Overheard at the Hilton

Reverend Al Sharpton speaks at Minneapolis Urban League annual dinner, disses Democrats and baby-hating Republicans

More than 1300 people attended the Minneapolis Urban League Dinner at the downtown Hilton last night. Fresh-dressed WCCO's Don Shelby (take that, Paul Magers!) emceed the event, which included guest speakers Mayor R.T. Rybak, Rep. Neva Walker, and Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar. Of course the highlight of the evening wasn't the commentary from the local yokels or the smoked salmon dinner, but Sharpton's pithy exegesis of President Bush, Republicans, and Democrats. (He ran on the Democratic ticket and spoke at the DNC in the last election, but has continued to criticize the party, saying they need to be taught a lesson. But isn't the entire country paying for that lesson now?)

Sharpton's impassioned keynote speech bordered between a stand-up comedy routine, a sermon, and a clarion call for action. His criticisms left some questions (as does his connection to Republican operative Roger Stone, who, according to the Village Voice, contributed to Sharpton's campaign because he would bash the nominee and hurt the party's chances.) But Sharpton was whisked away faster than MC D-Shelb, who had to sprint across the street a mere 10 minutes before his 10 p.m. newscast. So we'll have to settle for Sharpton's great one-liners instead:

On the Democrats: The Democratic Party looks like the Rocky Mountains. The higher up you go, the whiter it gets.

On Bush: They say Bush isn't dumb. So a reporter, one they hired, asked Bush: Old McDonald had a... [Bush] said, farm. The reporter said, how do you spell it? Bush said, e-i-e-i-o.

On the Republicans: The right-wing played Three-Card Monty. They used a distraction. War, health care, education, those are the real issues....

On the Republicans again: You cut prenatal care, health care, education...There's something immoral about people who love the fetus but hate the baby.

On gay marriage and the Republicans: You can have your opinions, but who someone marries or loves is not something the president decides...If you're gonna use the Bible, use the whole Bible, not just the one commandment you like...You're gonna condemn gay marriage, and then go see your mistress on the way home.

On the misogyny and violence in hip-hop: My mama was not a ho...Rosa Parks is not some animal you can refer to on a rap record...They talk about "keepin' it real..." Mirrors are not to reflect what you see; they're to correct what you see.

On what he calls "Negro amnesia:" It's an epidemic where Negroes forgot where they came from. If you don't remember where you came from, you don't know where you're going.

On selfishness: Most people done nothing for nobody but them. Most people shouldn't even have a funeral--they should just go from the morgue to the grave...do more for someone other than yourself.

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