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Monday, February 22, 2010

Black History Month, Hell Yes!



Black History month has its detractors from various white supremacists to curiously progressive black people who think that Black History Month is a form of cultural segregation that sabotages real progress by blah blah blah blah.


In spite of the fact that this year's BHM has flown by so fast that I practically forgot about it, yet again, I want to stand firmly in support of this time of year when we acknowledge, celebrate, and honor African-America.


For the overwhelming majority of mainstream people of all races BHM is a 28 (and sometimes 29) day trove of nonobligatory cultural benefit including, but not restricted to:


EDUCATION - Granted, many of the factoids presented during BHM via media outlets are annual rehash. I've learned nothing new about Harriet Tubman this year from any blurbs devoted to black history. One new tidbit I have absorbed this February is that former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker is the first African American to win the Country Music Association's New Artist of the Year Award. I saw that on television which is where I get most of my BHM information. For those People more vigorous in their pursuit of enlightenment there are still a host of events and standing venues devoted to black history and culture. While we often think of museums, the theatre, or festivals, don't forget about your local independent coffee shop. No one knows more about black history and culture than white hipsters for some reason.


SOUL FOOD - Soul food has been taking a knock for the past thirty or so years for its contribution to deteriorating health in the black community. The fact is that these days there is about as much malnutrition in a salad from the Cheesecake Factory as there is in a plate at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. It was not Dr. King's dream for the nutritional bar of little white children to drop to the level of little black children. I'm just saying that comparatively speaking soul food need no longer be the gustatory pariah its been for the past couple decades or so. Soul food is good and what better time to enjoy this cultural cholesterol than February.


SHIT LIKE THIS - Here is a link to an article that sums up the self-created confusion over what is racist and what isn't. Like soul food, these tiffs aren't good for you, but they are gratifying.

If these aren't compelling enough reasons to keep Black History Month an ongoing event than I will cede and opt to have it stopped... Right after they halt Oktoberfest which I don't support abolishing, but I would not sit idly by and watch BHM go down alone.


As we close out BHM 2010, please spend it more wisely than I did. Go take a drive down Martin Luther King Boulevard, Google "Harriet Tubman narcolepsy"(the results should get you a little angry), support your local soul food restaurant. And do it soon. After February it's time to brush up on Rosie the Riveter. That's right, March is Women's History Month and Ironically, there is no good food associated with WHM except for corned beef and cabbage. MMMMM-MMM.


AOTLBHM FACTLET
Following the Civil War Jefferson Davis sold his family plantation to Ben Montgomery, a former slave of the Davis family who had run the plantation store. Montgomery once tried to get a patent for a steamboat propeller but was denied because he was not a citizen. When the Davis brothers attempted to furnish the patent on his behalf they were denied because they were not the inventors. Two years later the Civil War broke out. True story.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Elusive Floor Sweeper

During the hubbub over the flagging U.S. auto industry, right-wingers who revel in providing aid and comfort to the powerful interests who least need their aid and comfort railed against the auto union as the problem with the car business. Their most resonating distortion was “the factory worker making seventy dollars an hour sweeping floors.” That is what I will refer to as a Fox figure because it is false.

The Fox Army took to all the news network shows and cited this legend ad nauseum until scores of unquestioning fear bunnies accepted it as truth. Meanwhile, the Wolf Blitzers and Nora O’Donnells allowed this mythoid to go unchecked. They never tried to hunt down this janitor with an annual salary of $124,800, nor did they report on their efforts to find such a person.
What’s the problem? It ain’t the goddamn yeti. You don’t have to set up hidden cameras in the wilderness and hope against all odds that this character eventually skulks by. It isn’t like U.S. auto factories are the Bat Cave. I’ve pulled one up on Google maps.

So there you go Nora and Wolf. Get a thermos of coffee and a good book and wait for some workers to show up at a plant. Snoop around a little. Ask people how much they make an hour. Ask if they know of the elusive floor sweeper. Do something instead of swallowing Fox Army poison all day.

Until then I will continue to have to listen to my conservative friends puke this misinformation back with a confidence that would suggest they actually know this devastating floor sweeping monster exists and is single-handedly taking down the American Auto industry.

Fudging and finessing is what the Fox army does. If one were to bust it on this $70/hr bullshit, it would retort that with pension, health, education benefits etc. a person sweeping floors at GM makes a lot of money. I will concede that the GM janitor does receive health benefits which German and Japanese auto workers do not receive. Aha! Oh, but wait. Germany and Japan both have universal healthcare. Don’t fuckin’ get me started.

Speaking of healthcare, the Fox Army uses the floor sweeper when discussing the auto industry the same way it uses the concept of tort abuse in the healthcare reform debate. As they tell it, if we hunt and kill the floor sweeper the American auto industry will start making cars the world wants just as some lady in Walla Walla with cancer won’t be dropped from her insurance policy if we pass tort reform. What’s the Fox Army’s next campaign: The chupacabra – the real culprit in air pollution?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tools For Tea And Tea For Tools



There is no official race among nations to reign superlative in comparative world statistics. Singapore’s inspiration to rule as the nation with the lowest infant mortality rate is not to stick it in Sweden’s face. Their success is due in part to the fact that there is no Singaporean or Swedish Tea Bag contingent to derail health policies that make sense in those countries. Meanwhile the U.S. whose GDP is larger than any other individual country flounders embarrassingly with the 33rd or 46th lowest infant mortality rate (depending on whose list you consult). With very few exceptions, the countries with the lowest infant mortality employ some form of government-run healthcare system. The result is that more of their babies live.

I’m sure this did not come up at the Tea People’s Convention this past weekend in Nashville. While there attendees were marshaled through pep talks on growing this movement whose intent appears to be bringing American progress to a screeching halt. Instead of supporting policy that keeps the U.S. competitive on all fronts, Tea People are more concerned with printing up pamphlets and placards with renderings of Barack Obama in a Hitler mustache. Obama is a Nazi-Socialist because he believes in investment of government resources to improve the overall health of the nation.

One of the things that bothers me about the Tea Movement is that it promotes an ugly loud denial of strategies that bolster national preeminence. Their single philosophy of no-taxing-no-spending is good if your country’s standing in the world has no importance. How patriotic. Or do they actually believe that letting Americans keep $600 more a year to go shopping will make the USA number one all around?

Right now, the roof is leaking. If it does not get fixed there will be mold in the walls and the floor will collapse. Eventually then entire house will rot. When there is nothing left but mushy pulp where once there was a house, will the Tea People smile and claim success (assuming they will still be around)? Ignoring problems while scoffing at neighbors who properly maintain their realms won’t fix a leaking roof. That is simple logic.

For all their talk of responsibility, the Tea People don’t seem to get it. They strike me as people who fart and then can’t figure out what stinks. I discussed this very odd phenomenon with someone at a Super Bowl party who suggested that the Tea People are mostly those who have been so indoctrinated with McCarthyism that they’ll rage irrationally against the successes of current mixed economies. They won’t stop calling Sweden and Singapore socialists long enough to consider those countries’ successes. They don’t want to. They want to continue to believe that a government that does nothing but make war is good government while Wal Mart and Enron will solve all of our other problems. The aggregate affect of this is that I’m starting to hate tea. In fact, we should rename it something like Patriot Punch.

Friday, February 5, 2010

FAQ: GAYS IN THE MILITARY


The military appears to be on track to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the service. While this is a nonissue for some members of the armed services, others believe it will be harmful to our nation’s defense. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions by those concerned service members.

Q. If I serve alongside gay soldiers won’t people think I’m gay too?
A. People don’t think you’re gay because of whom you serve alongside. They think you’re gay because of your panicked obsession with gayness.

Q. How am I supposed to keep track of which members of my unit are gay?
A. Blow them. If they let you do it there’s a ten percent chance they’re gay.

Q. Where will gay members of my unit shower?
A. They will shower next to you just like they did this morning.

Q. What am I supposed to do when one of them violates a code of conduct with me?
A. They will undergo the same disciplinary procedures you went through when you were drunk and improper with women on your base.

Q. Won’t we have to go through a whole bunch of training to be sensitive to gays now?
A. No. That’s the great thing. You can still be an asshole with your asshole friends. Or not. It’s up to you.

Q. I’m not taking orders from a homo.
A. That’s not a question, but yes you will.

Q. Why isn’t anyone concerned with my feelings on the matter?
A. Feelings? What are you, gay?

Q. What if I refuse to serve with gays?
A. Back to prison for you.

Q. Why do gays even want to join the military?
A. There are three answers to this question. Gays want to join the military because:
1. The recruitment ads are sexy
2. It’s an opportunity to be in a same-sex environment
3. Sometimes options for gay people run out too.

Q. Won’t enemy forces look at our gay troops and see it as a sign of weakness?
A. Are you talking about gay enemy forces or straight enemy forces?

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