Sarah Palin’s Own Brand of “March Madness.”

Palin likes to play around with loaded words. Does she know they can go off?

I’m as bored of Sarah Palin’s rampant stupidity as much as anyone, but underestimating her ability to inflict blunt force trauma upon the American body politic is a mistake.   Her talent for leading the Angry White Men of the Tea Party by the nose provides the Republican Party with energy even if they lack any new ideas beyond variations of recycled Ronald Reagan riffs.

A  new phenomenon is emerging:   The Angry White Woman  embodied by Palin, the failed ex- governor who quit on the people of Alaska so she could relocate to the lower 48, peddle a politically empty book, become a Fox News contributor, and pocket thousands of dollars speaking to her fans at Tea Party rallies.   Palin hopes riding a wave of White resentment against the nation’s first Black president will make her his replacement.

Palin’s policies, such as they  are, are articulated on her Facebook page.  She took  to it Sunday to author a post about the NCAA basketball tournament, but did so by drawing some provocative and troubling comparisons that seem to have nothing at all to do with sports.

Unless you consider politics a blood sport.   The bolding and usage of emphasis and italics are all by Palin and are reproduced verbatim.

Warning: Subject to New Politically Correct Language Police Censorship

Today at 4:59pm

March Madness battles rage! My family and I join millions of Americans enjoying college basketball’s finest through March Madness. Underdogs always get my vote as we watch intense competition bring out the best in these accomplished teams.

The Final Four is an intense, contested series (kind of like a heated, competitive primary election), so best of luck to all teams, and watch for this principle lived out: the team that wins is the team that wants it more.

To the teams that desire making it this far next year: Gear up! In the battle, set your sights on next season’s targets! From the shot across the bow – the first second’s tip-off – your leaders will be in the enemy’s crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won’t win only playing defense, so get on offense! The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons – your Big Guns – to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win.

Focus on the goal and fight for it. If the gate is closed, go over the fence. If the fence is too high, pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, parachute in. If the other side tries to push back, your attitude should be “go for it.” Get in their faces and argue with them. (Sound familiar?!) Every possession is a battle; you’ll only win the war if you’ve picked your battles wisely. No matter how tough it gets, never retreat, instead RELOAD!

– Sarah Palin

There’s enough ambiguity in Mrs. Palin’s post for her to say, “Oh for goodness sake, lighten up folks. You libs have no sense of humor.”

The thing is I wonder if everyone who reads what Palin says sees the clever usage of metaphor and ambiguity. Someone posted on Facebook they thought it was a little too slick and sophisticated to come from Sarah Palin. Perhaps, and perhaps she’s a quicker study that she let’s on. The last time the Left “mis-underestimated” a Republican governor with a skimpy national profile and mangled syntax, George W. Bush had the last laugh for eight years.

He might be kidding. But what if he isn't?

Palin loves to skewer the out-of-touch elites for mocking her plain speaking persona. Even if someone ghost-wrote this post, it’s her name associated to it, so either she wrote it or approved it being written for her to put her name to it.   Whether or not she claims authorship or not, she owns these words and the responsibility that comes from how they are construed.

All the double-entendres about “targets” and “crosshairs” aside there’s one phrase Palin uses that bothers me the most and that’s the references to “the enemy.”

In politics there are opposing viewpoints and opponents. We can hold differing opinions about an issue and defend our position with great passion, but that doesn’t mean we come to blows to “win.” We express our differences, we disagree, we move on. Nobody has to lose for the other side to win.

“Enemy” is a stronger word. A much stronger word.  Does Sarah Palin believe liberals and Democrats are the “enemy?” It is not enough they be defeated at the polls, but  removed as a possible threat as well? That term just seems more than a little intemperate. It seems ominous.

I don’t see Michigan State, West Virgina, Butler and Duke waging “war” next Saturday.  I doubt these coaches and teams view each other as implacable enemies  to be vanquished and requiring the spilling of  “blood, sweat and tears.”

If Palin was channeling her inner Winston Churchill, she should know the correct quotation is “blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Perhaps those lessons haven’t covered historical accuracy yet?

I do hope it’s just me and I’m not finding the funny in this post by Palin.  Someone with the obvious ambitions of Palin who aspires to the highest elected office in the land must guard against these  languid lapses into intemperate language.  Veiled calls to inciting violence against one’s perceived “enemies”  are like taking a frothing-mad pit bull off its leash. One moment it may rip out the throat of the enemy and turn on it’s own master’s neck in the next.

Sarah Palin may always be considered something of a political lightweight and a bad joke being played upon the American electorate.  But this joke is getting a lot less funny and a bit scary as she inches ever closer to the fringes of American extremism.

My New York State of Mind

New York: where everything happens at once.

Being spontaneous is one of the first thing that goes “bye-bye” when you have kids.  Simply packing up and going where the day takes you isn’t an option if you have to worry first about the care and feeding of children.  They become your first priority and that’s how it should be.  I’m not complaining about it.  

The accumulative effect of being a parent is you’re no longer Number One.   You’re  number Three or Four or Five depending how many other mouths  you’re responsible for feeding.   In the process of doing for them, it becomes easy to forget about you.  Your priorities and pleasures become secondary to the primary job of being Mom and Dad.  

Two weeks away from walking the streets of New York and it’s the waiting that is driving me crazy like an irritating  itch  I can’t reach or scratch.   

The flight?  Booked.  The room?  Reserved.  I looked at so many hotel websites that after a time it all became an amphourus blur.   How many showcase hotel rooms can you look at before they all start to look pretty much the same?   Everything is predicated by how much you’re willing to spend (and this being NYC you can spend a lot) , what amenities you need (a non-smoking hotel and a queen-sized bed) and where you want to bet situated (close to Times Square, thank you very much).  

You can read the reviews of a given hotel until you pass out.    You never know if you’ve picked well until you walk into the lobby and actually see the hotel (is it clean and is the staff friendly and helpful?) , smell the hotel (does it smell clean and fresh or is there the vague smell of cigarette smoke and disinfectant lingering just underneath), listen to the hotel (is the room too close to the elevator or too close to the street noises of the city that never sleeps?).      

 The last test is when you lie back on the bed.   Do it make you say Ohhhhhhh yeah  or Oh my dear God!   That’s the only way to really know how much or how little time you’re going to spend in the room–or in the hotel itself.  

Then again, the only thing a hotel room in Manhattan is good for is sleeping, showering and storing your crap while you’re out running the streets.   Nobody goes to New York to sit in a hotel room and watch TV.  

New York is a smorgasbord of possibilities.   Do you shop ’til you drop or gorge yourself on the vast variety of food and drink?   There are concerts, clubs, museums and oh so much more waiting if you’re curious enough and savvy enough to navigate the taxis, buses, subways and sidewalks.     

After being away from the place for 11 years, I know I’m going to feel like a tourist all over again, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to act like a tourist.   I’ve taken the Circle Line boat tour around Manhattan.   There’s no need to do it again.  I’m not flying nearly 500 miles just to gawk at the big buildings or eat at some crappy chain restaurant I could find in any Columbus strip mall.  

Half the fun of  going to NYC is exploring it.   You can’t be afraid to go off the beaten track if you’re going to find that place that stays in your mind long after the trip is over.    The comfortable and safe thing to do is to do the tourist thing and let someone chaperone  the poor hicks from the sticks through the Big Bad Apple.   

It’s not about courage or anything like that.  Are there some parts of NYC I wouldn’t want to be caught in when the sun goes down?   Sure, but name a city where there aren’t dicey places for delicate souls?    Even here in Columbus there are rough places where it’s a  bad idea to get caught with a flat tire and no spare or jack.   

Always walking the beaten path is safer and boring.   We want to see a play, but whoever said it has to be on Broadway?   There are great plays off-Broadway just waiting to be seen.    Just as there are restaurants, jazz spots and shops that are five-star experiences that don’t show up on the ranking websites and newspapers.  The city is calling and I’m yearning to answer.  

Drop me off in Harlem.

It would take at least a month or two and thousands of dollars to properly “do” New York City in a thorough enough way.   But we don’t have two months and thousands of dollars to spend.   All we’ve got is three days and 72 hours to make up for 11 years of lost time.   That’s not much time but it’s just enough time to get a nice little taste of the city’s  flavor.     

If we do it right that’s all we’ll need.  It will have to be because it’s all we’re going to get.    

Which should tide us over nicely until the next time we’re there, because  it won’t take another eleven years before we return.

Healthcare Reform, Barack the Antichrist and Battle Fatigue

Still the coolest president we've ever had.

When the House of Representatives passed healthcare reform 219-212, I was pleased .  Not giddy, but not ready to commit ritual suicide like John Boehner and his fellow loser Republicans.  I didn’t do any happy dances, high-five or chest bump anyone, or take a victory lap.   I was at work so it wasn’t proper to do any of those things.  I just said a weary little “thank you.”   What a long, strange trip it’s been.   What a long, strange trip lies ahead.

I’m sure President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi know exactly how I feel.    The process of making this particular sausage was particularly grueling.    But this fight is over and I’m glad about that because right about now I need a serious break from all the sturm und drang.

In the aftermath of healthcare reform passing into law, I’ve done something unusual for a news and politics junkie: I’ve avoided the news and politics.  I haven’t read the newspaper (and since The Columbus Dispatch came out against reform that was an easy call).  I haven’t watched the evening news, CNN, MSNBC or Fox–okay, I don’t watch Fox under normal circumstances, but particularly not now.   I haven’t  even turned on NPR and I always listen to NPR.

Which doesn’t mean I’ve completely stayed above the fray.  The night it passed through the House the buzz both pro and con on Facebook was immediate and intense.   Someone said they were going to have to “defriend” someone because they had posted on their page, “Kill the bill and then the Dems.”   I agreed that they should get rid of that particular Facebook “friend”.    There’s more than enough crazy to go around.

For instance, take the Republican Party—PLEASE.

A recent Harris Poll indicates reality and Republicans aren’t on speaking terms.

  • 67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.
  • 57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim
  • 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president”
  • 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did”
  • 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama “may be the Antichrist.”

Can you spot the Antichrist in this picture?

Barack Obama.  Antichrist Superstar.   As much as I hated Richard Nixon, I don’t think I ever juxtaposed his name and “Antichrist” in the same sentence.  At first I figured this had to be a fake headline out of The Onion, but these Republicans are trying to put them out of business because they’re dead serious!  Jesus Jumpin’ Christ, are these fools stuck on stupid or just out of their tiny fucking minds?   And they can breed too!   If that doesn’t scare the holy shit out of you what does?

I have zero-minus-zero regard for hateful people who are intellectually incapable of accepting the fact that there is a Black man in a position of leadership and fumble for rationalizations for their pernicious racism.

The Birthers, Tea Baggers, and the bulk of the Republican Party occupy a separate reality where truth, reality and common sense cannot penetrate the lies they live their lives by or their advanced cases of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

The results of the Harris poll proves the United States isn’t divided between the Red and Blue but the Crazy and the Sane.

Oh sure, he looks cute now, but just you wait...

Healthcare reform dates back to 1912 when progressive candidate Theodore Roosevelt advanced the notion. Franklin Delano Roosevelt supported a version of reform in 1944. Richard Nixon called for comprehensive health insurance in the 1974 State of the Union address.

I’m curious just how much longer the people who say the process was rushed want this process to take? My experience is sick people don’t wait all that well.

If you’re not suffering from healthcare reform fatigue by now, I congratulate you because I am exhausted.   Even for a politics junkie this particular melodrama has dragged on far past it’s closing time.    Thank you Mr. President and Madame Speaker, but now I don’t want to hear anything more about this subject for a good week or so.    I’m focusing on my upcoming trip to New York and all the fun I plan to have there.   I don’t want to focus on crybaby Republicans and whiny assholes like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh bitching about creeping socialism and how we’re all riding a roller coaster straight to hell.

Later for that noise.  I need a vacation, I deserve it and none of this goofiness in Washington is going to stop me from enjoying it.   I’ve been to Washington.  Once, and it sucked.   There are parts of Washington that make Detroit look good and  since Detroit is nearly a Third World city, that takes some doing.

Maybe you don’t need a break, but I know I’m seriously burnt-out with all this fussing and fighting.  I’d rather just kick back, mix up a Jack and Diet Coke and watch the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.   It’s gotta be better watching Republicans and Tea Baggers spitting, blustering and cursing over how America is then new Soviet Union.

The Republicans had their shot.  They pissed it away on unnecessary wars, feeding the pigs at the trough with tax breaks they neither needed or deserved and jerking themselves off while Black folks drowned like rats in New Orleans.   And I’m supposed to believe they’re right now?   Isn’t it bad enough Obama had to spend so much of his time already cleaning up George Bush’s messes?

You have to have the memory of a wood tick to trust the same people who screwed up the country so royally are the ones to to fix it now.   It’s one thing to be so mad at the Democrats you can’t see straight  and something else entirely to just hand the keys back to the Republicans because you can’t think straight.

The Republican Party is intellectually bankrupt, stuck in a time warp waiting for a zombie Ronald Reagan to rise from the grave and firmly in the grasp of racists, xenophobes, homophobes, and corporations hellbent on recreating the country as a lily-White theocracy.

And that’s the truth, Ruth.

The Tea Party’s Lunatic Fringe IS the Tea Party.

Just in case you were wondering why White supremacists are excited about the Tea Party protests

My wife once attended a school board meeting where one gentleman, frustrated by his failure to sway the other members to his side of the debate, showed up dressed in combat fatigues and camouflage, opened up his briefcase and produced a shoe which he used to BANG INCESSANTLY ON THE TABLE until the board president adjourned the meeting.

I went on to write a column where I said when you pull a silly and stupid stunt like that it no longer matters whether you are right or wrong; when I can’t hear what you’re trying to say, you lose the argument by default.

For months we’ve heard the loud and raucous anger of the Tea Party protestors wasn’t fueled by racism but by concern over deficit spending and healthcare reform.    We were assured the few idiots who did carry signs comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler or depicting him as a witch doctor were only a small lunatic fringe and not representative of the movement .

In fact, the real insult according to leading figures within the Tea Party was how the actions of a few rotten apples were being blown out of proportion to tarnish everybody else.

It must be nearing the midnight hour.   Saturday in Washington the masks came off and the true face of the protestors were exposed for all to see.

Yesterday, Tea Party protestors, upset over the upcoming vote in the House of Representatives screamed “kill the bill” and called  Rep. John Lewis a “nigger.”   Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was spat on by a protestor and Cleaver was hurried away by Capitol police who arrested the person.   Cleaver declined to press charges.   In a separate incident demonstrators called Rep. Barney Frank a “faggot.”

Whether it is fueled by fact or fear, earnest concern or partisan perspective, honest difference of opinion or a complete disdain for the opposing viewpoint, when you start calling people “nigger” or “faggot” or spit on them and mock them for suffering with Parkinson’s Disease that is when the argument is over and you have lost it.

I believe in every American’s right to demonstrate peacefully for the causes they believe in, but when you can’t control your hatred and bigotry, I don’t have any more regard for you than you do for me.

For months we’ve been told the racists and crazies are only a teeny, tiny minority of the Tea Party protests. Well, you can take that bullshit and sell it somewhere else because nobody is buying it here. If these people are the minority, they’re the vocal minority and the only ones whose matter because nobody else seems to be trying all that hard to repudiate their bigotry. No one in the Tea Party itself and certainly none of the contemptible cowards who make up the Republican leadership who think appealing to racist and homophobic rage will sweep them back into power.

Maybe they’re right. Appealing to the racism of some White voters took George Wallace pretty far before some nut shot him. The same thing might well happen for the GOP in 2010. Rage is a powerful incentive to cast a ballot against someone, but most folks don’t like extremists from either side of the fringe.

The dangerous thing is how much further into anger, resentment and hate the Tea Party can tap into before something even uglier and far more dangerous happens? They keep warning not to push them too far. Maybe they should be worrying what might happen to them if they push everybody else too hard.

My blood doesn’t run cold at the prospect of a Democratic meltdown in November. Big damn deal. After eight years of the Bush/Cheney cabal, the self-absorbed anger of a bunch of Tea Party bigots doesn’t phase me. They don’t have the monopoly on rage.

The Party of No has made a deal with the devil to climb into bed with a motley group of racists, homophobes, and extremists. Let’s see if they can get back out with their dignity intact.

At some point if The Tea Party supporters want to shake the “racist” tag they’re going to have to make it clear they do not welcome, tolerate or support racism AT ALL.

Because until they do, I have no reluctance in deeming the entire Tea Party a pack of seething bigots who are primarily motivated by an intense racially motivated animus against the president.

As Dennis Green said, “They are who we thought they were.”

Jennifer Aniston Needs A Magic Negro.


"So is Morgan Freeman busy?"

 Are you a formerly “hot”  actreess whose career is in freefall?   Your movies are clearing the theaters like an outbreak of H1N1 and you’re inching ever closer to “direct to DVD” oblivion?

Do what Sandra Bullock did.   Get yourself a Magic Negro. 

Let’s take the example of Jennifer Aniston whose latest clunker, The Bounty Hunter,  reeks of failure and flop sweat. 

The business of Hollywood is to turn pure fantasy into reality.   Fantasies such as Adam Sandler is funny,  Michael Bay isn’t a terrible director, Meryl Streep could play the lead in The Oprah Winfrey Story if she put her mind to it,  and  Jennifer Aniston is going to keep making movies until we all believe she’s a great actress.  

Aniston’s post-Friends career has been the answer to the question, “Whatever happened to the star of Leprechaun?”  

 Aniston is the quintessential California blonde.  She’s leggy, perpetually youthful, fresh-faced and pretty.   Her fans believe she standing on the verge of a breakout role.  The Bounty Hunter isn’t going to be the one as it is getting spectacularly awful reviews (a staggering seven percent  positive on Rotten Tomatoes).     If you remember Robert DeNiro chasing down Charles Grodin in Midnight Run and Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn on the run from hitmen in Bird On A Wire, you’ve seen this movie already.    There!  I just saved you two hours and ten dollars.   

There’s no chance a  Black actress would still have  a career with as many underperforming films as Aniston.   Whomever her agent is they’ve been remarkably successful in keeping Aniston busy.   When Meg Ryan got both old and weird-looking and Goldie Hawn retired, Jennifer Aniston was there to make the jump from sit-coms to rom-coms despite basically playing slight variations of  her role on Friends.  

Hollywood has always attempted to groom starlets into stars, but the persistence in which it seems six months can’t go by without another Jennifer Aniston movie that looks exactly the same as the last Jennifer movie.  

"You want to know why they call me 'Big Mike', huh?"

At the age of 41, time is rapidly running out for Aniston if she hopes to ever make the  leap from eternally perky ingenue to award-winning, accomplished actress.  She tried the femme fatale part with Clive Owen in Derailed but nobody cared.   What’s left?  Either she’ll have to ugly up and play against type like Charlize Theron in Monster,  contract some terminal disease and die with dignity or she can show her acting chops by taking on a historical figure.  Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren and Hilary Swank can’t do them all, can they?    At this point, Aniston can continue to make plenty of money, but earning respect  will prove to be more elusive.     

So what’s a girl to do?     

Find herself a Magic Negro the way Bullock did in The Blind Side.   

As long as she uses her Magic Negro properly to show how kindly, liberal  and progressive she is by standing up for a poor colored boy or girl who can’t do it for themselves  it’s a lock to be nominated for Golden Globes and Academy Awards.   The critics will praise her for showing her “range” and audiences eat this kind of corny crap up with a knife and fork.  

Magic Negroes come in all sizes, shapes and genders.  Whoopi Goldberg was  the go-to girl for this kind of role, but she kind of wore it out.   Michael Clarke Duncan was the hulk with the healing touch in The Green Mile.  Will Smith showed Matt Damon how to get his mojo workin’ in The Legend of Bagger Vance.   Denzel Washington beat, shot, blew up and tortured anyone standing between him and Dakota Fanning in Man On Fire.  

The undisputed king of Magic Negro roles is Morgan Freeman.   The man just has the ability to bring out the best in White folks.   Driving Miss Daisy,  Glory,  The Shawshank Redemption, Unforgiven, Bruce Almighty, Million Dollar Baby are just a few of the many roles in which Freeman has been the Black man that makes White people want to do the right thing.   Even Batman knew he had to have Freeman as Lucius Fox to make all the wonderful toys he needs to do his job.  

Oh, and remember, Magic Negroes are not subject to Jungle Fever.  Not under any circumstances.  Magic Negroes are supposed to be inspirational, father figures, charity cases, wise beyond their years or hopelessly devoted to turning around the lives of their patrons.   They are not sex objects.   

Jennifer Lopez, another Jennifer whose career has tanked lately, is remaking Goldie Hawn’s Overboard, so maybe Aniston should follow that path.  Aniston is about the age Hawn was when she made Wildcats, the cliched fish-out-of-water story of a woman picked to coach a losing high school football team.    White women and Black jocks go together like peanut butter and jelly, so why not give it a go?    

But Aniston might want to hurry.  With Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger  starting to look a little desperate demand will be high, suppiles low and Freeman isn’t getting any younger.   

"Need some magical healing there, Miss Aniston?"

The Democrats should ask, “What would Paul Wellstone do?”

"If we don't fight hard for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we really don't stand for them." Paul Wellstone

As the House of Representatives stands ready to FINALLY vote on healthcare (or maybe not vote depending on which parliamentary trick Nancy Pelosi plays),  Republicans and the vast right-wing are howling like raped pigs, there’s really no reason to pump ya fist if you’re a Democrat.

Come November there will be fewer Democrats in Washington than there are now.  It won’t be because the GOP  came up with any better ideas.   In non-presidential election years, the party in power usually takes it on the chin.   This year appears to be no different for the Dems.  But because of their own ineffectiveness they have brought much of the pain upon themselves.  Estimates vary about how much blood will be spilled,  but nobody is predicting Democrats will gain seats in the fall.  The question is will Harry Reid win his reelection bid and stay Senate Majority Leader (doubtful) and will the Dems lose control of the Senate and House?

If they do that might not entirely be a bad thing.     Passing healthcare reform will cost the Democrats dearly.   Not passing healthcare reform will cost them even more.   In this time where courage is in short supply they need a Paul Wellstone.   And they don’t have one.

The late Paul Wellstone, the liberal lion who died in a plane crash once said, “I represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”   There are too many Democrats in Washington who don’t.   When he’s not on one of his bipartisan kicks, I think President Obama belongs in the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.

But as far as  Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Bart Stupak, and the other cowards that make up the bulk of the Blue Dog Democrats I have my doubts.   The only thing these guys seem interested in is covering their own asses and making sure they get reelected.     The strength of the Democratic Party is its diversity and it is truly a national party with a variety of perspectives.  Unfortunately on major issues  we’ve witnessed the party break up into Balkanized factions that have little in common.

Given a choice between a weak Democrat who’s with the president sometimes and a committed Republican who you know is against his policies all the time, I’d rather have the Republican.   Better to know who your enemy is than to wonder who your friends are.   I’m willing to live with the Democrats out of power if that means getting rid of the DINO’s (Democrats In Name Only) and replacing them with real ones who aren’t trying to be Republican Lite.

The Republicans will make healthcare reform their number one campaign issue against the Democrats.   They believe allowing people to suffer and go without medical treatment and medicine is a winning issue with voters.   At least with their voters who presumably are all in perfect health and never will lose their jobs or coverage.

Well, what of it?  I would rather support a representative, senator, governor or president that stands up for what’s right than a bunch of cowardly chickenshits who only do what’s easy and politically expedient.   The Democratic and Republican parties are already almost subsidiaries of Corporate America and real, systemic reform is darn near impossible to get without spilling blood in the street.   There was a slim chance healthcare reform would include the public option, but single payer was never seriously considered.   Obama, Pelosi, and Harry Reid knew even with a Democratic majority there was never the courage to push for either.

It may cost the president and his party in November if a number of Democrats go down to defeat, but deeds have consequences.  There are a lot of voters just like me who voted with enthusiasm for them in 2008 whom have been left disappointed, disillusioned and disgusted by how badly they have screwed up getting healthcare reform passed into law.

McCain, McConnell, Boehner: Keeping your enemies too close?

The Democrats had exactly three things they needed to carry out before the elections:  stop the economy from collapsing, pass healthcare reform and get Americans back to work.  One out of three is not good enough.

Whatever I was expecting from the Democrats was not the timid and weak way they have exercised the mandate they were given.   Nor did I expect the president to squander his momentum wasting time in the futile pursuit of cooperation from the untrustworthy likes of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.   What was Obama expecting from people who screamed “You lie!”  and predicted if they could stop the president on healthcare it would be his “Waterloo?”    You can’t work with people dedicated to ensuring you fail.

When Ted Kennedy died a lot of the momentum behind the reform effort died with him.   It doesn’t have to be buried with Kennedy too.  Let the Republicans, tea party cranks and Fox News bitch and whine.   Shut out the noise and get about the business of trying to make the nation a little bit better than it was when the Republicans were in power.

Wellstone, like Obama, was a community organizer and knew how tough it is to wage a grassroots fight against entrenched, powerful interests and their minions all too happy to defend a corrupt and ineffective status quo.    This is the moment for Obama and his party to stand up for principle and run on their record or stand down and go down in bitter defeat.   It’s their call to make.  Too many people fall through the cracks the Republicans are ignoring and need the help healthcare reform can offer.  But there is no Kennedy or Wellstone alive to prod, push or shame their colleagues into doing the right thing.  They’ll have to find the guts to do it all by themselves.

Wellstone cautioned,  “A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstances of people’s lives, a politics that does not speak to and include people, is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.”

Being weak, indecisive and unable to pull themselves together put the Democrats into this situation where they could win and lose at the same time.   They could have gotten healthcare done months ago when they had the momentum and the support of the public.   They didn’t and now they have neither.   Too bad.

Now it’s up to Obama and the Democrats.   Upon their own heads so be it.

The President's moment of truth is coming.

Tom Joyner conducts an Intervention for Tavis Smiley.

"Tavis...Tavis...can I just say one word...just one? C'mon man..."


Tom Joyner is trying to save Tavis Smiley from his two worst enemies:  His Super-Sized ego and his ever open mouth. Good luck, Tom, but you can’t can’t talk sense to a man madly in love with the sound of his own voice. 

I’ve already addressed how Tavis finally tore his drawers with me after he copped a nasty attitude with Obama when he declined to come off the campaign trail to attend the 2008 State of the Black Union conference.   Joyner, the radio jock who gave Tavis a forum on his radio program recently blogged in an open letter to his former contributor how pained he is by the hits Tavis has taken for his role as the president’s loudest Black critic not named Michael Steele.  

I hope that somehow, someway, Tavis will realize that if he is ever to gain the love and respect he once received from black America, he will have to find it in his heart to show love and respect for the president. It’s just that simple. And there’s a big difference in saying you have love and showing it.   

Love is unconditional – or it should be anyway. That’s why I can be upset and disappointed with Tavis and some of the decisions he’s made over the last few years, but still love and respect him enough not to turn my back on him.

When I hear and read about the hate people have for Tavis right now, it makes me sad. Because I know that if Tavis knew how to get out of this situation, he would. But it’s not in him to do what needs to be done, to recognize he has gone down a wrong path, and his only real option is to turn around. 

Joyner has identified the problem, analyzed it, and come up with a prescription for Tavis:  Get off your ego-trip.  You ain’t nearly as big as you think you are and you’re definitely not bigger than the President of the United States.  Especially not this President of the United States. 

But Tavis doesn’t get it.  He can’t believe it’s his own big, flapping mouth and ugly ego that’s done him in.  His March 11, appearance on Joyner’s show proves how clueless he remains even now. 

"Okay, I'll pay YOU $20 bucks to read my book, but that's my best offer!"


…As the Obama campaign predicted, once Black folk got to know him, they would support him.  And they did.  The switch was on, and some Negroes started acting like they’d been down with Obama from jump. 

Now, silly me, I’m thinking that no matter who the candidate is, we’re still going to talk about holding everybody accountable to this this Black agenda that we’ve all agreed.  Silly me.  Because what I heard was “Move B, get out the way, get out the way, get out the way!” 

And so, by the time we get to the final book in this trilogy, Accountable, Negroes have done a 180 degree turn on this Black agenda, and nobody seems interested in that conversation.  And so, Accountable doesn’t get anywhere near The New York Times bestseller list. 

What’s been funny for me is to look at the names printed in the back of The Covenant book.  People who supported that accountable agenda, that Black agenda, back in the day; and through this radio program sent in their ancestors’ and baby photos for the covers of these books.  How funny for me now to look at the names printed in the back of those books.  Many of these same folk have since sent me some of the nastiest e-mails and written some of the most virulent blogs I have ever read.  

 Its okay to be Black and hold the opinion Obama isn’t doing all he can to help out Black folks.   There is also nothing wrong with the suggestion every politician, regardless of race should be held accountable.   But you’re not going to make a lot of friends in Black America by constantly hammering Obama like he owes you money.  It’s to be expected when a Larry Elder, Armstrong Williams or some other Negro conservative nobody cares about pounds the president.   Smiley says he does it with love and respect.  Like the song goes, “Who needs love like that?”

Tavis thinks its somebody’s fault Accountable died a painful death at bookstores and he’s found someone to blame: YOU.  You didn’t buy his book.   You didn’t make Accountable a best-seller.  You didn’t put more money in Smiley’s pocket.  Tavis is in the business of selling Tavis Smiley, but what happens if nobody’s buying?  

There is a tough lesson that every author of a failed book must learn:  A book that doesn’t sell is Mother Nature’s way of telling you to write a better book.    Literary agents ask writers, “Why does the world need this book?”  In the case of Accountable the “Negroes” that make up Smiley’s core audience had become hip to his anti-Obama bias and so they took their $25 somewhere else.  Sucks for him. 

The Chicago Connection: Obama and Joyner.


I wish Tavis would also realize what the people DON’T want. And the rule is simple: They don’t want you criticizing President Obama in public. Ever. It may be unfair and unrealistic, but it is what it is.

Whether anyone wants to admit it, this thing black America has for the prez ain’t no ordinary love. It’s about one step below worship. It’s special. It’s personal. And it’s unconditional 

I saw Joyner in action at the UNITY ’08 convention and he worked hard talking up Obama’s candidacy.  His support of Obama is as solid as Smiley’s is shaky, Joyner has it all wrong in one aspect.  This thing about “unconditional love” for President Obama?   That’s not me.  I reserve my unconditional love for my family, not politicians.  I also reserve the right to change my mind.  If Obama comes up soft and starts selling out the interests of African Americans, I won’t need Tavis Smiley to hold the president responsible.  I can do that with my ballot in 2012.  

I feel a great deal of respect, admiration and patience for the president.  What Obama needs most from Black people is our patience and not a ton of unrealistic and unsophisticated wishes.   If Tavis feels so strongly the O-man isn’t living up to his agenda, he can always run against him in 2012.  I’d pay good money to see that happen. 

Most people are smarter than  Smiley.  Obama can’t deliver on 40 acres and a mule.  They know a Black president pushing an overtly “Black” agenda is destined to a short career once non-Black voters wonder why nobody is looking out for their interests.   Obama needs to pursue a successful American agenda, not a Black, Latino or White agenda.   

Job growth and creation helps everyone.  The recent extension of unemployment benefits is a benefit from everyone looking for work.  The president’s plans to reform the student loans system will be a plus even for those who don’t attend historically Black colleges and universities. 

Hillary feelin' the heat of Tavis' jungle fever.


Do we all need to sing from the same choir book?  Hell, no!   Black people have never been monolithic in their thinking.  Nobody is saying Obama is above criticism.   Just don’t make an industry of it the way Smiley and his Black Pack do.   Smiley’s selfish need to be the center of  the universe makes it unlikely he will heed Joyner’s advice.   But while he continues to obsess about Obama it is a certainty Obama is not obsessing about him.  

It is time for the rest of us to follow suit.

Glenn Beck is one SICK puppy.

The Crazies: Howard Beale and Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck, the million dollar demagogue of Fox News, took to his television show to urge parishioners to abandon  their churches if they pursue an agenda of “social justice.”  

“I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”   

Later, Beck held up cards, one with a hammer and sickle and other with a swastika. “Communists are on the left, and the Nazis are on the right. That’s what people say. But they both subscribe to one philosophy, and they flew one banner. . . . But on each banner, read the words, here in America: ‘social justice.’ They talked about economic justice, rights of the workers, redistribution of wealth, and surprisingly, democracy.”  

Beck continued the attack on his radio program:  

Social justice was the rallying cry—economic justice and social justice—the rallying cry on both the communist front and the fascist front. That is not an American idea. And if we don’t get off the social justice economic justice bandwagon, if you are not aware of what this is, you are in grave danger. All of our faiths–my faith your faith–whatever your church is, this is infecting all of them.  

Are these the words of a man in full possession of his facilities or a deranged lunatic off his meds?   I have no clue what set Beck off on his mad rant against organized religion. Wading through the stinking sewer of his mind is not something I wish to subject myself to. I do have the feeling he has picked a fight he can’t win.  If not for churches committed to social justice, a Baptist preacher named Martin Luther King, Jr., would have never emerged as the leader of  the movement that led to the civil rights of Black Americans.  

Michael Hidalgo, lead pastor of the Denver Community Church commented on Beck’s remarks on the religious blog, Sojourners:  

…a word to Glenn Beck. I will not argue with your political viewpoint. Everyone is entitled to have his or her opinion, slant, or spin on any particular office, legislation, or politician. Each person also has a right to make his or her ideology known to whoever will listen.  

However, when you speak as a churchgoer, and when you begin roping the Church into your rhetoric, things get a little more serious. I would encourage and exhort you to use more care, and to consider your words more carefully. You influence a lot of people in this world and have the potential and power to do much for good.  

My hope for you is the same for myself: that your thoughts and words would move those who listen to you more toward the mind and heart of Jesus. May that be the end toward which we both strive.   

Does this mean if churches that feed the hungry, reach out to gays and lesbians, shelter the homeless or try to intercede against gang violence they are part and parcel of this insidious “social justice”  Beck is so fearful of?  

When a church organizes a  voter registration drive or demonstrations against abortion clinics is that the kind of activism Beck decries as creeping socialism or Nazism?   

Too many clowns. Not enough circuses.

Or is this just more evidence that Beck is a sad, sorry twisted Bizarro version of Howard Beale come to life who will say and do anything if it craps up his ratings no matter how vulgar, vicious or vile it is?    The key difference being Beale was a fictional character.  Beck is very, very real and apparently quite serious in his paranoia and rabble-rousing.  

I never thought  Beck was in any way amusing.  Now I see he’s going places even Rush Limbaugh wouldn’t have the balls to go.  Perhaps he thought he was going after the kind of  activist ministry practiced by Chicago religious figures such as Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger.    If they are who Beck had in mind when he went off on this witch hunt, he completely missed the target.   Even Beck’s legions of apologists are going to find it hard to spin this off as just more of his foolish antics.   

I’ve always believed Glenn Beck was crazy.   Now I see he’s a sicker puppy than I thought.  He’s dangerous.