It's been quite a month for Jesses. One dies (Helms) and another (Jackson) talks about cutting off Barack Obama's family jewels.
Helms is the most fascinating because of his long, well-documented commitment to blatant racism and homophobia. Salon's James Hannaham wrote a terrific article about how progressives (and pretty much anyone with a conscience) owe a debt to the U.S. senator for spurring them to action, again and again, over the years. Best quote: "To liberals, he was a villain in the mold of Darth Vader, though he would probably not have hired James Earl Jones, a black actor, to speak through his face grille." Read it here. Then link to the New York Times compilation of Helms' most memorable quotes. You can't make this shit up.
As for Jackson, I'm not surprised he said something so bootleg. Obama seems to confound and annoy many Civil Rights activists of Jackson's generation. He doesn't play (or run a campaign) by their rules, and he didn't go out of his way to court them. Why should he? Maybe Jackson's genuinely upset that Obama's call for personal responsibility didn't address the legacy of racism, but I think this was more about jealousy and ego. Rochelle Riley of The Detroit Free Press is so on point in her column on the kerfluffle.