Last week, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh did an impression of Chinese President Hu Jintao that started out "Ching chong, ching chow chong cha," and continued on that way for 17 seconds. Leland Yee was one of the many people to take exception to this. Yee, a California state senator and chair of the state Senate Select Committee on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, called on Limbaugh to apologize for his "pointless and ugly offense." Limbaugh's response was not to apologize, but to criticize Yee on his program.
This week, Yee received faxes at his office that read, in part, "Rush Limbaugh will kick your chink ass." The faxes used other racial epithets and called for the death of "all Marxists, foreign and domestic." Observers are speculating that the faxes were sent from a Limbaugh listener. Here's what we know so far:
'Achtung, Fish Head' Alex Seitz-Wald at Think Progress reproduces one of the faxes. It's addressed to "JoBama Rectum Sniffing Moron Leeland Lee," and reads: "Achtung! Fish Head Leeland Lee - Rush Limbaugh will kick your Chink ass and expose you for the fool you are. Without exceptions, Marxists are enemies of the United States Constitution! Death to all Marxists! Foreign and Domestic!"
Obama's Head in a Noose John Coté at the San Francisco Chronicle notes that "the faxes include a drawing of a U.S. flag-adorned pickup truck towing a noose that is looped around what appears to be a caricature head of President Barack Obama." The letterhead above this drawing reads, "Fighting The Marxist Nigger Thug Hussein Obama & Fish Head Leeland Yee."
Yee's Seen This Kind of Thing Before Alan Colmes notes that Yee "previously has been the recipient of racist, homophobic, scatological messages from Sarah Palin fans when he fought to have information released about her speech at a taxpayer-funded school." The San Francisco Examiner says these earlier messages, which Yee received in April 2010, used "similar graphics and language" as the most recent faxes.
Are We Sure This Is Genuine? wonders Ann Althouse. "Overachievement in the genre of hatefulness ... makes me skeptical," she writes. Althouse points out that it's not clear whether the fax came from "a fan of Rush Limbaugh's or somebody hoping to make Rush Limbaugh look like the horrible man the left would so dearly love you to believe he is." She urges whoever's in charge to "trace it down... Racist death threats are intolerable and so is the generic dispersal of blame."
Yee's Response After Limbaugh's original show where he spoke in ersatz Chinese, Yee started an online petition calling for an advertiser boycott of Limbaugh's program. This week, a press release on Yee's Web site notes that "recently, the Pima County Sheriff's Office in Arizona contacted Yee regarding the April faxes and a possible connection to faxes found during the investigation surrounding the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords." A spokesperson for Yee told Think Progress that though Yee has received similar messages in the past, "in light of what of what happened in Arizona, we have to take these things seriously now."