Wednesday, July 29, 2009

GOP Politics at its Best

The House of Representatives just passed, 378-0, a resolution that states that Barack Obama was indeed born in Hawaii, on Aug. 4th, 1961.

So, after vigorously fanning the flames of the "birther" movement, not one GOP nutcase in the House--not even Michelle Bachman, for Pete's sake--had the balls to oppose this resolution. ("Birther" proponent, California congressman John Campbell did abstain from voting.) I wonder what the fringe wingnuts have to say about those votes? Will they declare this resolution the product of some zionist conspiracy or some other shit?

I tell you, these are some fucked up people.

The Daily Show: "Race Card"

In recent times, no one did race-based comedy better than The Dave Chapelle Show.

But The Daily Show nails it with this bit:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Henry Louis-Gate - Race Card
Daily Show
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This Crap's For You

It has transpired that Bud Light will be served at President Obama's "Beer Summit" between Prof. Henry Louis Gates and his arresting officer. Jeez..if you're going to drink American-brewed mass produced beer, at least have a Rolling Rock. All Bud and Miller are swill; and you all know how I feel about Brooklyn Beer ever since they sided with developer Bruce Ratner in an attempt to secure a beer concession for the (upcoming?) Nets stadium.

As a Yankee fan it pains me to recommend anything from that area but, considering this is a New England beef, Sam Adams would probably be the best choice for refreshment. Of course, there's the small matter of Prof. Gates not being a beer drinker...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lysol of the Sunshine Variety

It's not going to happen but I'd really like to see the wackjobs in the so-called "birthers" movement--who pathetically decry President Obama's alleged lack of US citizenship--get their day on the Hill.

Speaker Pelosi
should let the Republican-sponsored bill that would require future presidental candidates to present an original birth certificate, come to the floor for a vote, thus exposing this petty nonsense for all to see. Because, in fact, what these idiotic, irresponsible congressmen and their poisoned kool-aid drinking followers want is not to put this bullshit conspiracy theory about Obama to rest, but in fact perpetuate it. But the end result would be for independents and reasonable people all over to witness the nasty, trivial nature of the sore-loser, lunatic Republican fringe and assure a Democratic victory for years to come.

I'm sick and tired of these assholes. If you don't like Obama and disagree with his plans for this country, fine. But debate him on the merits, not this unseemly, guttersniping trash. What scum!

The old saying, regarding sunshine being the best disinfectant, certainly applies here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

By Any Other Name

20 years ago next month, sure-fire Hall of Famer Pete Rose agreed to permanent ineligibility from baseball, in effect relinquishing his almost obligatory induction into the sport's HoF and rendering his long-time team, the Cincinnati Reds, unable to honor him by retiring his uniform number, among other penalties. All this stems from accusations that he bet on Major League Baseball games in which he was an active participant both as a player and later, as a manager. Consequently, after 15 years of denials, in 2004 he finally admitted to making monetary wagers in favor but never against his respective teams. (Some out there are not so sure.)

Recently, fellow blogger Xmastime accused the powers that be at MLB of hypocrisy when judging steroid users vis-a-vis the aformentioned Rose. Even in worse case scenarios, where the alleged may have indeed bet against their own team.

I disagree; the 1919 World Series "Black Sox" scandal being the most glaring of examples to bolster my point. But also, there's no way managers or players purposely making boneheaded moves at the same time and in a repetitive manner to achieve nefarious results can be comparable to someone juicing up and wanting to win, be it for themselves and/or their teams; and in the process raise individual or collective stats. Steroid use might be more detrimental to the purity of the sport, in so far as a drug-free, equal playing field among the actual participants is concerned, but it can't possibly exceed the implications and obvious damage resulting from gambling against your own team.

As for Rose...I sincerely don't know if his ban should be lifted. I haven't given it much thought one way or another, except to agree that he should be banned but unsure for how long. One thing is certain, if the ban is eventually lifted it probably won't happen in his lifetime. And for his readmission into the sport he may then have in his favor the collective guilt over the transgressions of the juiced players of this era to thank for. How 'bout that for an interesting twist?

Full disclosure: Ever since he purposely tackled the opposing catcher at the plate in the 1970 All Star Game, for all intents and purposes ending the man's promising career, and then responding in a glib and non-chalant manner to what he had done, I've strongly disliked Rose. "Charlie Hustle", my ass. Tell it to Ray Fosse.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore

Barnum and Bailey should tell tickets to the pathetic political circus that is the present day New York State Senate. All-around opportunist Pedro Espada Jr (D-Bronx) and alleged girlfriend-beater Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) defect the Democratic caucus in an ill-advised, poorly executed, yet succesful power play to give the Republicans the majority. (Backed by upstate's own version of Mike Bloomberg, billionaire businessman, aspiring gubernatorial candidate and reluctant taxpayer Tom Golisano.) Chaos ensues.

The end result: the leadership deprived Gov. David Patterson is unable to put things in order, and instead comes across like a powerless substitute teacher in a classroom of unruly children, while the people's business--including the passing of a state budget--is held up for a month; the Republicans briefly savor their newfound majority until Monserrate and later Espada Jr. return to the Democratic fold; Espada is rewarded for his selfish backstabbing ways by being named Democratic Majority Leader.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Moses and Bueyón

During the mid-to late ‘80s the favorite guest of choice on the Dominican political talk show circuit was one Dr. Francisco Ramon Carvajal Martínez—also known for his colorful nickname “Bueyón” (Big Ox)—an erudite yet blunt elder statesman fond of espousing the grandeur of Greek literature and mythology, as well as cataloguing the numerous faux pas, as he saw them, of his fellow Dominicans in matters of culture, civics and dress.

But when Carvajal Martínez got inspired or even just slightly warmed up, he would openly equate his compatriots with unruly field goats who had lost their way and needed to be reigned in, preferably by force. He routinely advocated for the use of firing squads as penalty for seemingly minor infractions such as loud car radios or males of working age sleeping in past 6 AM.(!) In his eyes, what the Dominican Republic needed to rise above from its malaise was to be governed by a "technocratic-agro-military regime", which would be given a 30 year-span to implement its changes. And if 4 million of the country’s then-6 million citizens had to have a date with the firing squad so that the remaining 2 million could be saved, then so be it. (Actually, he would end that oft-repeated statement mouthing the sound of an automatic weapon being fired.)

My friends and I loved this man. We thought he was so over the top and found him to be hilarious. We would tape his appearances on TV, learn his most outrageous declarations word-for-word and then quote them back to each other as if they were from the script of some silly flick of the time like, say, Better Off Dead. Of course, my friends and I knew that if Bueyón ever had his way and that “technocratic-agro-military” government was installed, we’d probably be among those “first against the wall”, as the Radiohead song goes. But we didn’t fear this possibility one bit, for there was no way—even with its history of brutal dictatorships and other oppressive regimes—the Dominican people were ever letting a madman who was three times the right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan is, rise to power. (Right?)

More importantly, his TV appearances and wildly irrational statements had rendered him a joke by more than just my friends and I. The latter made my mother sad. She had always looked forward to hearing him speak in the past, and was now dismayed by the running comedic skit his pronouncements had become.

You see, it turns out that in his youth Carvajal-Martínez had been a courageous and outspoken patriot who rebelled against Gen. Rafael Trujillo’s tyrannical and murderous regime (1930-1961, and “one of the bloodiest of the 20th century”, according to Wikipedia), going as far as taking up arms against it in the failed invasion of June 14th, 1959, of which he was one of very few survivors.

Subsequently, after Trujillo’s assassination he’d come to be known as a respected intellectual and statesman with keen oratory skills peppered with humor. But at some point, something went off in that grand brain of his that turned him into the local political landscape’s preferred jester; one who had unbelievably taken to lauding Trujillo for the civilian honors he bestowed upon Carvajal-Martínez’s beloved mother, who’d been a schoolteacher all her life.

What happened? How did this staunch defender of the oppressed and avowed enemy of despots change ideological course and align himself with the exact opposite philosophy, one which he had spent his whole life railing against? We never did find out: the good Dr. passed away in 1988, never having told his complete story or recovered his former stature.

Carvajal-Martínez came to mind for the first time in ages, when I learned of actor Charlton Heston’s death last year. I immediately went to Wikipedia to see if they already had posted his passing in their “Recent Deaths” section and eventually clicked on the link to his biography page. What I saw and read there astounded me.

First, of course, was the black and white headshot of Heston at the 1963 Civil Rights March in Washington, to which he accompanied Dr. Martin Luther King; mentions of his public protests against segregation; campaigning for Adlai Stevenson in 1956 and for JFK in 1960; his opposition to the Vietnam War, etc. Yes, Ronald Reagan had once been a Democrat, but this? Wow. I had no idea.

So, once again, what happened? How did this progressive and seemingly forward-leaning individual have a change of heart, switch his party affiliation and become nothing less than right-wing caricature, shilling for the NRA and the likes of Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Shrub? (And yeah, I think Heston perhaps heeding Churchill's infamous quote, If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain,” is too lazy a conclusion.)

Again, deep down, we may never truly know why, despite all the articles and columns and books on the man. I'd sure like to, though.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Who's Got Your Best Health In Mind? (not these guys)

So, aside from White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel's alleged flip-flopping on a reasonable health care proposal it also turns out that a bunch of former senators and congressmen from both parties have been recently hired by big pharmaceutical interests--insurance companies, hospitals, medical associations--to combat any kind of comprehensive health reform from coming about.

According to The Washington Post, the "more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress" hired include " Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa)...former House majority leaders Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) and Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), both of whom represent a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm."

I guess party affiliation and ideology mean nothing when this is your theme song:

They Can't Help It (the further dissing of Michael Jackson)

"...[F]or the last, I don't know how long now, this lowlife Michael Jackson, his name, his face and picture is all over the newspapers, television, radio. It's all we hear about, is Michael Jackson.

And let's knock out the psycho-babble. This guy was a pervert, he was a child molester, he was a pedophile, and to be giving this much coverage to him day in and day out, what does that say about us as a country?"

That's what Congressman Peter King (R-NY) had to say about the media coverage surrounding the recently deceased Michael Jackson. And he has every right to say it, of course. But I guess Rep. King fails to grasp the fact that Jackson was an iconic and influential artist with a following in the dozens of millions, as well as a philanthropist. And this is what fueled--at least initially, before the media went into custody overdrive regarding his children--all this press. I'm going to assume that he didn't feel the coverage was excessive when Elvis Presley passed away. Or that he had anything to say about the negative aspects of Presley's life.

Rep. King, Fox Noise commentator Bill O'Reilly and many other right-wing hypocritical blowhards have chosen to blatantly minimize in extreme, if not downright deny, any artistic merits by the late Jackson; boiling him down to some two-bit song-and-dance man, which is highly disrespectful at best. (They also cannot comprehend why black people in such large numbers were so loyal to him. On his TV show, O'Reilly went as far as implying that Jackson's latter day skin tone and that of his children should be a reason for African-American folks to have left his side. I don't know what qualifies O'Reilly as an expert in African-American identity politics, but I sure as hell am not knowledgeable on the subject, so I will refrain from opining on it.)

I literally don't know if Jackson actually molested those kids or not; but we can all agree that someone with naive, at best, and incredibly inappropriate behavior regarding children not his own, at worst--and filthy rich--was bound to be a target for accusations of that nature. And, lest we forget, he was acquitted the second time. Unfortunately, now he's not around to defend himself anymore.

That's not going to stop anyone willing to spotlight even more the lurid aspects of his life. Fine. But the outpouring of grief from fans who have lost a musical hero should not be trampled on. Period. I wasn't a fan, per se, but enjoyed quite of a few cuts from both MJ solo and with his brothers. But more importantly, I recognize his stature as an artist which, in the wake of his passing, led me to look back on his landmark 1979 album Off the Wall.

Sadly, I won't deny that I would've felt apprehension in letting him be alone in a room with a child of my blood line, but that doesn't mean I'm going to reduce his contributions to the world of music to some simplistic minstrelsy. And neither should anyone else. Which is why King needs to apologize.


A Very Helpful Guide

Any questions?

[courtesy of BlueGal]

You Betcha, Ed

I think [it] was a disaster for her both in the sense that she was very incoherent in articulating why she was quitting and what she wanted to do with it.

And as I always say, you call press conferences to answer questions, not to basically raise questions. I think the serious thing here is 311 days ago, very few people in America, very few Republicans outside of Alaska knew who this woman was. She had a tremendous first few weeks as a campaigner, but she got super imposed on top of the Republican establishment. It's sort of like taking a helicopter and putting her on top of Mt. Everest, which John McCain was flying it.

Everybody else climbed up that ladder, and all of the sudden she's on top of the mountain. She didn't like it -- or she did like the top of the mountain. What she didn't like was coming back to Earth, flying back to Alaska to her job as governor.

I think the reality here is her biggest mistake is walking away from the job as governor. She would have at least had a record to run on. She is going to have a partial record today that's going to be very incomplete. I found her very insulting to other governors. We have 22 other Republican governors, 19 of whom are basically going to be out of this office after running in two years. Nine are term limited and many others have to run. And she basically said in the last year you run around and do all kinds of things, and I would predict to you every single Republican governor like most Democratic governors are at their desk trying to figure out how to get through the economic crisis. I think she insulted them. I think to a certain extent it showed a naivete and I think she basically left a big, big void in her resume.

- GOP operative and CNN contributor Ed Rollins, on Sarah Palin resigning as Alaska governor.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why We're Fucked

So, "First Lieutenant Dan Choi, a fluent Arabic speaker who led combat patrols and helped rebuild schools in Iraq for over a year" and is gay is likely to be discharged because of his sexuality but the military recruiting known Nazis is not being formally addressed?

No wonder the gay crowd is pissed.

Finally: Franken Officially MN Senator; Coleman Concedes

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).

Did you ever think you'd see the day someone from SNL would make it to Congress? Or witness Bill O'Reilly's head explode?

Now watch the Democrats screw up their newly obtained 60 vote, filibuster-proof majority. That's not going to stop the right-wing fearmongers from preaching their prerequisite doom and gloom, of course.

Speaking of which...

Michelle Bachman: Genius

The kooky congresswoman (R-MN) may have hit the jackpot. By calling for residents of her district to not answer any questions for the official census since, according to her, any answers given will be used to force these citizens into internment camps (!) she may in effect erase her district due to a lack of a confirmed populace and with it, wait--here it comes...her own political office!

So, please, Bachmann supporters, comply with the wishes of your illustrious political prophet, heed her warnings and refuse to cooperate with those evil census takers! Do it for America!

Alec Baldwin on The Madoff Sentence

from HuffPo:
Madoff got 150 years?


Does that serve the greater good?
Does that really contribute to solving the problems that stemmed from Madoff's misdeeds?

I want to suggest, as I am confident others have, that Madoff be given a reduced sentence in exchange for answering every question that investigators ask regarding how he did what he did and what are his recommendations for how this might be detected and/or prevented in the future.

Put him away for life?

Who does that help? The incompetents at the SEC who stood by and allowed this to happen?

Madoff should become the Frank Abagnale of the securities and investment fraud universe.

What can we learn from him, to actually change things?

Been thinkin' the same thing...give him 10 years years without parole or any other kind of early release and milk him for info. It's not like Madoff will be getting off easy: he'll be a broke-ass 81 year old, anyway.

A Little Bit on Bloomberg from a New Yorker

I've said before that I will not engage in attacking or promoting any Democratic candidate while there is no nominee. Got no time for th...