Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull is in hot water this week after passing along a "joke" email about President Obama that managed to be both racist and imply that his mother had sex with a dog. Judge Cebull didn't think that by forwarding the email on to a few buddies, from his official courthouse email, he could get into trouble, because Judge Cebull... has never used the internet before? Doesn't read the news? Has all the forethought of a caffeinated toddler? It has to be something similarly extreme, because no one in their right mind should think they can get away with shit like this email, which was sent under the subject line "A MOM'S MEMORY":

"Normally I don't send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

"A little boy said to his mother; 'Mommy, how come I'm black and you're white?'" the email joke reads. "His mother replied, 'Don't even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!'"

What's the opposite of nailed it? Whatever it is, that's what Cebull did here, and for so many reasons. It's racist, first of all. It's wildly offensive to President Obama and his deceased mother. It barely even makes sense, because President Obama knows who his father is and his parents were, in fact, married at one point. And finally, it's a forward email, and people who perpetuate these emails are the worst. They should be pelted with small fruits.

The email eventually found its way to the Great Falls Tribune, and Cebull was called on to explain his behavior. Which classic excuse would he use? Maybe the, "I didn't think anyone would see it, so it's okay"? How about the, "I admit this is racist but I'm not racist"? Or maybe the "I'm sorry if you got offended"? Guys, this is pretty special — he did all three!

"It was not intended by me in any way to become public," Cebull said. "I apologize to anybody who is offended by it, and I can obviously understand why people would be offended...

"The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan," Cebull said. "I didn't send it as racist, although that's what it is. I sent it out because it's anti-Obama."

Cebull has apologized to the other federal judges in Montana and the President for his behavior and initiated a misconduct complaint against himself. He insists that, despite the nature of the email, prejudice has never influenced his decisions as a judge. No word yet on whether he plans to take some time to figure out how email actually works, however.

Commentarium (16 Comments)

Mar 02 12 - 1:12pm

no way it was intended to be public. i just was gonna fwd to someone who would fwd to someone who would fwd to fwd to fwd to fwd. BAM. its covered by news and politics. ultimate public fwd.

and for a joke that isnt even funny. and i AM racist and dont like Obama. not cause he's black, but because he's fucking stupid.

Mar 02 12 - 1:44pm

1) The first paragraph of your comment is bizarre. What does it mean? Try reading something out loud before posting.
2)You're racist and you dislike Obama, but you don't dislike him for being black? Sure. And you've given such a good reason for disliking him- "he's fucking stupid". It's official, your opinion doesn't matter.

I hate when politicians or organizations claim that something incriminating or offensive "wasn't meant to be made public". How does that make it any better?

Mar 02 12 - 1:33pm
other rbittio

Regardless of the judge's intent or his true feelings on race (neither of which we could possibly know for certain), I don't see the supposed racism in the joke. The only mention of race is "how come you're white and I'm black," which is actually the truth. How is that racist? It's certainly insulting towards his mother to imply she had sex with a dog at the party, but that isn't racist either.

Mar 02 12 - 2:44pm
commento roboto

I know, right? How can implying that one of Pres. Obama's parents is an animal be racist? Or implying that Pres. Obama is half-animal (you know, the black half) be racist? Such political correctness gone amok.

Mar 02 12 - 3:15pm

Thanks for that, commento roboto. It's amazing how so many racists have zero awareness of what racsim looks like. Bigotry does indeed blind, it seems.

Mar 02 12 - 4:12pm
254, dureyst

I think bestiality and racism are two different things. Now, if the joke was that his mother screwed an ape at the party, that might be a different story.

Sorry libs, every mention of race isn't automatically racist.

Mar 02 12 - 4:15pm
basistc and

And actually, if you actually bothered to read the joke, you'd see that it doesn't say that his black parent *is* an animal, it's implying that his mother fucked an animal (among others) at the party but it didn't end up being his father. Your grade in reading comprehension and joke interpretation is an F.

Mar 02 12 - 4:37pm
Common Sense Abounds

The target/victim of the joke was Obama's mama, not him or his dad or his race. Not racist.

Mar 02 12 - 5:34pm
Saratoga Slim

Obama's mama is white, so if it is implied that she had sex with a dog, it would mean that white women have sex with dogs. The "joke" has her telling him he's lucky to not be barking, which implies that his lot in life is more fortunate than having been the product of her union with a canine. White women are the ones who should be up in arms about this. Obama's black father did not copulate with an animal, his white mother did.

And the judge is an asshole.

Mar 02 12 - 8:17pm
y'all know better

The butt of this cruel joke is Obama's mother, not because she had sex with a dog, but because she got so wasted at a party she could not remember all the people she had sex with, and ceased to be responsible for her actions. It ascribes to Obama's mother the sense that her son should not complain about being black, because for all she knew that night, she could have done something even less desirable than having sex with a black man, e.g., having sex with a dog. The joke is racist, misogynist, and offensive to the memory of a remarkable woman who lived an unconventional life. Only white men who live conventional lives and think of women and blacks as beneath them would find it funny.

Mar 03 12 - 4:47pm

Yes. Well-said and exactly on point. Some of the above postings are really unbelievable. How a person could try to argue that this isn't racist or sexist is beyond me. Personally, I think all but the dumbest know that it is in fact both, but they're so damn angry at the ground women and minorities have gained in the recent past that it's spurring their crazy defensiveness in this issue.

Mar 02 12 - 11:33pm
Lieuts. saftsgt

The judge IS an asshole, and the joke is bad in a stupid '80s dirty joke kinda way. What it is not is racist. Or misogynist, for that matter -- it's not insulting women, it's insulting one woman. BIG difference.

Mar 03 12 - 4:55pm

Nope. Do you really think this joke would have been said of GW Bush's mother? The joke only "works" because Obama is black. The equating of black people with animals has a very long history. The same was true of the Nazis equating Jews with animals, ie, less than human.

Despite all of the ill will from the right towards Bill CLinton, and the ill will of the left towards GW Bush, we never saw the kind of jokes/remarks we're seeing now directed at Obama. They are racist.

Also, stating that it only insults this one woman is pretty much like saying that Rush Limbaugh only insulted that one law student, or that Don Imus only insulted that one team of black women. Just plain wrong.

Mar 03 12 - 5:34pm
Just Plain Right

Wow - some level of transference here. The joke is not racist. The fact that you see it as such is a reflection of your attitude regarding, in this case, those of African descent.

Do I think such a joke would have been said about GW's mom? Nope - he came from an awesome family that is still intact. With that observation, it would have been one of the tamer items to be said about GW.

Mar 03 12 - 6:40pm
No Way

"Just Plain Right," What a joke your moniker is. You completely give yourself away with your comment about GW Bush's "awesome" family that is "still intact." How about that a single mother raised a man of color to be the fucking president? That's far more "awesome" in the true sense of the word than generations of rich, powerful white men ascending to positions oof power.

What a joke you are, man. "LT" I totally agree with you, not sure what color you are but I am in fact a black man, which I'm sure "Just Plain Right" is not. Fuck you, asshole, you're the furthest thing from your chosen name.

Mar 03 12 - 7:11pm
Just Plain Sad

Both this article and this comment thread make me sad.

JPR, you didn't actually address anything the op said at all. No comments about the terrible history of equating not just black, but other minorities too with animals. Just illogical accusations of "transference" that frankly, don't make any sense from what the op said.

Also, you more or less came right out and said that the President's mother somehow deserves these jokes, as GW's mother did not, because she was not part of what you'd consider to be an "intact, awesome" family.

You're true colors are showing, JPR. As for No Way, I know it's hard not to get really pissed off at those spewing his brand of bs, but he's just not worth it. Don't let his bs affect your blood pressure.

Lastly, JPR, why exactly are you on this site? Trying to stir it up? Well I guess you did what you came for but I doubt you're changing any "Liberals" minds.

Oh and LT, I'm biracial like our Pres and I agree with you, too. And nah, JPR, I'm not at all self-hating and "transfering."