Don’t Know Much About History…

Jay-Z’s recent rap, Open Letter, is a response to criticism by Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen over his recent visit to Cuba:

Ros-Lehtinen learned that Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce spent their wedding anniversary in Cuba, contacted the U.S. Treasury Department, asking for an investigation. U.S. citizens can’t simply visit Cuba for tourism; they require clearance from the U.S. government for a “people-to-people licence” and declare that your visit is for something such as academic research, cultural exchange or journalism. It turned out that the couple had secured clearance under the “education” exception.

The American embargo against Cuba has existed in various forms since the revolution against Batista, first as arms embargo, then expanding to trade and travel after the Cuban Missile Crisis. We Canadians aren’t under such a restriction, and while I haven’t gone to Cuba, my friend and Crazy Go Nuts University schoolmate Chris Turner has, and he’s written about his experience there in an article in The Walrus titled On Tipping in Cuba (a worthwhile read, as Chris’ stuff usually is).

dana perino

Dana Perino, former White House Press Secretary during the Bush II administration turned FOX News talking head (as a number of Republican sloppy seconders are wont to do) recently showed her disapproval of Jay-Z’s Cuba trip with a painfully bad rap, much to the amusement of her decidedly funk-free co-hosts:

Perino’s criticism might carry more weight if we didn’t know this little fact about her: at a White House press conference in 2007, when she was asked if the U.S.’ missile defence strategy had an analogue to the Cuban Missile Crisis, she had to fake a reply, because she had no clue what the Cuban Missile Crisis was:

Shortly afterwards, in an appearance on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, she told the full story:

“I was panicked a bit because I really don’t know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis,” she said. “It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I’m pretty sure.”

Luckily, she did the right by not worrying her pretty little head about it — she went to a man to clear things up for her. “I came home and I asked my husband,” she recalled. “I said, ‘Wasn’t that like the Bay of Pigs thing?’ And he said, ‘Oh, Dana.’ “

the stupid it burns

Oh, Dana indeed. This, Gentle Reader, is where “low-information voters” come from.

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