Meet the Billboard So Offensive It Only Lasted 45 Minutes

Meet the Billboard So Offensive It Only Lasted 45 Minutes

Message to restaurant owners: a racist promotion about the president doesn't work. Smokin' Joe's Ribhouse, a restaurant in Rogers, Arkansas, displayed a sign that read "Obamacare America's punishment for slavery years." Yes, you read that correctly.

Owner Johnny Howard said the sign was up for only 45 minutes after people quickly responded to it. Despite the clearly racist message, Howard insists he was only critiquing the president's health care law and that it was never supposed to be "racist-oriented."

"It's the policy and I made the mistake of wording it in the wrong fashion," he said to the local ABC affiliate. "The policy. It's not the person it's the policy."

Uh huh. Well, it should be painfully obvious to any restaurant owner that blaming any policy of our first black president as a "punishment for slavery years" might come off as a bit racist. Seriously, what was Howard thinking? That the locals would find it funny and like it? That it would garner media attention? How clueless can he be?

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Danny Vinik

I'm a recent graduate of Duke University majoring in economics and public policy. I write frequently at my own site, called Political Algebra (www.dannyvinik.com). My main interests are economic policy and political analysis. Outside of journalism, I'm a big sports fan, particularly of Duke Basketball and the Boston Red Sox.

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