Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pat Buchanan prefers the "old bigotry"

But of course he would. Continue Reading »

Hockey, Summer and Me

For something a little different, I sat down last night with a plate of chicken wings, a tub of ranch dressing, a glass of cranberry juice and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

If I say so myself, not bad. If every game was played with that sort of intensity, I might become a full-fledged fan of the sport. (I was rooting for the underdog Penguins even though it would have been nice to see something positive happen for the good folks of Detroit).

In fact, I'm sort of sad that hockey season is over and the NBA Finals are coming to an end in the next couple days, if not Sunday. That's mostly because I hate - really, absolutely detest -baseball and the complete absence of watchable sports during the summer.

In my bachelor past, this would have meant two or three months of video games until football season kicks off. But now I'm waaaaay behind on my gaming knowledge. I still own a PS2 and didn't even bother to get the most recent copy of Madden for the first time in my life.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

In the meantime, I reminisce over you hockey and Nintendo:

Continue Reading »

Friday, June 12, 2009

Apropos of nothing

Too Short is easily the worst, semi-popular rapper of my lifetime.

He edges out a host of others for this particular dishonor, including Ice T, Mike Jones, MC Eiht, U God, everyone in 2 Live Crew and the entire No-Limit camp.

The competition was stiff. But only one person can be the worst:

Continue Reading »

Conan meets his match: California

Remember when rising energy costs pissed off enough Californians to push Gray Davis out of Sacramento? Well, those were the good 'ol days:

Yesterday, the Economist's Free Exchange blog argued that, indeed, California is too big to fail. And though we're deeply uncomfortable with the concept, under the general notion of that idea, we'd say they're probably right:

California is the world's eighth largest economy, and it contributes roughly an eighth of total American output (and drives much of the output in surrounding states). It's very difficult to imagine the European Union standing by and allowing a budget crisis to ravage the German economy, or the IMF doing nothing at all to assist a Russia or a Brazil as they melted down.

Were California forced to make significant cuts to its spending, the ramifications could be quite serious. School systems and universities would be endangered (which would threaten the state's long-term economic prospects). Increases in crime, homelessness, and serious poverty would encourage residents to leave. Service cuts could threaten key industries. In short, the recession could grow far more serious in the state than it already is. That would threaten recovery across the nation.

It will be fascinating to see what a federal bailout for a state the size of California might look like. Fascinating in the way an autopsy determines a death sort of way, I mean.

And not that I'm blaming Gov. Schwarzenegger for Cali's economic crisis but, really, what would it take to get a recall petition going for him? How could anyone do worse? Would California actually have to split off from the continent?
Continue Reading »

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Image problems

Because of yesterday's fatal shooting of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum, some white supremacists are concerned about what people might think of them:

(John) De Nugent called von Brunn a genius but described the shooting as the act of “a loner and a hothead.”

“The responsible white separatist community condemns this,” he said. “It makes us look bad.”

This is true. Up until yesterday, I was sort of conflicted about my feelings toward the "white separatist community." It never occurred to me that some of them might be dangerous. I, too, figured we could all agree to disagree without getting fussy about it. Even some of my close friends call me "nigger," right?

Maybe people should give them the benefit of the doubt. Because certainly, guys like De Nugent mean no real harm to - oh my God. You've got to be kidding me:

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes de Nugent as “a frequent contributor to virulently anti-Semitic and racist online forums,” who was banned from the racist online forum Stormfront after he apparently threatened a moderator who requested that he “tone down the implied threats of violence in his posts.”
For real, though. There's no such a thing as a "responsible white separatist community." Megan McArdle nails it here:

Are their swastika armbands all made from 100% biodegradeable materials? Do they take care that the leather in their jackboots comes from humanely raised cows?Do they carefully follow the Forest Service's wildfire prevention guidelines when burning crosses? Are their(sic) white separatist brownie points for attending school board meetings or chairing the Community Chest drive?

... But did yesterday's horror make you think any less of W.A.R.? You couldn't actually think any less of them, could you?

Post-script: Media Matters was created to cover events like this. Please, do check out their coverage of the shooting and the reaction from conservative media outlets. Continue Reading »

Major hops

How do you prefer your absurd displays of athleticism: In flip-flops and socks, or in swim trunks?

Never forget: pro athletes are not like you or I. They are manimals. Continue Reading »

What's inevitable

Pam at Pandagon connects the dots:
After a presidential campaign filled with this…
* The parade of racist images continues: Obama ribs ‘n chicken
* California: Sacramento GOP web site calls for the torture of Barack Obama
* Mike Signorile listens to The Hate Out There
* Here we go again: another Palin groupie shouts ‘kill him’ at PA rally
* Own it, bigot
* Missouri: More of the McCain/Palin/GOP Base
* Frank Rich on the fires stoked by McCain/Palin
* The GOP ticket draws, and apparently embraces, the bigot eruption crowd
* More fun in post-racial America
* John McCain forced to denounce racist, homophobic member of Virginia leadership team
* Kentucky, I know you can do better than this
* FL: middle school teacher uses ‘nigger’ to describe Barack Obama
* Palin praised racist writer who called for RFK’s assassination
* Values at the Values Voter Summit - Obama as a Muslim Aunt Jemima
* Westmoreland stands by ‘uppity’ remark about Obama
* White supremacists: Obama’s boosting our movement
* John McLaughlin: Obama fits the ‘Oreo’ stereotype
* Georgia: publication features Obama in crosshairs on cover for article on white supremacist threat
* Bigot eruption: GOP House member refers to Obama as ‘boy’
* South Carolina: black reporter attacked by white family (on camera!)

Why should we be shocked that it leads to this…
* Abortion doctor George Tiller murdered at Kansas church
* Pelosi’s ‘Right America Feeling Wronged’ captures the McCain/Palin mobs
* Fans of Fox’s tin-foil hatter Glenn Beck discuss the Pittsburgh shooter
* Wingnut ‘resistance movement’ calls for million recruits by inauguration day
And of course, this:
WASHINGTON - An 88-year-old gunman with a virulently anti-Semitic past fatally shot a security guard inside the crowded U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday before being shot himself by other officers, authorities said.
Also, now is as good a time as any to discuss increased efforts at gun control. Why not?

UPDATE: Digby has an alternative suggestion to more gun control: "we should have made sure that all the tourists were well armed before they went into the museum." Ah. Good point. Continue Reading »

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Writing a check that his ass can't cash

Joe Scarborough, poking Jon Stewart:

This will not end well. As DMX once warned, "niggas pumped you up/to watch you get beat." Continue Reading »

About citizenship

Ta-Nehisi's (predictably) insightful post today about the Letter From Birmingham Jail and the conservative relationship with black Americans got me thinking about something else from the letter. This excerpt, in particular:

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
Now, compare that to this recent gem from Newt Gingrich:

Let me be clear. I am not a citizen of the world! I think the entire concept is intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous. There is no world sovereignty. There is no world system of law. There is in fact no circumstance under which I would like to be a citizen of North Korea, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Cuba, or Russia. I am a citizen -I am a citizen of the United States of America, and the rest of this speech is about the United States of America.
Gingrich, his boastful tribalism and the round of applause that greeted that pronouncement gives us some insight into why some people consider "empathy" a character flaw rather than a sign of character.

That anyone could take pride in being an isolationist, in a time when our world is getting smaller and more interconnected than ever, says less than something about him and the people that give him a megaphone.

It is the mark of a sociopath, and it has no place in our global community. Indeed, the very idea of being an anti-citizen is intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous. Even Reagan would agree.

But if Gingrich doesn't want to be a citizen of the world, fine. He can't stop the rotation of the Earth, or the passing of time. He will accept citizenship, or he will be left behind - if it hasn't happened already.

To borrow a line from Italian (egads!) poet Antonio Porchia, "Man goes nowhere. Everything comes to man, like tomorrow." Continue Reading »

Conservative Misinformation University

Media Matters salutes the Class of 2009:

Question: Is this one of the half-dozen colleges that Sarah Palin went to? Continue Reading »

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bad sportsmanship or great play?

I vote for the latter.

Out there, in the trenches, between the lines, on the gridiron, you always, always, always need to have your head on the swivel. Lest it get knocked clean off your shoulders.

And that's a lesson that can - and should - be learned by all those who dare to strap on a helmet and slip on some cleats. Even in the pee-wee levels. This ain't no damn pillow fight:

pound to Oliver. Though I think he's being soft about this one. Continue Reading »

Now time to hug it out

Via John Cole, It's only fair that I mention The Corner's Ed Whelan has issued a very thorough and thoughtful apology for outing Obsidian Wings blogger publius:

On reflection, I now realize that, completely apart from any debate over our respective rights and completely apart from our competing views on the merits of pseudonymous blogging, I have been uncharitable in my conduct towards the blogger who has used the pseudonym Publius. Earlier this evening, I sent him an e-mail setting forth my apology for my uncharitable conduct. As I stated in that e-mail, I realize that, unfortunately, it is impossible for me to undo my ill-considered disclosure of his identity. For that reason, I recognize that Publius may understandably regard my apology as inadequate.
No question, Whelan did the right thing. Maybe he didn't go far enough in making amends. But publius has graciously accepted the apology.

So nothing more to see here. Just something to remember, when playing around in the sandbox that is the blogosphere. Be careful. Continue Reading »

How not to be a credit to your cause

In the wake of the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, former anti-abortion activist Frank Schaeffer called for others to be more vigilant about taking responsibility for their fringe on "The Rachel Maddow Show":

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I think this is an important point. And it reminds me of how, during the most heated parts of last fall's presidential election, John McCain and Sarah Palin disregarded concerns about some of the nastier elements who made it out to their political rallies.

In the end, I think it was the most distressing, most damaging part of their highly unimpressive campaign (other than a really bad grasp on the important issues).

I'm not sure how much it mattered to the final tally on Nov. 4. But I can easily imagine some reasonable undecided voters taking note of McCain essentially shrugging his shoulders when some of his supporters called for violence against Obama. Especially considering our country's long and shameful history of political assassination.

And I'm reminded of that - and how quickly McCain's campaign went into the tank - when I see Operation Rescue try so hard to disavow its connection to accused killer Scott Roeder.

Schaffer says:

When evangelicals on the right call President Obama a socialist, a racist, anti American, an abortionist, not a real American, and, echoing the former Vice President, someone who is weakening America's defenses and making us less safe, the logical conclusion is violence. If you take these words literally you might pull the trigger to "make America safe" and/or free us from communism or to even protect us from -- what some "Christian" leaders claim -- Obama as the Antichrist.

... The same hate machine I was part of is still attacking all abortionists as "murderers." And today once again the "pro-life" leaders are busy ducking their personal responsibility for people acting on their words. The people who stir up the fringe never take responsibility.

It's distasteful. It's dishonest. It's part of their record. And it's ultimately damaging to their own cause. Continue Reading »

Monday, June 8, 2009

Free period

Now known - and x-posted - as Your Monday Random Ass Roundup over at PostBourgie. Check it out. Continue Reading »

Memory Lane

Classic mid-'90s shit to start off the week:

But really, what in the hell did LL Cool J say in his verse? It ranks near the very top of my list of most incomprehensible rhymes ever. He made "Woo-Ha!"-era Busta sound intelligble by comparison. Continue Reading »

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chronicles of aging

It's not a big deal or anything but I turned 31 on May 28. I mention my birthday belatedly not because I need some attention or a cake; but because I've become more aware of my advancing age in recent days.

A brief, not-so connected list of 31 random ephiphanies and thoughts and observations:

1. On my parents' last evening in town last week, we had a brief debate about whether or not it made sense for them to make the grueling 14-hour drive back to Houston in a single day. I told my father I didn't think it was a wise move. He responded that, at my age, he could have made a 20-hour road trip and then partied for the next four hours when he got there. "At 31?," I asked him. He was quieted for a second. "Oh," he said.

2. I was born 11 days after my father turned 31.

3. It really struck me that my teenage years and the 20s had already passed me by. Turning 31 resonated within me much more deeply than my 30th birthday. Next winter, it'll be 10 years since I graduated from college. How did all that happen?

4. I'm about five pounds heavier than I was during my days as a college football player. But shedding pounds is harder than ever before. Once upon a time, if needed, I could probably drop 10 pounds in a couple weeks. Now it takes me about two months.

5. I've also lost some flexibility, I can barely grab the rim on a 10-foot hoop (something I did with ease, even dunking a couple times in college) and I'm probably as slow as I've ever been. I calibrate my "true age" mostly on how I feel physically. More than ever before, I feel less like the athlete that I once was. It's very humbling. And sobering.

6. On a somewhat related note, I'll probably never again take off my shirt at a party. No matter how ripped I get. This is really sad. But the First Lady is grateful.

7. During a conversation with an old friend last week, we realized that we hadn't seen each other in six years. When I was a groomsman in his wedding. Now he has two kids that I've never seen or met. How does something like that happen?

8. I have at least five close friends who have two kids or have a second on the way. When did they get old enough to raise some kids?

9. Most of the top musical groups from my childhood are referred to as "old school." I find myself complaining a lot about the quality of current popular music. If that's not old, I don't know what is. In 30 more years, I might finally become as embittered about the changes in pop culture as Stanley Crouch. Or at least Bill Cosby.

10. More than ever before, I realize that my windows of opportunity are getting smaller. Contrary to what I was told as a kid, I can't do whatever I want if I put my mind to it. I'm very conscious of my limitations and my failings. I'm running out of time to accomplish all the things I wanted when I graduated from college. In fact, I don't even have the same goals that I did then.

11. I'm also cool with a lot of this. I think it was Ralph Wiley who once wrote, "too much ambition is unbecoming for a man of a certain age." I have ambitions ... but they're focused a little more narrowly. I still want to make a difference. And I think I can. But it's not going to happen in the way I once thought it would.

12. I'm watching more HGTV than ever before, especially "House Hunters" and "Property Virgins." I spend a lot of time reading about home ownership and real estate. Who am I?

13. I say I'll be brief, then I continue rambling ...

14. I honestly have lost all urge to smoke the herb. I'm too old for that, there's too much at stake. I can't afford that sort of silliness.

15. But I have some very solid arguments for the legalization of marijuana. Several years of reading through police reports and seeing the toll enforcement takes on our communities will do that.

16. I'm finally ready to accept that I'm graying a little. Even in my facial hair. But my hairline has yet to retreat.

17. Someone told me the other day, referring to their college-age child, "but I'll bet you're much older than my son." Damn.

18. I'm older than almost all of the athletes that I watch on TV. And all of the sports stars I rooted for as a child are well into retirement: Hakeem, Warren Moon, Gary Payton, Deion Sanders.

19. High school kids address me as "sir." I appreciate the manners but, wow. Me? A "sir"?

20. At some point, I've come to accept that I'm not going to ever know it or learn it all. This is sad to me. I'd like to think of myself as a prodigious reader. But the sad fact is that I'm going to die without knowing everything that I want to know.

21. I'm probably not going to see or visit all the places that I want to either. (Where on earth would I get all those vacation days?) I'm going to have to make some hard choices.

22. No, I'm not dying. Just a little ponderous today, I guess.

23. Now, more than ever, I regret being a mediocre student in college. People who expected better told me the day would come. Well, now it's here.

24. I share ownership of a dog. A Jack Russell-rat terrier named Lola Falana. And I take her out for walks on a pink leash. WTF?

25. I also dutifully go to dog obedience classes on Saturdays. Two more classes to go.

26. If possible, I now try to avoid large groups of teenagers. No, I'm not scared. They just annoy me and I don't like all that noise.

27. I still worry about whether or not I'm cool. But not nearly as much.

28. At some point, I just stopped giving a shit about MTV or BET. I couldn't tell you much of anything about their programs. VH-1 is a little more my speed.

29. Honestly, my slang could use an update. But does that happen organically or what? I don't remember. And you'll never hear me talk about my swag.

30. I miss my parents. Not like when I was in college, and it was more akin to homesickness. I don't really want to live in Houston again. But I miss being around them. I have a lot more to learn about them and from them.

31. I'm set to jump the broom. Against all conventional wisdom, the First Lady is casting her lot with a dude who probably will never make much money or rise to much celebrity. But nobody will have more love.

If you made it this far, this is the part where I thank all of my readers for making this last year as interesting as any that I can remember. 30 was a great year: I got settled into my new city, I started this blog, I came up with a couple of alternative career plans, my choice for president actually won, I spent lots of time on the beach, I got engaged and I've created an extraordinary web of friends and acquaintances through this little endeavor I call False Hustle. Thanks for making this year so rewarding.

And let's hope the next year is better for all of us. Continue Reading »

What's my name?

Blackink, of course.

I have blogged under this pseudonym since firing up this little online operation almost a year ago. Before that, I used "blackink" to comment on other blogs and it's been the name for one of my e-mail accounts for a number of years.

For a number of private and professional reasons, I'm known - not all that widely - as "blackink" and not my given name.

Why do I bring this up? Well, in a rather childish and shameful fit of anger, National Review writer and blogger Ed Whelan outed Obsidian Wings blogger publius this weekend. Publius, one of my favorites in the blogosphere, responds here.

Anyway, I’m not sure whether I’ll start posting under my own name or not. And there were several people who already knew – it’s not like this is a state secret. But still, if I wanted my name out on this blog, I would have done so. It should have been my choice.
What he said goes for me, too. In fact, I'd venture to guess that most of the regular commenters on here know my real name, the real name of the First Lady, where I work and quite possibly, my apartment number. I have even apprised my managers at work about the existence of this blog.

I'm hiding in plain sight, essentially.

But because I sometimes descend into rank partisanship, because I still have the humor of a sixth grader, because I still have professional aspirations that don't include chasing sirens and harassing the family members of dead people, because I'm still wary of having my words used against me someday, I'm cautiously clutching to the pseudonym blackink.

Since we've never had that conversation on here before, I figured now was as good a time as any. I've been questioned about my anonymity in a handful of e-mails over the past few months, and a few have wondered why I don't relentlessly publicize my blog on Facebook. To answer, it's just not my thing. I'm willfully settling for a mediocre online presence to protect what's left of my identity.

And if you're curious as to the inspiration for the name blackink, I'm sorry to tell you that I can't quite remember. I got it either from a verse in a Mos Def rhyme ("flood your city with the blackink flow") or from Black Thought ("don't blink, blackink has arrived, all rise").

I'm hip-hop to my very core, I tell ya. Continue Reading »

On slavery and Sundays

The idea of comparing professional sports to slavery in any context makes me uncomfortable.

Very uncomfortable.

Which is probably why I had a tough time sitting through former NFL player Anthony Prior’s diatribe against pro football as a tease for his book, The Slave Side of Sunday, released in 2006. In the book, Prior seeks to make the case that the NFL owes much of its health and popularity to institutional racism and suppressing dissent from its players, many of them black.

“Black players have created a billion-dollar market but have no voice in the industry, no power. That sounds an awful lot like slavery to me,” Prior said in an interview.

Maybe Prior has a point. And Prior is dead-on about some of the problems that afflict black athletes who pursue fame and wealth on the gridiron, particularly a single-minded drive that leaves many of them ill-prepared for life without football.

“Your body has limitations,” he reminds. “Your mind doesn’t.”


Unfortunately, Prior’s message is obscured by a very evident bitterness about his 11-year experience in the NFL. For all I know, Prior earned that bitterness honestly. However, combined with the wearisome invocation of slavery in reference to mere games, Prior makes it hard to consider this other side of Sunday.

But give him a chance, if only because his argument is a compelling one. Also make sure to check out the speech from sportswriter Dave Zirin that follows Prior. Thought-provoking is the word that comes to mind.

dap to Max Reddick.

x-posted from weekend endorsements at PostBourgie.

Continue Reading »