Thank-you, Representative King


I owe Representative Steve King (R—Iowa) a personal thank—you. Congressman King rallied Republicans to defeat an effort to name the Berkeley Main Post Office for Maudelle Shirek, long an ultra—leftist member of the Berkeley City Council. The most left wing member of that body, which is quite a feat.

Nobody has ever come up with an actual Communist Party membership card for Shirek, but her communist—consistent views were well—known in the Berkeley community, and even celebrated by some on the loony left. She traveled to Cuba and dined with Castro, and  was also palsy—walsy with the Palestinian nutso—left. Although well—disguised as an elderly African—American lady for the past few decades (she is in her nineties now), I regarded her as the vilest leftist in Berkeley. And that's saying a lot.

The San Francisco Chronicle's coverage of the story features a prominent five year old picture of a smiling, friendly—looking Shirek. The article also notes that

She wanted to run for a ninth term, but she was left off the ballot because of a staff member's error in filing election documents.

Notice that the Chron puts the blame on a staff member, a standard they have never used in covering Abu Ghraib or any other infraction attributable in some way to a Republican. Moreover, the failure to register took place last year, depriving Shirek of the opportunity to serve on the city council right now. But:

Shirek, who has been ill with Alzheimer's, was not available for comment.

So only a "staff member's error" prevents her from serving as an Alzheimer's impaired city council member. Not that anyone would notice in that context. Incoherence is no bar to discussions there.

I am particularly indebted to Representative King because I am required, from time—to—time, to cool my heels in the Main Post Office in order to sign for a registered letter or an insured item. Most mail carriers just leave a slip in my streetside mailxbox indicating "attempted delivery" rather than trek the required number of steps from the street to ring the doorbell by my front door in the steep hills of North Berkeley.

The wait is rarely less than half an hour, given the absurd overccrowding and slow pace of service at the Main Post Office.  Being forced to wait in a building named for this woman would have been more than I could handle on some mornings, I am sure.

UPDATE: The AP covers the story, and gives an account of an exchange between Rep. King and Rep. Barbara Lee, the Congresswoman from Berkeley/Oakland.

"They are living in the days, I guess, of Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover and decided they wanted to defeat a local district matter, and I think it's outrageous and unconscionable," Lee said in an interview.

Lee's spokesman, Nathan Britton, said Shirek has no Communist Party affiliation and there has never been a solid accusation to prove otherwise.

King disputed Lee's criticism.

"I think that if Barbara Lee would read the history of Joe McCarthy she would realize that he was a hero for America—region>," King said of the Wisconsin senator who was censured by the Senate for his investigations into alleged communist sympathizers in the 1950s. King said Hoover, the former FBI director, "was a giant when it came to law enforcement."

Thomas Lifson  9 28 05