Lots of folk have argued that the remarks of Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) veered into an inappropriate other-ing, even racism, when he addressed the nominee for Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy during confirmation hearings yesterday. 

Roberts: “You ever been to Dodge City, Kansas?”

Murthy: “I have not, sir. But I would love to come.”

Roberts: “Well, good. I’m going to invite you, because we have a lovely doctor from India. She’s in her mid-30s, and she’s highly respected by the community. And another doctor from India that did my carpal tunnel when I did a stupid thing. And so, I think you’d be right at home, and we would welcome you.”

Was that really so bad? I didn’t think so. It actually made me smile, “What a cute old white man!” But among the hyperventilating responses:

"sorry but it’s like the Southern expression of "Bless Your Heart": a passive aggressive fuck you. It’s a condescending way of "hey my white people approve of your kind so long as you’re not uppity" with a little "you’ll never be one of US" thrown in. MMM-mmm. That’s good racism." [Gawker]

Thankfully a lot of commenters are a little less uptight, like this Indian guy:

"you guys need to chill out. as an indian doctor i hear this kind of shit all of the time. he’s just an old man trying to reach out…in a very white old man sort of way. A for effort."

But for all of you who really get out-of-sorts when someone old tries to be social by saying, “My proctologist… he’s Indian… lovely man…” try to avoid the predictable, indignant response, and use this line instead: “Dr. Rao? Sure, I know him!” pause. “He has herpes.

[Photos by AP and Win McNamee/Getty Images]

In an interview on Sunday, Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, who is the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, renewed his call for tougher gun restrictions, including banning assault weapons, requiring background checks for firearm purchases at gun shows and prohibiting gun sales to anyone on the nation’s terrorism watch list.

But Mr. King said he doubted that the shootings in Connecticut would alter the gun debate in Congress, saying that outside the Northeast a gun culture exists that is resistant to any kind of firearms regulation. “I hope I am wrong,” he said, “but I don’t think it will have a major impact on the debate in Congress. We’ve had a number of gun tragedies in recent years without any action being taken.” [NYT]