That effigy of Sarah Palin hanging from a noose in West Hollywood, Calif., has finally come down, after West Hollywood Mayor Jerry Prang had a little chat with the “artist” responsible, Chad/Michael Morissette. Morisette-as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department what was besieged with e-mails denouncing Morisette’s Halloween porch decoration as a hate crime. Even many of Morisette’s neighbors in this ultra-liberal, mostly gay city abutting Beverly Hills had gotten worried about the effigy’s potential for putting them, as well as gays in general, in a bad light. A bunch of West Hollywood residents had been standing in front of the house holding up a sheet so that drivers-by would not be able to see the hanged Palin effigy.

Naturally, the liberal Los Angeles Times editorial staff twisted itself into giant soft pretzels trying to approve Morisette’s taking down the effigy while at the same time saying the only thing wrong with it was that it offended “conservatives.”. A sample from the Times editorial:

“It is undeniably true that if a figure of [Barack] Obama had been depicted hanging from a noose, it would have attracted more outrage than the image of Palin. That’s because of a horrifying history of lynchings of black men in the American South, a history that makes the noose as offensive among blacks as the swastika is for Jews. It’s also true that as long as it was clear that the hanging figure represented Obama or another prominent black politician rather than a private citizen, it wouldn’t be legally actionable as a hate crime. Our laws give broad latitude to clear expressions of political opinion, as opposed to incitements to violence against ethnic groups. So while conservatives are right to suppose that such an offensive depiction of Obama would attract enormous anger, they’re wrong to think it would be treated differently under the law.”

And of course, the L.A. Times editorialists couldn’t resist getting in some passive-aggressive digs in at Us Who Don’t Worship at the Feet of the One:

“There are some forms of expression that poison our political discourse and needlessly deepen our divisions. They include inflammatory and untrue statements, such as the McCain campaign’s assertions that Obama is a socialist or that he ‘pals around with terrorists’….”

Well, call me a discourse-poisoner and a division-deepener, but isn’t Obama actually a socialist and doesn’t he actually pal around with terrorists? Oh, I forgot-Obama is merely a “progressive” (there’s a big difference, don’t you know?), and bombing the Capitol isn’t really terrorism if no one gets hurt.

Meanwhile, I like what Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women (no conservative she!) had to say to the L.A. Times about the Palin effigy:

“‘It is a shock to the senses for those of us who work to stop violence against women to see such a public depiction of violence,’ she said. ‘This has no place in a civilized dialogue. If you oppose Sarah Palin’s policies, say why you oppose them.’”