throughout his tenure at KPIX, and watched his children grow up.

Thus, it surprises the hell out of me to learn that Sussman referred to Senator Barack Obama as "Halfrican" on a recent broadcast of his show, "Sussman, Morgan, and Vic" on KSFO.

"He can't identify with the discrimination and the slavery and all of that that's gone into these black families for generations," Sussman explained. "I have nothing against mixed-race people � (but) I get offended and I know I have many black friends who get offended when he stands in front of that black audience talking like he's from the hood, born and raised, and ��can identify with all of their issues. He can't!"

Why are you, Brian, offended at a black man speaking about black issues? If Obama isn't qualified to speak of them, how does a white guy have the chops to do so? Are we required to have personal experience, or a family history of slavery or discrimination to speak out against it, or to show concern?

I have to admit, Brian, that I'm gravely disappointed in learning about this. Is this what you're teaching your children? Racial hatred and divisiveness as the basis of evaluating an argument, instead of critical thinking?

Shame on you.

Here's another one for the files: the EPA is evaluating the status of lead as an air pollutant, to "��assess whether the revocation of the standard is an appropriate option �"

Apparently, because levels in the atmosphere have dropped 90% since 1980, we can go back to putting it into our environment.

You may have seen recently-released photos of suspected terrorist Jose Padilla being escorted from his cell while wearing sensory-deprivation gear to block his vision and hearing.

Most people considered the measures to be extreme, but conservative blogger Ann Althouse offered the following reason as justification for the blindfold:

Padilla might have communicated in code by blinking.

With whom? The tape and photos were taken by U.S. military personnel to document the procedure. There is no reason to believe that anyone other than military personnel would have immediate access to the tapes. And, if the recipient was not someone watching a broadcast, it is inferred that it was someone on the premises � a member of the military, or perhaps a janitor.

Go look in the mirror. Blink 8 times, then 5 times, then 12 times, then 16 times, then 13 times, then 5 times. How long did it take you to send H E L P M E by blinking, and were you able to do it without counting aloud to yourself? Do you think the cameraman/photographer wouldn't notice this sudden fit of blinking, or oblige the prisoner by keeping Padilla's face in frame?

But perhaps Padilla was sending the ten-digit account number for his account in the Grand Caymans, plus the matching control code. Try that one.

Even if Padilla was simply blinking twice to answer yes, he would be responding to someone else along the route. What would they be asking? Are you having fun? Certainly not, "At five minutes to midnight, there will be an explosion. Hamid will unlock your cell door. You are to run to the north end of the complex. There will be a chopper waiting. Do you understand?"

If something's on the blink, it's Althouse's brain.

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