Saturday, November 1, 2008
It's simple, really: Many of the same arguments used to deny rights to generations of people who looked like me are now being used to prevent gays from having the right to marry. We can trace the rationalization for American inequality back to the bottom of cargo ships and the plantation and beyond.
Either you believe in equal rights, or you don't. Don't try to dress up prejudice.
Now, we can quibble about whether or not the government should have ever got into the practice of dealing with weddings instead of civil unions - a basic contract between willing partners. But that box has been opened and we're too far gone to close it.
If I've had any disappointment with Obama, it's that I don't think he's willing to push hard enough on this issue. On this issue, at least, he's just a man of his times. But I'm glad to see Bill Clinton is taking up the fight. Continue Reading »
Good enough answer for me. Somehow, I'm sure it's not going to be enough for the Drudge Report. Continue Reading »
Obama aides told the DMN last Saturday that the paper would lose its seat on the plane on Wednesday. Within a few hours, that moved to Friday. And by midweek, traveling press secretary Jen Psaki had told us that Saturday night's final flight would be the last leg available. We protested then and continue to do so now, arguing that a paper of the DMN's size and stature should be on-board.
But we don't have evidence that the newspaper's endorsement of Sen. McCain had any bearing on the campaign's decision to boot us from the plane. No one from the campaign ever mentioned it to Todd. (And for the record, he as a reporter, and I as the editor in charge of political coverage, had absolutely no input or knowledge of the endorsement. That's handled by a different department on a different floor. I didn't even know about the editorial board's choice until I read it in the paper a couple of Sundays ago.)
We think the Obama campaign's decision is to some degree more a function of limited seats, and while we're a large regional newspaper, we're not national and we're not in a swing state. We've been on the road with them at key moments, but we've not been along for the entire ride, like, say, The New York Times and The Associated Press.
For what it's worth, we've had the same trouble with the McCain campaign.
Don't believe me? Well, maybe you'll believe this trustworthy source.
We don't have to bother with the outrage or the repudiation or the calls for an apology. It don't really matter. If you're thinking of calling up Al Sharpton, don't do it. If your local NAACP chapter is ready to spring into action, encourage them to redirect their efforts.
"The threat: Here in Temple Terrace, FL our Republican HQ is one block away from our library, which is an early voting site.
I see carloads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes for Obama. This is their chance to get a black president and they seem to care little that he is at minimum, socialist, and probably Marxist in his core beliefs. After all, he is black — no experience or accomplishments — but he is black."
The First Lady and I already did our part to protest this sort of vile call to action: we voted last weekend. If you haven't already, it's your turn to hit the polls. And take someone with you. And while you're doing that, call or e-mail a few more folks to make sure they're not slippin. I already called my barber this evening after he told me earlier in the day that he hadn't voted yet. These are the things that make up a movement, dig?
The agony of waiting in a long line will be nothing compared to the thrill of seeing the faces of guys like Ron Whitley and David Storck and Saxby Chambliss on Nov. 5.
I already can't wait for Tuesday to get here.
UPDATE: I should mention that our governor, Charlie Crist, should be applauded for his decision to order extended hours at all early voting sites. That move hasn't been too popular with his GOP brothers and sisters. I can't comment too much about Crist because, you never know, I might be sitting in his Tallahassee office with a tape recorder someday. But I will say that, more often than you'd expect for someone who was a serious contender to be McCain's veep, Crist seems to put principles before partisanship. Continue Reading »
Friday, October 31, 2008
At home he would salve, if not close, the ugly racial wound left by America's history and lessen the tendency of American blacks to blame all their problems on racism.From way over in London, editorialists at The Economist came up with that gem about "the tendency of American blacks." Where'd they ever get that idea? That stereotype made it all the way across the Atlantic? How many of us could they possibly know?
Though I read The Economist about as regularly as Sarah Palin, I understand that it's generally a conservative-leaning publication. And, as such, I'm not expecting a progressive view of race relations in our country.
But, as the First Lady smartly pointed out last night, to accept that dim view of black people, you essentially have to believe that racism is a relic of the past, a figment of overactive imaginations. Is that really where The Economist is going here?
I don't want to be accusative here. You all know my tendencies. Continue Reading »
Seriously, I doubt the woman has even a passing familiarity with the 1st Amendment.
"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."
"It's sort of perplexing to me, because I'm a practical person and plainspoken also, but just cutting to the chase and calling things like I see them, just like most Americans. But this has not left a bitter taste in my mouth, the bitter shots taken by the mainstream media and by some of the elitism there in Washington," Palin said.
Steve Benen, as usual, rolls a strike:
Hopefully, this farce will come to an end Tuesday. This woman has been an absolute affront to serious political discourse. Continue Reading »
... the governor believes she should make scurrilous, dishonest, and personal attacks against Democrats. She's afraid, however, that reporters might tell voters she's making scurrilous, dishonest, and personal attacks, and worse, that voters might recoil from her vicious style of campaigning.
And if that happens, politicians in the future might hesitate before launching scurrilous, dishonest, and personal attacks of their own. What a brutal "chilling effect" that would be.
The First Lady and I were reminded of this during his occasionally combative interview last night with New York Times columnist William Kristol. Stewart even got Kristol, a rock-ribbed right-winger, to awkwardly joke that he doesn't necessarily trust his own paper.
The lightweight exchange reminded me of Stewart's absolute evisceration of Tucker Carlson in the final few days before the 2004 election. A transcript of the entire beatdown is here. But here's the uppercut that sent Carlson reeling:
"Crossfire" was canceled within a few months, and Carlson's career has never been the same.
CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just my opinion.
STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.
Clearly, Stewart is bringing more than funny to the table. Continue Reading »
Honestly, the difference between the two campaigns is staggering. One camp is the Lakers, the other is the Clippers.
UPDATE: Sometimes, it's a little scary how an idea can take hold in the blogosphere. UBM and I must be on the same wavelength or something. Anyway, he posted an election-themed update of the Black Sheep classic referenced above at his spot. Check it out. It's good to hear from Dres.
I might go even digging for "Strobelight Honey" this evening. I gotta go, I gotta go, I gotta go. Continue Reading »
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I find this part of the interview particularly fascinating:
Did Scottie Pippen's ratings in the game really drop when he played certain teams?
It's true, but only when the Bulls played the Pistons. If there was a close game and anyone on the Bulls took a last second shot, we wrote special code in the game so that they would average out to be bricks.
Anyway, I was lukewarm about NBA Jam as a kid because I was extremely finicky about games being as realistic as possible. Thus, 2-on-2 video hoops never appealed to me all that much. Also, my beloved Houston Rockets were saddled with Kenny Smith instead of Vernon Maxwell as the guard counterpart to Hakeem Olajuwon. It was quite a disadvantage.
I only wish I had Mr. Chi City to help me out during those times. He's like the black version of Joe The Plumber.
A warning: ol' boy is a little rough with the language.
For more from Mr. Chi City's self-improvement series, check out his Web site. Continue Reading »
At 30, I came along roughly a generation later than Ellis. And for all the progress made in our country during that time, even I never dreamed up a scenario in which America elected a black president. Maybe I'm a victim of my own limited imagination. Or maybe I believed too strongly in our past. Whatever the case, the idea of a black Commander-in-Chief made for mediocre movies and easy jokes (about 2:50), but nothing approaching an honest possibility.
I think between now and that moment I will set the world record for breaths held.
"What a long, strange trip it's been." I'm just a year younger than Obama and when I was a kid daydreaming about the 21st century I imagined people zipping to work with personal jetpacks, levitating cars and ninety-year-olds looking like twenty-year- olds in his and hers spandex jumpsuits. I imagined x-wing starfighters and demolecularizing transporters and phasers I could set to stun.
What I never imagined was a black President. On Star Trek, yes the world was multi-racial, but Kirk was still king.
These almost two years of the Obama candidacy rewrote the book. Barack Obama is the Seabiscuit of our generation. The absurd long shot who reminds us of the power of even our most ridiculous dreams.
I'll still have to see it to believe it. I can only imagine how apprehensive folks like Ellis and my father must be.
On another note, how much of a failure must modern society be to the creative folks of Hanna-Barbera? I've never lived in Orbit City, never driven an aerocar and Lola is nothing like Astro.
Then again, sometimes I do feel like I work for Spacely Space Sprockets.
(Dap to AN) Continue Reading »
Here's some visual evidence of his dual-threatability (I apologize in advance for the soundtrack).
The First Lady is positively giddy at the news.
Then again, I'm not sure if Jermaine Jackson is really a credible source. I need some legitimate confirmation. You think Joe (quite obviously pictured at right) is available for comment?And for some smiles, Mike and his brothers in much better days. Continue Reading »
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Now the locals can feel free to start ignoring the Rays again. Continue Reading »
Quality, quality stuff. Everything is first-class with this dude.
Thus, I can understand why McCain launched a preemptive attack this afternoon. But he's only got himself to blame: the GOP should have got their ground game together in the spring and raised the funds while Obama was fighting off HRC. Whining about the financial disadvantage isn't going to change the fact that they got their ass whipped in the streets.
Not to mention, they'd have been better served paying more for ads than stylists.
UPDATE: The closing live scene from Florida was the perfect touch, though I'm somewhat biased here. The production values were, not surprisingly, excellent. UBM comes up with a great term: "politically sophisticated." Above all else, Obama has infused his campaign with an air of professionalism and proficiency.
And at the end of the ad, I thought of the similarities between 19-year-old blackink and McCain.
Maybe you don't know this about me, but I once played running back at TCU from 1996-98. "Play" is probably too strong of a verb; I was a virtual tackling dummy.
I redshirted my freshman year, made the travel squad a couple times, earned some props on the scout team and legitimately thought it was my turn to get some carries the next season. Or at least some snaps on special teams.
But then, in the fall of 1997, some hotshot freshman from Waco showed up on campus. A soft-spoken, countrified dude named LaDainian Tomlinson.
He was fast, strong and, in short, nasty as hell with the ball in his hands. I spent all summer lifting weights, added about 15 pounds and got my bench press max up to 320. LT came in pressing 365. At the end of two-a-days, everyone was talking about the stud freshman.
I didn't need a scouting report or a depth chart. My plans for football stardom at TCU were over.
And this brings me to McCain: Once the ad wrapped up and his campaign has a chance to assemble in their war room, I wonder if they'll be able to cope with the fact that they've run up against a superior challenger. Continue Reading »
Probably my favorite digging-in-the-crates surprise of the evening was finding "4th Chamber" by the Genius/GZA. I originally bought this as a B-side single with "Shadowboxin" back in high school. This is one of my all-time Wu favorites because Ghostface Killah drops one of the most incoherent, incomprehensible, dope rhymes I've ever heard in my life.
Or do you really know what an "unflammable Noriega" is? Check out the lyrics for yourself here.
(Pound to Avery for jogging my Wu jones the other day). Continue Reading »
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Meanwhile, Steve Benen provides the context behind the campaign rhetoric. Actually, Benen calls it "genuine, almost pathological, dishonesty." And it's really hard to disagree with him.
But it's also something else. I took me a while to sort through my feelings about this one. The link was sent to me from a friend who regularly contributes to this e-mail conversation chain that I'm so privileged to be a part of - I feel smarter just for being invited.
Anyway, below is the response I sent to the group. And, beneath that, is a typically nuanced response from the friend, who I'll refer to as SDH (no one else should be incriminated by a relationship with this blog):
It's definitely cute. And I love the message. But I'm struggling to put this in its proper context because I'm as silly and goofy as anyone on this list when I want to be: why are we always the ones singing and dancing?
Stevie (blackink note: someone else on the list), do you know of Joe Shyne?
I was covering a City Council (in Shreveport) meeting when one of Shyne's rival council members brought up a middle-school choir that had done really well in whatever competition. The council member brought them to the meeting because Shyne had criticized the school and the district for its poor test performances. So, anyway, everyone applauded and agreed the kids were cute.
After the meeting, Shyne sidles up to me and goes: now why didn't they bring their math team up here? Everyone already knows we can sing and dance.
Is this wrong? I'm certainly open to criticism on this one because I know I'm not completely right here.
I get the point you're making, I truly, truly do. And 9 times out of 10 I'd agree with you, but here I think you're assuming that those students didn't write the lyrics themselves. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't, I don't know. But if they did and it was a part of a social studies assignment and they learned what the candidates (and their parties) stood for while doing it, I'm okay with that.
You may recall from the Texas schools suck debate (blackink note: yeah, Texas schools most certainly suck) which morphed into the school choice debate, one of my biggest problems with public education is the lack of creativity. This is the kind of stuff we used to do in my montessori-like elementary school and the knowledge stuck.
I am horrible at history, but I still remember the story books we wrote and illustrated in 3rd grade as our exam on explorers. I'm also partial to learning by singing and rhyming because it actually works for me, lol. You cannot imagine the inordinate amount of"ditties" I made up to get through law school.
Plus, this is the Ron Clark Academy (the same guy who was awarded for what he did with that class in Harlem) - he's known for using methods like this, so I don't doubt these kids actually learned. Heck, he may have made them deconstruct the melody and learn to play it on the flute.
UPDATE: SDH also included the lyrics to the song. If anyone is truly interested, I can add them to the post. Either way, if the kids really did retain this stuff, then I'm all for this sort of classroom creativity. Continue Reading »
Good for him and them. They deserve each other. I think it's great that Limbaugh is encouraging his minions to "rush" toward the right and embrace an ideology that is being roundly repudiated by a majority of Americans.
In that sense, it was said the only opportunity this party has to regain power is John McCain. Only John McCain can get moderates and independents and Democrats to join the Republican Party, "and we can't win," these intellectualoids said, "if that didn't happen." ...
... There are probably other names I am leaving out here of Republican moderates who have fled and joined the Democrats and Obama, for whatever reasons. I say, good riddance. And this is why I said to you earlier in the week, "I don't care who wins this election. The task at hand is going to be rebuilding the conservative movement and making sure that the Republican Party is its home.
What makes this rant even more promising is that Limbaugh is calling for Palin to be the new leader of this party of rock-ribbed, right-wing rejects.
I hope those Dittoheads are listening. Geez. I know some conservative types are bad with science. But who knew they were bad with math, too?
She says, "I don't know what kind of role the Republican Party would want me to play." Well, make her the head of the party, for one thing! That might be a good idea.
UPDATE: I meant to give a pound to Ross Douthat for the link. Douthat says Limbaugh's " logic is so airtight it's suffocating." Indeed.
UPDATE 2: McCain campaign handlers were apparently given a choice between allowing Palin to come off like a "scripted robot or an unscripted ignoramus," according to this item from GQ's Robert Draper. Ah, the future leader of the new, old GOP. Sounds about right. Continue Reading »
Honestly, it might. But that's only if people forget the story of how Barack actually came into being - the product of a black Kenyan and a white Kansan who met at college in Hawaii. As a friend of mine once said, "Ann Dunham was dating black dudes when dating black dudes wasn't popular."
Interracial dating is obviously a touchy subject. I’ll say for myself that my father would be very, very unhappy if I married someone who isn’t black, while my mother is more practical: “whoever makes you happy” is her motto.
Now that I think about it, I wonder if having a loving black family in the White House will put more pressure on black women to find themselves a Barack?
And in many ways, some interracial couples might see the ascension of Barack - not to mention Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter - as a sign of acceptance. Even validation. People might feel emboldened to try something new.
Or not. As long as everyone is happy with their choice. I would hope black women would feel free to date anyone they want, without guilt or recriminations. Continue Reading »
In one e-mail conversation where I noted that TCU was improbably ranked higher than LSU in the latest BCS ratings, my friend - a sports editor in Louisiana - noted it was a freshman Texas quarterback (Jarrett Lee) who was pretty much hamstringing the defending national champs. Then he reminded me of this: "In all seriousness, consider this: On signing day 2005, LSU gets Ryan Perrilloux, Texas settles for Colt McCoy. Sometimes even the right decisions give you the wrong outcome."
Good point. A little later, I was talking with another friend - a staffer with a marquee MLB franchise - about the ridiculous postgame tirade from interim San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary. It sounded like grandstanding to me. You only get to use a couple of those a year and Singletary has already burned through one of his rallying cries, one game into his head coaching career. I'm thinking he's already stamped his ticket out of town.
Anyway, my high school buddy said: "Singletary seems to be overcompensating ... maybe because he lacks x and o knowledge. And (he) thinks he can butt pat players into a Super Bowl."
True. Continue Reading »
Monday, October 27, 2008
Here's a video clip, courtesy of Andrew Sullivan. Tell me, how does this threaten the fabric of marriage? In what world does someone have a problem with this?
Ugh. Let's quickly dig into my deck:
1. Unbelievable by The Notorious B.I.G.
2. Do You Believe by The Beatnuts
3. Slow Wine by Tony Toni Tone
4. Let's Get Married by Al Green
5. Winter Warz by Ghostface, Masta Killa, U-God, Raekwon and Cappadonna
Holla later. Continue Reading »
Yeah, McCain has been "tested," all right. Tested by his ridiculously mismanaged campaign. And that's not leadership we can believe in. Continue Reading »
So... congratulations to McCain, I guess. He managed to do the seemingly impossible -- be trailing in the election not because people were deathly tired of George W. Bush and didn't want anything to do with his party, but because people are deathly tired of John McCain, as well. And I think the award needs to be shared communally, because at all levels of the Republican Party, candidates seem to be going out of their way to make themselves similarly dislikable, out of touch, or (and this is the favorite approach) be ranting with such gusto about the incipient socialism if any of you poor cretins out there dare get better healthcare or a more stable economy that they seem, to be blunt, f---ing nuts.
The documentary follows students and teachers at Cohen High School, a post-Katrina secondary school that seems to play host to an unusually large number of troubled kids. It would be easy to underestimate the extent of the problems at the school but, only moments into the doc, a student (a renowned local gangster) threatens to beat up a teacher.
During six months of filming, at least four Cohen students are victims of gun violence. About one in six girls at the school have children or are pregnant. Out of a senior class of 66, 32 students graduate and, of those, 15 go off to college. In particular, one of the students seems blissfully headed for a short life or a longer one behind bars.
Still, hope abounds despite the ubiquitous problems. One of the students, Cardwell Henderson, manages to win a basketball scholarship to a local community college despite an alcoholic parent and almost oppressive poverty. A first-year English teacher, Julie Murphy, pours her heart into kids that you imagine she never knew existed until a few months ago.
The city we see in "Inside" is much different from the one many of us see during our visits to the Big Easy. But we can't afford to be fooled: New Orleans is still a city in crisis. It would be easy to forget, considering the government's failures during Katrina and the problem-plagued recovery were never mentioned during any of the four presidential and vice-presidential debates.
And that's why the documentary is a must-watch. Because if we don't care, it's really hard to ask anyone else to. Continue Reading »
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.Quite a blow for the nation's "most popular" governor, a woman of so much "executive experience. Continue Reading »