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Thursday, September 30, 2010

AOTL Series On Race - Extra

Et tu, fashion?
This link will take you to a Newsweek article detailing the lack of MOC or models of color on the fashion runways. As someone that doesn't follow fashion, I can't say I was aware of it, but at the same time, I can't say I'm surprised.



AOTL Fun History - The Surrender At Appomattox

Contrary to the AOTL-doctored painting featured above, Robert E. Lee was reportedly gracious in defeat at the close of the Civil War. He did make his view of things clear to General Grant though - "You didn't whip me, you just overpowered me, I surrender this day 8,000 men; I do not surrender them to you; I surrender on conditions..."

Before sitting down to put pen to paper Lee shook hands with Grant's staff including General Ely Parker (standing in front of George Custer) whom Lee mistook for a Neeeeegro or "mulatto." When Lee was informed that Parker was a Seneca Indian Lee quipped "I'm glad to see one real American here."

Maybe under different circumstances, Lee could have been a great comedian down in the Collard Belt.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sensing The Stimu-Lies

Why do Congressional Democrats even bother? Why would they support what’s right if they can’t even stand by their positions in the face of success? Why do they make things so much easier for the opposition by letting the Republic Party control the discussion by misrepresentation and lies? Take these following links to articles on the success of the Recovery Act or stimulus bill.

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/statenewengland/838207-227/nh-stimulus-halfway-to-goal-on-jobs.html

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-20-007-jobs-284885.html

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010846442_recoveryjobs21m.html

http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/09/news/economy/stimulus_job_subsidies/index.htm

http://factcheck.org/2010/09/did-the-stimulus-create-jobs/

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/117xx/doc11706/08-24-ARRA.pdf

These articles all reflect how the Recovery Act created jobs. Not to mention the, the act provided tax cuts for 95% of working families. Any CPA can tell you that. But we don’t hear about the success of the stimulus coming from the people who passed it. We hear lies coming from the Republic Party in a successful attempt to discredit it.

Among the Republic complaints:

“We need permanent jobs, not jobs that will disappear when the Stimulus Package is done”

“The Stimulus Package has created debt and no jobs”

“All this bill has stimulated is dependence on the federal government”

“This stimulus package has done nothing to reduce unemployment”

“[This program] will provide much-needed aid during this recession by enabling businesses to hire new workers, thus enhancing the economic engines of our local communities." Wait. That was actually Mississippi governor Haley Barbour in a moment of clarity.

Republicans overwhelmingly say it didn’t work, of course. That’s what the Republic Party is telling them to do.

Meanwhile Democrats lack confidence in solid Democratic successes. As a result, we will have people who benefited from the stimulus who will turn around and vote for the Republican just because the Democrat didn’t have the balls to run on their record.

What does the Republic Party know that Democrats don’t? If you repeat something enough, people will begin to believe you. If someone repeats a lie and there is no one there to counter equally with the truth than most people will go ahead and believe the lie. It’s called controlling the debate, but Democrats wouldn’t know anything about that.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No-Broehner


John Boehner is hoping to ride a wave of anger into the office of Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives which is nothing to laugh at and good for him. He’ll be two heartbeats away from the presidency and he will be a pretty powerful guy in his own right. This past week Boehner awkwardly presented to the American Public a pledge of what to expect with a Republican majority in Congress. The fact that neither Boehner nor his Young Guns could explain or expound on the contextual brevity of their pledge is a real harbinger of a whole bunch of nothingness to come out of a Republican controlled Congress.

Not that there will be a catchy name attached to Nancy Pelosi’s tenure as speaker such as the Sundress Speakership or the Gyno-Congress. She won’t need it. As the first woman SOTH Pelosi also goes down in history as one of the most effective, a feat that was more easily realized with a Democratic president. If Boehner replaces Pelosi, he risks being Gingrichized, as in Newt Gingrich. The Republican strategy in opposition is not to work together with the president where possible, but to oppose everything in hopes that the Democratic president has no successes. Though Boehner is credited with being a skilled negotiator and coalition builder, his recent efforts have been way more obstructionist.

With no indication that this would Boehner would change if he becomes speaker there will be little to mark his time at the top. Even when Gingrich had his Contract With America, it was Clinton who got most of the credit for whatever parts of it that did pass. Gingrich shot himself in the foot by making himself such a high-profile House leader. All it did was make it easier for people to discover just how unlikable he was. While Boehner may be a tad more tolerable, he does not really have a plan besides the vague mission of cutting taxes and lowering spending.

When the economy turns around to the point where people can feel it, the credit will go to Obama, not Boehner and the Republicans (unless Obama cedes the narrative which is possible). Legislatively, there is not much more for the Republicans to block. Obama passed his signature acts while he could take advantage of his majorities in Congress. Now he’s taking out his veto pen in light of Republican threats to undo his agenda. So get ready for at least two years of a do-nothing Congress again. Obama won’t mind. With Congress essentially out of session he could spend that time on his reelection campaign. Good luck John!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Keep It Simple, Stupid For The Holidays

The thought does not always count. American shelves, virtual and real are stocked with "gifts" that will end up spending more time in dressers, the back of the cupboard, or a box in the closet than they will in the light of day. Just because that t-shirt with the words "Kinkier than a cheap garden hose" made you giggle when you saw it is no reason to buy it as a gift, especially if it's something you would never wear yourself. The same thing goes for a "Fuck, it's Monday" coffee mug or a Hawaiian kukui nut necklace. Just because it's Christmas does not mean it is time to be generous to the point of uselessness.

God bless America that we are so prosperous that we can indulge in this pattern of buying trash, but there are more fitting tributes to our great nation than spending money on tossable jokes and baubles. Why not promote that prosperity by buying local/American this Christmas? You don't have to completely forego the Gaps, Ikeas, or Best Buys, but devote a portion of your holiday budget to the ailing American economy. For your iron deficient loved one whose always cold, a Faribault blanket from Faribault, Minnesota, USA will chase away the shivers AND boost GDP. For the garden lover, that lawn aerator from Bully Tools will help spike your soil and the employment rate. Of course, I do not vouch for these products and recommend you research the reputation of the seller's wares before making any purchases.

Begin your shopping here: http://www.americansworking.com/

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How Did It Come To This?


I just finished watching a great movie that I’ve seen before. Okay. Actually I just watched the ending so I could get the quote that I am about to use as the topic of the day. The movie is “Judgment At Nuremburg” in which Spencer Tracy plays an American judge sent to Germany to try Nazi war criminals. Burt Lancaster plays a judge who is on trial for sentencing innocent people to death in compliance with Nazis and under very little if any duress. By the end of the movie Lancaster is serving his life sentence (the person who inspired the role of Lancaster’s Janning had been freed by the time the movie was released in 1961). At the end of the movie Lancaster's character requests to see the judge who sentenced him before the judge departs for the U.S. and Tracy obliges. In his cell Lancaster, in a plea for sympathy tells Tracy “Those millions of people, I never knew it would come to that. You must believe me. You must believe me” to which Spencer Tracy delivers these final words of the film: “Herr Janning, it came to that the moment you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.” Then he walked on down the hall.
In “Paragraph 175,” a documentary on the rounding up of gays in Nazi Germany, one survivor is asked how a country could look on and knowingly allow mass homicide to occur. He answered “people become apathetic very easily.” Boom!
It does not have to come to genocide for behavior to be considered antisocial. All ugliness starts small and through silence, and/or inaction gains steam. The ugliest people always think that they are in the right and in most cases only become repentant once they are looking at 5 to life or once the consensus has flipped against them.
Like Ernst Janning, the antisocial don’t assume that it will “come to that.” Well, it hasn’t come to genocide here to date, but what it does come to is a diminution of rights, personal harm, and sometimes death. A Muslim cabbie is stabbed by a fare in New York. Mosques around the U.S. are being vandalized. A minister threatens to publicly burn the Koran. Apologists may admit to all this activity being wrong, but then are happy to loosely opine “but this wouldn’t be happening if they weren’t building that Mosque at Ground Zero.” So any Muslim deserves what they get? Really?
Newt Gingrich is lobbying hard for the Ernst Janning award with his recent speeches which unapologetically frame all Muslims as the enemy. He talks about how horrific a people they are and how much better we are than they are. He gets the kind of people who listen to him to become angrily obsessed with fantasy scenarios such as Muslim law being imposed in America. And with all that has been transpiring in the past few months, what does Newt Gingrich think the people who listen to him will do? He’s smart enough to know someone might go stab a Muslim or vandalize a Mosque. It’s come to that, Mr. Gingrich and it’s all because of you and people like you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Ray of Light-Heartedness: AOTL Interview With Ray Richmond


I may invoke a little Henry Ford when I sum up my friend Ray Richmond; say what you want about him as long as you say he is irreverent, independent and committed to the progress of humanity. He is also a highly dedicated journalist who has covered entertainment and television since 1984 in addition to penning the books “The Simpsons: A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family,” “TV Moms,” and “My Greatest Day In Show Business.” He has also been a contributor to Ahead On The Left. In fitting fashion he accepted the offer to be the first AOTL interviewee where he shared anecdotes and his thoughts on the state of journalism today.

It’s probably good that my first interview is with someone who has interviewed people for a living so I won’t have to drag information out of you.

I can even do both sides of it actually. I can ask the questions and give the answers. It’s funny. You know the actor James Woods, right?

You interviewed him for your book “My Greatest Day In Show Business.”

This was for a different thing. It was for something he had done on TV and we missed each other somehow as far as our appointed time on the phone and he gets my voicemail and he says ‘that’s alright. I’ll give the interview for you. You would have asked me this and this is what I would have answered. Then you would have asked that and I would have answered this’. He did this for ten minutes on my voicemail, he conducts the interview.

Was it fairly comprehensive?

It was! It was funny and comprehensive, and perfect.

Did you have to go back and call him to fill in the blanks?

I didn’t. It was exactly enough. It was like wow, that was pretty cool.

You’re not still doing interviews anymore are you? What is it you’re doing right now?

I am actually. I was doing some work for Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood. I just interviewed a few Emmy nominees in advance of the Emmy awards, you know, Q&As with various actors.

Did you talk to anyone who won?

I did. I could look it up even as we’re speaking right now. Of course I have no memory left at all. It’s completely sapped because of drugs and Alzheimer’s.

In that order?

Actually not anymore. Now it’s the other way around. But I spoke with Jimmy Fallon the host. That was actually really good. He was pretty good on the show too. I talked to Sharon Gless, Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, Patrick Stewart. He’s Sir Patrick Stewart now.

That’s right.

So I got ask him what it’s like to be a Sir. I actually reminded him that when “Star Trek: The Next Generation” premiered in 1987 I was working for the Orange County Register as the TV critic, I was the guy that said ‘what kind of blasphemy is this. Some stupid bald-headed British guy is playing the captain? This thing is never going to fly.’

No pun intended.

I reminded him of this and he says in that authoritative voice ‘you wrote that?’ I said yeah, but I didn’t mean it’ and he said ‘I said the very same thing.’

So you and he agreed.

We agreed but the way he said it was in the most intimidating way imaginable.

With that voice of God of his.

Exactly. I thought ‘oh fuck. I’ve offended God’. So I did a lot of interviews for Deadline Hollywood. I’m still doing stuff for the Hallmark Channel. I do the worst imaginable things for the Hallmark Channel given my general manner and style, doing this stuff that’s sweet and syrupy, but it works out well. I do stuff for their press kit material.

How do you describe your style?

It’s a little bit out there. I like to have fun and make people laugh and be as entertaining as I can instead of the usual question answer question answer question answer, blah blah.

Kind of like what I’m doing with you?

Exactly. You kind of want to shake things up a little. Sometimes I’ve been called on the carpet for being overly eccentric or a little too out there. I always err on the side of being off the wall to get attention, to get a laugh. There’s so much shit on the Internet now. The material is just never-ending and I think the only way to stand out and break up the monotony is to do something different. Why would they want to stop and read something if it’s just more of the same shit someone else is doing which is why I applaud you for what you’re doing with Ahead On The Left. You’re doing something different.

Oh. Thank-you.

You’re also being a good Democrat in a time when it’s hard to be a Democrat.

You went to journalism school. Where did you go from there? Did you intend on covering television or is that something you happened into?

I sort of just happened into it. I went to journalism school. I really loved journalism. I actually wanted to be a sports writer. I’m actually kind of a frustrated jock at heart, but I realized that it really takes up all your nights and you really can’t have a life if you’re a sports writer and you’re always on the road and I didn’t want that. Then I ended up getting a job at the features department at the LA Daily News while I was still in school at Cal State Northridge in late 1977. In the features department I found I really enjoyed writing features and I seemingly had a knack for that. The TV thing didn’t come up until 1984 when the TV critic had quit and they sort of asked me ‘do you watch much TV’ and I said yeah I watch TV.’ They asked if I wanted to be the new TV critic and I said sure. That’s pretty much how it went down.

I want to go back to journalism school because I know you have a funny encounter involving Carl Bernstein if you want to talk about that.

Oh sure. Usually you don’t want to talk about these things until all the principles are dead, but I could well be dead before they are so this is 1978 I believe. It’s after “All The President’s Men,” Nixon had resigned three and a half years before. Woodward and Bernstein of course had taken down the presidency and they came from the Washington Post.

So it was a big deal, Carl Bernstein was going to be speaking to the journalism department at Humboldt State University, our little 80 person journalism department. I attended there for a year. Everybody was all excited ‘Oh my God! Carl Bernstein is gracing us with his presence.’ Everyone then was wanting to become an investigative reporter. Journalism schools were being flooded. The only school not being flooded was Humboldt State. So anyway, Carl Bernstein is there. We have a little party for him after he speaks and I’m there with a woman who basically I had been fucking for about five days, Robin. We’re talking with Bernstein, the party’s winding down and he, kind of apropos of nothing looks at us and then looks around and asks ‘is there anyplace in Eureka where I can get a massage at this hour?’ Five of six of us look at each other like ‘what the fuck is he talking about’ except Robin of course, the woman I had been shagging for five days who looks up and says ‘oh I give great massages’. The five people that are there with me look at her. I’m staring daggers at her like ‘did you just fucking say that to Carl Bernstein?’ He asks if that’s okay, looking at me knowing that I was with Robin and I said ‘shhhhhure, fine.’

So Carl Bernstein and Robin pile into my Toyota Corolla and I take them to her apartment. I went upstairs to wait it out for about 45 minutes, just laying on the bed trying to read something thinking ‘oh my God. Carl Bernstein’s probably getting a blowjob downstairs from this woman.’ And he of course was married at the time to Nora Ephron. They made a movie about his dalliances.

“Heartburn.”

“Heartburn.” Precisely, and this is one of those dalliances that inspired “Heartburn.” So about 45 minutes later Robin comes running upstairs pulling her shirt down over her head. Bernstein is shirtless and pulling on his underwear running to the bathroom. She walks in the door, this is the greatest line in history, takes my hand, looks me straight in the eye and says ‘it’s not what you think.’ I’m like ‘of course it’s what I think, but it’s fine. I don’t have any claim on you. I’ve known you for five days.’

So Bernstein finally comes out of the bathroom, we pile back into my car, I’m taking him back to his motel in Eureka and he’s not making small talk, but microscopic talk; barely visible talk. And he actually says just before exiting the car ‘if you’re ever in Washington I’ll give you a tour of the Post.’ Can you imagine? ‘Hey Carl, remember me? You got a blowjob from my girlfriend at Humboldt State. Can I have a tour?’

But it was a good school. I learned a lot. And I love journalism. There’s a little sadness to it now to some degree. Not to sound like an old fart who decries the good old days.

No, do, because I was going to ask you about this anyway.

Journalism really is disappearing as an art form and as a literary tool in the form that I remember it. It’s still there on the Internet and such, but the depth of reporting still only exists a few places like the New York Times, the New Yorker, or Rolling Stone even sometimes too, but too often there is a decided lack of depth which has been replaced too often by fluff and headlines. So much of covering entertainment is about the TMZing of celebrities, catching them at their worst. I just don’t give a shit about Lindsay Lohan and all this other crap. I knew it was time to leave the trades because I just don’t care about the promotion of the industry execs and the upward progression of those people. They don’t care about what happens to me. Why would I care about them?

Didn’t Edward R. Murrow even have to delve into covering some fluff in order to keep balance and interest?

Oh yeah. And I’m not being arrogant about it either. It’s not like I’m too good for it. I feel like too much of one is replacing the other. It’s not like they’re coexisting; it’s actually replacing it and blogs, are really not journalism. I don’t care what anybody says. They are opinion. They are not news. There are no checks and balances with them. They are simply opinion and they have their place and it’s great, but it is just opinion and it is not going to take the place of news coverage.

There is a lot of analysis that goes on with blogs I think, but I was discussing this with a friend yesterday how blogs are often cited as news. It’s almost like there’s no such thing as journalism school anymore.

Right. These things are partisan pieces. They are not unbiased. And it’s expected that you’re supposed to put a slant on things in a blog, but if you’re covering actual journalism you try your best to keep your opinion and your own view out of it. It’s getting tougher and tougher to find that.

If you had it all to do over again and you didn’t fall into television would you have chosen another area to cover?

I probably would have chosen politics. Even though right now I’m really down on the political process. I just feel like it’s a bunch of people who are bought and sold by Big Business. There’s no real politicking or actual serving the people going on. I would have probably gone into something that had more social value to it. One time I actually put a little social heft into the process when I was covering entertainment and I wrote about Merv Griffin and outed him. Do you remember that whole furor?

You outed Merv Griffin?

Did I not tell you this story?

You told me about when you were working for Merv Griffin you were working late one night while Merv and friend were upstairs in his office not wanting to be disturbed.

Oh yeah. This is a whole other story. This was like my greatest moment in journalism. Merv died in August of 07. I had a Friday column at the time at the Hollywood Reporter. Basically the column was Merv Griffin was gay. Can we get over this in the purportedly liberal-minded Hollywood? Why should we be snickering about that in the corner? Why is that a shame for the man? Why can’t it simply be he was a coin collector, he was a great TV producer, and he was gay? So I wrote a column about this sad thing that the man had to die taking this secret to his grave. Of course everyone in Hollywood knew, but most people in the country didn’t know he was gay even though it was the worse kept secret in Hollywood. So I wrote this column. Literally the lead sentence was ‘Merv Griffin was gay.’

I thought it would never go out into the light of day, but one editor said ‘hey, I like it.’ Another editor was like ‘hey, good job.’ I asked myself is it actually possible this thing could get published? I told them they better run it up the flagpole to make sure. It was kind of a hot potato. They said sure. Basically, anyone who could have stopped it or would have stopped it was on vacation. It was August. And it fucking runs. I ran out and bought five copies. I couldn’t believe it.

Within an hour shit completely hits the fan. It runs the day of his funeral. It was not my intention for that to happen, but I was fine with that. His production company ended up pulling a hundred thousand dollars in advertising. There was a new editor who hadn’t even started. She was in New Orleans with a sick relative. She turned out to be a really spineless person. She freaked out. They can’t reprint the paper, but they pull it offline.

When I found out about it I told them they had to put it back up. I said we are admitting furor here. ‘I don’t care if you think it was a mistake to publish it. You’ve got to keep it online. You have to support me.’ They said ‘sorry, we’re keeping it offline.’

There’s a gay radio host named Michelangelo Signorile. He finds out about this and he instructs all of his listeners to call the Hollywood Reporter. Five thousand people called in protest. It crashed the phone system and crashed the Internet. Now everyone is going crazy. I talked to the editor again. I said ‘you have to restore this. I’m telling you. I will sing your praises as First Amendment heroes but you better fucking put it back online.’

So they did. Then it became a big cause célèbre. I did seven different radio shows. I got newspapers calling me because I was the guy that outed Merv Griffin. It was exactly the point I made in the column. It was perfect. They couldn’t handle the fact that somebody was gay. Everybody was losing their fucking minds.

Where did all the backlash come from?

I was getting emails saying ‘you and you’re gay agenda you fucking faggot.’ I’m like ‘hello, I do not have a gay agenda. The agenda is equality.

I ended up getting a nomination for a GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) award and trust me, it’s the first and only time anyone will be outed in the pages of the Hollywood Reporter or any other major Hollywood trade. I knew there would be a little bit of a backlash. I had no idea it would be a shitstorm. I almost got fired over it. I had to plead for the job of the copy editor and the editor who let it go in. I said ‘if you’re going to fire anyone, fire me. But you better not fire any of us.

How long did it take for everything to die down?

I’d say two weeks. But to this day it is the proudest moment of my career by a wide margin. When I was finally let go from the paper I had all kinds of issues with this one editor that got rid of me, but it was cited as a reason: ‘and you had that whole thing with Merv Griffin.’ So now it can be told that it was a contributing factor to my being fired.

You have other revolutionary events under your belt as a journalist. You were the first journalist to actually watch a voice taping of “The Simpsons.”

I guess that’s true. I guess I was. I totally forgot. That was great. It was in part because I had done their book review. You have to give yourself a little credit there too. It almost killed me, but I really wouldn’t have been able to finish it without you. You should have gotten credit on the cover as well too, but as they say, life ain’t fair.

I don’t think things would have ended up any differently. I’d still be here interviewing you for my blog instead of sitting in a penthouse office somewhere.

You and me both. I’m struggling for work too. It ain’t like that sure made my life. On snpp.com I’m a big deal. Did you go to the lunch they threw after the book came out?

Yes

Matt Groening actually said it was the best product to have come out of the Simpsons franchise.

“I heartily endorse this event or product.”

Exactly

I should say that like Krusty the Klown.

I just got an email like that today. It was a request for a donation in the LA AIDS Walk and it was signed ‘sincerely, your name.’

Before I go I just want to say good luck and best wishes in light of your upcoming wedding.

Thank-you. I look forward to seeing you there and receiving your blessing, literally.

Likewise.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blogger From Another Mother



My Aunt just sent me this blog post from reformed right-winger Frank Schaeffer. It sums up all the things I could not say so concisely. Where I lack poignancy, Schaeffer lacks a patented humor and wit, but we can't all be Chip Dornells.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Premortem Post on Christine O'Donnell


A few years ago, Intelligent Design was promoted by a conservative think tank as a makeover for Creationism. The Adam and Eve story was having some setbacks in focus groups when it was decided to give Creationism a new look with Intelligent Design which took the focus off Adam and Eve and instead hyped an explanation that sounded something like this: "Come on. Science didn't make people. An intelligent designer made people." As part of the sales package Intelligent Design would be billed as science to make it even more competitive with Evolution with all of its forensic evidence and proof. All of a sudden there was new energy and enthusiasm in the ranks of those who refudiated Evolution. There was something new to rally around. Everybody knows that new stuff is better than old stuff. For a while anyway.

Mention Intelligent Design five years later and you'll get a "oh yeah, what happened with that whole thing" type of response. It's just like Christine O'Donnell. I'm not saying the Delaware Republican Senate nominee is being touted as the latest argument against Evolution (though now that I think about it, that connection doesn't seem all that unreasonable). I am saying that in five, nay, one year we will be asking "Oh yeah, what happened with that whole thing."

The name of Ronald Reagan comes up often as a warning when people ridicule the most ridiculous Republican/Tea Party candidates. We are reminded of how so many doubted Reagan's ascendancy and the same comparison is being made with O'Donnell. I think this is the most sympathy I've ever felt for Reagan, having a bunch of hacks likened to him. Regardless of how little I think about the man, I can appreciate the fact that he had it more together than people like Christine O'Donnell.

Reagan was like the front for a larger infrastructure that had been behind him since his days as governor of California. Reagan himself brought plenty to the table such as his communication skills and charm, but behind him was his posse of tacticians led by Michael Deaver and Ed Meese. There was a semblance of stability and organization around him. He didn't seem like a loose Cannon. He wasn't swarmed with allegations. When he won the presidency he had the support of his party.

O'Donnell is marching to the beat of a different instrument altogether. The only campaign staff of hers we know about is a former campaign manager who has come out against O'Donnell in recent ads. O'Donnell is dogged by chapters of financial irresponsibility, none of which she seems to explain very well. It may be a testament to her experience as a marketing consultant that she has made it this far in spite of her mysterious past but that does not make her house of cards less likely from falling down.

It is fitting that O'Donnell is being backed by Sarah Palin whose own political disorganization seems to inspire O'Donnell. Palin's political bravado stems partly from a notion that she didn't get this far by taking advice from people and learning things. Well, she hasn't gotten that far at all. She lost her one national race and now she is a popular niche personality. She has proven that she is not up to the task of making herself a better candidate and because of that she is going to keep appealing to the same niche and no more.

Ronald Reagan at least looked like he knew what he was talking about. He didn't verbally meander until his mental Butterball turkey thermometer popped up inside his brain. He spoke with a purpose that revealed to many people he had a vision for America and not just himself. He didn't negotiate reality television deals, and he didn't have to spend time deflecting rumors about his past.

I'm not saying that there's no such thing as upsets, and people MAY vote for a total hot mess for Congress, but you better have your shit a little more together if you're running for any office higher than that unless your dad was president. There is a contingent of people you can sway by shouting "No taxes, no government" but the electorate as a whole needs to be convinced that you're not another Katherine Harris. Or Intelligent Design.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Humbly Fighting A Resurgence Of The Past

Barack Obama is not as boastful as you would think a president trying to hold on to a Congressional majority would be. I’ve previously discussed his peculiar refusal to mention the tax cuts he signed into law as part of the Stimulus Bill. Now Obama is seemingly opposed to drawing any attention to our continuing victory over pirates. Last week U.S. marines boarded a German ship that had been pirated off the Somali coast and retook the vessel without losing a single crew member or chest of jewel encrusted treasure.

It is not just the pirates either. Since Obama took office the Justice and Defense Departments have been working together closely in a new program called VOYAD or Villain of Yore Abatement Drive. The goal of the program is to bring to justice old-fashioned baddies including, but not limited to: reprobates, evil geniuses, rogues, and gunslingers.

Reports of successful campaigns in this drive are excerpted below.

Desperados At Los Angeles International Airport Thwarted by ICE Agents

The largely Spanish-speaking desperados halted the airline during takeoff. According to passengers they appeared from both sides of the runway riding alongside the plane on horseback shooting their pistolas into the air until the plane came to a halt.

“They started shooting through the plane until I opened the door” said co-pilot Joseph Serimpo. “They said that they had tickets and they would show them to us once I let them on the plane. I knew that probably wasn’t true, but I didn’t know what else to do.”

Once on the plane the men slowly made their way through the aisles collecting wallets at gunpoint, a task made awkward by their huge sombreros.

“I wanted to say ‘take your stupid sombreros off! What are you stupid?’ but at the same time I didn’t want to aid or abet them in any way” said passenger Abel Longstreet.

Reign Of Terror Over For Gang Of Rapscallions In Trafalgar Square

The recent economic downturn has been blamed for the sharp increase of rapscallion activity in and around London where the hooligans of distinction as they call themselves have been posing a threat to Brits and tourists alike. Hesitant to publish travel warnings against such a close ally as England, the Obama Administration has dispatched FBI agents to assist British police with their anti-rapscallion measures.

“It’s always good to help our friends abroad solve crime” said Jean Javert, a spokeswoman for the FBI. “This was a group of real rascals. They are armed with swords with a wispy thin stylus for a blade. American nationals have suffered welts, broken skin and even an infection in one case. Americans traveling in London are still warned to be on the lookout for any remaining rapscallions at large usually identifiable by their luxurious capes and drawstring shirts.”

Apprehension Of Cyclops Terror Ring Vindicates Obama’s Creation of Bureau of Cyclops Intelligence

The arrest will put an end to a series of atrocities including abductions of pets and children, bringing relief to thousands of terrorized citizens. But Cyclops Tak Yamamoto sees it another way. “This is our holocaust” he explained through a translator. “We eat pets and children. And I got kids. What they gonna eat?”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

AOTL Series On Race - Part VIII Why Is The Republican Party Primarily White?


This is a question that most people know the answer to, but do not discuss because it gets a little too sensitive. Currently, it is a boilerplate question asked on the floor every four years during Republican National Conventions by news journalists. I recall the answer always being something along the lines of “Well, we’re a big tent party. We think the message of smaller government and lower taxes is one that everyone can embrace. We just need to work a little harder to get the word out.” Four years later the word has not gotten out, the question is posed again, and the same pledge to get the word out is made.
The historically ept will recall that the Republican Party emerged out of the gate with a minority outreach program known as Emancipation or Abolition. At the time of its founding in 1854 the Republican Party vehemently opposed slavery, bucking the wealthy and powerful Establishment that had at the very least tolerated human bondage. In defending freedom, Republicans were among the first true progressives in American history as a group organized to improve the treatment of others under the law.
White Southern resentment of the Republican Party was so high following the Civil War that white Southerners swung unanimously in favor of the Democratic Party while Blacks overwhelmingly favored the Republican Party for obvious reasons. Before words like “liberal” and “conservative” were commonly used as American political signposts, it was the Republican Party that had Blacks’ backs. Out of the eight civil rights acts that have passed and been signed into law five have been passed by Republican presidents (three in the 20th century). Meanwhile the Establishment abided by the social changes brought about by the Republicans, not penalizing the Republicans, but splitting its vote fairly evenly between the two parties.
It was the Great Depression that helped cement the reputations by which we know the two major parties today. After beating Herbert Hoover with accusations of taxing and spending too much, President Franklin Roosevelt spent unprecedented amounts of money in the name of creating a social net for a nation experiencing 25% unemployment. Roosevelt worked his New Deal like Crazy Eddie passing on savings to the voter. This was the first leg of the emerging Democratic Party.
Roosevelt also passed the most sweeping Civil Rights measure since Emancipation by establishing the Fair Employment Practices Commission. He had done so in alliance with A. Philip Randolph, a trade unionist and a Neeeeeegro. In spite of overseeing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Roosevelt’s profile as a friend of civil rights became legendary. In a different approach from Republican Hoover who had purged the Republican Party of black leaders to appeal to Southern voters, Roosevelt had worked with black leaders to attract black voters to his coalition. This was the second leg of the emerging Democratic Party.
In response to Roosevelt’s move of making the underdog the priority the Republican Party positioned itself shamelessly as the last defender of the Establishment. If the Democrats were going to spend time, energy, and money on looking out for those with the most against them, then the Republicans would look out for those with the most. The wealthy and powerful interests were, demographically speaking, white.
As a way of bolstering support for their base in a shifting environment the Republican Party began selling the idea that what was good for the wealthy and powerful was best for the not so wealthy and powerful. They also played up civil rights as distasteful and wrong which appealed to bigots and to those whites who were oblivious to the depth of American racism.
As support for black civil rights grew so did resentment among Whites. When Lyndon Johnson ushered sweeping civil rights legislation through Congress without the support of the Southern Democrats he admitted aloud that it would cost the Democrats votes for a generation. What he meant was that angry bigots would stop voting for Democrats and in that he was correct. Where he was wrong was that it would be for more than just a generation.
The current Republican Party is not made up of all bigots, but let us just say that by now, most white bigots who were Democrats are no longer affiliated with the Democratic Party. Between the two, it is still the Democratic Party that is more responsive to such issues as housing discrimination, New York cop-on-innocent brother shootings, driving while black, etc. The Democratic Party has also been the party more responsive to the concerns of other Americans who demand equal access. Meanwhile the Republican Party has been consistent in playing down those complaints.
In an encouraging sign, some Republicans seem to be sickened by their peers’ knee jerk to opposition civil rights. They are done with fellow Republicans who claim that extending protection under the law to others makes them the victim. Perhaps realizing how they lost the black vote, Republicans like Ted Olson are undercutting Democrats’ position as underdog champions by vigorously defending the rights of gays to marry. Thus far most of the support Olson has found among his party has been from gay Republicans. While his bold move is not causing any conservative groundswell at the moment, his civil rights stance is concurrent with the swing of the bigot arm of the Republican Party to the Tea Party wing.
If the Tea Party broke off and became its own separate entity, I have a feeling that in a few years we would be seeing more Neeeeeegro faces at Republican National Conventions. : )

Monday, September 6, 2010

AOTL Series On Race - Part VII Why The Race Discussion Is Primarily Black And White

The Age of Discovery was marked by an aggressive agenda of the highly inspired and innovative Europeans to procure new natural resources, herbs and spices. Their Machiavellian grasp was not accented with much civility and decorum. In short, it was bloody. Europeans fought each other, they fought Indians, and they introduced slavery in the name of pursing their interests.

What resulted here in America was an Establishment that was initially created by and for the male descendants of Europeans. Since then American history has been peppered with various movements to expand the definition of who is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The most conspicuous of these movements was the Civil Rights Movement in which Blacks sought the end of the system that relegated their well-being to the whim of the Establishment. At that time, Blacks had been the largest racial minority group. This all made relations between Whites and Blacks most conspicuous.

While it is the struggle of black Americans that has been of such a high profile, other groups who weathered the repugnance of the American Establishment became beneficiaries of the Civil Rights Movement as well. Chinese immigrants arrived in the U.S. in the 19th century to build railroads until they became the only nationality to be prohibited from immigrating to the U.S. Other laws had been established limit Chinese participation in American life such as those written to prohibit Chinese men from marrying white women (what is it with these people and their marriage bans?). And as with Blacks, shades of past indignities remain for Asians. In spite of their success in the workplace, Asians are absent as managers and executives, a phenomenon known as the bamboo ceiling. No it’s not a joke.

The wages of “not fitting the Establishment profile” have been similar for Hispanics as well. Hispanics are currently under the microscope as they have surpassed blacks as the second largest minority group in the U.S. and are slated to outnumber whites as a racial group in a number of years. This brings up an important fact that though minority groups have all struggled against the white Establishment for equal protection under the Constitution, America’s racial minorities have literally battled each other for mostly petty reasons. Blacks and Latinos have historically been at odds as if they were competitors on "America's Next Top Minority Group."

This timely article here chronicles the struggles of Vietnamese immigrants in a majority black Philadelphia school where some black students resent the fact that the new Asian students who want to learn and move on get school facilities and attention suited for students who want to learn and move on. So some black students have been dealing with it by pummeling the Asian students. I cringed while reading it, but if I were more of an optimist I would say that one day these Vietnamese students will be sitting in their offices beneath their bamboo ceilings after looking back on the abuse they took in high school and then realize they don’t have it so bad.

Friday, September 3, 2010

To Answer That Question...



Is discrimination really still that bad?
Read this:

It happens more than you think and not just in the South, babe.

Do any of those anti-quota people take on any of this crap?

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