Devil's Advocate Division

norman kelley

norman kelley
Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Norman Kelley is an independent journalist, author, and former segment radio producer at WBAI 99.5 FM Pacifica Radio. He has written for Society, L A Weekly, The Brooklyn Rail, The Village Voice, The Nation, New York Press, Newsday,, The Black Star News, New Politics, Black Renaissance/Noir, and The Bedford Stuyvesant Current. He is also the author of the "noir soul"/ mystery series that features "Nina Halligan" in Black Heat (Amistad), The Big Mango (Akashic Books), and A Phat Death (2003). Norman Kelley was also a contributing writer to Brooklyn Noir (Akashic Books, 2004) and DC Noir (Akashic Books, 2006) and Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs at the Turn of the Millennium (Random House 2000). He edited and contributed to R&B (Rhythm and Business): The Political Economy of Black Music (Akashic Books, 2005; 2002).

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Editor’s Pick
APRIL 13, 2009 11:35AM

Mean Newt on Obama Dog: "Stupid"—I Agree!

Rate: 11 Flag

Finally! A GOP position I can agree with: the incessant Obama dog watch.

Said former GOP Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich: "I think that this whole thing is fairly stupid.”

As covered by CNN, the mean old speaker said: “I hope that the girls love the dog,” Gingrich said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I hope the family – and all the pressure they’re going to be in – finds it useful. And I think that this whole thing is fairly stupid.”

Wow. Report this man to PETA. He has a bad attitude about animals.

Nothing has better shown the insipid fascination, utter obsession, than the American public's preoccupation with the Obama family getting a dog! If they were getting an elephant, that would be news.

Of course, this has been encouraged by a trivial media-machine that loves "human interest" stories that don't mean anything because they're devoid of real human emotions and true sentiment. A fair number of Americans have owned dogs and have them, so what is this fascination with one of the most mundane of human activities: getting a pet?

Is this economy so bad that the country craves a cute and cuddly story to keep it comfortably numb?

 Woof! Woof!


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Remember when the Clintons got Buddy the Lab? And didn't FDR have a famous dog? Poor ole Nixon didn't get that far on his dog's coattails. And Lyndon Johnson did us all proud by picking up one of his by the ears.

Blecch! Presidential dogs are puke-inducing.
Totally agree. And the fact they are getting a 6 month old puppy who is even now being trained by professionals makes me gag. It's not a cute and cuddly story, it's stupid. Rated.
Why the beef? After eight years of dead silence about Barney and Mrs whats'ername, we suddenly have vitriol?

We need to cut Obama some slack. It's been nothing but drama lately.
Yeah, I wonder why it's such an issue now? I say talk about Bo until you get lockjaw! There are more important things to be concerned about.
Every now and again we need a little humor, however when I heard that there are groups who felt he went back on his word because they didnt go to a shelter I thought I would just lose it. That's when I say the media has got to know when to give it a rest.
The media has found it fitting to tell us where Michelle Obama buys her clothes; so it comes as no surprise that Obama dog ranks as newsworthy.
What kind of message is Mr. O sending about certain intel-extraction techniques by adopting a "Portuguese Water Dog" ?

What's next, an Estonian Thumbscrew Retriever?
Sure, the economy is really bad and yes, the dog story is pretty dumb. But, then, so is Newt Gingrich.
in a world where EVERYTHING OBAMA is the daily topic, why not their dog?
I think the public is like President Obama, able to walk and chew gum at the same time.
People have generally been interested in the First Family's children, pets and lifestyle in addition to the very serious business of the nation. It helps to humanize them and to make us understand how much like us they are.
I can certainly understand why Newt Gingrich would prefer not to have any focus on his personal life but give me a break, if you don't want to hear about the Obama dog, change the channel or turn the page. Perhaps there are those who prefer hard news all the time but many of us enjoy lighter stories as well.
The media is just in a difficult situation. The Obama daughters haven't been picked up in a bar drinking on a fake ID. None of Barack's relatives have been picked up on drunken driving charges or committed to rehab centers. And even with all their efforts Michelle hasn't really done any major Faux Paux. In the end the only personal story the media has had to cling to is the dog. Where's the dog? Where's the DOG! Well, there's the dog.
Hey guys...lighten up already. With wars everwhere, pirates, economic disaster and politics that would make the country retch...every now and again the nation needs a hug. And there is nothing like a puppy to make us feel a bit better, if only for a moment.
A little humor or a lighthearted story once in a while never hurt anyone. It doesn't always have to be doom and gloom. Chill out Norman. To borrow a recently popular catch-phrase, Why so serious?
the media loves a human interest story because its readers love a human interest story. do you really think that most journalists (reporters or editors) want to spend their time covering 'the first dog." i don't think so. however, they know their readers want it.
brigid quinn
Most American's don't read 'The Economist', 'The Wall Street Journal'...even their own newspaper. But look at the sales of 'The Enquirer', 'US' and 'People''ll see where the sentiment and brains of the country are centered. But I do like dogs. Cheers
GREAT.. the new white house dog is a pure bred!! Perfect name, BO.. his OWNERS ( not guardian) initials and he is BLACK AND WHITE.. just like his owner! PWD's are high energy and athletic ( jsut like the new owner) so it shoud be a good fit!
Actually the obtaining of the new white house dog has nothing to do with the DOG.. and everything to do with the SPIN.
The "Humane Society of the United States" ( an animal rights organization that operates NO dog and cat shelters and has NO affiliation with the government other than pouring tons of donated dollars into anti pet legislation )and PETA aka PetEuThanAsia ( they killed over 90% of the animals they took in last year) are both upset that the President did not buy a shelter dog. PWD's are fairly rare and chances of one showing up in a pound would be slim. Meanwhile the breeder who is selling the white house dog ( to Ted Kennedy who is in turn giving it to the Obama's) has upheld her end of her breeding program and taken back a dog that did not work out at another home and found it a new one.. LUCKY DOG!!!!
I cannot wait to see BO settle and charm the family and the public.
"Friends Don't let Friends Donate to the HSUS or PETA"
Only a person who doesn't connect with pets could make the asinine statement that "getting a pet is the most mundane of human activities". I just finished burying the family dog and I can assure you that it will be missed a lot more than some hypocritical ,horses ass like Newty"Dark Ages" Grinch when his time comes. Give theObama family a break, they are an attractive group and good for them..and if you truly want mundane....look at Newty Boy!!!
They bring dogs to terminal cancer patients for therapy. What's so stupid about Bo? More compassionate conservatism from Newt.
The Porto-lithu-iguanian water/H2O poodle hound dog will now become the most sought after pet in the US. The mad, incendiary and explosive rush to buy one will become a vital element of the stimulus package. I'm excited.

We are idiots.
If it's all so very stupid, why does he feel he needs to comment on it? Another item to criticize, even the man's dog. If the people find this interesting, it is not stupid. Newt Gringrich, et al, are stupid, protesting with a fake tea party over something they are not even sure requires protesting. Calling on people to yank their kids out of college so they will not be "brainwashed"; exhorting for all the books to be burned; and believing that the device for direct Tv is a brainwashing device.....Stupid is as stupid does.
Sometimes the coverage is getting a little too cutesy overall, like the English Press with the royalty--and you know how quicky THAT dog turns and bites~
It is newsworthy because what famous people do has a normative effect in society -- that's a fact, like it or not. The Obamas adopting a shelter dog would send a high-profile message about the plight of shelter dogs and call attention to the need to adopt them and not buy them. They ended up getting a dog from a breeder due to allergy issues, and this is a problem because it sends an inaccurate message that buying from breeders instead of going to shelters is ok. At least it was a responsible breeder and not a puppy mill, but that detail will get lost, unfortunately.
There are more important things than A LOT of things here on OS that have nothing to do with dogs. There are certainly more important things going on in the rest of the world, but yeah cutsie stories should be included so we don't all lose it. And if ya don't like em don't read em. I'm with you Stellaa!
I also hope they will train Bo so he won't be biting people(unless they deserve it) When you do rescue as I do, training is the first step in a dog not ending up with me. The more quality training the better and the less likely a dog will be back with the breeder again, in a shelter, or a rescue = A GOOD THING. Also, I read today that the President did make donations to a couple of rescues or shelters. Yes there are more important things but you and some others here don't have anyhing better to discuss? hmmm

Sorry for your loss, we also lost a beloved pet recently.
Hey, Newt said something in a balanced and considered manner. Sure it's stupid, but it's not a sign of the times or anything. This would have been the exact same stupid fluff obsession 10, 20, 50 and even 100 years ago.
One little point that seems ignored about "the dog issue" is that it gives us a sign of whether Obama can follow through on his promises. If Obama can't deliver quickly on this easiest promise of a puppy to his closest "constituency", what kind of faith can we have that he will deliver on the harder stuff - health care reform, new sources of energy,etc.

Frankly, I wasn't too impressed with the slow speed at which Obama achieved this particular goal. I hope this doesn't indicate the sort of progress we can expect with the bigger issues (well, bigger for the rest of us... hardly bigger for the Obama kids).

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