Thursday, September 18, 2008
I was thinking, today, while chilling near a college campus (for work purposes, of course) that it would be cool to have a close friend with an accent. Makes everyone in the group seem smarter, for whatever reason.
The Gulf breezes, the beautiful panorama and the general sense of ease, like everyone is chilling on their screened-in lanais, sipping on a Corona with a lime and taking it all in. Very slowly.
On a purely aesthetic level, I haven't lived anywhere near as appealing as the Tampa Bay area. During my parents' winter visit here, my mother called it "paradise."
But, damn, I'm really tired of all these lizards. Continue Reading »
I was mesmerized by the "Bump N' Grind" dancers (who wore the miner helmets with lights on them in the video). My football uniform number as a high school senior was No. 12. The first e-mail address I ever had - a year later - was firstname.lastname@example.org.
To this day, my e-mail address has the number 12 in it. If and when I walk down the aisle, "Homie Lover Friend" (UPDATE: the remix from "A Low Down Dirty Shame" soundtrack, of course) might be the song that accompanies the wedding march. Maybe it's a coincidence, but I wear a size 12 shoe.
But, at some point, I had to face facts: R Kelly is something of a creep. Evidence?
When asked if he liked teenage girls, Kelly replied: "When you say teenage, how — how old are we talkin' ... 19?"
"I have some 19-year-old friends," he added. "But I don't like anybody illegal, if that's what we're talking about, underage."
So, R, much like O.J. before you, I'm officially giving up my long-standing defense of you and your, uh, eccentricities. It's time to put "12 Play" to bed. So to speak. Continue Reading »
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The experience reminds me of a conversation that I had several months ago with a friend from Louisiana about a group that was familiar to us. Some of the group's members were, uh ... long-winded, to be generous, and my friend described them as "opinionated but limited."
Indeed. Continue Reading »
Maybe I shouldn't have been this naive, given the wrath inflicted by Katrina three years ago, but it's stunning how vulnerable we all are in the face of Mother Nature. Things seem to be getting more desperate there with each passing day.
And to think: Ike was only a Category 2 storm. Continue Reading »
White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.
White privilege is when you can attend five different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.
Look, I've been wary of invoking that argument into the equation. But what else could it be? I think the narrative of this campaign - first Obama was Muslim, then inexperienced, then less qualified than the governor of Alaska, now elitist (because apparently education and knowledge are negatives in this election cycle) - goes beyond simple partisan politics. For instance, what does this even mean?
We can argue about whether or not Obama has the best plan for Iraq, or to resuscitate the economy or even lessening America's dependence on foreign oil. Let's debate who has the best grasp of the issues. But we can not - and will not - argue that Sarah Palin has more experience or is more qualified than Obama to be president. It's insulting and it's disingenuous and I can't say this enough.
I must note that over at TNC's spot the commenters are having some interesting conversation about this very topic - I would point out fellow blogger Spottie's comment, in particular. Continue Reading »
Howard, please, please, please, don't equate black or being an Obama supporter with possessing an inclination toward tuning out "The Star-Spangled Banner." You must make it clear that you're speaking for yourself, ok?
Let's talk about this: you should know that being black in America has traditionally meant being a patriot in the truest sense of the word - my father, grandfather and generations of uncles have fought overseas for this country despite no assurances their service would be honored when they returned home. Often, it wasn't.
Yes, our relationship with this country is definitely nuanced - were it listed on Facebook, it would be tagged "it's complicated." No, we black Americans don't always swaddle ourselves in the Stars and Stripes, and we can recognize the irony of celebrating "Independence Day." But our love for this country should never be called into question: we loved America when it didn't love us back. Still, our patriotism, - particularly the guy who you purportedly support in the upcoming presidential election - is always under suspicion.
I'm not going to be irrational and imply you don't love this country either. I know the back story and I know where you're coming from. Sort of. If only you had articulated yourself like Toni Smith, I might have been able to come up with a stronger defense.
But you're suspect now to people who don't want to see the history behind your silly bluster - you're positively a pariah for the next few days and possibly through the end of your career. And you've got no one to blame but yourself. Make sure you don't bring the rest of us along with you. Continue Reading »
This is ironic for any number of reasons, as Matt Y points out here. But check out the AP's sober, dispassionate background graf about de Rothschild:
We already know where I stand on this: "elitist" is a code word for "uppity." I can parse the code, you know? Rothschild isn't fooling anyone.
Rothschild is a member of the DNC's Democrats Abroad chapter and splits her time living in London and New York. She was one of Clinton's top fundraisers, bringing in more than $100,000 for her presidential campaign. She built a multimillion dollar telecommunications company before marrying international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.
But this is particularly silly coming from a woman who insists on being referred to as "Lady," was once dubbed the "flashiest hostess in London," and owns what has been called "the most beautiful apartment in New York." If Obama, the child of a teenage single mom who shunned Wall Street wealth after college to work in crumbling communities on the southside of Chicago, is "elitist," then as TNC says, "the word has no meaning."
No need for anymore frontin', Lady. Thanks for rattling before striking. You belong on the other side anyway. Continue Reading »
Maybe it goes back to her beauty pageant days. Maybe it's a way to compensate for the relative lack of natural sunlight. Maybe it's the craze among all working-class Alaskans. Who knows?
Having been naturally blessed with plenty of pigment, I've never really thought much about it. All I really need to know about tanning, I learned from these people.
But, honestly, I can't imagine that Palin wanted a tanning bed to compensate for a Vitamin D deficiency. Thankfully, this isn't her line - goodness knows, she doesn't need to reveal herself to be that kooky. No, this bit of spin comes from the slightly loony people of the Indoor Tanning Association.
I am curious, however, as to what kind of people constitute the "sun scare industry" that the ITA refers to in its press release. Who even knew such an industry existed?
Anyway, speaking of beauty pageants, my wonderful aunt - and faithful reader of this blog - noted to me the other day that Palin's response to the Bush Doctrine question reminded her of someone else. Hmmm. Maybe. But Caitlin Upton didn't say "Charlie" quite as much. Continue Reading »
So, it's with great interest that I read this item from ABC's Jake Tapper about Sarah Palin's apparent transparency problem.
Nothing she's done in Alaska really surprises me. In fact, I'm rarely surprised at the efforts that politicians go to withhold information from the public - I assume it's something they start to learn on Day One. But, obviously, I find it disturbing.
And I might note that it sounds an awful lot like the group of folks who currently occupy the White House. Once again, Palin and Co. seem to be offering more of the same. Continue Reading »
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
But this poor GOP delegate got set up, Richie Vento-style, during his brief stay in St. Paul. I guess you could say that he was looking for love - or something much less than that - in all the wrong places. And that's cool, because I think lots of us have been there before. Especially when you're young, single and alone on the road.
However, what I find amazing is that he was taken for "a $30,000 watch, a $20,000 ring, a necklace valued at $5,000, earrings priced at $4,000 and a Prada belt valued at $1,000," among other items, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
It's just validation of something I've been saying this for years: it's not just black folks who are into bling. We should really stop the frontin'. Continue Reading »
That brings us to Stephen Camp (pictured above with wife, Katie, and 2-year-old son, Jack).
Camp is attempting to take down Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia's 3rd congressional district, a man known not for his legislation but for a series of embarrassing gaffes that have twice landed him on "The Colbert Report." Recently, Westmoreland drew criticism for referring to the Obamas as "uppity" and refusing to apologize, claiming cluelessness.
Clueless, indeed, is the word.
Camp, 34 and a Democrat, works at his own private law firm in Coweta County, specializing in employment law and civil litigation. Camp was born and raised in the area, returning after law school and settling nicely into family life.
But in recent years, Camp said, it became apparent to him that his congressional district wasn't being served well by Westmoreland. Even in traditionally Republican territory, Camp thinks he can tilt at the windmills and force Westmoreland out of his seat. In that regard, Camp's campaign has been helped mightily by ... Westmoreland.
The "uppity" hubbub and Westmoreland's subsequent refusal to apologize has generated some buzz around Camp, who has pulled in donations from around the country as progressive bloggers (like this one) catch on to his campaign. I took a serious interest in Camp and his campaign as I dug a little deeper into the history of Westmoreland and his district. From what I learned about Camp through his Web site, I liked him immediately.
So, I spoke with Camp for about 30 minutes the other day, asking him a variety of questions about his campaign, his district and his opponent. Camp was nice enough to indulge me and left me wishing I had a vote in the 3rd District this fall.
Anyway, here's a few excerpts from the interview:
Q: Your name has popped up a lot more in Internet searches in recent days. How does it feel to generate some buzz?
A: Yes, people have started to pay attention in the last couple of weeks. We're facing a well-funded, entrenched incumbent. So we're trying to take advantage and get the message out. We're getting a tangible spike in terms of calls, e-mails and dozens of new, unique donors. They're coming from all over the country ... they're excited for us and the campaign.
Q: I'm sure there were a number of reasons that you decided to enter the race. But did facing someone like Westmoreland make the decision easier for you?
A: Well, no doubt about it, Rep. Westmoreland is his own worst enemy. Regarding his latest comments, it shows a lack of empathy to a large segment of the constituents in the 3rd district. It reflects an out-of-touch mindset and, honestly, he's failed the people of this district. We're sadly starting to be known as the district represented by the guy who shows up on "The Colbert Report."
Q: What made you think you had what it took to go up against an entrenched incumbent like Westmoreland?
A: Like a lot of people over the past two years, I developed a keen interest in politics. I just got a really strong feeling that the country is and has been on the wrong track. And I've always been taught that if something is wrong and you're able to offer something better, you have a responsibility to do that. That's why I got into this race.
Q: What were your thoughts when you heard about Westmoreland's "uppity" comment in reference to the Obamas and his refusal to apologize because he claimed that he was "clueless"?
A: Very briefly, I felt a sense of shock and disbelief. But that faded because it's becoming ... well, attention of a bad sort is becoming the norm for this congressman. Congressman Westmoreland should well have known that "uppity" is an insensitive term used against African-American people. What it boils down to is it shows that he's woefully out of touch and the people here deserve much better than that. When Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly both agree and say you need to apologize, you know you've done something bad.
Q: So, what's next? Do you like your chances given the odds?
A: Well, we're going to have a candidates' forum in the middle of October and a we'll have a debate in the third week of October. Anytime you can get in the same room with a congressman, you do it. And right now we're working on growing our network, registering new voters and, as with any campaign, raising money for the campaign. We're going to be out there, speaking to voters and trying to get them to the polls on Nov. 4. The people of the Third District are tired of a Congressman who sits on the sidelines and is incapable of working to move forward meaningful legislation here. They're not looking for new leadership; they're looking for leadership, period. Voters are going to say that loud and clear come November.
There's a lot more but you get the gist. Even the Web has limits, you know. If you're really interested, hit me up and you can get more info. Or, better yet, hit up Camp's campaign at: Camp for Congress, LLC, P.O. Box 1011, Newnan, GA 30264. By telephone, call (770) 502-0130.
Thanks again to Stephen Camp for being so generous with his time. Best of luck and Godspeed.
Continue Reading »
Desean Jackson, please take note. This isn't the first time you've had this problem. I imagine that your fantasy football owners are plenty pissed at you this morning, not to mention your coaches.
Monday, September 15, 2008
It was definitely the right move, something I had endorsed a full 72 hours previous. With no power, no water and little hope of procuring a decent warm meal, the best available option seemed clear. In other words, if you have to wait four hours in line at Buffalo Wild Wings, things have completely gone awry.
"It was like Beirut," said my mother, never one to shy away from hyperbole. "I've never, ever seen anything like that before. It's all torn up out there."
She's right: Houston looks like a swampy wasteland; Galveston appears devastated beyond meaningful repair; and other more rural, far flung areas of southeast Texas might never recover. Rita in 2005 and Ike have dealt some places a demoralizing 1-2 punch.
Anyway, going forward, it's just a reminder that hurricanes are merciless and random and extremely costly. Ike made landfall in Texas as a Category 2 storm; what might the damage have been as a Category 3 or 4 or, God forbid, a 5?
I still happen to live in an area extremely susceptible to hurricanes - we had our own storm panic a few weeks ago. I like it here and I imagine the millions of other people living along the Gulf Coast feel the same way. So, more than most, I know why people are reluctant to flee ahead of the storm or, even worse, pack up and try life somewhere else.
But at some point, some of us are going to have to ask some hard questions of ourselves. At what point does the cost become too high? Nature will not accede regularly enough to our desires for salt water, fresh shellfish, good football and 75-degree winter afternoons.
That said, I had plans to return to Houston this weekend that were, obviously, altered by the storm. When I finally make it there, sometime in the next couple weeks, I would like to believe that I'll be able to enjoy a meal and a lengthy walk along the Galveston Seawall. Somehow, I doubt that'll be happening anytime soon. I just had no clue that Galveston was still such a fragile place. It's just hard for a native Houstonian to believe.
In the meantime, be safe and keep the faith Houston. We're all thinking of you and, I can tell you about at least two people who are eager to return.
Actually, make that three.
UPDATE: Links, pictures to come later. I think. Continue Reading »
Over at the Atlantic, Andrew Sullivan has waged an all-out war against the McCain-Palin ticket.
Don't be confused by my usage of the word "war." This is not a war born of irrational anger or partisan bias or poll envy. It's a minute-by-minute surgical assault that, frankly, some journalists covering the campaign don't have the latitude or gumption for.
Remember how I said over the weekend that I didn't have the time to document each and every one of the McCain or Palin lies? Well, Sullivan is doing that and then some. He's almost going above the call of duty, I think.
Also, here's a link to his column in the The Sunday Times. Continue Reading »
And here we see a fundamental difference between the progressive worldview and the conservative worldview. Progressives believe in a robust safety net for everyone. It’s very possible, as we’re seeing, that you’ll experience financial hard times for reasons that have nothing to do with you. A lot of the people doing unskilled service work in the Lehman Brothers office may lose their jobs as a result of this unwinding even though they didn’t do anything wrong. And that sort of thing happens all the time — people get laid off because adverse things happen to the companies they work for. Or people are struck by other kinds of misfortune — they get hit by buses, hurricanes destroy their houses, all kinds of stuff. Misfortune strikes ordinary people, and not just billionaires. And in the case of ordinary people, just as in the case of billionaires, you can offer improve social welfare by helping people out when they wind up in trouble.
But conservatives don’t believe in that kind of safety net for regular people — just for the billionaires. Guaranteed health care? Forget it. Guaranteed retirement income? No way. Just let the market work, and when it stops working the executives will be okay and the rest of us will, oh, something or other.
Here's one example:
Continue Reading »
If you spend three years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a constitutional law professor, spend eight years as a state senator representing a district with more than 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
If your total resume is: local weather girl, four years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with fewer than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.
I actually liked "I Can't Wait." There should be a thing as being too talented to fall off, don't you think? Continue Reading »
Sunday, September 14, 2008
My results confirmed what I've already known about myself for years. If you really want to know what that means, just ask me.
(Hat-tip to the WTF crew, specifically Kells) Continue Reading »
FEY AS PALIN: "You know, Hillary and I don't agree on everything..."
POEHLER AS CLINTON: (OVERLAPPING) "Anything. I believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy."
FEY AS PALIN: "And I can see Russia from my house."
POEHLER AS CLINTON: "I believe global warming is caused by man."
FEY AS PALIN: "And I believe it's just God hugging us closer."
POEHLER AS CLINTON: "I don't agree with the Bush Doctrine."
FEY AS PALIN: "I don't know what that is."
On the other hand, flooding the airwaves and Internet with lies seems to be the main strategy from the McCain-Palin camp.
UPDATE: Paul Begala, great Texan that he is, makes an important point this morning on CNN about the, sigh, media's complicity in allowing McCain and Palin to repeatedly lie to the public. Begala is right: the facts should matter. As a journalist, I'm legitimately torn about the media's role during a political campaign. I'm not sure if we're supposed to be refs or judges. The issue is more complicated, to me, than TNC would have you believe. Continue Reading »