Days of Swine and Noses

By Ray Richmond

You can always tell when a television news anchor is feeling disappointment. The left eyebrow (to the viewer’s right) begins to perceptibly twitch, and the monotone takes on a subtle edge of angst. Usually, this can be discerned when the anchor is reporting that a local shooting resulted in injury but no deaths, or that cancer rates had dropped, or that a predicted violent thunderstorm would now be bypassing the area. And just watch that eyebrow whenever any hurricane is downgraded to a tropical depression. It’s Twitch City, baby.

I saw the twitch erupt anew with great intensity on Friday when one local news gal announced that 19 more kids in the U.S. had died from the Swine Flu in the week ending Aug. 24, bringing the total number of kids who have succumbed to the virus to 114 since it first erupted in April. It seemed clear enough that the anchor felt these numbers were paltry, not at all adequate, an indication of a mere plague wannabe – a wussy killer if ever there was one.

But you could tell the anchor was still trying her very best to push the panic button and play the terror card, even as she worked to mask her disappointment that the 19 wasn’t 19,000 and use of the word “pandemic” wasn’t itself a form of vast overkill.

(It’s always a hoot to watch anchors try, like small children, to use their big words. The vacant look in the bleach-blonde’s eyes as she recites terms from the TelePrompTer like ”referendum” and “callow” is also very much there as she repeats “pandemic,” convinced as she is that it has something to do with infections stemming from the reckless use of cookware. Call it, “One Flu Over the Anchor’s Desk.”)

This is all brought up now, of course, because in terms of disasters of our time and its telegenic value, the H1N1 virus (evidently so-named because “R2D2” already was taken) is an immense underperformer. Particularly as we head into the ratings sweeps month of November, this thing has yet – if you’ll pardon the expression – to go viral. Instead, it’s just a big fat hunk of scaremongering hype. As an effective means of inciting terror in the populace, it’s proving more DOA than HIV, more pig-in-a-poke than porcine-fueled pandemonium.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that a lousy 800 people or so had died of the Swine Flu. Let’s compare this to the 50 million people worldwide who died during the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918-19, which represented 3% of the entire global population of 1.6 billion at the time. That was more than three times the 16 million who had been killed during WWI.

In a normal flu year in the U.S., some 40 to 50 kids typically die. This year, it’s looking as if it could wind up being four or five times that number, which is naturally tragic…but on a decidedly small scale. It’s still pretty small potatoes when you consider that more than 30,000 people, mostly kids, succumb to diarrhea each year in Kenya alone. More than 1,000 kids will die in car accidents in the United States this year. But no one is sounding that alarm to keep them out of harm’s way by walking or riding their bicycles instead.

Yet you can understand the palpable frustration of a television news culture for which death is life and chaos in manna from the Gods. It’s always been true that if it bleeds it leads. But it’s conversely turning out to be true that if it merely sniffles, it fizzles. Try as they might, their sensationalistic approach isn’t working this time. People aren’t wearing masks in public. The paranoia factor isn’t inspiring folks to view social interaction as lethal in itself, or to remain indoors and watch more news about why they need to remain indoors and watch more news.

On the other hand, here’s a new theory for ya: Maybe it’s our natural isolation in the Internet age that’s helping limit the spread of a flu virus whose milder virulence could well be tied to its more restricted exposure.

We don’t need a national quarantine when we’re already essentially quarantining ourselves in our little cubby holes, in front of our monitors, surfing rather than socializing. We’re locked out of harm’s way far more than we once were, which could partially explain why this ain’t anywhere close to your granddaddy’s flu. You need to be around people to catch a deadly disease from them. So we might see this as an unintended advantage of our seclusion. Our computers are catching more viruses than we are.

A reason to celebrate? Perhaps. But don’t expect the TV newshounds to be throwing any parties. Their eyebrows are far too busy twitching.

For Fox Sake

I turned on Fox News yesterday for some reason and I'll just say this; they didn't disappoint. This video shows what it was like watching Fox News. Rev. Tim Lovejoy plays the part of me.

Hey you seventh grade dropouts at Fox! The Constitution isn't a formulary on what legislation can and can't be passed. It is not a list what laws can and can not be enacted. It does not say government can reform healthcare nor does it say government can't reform healthcare. It makes provisions for the creation of law. That's kid's stuff. You should know that, and that's why Nancy Pelosi asked your people "are you serious?" I'm wondering the same thing. Oh sweet Jesus.

Most Americans Say U.S. Ready for First Black Former President

A new AOTL poll released today shows the 51 percent of Americans say the U.S. is ready for a black former president. With political experts agreeing that the likelihood of a black former president within the next eight years is great, discussions have begun as to where the racial mood of the country is.

In the poll only 29 percent of respondents felt that America was not ready. The majority of that proportion (89%) resided in the Southern states.

Bill Clinton has been referred to "the first black former president" mainly by the African American voters who felt he was sympathetic to their concerns. While several names including Colin Powell have recently been suggested as possible black former presidents, consensus is growing that Barack Obama is best poised to win the former office.

Countdown To An AOTL Anniversary

Though it isn't exactly a celebration of a time period (it's only been a month and a half) Ahead on the Left is approaching its twenty-fifth post. Thanks to the following people who made the first twenty-five possible through support, comments, and/or spreading the word.

My parents (Ed and Marian Dornell)

Aunt Florney

Cheryl Herrick

Ken Napzok

Dan Campbell

Micki Sackler

Michael Wright

Shelley Tregor

Joseph Bacon

We'd also like to thank Ray Richmond for being the first AOTL guest writer (We'll Always Have Mumbai, 10-18-09)

And thank-you also to all those people with the class to become followers of Ahead on the Left. At AOTL we know you have many options for your blog reading needs. That's why your satisfaction is our number one goal. We hope the next time you go blog reading you choose AOTL. If we could, we'd serve you complimentary booze.
This blog will be updated pending names that have been forgotten.

Advice To Radovan Karadzic

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is currently on trial for genocide which can be pretty serious, but I think I can help him. I just fought a traffic ticket and won! Maybe my strategy can work for him.

Obviously, it's too late for the initial recommendations. he's already in jail, but I'll start at the beginning for the sake of thoroughness.

1. Be courteous to your arresting officer.

Just like you, the officer issuing your genocide citation is just someone with a job to do. Arguing with him/her will only make him or her/her more angry and less likely to see things your way.

2. Plead your case to the officer with dignity.

If you actually did commit genocide, admit it. This will put the officer at ease and make it more likely you will be given leniency or even a warning!

3. Be timely with all legal correspondence.

In the event you were unable to convince the officer to let you go you will be contacted by the court by mail. Respond to any request for a reply on time. You may think "it's only genocide. It's not important" but the court takes it very seriously.

4. Don't be discouraged.

Anything can happen in your favor after this point so stay positive. You first want to put off any court dates as long they will allow. Time is your friend. For example if the arresting officer has moved or is no longer an officer your genocide charge is automatically dismissed.

5. Don't miss your trial.

This one seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people get scared of their genocide hearing or just flake. This will only make the judge find you guilty.

6. Where a suit.

Judges are used to genocide defendants showing up in tank tops, sagging shorts, or Daisy Dukes. To make yourself stand out, dress to impress. Let the court know you take the process seriously.

7. Be likable.

The judge is more likely to be on your side if you seem like a nice, considerate person. Be respectful. Remember to take your hat off. Don't have your iPod playing. Be concise and to the point. Don't waste the judges time. Never start a sentence with "yeah I committed genocide, but..."

8. Don't overreact when you hear the verdict.

The judge may rule against you in which case you will want to remain calm. Save any tantrums for when you go home later. When the time comes you can either accept the judges verdict or you can walk to the clerks office and request an appeal.

9. Discuss alternative sentencing.

If you are found guilty and you accept the judgment you may discuss sentencing alternatives. See if you can work polls in an upcoming election or go to genocide school.

10. If you appeal...

Follow steps three through nine. Remember, don't give up.

AOTL Voter Education Center

I am going to try to maintain a balance between honesty and civility concerning a rising voice among the electorate. I haven't given them a funny name yet, but I think I'm narrowing down some good options. The name will have to reflect their passion and concern for the direction of the country along with their lack of knowledge of what is really going on. I've heard enough about what the Constitution says from people who probably couldn't tell you what Article I of the Constitution addresses.

I don't care that people disagree with me. It does tick me off when people disagree with me without knowing what they're talking about. You can say "freedom" and "liberty" until you're red, white, and blue in the face. It doesn't mean you have a grasp on the issues. So as a service to everyone, AOTL will be promoting voter education through enclosed links to sites with information that every participant in American Democracy should have.

I am happy to provide, first, this link to the U.S. Constitution.

Here's a sample passage from Article II section 2: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

This week I am also happy to offer information on this page indexing bills voted on by the 111th Congress because we really should make an effort to know this stuff even though it's boring as hell.

Good Lord, Get a Dictionary

Before you read this, you may want to look up the word "rogue" in the dictionary. Here's a link:

Okay. At this point you've either looked up "rogue" or you somehow know exactly what the word means in which case we may have the same question in mind; why on Earth would anyone name their autobiography "Going Rogue: An American Life"? Who would look at that definition set and say "one or more of these definitely applies to me"?

Is Sarah Palin stupid? Yes, but no stupider than anyone else, including me. She may even be a little smarter. Or she may just get away with more stuff in spite of her claims of an unprecedented scrutiny on her. There is no positive connotation of this word except its noun use meaning "mischievous person." She refers to herself as "deceitful" and "unprincipled" in the title of her book and no one notices. Wow.

It's been a hell of a year, but for me, this is right up near the top.


Tales From Ye Olde Healthcare Reform Debate

The following text is from a document recently found, believed to be the second half of a speech given on the floor of the House of Representatives by Rep. Theodosius Kucinich of Ohio in 1814. Though only the last page of the draft was found, the re is no argument that the topic of his speech was healthcare reform. This discovery has boosted the argument that healthcare reform has been a national agenda as far back as the fledgling years of our Democracy.

You will notice that the language that was standard then is now seen as archaic.
Not recommended for eighth grade students or younger.

...this specific transvestiture of funds for services performed!

The wife of Mr. Thomas Wayles, Mrs. Thomas Wayles nee Curtis was recommended a serial treatment of eye-pokings after falling ill with hysterical mendacity. As a customer of Worthington, Kerry and Company Securance Mr. Wayles’ wife collected a benefit for six out of thirty-nine prescribed appointments when Worthington, Kerry and Company decided that eye-poking was experimental. Mr. Wayles’ wife died following complications of eye infections brought on directly from the very hysterical mendacity whose treatment cost was the obligation of Worthing Kerry.

Mr. Otis Freeman must pay out of his own hand the cost of his bone softening prescribed by none other than Doctor Flavius Burgoyne, son of Doctor Averil Burgoyne, once the physician of highest renown in all the colonies. At the age of eight demiscore two Mr. Freeman stands painfully overerect due to having bones ten times harder than yours or mine. The cost of his treatment at three ha'penny per annus has led to a second symptom – financial seepage from his sack. He has been singlehandedly maimed by New Newcastle Indemnity and Assurance, a company whose profits last year were in excess of an unmindable five hundred dollars!

“Five hundred dollars” you may say. What comparison could possibly make a man know the tangible value of a fantastic five hundred dollars when the value of this palace of Democracy in which we stand was built at a staggering fee of seventy-five dollars and eighty-nine cents? Five hundred dollars. It is 10,000 times the cost of the Mayflower crossing. It is the approximate combined value of all the wealthiest kingdoms of Islamia. A stack of five hundred single bank notes from the ground upwards would reach to a height of just below my ankle! JUST BELOW MY ANKLE!

Now I ask you, how much money do these randy jacks need? These dastardly cads. These bĂȘtes terribles. When will they stop? And how many more people need suffer? How many more need be condemned to debtor’s prison. How many more people need be laid by simple avoidable ailments such as sallowness, menses, or the number one succumbant in America, farrier’s lung?

Our destiny is clear that when the raiders prey upon the people of America it is a call upon the brotherhood of decency to line up, joined at bosom and buttock and take back that with which the unsavory privateers absconded. We will smoke them out of their coves and under a heavy gay pounding of mortar fire we will board their sloops and take back what is ours. My friends, line up with me now, join me, and we will suck off our enemies, one by one!
Thank-you Mr. Speaker

T.F.K. - 1814

We'll Always Have Mumbai

by Ray Richmond

So there I am late Saturday night with my 88-year-old mother in the emergency ward of Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. It is a place I have come to know all too intimately the past eight months as Mom's health has steadily deteriorated, as happens with someone whom has walked the Earth for nearly nine decades. Two of the people working here greet me by my first name, and I, theirs. We are comrades in (IV-poked) arms.

Mom is here because her body is continuing to wear out. She's determined to make it to 90, just because. But she knows the light is beginning to flicker out. She's sufficiently with-it to understand what's going on. She's resigned, and yet stoic. She won't be going without telling the Reaper to fuck off 7 or 8 times. And this night, she's back in the hospital for the sixth time since January because her left leg had stopped working. It had turned blue and cold and dead. A circulatory issue, they called it. I saw it as really shitty and unfair for a woman who had been a popper of vitamins and supplements her entire life.

As they're assessing what to do next at the hospital, they're doing the usual things you do: repeatedly and obsessively taking her blood pressure like an idiot savant performs complex mathematical formulas in his head; drawing blood with a vampire's relentlessness; and finally conducting an ultrasound procedure, the same kind one might to assess the gender and progress of a fetus in utero. The ultrasound evidently can determine if there's a blockage in the leg and where it's at, which is essential when there is a very real risk of gangrene and possible amputation if complications ensue.

I'm waiting with Mom in her room for the ultrasound results when it occurs to me that an inordinate amount of time has passed, even for this hurry-up-and-wait world. After two-and-a-half hours, I decide to ask a shockingly lucid and sociable nurse named Roger (as in "Roger that!") what the hold-up here might be, besides just the usual bureaucratic jerking-off.

"Well," Roger says, "it's tough, because we have to out-source the ultrasound results to India to get a read."

I assume this guy must be kidding. I mean, fuck me. That can't be true. Can it?

"No, I wish it weren't," Roger assures. "We need someone qualified to read these things, and at this time on a weekend night (it was about 1:30 a.m.) we don't have anyone here who can do it. So we're waiting right now to liaise with Mumbai for the results of your mother's vascular procedure."

No, really. Really?

"Really," Roger maintains.

And there you have it in the proverbial fucking nutshell. We were waiting in Burbank, California for some tritip-rejecting medi-dweeb in Mumbai, India -- who probably sits beside someone providing tech support for some pimply-faced schmuck trying to kill out a virus on his Dell desktop -- to look at my mother's blockage some 8,706 miles away and determine what kind of procedure she may require to save her life. Because evidently everyone in this particular hemisphere is at the opera or banging their girlfriend or just generally too fucking busy to give half a shit.

And anyone still questions whether our health care system might be broken? A better question might be whether there's even one left to save.

What I Have In Common With Barack Obama

Before it happened to Barack Obama it happened to me. Twice. True stories. The first time it happened was in the nineties when I was working in a restaurant. It was one of the delivery drivers who asked me one night “are you Muslim?”

What me Muslim? What a random question for a guy stacking glasses and making drinks. I had to know then and there just what the hell he thought was so friggin’ Muslim about me.

“I’m not Muslim. Why?” I asked

“Because you’re polite, you’re educated, you’re intelligent, you’re handsome. I just thought you were Muslim” he said smiling before walking away.

Context is everything and for clarity he was Persian and a Muslim. Generally we spoke in small talk, never really touching on anything like this. It was a unique enough experience for me to ruminate over the next moments. I deduced that there were two likely possibilities for his unprecedented curiosity in my faith and culture. Either a)he actually thought highly enough of me to believe I was Muslim, or b)he was buttering me up so I would put up his delivery drink orders faster.

I might seem paranoid to suggest motive b, but the reality was that servers who sucked up to me got priority. He may have picked up on these work dynamics and this “are you Muslim” thing was his way of laying it on. For me, the question remains; If he was just greasing the wheels, did he actually think that asking if I was a Muslim was the way to my heart? Was it at all possible that he was unaware of the PR issue Muslims have in America? Luckily for him, I'm not an anti-Muslim bigot and I accepted his suspicion as genuine observation of me as an ideal citizen. Either way he got his beverage order filled right fast.

The second time I was mistaken for a Muslim was in the LA airport back in early 2001. I was on my way to Las Vegas for the show I was working on. Ambling between gates to kill time I saw a suit of Black Muslims distributing some print media. I caught the eye of one because he was a young dead ringer for the late Maynard Jackson, a former mayor of Atlanta. I did a double take right into his line of sight. I’m not inclined to engage any strangers soliciting anything, but I never like to duck and dodge Black Muslims handing out papers and I think the reason is because I don’t want them looking at me like I look at black Republicans; that is to say while I respect their opinion, I can’t help but think they are self-hating.

So this opened an exchange of pleasantness between me and Lil’ Malcolm. After our howdy-doos he made mention of my decency in acknowledging him and his mosquemates. Then he asked “are you Muslim?” Two things struck me about that. First I was surprised that he asked in such blunt terms. I would have thought there was some code in the Nation of Islam like “are you a friend of Lou’s” or something like that. Second, a part of me didn’t want to disappoint by just answering no. I tried to think if there was anything in my history I could share with him that linked me to Islam and the only thing I could think about was how my uncle who had been a prison guard used to talk about the Muslim inmates. I decided just to tell him I wasn’t a Muslim and left it at that.

It was truly an increase the peace moment, not too different from that famous photo of King and X except I don’t think Malcolm X hypothesized that King must have been a vegetarian because of his clear complexion. I shit you not. I thanked my Muslim friend, but informed him that I did indeed eat meat and then I relented when he presented his backup theory that I must have drank a lot of water. Then he gave me a copy of The Final Call, the official paper of the Nation of Islam, free of donation. I was moved by his generosity and when I read it I found the writing to be provoking, imaginative and relevant to issues that had expired weeks if not months earlier, just like this blog. I checked the date of the paper and it was a past edition. If it really was a final call to anything, I totally would have missed it.

Oddly enough both of these Muslims who had me summed up all wrong had apportioned enough flattery upon me to make a man less secure with his manhood feel a little uncomfortable. Me, I love compliments. I’d much rather have someone mistake me for a Muslim the way it was done to me over the way it was done to Obama during the 08 campaign. When someone thinks I’m a Muslim they mean “erudite” and “cosmopolitan” and “attractive” (or they want their drinks fast). When they think Obama’s a Muslim they mean “sinister" and "sneaky" and "not white.” Finally, I luck out.

Ideas For A Stimulusless Holiday Season

If you’re like me, you thought by now you’d be doing all your early holiday shopping with a pocket full of cash that you earned on the new tech job you were trained for thanks to the Stimulus Package. You would shoot from mall to mall via high-speed train that runs on change (not the money, but the intangible election promise) and other green energy sources.

Maybe we got our hopes up too high. Maybe we expected the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to be a magic bullet even though President Obama said repeatedly and verbatim “this is not going to be a magic bullet.” That was his cushion. If the stimulus did work miracles Obama could say “I was wrong. Everybody take a house.” But as things have turned out about ten dollars of the $800 billion of available funds have been paid out thus far and once every American takes their cut there isn’t a lot left over for gift shopping and entertaining.

Before any more of you gather the children around the Kitchen Table and tell their sad faces through visible puffs of your warm breath as it hits the frigid air that the rest of the year is cancelled take consideration of these suggestions I just pulled out of my answer bag.

Columbus Day – Every year we pretty much ignore celebrations commemorating the introduction of genocide and tapas to the New World by going about our normal routines. If you didn’t think it possible to scale back on that, guess again. Here’s a fun nighttime activity for a Columbus Day party. If your electricity is still connected turn off the lights. If you have a candle light it. BOOM! You’re on the Santa Maria. Go! Pretend your planning the mutiny against Mr. Columbus long after it’s become clear he’s not the maritime genius he portrayed himself to be. Make it a game. Come up with punishments for him and vote on the best one. Go freestyle and play charades or tell ghost stories, but don’t blow your wad. Remember, Halloween’s right around the corner. Do remain in character though. And don’t eat. No dinner, no snacks, no sodas. It is in this level of role playing where you really see the net money savings.

Halloween – This one is a little creepy, but we’re on a budget. Don’t buy any candy or decorations. Go to your computer and stream Halloween sound effects. At sundown leave the lights off. When trick-or-treaters knock open the door summon them into the darkness. You only have moments before their eyes adjust so work quickly. In any sinister voice you can muster say something to the effect of “open your bags so I can give you treats.” Proceed to stick your hand into each of their candy receptacles and shake it to give the impression that you are depositing candy. If you skipped lunch, help yourself. If you’re a worrier, buy a small cache of candy just in case you happen to be the first house on a kid’s route or if all the other families on your block have taken stock in this same sage advice.

Thanksgiving – This one is a little scummy, but you got to feed your kids. Before you buy a turkey make contact with friends and acquaintances whose company you can bear. Catch up on how hard the recession has hit your family. Inflate the situation like you would on a job resume. Make it clear there will be NO Thanksgiving in your house this year. Then wait for the invitation. Hem and haw for about five seconds before accepting. Ask what you can bring. If the answer is not “We’ll have more than enough, don’t bring a thing” call back in five minutes whispering that your spouse was too proud to accept the invitation. The only cost to this Thanksgiving should be the gas it takes to get there and back. If you can arrange it, just drop the kids off and use the time alone with your better half. If possible, first hit up any gay couples with kids. Those families have big hearts, the need to feel legitimate, and a flair for entertaining. If you feel like a scumbag for not giving back, in the end you gave them a holiday nightmare story they’ll be sharing with your mutual friends for years to come.

Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa – December is a time when Americans of all faiths are put under tacit pressure to make up for however lousy the economy was the previous months. It seems dubious right now that Christ or Buddha can save the 09 shopping season, but that’s no reason to abandon the spirit. You’re probably asking “Tell me how anyone’s supposed to buy presents when everyone is dirt poor?” Well, a little song we all know suggests you can make a dreidel out of clay. Clay is just dirt. That kid made a fully functioning dreidel OUT OF DIRT! Now you might be saying “we don’t know if that dreidl ever turned out. The kid sings ‘when it’s dry and ready, oh dreidel I SHALL play’.” Well I did a search for any additional verses and found “it has a lovely body/ with legs so short and thin/ and when my dreidl’s tired/ it drops and then I win.” While I admit I’m not sure dreidels have legs we do get an indication that the dreidel worked. If some kid could make a spinning top requiring a certain symmetry and balance then you can make a pot pipe and matching ashtray. Pot pipe not your thing? Try a menorah or a kinara or a ceramic Ben Gazarra. Go nuts because that’s really what Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa is all about.

Now you might be saying “we get no indication from the song that the kid is actually a kid. This could be a professional potter: a grown ass man” In that case, you got me.

New Years – Some time before New Years Eve convert to some old religious sect whose doctrine dictates the wages of conspicuous celebration are being locked in a box or something. Quit on the first. You really won’t have missed much. Besides, the only time you should be counting backwards while wasted is during a DUI stop.

Still Waiting

Eight months into the Administration of Barack Obama there have been a record number of threats against the president. People have brought weapons to gatherings near where Obama has spoken. Protesters have held signs depicting him as a bone-wearing witch doctor. It makes me wonder, what’s going to happen when we elect a REAL black president? Obama is, after all, half white. Don’t get me wrong; I accept Barack Obama as the first black president – with an asterisk. Obama’s actually darker than me and both my parents are black so I give him points for that too. But I know we can get blacker. Blacker than Mugabe. I’m thinking someone dark enough to be played by Djimon Hounsou (or a woman equally eneboned).

Currently, the darkest person in politics I can think of is Alan Keyes who actually happens to be a conservative so yes he’s black, but I don’t agree with his policies so I’d be torn. Though, it would be interesting to see if a Keyes presidency would inspire the wrath of the same “folks” who are beside themselves that they have a black president who really ain’t that black.

To lay it on a slate upon which we can all agree there ARE people who are miffed at the president’s race. Even people who are accused of being racists like Rep. Joe Wilson admit this contingent exists and then go on to insist their own hostility to the president is completely color-blind. So, even though it may be difficult to find someone who admits to harboring resentment against a black president (Joe Wilson), everyone admits they walk among us. Exactly where they sit on the political spectrum is no mystery either. Liberals have historically been the seekers and defenders of racial equality. The vast majority of black elected officials serve as Democrats. The vast majority of black voters vote for Democrats. Meanwhile, once every four years Republicans on camera at the Republican National Convention when pressed on the issue insist that while the GOP is a “big tent party, we haven’t done as well as we’d like in expanding our message.” Note to the Republicans: While it wouldn’t be fair to label you the Party of Racism, everybody knows that people who are moved to violent thoughts at the fact that our president is part black are more sympathetic to your party. Deal with it or don’t.

It is also the Party with which very few black people align themselves with such exceptions as Alan Keyes who ran for president as a Republican in 1996 and 2000. In the event that the sun stopped shining, hell froze, and Keyes was elected president, would he face the gauntlet of threats and slights against him based on his race to these Obamian degrees? AOTL wisdom says no. For the majority of the vicious anti-Obama racists, it’s not just that Obama is part black; it’s that he’s part black AND from the opposite end of the political swing set. They perceive Obama as the very thing D.W. Griffith warned against in “Birth Of A Nation” which was the free Negro getting his way over you. This inner sanctum thinks Obama is going to come into their homes and blacken their stuff when everyone knows Obama would be arrested before he even got to knock on the door. While these same people would take issue with Keys’ race they would cut him some slack for at least talking the talk about things that help them sleep at night like a governmentless, taxless, land with fairies and unicorns. Well, scratch the fairies.

I guess the perfect black president I envision is darker than Obama and more liberal. I want to see Birthers with their bags packed and ready to go. I want to see the “Obama’s an Arab” faction’s fear that their own heads are going to explode. I want to see Lush Rimbaugh build a space rocket like Billy Bob Thornton did in that movie I don’t think did too well. If this blog got some real traffic, I’d be accused by bigots as being anti-white. To be clear, I’m not anti-white. I’m anti-bigot. There’s a big difference.

Iron Whip

Though it’s highly unorthodox to announce a project this early in its process AOTL Productions is in talks to develop a competition series for C-SPAN called “Iron Whip.” “Iron Whip” pits House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn against House Minority Whip Eric Cantor in a series of miscellaneous battles, which may include, but aren’t restricted to:

Arm punching
Arm wrestling
Arm farting
Car racing

For the sake of disclosure AOTL is biased in favor of Whip Clyburn and have chosen competition events that clearly favor him. We are currently developing possible events that coincide with the interests of Whip Cantor these include:

Nordic Track
Doing hair

Arsenio Hall is attached.


Anyone who saw “Slumdog Millionaire” is familiar with actress Freida Pinto. When I learned her name I thought “Oh, they must have cast a Puerto Rican girl who looked Indian. And then a friend told me that Portuguese names are common in one part of India because of Portugal’s past influence there. Then it made me ask myself: “What ever happened to Portugal?”

The country just smaller than Indiana controlled the first global empire in the world. They rounded horns and circumnavigated globes. They had names like Vasco and Ferdinand. Everyone wanted to be a part of Team Portugal. In 1485 and 1488 Christopher Columbus pitched his voyage to King John II of Portugal and struck out both times. Portugal didn’t need some Genoan hack with a portfolio full of miscalculations that would lead him to a world away from where he said he would end up. If they had said yes, it would be Portuguese I’d regret never having learned in all my years in Southern California.

Now I bet there’s not a single “Jeopardy!” writer who can name Portugal’s current king or Prime Minister or President or whatever ruling format they’ve settled on. I actually did a web search for Portugal and Google asked me “did you mean ‘porthole’?”

To add insult to injury, Portugal’s largest former colony was selected to host the Olympics before they were. It was clearly a network decision. Lesson one in television is that Lisbon is a ratings killer, as is Chicago, apparently.

Which "Godfather" Character Is David Paterson?

What were they wearing? What did they say, and how did they say it?
Did they have an appointment or did they bust in on his angry letter writing session to Lorne Michaels? Where they bearing smiles or did they knock stuff off his desk and ask him how much he liked his “World’s Greatest Lieutenant Governor” coffee mug? Were they political appointees or a secret arm of the Secret Service that Chuck Norris will be warning us about soon.

Maybe it’ll come out in New York Governor David Paterson’s memoir someday, all except the part about what they were wearing when they came with their message from Obama: “Amateur hour is over, buddy. Step aside.”

Paterson was whisked into the Luty Gov seat as running mate to a once popular and far more charismatic consumer-firster Eliot Spitzer who stepped down after his prostitute thing. Paterson was then given the keys per the state constitution, but New Yorkers are apparently unhappy with where he has driven them.

Don Obama, in a shrewd attempt to maintain his grip on the New York territory sent some emissaries with an offer for Paterson. Whatever the offer, it wasn’t enough to entice the Governor to abide by the wishes of the Capo Barack. How crappy does a deal have to be to convince you that staying in Albany is the best alternative? I’ve taken some license and recreated a possible scenario between Paterson and the failed persuaders:

Paterson: You don’t come to Albany and talk to David Paterson like THAT! I don’t care how many bougie, ivy-league, bootstrap pulling thugs come out of the woodwork.
Messenger: We’re prepared make you an offer you’ll want to peruse.
Paterson: For what? So I could be the first black and blind Deputy Postmaster General or some “liaison” to do all the crap Biden doesn’t want to do. “Send Paterson to some charter school opening in the Bronx.” “Send Paterson to some Mickey Mouse funeral.” I’m the elder statesman and I was passed over!
Messenger: It’s the way Obama wanted it.
Paterson: Well it ain’t the way I wanted! I can handle things! I’m not dumb like people say! I’m smart! And I want to run!

So in regards to the title of this post from which we’ve meandered, Paterson would be Fredo. He doesn’t wear enough chutzpah on his sleeve to be Mo Green and he’s at least a little smarter than Carlo. The drift is that there are tough odds that Paterson comes up a winner though he’ll end up better than Fredo, Mo, and Carlo who all would have wished they had the option of a comfortable job in the private sector.