Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's the sled

You generally don't want to get into a rap rivalry with Jay-Z.

But the White House on Thursday challenged the mega-artist after he released a track suggesting he got "White House clearance" for his controversial trip to Cuba with wife Beyonce. 

Dear Fair 'n' Balanced Network: I'm afraid we have bad news for you.

Jay Carney, President Obama's press secretary, categorically denied the claim -- reiterating that the Treasury Department handles clearance.

"I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury," Carney joked, before clarifying: "The White House, from the president on down, had nothing to do with anybody's ... travel to Cuba. That is something that Treasury handles."

Jay-Z released the track Thursday shortly after returning from Cuba, a trip that drew criticism from Cuban-American lawmakers in Congress who questioned how the couple got permission to travel to the communist-run island.

You'd kind of think that if they were actually wondering, they would have started at the State Department briefing, rather than the White House briefing. Or -- here's an idea -- checked State's website ("Cuba generally welcomes U.S. citizen travelers and U.S. citizens are generally well received") to see if it had any suggestions. Unless they had a really outdated version of Reader, they could even launch the wizard for filling out the OFAC travel application! But perhaps their real interest was in ...

The rapper boasted at length about the visit, suggesting Obama was involved.

OK, here's the bad news part. Every now and then when people sing about stuff, they're not relating actually evidence of criminal behavior. Doc Watson did not actually meet Little Sadie and blow her down (nor yet wing her and let Tony Rice finish her off). Dr. Ralph did not actually kill Pretty Polly and try to get away. Nor yet did Johnny Cash shoot a man in Reno, and you can fill in your own blanks here.

... The track resulted in a bizarre scene at Thursday's White House briefing, as a reporter read aloud the lyrics to Carney. Jay-Z and Beyonce are both Obama supporters.

So many scary brown people, so little time.


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