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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Much Ado About Birthing

I remember throwing temper tantrums to which my mother would respond by ignoring me. She wasn't trying to spite me. She was refusing to validate bad behavior. The effect it had on me was that it made me madder. So I had a little joy watching Obama ignore the rants of the torch-wielding maniacs who were trying to bust his presidential balls by challenging his Americanness. Logically I was disappointed when I heard Obama had acquiesced by producing the long-form birth certificate they were asking for. 

I felt that he had given in at first. He had just cut the crust off their PB&J. I felt that he had given in by doing what would make them happy. Then I laughed. Happy? The only thing that would make these people happy was if Obama died. Obama was not trying to make them happy. A more likely scenario was that Obama took the lemons life was giving him, made lemon juice and then threw it in the eyes of Donald Trump, the Republican Party.

Obama has a way of looking too conciliatory on the surface. To the unskilled he seems like a real pushover, but the guy knows how to play political judo. Don't think that he didn't plan how he was going to roll out his birth certificate. He rightly played dignified statesman as the birthers got more shrill. A few weeks with Trump leading the fray and the dignified statesman grudgingly gave them what they asked for, but it was more than they bargained for. Now what? Will we all settle down and love Obama? Not by a long shot.

Hateful kooks don't just put their pitchforks down and walk away. While Obama's most coveted demo, the independents/squishy centrists roll their eyes with fatigue at the character assassins, Birther Nation will find another level to drag themselves down to. While they find gratification in keeping their assault alive the rest of the country will be moving on. 

Come 2012 when the Republican Party establishment tries to focus on less repulsive indignations to hurl at Obama, the Birther-Tea rank and file will keep the citizenship issue alive. It will force the eventual Republican candidate to publicly snub the mob. That is assuming they can find someone like Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie who have stayed above the shit pile to run. They'll toss Haley "Mistersissippi" Barbour on the ticket as a bone to the fringe, hoping his conservative bona fides matched with his deep drawl will soothe the rebuke somewhat. It's about their only chance of controlling the craziness. If that doesn't work we get four more years of "let's see Obama's medical records" or something equally ridiculous. 

Now that this chapter is over, I will confess that I thought Obama was lying too. First, I was hoping for something intriguing. Maybe his real name was Barack Lindbergh or Barack Romanov. Second, how can this guy only be going on 50? He looks young but he has the mature temperament you would expect of an older man, say, the age of Donald Trump. Ironically, Trump has the temperament of a younger woman, say, the age of Sarah Palin. Palin showed the full potential of her own constitution when she made the Gabby Gifford shooting about her. 

Having a bad hair life
At least Palin keeps her ugliness on the inside. I can't see how people can trust a millionaire who chooses to look like a cheap fishing lure rather than invest in proper hair restoration, if not just simply age gracefully. Apparently he chooses his battles like he chooses his appearance - ill-advisedly. A Trump candidacy will be a series of his pissing matches with various celebrities. Clearly winning. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

To Smoke or To Be Smoked?

With April 20 being the most official day reserved for those who celebrate smoking marijuana (Four-Twenty), why would a proponent of decriminalization wait until Four-Twenty-One to announce his candidacy? Wait. Let me guess. You thought Tuesday was Monday so you thought Wednesday was Tuesday, duuuuuuuuude. Or you met this guy who was totally supposed to set everything up but he toooooootally flaked. Or you know, no prob, It's always Four-twenty here, bro (pointing to heart).


Either way, Four-Twenty-One will go down as the day a Republican finally jumped in with both feet to run in 2012. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson may not be Obama's most formidable opponent, kilo for kilo, but he will help the smoke and mirrors of the birther movement waft away, thus taking the debate to a higher level. 


As a Libertarian, Johnson thinks Americans are getting a bad deal arguing that our expenditures and our tax rates are putting us in a sticky situation. He hopes to get what buzz he can as the candidate who will just say no to more spending. Johnson is seeding his campaign with money from his own stash as a self-made millionaire. Before becoming governor of New Mexico, Johnson made rolls of cash as founder and CEO of Big J Enterprises, one of the state's largest construction firms. Time will tell if his millions can ream the rest of the Republican field.


Only time will tell if Johnson's run is just a pipe dream. With no name recognition he has a lot to hash out. But make no bones about it; ... um... pot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Certifiable

This image is of the back of my birth certificate, or what I always thought was my birth certificate. I have always called it my birth certificate and have used it whenever there was a request to see my birth certificate. I have never been told that it is a forgery or not adequate. Whatever this document is, I can use it as proof of my citizenship. It states that in BIG LETTERS. To confirm, it is impressed with the seal of the Office of the Registrar of Vital Statistics.

I mention all this, of course, because of the proportion of people who insist that there is no proof of Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship, the birthers in other words. By way of example, here is  birther Larry Johnson's online blitherings about doubt over Obama's proof of citizenship. Then there is this digital space consumption written by Obama-hater Jerome Corsi on what a real Hawaiian "long-form birth certificate" looks like.These give a fair sampling of the questions being raised by the birther community.

I am sure that both Johnson and Corsi are highly, highly intelligent men. As a matter of fact Johnson's bio says that he used to work for the CIA. Given this, let's see if we can keep up with their frighteningly advanced logic. For starters Johnson avers that what Obama has offered as proof of his citizenship by birth is not a birth certificate. He says that the birth certificates of his daughter and son born on Missouri and Washington, D.C. respectively are both labeled "CERTIFICATE OF LIVE BIRTH" as opposed to Obama's which is labeled "CERTIFICATION OF LIVE BIRTH." But wait a minute! Doesn't anyone have a birth certificate? Johnson's kids have certificates of live birth. Obama has a certification of live birth. Billionaire birther Donald Trump has a certificate of birth. Looks to me like everyone is in the same boat.

Here is the fact--birthers are not concerned citizens trying to bring attention to a constitutional violation. They are people who either despise Obama personally or they hate the idea of having a black president (duh) and want to believe the worst plausible scenarios about him. They think the birther conspiracy is sturdy enough for them to latch on to, but the conspiracy unravels so easily.

I am making an educated presumption that each state's Department of Health keeps on file a detailed or "long-form birth certificate" of every person born while distributing an official short-form version that serves as equal validation as the version held in the state vaults. When you apply for a passport, the State Department does not send you to the state archives for a photostat of the original record if you show up with your certified record of birth from Massachusetts or your certification of birth from Iowa or your notification of birth registration from Pennsylvania (but if you were born in California or Texas, you do need a copy of the long form for some reason). The long-form provides the information detailed in the Corsi article which features a woman who atypically has long-form copies issued for her children.

I figured this out with just a little curiosity. I assume the birther community will not take it upon themselves to get the same clarity. They are not curious, but hopeful. If they did some digging and found the truth it would disappoint them. It was like me when I found out that Donald Rumsfeld actually did serve in the military. I was trying to tally the number of draft-dodgers in the Bush Administration. Rumsfeld turned out not to be one, but at least I found it out on my own instead of presuming the negative was true just because the truth I was hoping for wasn't made obvious to me.

And they may still wonder why there has been no release of Obama's long-form birth certificate. Because fuck 'em, that's why. Would not the entire birther nation then claim that the long form was a forgery just as people like Larry Johnson insist his certification of live birth is a fraud? Besides, what would it look like to the far larger number of people who approve of Obama if he began bending over backwards for the 23% of people who will never like him anyway. It would not be too impressive.

From the State Department passport info site.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The uh Kennedys is On. Should We uh Set the Dee-Vee-Aww?


I'm sure I am not the first person to say that Hollywood could have never come up with the story of the Kennedys on its own. If Shakespeare had conceived the Kennedys as a play, he would have added a schism within the family: Joe Jr. would not die in the first act; through some misinterpretation, he would swear himself an enemy of brother Jack, culminating in someone (or ones) dying in the final act. Tyler Perry would build the story around Jackie, making her president, and he would play her.

The creator of the series "24" and the Reelz channel gave the Kennedys a whirl in their eponymously titled miniseries. Judging from the episodes I watched, I would say it was as good as you would expect something with Katie Holmes in it to be. She has the clout to be in things she doesn't deserve to be in, so she'll always be the worst part of the feature. "The Kennedys" is no different. Mrs. Cruise squeezed herself on to the same stage as the brilliant Tom Wilkinson. I must say that the two other principal male players are effin' amazing. (I almost don't need to mention that Wilkinson portrays success-addict Joe Sr.) Greg Kinnear plays an introspective, empathetic, moral, whispering and bright Jack. Barry Pepper does an incredible Bobby, conveying his superior intellect, righteousness and loyalty. Katie Holmes plays a frustrated woman named Jackie.

I concede that Holmes may have been shackled by a story that gave her little, if anything, to do--but for Pete's sakes, Katie, can you at least make an attempt at your character's unique speech patterns? I suspect that if anyone tried to give Holmes any pointers on how she could improve her performance, she would have responded with a lame "this is my interpretation of who Jackie is." According to that interpretation, sometimes Jackie talked like the rest of the Kennedy family and sometimes she didn't. It was as if at one point the director yelled, "Fuck it, you can all talk with that stupid accent even if it's not accurate."

In the episodes I saw, there is no mention of Ted, which is surprising, considering his later relevance. I did see about ten minutes or so of young Rosemary in flashbacks. Of course, there was nothing sordid about the young Ted before 1969, when he mistakenly drowned a woman. The miniseries ends with the 1968 assassination of Bobby, thus avoiding Ted's later shenanigans but allowing for the opportunity to present the oft less-told story of "Rosemary's Lobotomy." Lobotomies are always good for the ooooh factor. Matriarch Rose, portrayed by Wilkinson's real-life wife Diana Hardcastle, does not get any particular credit for patenting the social consciousness for which the family is known. Patricia Kennedy is barely in focus, with little to do but introduce Marilyn Monroe to Bobby.

Trying to tie up thirty years of history in an eight-hour television show is always a task of omission. It also requires glomming some events together for dramatic flow. And then there is history versus artistic license. I don't know if there is any way to get it right. "The Kennedys" is definitely adequate, but aside from being a showcase for more Jack and Bobby impersonations (which are good), it may have also been purposeless, considering the number of Kennedy movies and miniseries we have already seen or chosen not to watch.

If you bought its marketing blitz, you would think that "The Kennedys" was a big coup for the Reelz channel, and it may have been. I don't think I have ever tuned in to the Reelz channel before in my life. Other networks were shopped for the airing, but according to the scuttlebutt, they were successfully dissuaded by Kennedy family members not to air it, through the sort of maneuvering that would have made Grandpa Joe proud. It begs the question of what the big deal is. The portrayals were almost all positive, save for Joe's old-school determination. Also, we've seen it all before, and if not, it's in Wikipedia. I do not think "The Kennedys" was as bad as some critics say. It was not a "must miss." I would recommend any one installment just for the performances of Wilkinson, Kinnear, and Pepper. There's gotta be an Emmy somewhere in that mix, regardless of the drawbacks. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Back Seat of Richard Branson's Sweet Baadasssss Submarine

Richard Branson is at it again in his quest to be the second billionaire to do everything. The bottom of the ocean is the next stop for the tycoon-turned-tycoon/daredevil. The feat will be contingent on the outcome of some preliminary tests. Branson will first submerge caches of expensive champagne, silicon implants, and Barry White on vinyl to assure their viability at crucial depths. "It's bloody deep is all" said Branson appearing meticulously unshaven. 


Branson's announcement coincided with the release of the book "Yet I Couldn't Get Him to Conquer the Rain Gutters" by his ex-wife Kristen Tomassi.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No Gay Barrs in Dallas



Here's a page that deserves a double-take in your game of Republican Website Roulette. Look! Former Congressman Bob Barr is going to address the Log Cabin Republicans National Convention in Dallas. And from the looks of his photo he will be doing it grudgingly. This must the publicity shot he sends out when he's not happy about the gig. As a matter of fact it looks like he is thinking "I'm not happy about this."


I'm sure the LCRs on the other hand are so elated to be validated by a straight mainstream former office holder that they will give him a rousing cheer no matter what he says. If his message is "It's none of my business what you people do," standing O. If he tells them "I had a gal. Worked for me some years ago. Came in, did her job. Can't remember her name," ten minute applause break. If he says "...so Tom Delay says 'Jack Abramoff' and I say 'it looks like someone already did," the roof will be brought down.


Here is the photo accompanying Barr's profile in Wikipedia which states in the opening paragraph "He is also noted for his austere demeanour." This is fair, but one can objectively argue that the Log Cabin photo is a wee bit more austere than the Wiki pic. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Here's a Name For it: Lame-Stream Media

As someone who saw the words "botched" and "sloppy" on a lot of school papers I know botched and sloppy when I see it. Last week I made the mistake of trying to follow the details of the budget battle and I can recall four sets of figures, four different entities, and miscellaneous and conflicting scenarios for each one.


I heard that Obama initially wanted no cuts but is agreeing to the Republicans' revised cuts of $31 billion while the Tea Party wanted $61 billion.


I heard The Democrats were giving in to the Republican call for $31 billion while the Tea Party wanted $100 billion (I totally believed this one).


I heard the President proposed $33 billion while the Republicans and the Tea Party won't budge from $61 billion.


I heard the Republicans agreed to $31 billion and then said "psych" and went up to $61 billion while they laughed.


I heard the Republicans and the Tea Party were on the verge of a war as 300 people assembled for a big Tea Party budget rally on Capitol Hill to listen to Michele Bachmann's robotic yammering.


Now I don't know what to believe. I don't even know if there is a nuclear meltdown happening in Japan. I may have given myself potassium idodide poisoning for nothing. I'm starting to see the wisdom of that 98% of Americans that don't read news.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fox News Minority Outreach of the Month Moment

Fox News' website ran this piece from a local Fox affiliate on racist covenants being found in deeds on houses in Sacramento. The documents written years ago, Fox did not say when, by the original homeowners specify what racial groups should be restricted from purchasing their house in the future. It struck me as fairly advanced for Fox. 

A recent episode of the Simpsons opens before a meeting of television network execs. The Fox News honchos are being shuttled in on a helicopter emblazoned with the words "Fox News: Not Racist, But #1 With Racists." That's not me talking. That's just an animated sitcom that's been on the air for 20 seasons. I don't want to spoon feed here, but it gets to the root of about 85 percent of what I write about here. The Americans who identify themselves as conservative are overwhelmingly white and that is fine. I think white people are awesome. It is just that time and time again people who identify as conservatives get into trouble sharing anti-social emails. Who thought that anyone could get their hands on an email you sent to 20 of your friends, right?

I am not putting any undo pressure on the Republican party. They themselves claim that they still have work to do on getting their message out to the minority community. I think at this point it would be much easier if they got the word out to their own community. I'm not sure at this point that anyone including Michael Steele has been successful at getting the Right on the same page. Current RNC chairman Reince Priebus would score a coup if he sent the following "Update From the Chairman" in the Republican newsletter:

Hey everybody! The smell of victory is locked up in a safe, but don't worry I know the combination and it's  two-oh-one-two! Let's make this 2012 the best ever. We can do that if we think before we send emails that would be construed as offensive. Let's also think before we speak. And please, don't chuckle if someone at your town meeting or potluck makes a joke about killing or hunting the president. Remind them that you at least respect the Office. ALWAYS ASSUME THE MIC IS ON! Whatever you do, don't call anyone a macaca. I'm talking to you George :P

It isn't up there with Lincoln freeing the slaves and it probably wouldn't work, but imagine the credit Priebus would get for addressing it. 

So that is why It took me by surprise that Fox was running what seemed like a good effort at being concerned. It reminded me of when it was discovered that William Rehnquist who had been nominated as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court owned a home on Caspian Lake in Vermont that had a "don't sell to darkies" clause in its deed. Rehnquist was forced to tell Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Chairman Strom Thurmond and the rest of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he found those terms in his deed "obnoxious." It would not have been an issue if Rehnquist had not already had to defend himself in those same hearings against allegations of harassing and intimidating black voters in the 60s. 

It only goes to the point that these deed clauses are everywhere. But kudos to Fox for caring.

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