On This Day in History: February 17, 2008


Kosovo declared independence.

Dwight Howard won the NBA dunk contest while wearing a cape.

Avril Lavigne criticized paparazzi for hounding rival Britney Spears.

Stanford Professor Richard Thompson Ford condemned presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for playing the race card in an effort to turn Hispanic voters against Barack Obama.

[T]oday’s race-baiting tactics do more than just tap into preexisting racial animosity: They actually create and inflame it … by insisting that Hispanics are anti-black bigots and insinuating that black politicians won’t serve the interests of Hispanic constituents, [Clinton pollster Sergio] Bendixen may well have helped inspire the racial tensions he purported to describe. African Americans have had their worst fears of anti-black racism confirmed by a supposed expert on Latino opinion; Latinos, told that their community rejects black candidates, may well assume that this must be so for a good reason — such as African American prejudice against them. […]

So far, the Clinton campaign’s attempt to scare Hispanic voters away from Obama has met with significant success, and we’ll probably see more in the future. Perhaps Clinton believes that the ends justify the means because she’ll be more effective in advancing racial justice if she’s elected. But whoever wins this election, it will take a lot of extra work come next January to reverse the damage caused by playing the race card now.

Bill Clinton stumped for his wife in Ohio by praising her view that every abortion is “a tragedy”

“She said—and she said again at the outset of this election—that every abortion is a tragedy and they should be more rare, but safe and legal. And I agree with her,” the former president told pro-life protesters.

House of Wax star Paris Hilton turned 27, The Big Hit’s Lou Diamond Phillips turned 46, and failed baseball player Michael Jordan turned 45.

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